It looks like everyone couldn’t wait for the shitshow that was 2016 to be over soon enough. Highlighted by too many celebrity deaths, terrorist attacks, refugee crisis, extra judicial killings, trolling, bigotry, fake news, a couple of presidential elections that produced less than desired outcomes, 2016 has been a trying year for many.

I could say it’s been a trying year for me, as well, but it would be unfair and mostly untrue. A few years ago, I created a “40 before 40” list of things to achieve or do before I turned 40, and on top of which was to find the one. I didn’t give it much thought afterwards, such that in my rush to fly out of Manila last year, one of the things that I left behind was that piece of paper that contained the list. However, realising that I managed to accomplish a number of items on that list this year makes for a happy recollection of the past 12 months. It has been a challenging year, stressful on some parts, but one that I should recall favourably.

We Did It!

We did it!

Firstly, I tied the knot with The One in March.  After years of wondering, searching, shrugging, and waiting, we stumbled upon each other. It’s true what they say that love happens when you least expect it, when you’ve just about given up. So when I gave relationships one last shot, he came along from afar, and nothing has been the same ever since. A year later, amid the chaos of moving countries, delivering projects and settling into our apartment, we had a beautiful, intimate, fun wedding with closest families and friends.

It’s been a good 5 years, Big-T!

Secondly, upon learning that I was moving anyway, my then-employer found an opportunity for me onshore and gave me a contract to make sure that I would complete a few projects in the pipeline. Whilst I didn’t see the project’s completion in its entirety, I still take pride in the fact that the team and I redeveloped and made dramatic improvements in dozens of e-learning content meant to be consumed by thousands of staff across the enterprise. What became a 3-month contract was extended twice, until another organisational revamp was put in place and I, along with a large number of colleagues, had to move on to the next phase of our respective careers. Here’s to outsourcing seen from the other side of the fence.

It’s never easy to start a new life in a different country, and were it not for the support of my husband, friends and family, and my wonderful Mum-in-Law, I wouldn’t know what to do. Much as the bureaucracy in Australia is  a hundred times more efficient than the Philippines, it’s still without its complications. There are dozens of documents one must produce for the Border Department to prove that one’s intentions are honest and legal, and still the conditions for staying are often confusing. In the past 18 months, I’ve been granted a total of four visas, not to mention that my application for the reason that I relocated is still in the  queue. So while in limbo, I had to find ways to keep myself busy and productive.

Thanks to taking on a new hobby, I realised that I could volunteer some of my skills and contribute to the community. I’ve since been volunteering with a local non-profit by managing their website and kickstarting their social media presence. It wasn’t easy, but it gave me plenty of things to do; it also allowed me to keep my skills up to do date by volunteering to work on a few learning programs that they wish to take online and taking their publication to a more web-friendly format. Moreover, it allowed me to meet new people, albeit the huge age difference between myself and the amazinly talented members of tge guild who are in their senior years.

Always Be Learning

Towards the end of the year, I attended an intensive 6-day Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program. I had worked in the training space in the past 6 years as instructional designer and training and development specialist, yet I realised that I still needed to earn the credentials to ensure that my skills met government regulations. Whilst one could work as a training/learning specialist in Australia, it helps a lot to have a certificate or at least attend one. In many organisations, this certificate is a must. And so while I’m still in the process of completing my paper and another project to receive my credentials, it has been a very engaging and interesting experience overall, thanks to informative learning content, engaging sessions, and supportive classmates. I would encourage anyone to take the course, no matter if they eventually specialise in learning and development or simply dabble in it.

Roger That!

And like a gift that keeps on giving, Perth is currently hosting my favourite athlete, Roger Federer. Anybody who’s known me over the years would have a clue as to how big of a fan I am of the man, so when I say I’m finally seeing him in person should know that I am in fact over the moon about it. In addition to seeing him at the Hopman Cup in which he’s playing again after 15 years, I had a rare chance to watch him play at his practice session at the Perth Arena a few days ago. I’m guessing that it was more of a promotional activity for the tournament, yet Federer was welcomed by 6,000 people that saw him practice with a local player and just enjoy the spectacle of having him around. It was just a practice session, yet Fed managed to fill half the stadium with so short a notice.

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Now, like everybody else, I am also looking forward to a productive yet less stressful 2017. Here’s hoping that we will continue to keep growing; earn more yet strive to own less; gain new happy experiences, skills, and knowledge; contribute to the community and the larger society; inspire others to do good and do well; be strong and healthy, and not fall victims to hate and ignorance. Cheers!