Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Grazie, 2013

On the 30th day of December, a friend and I were talking over a bottle of wine. We were having a recap of what transpired during the year that passed: what took place beginning January 2013, how we began our year, how we carried on, and how we would eventually end another 365 and a quarter days of our lives.

While I munched on a slice of parmesan-filled pizza and took a sip of wine, I went on a trip down the memory lane.

If 2013 were a person, it would have two faces: that of a sweet lady and another of a tough man.

My first few months of 2013 were both planned and a surprise.

I began the year looking forward to a dear friend’s wedding where I would also serve as her maid of honor. Being her maid, I delved into every aspect of the preparation beginning from the dresses that would be worn for the pre-nup shoot, the storyline of the pre-nup, keeping in touch with the bridesmaids, arranging the bridal shower, keeping a backbone of support for both the bride and the groom -- the list was endless. Every detail was fun, though I had to admit I was also feeling gloomy throughout because I would be losing a very dear friend with whom I have spent sleepless nights with for some random conversation of anything under the big round moon. By losing, I neither mean dying nor moving out of the country. What I meant was: she was finally “settling down” in a new realm while I would be left in the world of single people who would always appear in pursuit of either love or adventure.

My girlfriend Ruthie and I before the ceremony
My body seemed to be both happy and sad as well. The night before her big day, I was suffering from whooping cough. I even buried myself under the comforter just to try to shield her from whatever virus I was emitting in our room. Luckily though, when I had my first ever maid of honor speech,  my lungs seemed to have cooperated. I nailed my speech for the newly wed couples, darling. Beat that, lungs.

The events were all planned (well, except for that whooping cough on my friend’s wedding day). What was unplanned? Our family’s trip to Hong Kong. This was one of the sweetest faces of my year. It was exactly a week before my friend’s wedding.

It's the Hong Kong Disneyland, baby!
The view from the Ocean Park tower
The loves of my life
Exploring Lantau Island via some 30 km cable car ride
In March, Papa urged Mama and my brother to finally get their passports while I renewed mine. He said at first passports were basic ID’s and so it would be important for them to have theirs. Little did we know he was already planning an out-of-the-country trip. We learned about it probably a month before our vacation.
We went to Lantau island, the Hongkong Ocean Park, and Disneyland. For four nights and three days, we were together round the clock. Papa would even make us coffee for our midnight snack (he would rarely do that back home because he would always be out for work). I was beyond happy. One prayer ticked off my seven dreams in my Novena to God’s love.

Another of the sweetest faces of my year was getting promoted at work – not once, but twice. This was among my biggest breakthroughs. From being a writer to a senior writer (promotion #1)  up to a junior producer (promotion #2). Everything seemed to have barreled past by me. During the first week of October, our boss personally talked to us and told us that we have already been promoted since the first day of the month.

The producers during our holiday gathering
The first thing in my mind was: this was never what I wanted. I wanted the other way. Nonetheless, I was still thankful. I was thankful for my boss who always got our back and who always believed in us even when others don’t. If there were tough faces in our workplace, my boss would both have a tough and sweet face. Tough love for us to learn, but sweet guidance to help us climb the corporate ladder. After all, what we were in has always been a jungle of sorts.

My closest friends surprised me at home on my birthday. And beginning June to December, I only had two things in mind: gratitude and love.

Thankful for all the people who have taken part in my year. And grateful for all the love I have been receiving.

And the items ticked off my bucket list?

  • Visit the Pink Sisters chapel and have reflection and/or prayer time there.
  • Maintain my blog (well, partly I did).
  • Beef up my savings.
  • Do zipline!
Conquered my fear! 300 m zipline with the awesome view of Taal lake!

Among my answered prayers?

  • Travel abroad with my family
  • Serve with my family at the Feast (taking part in the offertory a week after my birthday)
On the 30th day of December, a dear friend and I were talking over a bottle of wine. We were having a recap of what transpired during the year that passed.

We realized how blessed we have been beginning January 2013 until we end another 365 and a quarter days of our lives.

As we exited the restaurant, the waiters thanked us and bade us goodbye, "Grazie."

Cheers to another bountiful, love-filled, and successful year.

Thank you, Lord.

Grazie, 2013.


And as you all can see, the ball has stopped half way to its perch. It's suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the new year, to stop, and reflect on the year that has gone by, to remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken, the times we opened ourselves up to great adventures... or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt. Because that's what new year's all about: getting another chance, a chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more, and to stop worrying about what if... and start embracing what will be. So when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let's remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other, and not just tonight but all year long.

Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world we can't control. Earthquakes, floods, reality shows... But it's important to remember the things that we can. Like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts... Because the one thing that turns the world from the longing place to a beautiful place... is love. Love and any of its forms. Love gives us hope... Hope for the New Year. That's what New Year's Eve is to me. Hope and a great party!

- New Year's Eve (2011)