Thank you for 2014! #CreativeTalanoa

The view from Vakaloa Beach Resort on the day of my graduation celebration in the Kingdom of Tonga in October 2014. Photography by Tanya Edwards.

2014 is nearing its end and the new year is about to dawn upon us. I would like to extend my heart-felt gratitude to all who continued to visit this blog, Creative Talanoa, throughout this year. I appreciate the emails that I have received and the comments that were posted onto this blog, and I am grateful for the readers who have shared stories from Creative Talanoa onto social media sites. My gratitude also goes out to the special guests of 2014 who had taken the time to share their story for this blog. Creative Talanoa has now received over 130,000 visits which is lovely. Thank you all so much.

As the writer behind the blog, there were many things that I wanted to share this year including the stories of some amazing people that I have connected with. However, my time and focus this year were mostly invested in meeting the requirements for the completion of my post-graduate studies. For those who have been following my journey on this blog, you may remember that I had moved away from performance poetry in 2013 to focus on my post-graduate studies. Well, I am happy to share that on September 30th 2014, I graduated with a PhD in Education from The University of Auckland. I am absolutely stoked and relieved that my dream has been fulfilled this year. A special thank you to my family and friends who made 2014 a year that I will never forget. Thank you for the beautiful memories. I truly appreciate you all!  To God be the glory and honour!

In addition, I was fortunate to visit the Kingdom of Tonga (my heritage homeland) twice this year and on both occasions I was moved to tears by the love that my family continue to show me. With a large number of extended family members who I am close with, I have a resilient support system in place which is a huge blessing considering that 2014 also presented me with a few obstacles and I experienced a few disappointments. Nonetheless, the obstacles that I overcame and the disappointments that I had accepted have empowered me to grow on a personal level. It is important to note that although there are some things that are out of our control or reach, we should keep in mind that sometimes the obstacles or disappointments may actually be blessings in disguise.

As a reminder, the purpose of this blog is to share stories that will help to uplift, inspire and encourage others to dedicate their time and focus onto what they are most passionate about. I understand that life has many challenges, but I believe that if you put in the effort to work and that you prioritise your time, you will achieve success. So in 2015, I will continue to feature special guests on this blog and I will continue to share a little about my journey.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to visit Creative Talanoa and I look forward to connecting with you in 2015. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! To spread some Christmas cheer, here is one of my favourite Christmas carols and this particular version by Pentatonix is wonderful. Enjoy and be safe over the holidays!

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