A few minutes more to go and we officially welcome 2015 - well, over here in GMT +9, that is. It's obviously a cliche to write a New Year's post to somehow recollect on what has happened this year, except that for this entry I choose to make it public instead of having to hide it away from malicious scrutiny.
When I wrote these entries at the start of 2013 and 2014, I wasn't expecting a multitude of blessings. I simply wanted to be free of negative people, negative environment, and health ailments. I clearly remember complaining about wanting to finish my thesis on time and opportunities to go work abroad, but I never expected that this year those complaints would bear positive fruit. All of my hopes have always been formless thoughts, and at the back of my mind, I had always put myself down by saying that these hopes would not come true. I guess the universe was simply fed up with my pessimism and slapped me with a bunch of positive turns in order to prove me wrong. God is really good.
So yeah, to sum up what 2014 has been, these had been the highlights.
- I passed JLPT N5! It's not that big of an achievement compared to my other friends who had already passed the higher levels, but this has been something that I had wanted to achieve ever since I started studying Japanese on my own ten years ago. It was such a hard decision to stop my formal Japanese education due to financial concerns, but I guess it was all for the best, as shown in later months.
- After five years, I finally finished graduate school and got a degree in Applied Linguistics. Sure, graduate school was fun and all that, but coupled with tensions at work and souring relationships, it had gradually begun to turn into a prison I wanted to break free of. I also realized that I had overestimated myself and I had given myself an academic burden I could not fully commit to. I have to admit that I still don't know just how much I love academics and how much of it I am going to embrace (in terms of emotional and intellectual growth), but for now I am contented to say I have overcome a major milestone.
- I found work in Japan. This has to be my greatest achievement - not only for this year, but for my entire life. Since I took an interest in Japanese language in high school, I have always wondered if I would be able to experience Japanese life and culture up close and personal. If other people's dreams have consisted of a stable work, a family, a house and a car, mine was just to find myself as an independent entity in a country whose culture I have always been interested in immersing. It may be shallow, selfish and immature, yes, but these are my honest thoughts, I guess: to be able to put the language I've been studying to practice, to experience these people's way of life, to be able to reach the people who have made this dream possible, to be able to express my gratitude to them for having given me meaning no one else had.
- My empty passport finally has served its purpose. Not only was I able to step on Japanese soil, but I was also able to travel and cross over to South Korea. I am still far from the ideal image of what a traveler is supposed to be (I am not into extensive backpacking due to my health issues), but for now I am content to say I have gone somewhere.
The only thing I am not happy with are my health issues - it seemed that I had gotten worse, but as to whether these changes were the culprit, I cannot fully say. Right now I'm dealing with a VERY bad back coupled with some recurrent headaches and stomachaches, and they have been the cause of my stress. I admit that I have been very afraid these past few weeks with these sudden changes, and while everyone is saying Japan is a great country in terms of medicine, their hospitals' and clinics' operating hours and insurance policies are driving me crazy.
But no matter, this year had been filled with a lot of great things for me just when I least expected it. I guess it is safe to say that this has been the best year for me so far. I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish - like travelling to Tokyo, attending a NEWS concert (too bad with Arashi's this year), and saving A LOT for future projects. I can only wish medical appointments would stop sapping the hell out of my finances.
Anyway, I sincerely hope that everything will get even better for everyone in 2015! あけましておめでとうございます！^^