Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I don't think I need to say that I am busy. Oops, wait, let me change what I just said, I am terribly busy with my PhD! Just look at my last blog entry and you will figure it out. Dear oh dear, I blogged a year ago. Anyway, I am here to do a bit of reflection about my life in 2015 and map out some goals for 2016.

2015 has passed so quickly, seriously. I am just so amazed how time flies so quick, here we are, welcoming another year and saying goodbye to another.

I describe my 2015 as a journey filled with slow and fast movements. At one point, I was crossing a bumpy road. I was sometimes on the fast lane. Some storms came along. Tears flowed. Big smiles emerged. Mixed feelings embraced my heart. Nevertheless, my journey was packed with a variety of things that I enjoy and wish to forget. Walk with me now as I look back.

In 2014 my main aim was to get a teaching job. I don't have any teaching experience prior to starting my PhD. I worked in broadcast media, advertising and events management for more than eight years. As such, I was a bit anxious about getting a teaching job in the academia. However, at the back of my mind, I realised that having industry experience and knowledge of mass media theories (thanks to my undergrad and Master's degree), I can get by. I applied for a Teaching Associate/Tutor position at Monash University. Eventually I was assigned to teach media and communications classes. I tell you, I enjoy and LOVE teaching. It was fulfilling to be in front of the class, share my experiences, relate theories and concepts to everyday life, use engaging examples (what I learned from broadcast media and advertising), and mentor students.

From being the life of the stage (as I am a professional singer and events host), I shifted heaps of my energy to a stage called classroom. I was overflowing with gusto and that reflected in my animated way of class discussions. I was delighted to impart knowledge. My mantra in my class: be creative and critical. Use creativity to draw attention. Use critical thinking and discussions to engage others in intellectual exchanges. I was like one of the judges of the voice, I was in the room trying to unleash the star factor among each of my students. I wanted them to be at their best, to somehow be equipped as they progress in their university life and professional careers in the future. So there, after I finished one semester, I did another teaching in the second semester. I was also hired at Monash College to do some teaching.Then, who would have thought that on my first time of teaching a full class and not just delivering guest lectures, I will be awarded the Faculty of Arts Dean's Commendation for my outstanding contribution to teaching. I am deeply humbled.

Another goal that I set in 2014 was to finish my PhD. It didn't happen. But hold your horses my dear friends and do not judge me. Although I did not achieve that, good and fabulous things happened along the way. Apart from completing my mid-candidature and passing my PhD defense with impressive outcome (yes, allow me to brag a little bit), I got amazing feedback from the big scholars in my field as well after I presented papers in Sydney, Brisbane and in Melbourne. A common feedback that I got: your very engaging and your research is very interesting. Nevertheless, the three academic engagements were absolutely helpful in guiding me to articulate the strengths and contribution of my research. I also had a grand time meeting other academics and PhD students. It was such a fulfilling experience. So for this year, not bad, I delivered four different papers which I intend to publish,
So where I am at with my research? I am done with the full draft of my dissertation. Revisions are under way, which I am preparing myself, physically and emotionally. My scholarship is also extended so have enough time to revise and publish, Yes, I plan to do publications in 2016. Publications is an area in my academic career that needs some boost and sort of face lift. I am positive. I will get there. For the mean time, I am preparing my dissertation for submission. I am optimistic that I will get through this PhD journey. I will submit my dissertation in April 2016. Hopefully I can turn it into a book. Publishers, lemme find yah!

Apart from a relatively growing academic career, my relationship with a few special people in my life has immensely grew for the better. This year, my partner and I had so many wonderful activities. We went on a 3D/2N stay in Sydney. To watch and enjoy the musical "Rocky Horror Show" was the birthday gift of my partner.Couldn't help dance a little bit while seated in the theater! I also couldn't forget the day we walked around, took lots of photos, visited the Powerhouse Museum, and experienced Vivid Sydney. It was during my trip with my partner that I realized how cool to travel with someone and share the same experiences. And oh, having dinner and drinks at Circular Quay was truly unforgettable.

Speaking of musicals, it was this year that my partner and I watched Lion King! Seated with my partner and watching such spectacular show was just so relaxing and exciting. Back in the Philippines, I seldom watch musicals because it's quiet expensive. On top of that, there were other alternative shows that I prefer to watch because it's cheaper. I also love seeing homegrown musicals and narratives. So when I moved to Brunei, I was deprived of  watching musicals and any other entertaining shows. To compensate for that, I created my own events. I became the host and the life of the party. Yes, I do perform on stage, hosting and singing. Now that I'm already based in Melbourne, thanks to my partner, I am back in enjoying musicals. It's just thrilling and takes my stressssses away! Money wise, I do save up for these things. Also, getting a seat in the theater is considered a treat for myself, for all the hard work and death-defying stunts in completing a PhD.

2015 is also the year that my partner and I celebrated our first year anniversary! *giggles* I always get this giddy feeling whenever I think about my partner and I's "togetherness." For a time we were dating. Then we became partners. We did a kind of relationship commitment when he visited me in the Philippines in 2014. The works! And now, our relationship has even grown with so much fabulousness. I often wonder (and always consider) that my partner is a blessing from God. God must have heard me as I wish for a gorgeous being to fall for me! *giggles* Without him (sounds like Les Miserables?), I don't think I will be able to draw so much energy to help me bounce back during persistent tiring and stressful days of my PhD journey. He is always there to remind me to take breaks whenever I work non-stop to the point of breaking my back. Our dinner dates and movie night outs have become a source of energy whenever I feel like giving up. He is just a wonderful soul. Okay, I now sound a bit strange, but yeah, my partner is the coolest and most supportive person in my life. He is such a gem. If you are reading this, I say thank you, Guy! Love yah (which I always say to you every day, every night! *giggles*).

While there have been gains in the past year, there were also some pains along the way. My Uncle, the brother of my mother, passed away. Then a few months after, my Auntie in the province passed away as well. I couldn't forget the day that I cried over the phone. It was just so painful to let them go. I wasn't there physically. The limitations of technologies. *relates to my research, sobs!* They were part of my childhood. They were two persons who always took care of our family whenever we were in the province. I will miss my Auntie's scrumptious food. She cooks the bestest Bicol dishes that I ever tasted in my entire life. I will miss my Uncle's cheerful glow on mornings that he would invite our family over breakfast. It might be convenient to say that we must learn to move, but I tell you, someone who experienced death in the family will never be able to move on. We just get used to it and think that one day we will see each other again elsewhere. I know such sentiments. It's the same feeling that I always carry, even mastered, and it all began when my mother died in 2006. My life changed. It's painful. But I get by because I also need to live for those people whom I also love and value.

This year has been filled with doctor's appointment. I had the worst and unimaginable "Hay Fever." A joke thrown at me at some point because "hay fever" is associated with "first world sickness." In fact, I tried to explain such sickness to my dad and he couldn't understand it. Bottom line, I just said that I had allergic reactions to pollen, problem solved. Apart from that, I experienced the worst sickness ever. I was "food poisoned!" That gave me the chills and thrills of being over dramatic! I seriously thought I'm gonna die, full on, right! It was like a movie scene. I could have won a best actor award! Seriously,  I survived. Thanks to my partner, who was possibly traumatized with what happened to me. In the end, a prick on my bum cheek and some medicines helped me bounce back. Food poising didn't stop me from bringing out my partner to a buffet extravaganza on his birthday, which was the day after a vomit fest occurred. *eeeew!* Apart from that, I had anxiety attacks. Yeah, it's more of panic and crazyness. Thankfully, my partner was there to help me. Yes, my partner whom I'm giving the license to think that he is an excellent nurse! *giggles* On top of that, I went to see a dentist and had root canal. Indeed, paying the bill was more painful than the procedure. *Faints*

In 2016, I aim to be healthy, physically and emotionally. Physically, I will be back in Zumba-ing. Yes, I do love Zumba and I sometimes teach some Zumba tracks. Perhaps I should get a certification eventually. Emotionally, I will avoid those people who know nothing but to stress others and feel good by feeling superior among others. You know who you are. At this point, I forgive you for putting a dent on my Melbourne experience. *Waves* Nevertheless, things as such make me realise to look on the positives rather than on the negatives. After all, who am I to complain and feel bad. God has given me so many things beyond what I wished for. From the challenging days back in the Philippines (I struggled for a few months after my mother died) and the truly humbling experience in Brunei, here I am in Melbourne,Australia, living and enjoying my life.

In 2016 I aim to (apart from publishing my research) do a bit of blogging, podcasting and voice recording. I want to create an online presence. Just a heads up I will be launching my "academic" blog soon. At the moment, the content of the blog will centre on topics likes "Smartphoned lives," "Imagined families," "Friends in my pocket," "Do I care about your abs and food on Instagram?" "The perks and perils of long-distance relationships," "Sexy Skyping," "Surviving a PhD journey," and "How to be fabulous in life just like Earvs" Okay, the last bit is off the list (but it can be part of some entries! hahaha). Let's see how I go with such plans. Consequently, I want to talk about my PhD journey in my future blog. It's about "Throwback PhD" wherein I re-listen to recorded meetings with my supervisor (hundreds and counting) and share some tips and tricks in my blog entries.

Before the year ends I would like to thank those people who have always been there for me through thick and thick and thin and thick again (losing weight, the struggle is for real). My BFF Eliza or Lis for always being a constant shoulder to lean on. My another BFF Elmi or Boogie for all the wild banters and out-of-this-world punchlines. My another BFF April for being such a model of resilience and courage. For my mentor and mommy Armi for always believing in me. My friends in Brunei, miss you all! To my partner's family, I always feel welcome and loved when I'm with all of you. For all the wonderful and selected "humble" Filipino scholars, thank you for the friendship and academic exchanges! Cheenee and Nice and Maan, miss you lots! Eden,we're almost there to finish our PhD! To my family and friends, thank you! I will make it up to all of you once I'm done with my PhD.Thank you for making my 2015 oh-so wonderful, colourful and bright!

Few hours left and we will bid farewell to 2015. It's been a fabulous year. I am hopeful and very positive about 2016. I will submit my dissertation soon. It will be examined. I will get the results. I am also excited with the possibility of bringing my Dad in Melbourne next year for my graduation (*cross fingers*) and to tour him around. I already warned him about the weather, For sure he'll survive and enjoy as much as I will do.

2016 will definitely be an exciting year. New places to conquer. A doctorate to achieve. Visa to apply. Fresh faces to welcome. A job in the academia or in the industry. Research publications and collaborations. One thing's constant, live life and value relationships!

Labor pains and fruitful gains under way, dissertation.

2016, bring it on! *Zumba dance!*

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