My journal (yes I still prefer to write down memories, even though my handwriting sucks) — This Journal Will Actually Change Someone’s Life!!! — in its final page asks me: “It’s the end of the year, how are you? […] What are the lessons that you’ve learned from this year?” I never dreamed of arriving at that page. I never imagined letting go of 2012. The past year has been a wonderful ride.
So, this is how the second half of the second year of the second decade of the first century of the third millennium went for me:
July (up to early August) was all about my very own Despedida Series. Simple dinners (with or without alcohol) with friends and families who really matter. Thanks to them I was able to mark the end of a journey and the start of a new one last 2012. I will always be grateful and I long for the day I can hang out with all of them again.
The longest day in my life last 2012 (literally and figuratively) happened last August 7 — when I finally bade good-bye to the Philippines for the United States. I tried to stop being emotional but in the end I was unsuccessful. But up above the skies, as I saw the clouds change in patterns and directions as we moved from one time zone to another, I suddenly felt excited. My dreams in life are now taking shape. I feel some sadness though, as part of that dream I left in the Philippines. I hope that five years will just prove to be a short amount of time — I can’t wait to share my experiences with her already. Anyway, before school officially started I was able to spend a week with my maternal relatives in Virginia and for a whole day with fellow Filipinos in Niagara Falls, NY.
September allowed me to explore of West New York, my playground for the next five years or so. My general observation: I really need a car to go around here. But compared to New York City, I like the suburbs more — there’s still a city element but it’s clean and green everywhere. Last September, I officially started my work as an instructor. In my three years of being part of the working class, I must say that this is the job I like the most. I have finally found what I really wanted to do.
The going gets tough as I say hello to sleepless nights again deep into mid-semester. At times where I might just snap, I attempt to make myself busy with extra-curricular activities. Weird for a graduate student huh, especially if dissertation is soon to haunt him. But not me. While I still have to explore more organizations in school, making kids smile during the National Chemistry Week at the Buffalo Museum of Science was enough. Seeing happy faces of children and children-at-heart makes my heart happy as well — especially if they’re happy about the wonders of science lol.
There are things which happened in November I am not proud of and I’d just keep to myself. For the fun part, I had my first Thanksgiving (American) experience. For a Filipino like me who celebrates a five-month long Christmas season, I have to admit that I did not really feel the spirit at first. But after last-minute plans which involved me suddenly spending my five-day break in Virginia Beach, I suddenly learned to appreciate it. It feels great that whether here or in the Philippines, I have people who I can go to in my ups and downs.
My twenty-fourth birthday was actually uneventful and nothing that I ever hoped for. I had to wake up early to proctor an exam, check an Everest of papers, and so on. But looking back, I have actually received my birthday gift even before my actual natal day. I enjoyed this semester firstly with my students — all forty-seven of them. They have been my best teachers in this foreign land. I will really miss them. For Christmas, I did not really get much material stuff but I got to spend the Yuletide with my fellow Filipino friends in Connecticut and New York. Of course, Christmas to us Filipinos means quality bonding time, aside from lots of food that is.
It was one heck of a ride and it was one of the best years ever. As much as I am afraid to let go, I am equally excited to start yet another 365-day trip around the world. Bring it.