Every December since 2013, I have resolved to look back at my year, look at my victories and successes as well as my mistakes and failures. The goal is to celebrate the former, and learn from the latter.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions–I’ve tried them in the past and it didn’t work for me. I usually forget and neglect those resolutions by the end of February after the initial excitement of the New Year. That’s why, instead of Resolutions, I am focusing on goals broken down into manageable tasks for every quarter and every month. The year-end evaluation is part of this planning and goal-setting process.

On the whole, 2015 had been a year of transition for me and my family. I’ve had some big wins. A couple of cracks that I would have wanted to do differently. But since this is a year of transitions, I don’t feel too bad about those cracks. Here, then, is my 2015 in review.

1st Quarter 2015

By mid-January, I learned that I was the top candidate for a US-based position in our organization, Young People’s Ministries. Cha, Coco, and I started the process of applying for our US R1 Visa. We were in equal parts nervous and excited. Cha and I never really planned to move out of the Philippines to work elsewhere, but we felt that this is where God was calling us, so with much prayers, we proceeded.

Back in February 2014, I wrote a paper for the Asian Theological Seminary’s Theological Forum. The Forum tackled the issues of Globalization, Migration, and Diaspora. I was complaining a lot about the Hillsong-ification of Praise and Worship songs in Filipino Churches. It is essentially the globalization of worship music. I titled my paper: “In Another Tongue: Responding to the Globalization of Christian Worship Music.”

In February 2015, the Asian Theological Seminary included my paper in a book where they published selected papers from the Forum. The book is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/God-Borders-Globalization-Migration-Theological-ebook/dp/B016CMF6OY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447404804&sr=8-1&keywords=god+at+the+borders

In March 2015, Our US R-1 Visa got approved. Just in time for me to start working in my new role as Young People’s Ministries’ Program Development Director for Central Conferences on April 1. Our transition from Quezon City to Nashville, TN began in earnest as we posted items we wanted to sell; sorted through our clothes and other things for any stuff we can donate or throw away.

I also decided to try my hand on Video Blogging. I managed to shoot and edit three videos, I think. But one big lesson I learned is that I tend to overestimate my capacity for projects–big and small. And so, I start some small projects like this, and because of other priorities, I end up abandoning it after.

2nd Quarter 20015

Travel filled my 2nd quarter. In April, my boss, Mike, and I traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to visit places where the United Methodist Church has ministries. We looked for ways to collaborate and support their work in those places.

jollibee-hochiminh

I also had to say goodbye to my occasional radio hosting stint at Family Matters, which airs over 702 DZAS. I had a fun time hosting with Ms. Haydee Bernardo-Sampang. The support staff were also superb! I kinda miss being in a microphone chatting with awesome people who are doing awesome things.

In May, I also traveled to Ndola, Zambia and then Cape Town, South Africa to be part of the Africa Young Leaders Summit, an annual training that our office holds for United Methodist young leaders in Africa. If you haven’t already guessed, my role in Young People’s Ministries requires a lot of travel.

In June, we finally let go of a lot of our things–we sold our book shelves, refrigerator, and almost everything we owned. It wasn’t easy. I also completed the final draft of my third book: Get a Life… Online: Tips & Trips Para sa Hardcore na Netizen.

3rd Quarter 2015

July was a relatively quiet month. I registered as an Overseas Filipino Worker and got my first ever Overseas Employment Certificate.

rasingintheplane

Cha, Coco, and me inside the plane for our first flight from Manila to Nashville.

In August, Cha, Coco, and I finally went to Nashville, Tennessee together. Traveling for 20 hours on three flights can be a trying experience! I wouldn’t do it again if I can help it. We also found our family car in August–it’s a 2012 Kia Forte. As is the case in many cities in the US, it is very difficult to travel without a car. So we needed one.

nashvillehome

September found me traveling to Europe: in Dresden, Germany for the annual meeting of the European Methodist Youth and Children’s Council.

Get A Life OnlineSeptember is also time for the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). OMF Literature launched my book “Get a Life… Online: Tips and Tricks para sa Hardcore na Netizen.” When my previous book, #SuperEpic, was launched, I had a launch team to help me promote the book. This time, I didn’t have one. I don’t know how my book did at the MIBF, but because of all the transitions we were going through, I simply didn’t have the capacity to manage it.

 

4th Quarter 2015

In October, I went to San Diego, California to attend a gathering of youth workers in the US. Too bad I didn’t get to visit a Jollibee branch there. I also learned in October that my book #SuperEpic sold a total of 4,300 copies in 2014. Not bad.

Prior to taking on this new role in the United States, I worked from home. So I have to adjust to a new working arrangement–being in the office five days a week, unless I’m traveling.

I also discovered, though, that no matter the amount of work I do during the day, I often find my energy depleted by the end of the day. In the Summer (June to early September), Coco and I were able to go outdoors for some play time under the sun. But sometimes, I feel too tired to do even that. I need to manage my energy more effectively and build new routines in the mornings, while in the office, and when I arrive home in the afternoon.

I went back to the Philippines last November for our Young Leaders Summit, and because of the date, I ended up spending my birthday there away from Cha and Coco. But it was great being with a lot of young leaders from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It’s very difficult to stretch time to schedule coffee time with lots and lots of friends and loved ones.

December has been relatively quiet–no travel, and I also have a lot of time off from work. As I write this, we’re preparing for our first family vacation in Chattanooga, two hours away from Nashville.