Welcome to 2016! The first Monday of the year is probably the most beaten day because most of us are still hungover from the holidays. I get it—who looks forward to adulting anyways? Kidding aside, I hope you’ve had a wonderful time spending the holidays with family and friends.
I had all intentions of filling up my editorial calendar before the height of the Christmas season, but I made a conscious effort in being present, so I simply went on and enjoyed the holidays the best way possible. I’m glad I did because it wasn’t so bad after all. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are celebrated differently here in the US, and it’s something I knew from the beginning. Perhaps I’ve just gotten used to being with my family all these years, so traditions that do not uphold to ours kind of feel strange to me.
Anyway, let’s take a look back at the highlights of 2015 as they appeared here on the blog:
January to March
- Last year, my family and I spent New Year’s Eve in Bangkok. It was our first time travelling shortly after Christmas, and welcoming 2015 in another country was certainly an experience we’ll always remember.
- It was also in January when Pope Francis visited the Philippines to comfort Filipinos devastated by the typhoon and earthquake that hit the Visayas. Pope Francis was the second Pope I’ve personally seen in this lifetime.
- In February, SCATTERBRAIN turned three. I did my first giveaway here on the blog, and I just might throw another one this year, too. Stay tuned for that!
- Also in February did I receive my US visa interview schedule. It was a bittersweet moment for both my family and myself because it meant l was going to leave Manila soon. I immediately scheduled my two-day medical examination as soon as I received this notice.
- On March 16th, I showed up for my US visa interview. Three hours waiting time inside the US Embassy, plus a couple more days post-visa interview, I was granted a US immigrant visa.
- On the same day as my interview, I was rushed to the hospital due to an acute gastroenteritis I endured the weekend prior to my interview schedule.
April to June
- I was leaving for the US in April, so I asked several of my blogger friends to guest post on the blog while I prepare for the “big move.”
- Roan was granted a 10-day leave off from work to come home to the Philippines. On top of packing for our trip to the US, we spent quality time with family and friends. In hindsight, ten days went by so quickly…
- I left Manila on April 18th, which shares two other significant memories in my life. Not even two days in the US, and my day was already packed with family gatherings and activities.
- Almost a month in San Diego in May, Roan and I decided to move out from his cousin’s place, and move into our own apartment.
- Also in May, Roan fulfilled one of my ultimate dreams for me: he brought me to a live Paramore concert.
- Only a month or so since I left the Philippines in June, Dad was given the opportunity to visit us here in San Diego. It was the best, albeit quick, three days of my 2015.
- It was also in June when Roan and I started travelling around San Diego and its neighboring cities.
- First Day of Summer = First Time Surfing
July to September
- My auntie from San Jose drove down to San Diego to spend the 4th of July weekend with us. I didn’t have photos to prove it, but we did go to SeaWorld San Diego to get ourselves soaked in several water rides!
- One of our long-drives commenced in July when we went to Palm Springs, Pioneertown, and Joshua Tree National Park.
- Roan gifted me with a mirrorless camera in July and a brand new SUV in August.
- Also in July, Roan and I went to see Imagine Dragons perform live at SDSU. They had one of the best lights and sound effects, I must say!
- In August, we checked off climbing the famous Mount Woodson (a.k.a. Potato Chip Rock) during the height of summer.
- On Labor Day weekend, Roan and I spontaneously took a road trip to San Francisco to spend the holidays with my cousins from Canada. We saw the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge at night and was able to squeeze in a trip to Napa Valley in between. What seemed like the longest drive up north was totally worth it!
- It was also in September when I had the courage to admit to myself and to the world, albeit totally uncalled for, that I was dealing with my worst demons: my weight and body issues.
October to December
- In October, Roan and I went on another road trip to Laguna Beach to explore the city and see what the Sawdust Art Festival was all about.
- I was issued an official California driver’s license!
- We also went to see one of the San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games, which turned out to be interestingly fun!
- Our third live concert date occurred in Los Angeles when we went to see CHVRCHES perform. We spent the weekend at our friends’ house in Monrovia, which was a great opportunity to catch up with each other’s lives.
- I relaunched SCATTERBRAIN with a new look!
- I turned 29 in November. Roan took me to one of the oldest churches in San Diego and had a simple birthday celebration at my favorite restaurant.
- It was also in November, when the weather was the coldest, when Roan and I went to visit the Palomar Observatory atop the Palomar Mountain. It was by far my favorite among our many travels together!
- Before November ended, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend invited us to see the Beauty and The Beast musical play with them. As a big fan of Belle, I enjoyed it the most! (Sorry, though, no photos and video footages were allowed during the show.)
- In the first week of December, I flew to Greensboro, North Carolina to help my auntie from San Jose clear her storage and pack most of her stuff to be sent back in California. It was quite a bummer for a first-timer in the East Coast because I didn’t get a chance to explore the city, but I’ll definitely be back. Next time, I’ll definitely bring Roan with me!
- Due to uncontrolled circumstances, Roan and I failed to complete last year’s Simbang Gabi. Following this tradition of ours was going to the Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Peñasquitos. We promised to go there every year as long as we live in San Diego.
- Roan had to attend a two-day seminar in Santa Ana before Christmas, so we booked a hotel and stayed there for three days. It was raining all day on our last day there, so the only thing I managed to see was the famous LAB anti-mall in Costa Mesa.
- There are a lot more things that happened during the Christmas holidays, but I’ll save them for another blog post. I have about three months-worth of backlogs, which I must start working on in the coming days.
Suffice it to say, 2015 had been an interesting year. I immersed myself in a foreign land with a different culture, thus making an impact in our overall lifestyle. I experienced a lot of firsts when I moved here in the US, making my expat life even more exciting.
Though I oftentimes fail to admit it, my parents were right—I am where I am at this very moment because it’s God’s will. My life choices, whether they were careful or reckless, led me to the life I live today. For that, I am eternally grateful for. Allowing things to fall into place had been the best decision I’ve ever made.
I am aware that life isn’t always going to be in our favor, but that’s where faith comes in. For all the things that Roan and I went through in the past, we left them there, but picked up valuable lessons along the way. Together, may we be ready to face whatever challenges thrown before us in the future that is yet to unfold. Let’s do this, 2016. We’re ready for you!