Adios, 2011.

The 2011 run-down for me looked like this:

* Started the second term of my graduate program
* Got mixed up in a frustrating fling at the beginning of the year
* Lost my dad in February
* Visited Colorado (namely, Colorado State University in Fort Collins)
* Decided to attend the national NASPA conference
* Blogged a lot
* Visited Guy Bestie in L.A. and got some much-needed sun
* Got really sick for about six weeks with some virus that kept me at about 60%
* Attended NASPA conference while sick but met a lot of really great people and reaffirmed my interest in student affairs
* Took up Tweeting for “Student Affairs Live”
* Received a scholarship!
* Watched The Naked and Famous in Portland, OR
* Saw Death Cab and Bright Eyes in Bend, OR
* Fell for a friend–harder than I had ever expected–and subsequently realized I am still damaged goods from failed 2010 relationships
* Started the summer with a one-month internship in Trinidad and Tobago!
* Spent the remainder of the summer internship with Wenatchee Valley College
* Traveled to SoCal again; fell in love with SoCal for the first time
* Attended a beautiful wedding in Port Orchard
* Blogged some more
* Attending a five-day music festival in Portland
* Battled with depression–and shrugged off my pride and utilized Counseling and Psychological services
* Started my final year of graduate school
* Took a ballet class for the first time since… I can’t remember
* Traveled to Seattle, Vegas, the Oregon Coast, Portland, etc.
* Was a bridesmaid in A Very Nestie Wedding–one of the most beautiful weddings I’d ever been a part of
* Attended NASPA Western Regional Conference in San Diego
* Took full advantage of winter break in Wenatchee, hanging with good friends and spending time with my family
* Traveled to Hawai’i with my mom for Christmas–our first time traveling together since I was little

Currently, I’m celebrating NYE in Seattle with my Nesties and Co. This has been a roller coaster year, and another in a series of about two or three really difficult years. I’m ready to recover in 2012 and make it a beautiful, happy year, full of growth and discovery.

I knew big things were in store in 2011.

I only have one resolution for the new year: I’m going to make 2012 unbelievable.


It’s Too Late

to apologize, Universe.

But thanks for the head cold anyway. At least I’m too exhausted to feel anything remotely stressful.

In other news, I went to my first student affairs conference yesterday, the Oregon Women in Higher Education annual conference. It was a one-day conference, with two keynote speakers, three break-out sessions, and a wonderful lunch session in the middle.

What did I take away? Well, first of all– and don’t take me the wrong way on this– it changed my perception on an approach to women’s issues. I have never, ever, ever, ever labeled myself as a feminist, and I doubt I ever will, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be concerned about how gender inequity affects my life as an advancing young professional. Additionally, there wasn’t any “rah-rah” crazy rallying going on, and that made me feel comfortable. I’m not a huge fan of activist-style conferencing, it turns out, although I have always enjoyed most of the shouting that happens at the NWFASA (Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance) conferences.

One workshop I particularly enjoyed was the one centered around crafting a personal mission statement. As I shared a few weeks ago, my 2011 theme is Create beauty through strength. After a series of exercises, I arrived at a rough draft of my personal mission statement:

I commit to always seeking adventure in any way, shape, or form. I will inspire learning and personal growth, as well as illuminate inner harmony, in myself and the higher education community by exploring creative expression and spirituality.

I want to add something in about motivation or drive or determination, something strong, but for a first attempt, I would say it does a good job of what I want my personal life to look like. Yes, I added in a piece that’s specifically about my chosen field, and I think that’s good. Part of my personal balance is finding a career that meshes with my entire self, and higher education is [hopefully] that venue.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my Friday post on a Saturday. Rah-rah for making it this far.

Creating a Theme

2011: “Create Beauty through Strength”

There it is– my theme for the new year. One year ago, my life started to change at an incredibly fast pace. I was a bridesmaid, my dad had a stroke, I got dumped, grad school acceptances started coming in, and I started planning to go abroad.

Now, at the beginning of my first term of grad school, many things are still incredibly uncertain. However, I believe in myself. And now, it’s time to take myself to a new level, to live and love without restrictions.

Create beauty through strength applies to different aspects of my life, which is why I ultimately settled on it. I can apply it towards my physical fitness– the stronger and fitter I become, the better I’ll feel (and look). I can apply it towards my work in grad school– if I put forth my best effort, I can create programs or ideas that may be life-changing for myself or others. That’s beauty. Beauty can even be seen in cultivating relationships, new and old. New relationships can be intimidating to navigate; staying strong is a way to confront that intimidation. And with old friendships, especially ones where we’re hundreds of miles apart, take work to maintain. That can be exhausting, but it’s worth it not to let those ties fail. Additionally, my theme may also be applied toward my family life.

It’s an overarching theme that I hope will directly affect my life and the choices I make.

So… here I go. New year, new theme, new goals.

Beautiful Friendships and NYE

This year marked the first extremely fun New Year’s Eve I’ve had in about 4 years. (Coincidentally, it’s also the first time I’ve been single on NYE in that same amount of time.) I spent it in Seattle, hanging out with college friends and going out like the big girl I am.

Now, first off, NYE is a great reason to dress up, and the last time I wore a party dress for NYE I was a freshman in college. I had a rockin’ red H&M dress that I wanted to wear, but as my luck would have it, it does not zip up past my ribs. I’m starting to think it never has, but my post-finals/holidaze craziness didn’t help much. Regardless, I bought a wonderful back-up outfit and looked stinkin’ cute. It felt amazing to wear a party dress for a good reason. I was dressed to impress myself.

NYE is also an excellent time to indulge in great dinners. We went to Brad’s Swingside Cafe in the Fremont neighborhood and shared a family-style Italian dinner. We shared dishes including a non-fried calamari appetizer, homemade ravioli, pasta dishes with veal, venison, and wild boar, and another seafood dish whose name slips my mind but had huge scallops in it. Never mind that, though– all one should know is that it was absolutely delicious. We also split a magnum bottle of wine between the seven of us. Why wouldn’t we get the “large format” bottle?

There was a lull as we waited for more people to join our party back at a friend’s apartment. In that time, we got down to some jams, and drank some more wine. Eventually, we headed down to The George & Dragon for champagne, as well as to officially welcome 2011 into existence. The pub was surprisingly uncrowded, although it was definitely busy, so we wiggled our way into some tables and camped out there. Although I don’t remember specifics at the moment, I remember laughing a lot and also sharing a special kiss– of friendship– at midnight.

Of course, no Seattle NYE would be complete without a Seattle-style hot dog purchased from a street vendor, so we capped the night by nomming on processed meat, cream cheese, and onions. I threw some kraut and mustard onto my hot dog as well, further ensuring its magicness. Not a word, magicness, but who really cares?

Back in Bellevue, The Nest* was reunited, and we shared one more glass of champagne before having our slumber party. All in all, it was a night that made my heart incredibly happy, and it was also a night that made my face hurt with laughter.

That is the way to ring in the New Year.

Welcome to 2011.

*The Nest is a four-person group of friends consisting of my sophomore year college roommates. We are amazing.

Story of my Life

Dec. 31st

Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Harper Collins Children’s @molly_oneill)

Last post of 2010.

We are the hero of our own story. – Mary McCarthy

This is the simplest way of wrapping my life up into a nutshell. Look at it this way, if I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry over the disappointments 2010 brought, I could. I could drop out of school and let the challenges win.

That’s not my thing.

Believing in the impossible is my thing. Looking each day dead in the eye and saying, “I’m going to get through this, whether you like it or not,” is my thing.

What I’ve learned is that nothing is perfect and nothing is totally in my control. What I can do is look for meaning in the chaos and become a better person.

I’ve been blogging long enough to realize that this has become my theme. I’m working on my 2011 theme, too. Can’t wait to unveil it.

In the meantime, please please please be safe tonight and have fun. And if you’re in a time zone that already rang in the new year, well… here’s to you!

Avoiding the Obvious

Dec. 20th

Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

I should have…
– gotten in really good shape, by adjusting my morning schedule to allow for working out. I like sleeping, but I hope to adjust my patterns several days a week (Sunday-Wednesday, at least) to allow for healthier habits. Thursday-Saturday will be reserved for being a responsible and social young adult. Right?
– followed my intuition even more. You know how sometimes you know something, and you know how it can be solved, but you just don’t want to because you’ve become accustomed to a certain standard of living? Yeah, I should have done my disappearing act a lot sooner in certain situations. The best/worst part about not following intuition? The situation blew up in my face anyway. If I had nipped it in the bud 6 months ago, would I be happier? I don’t know. Anyway. Vagueness. Enough of that.
– did not swim or learn to ride a bike. I’m still kicking myself over these two things– why can’t I just learn?!

Bonus points: Um, yes, of course I’m going to do these things in the best capacity possible (a.k.a., at least better than in 2010).  I have a few tricks up my sleeve for making 2011 a thousand times better than 2010.

Aside: I’m getting really fed up with with inane Facebook status updates. Not going to post about it here because I would like to not offend everyone in the world, but for the love of all that is holy, let’s try to be interesting. Anyway. I’m done.

Backblog – Dec. 11th and Stuff I Don’t Need

Dec. 11th

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. Drama: I’ll put on my “big girl pants” and address issues instead of just letting everything sit and get convoluted.
2. Laziness: I did a very good job at the beginning of the quarter keeping up with reading, cleaning, cooking, going out and doing things– and then I slipped into my old habits. I know I can do this, so maybe more “to-do” lists will help.
3. Not working out consistently: How do I eliminate that? Work out consistently. Done and done.
4. Clutter: I’m still doing really well with this, but I’m starting to find clothes I never wear in my dresser again. Time for another Goodwill run.
5. Bitterness: I tend to harbor ill feelings towards those who hurt me. I need to address feelings, let go, and move on. It is as simple as that. Maybe blog a bit more.
6. Not adventuring as much: Let’s face it– I need random road trips and adventures. Winter quarter, I anticipate a lot more of this happening. I’m settled into Corvallis, and now it’s time to branch out and see what there really is to do around here.
7. Not talking to my friends on the phone: I have so many minutes– I just need to get over it and call. It’ll be good to connect with friends that are not in town.
8. Men that don’t treat me like a freshly-baked loaf of cinnamon bread: I don’t know how to actually accomplish getting rid of that, but I know if I do, I’ll be a lot more content. And less stressed.
9. Junk food: Grumble. I need to eat healthier to achieve my goals, it’s true. I need to commit to setting aside weekly grocery trips so I can stay well-stocked on fresh fruits and veggies, and I really need to find protein-based snacks that will keep me full– instead of eating tons and tons and tons of excess carbs while in class. This may be the biggest challenge, but it could be the most rewarding.
10. Boredom: Speaks for itself. How am I bored when I am surrounded by a new city and new friends?
11. Rain: Just kidding. I have no control over that.

11 things that I don’t need… that was difficult to get through. I see a lot of recurring themes, though; I need to get out there and make things happen. Maybe things that could happen include learning to ride a bike and swimming. Just sayin’.


Inspired by In Search of Squid, I will be taking up the Reverb 10 challenge this December. Basically, there is a prompt each day to which one should respond.

No guarantees that this will work, but here we go.

December 1 – One Word.

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

“Turmoil.” (noun – a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion)

This year has been a roller coaster ride– which at least means there were ups and downs, unlike 2009 which was mostly unhappy. Regardless, this year began with a wedding and a family emergency, all in the same day. My boyfriend of almost three years broke up with my shortly, I was working and unhappy, and I also got into the acceptance/interview phase of grad school applications. This was all very confusing, highlighting multiple events and transitions (hey, student development theory), and I am not sure if I processed everything thoroughly.

Near the middle of the year, though, I had fallen for a new boy and was traveling Europe. Life was on the up, with unexplored territory and laughter and adventures all around.

The rest of summer was rather difficult, though. Aforementioned boy freaked out on me leading to the rest of our time “together” being either incredibly stressful or incredibly blissful, I was working a part-time job that was primarily for money, and I was getting ready to leave Seattle.

Once in Oregon, however, things started to settle down. School was great, new friends were great, and the same boy made me feel oh-so-special whenever I visited.

*shattering glass* Now I’m back in a funk. Due to some overwhelming revelations shared with me this morning, I am hurt, upset, and suppressing my Irish-Italian temper like never before.

This year has been disorienting. Turbulent. It has been turmoil.

All I want in 2011 is personal peace. I want to be calm and happy and feel loved and respected. I want to continue adventuring. I want to read more books, dance more dances, play more, and just be.

Is that too much to ask?