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A Year in Review: 2018

Me in Ling Shan Temple, Yilan, Taiwan
This year was full of surprises. A lot of things and changes happened. Here are my highlights for the year:

- Joining the Humanistic Academy of Life and Arts (HALA), a free study program to learn about Buddhism and Buddhist living. We stayed for two months in Manila at Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, then for another month in Taiwan where we stayed in Yilan, Kaohsiung, and Taipei. In Kaohsiung, we joined the Fo Guang Buddhist Monastic Retreat (FGBMR) 2018 along with other students from all over the world. For FGBMR, we studied Buddhism, had a 7-day meditation retreat in full silence, and toured around the southern area of Taiwan. I just didn't get to study another belief, but I also learned a lot from being with people from different countries and cultures. I wrote about my HALA experience in this blog entry: Learning Buddhist Living, the HALA experience.

- It was also my first time traveling alone to another country to join my first international librarians' conference (IFLA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I got a grant to attend the IFLA conference. At first, I was nervous about going by myself, but I was more confident in traveling alone after spending some time in Taiwan. I really enjoyed it and got to go to places I only dreamed of going before (Malacca!). I also wrote about my experiences in the following blog entries: My first International Librarians' Conference: IFLA WLIC 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Malaysia 2018: my first journey alone!. I plan to travel alone in the future.

- I joined the 1st Iloilo Mega Book fair and the 5th Zinefest, with my own zine. Next year, I hope to be more productive in writing.

- I also got a new job in a research library that started last November, which I like a lot so far. I'm also on my last subject for my Master's in Library Science (Thesis Writing). I took my comprehensive exams last February, I passed the subjects without the need for retaking which I am grateful for. I hope I get to graduate my MLIS this year so I can move on with my life...

- I read a lot of great books and watched movies. I read a lot compared to last year and I discovered China MiƩville, which rekindled my love for fantasy and sci-fi.

Overall, it has been a great year. I got to see more of the world, gained new friends, and also learned about myself. I am thankful for my work and I'm even looking forward to writing my thesis. It wasn't always good, though. I had moments of sadness, doubting myself, and questioning people around me. I wasn't always good with my friends and family.

I'm not into New Year's resolutions because I know I won't be consistent with them for the rest of the year anyway, but I will try my best to: Spend time in more meaningful things and less on too much internet browsing and social media. Take better care of my health. Be a more consistent and prolific writer. Have better time management. Get rid of unhealthy behaviors, people, and relationships. Be more open to new experiences and people. Read and write more.

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