Monday, December 31, 2007

Highlights from 2007

Year after year when New Year's Eve rolls around it's standard for people to get together and remark about how the year went by so quickly, how it seemed like just yesterday that we were doing these same old rituals and bidding our farewells to the year that had gone by before.

But my 2007 actually felt pretty long.

It's not that I was bored or impatient with life-- quite the opposite even. I just can't really remember much what I was doing on New Year's Eve one year ago. So much has happened since then, so many events and adventures and experiences to fill up my head. Last year's New Year's Eve doesn't feel like "just yesterday" at all. It feels like a whole year ago. That is a good thing.

It was a great year for travel. I got to set foot for the first time on the islands of Bohol, Panglao, Malapascua, and a tiny unnamed island off of Boracay. This brings my Philippine-islands-I-have-been-to count up to 11.

Most significant of all was my three-month work trip to Atlanta. So significant was it, in fact, that it makes it difficult to write this year-end retrospective without the trip completely overwhelming things. Driving in the interstate, using a dishwasher, walking through the park, filling a tank of gas... even breathing the cool autumn air is an experience in itself.

In March I got a digital camera, which has seen constant action since then and has been faithfully documenting my experiences. In October I got a Wii, which promises all new realms of videogaming bliss and many happy experiences to come. In November I got a laptop, which I am using this very moment.

This past year was a good one in terms of celebrity deaths: there weren't many. The only one I could name off the top of my head is Anna Nicole Smith, and I have only a vague idea of why she is famous in the first place.

So in summary, it was a good year, just like all the others. Onward to 2008!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hello Philippines

It was actually two weeks ago that I returned to the Philippines after a three-month stay in Atlanta. The trip, by the way, was undeniably one of the most awesome things to ever happen to me. So awesome, in fact, that I almost completely neglected to bother blogging any of my journey. It's the kind of awesome trip that gives a prolonged sense that there are so much bigger things to be doing with my time than struggling to put the experience into words.

Aside from having the time of my life, those were three months preparing myself for a depressing sense of misery when I returned home. As I have said before, the Philippines is an acquired taste. As much as I'd like to consider myself a patriot and a staunch optimist, the last time I returned to the Philippines from a foreign visit I couldn't help but see the worst in everything that surrounded me. The air was too hot, the streets too dirty, the people too ugly... just everything.

To my surprise, this time around I've found things pleasantly... acceptable. The streets are still dirty but there are signs of progress all around (especially in Asiatown IT Park, where I work, which is experiencing an utter boom of construction). Even the temperature-- though I'm sweating for the first time in three months, it still feels as though I am in a hospitable environment. Of course, this country of ours has its flaws, but it doesn't deserve the loathing that Filipinos give it. It makes me proud to be able to say that, freshly coming from America. Things aren't so bad, and I'm optimistic that the future can only get better.

Maybe it's just that I haven't been getting my news from The Inquirer. In spite of everything, it is good to be home.