|Shot taken by Loki! Nice noh?|
A lot of things have happened since June. I finished my data gathering in the Philippines. A few weeks before I left Manila were spent to catch up with family and friends. Oh! I also stayed in Brunei for a few days to meet my friends and second family. Eventually, July came and I realized I'm back in Melbourne. It was winter when I arrived. I was lucky not to get sick especially I came from super summer Philippines. The moment I'm back in Melbourne, I attended a workshop about my research and I also presented in two conferences. So now, I'm writing chapters for my dissertation. I will do my mid-candidature next year. Hopefully a teaching stint is on its way for me next year *cross fingers*. So far, everything is good. But yeah. I am stressed. I just have to deal with it.
Despite the stress in my PhD journey I can say that I am blessed in so many ways. I am surrounded with good souls. They are my family, friends, and most especially my partner whom I love the most. Yes, I finally found my partner.
And this entry will tell you the story that might change your life. Kidding!
So in June I turned 32. It was one of those unforgettable birthday celebrations I had because I was home, I was in Manila. Come to think of it, in the last 5 years, my special day was celebrated away from my family and friends in the Philippines. So for a big and fabulous change I was home.
I didn't have a big celebration. No catering. No invitations. No party place. My celebration was an intimate one. But here's the thing. Since I usually meet my friends when I'm back in Manila, I felt that I was already celebrating my birthday in arranged meet ups. Although it's not yet my birthday during the week I met my friends, I felt that all meets up were highly celebratory. I was lucky that some made it despite their busy schedules.
|My best buddy Elms, Ma'am Elyrah and their mom!|
|With college friends Ed, Melody and Jhen!|
|With my MA Classmates at UP College of Mass Communication|
|With my growing family in the Philippines|
What was it? My partner surprised me. He came to Manila all the way from Melbourne! I couldn't believe it. Oh yes! He was with me on my special day, not virtually, but physically!
I Skype everyday with my partner. I also exchange messages to him via Whatsapp. So obviously we're in perpetual contact or we're 24/7 connected. Then one day, he went offline in Whatsapp. I wondered why he did that? Initially I wondered. Then, I ignored my doubts. I thought that he must be very busy in marking exams (He is a university professor) and so he needs to go offline. However, it was already late at night when I realized that he hasn't replied to my messages during the day. I panicked. In my mind, I thought, usually he replies fast to my messages. Eventually, I said to myself, "anyways, we will Skype tonight".
When I arrived home, I messaged him. Finally, he replied. He's finally online. Then, to my surprise, the guessing game started. First, he sent me a photo of a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf signage. He asked me to think about the photo. I told him that he must be "missing me" that's why he took a photo of it. By the way, he sent the photo of CBTL because he knows that I write and do research in CBTL in Fairview Terraces. During the exchange of messages, I even told him that his brother or his mother drove for him. I said that because he told me that someone drove for him. Soon, when I was about to surrender in the guessing game, he sent me another clue. He said that the CBTL where he took a photo is located beside a food chain that serves spaghetti with a lot of sauce. It is from that clue that my heart started to pound. Rewind. There was one time that I sent him a photo of Jolly spaghetti and he commented that there's a lot of sauce! So, I messaged him (with so much anxiety and happiness), "Don't tell me you're in Manila?" He replied, yes. And he sent me his location. So there, I started screaming in the house with so much joy. I was so shocked!!! As soon as I calmed down, I asked my partner's contact number in the hotel and I called him. In our conversation, I was a bit tensed because of security issues that ran in my mind. Eventually, the next day, I met my partner. Everything was just so amazing! I said to myself, "one of the best gifts ever!" Meanwhile, it was during my birthday week my I my friends called me "Rapunzel" for my "imaginary long hair!" #Hahahaha!
My partner stayed in Manila for a week. It was just in time for me to meet my friends before I leave Manila to go back to Melbourne. So I tagged along my partner to meet ups with friends. I was glad (and proud too) to introduce him to my friends. Meanwhile, I brought my partner to my University (University of the Philippines) for a quick tour. He tasted the popular Devil's food cake at Choco Kiss, rode the Jeepney and experienced campus' refreshing atmosphere.Apart from going to UP, since we didn't have any plans for his surprise visit, we mostly stayed, strolled and shopped at SM Trinoma and The Block. Of course I asked him to try some of the best Filipino dishes such as crispy pata, sisig, pochero, sinigang, and many more.
|My partner with my Melbourne co-scholars and friends Janhart, Maan and Ayona!|
|My partner visited my University in the Philippines and one of my favorite Professor in Media Studies, Dr. Elizabeth Enriquez!|
|With Liza and her partner Arnaud!|
|With my bestfriend April!|
|With college friend Peluchi!|
|With Elms and her friend!|
|A warm visit in our house!|
In the past months, my partner and I have been moving around in Melbourne. On weekends, when we have free time to unwind, we either eat, stroll or buy some important stuff. These are activities that we plan and enjoy in order to cope with our busy academic life. He's a professor. I am a PhD student. And so we're on the same wavelength of academic work - research, writing, etc. He has teaching to do. I don't have. But I plan to do soon!
Just recently a few of our adventures in Melbourne were going to Dreamworks Animation Exhibition. We also went to the Tulip Festival. But what I enjoyed the most is my partner's fantabulous birthday gift to me. Apart from going to Manila, he spoilt me with something more. My birthday celebration is extended until October! Wohoo!
|At the Tulip Farm!|
|Pamperin at Rydges Hotel|
|At Dreamworks Animation Exhibition|
It is through these blessings from God that I'm able to enjoy my life in Melbourne. It is given that I'm stressed with school work. There's a lot to read, analyse and write. But through the support from family and friends, and my partner, I am keeping my head above water. In fact, I'm so happy in life and so inspired. I feel that my partner is a blessing from God. He is always there to help me, to cheer me up, to guide me, and most importantly, to inspire me. In fact, I look up to him. I want to be like him, a dedicated and young professor! We're the same age! Hello there, hashtag, academic couple.
What is my plan after my PhD? I plan to stay in Melbourne and be with my partner. I plan to join a research team or be a lecturer. I also want to expand my research on mobile media and trasnational communication. Although I plan to stay here ( with God's help and perseverance on my side!), I want to put up projects for the Philippines, especially in the field of media and research. My first step is to teach at UP OU where I completed my Masters in Development Communication and collaborate with UP College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) on mobile media research. I am also opening my doors for any collaborative projects elsewhere. By the way, watch out for my upcoming academic blog which will be launched in 2015. For the mean time, I will post personal stories in this blog.
Time flies so fast. I am now entering the third year of my PhD journey. There's more writing. There's more revisions. It will be more stressful (as they say). But as long as I have the support from my loved ones, faith in God and heaps of dedication, I am positive that I will succeed in my journey. So far, I am blessed with an amazing supervisor who is very encouraging. I have a supportive associate supervisor.I feel so positive as well with my hardwork and dedication to get my PhD. How I wish I know how to procastinate. I am so absorbed in research that someone has to tell me to take a break and relax! Thanks to my partner and some friends for keeping my life balanced! Meanwhile, initially I thought "lovelife" will distract me in my studies. I was wrong. A healthy relationship does not distract someone to achieve life goals. In fact, it can even become a source joy and inspiration to succeed. I thank my partner for being such a wonderful person. I am happy. Yes, I'm in love!
By the way, the name of my partner is Guy. I love Guy, so much! *in love!*