Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 6th Day After Christmas: Top 13 Life Moments of 2013

It is day 6 and the final day of the countdown to the new year! Thank you for following along with me as I reminisced on some great times throughout this year, but now it is time to count down my top 13 life moments of the year!

It is safe to say that 2013 was a year of change, not only in myself, but in the world around me. I've met so many people, done so many things, and had so many great memories this year, and it is time to reflect on my personal life in a more holistic way before closing this chapter and moving onto next year.

1. Valentine's Day

Valentine's day was actually a big deal to me this year. It was my most memorable and most fun Valentine's day yet!

In the past few Valentine's days before this year, Darell never really bothered to do anything for me because he didn't think it should've been a big deal. This year, I was in my first year of college (at the time) and it was the first holiday that we had a chance to spend together after not being able to see each other for the past few major holidays. I think that this day represented a shift in our relationship for the better, that we were maturing.

Darell had hinted around visiting me for Valentine's Day, but I couldn't take it too seriously, otherwise I'd be disappointed if he didn't. However, the day before, as I walk out of my last class of the day, there he is, standing at the door with a bouquet of roses! I could not have been more shocked! He later told me, "I felt like my heart was going to burst because I was so nervous... when I saw you I couldn't see anything else"

Aww! What a sweetheart! The rest of the day was simple after that--he gave me my favorite chocolates and I gave him my gift to him before we went off campus to eat Flame Broiler for dinner. When we came back, we hung around campus for a bit before going to Shine, my school's weekly worship night. It was an amazing day indeed.

2. Journalism Conference in San Francisco

At the end of February/beginning of March, my school flew up myself and a few other writers and editors from our university newspaper to attend a journalism conference up in San Francisco. Not only was this my first time in the Bay Area (other than when I was too young to remember), but this conference reaffirmed and remotivated me in why I want to write for the rest of my life.

In attending all of the sessions, I fell in love with journalism more and more and wished that we had stayed at the conference one more day. We got to do some sightseeing around Chinatown and Union Square, but not too much further past that due to a limited amount of time. Regardless, it was one of my favorite memories of this year, and I can't wait to go to San Diego for the conference again next year!

3. Choir Tour

I love being in the women's chorus at my school. They are a group of ladies who all genuinely love and care about each other. You would think it would be really catty because it's an all-female group, but it is really the opposite. We may not all be best friends, but there is a bond we all share, and I feel like choir tour is when we all got to bond even more after being stuck on a bus and in sketchy motels with these ladies for an entire week in Arizona and 8 hours in Vegas.

4. GYRAD (aka Get Your Roommate a Date)

Mine and Darell's situation before this point was really complicated, and this was basically the first time that we were "public" as a couple as in able to comfortably go out and not care if anyone posted about us online or saw us out together (mind you, we had already been together almost 3 years at this point).

This was a floor event where our roommates all got each other dates. Of course, it wasn't too difficult for my roommate to get me a date, seeing as I had a boyfriend already! The "date" was more like one large group date and we had a scavenger hunt at Balboa Island in Newport Beach. It was really fun, I must say. Darell enjoyed himself too, which I was really happy with!

5. Getting my driver's license 

I got my license on my sister's birthday this year! I didn't feel the need to post about it online because I had gotten it so late, I didn't feel like it was a big enough deal anymore.

My dad has been using my car for the past year now because he has been LAGGIN' IT to the max in getting his own car fixed. So for the time being I am car-less. However, over the summer I was lucky enough to drive the car around as long as I could pick up and drop off my dad to work when he needed me to. Other than that, I was free to drive and do what I needed to do. It was very nice to be independent and get things done without having to wait on someone else to take me. Things then became my responsibility, and no one else's.

6. The end of my freshman year of college

The end of my freshman year of college was bittersweet. It was good because I was ready to be done with school and get on with my very busy and amazing summer. I was ready to move onto my sophomore year (and live in the really fancy dorms haha). However, it was also pretty sad because I was the last person to move off of my floor (even my RA moved out before me haha), so I was given a lot of time to think and reflect on my first year of college (I was also one of the first people to move in too).

My floor's theme was Tangled. Isn't it beautiful? 
College was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and my freshman year gave me a taste of the amazing-ness of college and growing up and just living life to the fullest. My whole freshman year of college was crazy, but as for my spring semester specifically, it was totally different than anything I had ever expected. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for me but I had a great time while I was at it.

7. Machu Picchu

I've already talked in a previous post about how different aspects of my Peru trip had changed my life, but I can definitely say that Machu Picchu especially was one of the most beautiful moments of this year for me.

The view of Machu Picchu (in the center) from the top of the mountain

Machu Picchu (the mountain we climbed is the one in the background)
I remember as we were hiking up the mountain being out of breath, wondering when we were going to reach the top. I remember as we got closer to the top, rain started to pour. As we reached the very top of Mount Waynapicchu (the mountain right next to Machu Picchu), the pouring rain was a symbol of victory after working so hard to get up there. It was so refreshing, and looking out at the landscape from up there was breathtaking. I didn't want to leave.

8. Camps - RFKC & Whittle

Another aspect to my busy summer this year: I was a camp counselor at two camps--Royal Family Kids Camp and Camp Whittle through the YMCA. One was a Christian-based camp that catered specifically to foster children (the film The Camp) is based off of it, and the other one is also Christian-based, but not as strongly enforced as the other one. With Camp Whittle, however, I also went there myself as a camper.

Both of these camps taught me patience, that's for sure. My kids at both camps all had hard times listening and cooperating, as in they would blatantly not do it. Some kids are just slow to understand and do things, but these kids weren't (except one). Despite that, I found a way to still enjoy my time at both camps and make the most of it. I would still gladly go again and again.

The view of the meadow at Camp Whittle
9. Diversity Team

This team has so far made a huge impact on my life. They are the most supportive and craziest team I have ever worked with. These pictures I've posted with them are at events that I've either held or that were for me. The above picture is at the first event I held of the year, and the bottom ones are from my birthday. I've developed such a fondness for all these people; they are like another family to me. Although I'm not able to see or hang out with them as much as I would like, I trust them with my life, and they are some of my closest friends. I love that I am able to work well with them as part of our jobs, but I am also able to just hang out and have fun with them. As cheesy as it is, they have changed my life. *cue tears* hahahaha. 

10. 19th Birthday // "Debut" 

A couple months ago, I talked about how my roommate threw me a fun "birthday party" for me. She knew that I had always wanted a debut (Filipino's celebration of an 18th birthday for girls) but didn't get one the year before because of being away in college and money being an issue. She took it upon herself to plan a modified version for me, considering the budget and time frame she had to plan it. Needless to say, it was such a surreal and fun experience for me--all of these people that had deeply impacted my life within the past year or so were there, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. It was nice to know that people really cared.

11. Hillsong Conference

I already mentioned this on day 4 of this countdown, but hey, it was another one of my top life moments of the year! The first-ever Hillsong Conference on the west coast was in LA, and I was there! The last time I talked about it, I talked about how much of a blessing it was to go there and how much it affected me on a spiritual level. On my actual post about the day, I also talked about how it affect Darell and I together as well. And the music, as always, was wonderful. I hope to go to a concert of theirs next!

12. Thanksgiving Fest

Last month, my church held Thanksgiving Fest, where we served the community by giving out full-on turkey dinners to 400 families and reaching out to them about Christ as well. So many people gave their lives to Christ that day. It was also my first time seeing my church do an event like this, and everyone's teamwork together was incredible. Everyone was so efficient and so loving about whatever job they did, whether they worked directly with the people or not. This event showed me just how amazing of a church that I go to.

13. Christmas

With this series, I still haven't had a chance to talk about Christmas! I will include it as the final top moment of the year because it was one of my family's best Christmases, and most can agree on that. Everyone just had a good time together, and there was a lot of laughing. If we weren't eating together or opening presents, we were playing games that may or may not have included money... [;

This past holiday was my favorite time that I've spent with my family yet, and I cannot wait for more days like this in the upcoming year!

By the way, we had a little Christmas character dress up competition! Can you tell which character I was? [:

And with that, that concludes my countdown to the new year! This time tomorrow, it will officially be 2014! Thank you so much for coming along with me for the past week as I reminisced on this year. It was definitely the best year for everything, and I cannot wait for what 2014 is going to bring. All I know is that it is going to be bigger and better than this year!

If you want to look back on my top moments of the year:

Well, there you have it! I hope that you all enjoyed this series and following along with me on this journey as I started my blog this year! I wish you all the best in the upcoming year, and I hope you continue on in following me as I figure out life myself [: 

Happy New Year's Eve! 


  1. I am so glad we have been able to connect and read along! I look forward to 2014 for both of us! :D

    2013 looked like a fantastic year for you. So happy you got to meet different people and experience new things. I got my driver's license this year also! So much fun, right? Happy New Year's! xoxo

    Mostly Lisa

    1. Hey Lisa, I'm glad we were able to connect, too! It's been great getting to know you through your blog!

      And yes, this year was great. Congrats on getting your driver's license as well! It's great. Happy new year!

  2. What an awesome year 2013 was for you! GYRAD sounds like it would be a blast! I wish my school did something like that. Congrats on your license and finishing your freshman year! Yay! That's pretty exciting. I'm so jealous of all of your travel adventures. Machu Piccu looks gorgeous. And being a camp counselor is one of the most fun jobs anyone can have! I wish I would've done it more than one year!

    1. Aww, thanks, Tiffany! You should definitely go to Machu Picchu sometime, and you still have a chance of being a camp counselor, if you'd like!

  3. What a great year for you to look back to - what a sweet boyfriend and sweet friends you have! My friends back in the Philippines threw me a surprise makeshift debut party too -- when I visited home at the age of 22! Lol :)

    1. Thanks, Rhea! Aww, haha it's good to know that I'm not the only one who got their debut a little late!


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