2016.

2016
This year has been anything but ordinary.

I remember at the beginning of the year, I prayed for God to help me grow. Little did I know that meant for me to experience a series of hardships and circumstances beyond my comfort zone – one after another. It took a while for me to connect the dots, after wondering and crying and questioning the deluge that came about. And then one night it hit me: “…I asked for this. I asked for all of this, because I asked to grow and become better.” So post-confusion self-realization, I was at peace. I thanked the Lord for the opportunities and faced those adversities with renewed strength. Coincidentally, everything actually became easier to deal after that point.

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As the clouds cleared up to reveal the glorious snow-peaked mountains, the climb was much more enjoyable and exciting.

I realized this year that God knows me much more than I credit Him for, and despite (semi-strictly) self-imposing a certain path of a future for myself based on a matter of independence (a certain nazarite vow), He has showed me a far better plan than what I laid for myself. When I think I got things figured out, He shows me ‘Noop! You need me! I know much better than you.’ Of course.

Before I tackle my list, first things first. There’s been a change in the geographical context of my life. Thanks to much indispensable help I am now able to say…

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Good bye Vancouver, BC… Hello Calgary, AB!

So on to my yearly round-up – here’s the list from previous annual post.

1. Get a BC driver’s license
– This is definitely one of my longest put-off goals. I’ll be honest to say I failed thrice. :( The last one was an instant fail when I was 10km/h above a school zone (I missed the sign). I couldn’t help but tear up at a Starbucks post-test, thinking to myself, “Am I really that bad of a driver?”. I’ve been driving in the Philippines for years. Before this year I drove quite well on the road in Cebu. While I was talking to a dear friend on the phone, a lady came by and asked me if I was alright, gave me a hug and a bottle of sweet juice. Shortly after a Starbucks barista gave me a matcha frappuccino for free. Such kindness from strangers I wouldn’t have experienced if I had not been defeated by my road test.

Remedy: To earn an Alberta driver’s license this coming 2017. Altho I am resolute in laying off getting a car as long as I continue to work remotely.

2. Do the splits (since 2013..)
– There’s been progress for sure, but I still haven’t achieved this!! If anything I’ve felt less time to work on this. Anyway, I’m keeping this mini-goal.

3. Learn how to cook better, and consistently make raw vegetarian food. This will be merged with ‘Continue to eat healthy’.
– I am proud to say I can cook (veggies and fish) well enough for me not to feel deprived. Level up, baby. Woohoo

4. Take more photos and actually make videos.
– I’ve been taking more videos and photos which I haven’t posted. I hoped to edit a video as a year-ender but ohman artistic laziness cripples me…

5. Write more so that I can learn how to express myself better.
– Fail! This should be better after I create a new blog layout this year. (C’mon Anne!) Plus I’ve deleted my Facebook app to avoid mindlessly scrolling the darn newsfeed.

6. Concentrate on developing the fruits of the Spirit.
– Forever and ever and ever and ever…

7. Read more books and watch more documentaries.
– Watching documentaries has become one of my favourite pastimes!! I think I can check this off as it’s already part of me. Someday I will get a portable-sized Kindle and read my books there instead of the Kindle app on my iPhone. It took me many regular commutes to finish “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” and it was insightful – I am really enjoying learning about the fundamental psychological facets of people.

8. Save enough money for a good investment, and regularly save at least 20% of my salary.
– This is much more achievable now that I live in Calgary. Thank you Lord. It’s a very humble amount of savings but I am happy to be able to have some.

9. Continue to exercise regularly.
– Semi-regularly… But will become more regular this 2017! I will be doing more yoga and spin classes with my sister.

10. Move out to a cheaper place before the end of the year!
– Woohoo! Check! I finally have my own place. What a dream come true, a check off the bucketlist of my life.

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11. Work on my wisdom wall.

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Things I want to accomplish in 2017:
– Develop a new blog theme using the WordPress REST API.
– Join a Contiki tour!! Setting my sights on the Spotlight on Greece tour.
– Fly to Portland, OR for the React Native Conference this summer 2017.
– Visit Cebu, PH for our 10 year highschool reunion and visit friends and family.
– Meet and get to know my boyfriend’s family in Cebu! ^^
– Take more photos when traveling. Maybe video making takes too much time for me right now.
– Get an AB driver’s license.
– Continue giving my tithes to IJM and other organizations, or a home church in the SW.
– SPLITS
– Continue to learn Spanish. Como estas?

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Everyone’s new year’s cliché – Let’s get fit!!! Metabolism isn’t what it used to be.

Things that happened in 2016:
– The highlight of 2016 was moving from Vancouver to Calgary! Thank you Chad for flying to Canada to help me drive a U-Haul. I wouldn’t be able to move as smoothly as I did without you and my sister. You’re the best.
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Chad took me sightseeing on the way from British Columbia to Alberta and it was wonderful (autumn is my favorite season). I was so happy. Canada is ever beautiful, and every year I fall more in love with this country.

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Throughout my life in Vancouver, these Hongers have been my friends in this foreign country. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. Will definitely miss them all. 

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I always looked forward to bible study and bonding with these lovely girls! Thank you for the super sweet scrapbook you all took time to make for me. I love it so much.

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– The first game studio I worked for sadly closed down. It was quite an experience to go through my first layoff and company bankruptcy. People in the industry said this is common – the cyclical nature of working in the games industry.

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My station at Roadhouse, beside Camila who became my Ecuadorian work BFF! I developed the front-end engineering of the in-house game admin tool while she did UX design.

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(L-R): Gui, Leto, Bryan, Jani, Nick, Ligia, Sarah and me.

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Camila and Helen! Oh how I miss eating lunch and talking with you girls in person!

– Started working at Shoal Games as a front-end engineer. Guess what? I work from the comforts of my own home!! Way earlier in my career than expected. I am officially a mobile app developer thanks to Facebook’s React Native language.

– Toured around Banff and Calgary when Ken visited Canada. We had a mini Bethanian reunion. What a small world.

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Holding up the years our batch graduated from Bethany – 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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Beautiful Lake Louise, ever changing throughout the seasons yet consistently a sight to behold. Surprisingly I never tire of it.

– Traveled to the UK and toured around London, Thrapston, Bath, Oxford, Oundle and Wales. It was absolutely enchanting. I loved learning about the history and marveling at the classical beauty of the UK and France.
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Met up with my friend Candy who’s now a nurse living in London. Lucky girl!

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Didn’t expect Big Ben to be so beautiful, much more in person.

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At Cottswold, England with Achi and Aunty Zeny. Dreaming of retiring here someday, maybe.

– Took the Eurostar train to Paris. Wow, the city is a dream… No wonder they say Paris is always a good idea. They are so extravagant. All or nothing!

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Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

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Chapel inside the grand Versailles

All of my Europe photos need a blog post of their own!

– Photographed the prewedding of Ryan and Christina.
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– Flew to San Francisco, ate the best chocolate fudge sundae at Ghirardelli, toured the infamous Alcatraz Island, rode the cable car around the bay area and played at the Musée Mecanique. I met up with my close friend who just finished law school. Congrats Jai!

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– Finally got to attend the TEDx Stanley Park event at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Bucket list – check!! This was a treat for the mind.tedx-stanley-park

– Made a friend while waiting at a bus stop. We went out together, and even did a spin class together (the best spin class I’ve ever tried thanks to Ride Cycle Club). Hello, Kyna! You are one of the nicest and friendliest girls I’ve ever met.
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– Volunteered at the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen for the homeless in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

– Made almond milk from scratch!

– Watched an opera for the first time – Madame Butterfly.
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– Ran my first 10K – the Vancouver Sun Run. Wow, that was a great experience!! I was sore all over the next day.
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– Attended the Sol (Latin) festival.
– Listened to a Disney x Broadway orchestra at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts.
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– Toured around Victoria and went whale watching~ Although whales were MIA that day :( Lots of seals and seagulls though… I won’t give up! I need to do this again!

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– Toured Chad around Vancouver and brought him to Whistler Blackcomb’s gondola – the longest gondola in the world.

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– Visited Drumheller and the Royal Tyrell Museum (I think this is my favorite museum in Canada so far). Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?!

– Photographed the Vi family portrait.
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– Photographed the Kwok family portrait.

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– Visited my godchild, Ellie Managbanag, in Seattle, WA and shot their family photos.
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– Drank glacier water at the Athabasca Glacier / Columbia Icefields and rode the Columbia Ice Explorer.
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– Took a ferry to Spirit Island, Jasper AB. You can go around the island in just an hour.
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The water around here was a beautiful aquamarine due to it being glacier-sourced.

– Spent Christmas and New Years with family and Barangay Calgary! Imagine free ice skating and hot chocolate as we countdown the NY with fireworks and a romantic french song in the background. Calgary is such a family-friendly city. It really is growing on me.

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This year has been eventful and at the start, quite the rollercoaster ride. It felt like I was constantly in flux, and that’s okay. I did ask for growth and the Lord was kind enough to carry me through it all. A special note: I got to see a long-time friend as the unexpected love of my life. Getting into a relationship was the last thing I ever thought of this year especially since I initially started off 2016 on a vow of singleness. Nevertheless, there are no regrets. I’ve never been a happier girlfriend. Thank you Jesus for knowing my heart and for the blessing of Chad. Twelve midnight and later today I will be back to work – here’s to 2017!

P.S. there is a bug in the WordPress image uploader that flips some iPhone photos upside down. I will fix this soon.

2015.

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I wake up so early these days it’s so unlike me, but I don’t mind.

I tell myself I had a beautiful year; 2015 was sweet. I finally graduated from BCIT, with distinction and academic awards I didn’t seriously think I could achieve (thank you Jesus). I look back and realize it’s because of a disciplined attitude I chose to keep way back in high school after reading this verse in the Bible: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23). That, coupled with my love for learning. I’ve always been enthralled by the process of learning new things and skills. Over the years I’ve developed a growth mindset, meaning:  1.) I don’t mind making mistakes or constantly falling (it’s really not that big of a deal if you don’t make it out to be)  2.) I concentrate on enjoying the process and compete with myself instead of others (because I am not comfortable competing against others anyway…)

I find these things so important not just in the pursuit of happiness, but also in the maintenance of psychological and emotional health. I hope to someday nurture this same mentality in my future child/children! I want them to grow up as independent-thinkers, in addition to of course being firm believers in Christ, who believe they can do anything they want as long as they don’t give up. Now maybe some of the skeptics and naysayers might say “Aren’t you encouraging idealistic ambitions in a harsh ever-degrading society? The world is not all sunshine and rainbows.” Yes, I know. But there’s a difference when a child believes he can shoot for the moon, because, yes now you know it, he might land amongst the stars!

However, there’s an essential ingredient to that mix: The ability to accept disappointment.

The more we shelter children from every disappointment, the more devastating future disappointments will be. -Fred G. Gosman

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Okay, major sidetrack! Getting back to the round-up of 2015. From last year’s annual post, here’s my checklist:

1. Get a good job that will make me want to wake up early from Mon-Fri.
– Wow. This one is really something… The year before I also prayed that I may get a job I truly enjoy. I honestly thought it would just be wishful thinking, almost impossibly too idealistic, but guess what. I am now working… at a mobile game studio… doing front-end web development work… which I love! I *actually* enjoy my work. It’s crazy I know, but that’s grace!

2. Get a BC driver’s license (commuting wastes so much time huhu)
– I took the road test last Monday but failed :( But rightly so, I took a left on a green light in the intersection and assumed the opposing side was red, which now I realize is from an instinct driving in the Philippines. But it’s alright, I will try again next week! No plans to get a car yet though.

3. Live by myself or with another female housemate in an apartment, preferably in Burnaby or close to my future workplace.
– Wow wow, double wow. This is spot on! I live with a sweet Scottish-Indian roomie downtown, right next to BC Place, Stadium-Chinatown Station and Roger’s Arena. Although it’s not super close to my office, the commute isn’t bad and the location is amazing. I love it when I live somewhere walkable. One time as I was making granola, I realized I lacked oats… Granola without oats, say whaat. So I grabbed my coat, ran down to the nearest grocer, picked up oats and walked back to the apartment, all in 10 minutes? I love it. City-living convenience at its finest.

4. Do the splits (hahaha! This was a small goal I made at the end of 2013. It’s much harder than I thought…)
:( This is a goal that I am unexpectedly taking waaay longer to achieve. Postpone.

5. Learn how to cook better, and consistently make raw vegetarian food. This will be merged with ‘Continue to eat healthy’.
– I can cook vegetarian food better in a sense that they don’t taste as bland anymore so yipee! I have discovered the secret: spices spices spices. Next I should learn how to make real dishes instead of roasted veggies and fried rice/bibimbap style meals.

6. Take more photos and actually make videos.
– Nooope. This has gone downhill. I am planning to sell my Canon 5D Mark ii soon in exchange for a more compact, convenient DSLR-quality camera, such as a Fujifilm XT-1. This is going to be a very difficult breakup for me though… The quality and colors of the 5D are too beautiful to let go.

7. Write more so that I can learn how to express myself better. Hopefully after school I’ll have more time to blog. I really wanna make more helpful blog posts if not creative ones.
– FAIL. lol. I will just take this out entirely and concentrate on making a new blog theme… Now that WordPress has launched its own REST API! I am less apprehensive about the time consumption of making this new theme. Woohoo for ajax calls, good bye PHP-driven WordPress codex.

8. Concentrate on developing the fruits of the Spirit.
– This process is actually perpetual, until the day I die. So I guess this will be a sticky-goal. *marked* I think this year I need to work on my forbearance and gentleness.

9. Read more books and watch more documentaries.
– Hmm. I am currently reading 2 books. I guess progress wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Not great either. Documentaries were less than the year before but I’ve ended up watching for TEDx Talks and classical movies. Whenever I feel meh watching Audrey Hepburn instantly makes me forget the meh-ness.

10. Save enough money for a good investment, and regularly save at least 20% of my salary.
– This starts this year :) I will do my best. In addition to my tithing~

11. Continue to exercise regularly.
– Once I recover from this cold I’m going to enrol myself at… 😀

Things I want to accomplish in 2016:
– Get a BC driver’s license.
– Do the splits (I won’t give up!!)
– Learn how to cook better, vegetarian quick meals. I want to master this type of cuisine.
– Develop a new blog theme using the WordPress REST API.
– Continue developing the fruits of the Spirit: “…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
– Read a book every night before I sleep instead of staying on Facebook (ok, cut-off is 8:30PM) and watch more documentaries.
– Have at least $10,000 as savings. Save 20% of my salary. Although I want to save more, my rent is already almost 40% of my salary /cries
– Move out to a cheaper place before the end of the year!
– Exercise regularly and have fun with it! Run with the girls every Sunday, go the gym/studio after work to de-stress.
– Continue my wisdom wall until the very end:
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Every morning and night I write Scripture from the Bible so I can instil or somehow remember them into my life. It’s a great thing to do. My sleep is much better when I end my night doing this. Hopefully by the end of the year this wall will be super full of post-its yipee.
– Most prominently I have decided to dedicate this year to the Lord in singleness. I am on, what my friend calls a Nazarite vow. I want to concentrate on growing in my faith and as an individual this year.

Things that happened in 2015:

– Visited my sister, her family and my friends in Alberta! It was so much more fun than I ever expected!
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I got to experience dog sledding, snowboard with my friends, see my sister and her family try the snow sports for the first time (I’m so happy the kids had lessons!), go snow shoeing, ice skating….
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I am soo happy! Heehee. God is so good. I feel the love and grace overflowing.

– Internship at Flowmarq Creative Inc together with Christina. Thank you Pastor Brian Ho, Jeremy Kwok, Rachel Poon and Alice Huang!
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– Developed a digital marketing micro-site, My Mercedes Experience
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– Designed and coded my own WordPress-based digital portfolio at www.anneuy.com
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– Graduated from BCIT with distinction and academic and achievement awards for Digital Design and Development
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– Toured the Electronic Arts (EA) headquarters in Burnaby. I used to be so addicted to The Sims!
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– Photographed my first freelance wedding gig at Grouse Mountain
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– Photographed my first family photoshoot in Richmond
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– Photographed my dear friends, Christina and Ryan’s civil wedding
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– Spent my summer in Cebu with family and friends :)
– Trekked all the way up to Osmeña Peak with my high school classmates. The view was amazing! You could see Cebu from east to west!
– Traveled to Manila with Natalie and stayed with our dear friend Karla. Had a blast doing a horror Escape room with the girls and Hazel
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– Joined Living Word church’s Young Pro camp at Talamban. It was so fun!
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– Toured around Vancouver with family
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– Toured around the beautiful city of Victoria (with a sunburnt face)
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– Toured around Calgary and Banff with family and Chad + Ian
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– Visited Allie in Seattle in the summer when she was still very much preggy :)
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– Attended a Paint Nite social session
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– Went up to Agassi to see the tulip festival with Kryz Uy, her sister, Jacklyn and their beautiful mom
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– Went to Whistler with the ladies from my small group at Willingdon. First photo is epic-level blurry but I think its the only one with all of us…
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– Moved out of my dorm… It was so bittersweet
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– Moved in to an apartment downtown with my roomie, Rittu Berman. Check out the view from my room!
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– And finally, the most impulsive thing I have ever done in my life…. Helix piercing on my right ear.
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Okay, quick story and the deal about my piercing. Just a week ago I was attending C3 Church (Sundays 10:15AM at Cineplex Odeon Cinema 8, International Village). All throughout the service there was a mother (one of the many) carrying and soothing her baby in a tula in front of me. She passed me a smile, and I instantly felt a connection with her. As she sat with her head back in front of me, I saw the beautiful blue stud on her helix piercing. I don’t know why, but it made me reflect on SO many things in my life–changes, goals, events, feelings, thoughts… And then it hit me. I want to dedicate 2016 to the Lord and to concentrate on growing as an individual. Just myself and the Lord this year… No potential of a distraction for dating/relationship or any of the sort. Someday I want to be a mother, and I seriously want to prepare for that because in my heart and mind I know raising a child does not come easy– it should be treated very seriously! As of today, I am honestly not sure that marriage is for me or on my radar (if it is God’s will for me then I will receive the blessing gladly), but I am sure that I have been impressed to adopt. Writing this out publicly is now like an unofficial declaration of my intention. All I know is this: I want to give a child a second chance at life, and then when she/he grows up, I hope she/he might be compelled to adopt as well as a way of giving back.

My realizations were so heavy that I felt the importance of solidifying it permanently, and so came the piercing. This way, I will always be reminded that I am no longer the same person as before. I want to be more courageous and strong, but at the same time become kinder and more gentle.

26.

This birthday post is around three months delayed and for good reason: Unlike last year, I spent my birthday back in Cebu with my family and shortly after departed to start a new chapter of my life here in Vancouver. As of this writing I am officially no longer a student, but by God’s grace, now part of the Canadian working force (on a post-graduate work permit)!

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My whole summer in the Philippines was my very last stretch of an afforded vacation. I knew I wouldn’t be able to spend a whole season once I started working. It was a blessing to be able to spend time with my family and friends. I went out almost everyday! That’s crazy draining for an introvert like me, but well worth it as I look back on all the memories I’ve made (board game nights were the best). Although Fritz and I aren’t together anymore, I am glad we remain friends. Despite the love and care we have for each other, our priorities have caused our paths to diverge into an incompatible future. Last summer we already called it quits, but he treated our last months together in friendship as nothing but self-less. He killed me with kindness. For that and more, he will always have a special place in my heart. I have grown and learned so much in our four years together and I will always be thankful for meeting him. If ever you are in Cebu and get to hear of his catering or cooking, you’d be wise to give it a try. He is a very talented chef and that’s no bias.

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Nat and I celebrated our birthdays together at the BIG Hotel, owned by our good friend Kate Ngo. We had our high school classmates and their significant others join us for dinner. A few birthdays ago I had the idea to make a time capsule for us. All of us wrote our goals for our 25th and 30th birthdays and when it was time, we’d open our papers together to reflect on our life progress. Charlie said we should read our goals out loud to each other when we hit 30. I’m not sure everyone would want to but that would be really interesting!

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If I could be painfully honest, I now feel more at home here in Canada. If I could have any crazy one-time wish it would be to bring all of my family and friends here. I can truly testify how much God knows my heart because he’s brought me to my own paradise here on earth. Even a routine walk to work brings me so much awe as I pass by pigeons flying towards the North Shore Mountains. I am not sure if my future lies in this country, but for now my heart is.

2014.

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The amazing view from Whistler’s Peak to Peak Gondola. Soo high up in the sky!

It’s now 2015. Wow… Somehow I have an unshakable feeling that this year will be very different for me. I’m both excited and a little nervous, but definitely more excited. Throughout the years, I’ve learned it’s healthier and lighter to my heart to be optimistic about the future and people in general. This year I’ve grown as a young adult and learned more about myself than I have ever before. Living alone and learning to be independent gave me a lot of personal time and space to think about who I really want to be: the values I want to hold and the beliefs I want to keep. I choose to be happy and contented. I have and made real friends, went places, learned about other cultures and witnessed beautiful things I never thought I’d have the opportunity to. I can’t ask for more. God is really really good, and in my life I am blessed to say I have no regrets thus far.

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Watching eagles and birds flying freely in their natural environment.

I wish for every young adult to find the same peace as I do now. Nowadays identity crisis seems to be a common experience for people my age. The media is so strong about what they want you to believe in, to make you think you should be this and that, to want and need these and those, to look like him or her, but what do you really want to be? If you were to look outside of yourself for a day, would you be happy about who you’ve become? Maybe on the inside you’d actually want to make a difference by helping others, being extra good to your friends, learning to appreciate even the smallest things, or becoming sweeter and more comfortable with your family. We all wish to become better versions of ourselves. That’s why there’s such a thing as New Year’s Resolutions. But why can’t people just choose to become better every moment they realize they should? Just try and try again, make mistakes, learn from them, be careful next time, and apologize when due no matter the excuses your pride makes.

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I’m only human. I make mistakes, but I have only one life to live so I’m going to shamelessly live it to the fullest. Do what I want to do as long as I don’t intentionally hurt people, share beautiful things, make people laugh, let petty offences slide, brush off other people’s unconstructive negativity, and forgive others easily. There’s a saying that always stuck to me since I was a teenager. It went something like this: “You are who you define yourself to be.” If someone keeps saying he’s a loser, he will end up being one and will probably live a “sad” life. Quotations are there because he’s not really living a sad life, he just makes it up to be. On the other hand, if someone believes so strongly that he will succeed in life, he eventually will because that mindset will exhaust everything it takes to get there.

Anyway, I’ll stop here. It’s getting to be more of a reflective post than my annual blog post! Haha. Ok Anne, here were your goals set last year:

1. Graduate from BCIT with honors (if there is such a thing? if not, I’ll settle for just good grades)
– Hmm… Why did I write this? I’m still graduating in June of 2015 not 2014, but I’m marking it as accomplished because I got 2 scholarship awards last month (The BCIT Faculty and Staff Association Scholarship & The BCIT International Student Award)! My teacher said I got the highest GPA in the School of Business so I’m pretty stoked. Surprised and really happy! It truly doesn’t seem like a lot of effort when you study what you’re interested in.

2. Get a job here that I’ll actually enjoy! Wishful thinking… But *OPTIMISM*..!
– Nope. No job yet. Not even legally allowed to work here.

3. Become stronger physically by developing a habit for exercise.
– Wow finally. I feel like this has been a goal for sooo long. Hahaha. I now do pilates every week! I found it’s easier to make a habit by actually scheduling it on the calendar.

4. Continue to eat healthy.
– I won’t mark this off coz I want to keep doing it, and I actually feel like I can still do better.

5. Learn how to cook better, and make raw vegetarian food.
– In all honesty, my cooking is still bland :( Need more practice.

6. Take more photos and learn how to make videos.
– I kinda take more photos than last year… Definitely a slight improvement. Editing and uploading them weren’t consistent in the middle of the year, but at the end I caught up. I need to blog more though. I learned how to make videos in class but I never ended up making one for myself! So moving this again to next year’s goals.

7. Write more so that I can learn how to express myself better.
– FAILED. SO BAD. I need to write mooooooore blog poooosts. The struggle for clarity in my speech is real.

8. Concentrate on developing the fruits of the Spirit.
– Need to work on this more. :( sigh. Thankful that the Love of Jesus overflows and I can keep on going.

9. Read more books and watch more documentaries.
– I haven’t read as much books or watched as much documentaries in 2014. The last documentary I watched was “Hungry for Change” which I highly recommend!! The last book I read was “How to Pay Less and Keep More For Yourself: The Essential Consumer Guide to Canadian Banking and Investing” by Rob Carrick, recommended by a wise friend.

Count: 2/9. Not impressed with myself at all. LOL. Let it be a lesson though, don’t take yourself too too seriously. I’m still pretty happy with all the general improvement. XD

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 Things I want to accomplish in 2015:
– Get a good job that will make me want to wake up early from Mon-Fri.
– Get a BC driver’s license (commuting wastes so much time huhu)
– Live by myself or with another female housemate in an apartment, preferably in Burnaby or close to my future workplace.
– Do the splits (hahaha! This was a small goal I made at the end of 2013. It’s much harder than I thought…)
– Learn how to cook better, and consistently make raw vegetarian food. This will be merged with ‘Continue to eat healthy’.
– Take more photos and actually make videos.
– Write more so that I can learn how to express myself better. Hopefully after school I’ll have more time to blog. I really wanna make more helpful blog posts if not creative ones.
– Concentrate on developing the fruits of the Spirit.
– Read more books and watch more documentaries.
– Save enough money for a good investment, and regularly save at least 20% of my salary.
– Continue to exercise regularly.

Things that happened in 2014:
– Traveled solo to and from Vancouver and Seattle by train (Amtrak Cascades) and bus (BoltBus). I felt like I was going on an adventure!

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Spent a great Christmas with old friends in Washington.

– Went to Whistler to snowboard with Honger friends.
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I’m the only Filipino-Chinese girl who can’t speak Cantonese tagging along lol.
I owe one of the best couples in the world, Christina and Ryan, for most of my awesome experiences here in Canada!!

– Created my first hybrid mobile app using Intel XDK. Programmed by me and designed by Christina Chan.

– Invited to speak to the students of St. Theresa’s College (STC), Cebu about my passion for storytelling in photography.
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– Completed my first year of studies in Digital Design and Development at BCIT. One year more to go!
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– Learned how to create visual special FX (told you I learned how to make videos :P)

– won prizes from a contest by Study in BC :)
– visited my dad’s hometown in Dipolog since who knows how long. For my cousins who are reading this, I owe you this album I’m so sorry for the late upload!!
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– visited my hometown in Cebu for 3 months. Made warm memories with family and my boyfriend, and played lotssss of boardgames with my close friends! :)

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Cheers to 2015, looking forward to all the goodness and experiences ahead!!

Happy New Year everyone!

25.

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Pretty teacup roses from my mom.

I know I’ve not been a very diligent blogger for the past 2 years. Getting digitally lazy because real life is so much more fun. Nonetheless, I will always try to make my birthday and new year posts!! I know there are some followers of my work who look forward to my blogging, and I want to apologize to you guys specifically. I know how it feels to like a blog and get disappointed that the blogger suddenly fades away~ I appreciate the facebook messages and comments you leave me. Always know you touch my heart with your generous words!

Yesterday I had dinner with a few of my friends here in Canada. We dined out like pigs at Sushimoto (pretty good Japanese restaurant!) in North Burnaby. I was really excited to treat my good friends to this wonderful dinner but… Christina hid my credit card so I couldn’t pay! T_T Turns out the custom here in Canada is if its your birthday, your friends pay for you! They did it for me last year but I only thought it was because I was FOB– fresh off the boat (or should I say plane) and they were being nice by welcoming me here in Canada. Back in the Philippines, the birthday celebrant treats all his friends not the other way around!

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Matcha green tea and red bean cake with raspberries cake. Divine.

Well. Have to admit I was really uncomfortable with the tables turned, I felt uneasy like I totally didn’t deserve the treat and the veryyyy yummy matcha green tea and red bean cake!! Can a cake be anymore my type?! It’s funny coz Fung was “obviously” carrying it from the car to the restaurant but I NEVER even noticed. Actually can’t believe I didn’t suspect a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. I have fooled myself to believe I’m really receptive and sensitive to things but turns out I’m not! Haha. When the cake arrived I was thinking “How does the restaurant know its my birthday?? :o” But wow my friends are great T_T Never even suspected one bit they would do these sweet things for me!! I’m so thankful! Don’t you think I have awesome friends too? Can’t wait until their birthdays come so we can all have a great day like mine!

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Happy girl being posed and dictated on how to slice the cake.

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More pictures of the cake coz its AWEZUM.

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Diane made that sweet gift and letter for me and Christina gave me those instax photos! These two girls are really sweet and thoughtful T_T My heart is really swelling now. Lord please bless all my friends so much. I’m asking you because I don’t think I can really give them as much as You can! On a side note, my hair is getting extra curly like mad, especially when it rains. The frizzzz… If you guys didn’t know, I’m trying to embrace my wavy hair so I’ve stopped rebonding it since last year.

After stuffing ourselves with Vancouver sushi and birthday cake, I told my friends that I want to treat them out somewhere else if I’m not allowed to pay for dinner. So we walked over to a bowling center nearby, but again my card was still confiscated. So OK, you know what… I won’t tell my plans but I will make it up to them for sure. If you guys are reading this right now I just wanna say how thankful I am to have you as friends. T_T I’m afraid this blog post is getting too emo so I will stop with the cheesy overflows now.

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I haven’t played bowling in a very long time but its actually more fun to play with people my age. I used to bowl with my Aunts and Uncles and struggle with the bowling ball weight… Well that part hasn’t changed. Kiddie bowling ball is still my choice of weapon!! We all had lots of fun. I’m happy that my friends enjoyed my pre-birthday as much as I did 😀

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Check out Christina’s instax frames!! So cute. I think these pictures also make up for my lack of posting on Facebook. Haha.

So that was yesterday night. What did I do today on my actual birthday?

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I attended the EMPOWER Kids Ministry training at Willingdon church! This is in preparation for my volunteering every Sunday to help take care of the kids at Willingdon Sunday school. In the past when I would volunteer for DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible Study for kids) I would always know at least a handful of people already and feel familiar with the environment. This time was totally different. Everyone was a mix of races and I was technically alone. This definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone to talk to new people, introduce myself and listen to their stories. After my interview tomorrow I’ll know what Grade level of kids I’ll be taking care of, I’m really excited! My heart swells as I think of the children that are and will learn about Jesus’ love for them. In the past year I’ve seen how important it is to be mindful of my actions and words when kids are around because it REALLY shapes their being. Believe it or not, kids see us adults as their HEROES! Its up to us to choose if we want to create a positive impact on the next generation. :)

Honestly, I feel that the church still needs more help than there is so if anyone reading in Vancouver finds it in their heart to help out, please email Amanda Ponte.

Off I go to eat what’s left of my birthday cake! Birthday cake for dinner oh yeaaa

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