A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)

I’m not a fan of Twilight (Sorry!) but I fell in love with this song.

There’s something poignant about it which makes me cry.

The lyrics are so awesome and the melody too! I also liked how Christina Perri sang this.

Heartbeats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love, when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

 

Bucket list for 2012

Image from fabulouslyfrugirl.wordpress.com

I always have my to-do list at the beginning of every year. However, I’m a bit sad because I only accomplished a few in 2011. I’ve managed to travel, get involved in an exercise regimen and present my research in a national convention. So for 2012, I’m sticking to the basics. Here goes my bucket list:

  1. Continue with my exercise regimen no matter what happens. I’ve fallen in love with Zumba and I certainly found it to be effective. I lost weight before the holidays but unfortunately got them back because of the long break. LOL. No matter, I’ll dance those pounds away.
  2. I’m still eager to travel this year. I would still target one international and one local.
  3. This year, I want to conduct a workshop based on my research.
  4. If it’s possible for me to present my research again, I’d like to do that as well.
  5. Also, I’d like to work on having my work published (this I really have to do ASAP).
  6.  Read more. But I don’t know if I still have the time to do so. My one-book-per-month project last year did not push through because I had to do a lot of reading in my coursework. Maybe target at least 6 books for this year? Hmm…
  7. Settle on a permanent place of work. I’m working on this really. Hopefully before the year ends, I’d have a go for it.
  8. Get really serious with my finances.  Well, “get my finances in order” is a much better term.
  9. Study hard.

The year that was 2011

Tower ruins, Mui Ne, Vietnam, July 2011

 

As I’ve written in my post as I bid 2011 goodbye and welcomed 2012, 2011 was a year of somehow settling down, calming down. So I don’t know if there’s much to write about in the year that just ended. However, here are some highlights.

I miss blogging. I have not blogged or written down anything the whole of 2011. Well, I did write but of all it were papers for academic work. Although I keep a journal where I write my innermost thoughts and feelings but I stopped after a few entries. I guess I got so lazy and also so busy with school and office work (Aha! That’s a contradiction, eh?) that I have not opened my account for the longest time.

Paper Presentation. In May 2011, I had the opportunity to share the results of my research in the annual convention of guidance counselors. It was a first for me and I hope that it won’t be the last.

Travel. In July, I had the chance to travel with my mom to Vietnam. We stayed there for almost a week. We explored Ho Chi Minh City and Mui Ne, a seaside town about 6 hours away from the city. We sampled the delicious Vietnamese cuisine. I especially loved the pho (rice noodles), spring rolls, bahn mi, and many others. I was also amazed how cheap the fruits were. I heard that the coffee was awesome; too bad I don’t drink. There’s shopping too! Oh yes, going to Vietnam is a bit inexpensive compared to other countries. I would definitely like to go back but this time, to Hanoi.

Studies. This has taken most of my time this year. I’m not complaining because it was my decision to engage in further studies. The learning process is just amazing. However, it does get toxic and stressful at times, especially when accomplishing requirements and beating deadlines.

Hellos and goodbyes. This is really part and parcel of life, isn’t? There is a time for meeting new people, welcoming new additions in the family but there is also a time for goodbyes – temporarily or permanently.

Goodbye and thank you, 2011! Hello 2012!

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, July 2011

What was 2011 for me?

Before I answer that question, I cannot help but think back and reflect on what happened in 2010. 2010 was characterized by major upheavals, changes and life-changing decisions. It was more of a rollercoaster ride and taking leaps of faith.

But 2011…it was more like a gentle, quiet and continuous breeze…of settling down and calming down after a storm. There were exciting and challenging events this year but the general feeling was that of contentment.

2011 was a year

of blessing,

of inspiration,

of enjoying and living the moment, and

of smiling and laughing heartily.

 

But it was also a year

of challenging myself to be better,

of continuously striving to achieve excellence,

of staying the course and not giving an inch, and

of constantly believing that there is a reason to HOPE.

 

I am grateful for 2011. It was awesome, fun, wonderful, and love!

Welcome 2012!

Mystical Heart (Edwina Gately)

I am not in the mood to write. I know, it’s the New Year and I should be writing stuff. But unfortunately, my mind’s not working. So, I decided to share with you one passage which I find to be very uplifting, inspiring yet mystical.  I actually came upon this passage when I occupied an office years ago. The previous occupant must have left this.

Mystical Heart (Edwina Gately)

Whatever happens to me in my life,
I must believe that somewhere in the mess or madness of it all, there is a sacred potential –
a possibility for wondrous redemption in the embracing of all that is.

For the unfolding of my journey,
in all its soaring delight and crushing pain,
I may be sure that God is there – always ahead, behind, below and above,

encompassing all that befalls me in a circle of deep compassion.
And there, above the darkness that wraps me round, the bright wings of the dove hover and beat in gentle healing love an invitation to new rising.

Reflecting on 2010: Lessons Learned

Nami Island, South Korea, October 2010

At the end of each year, I usually write about my reflections on how the year has been for me. I must warn that this entry might be sentimental or overly-dramatic, so those who are not inclined to be on the emotional side, kindly veer away from this post. Ha ha!

For this entry, I would like to share some quotes that would best describe the lessons that I’ve learned this 2010:

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.”

Life has its ups and downs and it can really be a b*tch sometimes. For several years, I have been struggling and there were times that I was really on the verge. Those who know me know what I’m talking about it here. But I managed to hold on, with the help of family and friends, and of course God. I have learned to cope, “to dance in the rain.”

“One day at a time.”

This is one maxim that has helped me get through the difficult times. I kept on thinking that I cannot handle everything in just one go. There’s no reason for me to act like a hero and do everything in just a flash.

“Positive pictures come out from negatives developed in a darkroom. So if you find yourself lonely and in dark, understand that – Life is working on a beautiful picture for you.”

I took comfort in the fact that every dark cloud has its silver lining and that every Good Friday has its Easter Sunday. With perseverance and patience, there will be rewards. And boy, this is so true. I was just so overwhelmed with all the blessings that have come my way. When God plans, he does it so beautifully and perfectly.

“Laugh often. Laugh your heart out.”

Laughter has also helped me through trying times this year. It helped that I have friends who can joke about things. They made me laugh when sometimes it was impossible to do so. People noticed that when I laugh, I laugh heartily (read: guffaw). This is something that I learned from a former professor, who laughs without restrictions. I figured that laughing should not be restricted, constricted or forced. It should come from the heart.

“Prayers can move mountains.”

Prayer has helped me with all that has happened to me throughout the year. It is one form of therapy. I don’t think I could have managed it all without prayers and of course, God’s help. There is a God; He is always with us and He will never abandon us.

I hope that these lessons will be of help, if the time comes. 2011 is another beginning, let’s welcome it with hope and with a big smile.

Have a Grace-filled New Year!

2010 in Retrospect

Japanese Garden, Maymont, Richmond VA, Oct 1, 2010

2010 was such an amazing year. Reflecting on the year that is about to end, so many things have happened that I came up with key words that would best describe it.

Blessings. Surprises. Possibilities. Opportunities.

Decisions. Beginnings (Hellos). Endings (Goodbyes). Challenges.

However, I have also listed some of the highlights of the year.

Graduation and Recognition: I graduated from my MA in November 2009 but it was only in April 2010 that I got to attend the College Recognition program. During the recognition program, my thesis got recognized as one of the finalists for the Best in Thesis category. In addition, my thesis also got shorlisted in the 4th Lourdes Lontok Cruz Awards for Best Thesis in Women and Gender Studies. I’m so thankful that my work has been recognized for its quality.

Licensure Exam: Last August, I took the Licensure Examinations for Guidance Counselors. I started my self-review sessions way back in May but barely had time to really study because I had to divide my time with work and my preparations for my US trip. It was a grueling and stressful two days for me but I’m so grateful to God that I passed the examination!

PHD studies: Before I left for the US, I also took the DATE (Doctoral Admissions Test in Education) and was able to hurdle it. I enrolled into the program during Second Semester and I’m currently working on 6 units. Honestly, I feel very unsure of myself as regards the subjects that I’m taking now, particularly, Individual Testing. Testing is one area in Guidance which I consider my waterloo. I’m not familiar with all the tests that we are going to administer and so I feel ill-equipped. I really have to do a lot of work on this area. There’s the challenge, I know.

Travels: I’ve been blessed to have traveled to different places this year. At the early part of 2010, I was able to go to the old city of Vigan, although the circumstances for the said travel were quite unpleasant. Then, at the latter part of the year, I was lucky enough to have been granted visas to the US and to South Korea. Last September, my mom and I went to the US to attend the wedding of my only sibling. I stayed there for a month and was able to go sightseeing in Virginia, Connecticut, New York and Washington, DC. This trip was not really planned and was such a surprise because I didn’t really expect that I would be granted a visa. I’m really grateful to God for making it possible. Thanks also to my sister who made sure that this trip would push through. And then in October, I went to South Korea with my friends. This trip was the “planned” one for the year. This was actually our “dream trip”, being the Korean entertainment enthusiasts that we are. It was a grand adventure and we had so much fun! I would really love to visit Korea again. God has certainly blessed me with these wonderful trips.

Seoul Heunginjimun (Gate) (Dongdaemun, South Korea, October 2010)

New Job: I have finally made the leap. The offer of a new job came at a time when I felt that it was time to move on and explore other opportunities. All I can say is that God certainly laid out His plans for me very well. He has such perfect timing!

Reading and Books: I finally had the chance to read books that are waiting to be picked up in my bookshelf. However, for this year, I think I managed to read about 11 books only. I lacked one book, to at least make it – one book per month. I just hope that I would have the time to read again, even though that I have started my doctorate studies.

Fangirling and Fandom: And I thought that my year would be without my fangirl tendencies. But no! Aside from my usual Kim Myung Min addiction, I was introduced to the world of Richard Armitage, an English actor. This paved the way for me to meet other people from all over the world who support his works. This also led me to read books written by English authors such as Gaskell and to watch English films or mini-series.

Richard Armitage

Weddings: My sister; a friend from my MA barkada; two friends from my undergraduate barkada; and one former co-worker, tied the knot this year. I was part of the Bridal Entourage in two of these weddings.

Death: The family bid goodbye to my uncle (my dad’s brother) who succumbed to lung cancer. It was such a shock to us that he was diagnosed to have the big C. I take comfort in the fact that he is now beyond suffering, illnesses and pain and that he and my dad, along with other relatives, are together now at the other side.

Friends: I am a people-person. I have been blessed with friends who are supportive and who would stick with me through thick and thin. This year, I have been equally blessed by meeting new friends whom I actually feel that we have been such for so long. I don’t know, call it – karmic ties, having the same wavelength, just being comfortable with each other, or just simply hitting it off. I am just so happy to have these beautiful and wonderful people in my life. I’m forever thankful to Big Bro for sending them to me. 🙂

So that was 2010 for me. Quite a year, huh? My heart is so grateful for all that has happened, be it good or bad.

Major major thanks, Big Brother!

Korean Escapade 2010: Reflections from the Dae Han Min Guk Dream Trip

The trip to Korea was really an adventure of a lifetime. Korea is one country which I think is supposed to be enjoyed and experienced with travel buddies and friends. So it was really a good idea that I was with them during this Korean adventure. I do have some reflections and lessons which I would like to share:

image from theepochtimes.com

1)      If you survived the tunnel, you can survive anything. This is one catchphrase that we invented after surviving the 3rd tunnel at the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). We really had a challenging time navigating the tunnel because of its inclination/slope. It was easy enough to go down but it was really difficult to climb up. Our muscles protested; our lungs felt like they were going to burst; and we felt like we were going to faint. So after the experience, we surmised that if we have indeed survived the said tunnel, we can survive anything that life would bring us.

A drawing of the 3rd tunnel, DMZ, October 2010

2)      A hotel near the subway is very favorable. Our hotel was about 10-15 minutes from the nearest subway station. We had actually a good exercise every time we walk towards the subway station. However, during the night, it can really be an inconvenience because we were tired already and we cannot walk that distance anymore. So, next time (if we have the chance to go there again), we plan to get a hotel near the subway.

3)      A guided trip is another option worth looking into. We planned our trip according to our preferences: places to visit; food to eat and stuff that we wanted to buy. So we ended up planning the mode of transportation to use or having last minute adjustments or change of plans because of unexpected circumstances. While there are numerous advantages of having your own trip planned, I think a guided trip would be beneficial as well with a guide, transportation, and the like – all taken cared of.

4)      Walking is therapeutic. During this trip, I’ve walked so great a distance than I have ever walked in my entire life. I’m not complaining, the exercise did me a lot of good. But aside from all that walk-out (er work out), walking is a form of therapy for me. While walking, I had the chance to reflect and meditate on things; on life. I also had the time to appreciate the surroundings which I did not have the time to do back in Manila because I was busy.

Walking in Nami Island, South Korea, October 2010

5)    Always be ready with extra cash, otherwise, stick to the budget. One thing I learned from this trip is that it is very important to stick to the budget. Going to all the mall and markets can be really overwhelming most particularly when one sees various and numerous items which one wants to purchase. I have made some impulsive purchases but luckily I was still within my budget. It was a good thing too that I only purchased some stuff prior which I needed; so much so that when I made those on-the-spot purchases, I still had money left.

Korean Won, October 2010

6)      Have Fun. Traveling can be stressful and physically tiring (with all the physical exertions), but it is very essential to have fun and enjoy the moment. In the first place, the main objective of having a vacation is to rest, if this is not possible, then at least have fun – laugh, eat and engage in good and long talks with friends.

That ends my chronicles of my Korean escapade. Until my next adventure!

October: A month of possibilities, opportunities and decision-making

Japanese Garden, Maymont, Richmond VA, Sept 2010

After spending the previous month in reflection and relaxation, October is offering me different opportunities and possibilities.

An opportunity to focus on what I want to do as regards my chosen career. I passed the board examinations for counselors which gives me the possibility to further my career in the guidance profession.

An opportunity to spread my wings and explore other facets of my chosen career. Yes, the possibility of a new work. (Need I elaborate on this?)

An opportunity to engage in a higher and specialized learning. I got admitted to the doctorate level and I’m considering the possibility of enrolling this second semester.

An opportunity to travel again. Yehey! This time to Korea, the Land of the Morning Calm. Visiting Korea has been one of my fondest dreams and it will be a reality this month. (Don’t forget to visit this blog for updates on the trip).

I am very honored and grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way.

Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings.

Remembering Tita Cory (1933-2009)

Today marks the first death anniversary of the so-called “Icon of Democracy,” President Corazon C. Aquino or most fondly called “Tita Cory.” I remember so many things last year – the media frenzy when she was still at the hospital; the outpouring of prayers from all over the country for her healing and recovery and the round the clock news bulletins updating the Filipinos of her condition. I also remember that when she finally left us and joined our Creator, the wave of nostalgia, melancholy and yes, thanksgiving which swept the country was so overwhelming.

I was one of the hundreds of thousands who flocked to La Salle Greenhills and waited patiently for about four hours to pay my last respects to one great lady who thought highly of the Filipinos until the end. I remember Viel’s children, Kiko Dee and his sister, coming down from their vehicle to thank all of us who lined up along Ortigas Avenue and apologized that we have to wait for a couple of hours just to see a glimpse of their Lola (grandmother). I reflected that four hours is just too short a time compared to all the sacrifices made by Tita Cory for the country.

What was remarkable during that time was the discipline and patience demonstrated by the Filipinos while waiting in line. It certainly showed that, indeed, Filipinos can be disciplined if they want to. And so, it brings to mind, some of the last words that Tita Cory shared in one TV interview with Jessica Soho last September 3, 2008 :

“Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat at lalong-lalo na sa Panginoong Diyos, na ginawa niya akong isang Pilipino. Talagang karangalan ko iyon, na maging katulad niyo at maraming salamat sa lahat ng tulong na ibinigay niyo sa akin.” – Corazon C. Aquino (1933 – 2009)

When I first heard her statement, I couldn’t help but cry. Because here I am, losing hope in our country and our people. I really was so ashamed and embarrassed that I lost hope in our country and our people. Tita Cory saw so much potential in the Filipinos and she believed that we are a great people. She believed that in time, we will finally get to where we truly belong and realize our own place. And so, I keep her words as a mantra and a reminder that there is still hope in each of us and that we are still learning to be the best that we can be.

Thank you, Tita Cory, for believing in us.

Thank you for making me believe again.