Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

This year, I baked cupcakes and cookies and gave them to neighbors, family and friends.

The warm weather causes a Cherry Blossom to bloom in December. This is the first time I've seen something like this after living in the DC area for 14 years.

Kepi and I had a quiet and restful Christmas. We really enjoyed attending the evening service on Christmas Eve. With the unwinterlike 72-degree temperature on Christmas Day, we celebrated with a small dinner prepared by Kepi and spent the rest of the day watching Christmas movies. At this time of year when majority of the people are frantic and stressed about gifts, parties and social obligations, I prefer the quiet comfort of home and the presence as well as thoughts of people who really matter in my life.

Daisy wasn't too happy with the red bow on her head.

As 2015 comes to a close, I realize that this year has been about catching up. This is because I spent most of 2014 at the hospital. I feel that I lost so much time and felt the need to make up for it. However, I'm starting to understand that there's no such thing as lost or wasted time and that the months I've stayed at the hospital were an important and essential part in my journey to recovery and health.

As a year-in-review, 2015 was full of challenges, surprises and blessings. The following are my 2015 highlights:

  • Survived Shingles in the beginning of the year: Although I'm still suffering from residual nerve pain, I am hopeful that soon all the pain will cease to exist.
  • Earned my master's degree in International Affairs at Georgetown: Attending classes in between a full-time job and numerous blood transfusions made me think I'd never see the day I'd get my diploma. Graduation finally arrived in May and I was ecstatic and proud.
  • Traveled to Tennessee, Ireland, France and the UK: In May, Kepi and I visited Ireland where I met my Iggy Sister Odette. Then we took my parents on a road trip to visit Elvis Presley's Graceland (Memphis), stayed at the Peabody Hotel and watched the famous Duck Parade, drove to Nashville where we explored the Country Music Hall of Fame and saw a concert at the Grand Ole Opry. In November, I finally realized my dream of taking my parents to Europe. We started our trip in the UK where we toured London, Stonehenge, Oxford and the Windsor Castle. We took the train to Paris and visited Versailles, enjoyed the city of Paris on foot through the Eiffel Tower, meeting Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum, hoping to see Quasimodo at the Notredame Cathedral and wandered through the shops and Christmas Markets of Champs Elysees.
  • Visits from family and high school friends - Andrea (California), Weng (Canada) and Kristian (Philippines)
  • Mom's Health: Although Mom suffered a stroke, she's still walking and talking. This last couple of months have been filled with her medical appointments, but I'm grateful that she's still with us and she continues to improve. I pray that next year, she'll regain her normal life and routine.
Overall, 2015 was still a great year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Season Of Hope

I didn't plan to go off the grid for a long time, but life became too busy and too complicated that I couldn't find the time to formulate letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs.

In short, life had other plans for me.

Well, yesterday was the first day of winter, but temperatures have soared into the 50s and 70s. Thanks to El Nino. Even the Cherry Blossoms are confused as they have untimely bloomed. This "warm winter" is giving people a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit as well.

It's been another tough year for Kepi and I, but each year as the Christmas season arrives, I am filled with HOPE that things will get better, and as we get closer to 2016, may it be a kinder year for all of us - for the world.

Wishing everyone a


and a