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15 Things in 2015

First of all, Merry Christmas!

Let me be a bit personal and share the things that had happened this year. 

This has been a year of a lot of changes, a ton of adjustments and improvements. This year has made me realize that I have fully reached adulthood. 

Here are the things that changed, the things I have learned, and the things that I'm thankful for this year. 

Things I have learned

1. Communication is the key

This is what my boyfriend always says to me. Being in a relationship with somebody who lives on the other side of the world takes a tremendous amount of effort, but we try our best to make it work by always communicating. I am extremely fortunate to have a partner who is not only understanding, but willing to always talk whenever I need him. <3

2. Travelling is never tiring

I have spent much of my time this year to travel. I have been to El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Tagaytay, Baler, Taiwan and Thailand this year. Packing is always an exciting activity for me. I do hope to share all my travel stories with you, and hopefully I get to travel a lot more next year. 

3. Not everything turns in your favor, but that's okay

Probably the toughest move I have to make this year is related to my professional life. I wouldn't bore you with the details but it wasn't what I expected, but I'm taking it as a learning experience while I wait for the bigger things. 

4. Spontaneity can be fun

Last minute changes used to piss me off. Now, I'm learning to relax a little and be more zen when something happens that wasn't planned. Life shouldn't be so predictable anyway. 

5. Expressions of gratitude and kindness shouldn't be shortened

It is universally accepted that 'thank you' can be shortened to 'thanks', but it shouldn't be shortened to 'tnx', 'thnx', or worse, 'ty'. Moreover, 'happy birthday' should never be 'HBD'. A few more syllables or keypad strokes wouldn't hurt. If you want to show gratitude or kindness, do it thoroughly.

Things That Happened

6. I got my first visa 

A trip to Taiwan had me apply for my first visa. So yeah, I got my Japan visa. Hopefully, I'd get to fly to Japan next time. :P

7. The blog turns 4! 1 Million page views!

I never got the chance to write a blog anniversary post, so let me thank you people for supporting and reading this blog. Thank you to my friends and family for letting me take photos of the food before eating, and thank you to my Prince Charming being my self-appointed blog manager. :P

8. Talking about the something you are passionate about it fun..yet a little scary

I was honored to be invited to give a talk to a group of college students about food photography, a first for me. Though I have yet to be a professional food photographer, it was a nerve-wracking yet fun experience to talk about something I am really passionate about. Here's the link for the video of my talk. 

9. I gave up on braving the daily traffic and moved closer to work

After more than five years of commuting at least two hours daily, I finally moved to an apartment. Living with roommates is challenging yet fun but I get to be more productive after work. 

10. Living alone is challenging

I now buy my own groceries, do my own laundry, cook my own breakfast (and lunch box) and clean my own mess daily. On top of that, I have to budget my expenses, which includes my rent, laundry fees, groceries, etc. Cooking my own food regularly takes a lot of creativity but it is quite fulfilling. I might be sharing recipes I have perfected cooking on the blog soon. :)

Things I want to Share

11. Say no to ATM receipts

The best way to keep track of your bank accounts is to enroll in online banking or mobile banking. The receipts printed on the ATM after your withdrawal only shows the amount you have withdrawn. Unless you're a paper hoarder, do print it but if not, don't even bother. 

12. Uber and GrabTaxi is God's gift to commuters

I avoid the rude and overcharging taxi drivers and use Uber or GrabCar most of the time. Not only because it drives you from Point A to Point B at the shortest time possible, but the service of the drivers is outstanding. Don't have a credit card? Get yourself PayMaya or any virtual credit card. The safety, the convenience and the service is worth it. 

13. The world is a huge Hunger Games...not

Most of the young people nowadays see life as a rat race. It's okay to always aspire to be better, but having to compete like there's no tomorrow is something else. There is no need to be chasing something everyday. 

14. Never believe in easy money.

Easy come, easy go. Repeat until fully understood. 

15. Travel as much as you can, but only if you can afford it

Travelling can be addicting and once you're hooked, you'll never stop. Travel for the experience,  not for the pictures. Travel because you can pay for it, not because you can loan it. Travel for yourself, and not for anyone else. 

Again, Merry Christmas!