2009 in review: travel

2009 spent mostly with my ISS family has been quite amazing.

it was opening the eyes and mind, widening horizons and expanding visions. it was about my personal globalization. whereas, prior to ISS, my world was limited to my beloved philippines, my 15 months in the ISS has expanded it to at least 52.

it has taught me to understand and accept what is different from what i have come to believe in my lifetime. yet it also taught me to strengthen what i truly believe and value without having to compromise my ability to be in solidarity with those who are unlike me. this, i can say, is truly one of the best things i have learned for the year. but there is so much more. extracting lessons from 365 days would be quite a task when what one day can already be very educational.

2009 was also about living a dream. back in my youth, i remember reading about europe. and every time i saw the pictures or read something about it, i wished that i could see it for myself. 2009 was about that.

i do not know if the miles i covered for 2009 would ever happen again so i know a blessing when i see one. allow me this moment to relish the journeys i took, not to brag but to rejoice knowing that dreams come true.

many of the pinoy ISS students greeted the new year in paris through the generous hospitality of crevette. wine, cheese, sausage, balloons and friendship are definitely wonderful things to have at the beginning of the year.

february. maricar, marwell and i hied off to maastricht to celebrate the carnavale celebrated every palm sunday as preparation for the solemnity of lent. it was a 'holy' day indeed. ;p

march was a date with risa in beautiful barcelona. casa battlo, sagrada familia, parc guell... gaudi architectural pieces that made me a fan! (i also had a study trip to geneva... not as exciting as barcelona, definitely)

april was time for tulips. i was able to visit keukonhof twice. within three weeks, the flowers a-bloom were different from each other. being in the midst of a sea of colorful flowers will not fail to lift your spirits. what's more, they make good photos! ;p

may. it was my first trip to by myself with out the pinoys. nadya of sri lanka and sanjukta of india were my companions for this trip. we had a marvelous time with the red tours who had young, vibrant guides (and quite cute) to take us around berlin. definitely one of my favorite cities with its rich history.

june finally brought some good news. jan finally got his visa after being rejected once. most of the month was spent working on papers and exams. but there were study breaks which gave me the chance to bring jan around netherlands. it was the perfect time because it was summer and we can bike for as long as we like. and who would have thought we would spend our first anniversary abroad?!

july. after we have fulfilled all our requirements, off we went to greece and paris. i remember watching 'the sisterhood of the traveling pants' with jan. and i told him to take me to greece. it was such a blessing to have that declaration fulfilled sooner that i expected. though it was me who did take him there. :p

august. i was able to go home for a while for research. i was looking forward to celebrate my birthday only to be met with the news that our dear president cory aquino passed away. yet, while it was a great loss, i feel somehow that people may have regained a little something from that event.

september. i think i spent most of my time in the netherlands trying to cram for my first draft and RP presentation.

october. what i missed for that month in travel, i made up by being in four different countries in one month. austria (vienna). germany (munich). hungary (budapest). slovakia (bratislava). quite a brave but dumb thing to do, a month before our RP deadline.

oktoberfest was definitely the highlight of october having celebrated the occasion with an international contingent of 9 countries!

november. one of the motivations to keep on writing the RP even after wanting to give up is morocco. it was another international contingency with 5 countries represented. we finally got out of europe without needing a visa. the experience was totally different and arguably more exciting. definitely one of the most memorable trips ever! especially since i finally got to see and ride a camel.


december. last trip using my scholarship money is rome. it's one of the top of my list of places to see before i die, thus i had to go while i had the visa, the funds and the chance. michaelangelo just happened to be my favaorite ninja turtle, so all the more i should go and visit. heehee. ncient rome. medieval rome. catholic rome. every place we visited in rome was just spectacular and breath taking. a must-visit!

and of course, december meant graduation! i am a master of the universe now. wheeee. here's hoping it will convert to a job soon. ;p

i can not deny how much of a blessing 2009 was for me (though if jan and i were together physically, it would have been perfect!). it would be hard to replicate what the sugar and spice that happened to me last year. though i pray that happens again sooner than later.

here's hoping that 2010 brings more journeys and adventures. :)


karen said...

truly a dream-come-true year! congrats on the degree and for having fulfilled your most deepest desires! :) Happy for you. happy new year. :)

anj said...

thanks, karen. it's a little sad to say good-bye to it, but i guess it is time to start a new chapter of having my own family. here's hoping that i be as blessed with that. :)

karen said...

You are blessed with good karma, my friend. The Universe has been generous to you before and I don't see any reason why that would change. *hugs*