A Year in the Life: The 2018 Apa Family Edition

December 30, 2018




So Christmas has passed and the trees that stood so festive in our living room corners are now being tossed back into storage-- their 6 weeks of glory is quickly coming to an end. As Christmas is probably the most commercialized (and my personal favorite) time of year, here now lies the Season of Slightly Less Than Holidays. Sure, Easter has a powerful meaning and history, but where on God's green earth did we think of plastic eggs and man-sized rabbits in overalls? And don't even get me started on Valentine's Day, aha. 


But before we step fully into that forsaken time, we still have Christmas' awkward cousin: New Years. Filled with life goals, second chances and new gym memberships, the beginning of January signifies a (sometimes short-lived) brand-new start.


Personally, I think New Year’s is a little over-hyped and our neighbors are already pretty annoying without the (extra) booze. I also go to bed early because I’m a grandma and I got stuff to do in the morning. 


However, I really do value the reflecting we all seem to do on the year we are leaving behind. It inspires hope, while also respecting our and affirming our journey. I like that. 


Take note at the purple things in this post (graphics, highlighted text, etc). These are the moments Michael and I have looked back on and felt the power of God's provision and/or timing throughout the year.

So, without further a due, here’s a sneak-peak into the year that changed everything:



Ironically enough, I started  2018 in the same place I'm ending it, in my home state of Washington. But at this point last year, I hadn't graduated college yet, and I wasn't married (or even engaged). I was Meliah Michael, still dreaming about this future.


Despite all thee craziness that life throws, it always seems to bring me back here. Renewal. Resolution. Peace. It’s all here. Front-loading these words are, of course, the existence of pain, conflict and anxiety, which can also be found here. But how fitting it is to start back where we began, with every new lesson learned behind us.



  • I spoke about "the power of change" at my old school during their elementary and high school chapels.  


  • Michael, my dad and I set up better internet for the school. 


  • I returned to Liberty University in VA for my "last first day of school" on January 22 (a day I actually decided to skip, lol oops, sorry mom).



  • We took Jack to the vet to get fixed. 


  • We saw Black Panther in theaters. Left shook. 





  • We got engaged on March 10, 2018!


  • I went into full-wedding planning mode (and so did my mom).

    • We rolled out a detailed website, we chose a date and venue, ordered invitations, scheduled engagement photos, selected a florist and a catering company,  had the majority of our song playlist and started 2 store registries, all within the first week. We were getting married in 6 months, and geezlaweez we went all out. I'm thankful for the way everything fell into place, especially because it allowed Michael and I to really relax during the week leading up our wedding (at least, as far as planning goes). 

-  Did I go to many classes? Absolutely not.

-  Do I recommend planning for a wedding this way? Probably not.

-  Do I regret it? Lol no way, boo. No.  



  • Had a gigantic anxiety attack before our engagement pictures. It was rad.   





  • Finished my last college finals. 


  • Michael brought home a precious kitty for my 21st birthday, and we named her Penelope Rose, "Penny" for short. 






  • Welcomed my grandmas (Nana & Granny) and my dad to Lynchburg to celebrate my impending graduation. 


  • Moved out of my apartment. Said goodbye to the sweetest roommates ever. Here's one of them, the beautiful human who ended up being my maid of honor <3






  • I graduated! And watched it from the comfort of not-on-Liberty-University's-campus-during-a-rainstorm, surrounded by my fiance, his sister Henrietta, my dad, Nana and Granny. It was pretty great. (I later suited up for a different *indoor* ceremony, but truth be told, I like the one in my PJs best)





  • Said goodbye to Michael thinking that we'd come back to Lynchburg and make his apartment our first home. 


  • Left LYH with my dad and grandmas and made our way back to the Pacific Northwest. 


  • Watched my sister graduate high school a week later. 




  • I continued to wedding plan.


  • I continued to send out job applications.



  • Wedding planning & applying for jobs, etc. 


  • My parents adopted goats. And this one wanted cuddles.  



  • I said yes to the dress! I had found an "almost perfect" dress in VA, but due to the cost and timing of shipping, I decided against it last minute. But by the time we visited Celestial Bridal, the first shop we visited in Spokane, and I slipped into the first gown, I knew I made the right decision. The dress I wore on our wedding day had never even been tried on by any other girl, and fit me with very few alterations. 


"It fits like the perfect glove" - Celestial Bridal Staff. 


(note : my face in the picture with the flowers is evidence of deep, confusing, but happy emotions. not sad ones ;) ) 




July :


Wedding planning & applying for jobs, etc. etc. etc. etc. 



  • Michael finished up work in LYH and packed up his apartment (where my stuff was also being stored) into a storage unit, bless his soul. He dropped off the Nissan with a friend and arranged for our pickup when we return. 


  • He left for Spokane the day of our bridal shower, and I picked him up at the airport around midnight. 


  • We had a bridal shower! To this day, we are so amazed and so blessed by the generosity of those who attended and planned that shower.Thank you to all who were involved!


  • We got our marriage license the day after :)


  • We picked up the Apas (Mum, Dad, Aunty Catherine and Uncle David) and Michael hugged his family for the first time in over 4 years. 




  • We bought a giant cauldron and planned, cooked and shared our PNG "mumu", a traditional meal of celebration, with close friends and family staying in the area before the wedding. 


  • We celebrated Michael's 24th birthday, his last as an unmarried man. 


August :



  • We got married! After almost 5 years of dating, Michael Apa & I became husband and wife in my childhood hometown of Edwall WA.





  • Thanks to the generosity of some amazing friends, we spent our wedding night at the Davenport in downtown Spokane. 


  • For the next few days, we moved into our apartment and spent as much time as we could with our PNG family. After a beautiful, but brief stay, the Apas were returning home to Papua New Guinea. We said goodbye to them in the same airport we so happily welcomed them in just 2 weeks earlier. 


  • Michael & I made our first attempt to "officially" begin our honeymoon. In proper Meliah-fashion however, I had one of those holy-crap-I-forgot-to-pick-up-medicine moments, and despite our Flash-like attempt to retrieve it from the pharmacy and make it back in time, we missed the plane by less than five minutes. (*pause for effect*)

We got our itinerary changed to the next day with a longer flight plan, but thankfully at no extra cost.



  • We spent the night in Dallas in one of those in-airport mini-hotels (the only reason we could was because of the super kind front desk lady who gave us the "cute honeymoon couple deal"). 


  • When we finally landed in Lynchburg, it was a mad dash (and squeeze) to pack up everything. We only had whatever we could make of a 2008 Nissan Sentra with two adults up front and the same number of cats in a crate in the back. Fitting 2 apartments-worth of memories just wasn't possible and to this day, we are realizing how little we brought back. 


  • Through all the craziness, God truly blessed us by providing at least three pairs of hands that cleaned up the storage unit (you know who you are, and oh how much we love you). 


  • After saying goodbye to Michael's sister and many other friends and mentors, we started packing up and eventually stayed an extra day to finish it all. We left for our #honeytrip on August 12 and would be on the road until August 20. 



If you were paying close attention, we were set back 3 days from our original plan. But I am telling you, God works in amazing ways because we would be driving through Sturgis, South Dakota just three days after their week-long, larger-than-life "Sturgis Rally", a motorcycle convention that brings over 500,000 people flooding into the exact tiny town we were travelling through. 


  • Oh, and we also broke down near there too. 

We never would have been able to get the help we needed, or the space to breathe to figure out next steps, if we would have gotten there one day earlier.

Here's how we divided up our #honeytrip:




  • We made it back and moved our fur babies and the stuff in our car into our first home. 


  • 2 days later, I started work as a nanny to an adorable 2 year old girl



  • Michael started working as a landscaper. 


  • We began the immigration process with a team of lawyers. 



  • Went on the best surprise coffee date ever and the summer happenings finally sunk in. We also talked about what we wanted our future to look like objectively, and we made some hard, but really beneficial decisions. 


  • Started feeding the outside kitty with bright green eyes, aka "Frito".





  • We got Penny fixed. (Of course, she needed it, but we are also excited to have our two fur babies taken care of, so when we can afford to adopt Frito, we know they will be safe, too)






  • Finally fell in love with a church!




  • Officially bought the Nissan Sentra from my parents.  After 2 years and a whole bunch of miles, "Felicia" is  finally ours, folks ;) 


  • Both of us realized how much we really hate cold weather and the grey gloom that is the PNW in the wintertime. 







  • Freaked out (in a good way) that I got to write "husband" on Michael's gifts. 


  • Made a few first holiday traditions.



  • The family I nanny for gave me over a week of paid vacation, praise the Lord. 


  • Celebrated our first Christmas as husband and wife with my side of the family.


...Well, that probably took ten thousand years to read. Aha. Sorry. But thanks for making it through! Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into  our 2018  and what we hope to accomplish in 2019. 


And again, for everyone who took part (behind the scenes or front and center), in making 2018 our best year yet!



May your year bring you light, love and long-lasting new beginnings.



With Love, 

Meliah Apa


PS: I almost included some of our goals for 2019. Would you be interested in a separate post on resolutions?




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