Celebrate Your Happiness!

I think it all started on the last night of 2013. I don’t remember exactly what my sister and I did, but it wasn’t particularly exciting. We may have just lazily sung “The Blues” (by Switchfoot) and listened to “The New Year” (by Parachute) thinking this New Year’s celebration was a stupid holiday.


Is this the New Year or just another night?
Is this the new fear or just another fright?
Is this the new tear or just another desperation?
Is this the finger or just another fist?
Is this the kingdom or just a hit n' miss?
A misdirection, most in all this desperation
Is this what they call freedom?
Is this what you call pain?
Is this what they call discontented fame?
It'll be a day like this one
When the world caves in

Months later as 2014 was about to come to a close, we realized something really freaky: 2014 turned out to be a mess of a year filled with desperation. It was as stupid as the stupid holiday before it. Of course, not saying that it was only filled with groan-inducing events–quite the contrary, the summer of that year was amazing since we went to Korea and the Philippines for a vacation. But the rest of the year was filled with upsetting events in the eyes of two childish teenagers. 2014 wasn’t an ideal year. I can’t deny my feelings for that year even though it seems dumb and childish to me now.


On the last night of 2014, we decided to welcome 2015 with open arms for a change. We watched Girls’ Generation’s concert in Tokyo Dome: the one when Jessica was freshly kicked out of the band (another reason why 2014 sucked). It was a very bittersweet moment when they ended the concert all teary-eyed while singing a slow, sad version of “Into the New World.”


사랑해 널 이 느낌 이대로 
(I love you, this feeling, just as it is)
그려왔던 헤매임의 끝 
(The longed end of wandering) 
이 세상 속에서 반복되는 슬픔 이젠 안녕 
(To the recurring sadness of this world, goodbye) 
수많은 알 수 없는 길 속에 희미한 빛을 난 쫓아가 
(Among the many unknown paths, I'll pursue the faint light)
언제까지라도 함께 하는거야 다시 만난 나의 세계
(Together even until forever, into the new world)

And after that concert, it was exactly 12 AM. We even saw fireworks from our window and I even went out to the veranda to see if it can bee seen from there. It wasn’t a particularly impressive fireworks display, but it made the night. Here we go; into the new world…

And that’s exactly how the rest of the new year went. 2015 was a landslide of bittersweet moments, yet at the same time there were fireworks. It was a great year. I met my “new world” (transition to Korea) with lots of tears and struggles and goodbyes, but with fireworks on the side. It was a year filled with new adventures, new experiences, and new friends.


January 1st of 2016 was something else though. The night before, I spend it watching year-end gayo at Yukari’s house. It was kinda boring in some parts because we didn’t know who the other bands were, but when we saw people we knew, it was fun. Next day Yukari Eonni, her bf and I went to E-World and spent the day going around riding, well, rides. But ever since I went on that fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World ages ago, I decided I don’t ever want to go on another roller coaster in my life. But still, she forced me anyway. It was awful. But because she was with me, it was really fun…sort of. It was one of those absolutely memorable days and I don’t regret any of it, that’s for sure, even though I felt tortured the entire time.


오늘도 롤러코스터 타는 이 기분
(Even today, your mood is like a roller coaster) 
들쑥날쑥한 너의 바이오리듬 
(Your biorhythm is so inconsistent)
오늘도 롤러코스터 타는 니 기분 
(Even today, riding your mood)
알다가도 모르겠어 정말 
(Even after figuring it out, I really don't know)

2016 was somewhat like that. It wasn’t always fun. There were boring parts, annoying parts, and I was depressed and lonely for a lot of the time but the fun parts would also come up and they were exciting. It was like an intense roller coaster ride–filled with lots of ups and downs and it went by pretty fast. My mood swings were also pretty intense this year. I’d be really happy one day and then really down the next, and suddenly be happy again. I even swore I was mentally distressed (crazy) one time. And still, after such a crazy year, I still have the guts to say this year is probably the best year of my life so far.

Memorable stuff I did this year:

  • Went to Busan with 2급 classmates
  • Snow piled up a little bit
  • 왕과 미인 연극 (with group members: 장단양, 조문흔, 여조용)

    ㅋㅋㅋㅋ 조용이 이쁘다!

  • 집들이 (House-warming party) at 담락묘 and 조문흔’s new house
  • Looked for a new house with the help of 유지연 선생님
  • Celebrated last day of 2급


  • Moved to my very own 1 room flat
  • Flew on a plane to Abu Dhabi all on my own for the very first time
  • Went for a vacation to UAE: Went to Dubai Global City, Dubai Flower Garden; went to Carlos Santana concert with Daddy
  • Entered 3급 with: 변경희 선생님, 홍경화 선생님, 온영휘, 주사려, 빈, 여조용, 번건수, 티엔, 진만려, 유가, 마소함, 동양,  추문연, 조문흔.
  • Started attending 시와 찬미 교회
  • Met 유선생님’s baby daughter
  • Went to 경주 with 3급 classmates and schoolmates


  • Attended a Korean wedding (신정섭 오빠 & 백지혜 언니)
  • Went to 합천 with 3급 classmates
  • Girls’ night with church friends
  • Went on a hiking trip with 3급 classmates
  • Went to Busan with church people
  • Celebrated the end of 3급 in a Chinese restaurant (lots of beer and good food) then went to karaoke
  • Went to the 무덤 and talked about life and Pokemon and whatnot with small group (진형 오빠, 경열 오빠)
  • Secret 김밥 making in class
  • Entered 4급 with: 이수현 선생님, 김?선생님, 이명진 선생님, 가정이, 채효암, 왕신양, 풍양, 주사려, 동양, 매튜, 알리사, 조정, 조한. It was such a boring class. Classmates weren’t very close to each other and were so awkward. At least my 3급 friends and I were still close to we talk often when we see each other in the halls. And during field trips I always stuck with 사려, the only 4급 classmate I was actually close to.
  • 수현 made 전 at my house
  • Depressing birthday (but I at least had some gifts and played billiards for the first time)
  • Went to Andong with 4급 schoolmates
  • Went volunteering with church team in the country and feeling totally awkward and useless
  • Went on the church retreat
  • Ended 4급
  • Bought a bike
  • New small group with 진솔 언니, 하은, 수현, 지은, 주은
  • Started 5급 with: 변경희 선생님, 성은주 선생님, 틸로, 후옌, 알리나, 마소함, 이반반, 조문흔, 갈안연, 여조용. 5급 was absolutely so much fun but was also so much work and studying was such a pain… yet class was so much fun. It was a good change compared to 4급 when I was at the depth of my darkness. I guess it had something to do with being reunited with my 3급 teachers and classmates again.
  • Started hanging out with 나연 언니 and 종언
  • Took the TOPIK for the very first time
  • Grocery shopping with 변경희 선생님 and bibimbap making in class!
  • 유선생님 spoiled me with lots of meat and 붕어빵
  • Ate at the food stands of our fellow 5급 students who participated in a cooking exhibition
  • News filming with 조용
  • Ended 5급 with a party
  • Went on a church hiking
  • Coincidentally met 종언 and 수현 at the 남매지 lake
  • Went to church overnight outing
  • 진솔언니 tried making 부주전
  • Started tutoring 하은 in English
  • Took so many photos that one time at church and at the coffee shop
  • 6급 started with 강수경 선생님, 우혜영 선생님, 여조용 (lol we’re always classmates except 4급), 번홍하, 춘표, 누꾸인, 마소함, 강낙, 알리나, 정영주, 티엔
  • Practicing for the Christmas event
  • Christmas
  • 성년의 밤 행사 (강낙, 영주, Alina, and I ate so much food!)


For the very last days of 2016, I wanted to celebrate New Year so badly because Christmas was so busy that I didn’t even get to celebrate properly with food. Plus, 2016 was such an exhausting year. I want to celebrate the fact that I got through this crazy year in one piece, and that I haven’t lost my mind completely. God got me through so much this year and I’m just so happy for all his blessings. It’s time to celebrate! We don’t even have class on Friday so I intended for that long celebration to be amazing, even though I decided to spend it all alone. At this point, after all the loneliness and struggles I had through the year, I was very content and happy to just spend New Year’s Eve by myself. After all, ever since September started, I was suddenly bombarded with social activities, contrary to the dull and lonely summer I had immediately before that. I didn’t even get to silently reflect on my year properly so I just wanted this weekend for myself.

December 29th was the 성년의 밤 행사 (New Year’s Party) at school. That day was ridiculous. My classmates and I sat there kinda bored the whole time, except maybe for the Descendants of the Sun play performed by 4급 students. Then when we were about to eat at the buffet, we realized that we were at the very end of the line so while waiting we took some dumb-looking selfies. At that point it seemed like we were suddenly so close to each other. We even had inside jokes. You know you’re getting closer to someone when you have inside jokes. Then when we finally got to the buffet table, we took as much food as we could but we couldn’t find a seat anywhere so we ran around the floor and found an empty room and ate there all by ourselves. Later the teachers saw us eating there and laughed at how comfortable we all look as if it was our own house. We even had the heater on and a nice view of the campus from the window. After eating so much and going for seconds, we realized that everyone has left and we were the last students in that building. So then we took some of the left overs home with us because, duh, free food.

December 30th, I met up with 하은 at her house for another English lesson. They had a really cute pet poodle! But to be honest, I found her little brother a whole lot cuter. He was 10 years old, and a little bit shy but I found him so cute. He’s such a kid. (Duh, he’s 10). I always wondered what it would be like to have a little brother so I liked seeing a kid like him bothering her sister and acting cute around her there. He even put their poodle inside his shirt and it was so adorable.

For New Year’s Eve, like I planned, I spent it alone–sort of. The moment I woke up, I greeted my old friend Allyssa a happy birthday on the Elite4 group chat and then started my day. After chatting with family, I went grocery shopping. Then I cleaned my house while listening to Jessica’s Wonderland album, cooked food, and checked out the TV schedule for the year-end 가요. I actually prepared to much food. I had spaghetti, fruit salad, other fruits, refrigerator fruit cake/float, some sort of banana bread, and a chocolate snack of some sort… It was obvious that it was too much for one person, but I prepared all of it anyway because like I said, I didn’t get to have a decent Noche Buena. While watching the year-end Gayo, I was chatting with my sister while eating. That’s when I realized I prepared too much food because I was already full, and I still had so much spaghetti and other desserts left. I probably only ate 20% of what I prepared. After a while of watching TV, the Elite4 chat room was back to life. They were greeting each other a Happy New Year and greeting Allyssa a happy birthday. Usually that chat room is pretty dead silent unless someone or something ignites it back to life. And so while chatting with them on my phone, I lost my concentration on the TV because of my bad attention span. It’s hard to keep up with the conversation in that chat room if you don’t concentrate because once everyone starts talking to each other again, everyone’s so excited that the chat room blows up with messages. Then Sirlance noticed that group video calls were now allowed on FB messenger so we all decided to give it a try. What amazed me the most about this was that even though we barely talk anymore even by chat, we started talking again as if we were never apart from each other for more than 6 years. We were laughing and joking around so much that I didn’t even notice that it already struck 12 until I heard the people on TV counting down.

…5…4…3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR KOREA! My friends and I were then greeting each other happy new year. I was the first among them to celebrate it too. But that didn’t stop there. We continued talking to each other until it struck 12 in the Philippines as well. (It was only a 1 hour difference.)  Then later, we decided to say goodbye for now, and the call ended. When the call ended, I sat there by myself and laughed so hard by myself. I didn’t expect my night to turn out like that. I didn’t expect to have a group video call from them because like I said, we rarely even talk to each other nowadays. As I sat there alone in my room, I realized something: this was all because I greeted Allyssa in the group chat room earlier in the day. If I didn’t greet her specifically through the chat room , would we have even thought of talking to each other again at a time like this? I mean, I didn’t even think of chatting with them; I just sent the happy birthday message in the chat room because her FB profile’s post option was disabled. My plan was to enjoy the year-end Gayo but I didn’t even properly watch the good parts because I was having so much fun with them. At least I had great background music while chatting with them.

I slept at around 2:30 a.m. Next day I was too tired to even go to church so I just spent that day at home eating the food I prepared last night. 2016 ended well, if I don’t say so myself. But as much as I had this love-hate relationship with 2016, I think I’m more than ready to move on to 2017. 2016 is like a roller coaster: I don’t think I want to ride it again, but I’ll cherish it as a fond memory.

Spread the love 반짝이게 
(Spread the love brightly)
네게 보여 줄래 let’s have a good time
(I wanna show you; let's have a good time)
지금부터 더 신나게
(from now on, more excitingly)
Celebrate your happiness
Celebrate you happiness

Now I don’t know how 2017 will turn out, but I’ll definitely try to make the most of it. And I’ll try to post more often in this blog as well. That’s technically not a New Year’s Resolution since I resolved to post in this blog more back in October. October’s Resolution maybe?


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