A letter that sums up my 2011, or something like that

How do you say good-bye to a friend: Sadness, joy, gratitude, and a whole bunch of other feelings.

June/July 2011, when we were just both "peripheral" friends to each other

The letter above was written by my good friend, Bernice, before I left Manila. It’s evident that we’ve found comfort in each other’s company this year — and this is probably one of the things that I’ll definitely miss now that I’m away from home.

A reminder for me to constantly keep moving forward this 2012. A few Taylor Swift songs, a trip to my university, and a certain movie called Nine Lives shook me this week. Add to that a ton of work to turn in back at home. Read: org and acad responsibilities.

I’m not complaining, though. This is good.

Rewriting my story

Photo credit: http://leilockheart.tumblr.com

Since the New Year has already begun in the Philippines, I’ve come across a number of blog entries my friends and some people have made about what they’ve learned about 2011. Judging from the posts I saw, I think it’s safe to say that people, as a collective, have learned to become stronger this past year. As cliché as I’m going to sound, I, too, am part of that number of wandering souls. I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this entry, but all I know is that I want to remember this last day of 2011 as my last push to get out of the rut I’ve been in.

In a couple of hours, three to be exact, I will welcome 2012 with open arms and a will to let go. I will work extra hard into making this a possibility: no more hurts, no more stress — just a brand new me that I seek to find here, in the other side of the world. Since academics, work, and a few personal things were a difficult juggling act to balance this year, I will do my best to devote time to recharging and moving forward. I’ve begun my journey of finding myself late this year and although I’ve made great progress in all aspects, I guess the fulfillment didn’t lie in the same place that wounded me in the beginning. I am hopeful for my long stay in this city, really, because even though it doesn’t feel like I left home (I have wonderful family with me and I thank the Lord for that. More on this soon.), the promise of a new adventure everyday is what I know I need to rebuild the pieces of me.

Resolutions are not for me, as I struggle to keep up with them in the first place. What I’m promising myself for 2012, though, is that I’m 100% committed to establishing a better foundation for my future — one that is not to be shaken and one that is driven by faith and by hope. Hopefully, love comes along, too — but ’til then, I’m quite happy with how things have and will turn out. I’m getting better and I believe that this constant battle is one that I was destined to fight.

All for the best, as they say. Hello, 2012!

Mythical Five

It’s Day 3 of my first semester and aside from excessively sweating, there are also a couple of things that I’ve been excessively obsessing (not really, but I’m getting there!) about.

  1. Great company – It has been a month after my break-up and with the amount of time I now claimed back for myself, I never realized how much I’ve been missing out on AAAs. Yes, I’m baduy like that–coining my term for hanging out as After Acads Afternoons. Spending time with both my Guidon and ACOMM families (sorry for being overly sentimental, I swear there isn’t any other word to describe who they are to me) have been nothing but the best.
  2. (Pretentious) exercising – Following my rocky afternoon yesterday was a determined Kara to shed off the extra pounds. After 3 rounds around Ateneo that lasted for 1 1/2 hours and 100 crunches to top it off, I think I want to push myself harder to keep up with this routine–doing it daily, and not only when I feel like I’m on the verge of PMS-ing.
  3. Caf Up food stalls – Since I’m not really into the JSEC Stalls this year, save for my best (and biased!) option, Sushi Samurai, I’ve come to appreciate Caf Up even more. I can’t believe we now have California Berry, Mushroom Burger, and 711 ice cream! I’m actually just excited about the ice cream part because I’ll now have an alternative to my favorite avocado dirty ice cream cones from the cafeteria. (For those who prefer to bask in the Caf heat, be sure to try their Roti (?) options and diced hopia. Although sketchy, they taste pretty amazing.)
  4. RecWeek – Kick-starting Beyond Loyola with a great June release and having a more than successful OrSem ACOMM Department Talk, I’m looking forward to getting new recruits, especially from the freshmen. I remember my awkward, akala-ko-Senior-ka-kasi-ang-tangkad-mo self two years ago, and how I’ve played my cards fairly well to get to my happy place now. I just hope the new meat wouldn’t be scared to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. What I like most about my freshman year was I sort of challenged myself despite my illogical insecurities–and that’s what I pray for every freshman to have.
  5. Falling, not failing – Losing my Dean’s List slot to a nominal grade in History, I’m quite determined to climb back up the ladder this year. That, and you know, (hopefully) falling again before I leave my heart in San Francisco.

Expectations & 19-eality

“You are hardly ever positive when it comes to your birthdays.”

-April Lamentillo (2011)

I’m turning 19 in 14 hours, writing on a blog that’s been idle for months, hating (well, not really) a friend who’s about to watch the The Script concert next week and dying to let out all the emotions I’ve been through the past semester. There were some days in 2011 that pushed me into quitting, but I’m glad I stuck it out. Cryptic as I may sound like, believe me when I say that it would take me years to write what I really want to say. For now, at least, let me bore you with the ubiquitous Kara-is-talking-to-herself-again kind of thing. Feel free to exit this window because I definitely know I would.

One of the lingering questions in my head has always been ‘What have you done this year?’ I hate thinking about the fact that I may have wasted an entire year of growing up not doing the things I needed to, holding back on the goals I should have accomplished at that age. But with humble confidence (if there is such thing), I am certain about my 18th year — finally, I have surpassed my expectations of myself and went a little over above the line to top it all off.

My academics were a constant struggle come my sophomore year’s second semester. There stood my major subjects, Advertising and PR, which took up most of my time but allowed me to explore my abilities and build stronger friendships, SA with Dr. Abad, which changed my life completely, Spanish 1, which gave me a reason to get up every week, and of course, History, which was the death of me and my QPI. Needless to say, I have no idea where I drew my strength from to reach the end of this all. All I know is that the energy that I did manage to muster up was .02 short of securing me a spot on the Dean’s List. Thankfully, though, my org work sufficiently covered up for my lack of academic pride. Although I’d love to go on about the details of my ever-growing love for both The GUIDON and ACOMM, that’s a completely different story to tell.

Overworked as my brain looks like, my heart and body are at a loss, too. A day before my make-or-break final exam for History, my stomach gave up on me and threw a bitch-fit by suddenly being cranky and hyper-acidic. It lasted for more than a week that even after I went to CamSur, it still didn’t treat me very well. As for my heart — well, my heart, let’s say “longs”. There’s an emptiness inside me that leaves me with only the academic load of La Salle to blame and nothing more. I hate what its done to my boyfriend and if I lose him to all the animo, I don’t know what kind of bomb I’d turn into. It frustrates me a lot when I’m forced to use the 4-year-relationship card — because sometimes, the time you used to spend together is not enough to compensate for the lost time you’re supposed to spend now.

It is in this light that I do not look forward to my birthday tomorrow. I knew better when I thought I’d actually want to celebrate my birthday again after last year’s dinner. True enough, I’m back to my sulky self who never really wants fussing about her birthday. I turn a year older, now what? I thought I saw the point of commemorating a year of existence after I got back from the States last year. As usual, I thought wrong. There is no point — and there will never be.

Everyday, as cliche as I am going to sound yet again, must be enough to drive you to celebrate life. Looking back on my 18th year, although I bit off more than I could chew, I still wished that I did more. Maybe this also boils down to my nature of wanting to do so much even if it was beyond my control. Whether it be a good or bad thing, it seems to be making a good impact in my life. I’m just afraid that one day, I might break down into all those little pieces that are so hard to mend.

***

There is one thing I am most thankful for, actually. But I’m not so sure if I’m ready to tell the world about it just yet.

My Christmas Break In Photos

I never thought my Christmas Break would ever come. Days before the blessed morning of December 23rd, I found myself caught up in 4 Long Exams, a pending letter of intent, and a pile of requirements for The GUIDON’s EB Race all due the next morning. With that amass of things I needed to get done, I thought I’d never live to see the light of day. Of course my exaggeration always fails to live up to its intensity so here I am, blogging about the break that is soon to become a ‘have been’.

1. Family Traditions

Christmas Eve has always been the highlight for my family’s year. For the past two years, we’ve flew solo to celebrate the holidays alone in Subic and the Ilocos Region. This year, we still kept that ‘just-the-4-of-us’ kind of thing, only we didn’t go to some place we haven’t explored. It was just us 4, under our quaint little tree which has forever been adorned with red and gold, our gifts wrapped in odd containers to lure the recipient into guessing what the present is, and of course the joy of knowing how blessed we all were to have each other. I did have a ‘Merry Christmas’, and I’ve got my family to thank.

Mandatory Christmas Family Photo
You now know what I got for Christmas because Joe's built-in flash couldn't have lighted up the room this bright!

2. Highschool Reunions

Although college gets in the way, we always manage to catch up when we can.  There’s absolutely nothing like highschool — and may we be a testimony to you all.

Kara, Jes, and Cuna
Hacked in to Jes' twitter account with Cuna!
Practicing for our belly dancing stint for Jes' debut on Friday

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