My 2011 in review

This is the first time I am doing this kind of post. I will try my best to recall and review the past 365 days of my life. Hopefully, this will become a successful and meaningful attempt.

January 2011 – I almost thought that my first month would turn out so monotonous and similar to that of my previous first months. After savoring my regular Christmas break, I will be back to work and teaching. I have tons of paper to check and outputs to follow up.

I felt so selfish because I kept thinking about myself. I almost forgot that this month marked the first death anniversary of my paternal grandmother.  I miss her terribly now…. Remembering the death of my grandmother led me to another unexpected death.  It was my first time to lose a friend… One of my few close colleagues passed away.

February 2011 – Month of hearts? Never and not really for me. The month with the least number of days brought me a lot of work. I was in a rush to beat deadlines. I have to check the papers of my students who are about to defend their Business Plans. At the same time, some heaven sent free lance works came. Since the month of graduation is coming, thesis consultancy works sprouted during this month.  Hopefully, the trend will remain this year.

Oh and I have to emphasize this, the feeling of being pathetic on that 14th day was gone because I was so engrossed with work. Now I found the best antidote for this heart disease. LOL

March 2011 – Relieved! My teaching chores is about to end. However, this period gives me both happiness and sadness. Happiness because I can finally rest from teaching. Sadness because the extra income from teaching is gone.

April 2011 – I terribly miss the additional income I have from teaching.  I was starting to get broke. I miss my shopping money. LOL Despite the fact that I have a screaming empty wallet, I was able to visit a new place. I was able to finally set foot to Puerto Galera.

May 2011 – My broke life continues….But I still found a reason to be happy because this blog celebrated it’s first anniversary!!!! I started the 30 day blog challenge and I believe most of my almost decent and meaningful posts were made in this month.

June 2011 – The birthday month of my Mother. I was so guilty because I cannot give her a decent celebration. I almost wanted to pull the opening of classes so that I could finally teach and earn the much needed money.

Me and my boss was transferred to another work station. Surprisingly, we were transferred to my old work post. Major revamps in the workplace also happened.

As a result of the major changes in the workplace, our office was tasked to spearhead a Strategic Planning activity. It was an out of town work held in my favorite Club Balai Isabel.

July 2011 – Got some great news! The National Cheng Kung University emailed a life changing news. They said that my paper was still considered for presentation in the 15th Asia Pacific Management Conference. I should be happy but deep inside, I wasn’t. I suddenly found myself half hearted of pursuing my dream.

And I almost forgot, this month happens to be my Dad’s birthday. Guilt again hit me because I wasn’t able to buy or provide a decent present to the greatest man in my life.

August 2011 – I worked so slow… The most awaited and much missed long weekend was found in this month. While other people are savoring it, I was left at home rushing and revising my paper. I was having a difficulty capturing my much needed spark in writing.

September 2011 – I was able to revise and submit my paper in time for the conference’s deadline. I was so happy and fulfilled! I never realized that there’s still so much work ahead of me…I’m talking about that elusive funding opportunities that started my Crayola Series.

I started my regular weekend jogging!

October 2011 –  The birth month of my special brother. I was again the guilty sister who felt that I wasn’t able to value and love him.

The sad Crayola series I started ended in this month. Just when I was ready to give up my dream of having my first international presentation, God gave me the funding opportunity I’ve been crying and begging for.

November 2011 – I can usually feel the spirit of Christmas during this month. I am in the mood for shopping and all those unnecessary spending I have struggled to remove in my life. For the first time,  I never felt any inch of excitement and anticipation for Christmas. I was full of nervousness and anxiety for the fulfillment of my dream. I was counting the days before November 30.

A day before my flight, we had the Annual Employees’ Awards Night. It was supposedly a time to drink and feast with my few close friends. I was perhaps the only employee who wasn’t excited about the event.  I was all restless and nervous.

December 2011 – The first day of December also gave me first time accomplishments. I was able to set foot in another country FOR THE FIRST TIME and ON MY OWN! The presentation was the main challenge… but for me, finding Tainan is the first major task to beat. In God’s grace, I was able to reach Tainan safe and was able to render my dream presentation.  Thank you Taiwan! 🙂

I know I may have forgotten some important details in my 2011.. To my dear close friends who are reading this, please feel free to comment and remind me. I will highly appreciate it.

To all those people who made my 2011, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Cliche as it may sound, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of you.

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An Unexpected Attempt for Best Costume

Now that I have more than enough time to blog, how ironic that I have to force myself to get up and write. 🙂 Pardon the bragging but I am just savoring my once a year holiday break for two weeks. This is the only benefit I enjoy as a result of working for a school.  Lesser pay comes with more vacay!  Aside from staying in bed, reading books, playing with my pad, I most of the time out (guilty) shopping and mall hopping either with Nanay (mother) or with one of my girlfriends, Anne.

Before my much awaited vacay, I was looking forward on my last day at work. In our case, last reporting day on December meant the annual Christmas Party.  I don’t know if it’s the same in your workplace, but my former boss started this tradition of having themed Christmas parties. Every year,  employees  are required to dress up with the theme. I enjoy seeing my colleagues dress up and make fun of themselves. But in my case, let us just say that I am one of those reserved or almost the “killed joy” employees. I am one of the those hard headed people who don’t take the time and effort to plan, purchase or rent a costume. I just haul my closet and check whatever can fit.  If  I have to purchase, I’ll see to it that I’ll venture to something I can practically use.

For this year, we were instructed to dress up in Spanish inspired costumes. Whew! When I googled images of Spain’s national costume, my initial reaction was NO WAY!  I found huge ruffled sleeves, peticoat layered skirts, black veil with a tiara, flowers, red and yellow dresses, almost similar to what females wear in a Flamenco dance. Wow! Though there’s a cash incentive for the best dressed, it was never my dream to earn that award. I want the money but never the award LOL!

I suddenly found my unusual self thinking of what to wear on our last day. With the help of the Holy Spirit, (perhaps) I remembered that Spain recently won the FIFA World Cup. With that in mind, I thought of wearing Spain’s national football jersey. Anyway, we were instructed to wear only “Spanish inspired” costume. My male colleague loved my idea and so my first attempt to plan a costume for the Christmas party happened. Rather than wearing red layered skirts,

I’d rather buy and wear this jersey

This one suits my personality and I guess this a more practical purchase. I can use the jersey for my (hopefully) regular weekend jogging.

So after so much thinking, I ended up with this

I’m the member in the darkest jersey.  I guess I purchased the old design of Spain’s National Football Team. One of my colleagues said that I got the perfect jersey because I can serve as the goalkeeper.

As it turns out, some of my male colleagues also shared the same idea. Hence, the National Football team of Spain was formed during the Christmas party.  🙂 For the record,  our team even earned a nomination spot for the best costume.

Though we didn’t win, I was happy because a number of my colleagues appreciated our idea.  It appeared that our costume is the most practical yet unrealized concept.

Another year younger and happier

For those who have been reading my posts, you are more or less familiar of my dream to finally take a vacation leave on my birthday. Fortunately and unfortunately, I decided not to follow that dream. I reported for work and I am happy to say that it was a decision I will never regret.

I arrived at work late. Good thing I was blessed with a boss who is more concerned with quality output than punctuality. LOL I finished some works in the morning which mostly relates to teaching. Arrrgh to paper works! In the afternoon, another office invited me and my Boss to join their Christmas luncheon party.  We were so happy over some Chinese dishes, a videoke machine and the classic Christmas exchange gift.

A lot of offices in the workplace also had their respective Christmas parties on my birthday. In effect, everyone seems to be so happy, lively and pleasant on that day. No grouchy and pissed off faces for a day at work, the best birthday gift! Can we maintain this atmosphere everyday?

As my birthday treat to my few close colleagues turned friends, I ordered some boxes of pizza. And since there are Christmas parties everywhere, everyone seems to be so full. I have to force people to eat my pizza treat. LOL

Everything almost went well on my birthday except for some minor incident involving a gate crasher aka another case of insensitive colleague and a dissatisfied customer.   Modesty aside, I was able to handle and resolve the situation on my own. Phew!

The little stress faded away when I treated my few close friends for dinner.

 

Thank you Lord. Thank you for giving me another year to be happy.

Exploring the Historical Tainan

As promised, here’s the sequel of my blog post that relates my recent trip to Taiwan.

After the conference, the management of the National Cheng Kung University was gracious enough to give us a tour to some historic places in Tainan.

Our first stop was the Confucius Temple

One of the many entrance points to the Confucius Temple

The Facade of the Confucius Temple

I have always been mesmerized by the history and culture of the Chinese. The temple brings some of my childhood memories. When I was a kid, some local channels in the Philippines air Chinese drama series without any English translation every Sunday morning.  For some reason, I always watch these Chinese shows even though I don’t understand anything. I was contented and amazed by merely observing the actors’ costumes and the grand temples that serve as their constant setting.

According to our tourist guide, the temple was built in 1665 and it served as a school or as they call it, training ground for intellectuals.

Here are more pictures inside the temple

Feels like I’m part of a Chinese movie 😉

Do you notice anything with the structure? This three-storey structure was uniquely built. It’s first floor is square shaped, second floor is circular and the third is octagon shaped.

Our next stop was the Angping Fort.

This site became a central site of trading between China, Europe, and Japan. History however relates that this originally served as headquarters which aimed to protect Taiwan from foreign invaders.

and our last stop, For Provintia

It was the Dutch who led the establishment of this site in 1653. Today, the open space (as shown in the first picture) becomes a regular venue for night concerts.

After the tour, all the international delegates were treated to a sumptuous dinner. However, since my flight to Manila was scheduled at 1 am, I decided not to join the dinner. I rushed to the High Speed Rail Station as I was afraid to be left by my plane.  Even though my trip to Taiwan was literally a short visit, I already felt so accomplished. But if given another chance, I would love to visit and explore more places in Taiwan. If only I can remove the visa requirement and all those paper works. LOL

I hope you enjoyed my mini tour of Tainan.  I am currently on a two-week vacay, this is the best perk I enjoy as a result of working for an academic institution.  🙂 So far, I have wasted one week doing nothing booooo!

The story of my bravery – Day 1 in Taiwan

After a week of silence, I’m back to fulfill my promise of sharing more stories and pictures of my trip to Taiwan.  Honestly, I am still overwhelmed by the entire experience up to this date. I made it to Taiwan on the first day of December and everything still feels like yesterday. The experience is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. The trip would always remind me that I can make things happen.

My flight to Taiwan was scheduled at 11:30 pm. Whew! Since I am working on a budget, this is the price I have to pay.  Cheaper flights usually travel on those wee hours. Though I would like to say that I am thankful to my institution for shouldering this expense.  It gave me a big relief.

I arrived in Taoyuan Airport at 1 am and all the while, I thought the airport never runs out of people. To my surprise, I was the only person left in the arrival area. My original plan was to reach Tainan through the High Speed Rail Station (HSR). Another surprise came in because I learned that the HSR starts its operation at 6:30 am. This would mean that I have to wait for an eternity of 4 hours in the airport.  Good thing, God sent some angels to watch and guide me. The lone English speaking airport personnel and a Taiwanese helped me. They suggested that I take Taiwan’s U Bus. Though I live in the principle of not talking to strangers, for reasons I don’t know, I trusted these two Taiwanese nationals.

At 3 am, the shuttle bus arrived and I was taken to the central station in Taoyuan. Another problem awaited me in the Central Station. The old man selling the tickets does not speak English. I just told him that I need to go to Tainan and that was it. He sold me a ticket amounting to NTD 300. After 30 minutes, the bus that will take me to Tainan arrived. The driver assisted me with my luggage and this started one of the longest 4 hours of my life.

A bus ride from Taoyuan to Tainan will take 4 long hours of no traffic and stop over. Whew! I was wide awake the entire trip. Traveling alone in a foreign land for the first time, who would ever dare to sleep? In God’s grace, I safely reached Tainan. A fellow female passenger, who can understand a little English, and the courteous driver helped me find a taxi that brought me to Far Eastern Shangri-La.

First Shot of Tainan from the U Bus

The front desk officer at Far Eastern Shangri-La assisted me well and I was able to checked in my room in less than 10 minutes. Talking about finest customer service, it’s possible! I was able to checked in at 8 am and the best thing, I still made it to the free breakfast buffet. After the long trip and worries, I indulged myself over one of the best buffet I’ve seen in my entire life.

Beautiful Lobby of Far Eastern Shangri-La

I was able to complete 1/4 of my tasks in Taiwan. I left the buffet table happy and worry free LOL and gave myself my much needed sleep.  Oh, but before I snoozed,  I have to fulfill my Facebook and Twitter obligation.. LOL Here’s my first photo upload of Tainan

I recharged myself the entire morning. I woke up around 3 pm and that’s when I  decided to explore Tainan by myself.

Most Taiwanese use motorcycles as their means of transportation. I rarely see private cars. Most parking spaces are occupied by these bikes.

The streets in Tainan are very clean, organized and very friendly to pedestrians. If only I can bring this to the Philippines. 🙂

And I just love the sparks of greeneries along the residential sites

My main destination

Main Entrance of the National Cheng Kung University - Kuang Fu Campus

Another proof of how clean and organized is Tainan. I just fell in love with this.

A closer look of the National Cheng Kung University

Here’s the department where my dream happened

NCKU - College of Management

After my presentation, we were toured to some historic places in Tainan and since this post is already too lengthy, let’s play some suspense and leave that on my next post. 🙂

Am I a bad customer?

Before my trip to Taiwan, I went to SM Masinag, with my dearest friend and shopaholic buddy, Anne. My plan was to purchase a pair of black formal shoes for my presentation. I bought a pair from Figlia and since I am preserving the little cash I have in my screaming wallet, I decided to use my evil rectangular device.

The pair I will be buying costs around P 1,200. When I handed my credit card to the saleslady, she requested for a valid ID. Weird? Not really that it is unusual, but as far as I know, IDs are required only when the credit card transaction will amount to Php 5,000 and above. Out of courtesy and obedience, I handed my SSS ID to the lady who serves as the cashier. She inspected my cards and to my surprise, she is asking me to rewrite my signature at the back of my credit card. I don’t use the same signature for my IDs, credit cards and other documents. This is my own way to prevent forgery and identity theft perhaps.  I refused to follow Miss Cashier’s order. You want me to make another signature in my credit card? I courteously told her that my credit card would look so messy. My credit card might also look like as if I desperately stole it from someone because of the two signatures.

I suggested that I will make specimen signatures similar to that of my credit card and SSS ID on the receipts. She didn’t say anything. She proceeded with my transaction and said nothing. Wow! Customer service at its finest.

I left the cashier, said thank you but noticed one thing. She made a grouchy face and murmured something…. Now tell me, am I a bad customer?