New Year Reflections… 2016 was a great year! Welcome 2017!

2016 was a special year for me….. In fact, it was a great year. I didn’t get to accomplish all my 2016 goals but I tried and got most of them accomplished. The incomplete ones have been forwarded to 2017….I need to make sure that I don’t put too much on my plate in 2017…. However, I’m thankful to God for the many blessings in 2016 and to the people who helped to make it special and wonderful year. Instead of partying my way into 2017, decided to pass up that up, and instead enter 2017 quietly and safely at home with my family… A little before the clock hit midnight 2017, feeling at peace, relaxed, content and focused, I decided to blog some of my 2016 Highlights and here they are:

February 2016: Moved into my dream home and neighborhood downtown Silver Spring, MD (Washington, DC area)

Downtown Silver Spring, MD, USA

I’m a City girl who likes to be in the heart of everything, where there’s enough energy and action to keep me feeling ALIVE, while being surrounded by so much convenience where every great thing that I need and want is within walking distance. God blessed me with such a home and neighborhood which I frequented a lot in the past and I always dreamed of living here. Downtown Silver Spring is Washington, DC/DMV’s best kept secret! This place is awesome and buzzing with ENERGY, has top notch entertainment, dining, diversity and more! This is truly where THE WORLD MEETS! Happy to call this place HOME!!! For more info, please visit, join the Facebook group Happening Downtown Silver Spring and Like/Follow the page I Love Downtown Silver Spring, MD, and visit Events Downtown Silver Spring page to be in the loop with what’s happening downtown Silver Spring!

March 2016: USA Election Campaign… Clinton or Trump?… Decisions, Decisions

Inside the Oval Office at the White House meeting with President Bill Clinton (1996).

I have lived in the USA for 20 years and I have never showed interest in USA politics. This was my first year showing deep interest. Maybe it was because of the Candidates. They made it so exciting that it was too hard to ignore…. At this point I couldn’t really decide on who to support between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I had a soft spot for Hillary because of her husband who I had the pleasure of meeting at the White House (Oval Office)…. At the same time I was also drawn to Donald Trump’s lack of political correctness (I’m a real person and straight shooter too). Either way, I wasn’t a USA Citizen so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to vote for any of them but that didn’t stop anyone from staying glued to this election campaign. It was the best REALITY TV SHOW; it was too hard to ignore…..

April 2016: Took a Birthday trip to Miami, Florida


Last time I was in Miami was for my 21st birthday when the above (personal) pictures were taken, with my friends from Nicaragua. I was excited to find out that the same bathing suit and cover up still fit! Nonetheless, I had a great time when I went again in 2016 and I was surrounded by great company which always makes the difference. Miami is one of my favorite cities in the US and I can’t wait to visit again…. Below are some of the pictures from my Miami trip in 2016, in my 30s:

Enjoying the Miami Night Life
Lunch with awesome people (my bestie Vioet and my “play” auntie Kukuwa) on Ocean Drive, South Beach Miami.
What can I say, Life is a Beach… I love it!


Did I tell you that I love to dance to EVERYTHING that sounds good to my ears?! At he popular #Mangos #Tropical #Cafe

June 2016: Hooray, Finally became a USA Citizen!!!

USA Citizenship Swearing in Ceremony

It was a beautiful day! A 20 year dream that many die for, get imprisoned etc., to achieve, made a reality! It’s official, I’m now a USA Citizen!!! The paths to getting American citizenship are TOUGH when you have no green card sponsor and refuse to marry for papers. Mine was a joyous, but at the same time, a hard and frightening journey. But God remembered my prayer 20 years ago when I prayed that he sends my family to a country I grew to love, the USA. My family left the USA and I remained at 19 years of age to fend for myself with no close family ties in the USA. But I knew God would see me through…. I eventually won the Green Card Lottery and became a permanent resident, the easiest path to an American citizenship and then the rest is history…. Glory be to God! No one can take credit but God alone! Believe and Trust God to see you through every difficult situation. Keep the faith and hope alive for FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS. Be blessed and encouraged by this testimony. Believe! I can’t wait to cast my first vote in November!!!

Attending my first July 4th Parade in Washington, DC

October 2016: Organized a Major and Successful Health and Wellness and Dance Fitness free event for the community

The Annual Silver Spring Health and Wellness Expo and Dance Fitness Festival is a free public OUTDOOR event committed to building a healthier and stronger community in partnership with other health care providers, fitness professionals, health educators, businesses, and non-profit organizations to empower, inspire and motivate the public to make healthier lifestyle choices. The goal is to educate people on the importance of knowing their health numbers and how to keep their numbers in a healthy range in order to reduce the chances of a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other preventable health conditions and diseases. The event also encouraged people to MOVE YOUR BODY to stay fit and healthy. As the event coordinator, I was grateful for successful planning, organizing and execution of the event, with the help of good people!



The event received a Montgomery County Proclamation Award.

Watch the Event’s highlight video here


November 2016: First time voting in a USA Election!

I had an awesome voting experience at the Silver Spring Civic Center downtown Silver Spring where I caste my first USA election vote. I voted early on November 3rd because I wanted to make sure that nothing happened at the last minute to keep me from getting my voice heard; loud and clear! It was a special moment to be able to vote.


December 25th: A Merry Christmas it was indeed!…. Happy New Year!


What are my 2017 New Year goals?…. I have a few, some of which I will share in this blog… Please stay tuned…. Wishing you all a GREAT 2017! Let’s share special memories! Feel free to comment on my blog posts with anything that’s on your mind… The goal is to enlighten, inspire, learn and explore our world together. So welcome to my world; Valentina’s World! 🙂

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Valentina's World Travel

I'm Rachel VALENTINA Nghiwete and welcome to my world of travel and other interesting life experiences. Thanks for stopping by and exploring the world with me. I hope you enjoy my blog. - Watch my Youtube Channel at: - Follow my Facebook page at: - See Pictures at:

12 thoughts on “New Year Reflections… 2016 was a great year! Welcome 2017!”

  1. Hey, Valentine!!! Great to see your blog. Looking forward to keeping up with you as you travel the world…laters… Violet 🙂


  2. Hi Rachel….wishing you a prosperous new year. May God’s Grace be with as you travel the world. It was interesting to read your blogg and glad to know you are leaving your dreams at the same time inspiring others.


  3. Valentina, based on what I read in your bio, you are a person full of life and energy. You have remained enthusiastic, dynamic, and vibrant through your life hitherto despite all the challenges. I am truly inspired, and I wish you nothing but the very best. God bless you!


  4. Valentina, so proud of you and your hard work. Just read your blog and am loving it. Well done & keep it up. I”ll be following you. Happy 2017 to you and your family. God bless.


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