January began busily. There was the usual New Year’s Eve Party with Rey’s side of the family and New Year’s Day mass at my favorite church, Don Bosco Parish.
The following day found me in the waters of Batangas, snorkelling with friends and making up for lost time.
The husband and I squeezed in a quick date before I headed home. Resuming classes after a break is always a little exhausting, so the holidays made adjusting to being alone most nights a bit more difficult.
February was a dark cloud over my head. I can still remember the jolt in my heart as our helper rapped through the window at 4:30 in the morning, hastily saying Papa was taken to the hospital. The stroke did not do much damage, in fact if only he wasn’t one of the world’s most non-compliant patients, he probably won’t be stuck with that terrible gait.
Along with going through the implications of the bleed in my father’s brain, my heart bled as an incident in the classroom forced me to let a friend and colleague go.
March is a mix-up of a month. I spent the week of my birthday in Manila, and being surrounded by friends always uplifts my spirits. But it was also during this time that I realized my husband sees me differently from how my closest friends do, and I began to question my own personality, hence this poem:
Just when I start
that I’m awesome
at being a person
you pull me back down
you’re not so great
April opened with some drama. It started with us watching Les Miserables, a passionate and rather heavy musical which we have long anticipated to see live. It was a visual marvel considering the limits of the venue’s size, and it was a worthwhile experience overall, but somehow lacking in certain aspects.
Mid-month found me wallowing in self-pity for our whole semi-long-distance setup. It was hard enough trying to keep strong while missing my husband’s presence, it was made worse by the other party not reaching out enough to fill in for the absence. A long talk made him realize he wasn’t giving me enough credit for trying, and made me understand that not talking about missing me is his way of coping with being away.
This packed month ended off with a beach trip with our favorite couples friends/former neighbors, where I accomplished a personal first: I threw up from drinking one too many cocktails, thanks to Happy Hour.
May was slow, hot, and wet, and it saw the momentous win of a controversial Presidential candidate, promising a marked change in Philippine politics.
By the end of the month I accomplished another first: I rode a plane by myself. I met one of my best girls in Cambodia, and we had a grand old time temple-hopping, and exploring the streets of Siem Reap.
June‘s highlight was the wedding of one of my best friends. Their story is a testament to second chances, choice, and compatibility, and it tells of a love that stood the test of time. I cried too many times during the ceremony.
July brought the biggest surprise ever: conceiving naturally after eight years of marriage. Never have I been filled with so much awe and elation.
August was a downpour. Typhoons came and went, leading to a lot of class suspensions and leaving me with a lot of time in my hands. An outpouring of love and well wishes was also showered onto us as we shared our big news to friends.
In September I watched a dear friend pack up thirteen years of life in the Philippines and ship it off to the foreign land where she will start anew. It crushed my heart to think about how far away she will be and how much I will miss her, but I also had high hopes for the life she will build.
October enveloped our household in illness. My mother slipped back into depression and stopped going out of the house right after she arrived from Canada. I often had the sniffles, and towards the end of the month I caught the flu–likely from my nephew, who got it from my sister. My grandmother was afflicted, too, and after almost a week of fighting off fever, she succumbed to it at age 83.
November crept slowly as we labored over my grandmother’s wake. Days were heavy, sometimes busy, often tiring, but one thing was for sure: it was all made easier by the love and time of family.
I realized that the author of the book I was reading at the time had been right: The only constant family rule is that everyone has to keep showing up.
December charmed its way in, beginning with a trip to the beach, and with the third trimester of my pregnancy setting in, baby finally revealed herself as a girl. 🙂
The usual Christmas rush hit us in the form of shopping, gift-wrapping, and partying, and all was fun while it lasted.
Writing this round-up made me realize that 2016 was potentially a difficult year, but it was made brighter and better by our big baby news. I don’t know how different things between Rey and I will be if this did not happen, but if there is anything I learned from this recent experience, it is that we have a wise, gracious God, and we must continue to trust in that. The sentiment played a part in the names we chose for our daughter. Gianna, meaning the Lord is Gracious, and Sofia for wisdom.
We are now twelve days into the new year, and at the outset I can already tell it will bring a whole lot of change. It can’t be all bright lights and rainbows, I know, but a little positivity goes a long way, yes? I have a lot of that right now.