10 Things About 2009: Lessons, Moments and Life As It Is

Before anything else, please take a moment of silence to commemorate the fallen; the families who lost their loved ones and to the souls that continue to struggle their way through life. 2009 has been a tragic year with atrocious death tolls due to calamities, crimes and transportation accidents, not to mention, a number of people we lost who played their respective roles in the entertainment industry. They will all be missed.


All I know that this was the year I’ve been waiting for. The break from the monotonous life in my beloved town. I’m not saying the life in Los Banos is dull and flat, but maybe I just developed this craving for adventure and for a new atmosphere. I want to meet more people, experience a different culture and yes, travel –the pay, I can say, is just awesome.

I know I might sound ungrateful for narrowing down my year down to 10 Events. But these 10 events are well, the highlights of my 2009 that changed me. Write down your own share of events and you’ll see what a blast the year has been 🙂

10 I Graduated

After 17 years of being in school, I finally got my butt up the stage and shook hands with the University officials. I graduated, man! The feeling was exhilarating. You can just imagine the rush when you’re walking on the red carpet and you hear the booming voice of your dean call your name. Of course, at first I was really bummed because it was raining and the procession cannot start because of it. But it was okay, I mean, the show must go on –and so was our graduation. Congratulations, UPLB CLASS OF 2009!

all cheeky despite the rain. photo by alex

9 I Flew in to Laos

Yeah the trip of a lifetime, not for vacation but for a job. One thing that excites me about my job though is I’m going to travel –NOT BAD. Despite all my frustrations, headache and insecurities in and outside work –I like it. I actually like it. And I will be forever thankful for it. I met lots of interesting people who, I think, genuinely liked my personality and I am looking forward to meeting more. I spent the last seven months and twenty-four days in a foreign territory and all I can say is, it kicked my one-note life’s ass.

Thai Airways International same old boring economy class flight. Not that I'm complaining, but yeah I resorted to camwhoring. Dad insisted on wearing the mask because of the onset of the H1N1 pandemic, and we were obedient enough but I removed it afterwards.
My former officemates…now we're company-mates. LOL
I go to office looking like this –isn't our uniform fab? It's silk! Forgive the droopy eyes LOL

I left my desk much cleaner than this 🙂

8 The Vegetarian Life

I decided to become a vegetarian January 1st, 2009. Then I became a semi-vegan when I arrived in Laos. It’s just so friggin’ hard to turn down their meat-specialties, seriously and that I know my boss wouldn’t be so pleased if I don’t eat what she orders. Right now, I’m contemplating if I should go back to the old vegetarian routine or if I should stick with the semi-vegan diet. The reason why I wanted to become a vegetarian is so I can avoid gaining weight derived from Trans Fat, Triglycerides, Saturated fat and so on. I do believe it is going to help me look younger than I am and that I will be healthier. Apparently, discipline is hard (aren’t we all aware!). But yeah, there is a fatter chance I would get back on track (Vegetarianism) so I’ll lose weight –and that I love animals.

Papaya Salad is my favorite Lao dish. It's shredded green papaya mixed with tomatoes, soaked in paa dek (their version of bagoong), lemon extract and loads of chopped chili. I can live with this plus sticky rice! Go Green.

7 People thought I was Married and that I Have Kids –lots of it.

So this is kind of connected with the previous entry. I look old. Maybe it’s because of the excess weight on the arms, the hips and the thighs; the long limp hair and the eyeglasses. I am not saying Mothers look drab but well, I believe I resemble the typical distressed mother with kids ages 0-2, the terrible kid age. With or without makeup on, I am old to their eyes…and maybe because I feel old, myself. This was a highlight because I’ve never been asked if I was married or how many kids I have, well, not to my face. But it made me realize how I am being too hard on myself. All my stress and pressure I choke myself on reflect on how I carry myself and honestly, it sucks. I want to be young-looking because I am young. So I’ve decided to love myself more and don’t sweat on things that I really shouldn’t worry about, like shoes. LOL

Yeah, I DO look old.

6 My First Drunk Moment

I had my first taste of beer in Laos in 2008, during Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year). It was rude to turn down an offer of beer because it symbolized bubbling happiness. I was 19, I felt legal. I had my first glass, followed by the second because before you can finish a glass, they would immediately refill it. Then I lost count.

I had my first throw-up in June 2009. That night was a freakin’ blur. I went out with my newly-found friend, Thina. She was this outgoing and vivacious person who loves a mean party. Yeah we went out, drank cocktails and all. It was time to go home, I asked Thina’s friend, who was driving, to stop the car because the thing was coming out of my tummy in a second. I threw-up and cleaned the car for any vomit residue the best I can. Until today, that particular spot after the traffic light is the most magnificent throw-up spot along the streets of Vientiane –Cole was there.

Thina and me 😀 good times, good times.

5 Overseas Birthday Special

How does it feel when the whole club stops dancing just to sing happy birthday to you in the most peculiar but entertaining tone? IT FELT FANTASTICALLY OVERWHELMING. So, I celebrated my 21st birthday in a city where Party is a universal language. I can still remember vividly the sound, the chatter, the clink of the glasses and the hip-breaking party music that night. Feels good to be 21, I’ll say.

21st Birthday 🙂

4 My First Ultimate Splurge…wait for it…On Equipment, and oh alright and SHOES

Yes, I bought a two camera lenses and a digital point-and-shoot camera. And well, three pairs in one trip. BUUUUTTTTT I need them, the lenses, I mean. And the shoes? Uhh, well. I need them as well –for confidence! So okay, I becoming all defensive and shrieky right now. But I consider the lenses as investment. If it weren’t for those, my bosses would not recognize my knack for photography and they wouldn’t get me to shoot their layout for a magazine and for their advertisement and for wall art and for their budding travel site. It was a wise thing to do, at least for now. Haha. And whatever, the shoes are loooove.

One scratch from some random careless person would MARK his end. Grr

3 Printed my first wave of Portfolio

You just know it. The sound of the printer warming-up. You can actually smell the ink while your photo comes out of the feed. And it’s upside-down. It was exciting. Once you flip the paper and see your photo printed in A4 and see your watermark at the lower-right of the photo, you feel proud. Sometimes, you just impress yourself. As you leaf through the pages of your portfolio, you never get tired of the all-giddy feeling and pride you have for your work-of-art. Finally, something pretty came from you. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

Ria's and Thina's portrait, respectively. I love their shots. The lighting just does it 😀

2 My First-Ever International Sporting Event

And so the 25th SEA Games isn’t exactly a big deal for the rest of Asia, let alone the world… but it was from where I stood. Locals said it was actually the first time they’ve seen their citizens go ga-ga over an event –get together to cheer on for their country. It was the first time Team Laos wasn’t at the bottom of the roster. It wasn’t just special to me, it was special for the whole city.

and The TOP thing that actually HAPPENED in 2009 that I am most certainly proud of is…

1 I Smile even when my insides are in chaos

You know what smile can do. When a person smiles at you, it actually sends you smiling without reason. I never thought how powerful smile can be until I gave it myself. I smile at people I don’t know. I smile when people smile at me. I smile. And maybe, just maybe it was because I finally accepted the fact that Life is truly unfair and difficult on its own and we are left with no choice but to live it and live it well. We will never know who we are until we tell ourselves. We will never be this person again even if we get another lifetime. So until then, cherish what we have –families, friends and opportunities. Let us remember that when life gets tough, it only gets better. And when we go through trials and hardships, we just have to SMILE. Everything will be okay and tomorrow will always be a new day.

When you smile, everyone else will follow

Good health, wealth and loads of smiles, chuckles and laughter.



2 responses to “10 Things About 2009: Lessons, Moments and Life As It Is”

  1. hi cole! great post as usual! hehe so love your thoughts especially the top list. smile and the world will smile back at you =) have a blessed and prosperous 2010!

    1. same to you ate! congratulations!! 🙂 thanks for stopping by… i see you around!

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