Hi! In about a week, you’ll be saying goodbye. I have to be honest that for the most part, you sucked big time. I dunno if you hold something against humanity (and I think you’d be justified to do so seeing as humans have not been human for the past years), but in my personal life, I still have so much to be thankful for.
Let me start at the beginning…
In January, I bid goodbye to my precious Apostolos, my Akri. For those of you who do not know, Apostolos was my Ford Ranger, one of five grand prizes which I won at a raffle in 2014. I was sad to let my ride go, but the new owner is a friend and I still get to borrow Akri for long drives.
Having sold him (I know vehicles are usually gendered female but I prefer my stuff to be male), I had enough money to pay for stuff. Bought my new laptop, Aricles, and my new tab, Joshua.
My first crime novella came out in a bundle on Buqo! I was one of sixteen authors who finished the crime writing online class held in October the previous year. As of this writing, ten of us have been able to publish our stories as standalones, launching our books six months later – in June.
February was fun and full of adventure. Canyoneering in Alegria, a trip to Apo Island to swim with the turtles, Bais and Manjuyod, and up to the Twin Lakes. What was more fun? The friends who shared the adventures with me.
March was more quiet. I welcomed Queng’s Theater Center team to Dumaguete, playing host and tour guide for them. Oh, and Pam was with them for the first two days, too. Went to Apo Island again, and to Bais to see the dolphins.
I’m skipping April (nothing too exciting there) to move on to May – another fun month (except for the Elections, which … ugh… I don’t want to go into that). I was with a set of newfound friends from the RWP and #romanceclass community. Swimming and sunning ourselves, gorging on glorious food, and just lazing about.
June reunited me with my bro and his family. I have missed the kids so much and spending time with them for the brief vacation they had, plus my niece celebrating her birthday here, was precious. Looking back, it now has a more precious meaning because it was the last time Nanay was able to go out with us.
Month-end, #HeistClub authors launched our standalone crime novellas in both print and as ebooks. Yay!
July was pivotal. I’d forgotten what the exact date was but I woke up one morning to a Viber message (or was it an email?) from my Mom. She was screaming (yes, I heard her voice) and ecstatic. My immigration papers were finally being processed for visa issuance! So much yaaaayyyy!!!!
Will skip August again and move on to September for the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) yaayyy! I wasn’t part of the usual MSV meet n greet. I had no new book and my manuscript for the collaboration didn’t make it to the deadline. But thanks to the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), indie writers and publishers got a booth for selling! Wheee! First time for me to be at the fair for all 5 days! And get this, I got interviewed on ABS-CBN’s Bandila (evening news), ran for about ten minutes, aired for about 5 seconds.
Also in September, my grandmother celebrated her 95th birthday. Funny that whenever she was asked, she’d say 92. And when I corrected her, she said she was trying to pass herself off as younger than her age. Oh, Nanay. Little did we know, or maybe I did, I felt it. It would be her last birthday on earth.
October is my birth month and I celebrated by spending a week in Bali. Glorious, beautiful, breathtaking, awesome Bali. I was joined by BFF Queng for the first few days, then I was on my own. Then there was the birthday surprise. I might have mentioned I’d be celebrating my birthday but I wasn’t expecting the staff of Dewangga Bungalow to give me a birthday cake. So grateful, and so happy.
Oohhh! And then there was #FeelsFest! Woot! Launched a new book – an anthology of short stories here.
November was hard. Nanay left us. Although we lost her, I believe there was still so much to be thankful for. She lived a full life. She was ready. She made sure we were ready as well. Or as ready as we ever could be. We bid her goodbye at noon on a Thursday.
I love you forever, Nanay.
And then there’s December. Busy working on two manuscripts – one in English and one in Filipino. So I think I might be driving myself a bit crazy there.
That was my year. And as we go into the final stretch before we welcome 2017, I lift up my prayers and wishes.
First of all, thank you, Lord, for every opportunity to grow, all those moments of joy, each sacrifice that made me a better person. Thank you for family and friends who are there, who will always be there. Thank you for those who came and went, they brought valuable lessons for me to learn from.
I pray for peace, for healing, for your guiding light, for strength, for hope, for all. As we go into the new year, may we remember and cherish this life that we have. This life with which to give glory and honor.
Dear 2016, you dealt a heavy blow. But yeah, as far as I’m concerned, there is still so much I am thankful for.
Looking forward to 2017. Bring it on!
Merry Christmas, y’all! And try to be safe from firecrackers this New Year.