2016 So Far

Well, I haven’t been reading any books if that’s what you were wondering. I have been watching a lot of old TV shows with my sister, though. Star Trek: Voyager, Selfie, Eureka and now we’re on Season 3 of Castle. Other than that, I’ve been busy helping her take care of her kids. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and sometimes we talk about the things we see on social media that upset us. I don’t think I need to go into details to explain that one.

In many ways, I do think that 2016 can be considered as the worst year in the history of mankind (so far), as some people say. Opinions and events have never been so divisive/polarizing as they are now, at least, not in my lifetime. But as I’ve been told over and over that the way to be happy is to count one’s blessings, that’s what I will do.

  1. My family’s safety – amidst the political turmoil in my country and the earthquakes in the country where I’m in now, I am extremely grateful that my family remains unscathed. Maybe our hearts are hurting because of what’s been going on in the world, but as long as we can all still talk to each other and assure each other that we’re okay, I feel at peace.🙂
  2. My real friends – I read somewhere that to unfriend someone on Facebook because of their political views is ridiculous because you’re supposed to value your friendship with them instead of be affected by their opinions. But I think it’s not just people’s political views that are being expressed on social media nowadays, but their core values as well. Hence, I don’t regret unfriending many of my high school batchmates whom I now know, support the killing of innocents, dismiss rape as “nothing but drama” and think that torture being a bad deed is “a matter of opinion.” And I am really happy to find that the people I’m really close to and whom I really trust have the same values as I do.
  3. My super cute nephews – It’s tiring and difficult because of all the, again, differing opinions and contradicting information, this time about how to take care of kids, but I am genuinely enjoying doing my aunt duties. My nephews are crazy cute and lovable and I’m happy I can help take care of them.
  4. Bonding time with my sister – Before my sister moved here 10 years ago, we still shared a bedroom. She was my constant companion to basically everything–watching movies, going to the beach, going to the mall, baking stuff in the kitchen and even (or especially) when just watching TV at home. All that changed when she moved and of course I’m happy for her that her move here has been good for her personally and professionally, but I do miss a lot the times we hung out together when she still lived at our house in the Philippines. I’m happy that we’re kind of re-living that period now, except instead of going to the mall to eat donuts with friends, we’re going to the supermarket to buy baby food and nappies. And eat donuts.😉
  5. 2016 technology – Well, I guess the technology available now has more or less been available since a few years ago, but I am still amazed at how easy it is to chat with my parents and friends and send them pictures and videos, etc. Gone are the days when you really had to set a time so you and the person you needed to talk to would both be online. Now, because of smartphones and mobile data, most everyone’s just online all the time. It helps alleviate homesickness a lot. And I’m really happy this technology is available to me and my loved ones.
  6. Speaking of loved ones, one thing I’m really grateful for this 2016 specifically, is my boyfriend. All the previous items on this list, I’ve been grateful for for quite some time–my family, my friends, technology… but unique to 2016 is my relationship with R because this is the year it started! Or, okay, I suppose it all started when we met, which was a few years ago, but it was only this year that our relationship transitioned from being just a friendship into a romantic relationship. And it’s so official, too, i.e. he’s introduced me to his lifelong friends as his girlfriend it’s so official. And, I don’t know if you know this about me, but for me, this is a really big deal.❤ So, nevermind that we’re doing our first few months as a couple long distance, I mean, I did just mention how technology nowadays is so amazing at keeping people connected, right?
  7. Art – Whether it be visual art, music, film, literature, or comedy (Yes, I consider this an art.) I am grateful that art exists and is easily available. I seriously don’t know where I would be if I couldn’t listen to music to calm me down during particularly stressful situations, watch movies and TV shows to distract me when my mind just keeps circling back to the problems that stress me out, or read stories that have happy endings to give me hope against all odds.
  8. Food – I believe no explanation is necessary for this one.😉

I suppose there are more, but they are I think only subsets of those I’ve already listed. Or maybe I’ll add them here in the future. Meanwhile, I would like to say that I am glad that I did this. It does make me feel better knowing I have at least eight things I’m incredibly thankful for.

feeling loved <3

I didn’t have an elaborate celebration for my birthday this year like I did in previous years, but because of my sister, other members of my family and my friends, I feel that my birthday this year was just as fun.🙂

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My sister treated me to lunch at a restaurant and then baked my favorite cake–sour cream chocolate chip. And then we sang Happy Birthday together, I made a wish, blew out the candles and then I Skype-d with my parents and then my boyfriend at the end of the day.

And also, this happened:

screenshot_2016-09-18-17-20-44My friend M asked most everyone in my life to make fan signs for me, and they did!

It was so much fun going through the series of pictures as each showed my friends’ creativity and individuality, and I really felt so loved they all took the time to make the signs.

I couldn’t have asked for a better gift from my friends, this was definitely the perfect thing they could do for me while I’m not in Manila.

Anyway, I usually have get-togethers with my friends during my birthday and because that was impossible this year, I thought my 2016 birthday would be very low-key. But my sister and M made sure that it was still one to remember, and I’m really grateful they’re people I have in my life.🙂

I don’t know what’s going to happen on my birthday next year, but now that I know that distance isn’t a hindrance to enjoying myself, I can’t wait.

#Kidding because of course I can wait and besides, it’s only September now. There’s still other birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s to look forward to.😉

“Oh. It’s me.”

was on the verge of getting mad at him. He’d said something, I now forget what exactly, but at the time I thought it was important to let him know my negative opinion of it. And it was in the middle of my now forgotten rant that he suddenly said, “Wait.”

I stopped talking. But he didn’t say anything. “What?” I prompted. And still, he didn’t respond. His video was backlit so I couldn’t even see his face properly. I couldn’t get a clue as to why he interrupted me. There had been a few seconds of silence already. I was getting impatient.

The next thing that happened was that a message alert popped up on the screen of my phone:

Anton Alvarez sent you a photo.

I furrowed my eyebrows. “Why are you sending me a photo now?” I asked irritably, wondering why he couldn’t just tell me what he wanted. We were already talking. Why send me a picture, too?

I tapped on the message alert.

“Oh. It’s me,” I said as I found myself looking at my face from a few seconds ago.

He’d taken a screenshot of our video call. “You look pretty there,” he said.

I didn’t say anything I was so caught off-guard. A few more seconds of silence passed.

He broke the ice. “So, what were we talking about?” he asked.

“Um…” I started, struggling to remember. I shrugged. “Nothing important.”

Dear Game of Thrones S6 E10,

SPOILERS. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE WHOLE OF SEASON 6.

Binawi mo ‘yung buong season. I was about to give up on this series and write it off as just another fantasy show, considering so many things happening that were predictable (e.g. Jon Snow being brought back by the Red Lady, the Sand Snakes turning out to be lamesauce, Roose Bolton being killed by Ramsay, Dany killing all the Khals and getting back to Mereen just in the nick of time, etc.) and somewhat typical of other TV shows/fantasy stories, but I know now, they were all just setups for you.

And what a payoff you gave. I was holding my breath the entire time and even now as I type this.

In the future, I guess, I wouldn’t really mind another ho-hum 9 episodes before an Episode 10 as amazing as you, I mean, I understand budget constraints and all that, but how about, at least make half the season as great?

Anyway, as always, major changes to the “game” after this season. And here I thought I was finally free of having to be frustrated because it will be another year before Season 7 comes out. Who was I kidding? Now I feel embarrassed I ever doubted GRRM and D&D.

Somewhat related: I also didn’t find Book 6 of the Harry Potter series as good as the others, so maybe there is just something about this point in any epic.