11 Things About 2011

I meant to blog last Christmas…but who blogs on Christmas? I mean, you should be with family and all that on Christmas, not blogging! But now that I’m waiting for the year to end, I figure it should be right to write an entry here now.

2011 was one of those years. If there was a theme for 2011, it’s…well, it’s kind of complicated. It’s not as bad as 2009 was, or quiet as 2010 was. It’s…different. And if I were to compare 2011 with the other years in my life, this year reminds me a lot of my 2008 and 2006, which were some of my favorite years. 2011 was kind of that, and with all the things that happened this year, I can’t even remember the others.

But it was good. This year affirmed one of my new favorite verses that I discovered this year, too: The Lord will give what is good. (Psalm 85:13) Because it’s true. The Lord really gives what is good.

So in an effort to get all these things down so I won’t forget, here’s 11 things about my 2011. :)

  1. Travel. The number one thing that I will always, always remember about 2011 were the travel opportunities I had. While I wasn’t able to visit the southern part of the Philippines, I did go to some other places around Luzon: Baguio, Pinatubo and Quezon. And of course, there was…
  2. Europe. This deserves a separate number because it was such a big thing for this year, that sometimes I can’t even believe that it actually happened. Like I said in my final Europe entry, “I know that maybe five, ten years from now (or even next year), there will probably be some other experience that will top this one (especially since I know God delights in surprising His children!), but I will never ever forget these amazing two weeks in August when I was drenched in God’s awesome grace and generosity.” Whenever 2011 comes to mind, Europe will always be the first thing. :)
  3. Concerts. I think this may be the year I went to the most concerts: Anberlin March, Switchfoot April, Mayday Parade July and Jason Mraz October. I thought I would’ve gotten to five, but there were no more artists I wanted to catch, anyway. I wonder what’s in store for next year.
  4. Home. I appreciated “home” more this time, especially when we moved back to our new-old house. Just proves how amazing and faithful God is, after giving us a new home again and giving us peace of mind in the face of the rains.
  5. I took chances. This will probably be a vague number, but just for the record, 2011 was the year I started taking chances. It’s…fun. It may not have ended the way I wanted to, but I don’t think it was a really big loss. Taking chances made me learn so many things about myself, and about life, and I am looking forward to taking more chances next year. :)
  6. I learned to ask. Similar to taking chances, I also learned to ask more this year. God is a generous God, and He delights in fulfilling the dreams of His children — and He gives what is good, remember — so I learned how to ask. And ask. And ask.
  7. I also learned how to say Yes. Well, actually, I learned that first last year, but this year, I saw it more. I saw how my “Yes” can change things, can change my life. And next year, I am going to say yes more.
  8. I also learned the power of No. I never got to write about this, but this year, I also learned about No. It was one of my important things I learned this year, from one of my favorite bloggers — our “No” makes us understand the power and the value of our “Yes”. No isn’t something to be feared, because for every No we get, we are one step closer to Yes. :)
  9. I am and will be okay. This year I learned that I am okay. That if ever I wasn’t okay, I know that I will be. That I am not too attached to the things I have now that I know I am capable of moving on. And I will be okay. :)
  10. There’s no reason to be afraid. Courage, it is me, do not be afraid.Because God is in everything, even in the rain, even in the things we fear and especially in things that we don’t understand. :)
  11. I am blessed with wonderful people in my life. And if somehow I forget about #9 and #10, I just have to look at the people that God has placed in my life. This year was the year of family and friends. I am blessed with a wonderful family (they never stopped being wonderful, anyway) and amazing friends, old and new. From people I have been friends with for over a year who would spend an entire night in pajamas eating food we cooked and playing the longest game of UNO cards ever, to people I can talk books with all day and night, and to people I met on a trip and got to know for two weeks who I know would always have me in their prayers and vice versa. With these people in my life, how can I ever forget how good God is?

In less than 3 hours, 2011 will be gone and it will just be a memory. Soon, we’ll be facing another year of endless possibilities, and the thought of it can be a little overwhelming. But God is already there, and He will give what is good. Remember that. :)

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2012. :)

Salamat, Alabat!

Also known as: Quezon trip with book lovers

I realized when I got back from Europe that I did not hit the beach this year. I don’t really count the one in Pinatubo because…well, I didn’t get to swim then, and it wasn’t really the ocean, so no sea breeze. I was feeling kind of sad about that fact, so when one of our book club moderators invited me to join them for the (now) annual Alabat, Quezon trip, I said yes ((Even if this meant I had to offset my sudden leave for the trip)). Who was I to say no to the beach?

Okay, so it wasn’t entirely a beach trip the entire time, but I think we got to spend most of it there. :)

It was my first overnight trip with my book club friends, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, save for talking about books all day. But it turned out to be a weekend with more than books, and it was a very, very welcome getaway.

Alabat Year 2, at 3 in the morning!

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Danke, Vienna!

Also known as: Vienna, where we became missionaries

I have a confession to make: I think that out of all places I went to in Europe, Vienna was the one I got to experience the least, in terms of doing touristy stuff or photo opportunities and all that. Looking back at my photos, I realized that I hardly had any photos of myself there, save for some I took of myself when I just woke up (I know, lame).

I can only attribute this to two things:

  1. Traveling is stressful. Going from one country to another with only a few days in between (and it’s not even rest) is exhausting, so by the time I got to Vienna, I still wanted to sleep. Since I did not sleep for the night before I flew, I was completely knocked out during the plane ride and I was tired for most of the day.
  2. Vienna was really more of the mission place than a tourist place, unlike how the visits to Geneva and Paris had been. So this is really where the term “mission trip” comes to reality. We actually had something to do here.

Oh, and one more thing: our last day in Vienna was “stolen” by a 13 hour train ride from Vienna back to Geneva. So…there.

But the short time I was in Vienna to do the mission was quite enlightening. It was my very first time to go on mission, because whenever I wanted to join mission trips back in college, I always couldn’t join because classes in my university started too early. So I had to adjust my mind set when I got to Vienna that I was there for a mission and not just a tourist.

But much thanks to our hosts, SFC Vienna, for making us do touristy stuff while we were there, though. :)

When we left Paris, it was raining and it was so cold, so I was sort of prepared for a cold Vienna, too. Nope. The weather played tricks on us again and it was terribly hot in Vienna. Kuya Glenn fetched us together with his two girls, Gwyneth and Gré, and after brunch, our first tourist stop was The Schönbrunn Palace Garden Gloriette:

At the entrance
Walking to the palace

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