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Best 9: MMXIX


Year end reviews are so much fun because they always sum up the year that has been in  such a nostalgic way. It has become a yearly habit to look back at my Instagram Best 9, and it gives me great joy every time to look back and reminisce on what each memory represents. 

I love how this particular set for 2019 perfectly condenses in one grid just how much of a rollercoaster ride this year was for me. I always say this with every review, but this year more than ever was one for growth and maturity. I tried new things, outdid myself in certain achievements, and went to new places and experienced a lot of new things. I also went through the wringer of emotions that tried just how elastic and adaptable I could be with whatever life throws at me: excitement, anticipation, disappointment, boredom, frustration, and contentment, amongst many other things. 

Join me as I review the context behind each photo and how it contributed to making 2019 my year of introspection and self-discovery: 


De La Salle -College of Saint Benilde’s plaque of recognition for passing the Foreign Service Exam 

I just find it interesting that little did I know that time, I was going to go back to my alma mater to start teaching. I had always planned to go back and share my knowledge to the students of my dear old college, but I hadn’t imagined for it to be so soon. This year, I started teaching, which made up my mind that this was something that I really loved to do. 


Graduation Day! Master in International Studies 

I have long anticipated getting my Diploma and it feels absolutely delightful to be part of the ranks of the best of the best to have graduated from the country’s premier university. 


Breakfast in the desert 

It is very difficult to pick a single most memorable and unforgettable moment since I have gone through so many adventures in all of my 29 years, but definitely up in the list is spending a night under the stars in Rajasthan’s Sam Sand Dunes. I had saved up for an extended backpacking trip of Northern India, and one of the most anticipated things in my itinerary was doing a camel safari. I stayed overnight in the desert, with nothing but a blanket and a cot under the stars. It was such a surreal experience waking up to a dazzling sunrise over the sand dunes. The feeling of intense bliss, contentment, and joy was something that gave me so much peace. I try to go back to that moment every time I feel stressed out. 


The iconic Hawa Mahal, one of Jaipur’s most recognisable landmarks

Jaipur has definitely become one of my most favourite cities in the world. I love how this photo marked a series of photos on forts, temples, cities, market squares, and bazaars during my trip to India. I have always talked about coming back after my first trip in 2016, but I made it happen this year, thanks to low cost air travel! 


In Jaipur’s Amber Fort 

I definitely had my fill of fortresses, palaces and citadels during that Indian trip. 


So long, Oojie 

This year, I experienced such a new and foreign feeling: mourning the loss of a pet. I never imagined that I would be so attached to any animal at all since I never really categorised myself as an animal lover, but Oojie’s passing left me with a profound sadness. He and I had been best friends in the brief time that we were together. I now own another cat, but Oojie will always be my first feline best friend. RIP up there, buddy. 


Morning chai in Jodhpur

How do you measure a year in the life? With cups of chai. I averaged 3-4 cups a day when I was in India, which realigned my caffeine consumption away from exclusively drinking black coffee. I’m proud to say I have perfected my own recipe. 


Coffee afternoons at Blocleaf

That said, I’m still a huge coffee fan and there will never be greater satisfaction than being in a quiet coffee shop, lost in a book. 


Final hurrah at the beach 

I did not go to the beach much this year, unlike in the previous years, what with my busy schedule and all but I’m glad that before the year wrapped, I was able to duck out of my responsibilities and enjoy a weekend of sun and surf. 


Oh, and since year-end review season is also the kick off of the Holidays, I just want to wish you a beautiful, meaningful, and healing Holiday season this year. May this year’s festivities bring happiness, reconciliation, and more growth to you and your family. 

Did you find some great memories of your own in your Best 9? What are the exciting things in store for you in 2020? 







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