Before coming up with the title, I had lots of questions in mind. Aside from the typical “how did my last year go?” which I typically ask every end of the year, some other thoughts like “should I still write a year end essay?” and many others try to bother my already preoccupied mind.
People typically publish their year – ending blogs at around the last days of December. I don’t quite understand why I publish mine at around January even during last year when I first started blogging again thru this site. Conventionally too late but I still ended up posting anyway. Just like my 2018 year ending blog which I was only able to publish yesterday morning. Technically, a year too late.
Also read: (1) GOODBYE 2017; (2) (My very late blog post about the) HANGOVERS of 2018
For some reasons which I hope I can be able to disclose as I write this blog, I’ve been on an unannounced and indefinite writing hiatus that lasted for 12 months. Lots of responsibilities came knocking at my door and asking for my complete focus and attention. It was just by chance that I decided to check out this dormant site. Seeing the last published work dated “January 1, 2019” and the unpublished 2018 essay, I was determined to finish it along with publishing 2 additional posts including this one which I’m currently writing. I do hope you dedicate just a few minutes to read this.
Also read: BATAAN, Philippines: Traveled for HEALING and FINDING MYSELF
So, how did my year went by?
Year 2019 still consists of both good and bad. Thing that I usually say eh? But still, let me describe it in three different words. By the way, these descriptions are from both the positive and the negative things that happened during the year that just passed. These words are:
GAME – CHANGING
There are happenings this past year that brought changes on how I should do things. These are what shook “my status quo” and made me adapt a new normal.
My wife got pregnant… AGAIN!
You heard that right. Remember what I said during my previous blog post about a surprise? My wife and I are already trying to conceive for a year, starting December of 2017, 5 months after our first-born Marvel Zane was born but not meant to stay in this world. We were somewhat disheartened during Christmas day in our own home when the pregnancy tests came negative first. But upon flying to Hong Kong to join our family in vacation, my wife were still hysterical about her delayed period. Thus, leading me to walk to the nearest pharmacy and buy 2 sets of pregnancy test kit. I made sure that the test kits I’ll be buying can detect early pregnancies. The rest is already a history; although I remember how the pharmacy attendant looked at me with utter judgement for buying PT kits. I wonder if he assumed that I’m a teenager (LOL!)?
Fast forward to 25th of August 2019, my daughter was born.
During my wife’s 39th week of gestation, at 10:38 in the morning, a baby girl weighing 2.55 kg and 50 cm long came to the earth and into our lives. We gave her the name bore by two of the most beautiful women in my mind (just 2nd to my beautiful wife… remains the UNDISPUTED): Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018) and Hope Elizabeth “Liza” Soberano (a Filipino actress). Well, although I got her first name indeed from Catriona Gray, there’s a much deeper story on how did we decide give her the name Hope Elizabeth. I could blog about it later on when given a chance. But let me tell you that even my wife’s birthing story wasn’t a typical walk-in-a-park given that in order to save both her and our baby, the doctor, who is traditionally conservative, decided to perform a Cesarean section on her. Can you imagine somewhat the horror we had to go through (both emotional and financial) to let it through? But I thank God for a “rainbow after the heavy rain.”
I started attending classes… AGAIN!
I was supposedly done with my academic units way back 2016. Technically, I’m one thesis away from graduating and obtaining that Master’s degree. But after going through leave of absence for 1 year (1 semester of official leave + 1 semester AWOL) and failed attempts to write a thesis for 2 years (1 year of being enrolled to thesis class + 1 year of residency), I decided to call it quits. Well, I technically didn’t quit. I didn’t want to. So, I decided to go for an alternative through a comprehensive exam to be scheduled May of this coming year. In exchange to that, I need to add 12 more academic units + 3 additional units as penalty course due to Maximum Residency Rule (MRR. Yes, I’m already studying for 5 years); a total of 15 academic units or 5 sets of classes. Last semester, ended just December 2018, I enrolled, completed, and passed 9 units or 3 subjects. Thus, only 6 units or 2 subjects and passing the comprehensive exam is all I need to obtain the Master’s degree that I’ve been longing for. Another thing about choosing that path without thesis means also abandoning any possibility of myself studying for Ph.D after this one. I promised myself that I will start focusing more on what I already have and compromise some of the things I desire.
RECORD – BREAKING
My 2019 is also a year that I broke a lot of records. To tell you a story, I did lots of things and many things happened to me during the year 2017 and 2018. In 2019, there are either things I wasn’t able to do or simply surpassed what I did on the previous years.
I became very happy with a grade of 3.00.
As college and engineering students mostly happy with this grade, I used to be not. I always aim anything higher. I wanted to be a scholar. But it became different when I enrolled in Continuum Mechanics (Course Code ES 230). The subject itself, along with the instructor that handles this course, made my student life almost a living h***. As usual, there are other responsibilities I need to do outside my studies. I first thought I was going to fail this course. My mental health somewhat went at stake. I already prepared myself for the worst. But surprisingly, I passed. I was really happy about it despite of it being below the bare minimum. Aside from that, I was able to maintain my running average of 2.00 or higher for all the 33 units I enrolled so far. With that, I’m thankful already knowing that I did my all.
We didn’t left the country
(except during January 1 when we’re on Hong Kong on our way back to the Philippines). ZERO (0) countries visited. Since my wife and I wanted to go through an overly safe pregnancy, we decided to “call it quits” for travelling abroad, at least during this season. Although we don’t blame our overseas travel to Malaysia and Singapore last 2017 (wife is also pregnant to our first child), we don’t want to gamble and take a risk. Aside from that, I’m thinking of finishing my thesis (which didn’t happened) and had to attend classes. Thus, cancelling all our scheduled overseas travels last year. Our flight to Ho Chi Minh scheduled January, Hong Kong, and Macao scheduled March were all cancelled including any potential travels we could’ve done. Although we’re able to refund the money we spent booking the flight to Ho Chi Minh due to it being cancelled by the airline company, we failed to refund our Hong Kong and Macao flight ticket despite already being requested (we cited my wife’s pregnancy as a reason).
In addition, we didn’t spent our New Year’s Eve abroad.
Since my wife and I had to consider our newborn baby, we can’t travel with my family (my parents and my sisters) to Japan. Aside from waiting for her to have a better immune system, she doesn’t have a passport yet. I was honestly feeling insecure about it. Especially about not travelling overseas. But positively hoping that it will be different this year. I’m not saying that it’s boring to spend the holiday here in the Philippines particularly here in Manila. Besides, we spent it with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law eating and just conversing at home, like what we usually do in the province. Also, it’s my daughter’s first time visiting the Mall which we did for two (2) consecutive days during the 30th and the 31st, much to her enjoyment. Which for me, will always matter.
No flights within the Philippines either (for my wife and I together).
Even within the country wasn’t an exception. My wife and I decided to ditch any plans of flying around.
So, I have endured flying alone… at least once.
Technically, I’m not alone though. I flew with my friends, my college best friends of 12 years and still counting (we call ourselves TEAM BADJAO), to Albay during March of last year to attend the wedding of Rene (one of my college friends) and his then fiancee Iza. I was supposed to fly with my wife though. But ended up flying solo because of her pregnancy and one more reason (which again I will disclose later). Although I find it better traveling with her, I enjoyed touring and going to various towns around the province to have a nice and decent photo with the “Ever Majestic Mount Mayon” with its perfectly-shaped cone. Again, a nice idea to blog about right?
Just a little trivia to share, this is the 3rd wedding for our group (1st was our friend Mors way back 2016 in Surigao and 2nd was my wedding in Batangas last 2017). In addition, the only work-related trip that I did was a bus ride going to Naga City during the month of May. Being too shy that time, I wasn’t able to take a photo of myself. Even just a selfie.
But I gave my wife three (3) staycations: one of them is outside Manila.
Well, even on a seemingly sticky situation (again… there’s another reason, not just pregnancy), I still have to find a way for my wife and I to just enjoy without endangering our then daughter in her womb through strenuous activities. The closest thing I have in mind was staycations. We can just stay around a hotel or a booked accommodation and just go to nearby restaurants to dine in. Last year, we’re able to have not just one, but three staycations: (1) Seda Hotel in Vertis North, Quezon City during February as our Valentines date, (2) Wind Residences in Tagaytay as our little summer getaway, and (3) an accidental check-in at Imperial Palace Suites again in Quezon City. Well, if my wife and my daughter still can’t travel like what we used to do, I’m highly considering stay cations as alternative for this year.
No mountains climbed (both within and outside the country).
Contrary to what happened last 2018, which I was able to climb mountains, I wasn’t able to in 2019. Not even the Osmeña Peak in Cebu which I was able to climb twice the last two (2) years and the Elephant Mountain in Taiwan which I was able to climb last year.
No additional tattoo.
I also consider this as a broken record given that I always have new tattoo every year (2 tattoos during 2017 and 1 during 2018). I’m considering getting another one for year 2020 after some milestones.
No (new) blog posts.
Well, the only blog I posted last year 2019 was drafted December of 2018. Also, the blog scheduled to be posted supposedly December of 2019 was published during the 1st day of January 2020. So technically, my blog went dormant for a year.
And only twelve (12) new INSTAGRAM PHOTOS… with following still intact
My Instagram was also affected by the busyness of my life. I was only able to post twelve photos and just changed my filter. Thus, making my feed seemingly uncurated and horrible looking (ugh). I still hope you follow me though: @dextograph. I promise to make my feed better this coming year.
But people are still reading my blog… with visitors increased more than twice of that of year 2018.
Just wow! When I decided to revisit my blog once just last month, I thought that people will stop reading ALL my posts. Surprisingly, I found out that people are still reading my posts in 2019. In fact, visitors of this site dramatically increased to more than twice to that of the previous year; which I find inspiring to write again. I can’t promise to be consistent though as I still have lots of responsibilities to attend to.
LIFE – STRETCHING
Some things in the past year also stretched me to my core and pushed me through my limits. Honestly, 2019 was also the year that my mental health went at stake. But gave way to a lot of realizations and learning takeaways.
We’re stretched… FINANCIALLY.
Aside from cancelling some scheduled travels, my wife decided to quit work as part of our means for her safe pregnancy. Well, even after she gave birth, our baby will need a lot of attention from her parents especially the mother (she’s breastfeeding our child BTW). But in exchange to that, our finances were cut off by almost half as we both have to depend only on how much I make every month. So I had to resort to a lot of money-making stint, inside and outside my profession; much to my wife’s little dismay.
And I was stretched… HOLISTICALLY.
An additional part-time job (my current full-time job is already hectic as h***), graduate school, helping take care of the baby (changing clothes and diapers, etc), and helping my wife with her postpartum blues (IT EXISTS YOUNG DADS!!! SO BE CONSIDERATE ABOUT YOUR WIVES / PARTNERS / GIRLFRIENDS). I don’t think there’s a need for further elaboration about what I just said (LOL!). Responsibilities coming at me I’m almost forgetting how to rest and breathe. I even almost forgot EVERYTHING I learned from my last year’s healing week. How sad right? But I’m quite hoping that this year will be different.
Endured a LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP for several months.
Upon my wife’s early stages of pregnancy, my mother-in-law is already offering her to stay in the province for few months just until she’s about to give birth much to her refusal. Until March when she was called about her dad’s illness becoming severe more than ever. Wasn’t proven but it was suspected that his cancer cells may had already hit the brain. He’s unconscious and sleepy all the time, which is somewhat not good. Almost two (2) weeks after driving my wife home to Batangas, her dad passed away. So she decided to stay at home for the next 3 months in order to help her mother cope up. As I technically can’t leave my job, we have to endure this kind of setup. Both of us honestly hated being on the long distance relationship, one of the reasons I left my first job 6 years ago. I endured sleeping on the office from time to time as I feel sad going home alone. Another reason why my wife and I weren’t able to travel much last year. I drive from Manila going to Batangas vice versa every now and then though and we mostly visit the nearby beaches one way or another. Sometime the end of June, I picked up my wife from her hometown, drove to a road less traveled, and took her back home. That road, literally, was fascinating I hope I can blog soon.
OTHER THINGS WORTH CELEBRATING
Seeing our daughter grow for four months (and more) despite of the hardships of knowing what she really needed every time she cries.
My wife and I being married for 2 years (approaching 7 years of being together from the start)
Had been (and still) teaching students about Practical Project Management for a year and a half now (hopefully more) although I’m already thinking of changing the subject I wanted to teach.
Still working at the same company that I despise for FOUR (4) years now.
Ending the year looking forward to the “promised” year that is 2020. That everything will be better than the last year.
Thank you everyone and I hope you all enjoyed reading this blog.
I also hope you all had a great holiday season as we gradually face the hard reality.
May favor be among all of us in this coming decade.
– D E X –
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