Before I start, I apologize for the lack of creativity in the title of this year-ender post. It also sounds like a cliche that every adolescent girl says if you try to speak it aloud. However, I can’t think of a more appropriate title than this one because 2014 is basically the best year ever in my life. So I think you and I need to just deal with it. In addition to that, this is gonna be a lengthy and wordy post with almost 2,000 words. But I hope that you will stick until the end because I poured my heart to it. Ok, here it goes!
2014 was a good year to me. More than the bad, there were a lot of good things that happened. It was so remarkable that I still can’t believe that it’s almost over now. Where did 2014 go? Maybe I was enjoying it too much that it just went down the drain…in a good way. Let this post be a review of how this year became to be the best year of my life.
1. Moving to my new apartment. Doors opened when I moved out of my parents’ house and decided to live on my own in February of 2014. It’s been a plan since I got here in Japan and after years of gaining courage and money, I couldn’t be happier when I finally did it. Moving out and living on my own terms made me realize a lot about myself. Learning to be independent, being responsible and budgeting my own money are all included in that package but the best thing about it is finally having my own space and peace of mind. Like what I said, I grew up in Manila being so noisy outside but when I get home, all I want is a peaceful room to be in. Plus, I get to practice my amateur cooking skills at times.
My first day in my empty apartment last February
2. Got promoted in my job. After 6 years of working in the same school as a kindergarten teacher, my efforts have been finally rewarded. I got promoted and I am now the current head foreign teacher in our school. I know I couldn’t get the job if two of my senior teachers didn’t leave. I didn’t want to be in a higher position either because I didn’t want extra load of work. But it happened like a bird landing on my shoulder for no reason. Through this blessing, I learned so much about coping with people at work and understanding them. I know there’s more knowledge that will come my way with this new challenge and responsibility and I can’t wait for them.
Me while waiting for the kids’ graduation ceremony in the silliest way
3. The year of travel. Three years after I first did it, I was able to travel again. My Southeast Asian trip (Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Singapore for the second time around and Bangkok, Thailand) was one for the books. It taught me so many things about our Southeast Asian friends and their cultures. I’ve seen so much beauty and moreover, I was able to see my best friends again after a long period of time. Traveling, indeed, is something that you spent money on and makes you feel richer. It makes your mind and your soul fuller with all these knowledge and experience you gain from it. I even once said that traveling is better than shopping in a sense that your clothes will get old, damaged and might be even get stolen from you but all that memories you have in a foreign place will always remain and locked up in your heart forever.
Top row: Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia, Center: Singapore for the second time, Bottom: Bangkok, Thailand
I also went to some places here in Japan like Kozushima Island and Shimoda City in the Izu Peninsula. It made me realize that there are more wonders I need to discover also in my second home.
My Izu and Kozushima adventures with friends
4. Becoming a fan of RuPaul. RuPaul and his famous reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has been in my radar for three years but I never really paid attention until this year. I’ve enjoyed every season and episode of the show that’s why I even downloaded his What’s The T podcast with his best friend Michelle Visage. And what a blessing! This podcast didn’t only make me laugh until my bladders bleed, it taught me a bunch of things ranging from beauty, gossip, life, love and relationships. Not taking life too seriously, the importance of vulnerability, meditation and metaphysical truth, enlightenment and others. I truly believe that this contributed on how I see and treat my life now. Subscribing to their podcast and following RuPaul were the best decisions I won’t ever regret for the rest of my life.
5. Gaining new friends and cherishing the old ones. I’ve met new friends in my life this year and I’m so blessed that the universe continues to bless me with an abundance of good people. I know I’m a hard pill to swallow most of the time but I appreciate the fact that I’m still able to make new friendships and relationships with others. I credit this mostly to my blogging life. I’ve met (well personally and online) amazing spirits through the Internet and it feels like I’ve known them too long. Thank you and welcome to this crazy world of mine!
From top left: With Misaki Hoshi of Vintage Qoo, With Saki of H&M PR Team, With Natalia of Tokyoholic.me, With Harajuku fashion icon Elleanor, With Ashley, Misato of Funktique and Tokyo-based Singaporean designer Josiah Chua, With Japanaese brand MYOB creative directors Tanimi and Comi, With Yiling and Dann, and with LATokyo team Leo and Eddie
From top left: With the Philippines top female fashion bloggers Laureen Uy, Tricia Gosingtian and Camille Co, with the Magno siblings Angel, Aemanuelle and Aivan , with my JP-based blogger friends Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley, long time JP-based friends Dhang Corpuz of FilJap Magazine, Mariye, Din, Ogh, Rexcy, Carey, Ashley and visiting Justin, and with Harajuku style icons Elleanor and Hirari Ikeda
But I wanna be more thankful particularly to those people who’ve been with me even way before I came here to Japan. From my elementary and high school clique to university friends, I’ve learned that friendship is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if you only have a few friends but what really matters is the fact that they’re the ones who’ll stick with you till the end. They are the ones who’ll cheer and support you all the way and who’ll break it down for you once you lose your way and get blinded with your ego. The people who can do all of the above are who you call true friends. The numbers don’t matter as long as you have a strong wall of these people at your back. And this year, I’m really thankful for realizing who they are in my life.
From top left: With my best friend Zowie and her daughter/my goddaughter Raya, With high school best friend Micko in Singapore, With my best friends from theater days Joy and Apprelle in Bangkok and with one of my grade school best buddies Jowen in Ginza
6. Finally understand and experiencing the essence of family. I grew up in a broken family that gave a me a deep wound in my heart that won’t be healed forever. My life will always be an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. But this year, I was able to celebrate most of the occasions with my family here in Japan, especially Christmas and my birthday which I used to celebrate alone or drunk with my friends and neighbors in Manila. That’s why family celebrations don’t really mean a thing to me while I was growing up. I didn’t really have a full understanding of family is. Or better yet, I didn’t have a family that made me feel belong. Even if my grandparents and my relatives tried their best to fill the hole, they just could not. This year, finally, after, moving out and finally getting my personal space, I realized that nothing beats the presence of family. Though you will need to be alone a lot of times in your life, there will be moments in life life that’s worth sharing with a group of people who know you in a more personal way. And that’s your family.
7. Finally realizing that I’m a goddamn lucky person and finding happiness from within. When I came to Japan, I had to remap my goals because everything just got swirled by a huge hurricane. I used to hate the fact that I was here and I felt so unlucky and damned because I was getting left behind by my peers who were advancing in their lives with their doctoral degrees and university teaching careers. I wanted the same in my life but I was brought to a foreign path which I thought was too dark. I felt sorry for myself and usually questioned why it happened to me. When I went home to visit three years ago, a wise professor told me that I shouldn’t compare my life to other people because my luck is different from the luck of my peers. I didn’t get it at that time but I certainly do now. I live in a first world country where living is easier compared to where I grew up as a little boy. I have a good job that pays my bills and lets me do whatever I wanna do in life like shopping and traveling. I can do whatever I want in my own terms because I’ve learned how to be dependent on myself. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything in my life and suffer so that others could realize their own dreams. A lot of people are dreaming about the life I have which I used to take for granted. Since then, I learned to appreciate more what I have in my hands. I can dream bigger but I always feel thankful for what’s on my plate now. Through that, I found happiness deep within. It’s the kind of happiness that’s so simple and yet, it sheds a warm light that fills any void in my soul.
2014 was so good that I’m quite scared what 2015 Year will bring to me. Yet, I learned also this year that the NOW should be the one that always count. The past is in the past and thinking of the future might make you more anxious so the only thing that you have in your hands is the present (nope! I’m not gonna cue Let It Go here). That’s the only thing that you can change and it will only change for the better if you choose happiness. It’s hard to let go of a beautiful past but there’s always a bright promise from the future so I will face 2015 with great hopes.
Have a good year everyone!
“Dear universe, thank you for a wonderful year of blessings that you gave me. I keep all the positivity within me and release all the hurt and pain of the past and may you transform them to an energy called love. Guide my thoughts and feelings so I may face the future with optimism and strength. Let the people I love feel the warmth of my heart and may you also bless them with all good things. Thank you.”