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December was such a busy month that I didn’t notice it passing so quickly. Today is the last day and soon a new year will unfold. And I have almost forgotten to post about my enchanting trip to Kobe Luminarie.

Kobe Luminarie is held every December in which illuminations are built in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck Hyogo Prefecture on January 1995. I was still young back then so I didn’t know such a disaster happened in Japan. It must have been very hard during that time in Kobe. But now they have largely recovered and that is very good.

There was a huge crowd of people as expected. Saying it ‘huge’ in this post is actually an understatement. Because it’s so huge and large-scale that they have to slowly direct all these people to the illumination site so there were a lot of walking and detours.

It was really a spectacular sight. Though I must be frank, illuminations are still grander in the Philippines.

And so for the reflections of this past year..

I remember back then, I said during last year’s December that I will definitely have a different Christmas next year.  And sure enough it happened. I received many blessings, so many that sometimes I can’t contain my happiness to myself. I am very thankful. I was taking my master’s program from the University of the Philippines during the almost first half of this year, and then I transferred during the second half  at Kyoto University.

It was just dream before, going and studying to Kyoto. I didn’t know it could be possible. It’s all thanks to my sensei, he was so kind to accept me in his lab even though my background is different from their research interests. And the lab members are also kind to me, friendly and helpful. And I should note that I am their first and only international student.

I think the most important lesson I learned this year is to believe and to have courage. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.  I am just so glad. I hope this coming year will also be a blessed one for me. Let’s do our best! 頑張りまあしょう!

Happy New Year! あけましておめでとう

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“Next year, I will never be the same again.”

This is what I had told myself last year, and without even realizing, everything came in a blur. Even now, I still feel that it was just a moment ago.

I graduated last year. After a week, I had a job offer in a research laboratory. Then I became a graduate student majoring in Microbiology. Sampling, laboratory work, papers and studies kept me busy that I lost track of time. Christmas was nearing and I had to apply to universities abroad. Just this November, I took courage and sent emails to professors asking for openings in their laboratories. I am still unsure if things will go well but I do hope for my sake. I want to see new perspectives, learn more laboratory techniques and to experience working in a different environment. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I wish everyone a Happy New Year! My new year’s resolution is to have time for my hobbies. I need to develop my other skills so that I will become a well-rounded individual and not just someone who does scientific stuff for the rest of her day.

It was my second time to go to Singapore this last holidays. And that meant airplane ride for three and a half hours. Though it wasn’t my first time, I still find it thrilling and a bit scary because I’m afraid of fast vehicles and heights yet I like the rare cloud scenery. It feels like you’re going to Vespin (a planet in Star Wars), the City in Clouds.

It was also my first time to feel turbulence during in the middle of the ride. The airplane went up and then suddenly dropped more than twice! It frightened me a bit, but what really made me uncomfortable was that nasty feeling in my stomach.

During the airplane ride, I spotted a curious-looking island and it turned out to be the tadpole-shaped Corregidor island. It’s really nice to know your geography once in a while.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year! I haven’t had the time to make a timely New Year post, and besides I do not have fireworks photos to share. But I really felt blessed last year and I know God will still bless me this year. It just takes a childlike appreciation to see the little blessings He showers us every moment of our lives. Though I felt I didn’t change much for good last year, I will always try to be better and never give up. I look forward positively on how things will unfold this year.

We went to Subic Ocean Adventure as my uncle’s treat this New Year’s Eve. Going to Subic took about less than an hour; less than what we used to since the SCTEX road was built for shorter routes. So, I have been to Subic many times but this was my first to be in Ocean Adventure. We went through the forest-thick roads as we admired the ocean scenery at the other side of the car. It was perfectly calm and powdery blue and I felt like I wanted to go to beach instead!

Soon we arrived at the huge and almost-empty parking lot area beside the venue. We fell in line, bought our tickets, then we went to their aquarium displays first since we still had time to kill before the first show.

I took the liberty of capturing photos of marine animals but some of them were really blurry.

A really huge hermit crab! I used to buy small ones outside my school.
Nice camouflage

Then we went to the location of the first show and we arrived at the amphitheater. They made some nice introductory songs (almost like rap) and dances about Ocean Adventure, marine life, saving the Earth, etc. There were also two trampoline guys who performed a thrilling comedy show which made me watch in awe!

Next location was Seaside Stadium.

An intelligent bat who performed some tricks for us. :)

This was my favorite show: Sea Lion Marine Patrol. The program was about a sea lion who wanted to enroll in the Marine Patrol but first he had to prove himself worthy by performing tricks. Somebody from the audience could also participate but he/she have to challenge the sea lion. Of course all of these were just for fun. The sea lion and the speakers also taught us how to save the environment through 3R. The whole theme of Ocean Adventure is advocacy of saving the Earth and marine life.

After lunch, we went to the last show of the day: Dolphins. The dolphin show here was way better than in Sentosa, Singapore.

It was a hot and windy afternoon after the show so we bought ice creams. Then we went home and we saw some monkeys passing by the roads. It was a great morning at Subic!

Year 2009 had already begun and as what they say, “new year, new life”. So, I wanted to have a little mending in my life. And my new year’s resolution? I’m afraid I can’t comply with it completely though I will still try and do my best to renew myself little by little.

1. I’ll pray the rosary as often as I can, preferably every day. This may be a good chance because I already promised God that I would do it, though I wasn’t able to fulfill it completely partly because of laziness, lack of free time and private place.

2. I’ll  still be implementing the midnight study style since I think it’s the most effective way of studying in my case. Advantages are quiet environment, faster internet, and I can prepare for school earlier.

3. My sleep should be five hours or more; rest and sleep during lunch breaks as much as possible. I’ll be needing it.

4. I’ll be doing my requirements in advance if I have time, and the most important thing is NOT TO CRAM.

5. Save and budget money; put the coins in my piggy bank whenever I receive change in my money.

6. Save papers; use the back of the used handouts.

7. I’ll be helping more in household chores. I’ll avoid things that can upset Mommy.

8. I’ll be attending the SCA ORI meetings regularly.

I know I have to add more but I can’t think at the moment. I guess I’ll be doing my best in my studies, be more religious, and of course enjoy my life. I’ll be learning from my mistakes last year and try not to do it again. Happy New Year!!!