It is widely known that the number 13 is considered an unlucky number in some countries. I’m not entirely superstitious but last year, when we were counting down to 2013 as we blew our party horns, and shook our wallets and purses as the clock struck 12:00, I thought to myself, “I wonder if the year ’13 will be an unlucky one?”
Looking back now, I can say now that it was not a lucky year for me.
That’s because I had an amazing year… and I believe that luck had nothing to do with it. Okay, maybe just a smidgen. But luck is so arbitrary. I believe that 98% of the things that happened this year was a by-product of my own choices and actions, as well as the choices and actions of other people around me. My own judgments, as well as the kindness of certain people, were the catalysts that made my 2013 not a lucky one, but a blessed one.
MY BEST MOMENTS OF 2013:
Last year, I welcomed the New Year with my single girl friends by dolling up, dressing up, and partying the night away. Again, I’m not utterly superstitious, but they say that how you spend the first day of the year is pretty much how you will spend the rest of the days of that year. So for the first day of 2013, our motto was to “Claim it!” Claim what, exactly? Why, all the good things in life, of course!
So when people started asking me that annoying (trick?) question, “So when are you going to have a boyfriend?” even though I feel the urge to look at them mockingly and retort, “Tomorrow? Next week? How the hell should I know? I’m not a freaking fortune teller!” I tell them cheerfully and confidently instead, “This year! I claim it!” I didn’t know that of course. I had no prospects and was interested in no one. I had stopped dating altogether for an entire year, by choice. But I “claimed it” anyway. And, to my bewilderment, just twelve days after the 1st of January… (wait for it!)
That “surprise” in Tagaytay
So, as I was saying, just twelve days after the 1st day of January, my sneaky little friends Ingkay, Monica, and Joaquin (Monica’s baby daddy) told me they were going to introduce me to “someone” (Joaquin’s long-lost half brotha from Down Undah!) and that we would all be having dinner somewhere. Instead, when I hopped in the car and asked them, “So, where are we going?” They all said, “Tagaytay!” Had I known, I would have donned sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie. Haha! But anyway, the best part of the night was meeting the man I would eventually fall in love with, the man who would ultimately be my boyfriend on exactly the 23rd day of January! Whoa! This “claiming it” thing is potent stuff! Thank you, 2013, for the New Year and early birthday surprise!
(And speaking of “claiming it,” those four girls in the first photo? They are no longer single ladies now! The moral of the story? Claim, claim, claim! Haha!)
Pre-Valentine surprise (a.k.a. “Operation: Make Manly Tattooed Boyfriend Cry Like a Girl”)
My boyfriend once complained, “How come the whole world has heard you sing except for me?” So a few days before Valentine’s Day, with the help of my friends Kat and Abby Nantes, who also own the restaurant Paire, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I told my Mike that we’d be having dinner with friends at Paire, but they were running a little late. So while he was seated, I said, “I’ll just go over to the counter and ask the staff about their party packages… you know, for my birthday.” (Rrright.) He was totally oblivious, and didn’t know what was going on as I sat on a stool while holding a microphone. To his surprise, I started singing Katharine McPhee’s song Terrified for him. He was crying throughout my entire performance. Success! I then asked him what he thought I was about to do when he saw me with the microphone, and he said, “I thought there was karaoke!” Wahaha!
P.S.: No, I did not rent out the place, so the customers that night enjoyed a free show. I had to pretend like they weren’t in the room because I was too freaking nervous!
Casa San Pablo trip
I had already booked a ticket to Taiwan for my solo birthday trip, but life had other plans for me. After meeting Mike and not knowing when I will see him again, I chose not to go to Taiwan instead (with the very sage advice and quotable quote of my mother: “Ang Taiwan, nandyan lang yan! Makakapag-hintay yan! Ang lalaki, hindi.” Haha!). I decided instead to go on a getaway with Mike in a cozy little place called Casa San Pablo in Laguna. There, we played around the grass like big kids, had photo ops, had dinner at Sulyap Gallery Cafe, ate some delicious native food with our hands while onboard a big raft in Lake Pandin, and swam in a 180-feet deep lake. So fun!!!
Surviving a crazy LDR
My boyfriend and I had to go through a long distance relationship for three months and it really got the best of us. I cannot summarize in a few paragraphs how frustrating and maddening the situation was. Imagine fighting over something and not being able to hold the other person to make things better, and on top of that, factor in the three-hour time difference, plus the herky-jerky internet connection that makes my face look like a pixelated jigsaw puzzle onscreen and the ever-annoying Skype call dropouts. Gaaaahhhh! I can’t count the number of times that I wanted to tear out my hair in vexation. The worst part is, we didn’t even know how long until – or if we ever will be – together again because of other factors that were sort of out of our hands. We almost called it a day a lot of times but we chose to work it out. We chose to stay together. And even now that we no longer need to kiss our computer screens through Skype because we can finally do it in person, we still make choices to live harmoniously with each other. Through the fights, misunderstandings, and cultural differences, we are still together, and it’s certainly not because of luck.
A successful boob job
If you’re thinking, “Your plastic surgeon did a crap job because your headlights obviously haven’t ballooned,” it’s because it’s not really that kind of boob job. It’s a biopsy. Haha! It all happened so fast. One day, I was just at Ingkay’s place and had her dad (who is a surgeon) check it. I was only meant to consult him about it. Then, he said, “Let’s remove them now!” Now, as in, “this afternoon.” Whaaat?! Slow down, tito! I wasn’t prepared for that at all. But I guess tito Ronnie’s spontaneity rubbed off on me, so I said, “Okay, let’s go!” I chose not to delay it any longer, or else they might get worse. Thank God the operation was successful and the cysts were benign. Tito operated on me himself, and did not even charge me anything! I am indebted to him and will forever appreciate his kindness and concern, and I am equally grateful as well to Ingkay’s mom, Ingkay, and Monica for taking good care of me, even cleaning my wounds without cringing! Now I can say they’ve seen all of me — literally. I got nothing to hide now. Hahaha!
Not mine (unfortunately).
Meet Anton (Monica’s son) and Tiffany (Monica and Ingkay’s niece). These babies unknowingly brought me a lot of joy this year, and everytime I see them, I can’t help but wish I had my own little ham or salmon (“ham” is our term for a baby boy while “salmon” is our term for a baby girl).
Instead, since we still need to prepare for “real” babies, we got these babies for the meantime…
Yup… fish! And not just some stupid goldfish. We got cute little angelfish and bichirs as pets babies. I know you’d think “But you can’t pet fish! How do you establish an emotional connection with them?” You’d be surprised. These fish have so much personality, and every single one that we own are unique in their own way. They have such cute and funny facial expressions too! Just like dogs or cats, they really make our place happier and brighter.
The day my boyfriend finally got his Filipino passport and dual citizenship… and the day he finally came back to the Philippines
Three months apart felt like forever!!! Before he left, my boyfriend got a bit miffed at me because I kept asking him, “Are you really coming back? Are you really leaving your good life in Australia to be here in [polluted, corrupt, dangerous] Philippines?” He told me to stop asking him and just trust him, let him do what he can… and he kept his promise! This passport was everything we were waiting for! I’m so glad those LDR days are over!
Moving in with my partner into our condo
Though I always thought that it’s perfectly okay for two people to live together even though they are not married, I never really thought that I would find myself in this situation. Well, 2013 surprised me again when my partner asked me to share a home with him. In a conservative society like this, such an arrangement is usually frowned upon, and I have had my fair share of admonitions, with people telling me things like, “But that’s wrong!” Society will tell you all kinds of things and everyone will have his or her own two cents about the subject, but at the end of the day, only you can really make your own decisions. I decided to turn a deaf ear on people’s strictures and instead focused on what I felt was right, not for anyone else, but for me. After almost 8 months of living in this kind of setup, I can say that I don’t regret my choice at all. If anything, I am pleased at what I have become. Living in has made me mature in so many ways, and it is only in living in that I would attain this kind of maturity. I have learned so much – both practical skills and life lessons – through all of this, and I am sure that I would not be the kind of person that I am now had I not made this choice.
Learning how to cook… and actually NOT sucking at it!
I have graduated from pancit canton, fried eggs, and hotdogs! And to this day, I have not yet burned down our house! Yahoo! The only meals I have floundered at so far are those instant microwavable Continental rice and pasta mixes and, uh, champorado (how it is even possible to botch champorado, I don’t know!). I cooked out of necessity, until it became a hobby and stress-reliever. It’s such a joy to cook and make meals for people you love! I’m really glad I chose to learn how to cook this year. It really brings out one’s creativity and resourcefulness. It’s a lot like art, only, this is the edible kind.
(You may also want to read a related article on my cooking and homemaking experiences here: http://leapyearlola.blogspot.com/2013/11/homemaking-is-hip.html)
Cambodia trip with the Cambachelorettes
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” –Anonymous
I couldn’t agree more. If I had a lot of money, I would probably use it to explore the world. This year, I feel extremely blessed that I got to visit an exotic country with some of my closest college friends (except for Alessa, who I have been friends with since elementary). This trip to Cambodia was actually Alessa’s bachelorette party, hence, we called ourselves the “Cambachelorettes.” (Admit it, it’s quite witty. Haha!)
If I describe the entire experience, I know that my words will not even do it the slightest justice. The beauty of the scenery of Cambodia, the richness of their culture, the happiness that each one of my friends gave to one another, and not to mention, the laughs we got out of our crazy experiences (such as making fun of our tuk tuk driver and getting high after eating “happy pizza”), it’s something that you will only understand if you experience it yourself. So, please, if you have the means, time, and resources, travel. It really does the heart some good. And whenever you travel, you are changed. Once you come back from a trip, you are never the same person you were before you left.
Being in a full-time job for (gasp!) a year and (almost) three months
The author Jon Acuff calls himself a “serial quitter” because he’s had eight jobs in eight years, meaning he only stays in his job for a maximum of one year. I feel you, Jon! I myself admit that I don’t last long in my jobs because I get bored and restless quite easily. But I wanted to do something different this year: I wanted to stay in my job for more than a year. I wanted to challenge myself by holding on just a bit longer and not calling it quits. At work, there are okay days, not so okay days, and days that are as fun as hitting the “refresh” button of your browser a million times while waiting ten years for the webpage to load. Every single day that I choose to go to work is a choice. It’s a choice to suck it up and stick to my commitments, grin and bear it, and remind myself to be grateful that while some people are unemployed, at least I have a job in a reputable company that pays well and lets me go home on time (except for some occasions). It’s a choice to make a living so that I can contribute financially at home and not put all the burden on my partner, and so that I can save for myself and our future life together. It’s a choice to be selfless, for once. Sometimes, I think I’m being a corporate sellout, but if you’re like me who’s not getting any younger and is thinking of settling down soon, you will understand that sometimes, you need to be practical, at least for a little while, and hope that maybe someday, your sacrifices and hard work will pay off.
Oh… and what do you know? I have already been in my company for almost a year and 3 months. I’m over my quota! So far, that’s the longest that I’ve ever held a full-time desk job! I am happy that I have some friends at work who keep me sane, and great teammates that I get along with.
Having three sets of families
This year has been tragic for a lot of Filipinos, as a lot of them lost their families in numerous disasters. Because of this, I feel truly grateful that each one of my family members is healthy and well, and that I not only have one family, but three — my immediate family, my relatives, and now, my partner’s family (including his wonderful mom and grandma who are not in this photo). This year, they have been a great source of love, happiness, wisdom, strength… and food! Each time I see them, I always end up a few kilos heavier, and I always find myself bringing home containers full of food good for an entire week!
My awesome and crazy friends
I may not have a million friends, but I have several that I consider keepers. The truth is, I don’t need a lot anyway. As they say, it’s not the quantity but the quality. And the quality of the friends that are dearest to me is sublime. They make my life so much more colorful, and they choose to love me for who I really am, quirks and mood swings and all. If/when I finally move out of the country, I wish I could stuff all of them in my suitcase and bring them with me. I’m sure most of them will fit anyway coz they all come in “cute size.” Haha!
Sometimes, I think that hosting is my real job, and not the full-time one I go to every single day. This year, I am grateful for the people who chose me to host the special milestones in their lives, whether it’s their wedding, their daughter’s debut, or their child’s first birthday party. The best things about this job, really, is to be able to use my talent in entertaining people and making their event a memorable one… plus the free food and good pay, of course! 😉
I am also especially thankful to my friends and former schoolmates Ina, Steph, and Krys for trusting me this year with their events. 🙂
Everyday adventures with the one I love…
…because every single day of 2013 was worth waking up to because of this guy. Cheesy!!!
So you see, for me, ’13 is neither purely lucky nor unlucky, because “luck” connotes chance, coincidences, and accidents. I know that the events that took place in my life this year were not entirely lucky breaks or random occurrences. I know that they happened for a reason. So for 2014, may you make choices that will make you happy, choices that you will be proud of, and choices that you will write about the next year because you made the right ones. And if, for some reason, you end up not making the right ones, it’s fine. There’s always the year after to make up for it. It’s not the end of the world. I mean, they said Doomsday would happen in 2012 but you’re obviously still alive now, aren’t you? 😉
Happy New Year!!!
|Image Source: ahensnest.com