Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: A Blast!

I know, I know, its not quite over yet but in 1 more day, I'll be saying "So long" to 2009 and "Hello!" to 2010. I look back at the year and despite some heartache and a few bumps, all in all, its been one fun-tastic year!

January 2009

I kicked off the year with an unforgettable Salsa/Yoga retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico that turned out to be simply mah-velous! It helped me take my salsa dancing to another level AND I got to meet some amazing people with the added bonus of finding another good friend in Seattle. I took a record 500 pictures and 63 videos which have been synthesized on my flickr photostream Oaxaca Collection

February 2009

My nephew Max and I had the 1st of many salsa dances and he declared, “I want to be a salsa dancer when I grow up!” – Oh yes, that’s definitely going to happen!! I got to experience the production of Lion King with my niece True (who loved it!) and gifted myself a Kindle 2. I also start my blog: as a
means of exploring, expressing and sharing my outlook on life.

March 2009

For the 1st time in almost 10 years, I have a mini-MIT reunion in San Jose. It was great to get acquainted with my god-daughter, catch up and old friends and their families! I’m happy to be the excuse for getting everyone together. Apparently, I’m the only one still playing volleyball. Inspired by my niece True and her love for dino’s. Here’s a picture of the little guy on flickr:

April 2009

As spring sprung, and dancing now takes up at least 4 nights a week, I’m loving every second of it! My glass blowing progresses nicely as well. I made a mushroom sculpture as a gift to my sister’s in-laws (here’s the picture). I end the month by travelling
to Maui
with my sister and her family and discover the joys
of shaved ice

May 2009

Its the sunniest summer for me here in Seattle so far! I started with a new team within Amazon: a training team that is chartered with developing courses to train Amazon’s business teams on the systems that they need to order products, work with vendors and manage the products that are sold on the Amazon website. A new version of Star Trek is released and MAN! did that movie rock out - it was awesome! There was a great trip to Victoria for my 1st Volleypalooza. Then another 1st: participating in a rueda dance demo at the Northwest Folk life festival. Finally, Volleyball Nationals
in Minneapolis
where we won in the silver bracket of the Women’s B division.

June 2009

True’s turns 5! I spend a day with my niece to take her shopping for her birthday and it was such a blast! She even drew out a cartoon describing the day! I also took a cake decorating class which led me to baking True’s birthday cake: a purple dinosaur. Then, I had a pleasant surprise being voted the “Best in Show” (aka crowd favorite) for a Student Art Exhibit at the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio. Did I mention I’m still dancing? A lot?

July 2009

The 4th was a blast: volleyball, salsa, fireworks, hang out with old friends and make new ones. I hike Franklin Falls for the 1st time with the kiddos and my sis and her hubby on a hike and its beautiful! One of my best friends from teaching days comes to visit me from Boston and we have a great time catching up! Her stay culminates in a Pig Roast where there was much fun to be had. My friends on both coasts are just too awesome for words. I learned about pulled sugar decorations for cakes too. At this point the summer is really heating up and I finally buy myself an AC so I can sleep at night! Dancing continues to be a blast.

August 2009

My sister’s in-laws are here and we take a family vacation to La
and the Olympics (famous because it is the place where the Twilight series of books). I have a new appreciation for the forests and beaches of Washington: its like a fairy world! Together with some friends from work, I embark on my first moderate hike to Serene Lake and Bridal Veil Falls – it was gorgeous! My nephew Max
turned 3 and we got to go shopping together too! I made him a Blue Angels cake (apparently the blue icing lasts for a few days). Summer is definitely in full swing and I’m enjoying the long days and dancing outdoors on the beach and in
the park
. Life is good.

September 2009

So much to do, so little time and why on earth is everything happening at the same time?! Dancing is undeniably a part of my life and I love every minute of it! I’m still playing volleyball and blowing glass and my blog is morphing into how dancing is just a metaphor for life ;) I’ve been in Seattle for 2 years now.

October 2009

I visit Boston for a week and I’m able to catch up with so many friends. I spend a beautiful fall day at the DeCordova museum. Fall's here and I get to enjoy a tradition I've setup with my niece, nephew and sister: Pumpkin carving !!!!

November 2009

More dancing: had a blast with the Emerald City Blues workshops early in the month and then attended my 1st Salsa Congress with the best roommates EVER! right here in Seattle. I also decided to join a salsa performance team. We’re still doing a lot of basic stuff and are hoping to have our 1st performance in June 2010.

December 2009

My sister’s family and I take a trip to Manila for the 1st time in almost 9 years. 2 weeks of eating, shopping, sitting in traffic ... I got to catch up with high school
I haven’t seen in ages and spend quality time with my family. I’m
looking forward to ending the year by dancing the night away and welcoming 2010.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Its been close to 10 years since I've been back home to Manila (Philippines). Some things seem to have been frozen in time while others have changed so much that I barely recognize them.

The Manila I remember was not so crowded, not so traffic-jammed with more open spaces. For the last 5 days, it seems like I've spent most of my time in traffic inside an air conditioned (thank goodness!) car traveling to the next "eating station" or "shopping station" as I get reacquainted with my old stomping grounds.

My niece True and nephew Max are here in the Philippines for the 1st time and its been wonderful to see them interacting with my mom and dad. Though they see a place that's not exactly like the one that I grew up with, its still way cool to see and hear their reactions.

My family are in good health and despite a few bumps (what family is truly free of bumps really?), I am confident in our love and support of each other.

I've also been blessed to have made friends with some extraordinary people with whom I can share my life with in the space of a few hours, in spite of the long periods of time that have passed: as if years were just the passing of one very busy day. They share with me, a warmth and affection that can only come from having gone through memorable and wonderfully formative years together.

We have all aged and have branched off to make our own paths but these times that we meet are still precious and true. They bring back memories of other friends that may not be present but are with us all the same.

What a gift for being home for the holidays!