Ah, December… this month is great for a lot of things, like an abundance of snacks, burning scented candles 24/7, playing Christmas music on repeat, making gift guides and listing round-ups of the past year in music, films, books, moments and Instagram posts. 

Much like the Spotify Wrapped feature, Instagram Best Nine rounds up your most liked posts of the last year, and mashes them all together into a little collage much like the one you see down below. Looking at my own most-liked pictures of 2017, I can’t help but reflect a little. Social media, like Instagram, really are the new ways of documenting our lives and capturing our most important moments. In the proverbial ye olde days we would flip through a carefully edited photo album, with all of the pictures neatly pasted and carefully preserved. Now we simply go to a neat little website like Instagram Best Nine, or we simply scroll through our own timelines to look back upon the past year.

I can’t help but think of my Grandpa, who would host family nights to look back on holidays and travels, by projecting his slides in the living room. He had boxes and boxes full of slides, and each and every single one of those little pictures would tell a story. Over the years, he spent a lot of time digitizing his collection, and now he makes photo albums on his computer and has them printed in a neat little book. 

Now, I don’t have boxes full of slides or a slide projector propped up in our living room (would be super convenient for binge-watching The Crown, though), but I do have an Instagram account full of pictures of the last year and a blog, which I guess is the modern equivalent of my Grandpa showing his photos and sharing his stories. 

The first picture is a very special one, perhaps even the most special one of the past year, as it was taken at my university graduation. That day I got my bachelor’s degree from University College Roosevelt and graduated with honors in literature, English linguistics, media and education (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?). One year after Merlijn wore his cap and gown, I could put on mine and it all felt very grown-up and fancy. Even though we weren’t really allowed to decorate our gowns, Yonna did make us our own Tabula Rasa flags, which we did wear during the official ceremony. 

Can I be so bold and state that 2017 definitely was the Year of the Unicorn? Well, for me it was. I believe the obsession started back in 2016, when a drunk Belgian guy bit my inflatable Fritz-kola unicorn and it tragically died (RIP the OG Fritz-kola unicorn). My Dad then “fixed” my unicorn, and for a good year I believed him, until we were packing up my dorm room in Middelburg and he told me told me the truth about the inflatable unicorn that still lives in our house. As it turns out, my original inflatable unicorn was beyond saving and died tragically, but my Dad didn’t want me to be without my beloved unicorn, so he contacted the Fritz-kolapeople in Germany (!) and begged them to send him a new one, which luckily they did and thanks to my Dad I now have a giant inflatable unicorn on top of my wardrobe. That was the official beginning of the Year of the Unicorn, during which I got gifted a unicorn-themed item at every single festive occasion, and I’m unable to ignore any unicorn-themed items I come across on my daily travels. That’s why, all the way up in Groningen, I couldn’t resist this unicorn ice-cream.

Even though I’m always super nervous, I do really like having nice pictures to go with my articles. Last year at university, Gerjanne helped me shooting photos for Almost Famous Writer and this is definitely one of my favorites. 

After graduating from university, we all moved out of dorm rooms and into The World. Funnily enough, my friend Simone moved to my hometown, into a building I had walked past all of my life. She moved into the old music school, which is a big and gothic building situated right in the city centre and even though I had walked past it my entire life, I had never been inside of the building. When Simone moved in, I could finally fulfill that childhood dream and climb these funky-colored stairs. Then Yonna, of course, spotted that Instagram potential and immediately snapped some grams

Another photo Gerjanne shot for Almost Famous Writer! I really do like this one, because it looks like I’m spotting a couple of puppies and I simply cannot contain my joy (it was probably Gerjanne who said something funny tho). 

Tabula Rasa! A big part of my past year revolved around UCR’s student magazine and on the picture we’re traditionally releasing the last print edition I edited, which was the highly-anticipated sex issue (if you fancy a read, you can check out all of the articles on the Tabula Rasa website). 

Another Tabula Rasa picture! Here we’re releasing the second print edition I edited, which was the diversity issue. 

Credits: @nouszld

In 2017 I also wrote quite a few articles for 3voor12 Zeeland, including one about the student dorm festival Stukafest (in Dutch). 

The cake on the last picture isn’t just cake: it’s super-special celebratory cake, because I had just been accepted at Erasmus University Rotterdam to pursue my master’s degree in media & journalism. We went to one of my favorite places in Middelburg, De Juf, and stuffed our faces with cake. Just to clarify, I did order a millionaire’s shortbread and a slice of lemon pie, because life’s short and you better just eat all the cake you want.