Things I am grateful for experiencing in the last 12 months:
1. The continued presence of my family. Both my parents suffered from poor health, but they're much stronger than they seem. They are still walking around, nagging us to death.
a. a subset to this point is that a good friend is now working at MMC and he helped me several times when we needed help with getting rooms at the hospital.
2. Longstanding friendships, some of whom are not physically nearby but continue to stay in touch even through separation of distance and time. I am also grateful for meeting a host of new friends through similar interests in food or blogging or dog training.
3. The lack of natural disasters - no super typhoons, no earthquakes, no tsunamis, no droughts. The year may have been tumultuous in so many other places and in so many other ways, but Manila survived another year with few hits compared to years past.
4. Working through tough times. I'm glad I can still work, still pay my rent, feed myself (and the pets), and donate things to others who need it more than I do.
5. The new dog, who is a bundle of curly, cinnamonny fur, bouncy joy. She makes my mother happy, even brings a smile to my dad's face, and has helped my nervous ninny of a niece get over her fear of animals.
6. The opportunities to eat great meals, not just here, but in Thailand, in Hong Kong, in the US.
7. Travel! A new passport is getting stamped with ports of entry and exit. Nothing is sadder than a passport that never gets used.
8. Podcasts. I have had an ipod for two years, and only began downloading free podcasts this year. What a joy to have such a resource during downtime, waiting in line at the bank, or stuck in traffic, or people watching in a cafe. Plug in the earphones and listen to something new.
9. New pair of shoes.
10. Chocolates in Manila. Not the waxy stuff either, real couverture stuff.
And even though the year is also one of loss, of saying goodbye to a relationship, of ending a job, of reducing the material items in life, I am thankful for the experience of having had the time with all those people and things.