There are so many other things I should be writing right now…but I suppose it’s just as important to gain some persepctive. (Plus I was inspired by Tricia’s blog.) This has been kind of a downer of a Christmas/New Year’s season – the holidays are just different in the Philippines! So much more bombastic and fun than here in politically correct DC. Before I was in the Philippines Christmas and New Year’s was a big deal because it was the end of classes, final exams and papers and vacation. In the Philippines, well it’s just fun! This year it was anti-climactic at best. I found myself becoming very homesick and thinking of all the parties and whatnot I was doing at this time last year…

Yet, upon thinking about it, 2008 was a great year for me. Exceptional even. My life has changed so drastically over the past 12 months and I’ve grown incredibly as a person, a professional, a Christian and an activist. So, the year in review:

January

The parents and Sophia were visiting the Philippines. I spent the vast majority of this month vacationing around and telecommuting from Iloilo and Antique.

February

Mom and Sophia went back to the States. During the second week, I traveled to Belgrade and began with what has now effectively ruined my life – and loving every second of it. Upon my return to the Philippines, the country was in heightened Oust mode. Lots of late night meetings, strategy sessions, negotiations, and the occasional mass rally or two.

March

In the first week I traveled to Australia. Then back to a calmed-down Philippines where we were all trying to make sense and squeeze out the long term bang of the mobilizations that had occurred. Also, another trip to Iloilo for Uncle Ediong’s birthday and Holy Week in Boracay.

April

After Holy Week effectively took the steam out of the Oust movement, it was back to business as usual. Except there was now the realization that the unorganized MC could be mobilized – the focus turned to how to do so in a way that could support fundamental reform. Finally started dedicating full time to my research pet project – Election Forensics: The Effect of Socioeconomic Factors on Voting in the Philippines.

May

Started getting ready to go back to the States. Finished Election Forensics, the National Summit on the Political Party Reform Bill, did a bit of shopping, did a lot of partying. I returned to Newark on May 22. Had lunch the next day with Cheryl in the city. On the 29th went to Elmira to attend Uncle’s ordination. Turned 23 on May 30. I forgot to eat my cake.

June

And, 2 weeks after arriving in the US, I went to Thailand for 2 weeks. I returned to Jersey, couldn’t stand just being in the house, and began a job search.

July

Attended Rene and Julie’s wedding in Michigan.

August

Attended Joy and Sil’s and Michael and Jamie’s weddings in Toronto. Then, accompanied my parents to NC.

September

Went to South Africa for a conference on 4 hours notice. It was odd to be back in the political world after how many months of being a child at home. Then I flew to DC for my interview with NDI and then took the bus to NY for a meeting. Then the bus back down to NC. A week later I had the NDI job.

October

Started work with NDI on October 5th. Just eased into the first month. Friends from the PI came to the US and we also met in NY – got my insider update there. Had a fun Halloween with new friends!

November

I spent the second week in Belgrade, which was of course, amazing. Then Thanksgiving in Zimbabwe. My first time as a solo trainer. I really then started to remember who I am.

December

NDI Democracy Luncheon and logistical/administrative nightmare. Christmas in NC. Gospel music show at Church. Relaxed. Homesick.

So what does 2009 have in store for me? The better question is: what do I have in store for 2009? A renewed sense of self. The determination to make the most out of my time here and avoid falling into the American trap of work-home/sleep-work-home/sleep. To continue my activities outside of the 9-6 and build myself. 2009 will be what I make it.