As the new year ushers in, I can’t help but reminisce all the good (and bad, but mostly good) times of 2011.
Last year was a blast. I got to celebrate my special events in different parts of the world. I never even imagined visiting other countries. I was sorta bound here in my own country in a proud-to-be-a-Filipino kinda way. (People from our country are called Filipinos. Sure, I’m proud, but doin’ a little out-of-the-country exploring never signified betrayal. In fact, it helped broaden my knowledge about other countries – lifestyle, culture, language, etc.
• My little sister’s birthday. Oh, and also mine.
My little sister was born on May 7, 2001. I, on the other hand, was born on June 7, 1992. Exactly a month’s gap separates our special occasions, with the number ‘seven’ as our common day. That’s why I love the number seven.
Last year, I had my other practicum at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A. – a European-based theme park – from March to July (falling coincidentally on me and my sister’s birthday). I was a Food Service Attendant at a place called Trapper’s Smokehouse Grill – popularly known as either Trapper’s or Smokehouse. I underwent several processes to be able to qualify – exams, interviews, and medical tests. It was hectic, time consuming, and stressful, but it was all worth it.
At Virginia, I was an actual alien, or at least, an alien with a valid VISA
and a license to kill (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase). I had absolutely no idea of the different places there. I had no foreign friends. I had less than $500 in my pocket. I had to stay there for about four months. I had no idea gravity affected the minds of cows. I… Okay, enough with the “I’s”. I actually anticipated all those and more, so I did the best thing an alien can do: invade make friends.
I made a whole bunch of friends, each unique in every way possible. Different origins, cultures, languages and lifestyles mingled together as one big happy family. Yes, we were a family back there. We had each other’s backs. We never let down a friend in need. Our camaraderie was strong, our bonds forged arduously by time.
Most of my friends were from the same country as me. In fact, I was part of a group that me and my three Filipino friends formed. It’s called Smokehouse Power Four. We did almost everything together. We were inseparable. Even after our contracts ended, and we were in different states, we still exerted effort in communicating via Skype.
• Clan-wide vacation.
Our clan (mother’s side) makes it a tradition to organize a vacation yearly. The venue for this year caught me off-guard ’cause I never expected it to be Singapore.
There were supposed to be 15 of us, but one got sick, and the other decided to pass, so we ended up with the number “13”. Not exactly the luckiest number in the world, but hey, it turned out great. Our vacation spanned 5 days – November 3 – 7. We went to Universal Studios Singapore (USS), the giant LION thingy, went shopping, and lots more. I have a blog about our Singapore getaway, focusing more on our USS moments. The smiles on my Mom and little sister were priceless.
After my Singapore days came my practicum days at Cebu. We were lucky enough to have it during the busiest season of the year (no sarcasm intended). More people meant more interaction, which I really like. I like entertaining guests. It’s something I do naturally.
Our practicum started at December 10, and it’ll last for about two months, meaning I’d be spending Christmas under a different roof, and I did. I kept dreading the day, spending my first Christmas away from my family, but it turned out great. I had a blast, ate the traditional Noche Buena with my fellow boardmates who also spent it here. We bought a lot, more than we could eat actually. There were Mojos (made from potatoes), chicken, spaghetti, pizza, Coke, and even Krispy Kreme donuts. We were so full. Our bellies definitely reached their limits. When we reached midnight, an outstanding display of fireworks commenced, which I really didn’t expect. It was breathtaking, especially because we got to see the entire city from our rooftop. Fireworks dazzled everywhere. Back at our place, fireworks were used to celebrate the new year. Cebu really is an interesting city.
• New Year’s Eve.
For this ocassion, I got the chance to be with my family and my relatives. They organized a little outing at Ormoc City, a few hours away from Cebu City, to celebrate new year’s eve together. Our venue was Sabin Resort. It was my second visit. The first was when we had a field trip there during my freshman year, with the purpose of familiarizing us with the various hotels and resorts in the country. Sabin didn’t change much since last time. The only addition to the resort were pineapples (symbols of hospitality) with Christmas lights to get in to the festive seasons.
I arrived at December 31, nighttime. I ate dinner – BBQ and Chicken – with my family and relatives. It was so fun – catching up with them, arguing about who gets to play with my iPod, convincing me to swim in the pool, playing the lobby’s old (very old, actually) piano, and even doing some pretend ghost hunting around the premises. And when the countdown began, we picked a spot and started counting. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! Then came the fireworks. It was so awe-inspiring, getting to witness it up-close. But it was more magnificent spending the holiday with my family. I love them so much!
Conclusion: I’m very thankful to GOD for sharing His blessings with me, my family, my relatives, and my friends. God bless everyone.