Friday, 2 January 2015

A letter for 2015

Dear 2015,

So here you are. Much as I'm excited to start our journey together, let me tell you about 2014 first. We had quite a pleasant relationship and as I step into a new one with you, I would like you to understand how 2014 treated me so we can mutually manage expectations.

2014 was hectic and made me feel on tippytoes most of the time. I may have developed a bit of anxiety through the months but in fairness, I've reaped so many benefits and learned so much.

2014 made my family closer. My parents continue to be the most generous people I know and my sibs have made their big sis proud (my not-so-little sister is singing for none other than Pope Francis when he visits Manila in a few weeks' time). I've reached out to cousins whom I haven't really spent much time with and intend to keep our circle tighter. I continue to love being a godmother to my five beautiful godchildren.

2014 reminded me to weed out toxic people in my life and that friendship does take effort, no matter how easy relationships should be. I have become more appreciative of people who take their time talking and listening by all means of communication media, and I've been trying to do the same. We have been collecting 'friends' long before the days of online social media but when was the last time you actually had a conversation with the person who sat two rows ahead of you in high school? "Like" buttons and Emoji expressions can be limiting after all and in the end, 2014 taught me that the conversations you have with people, those that need no written affirmation, will matter most.

2014 was generous and gave me opportunities to see Plaid Boy a lot. We started the year with a trip to Hong Kong with my family, then spent more time in Singapore. We honed our map-reading abilities touring Paris in Spring and had lots of lunch dates in London over the Summer. In Autumn, we both flew to Manila with the aim of attacking the (seemingly neverending) wedding checklist which was quite a success then headed back to Singapore for much deserved R&R. My faith in our partnership has truly deepened for it has gone beyond blissful moments, cheesy posts, and grand gestures. I've never felt so blessed to have found someone I can enjoy life with and, rather more importantly, endure trying times with.

Food is still a big inspiration and 2014 elevated my palate with so many flavours. A couple of highlights include finding the best pad Thaia decent tapas place and really good Peruvian food in London; falling in love with indulgent angel hair pasta and being introduced to "Mod Sing" in Singapore; having a lovely Parisian lunch date; finishing my own serving of Heston Blummenthal's meat fruit; perfecting my pasta negra and learning to bake chicken, hanging out with bloggers at the London Coffee Festival; and being served an amazing home-cooked meal by my future husband.

2014 got me excited about blogging again. This hobby continues to be a source of sheer sanity from my regular job. My small blog may have evolved from the emo/moody days of Livejournal (*CRINGE*) to its present state but I truly enjoy it when people appreciate my random musings.

Joining the UK chapter of Nuffnang and Zomato gave me a new perspective on the industry here and has helped expand my network of like-minded people. I've been invited to more events where I've met bloggers on all levels (ie some superstars in the industry, some who blog full-time, and some who maintain it as a hobby and creative resort, like me). I've also met wonderful Filipino food bloggers in Asia this year, some whom I've been fans of for quite a while and some who I share common friends and parallel life experiences with.

Some of these bloggers have become good friends IRL and this reminded me that we are more alike than we are unalike.

2014 gave me so many opportunities to experience cool things and travel to places. Whilst I love Paris and continue to shuffle and shuttle between Singapore and Manila, London continues to be the perfect hostess and home away from home. I fell in love with Cambridge and a bit of Oxfordshire, too. Work brought about pretty cool stuff including visits at the UK Supreme Court, hearing Bianca Jagger speak for Amnesty International, doing the London Legal Walk for the second year to help legal aid, seeing the Isabella Blow exhibit, having lunchtime training walking tours, etc. Nuffnang gave me the opportunity to become a detective, a walking rainbow, a bartender and an official press person whilst Zomato fed me a lot. My friend Alex & I survived the Live Below The Line challenge which really opened my eyes to how the other half live and what it means when we waste food.

My most profound experience in 2014 though, was battling and surviving alopecia. 2014 gave me a certain kind of strength I didn't think I had.

2014 celebrated my 30th and brought forth so many points of learning and in most ways, affirmation. I can go on for ages about these realisations but for now let me just tell you this: I've never felt so confident and secure about who I am as an individual and at 30, I feel so blessed to have such liberty.

So yes, my dear 2014 has been extremely kind and generous. Whilst I'm feeling a bit sombre to let it go, 2014's told me a lot of bright ideas and inspiration to see the future in an excitable light.

I am so ready to move forward with you, 2015. I pray that you'd take care of me and my loved ones and that you'd shower us with more lessons. Keep on giving us the extra push we need so we may continue to seek betterment and joy. You are going to be a big year for me, 2015 and I hope and pray you'd be kind to all of us. Keep us hungry and humble. Keep us all grounded.

The Girl Next Shore

Here's to such great heights in 2015, folks.
Thank you for dropping by. <3

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