Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 retrospective.

It's nearing the end of another year, so it's high time for another year-end post. And yes, I know I've been quite the blogging delinquent these past few months, but please let me make it up to you as I sum up the year 2013.


I was well into taking both Lebran dance fitness and their technique classes as well, after having endured a medals exam the month before. I was already taking both Latin and standard ballroom, and to my surprise, I was told that I didn't have to pay for the extra classes that I was attending in the evening.

I also took a brief return trip to acting this month, as a few young friends from school got me to act for a thesis film. It was a great opportunity to see if I can still act, and it was pretty emotionally and physically challenging for me. But I actually did it, so a good pat on the back there.

It was this month when I also realized that when I like someone, the most simple gestures win me over, and my katorpehan moments began once again. How teeny-bopper of me.


After one 2-hour standard ballroom class in the evening, I was encouraged by Teacher B to join PDTA's 2nd syllabus competition, with Myrone as my partner. I was thrilled, but also overwhelmed and anxious because I only had 3 weeks to train under her and Myrone. Despite the fact that I had so little confidence in my technique, I was grateful for that opportunity as Teacher B had waived her professional fee for our training, and I got to learn so much from her and my partner.

I was still being smitten by that guy, especially since we were spending so much time together, but I was still afraid to admit anything to anyone.


The main highlight of this month was joining PDTA's Syllabus Competition. 3 weeks of training, hard work, polishing, peppered with some bickering with my partner was put to the test on the dance floor. We ended up placing 4th both in the waltz (4th out of 6 couples) and the tango (4th out of 4). Well, not bad for my first ever competition, with only 3 weeks of training. I told myself that I can easily set the bar higher for next time.


As I was still smitten over the same guy, I had summed up the courage to tell him that I liked him. And for the second time in a row, I immediately got friendzoned, hahaha. What was good about it was nothing really felt awkward, even when we saw each other and went out together on our own a few days after I told him. He never made me feel awkward at all, actually, and made sure we stayed good friends as we were in constant communication and company of each other. With that, I considered him one of my best friends.

This was also the time when I became a scholar under Lebran. It was a big weight off my shoulders to not have to pay for any of my classes anymore. I started attending classes everyday, and even got to learn the man's part in certain classes when there weren't enough male scholars available. I also became part of the core group, which was mainly comprised of Sir Brando, Mommy Val, Myrone, and me. Pretty overwhelming for a brand new scholar who was new to the business, but I took it as a challenge.


Most of this month was dedicated to preparing for the I-Dance show, called Step Up To Freedom. Other than Latin and standard ballroom routines, we learned how to dance the Polynesian hula, plus a few cultural folk dances. It was actually fun learning dances from different genres. And even though I wasn't dancing in some numbers, I still got to learn them as I always got to stand in whenever someone was absent.


This month's highlight was Step Up To Freedom. It was my first ever real show as a dancer, and despite the late nights we had rehearsing for the show, I still had so much fun.


This month marked the beginning of the more challenging half of the year. Due to certain circumstances, I somewhat ruined the friendship I had forged with my best friend on the team. When he started liking someone else, I felt I was being pushed away without meaning to, though I knew he was being careful with his actions toward everyone, including me. It was somewhat my fault for holding on a bit too close to something I could never get. This was also when I got the chance to talk with Mommy Val (for a full day, no less!) about what I was feeling toward the situation, plus we also got to talk about my life's direction, as to where I'm now headed. I loved all her advice, as it was my first time ever to actually have a decent heart-to-heart talk with her.


This month gave way to more challenges for myself. Other than our regular classes, we were also attending a contemporary jazz class under Sir Roy. I had to learn to face my fears of heights and falling in the least amount of time during his classes, and it felt great to pull off what he was teaching us while conquering these fears.

After another counseling session with Mommy Val, I was encouraged to take the first ever Lebran teachers' certification exam along with a bunch of the other scholars who were already tenured in teaching Lebran. After practicing a few times, I went with it, and actually passed the exam.

I told myself that everyday is a new challenge, and with every milestone I reach is a little victory for myself.


Mostly focused on building my confidence in teaching this month. Lebran had opened up more venues other than in Makati Cinema Square, so we had to be more organized in dispatching the teachers in the different venues. I sometimes had to learn to teach a class on my own, which was another accomplishment for me.

I was also named one of the top agents in our part-time account in CVG, and one of the perks we got was an outing to Fontana Resort in Pampanga. I got to spend 2 days with my fellow part-time agents, and it was a good opportunity to bond with my friends plus the other agents that I don't usually interact with.


Because Lebran has no other way to go but up, we were also on our way to having an official website. To make things  special, we decided to make it into an event, so we were prepping up for that. We made arrangements for everything--the venue, the program, the dance repertoire itself, etcetera.

The challenge we had to endure this month was that we were one teacher down. In the middle of the month, Myrone got primary spontaneous pneumothorax and had to be rushed to the hospital. Because he underwent an operation and needed 6 weeks to heal, we had to fix everyone's schedules again for others to take over his classes.  We were lucky enough to have new trainees so male partners in technique classes weren't much of a problem.

I was pretty grateful that he was immediately out of the woods. It did take a while, though, for him to return to classes.

And somehow, after things were good again before this month, we started fighting again due to my clingy nature, and it felt like I was losing my best friend in him all over again.


This month was mostly focused on preparing for Lebran's first ever big event. It served 3 purposes--to launch the official Lebran website, to introduce its pool of newly-certified teachers called the Lebran Shapers, and to showcase the students in a mini-recital. Everyday was busy day.

Of course, there were some things that some (or most) people have noticed, so we had to learn to talk and settle certain issues, even if just for the sake of the team, and for the sake of the upcoming event. And of course, for the sake of ourselves, even though I already knew that things will never be the same again.

Near the end of the month gave way to a new challenge, which was learning to choose between doing the right thing for everyone, and doing the thing that most people deem favorable. I learned that in empowering and disciplining the younger scholars may cost a lot, especially if you make one stupid move, such being their least favorite person, to the point that the team was noticeably divided and some of them were not speaking to me at all in anger.


The big event of the month was when Kuya Bryan got married to Joan. We had to travel all the way to Alaminos, Pangasinan for the wedding. When I was first invited to the wedding (several times, by different people, no less), I was looking forward to it. But due to certain things that had happened, I was having second thoughts about going, knowing that after what had happened before the month began, things and people will be making things awkward for me. But I still went, nonetheless,  because it was mainly for Kuya Bryan and Joan's special day.

I was trying my best efforts to resolve things, but I knew that things won't improve unless both parties make the effort, so I decided to just say my piece for one last time and leave the ball in their court. And the timing couldn't be better. Beginning on the first hour of my birthday, things were starting to look up. And it also helped a lot that I had my one-on-one counseling session with Mommy Val and Sir Brando on the exact day of my birthday. I learned a lot about myself, plus what I needed to improve in in the upcoming year, and what better time to start with all new changes after that talk.

In one year-end post, I wrote down quotable quotes that made my year that time. In another, I posted photos of highlights from that year. I thought I'd do something different for this entry.

Mommy Val always reiterated that we should always be grateful--for the people we encounter, for every challenge God gives us, and for the small victories we make when we surpass these hurdles we come across. So I'd like to acknowledge the people that I've learned so much from this year.

First, of course, is Mommy Val. Even when I was still a paying student, she always imparts so much wisdom and knowledge, not just for me, but for the other scholars and the rest of the people in our Lebran family. She always helps us keep our feet on the ground and our attitudes in check. She knows the right thing to say, and always tells us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. I look up to her not just as a mentor but also as a mother, and I'm glad she always has our backs, I sure do hope I get to be as good a mentor and mother as her.

Of course, there's also Sir Brando. I admire his patience and his selflessness in training us, and giving us all the best training we could have. He also taught us that the learning is always continuous, that we never stop learning, even him. Teachability is a big factor in becoming a great teacher, and we all learn from each other.

I have to include Myrone for this. He was the first friend I became close with in Lebran,  even when I was still a paying student. I learned a lot from him beginning from when he became my one-time partner for competition. I also look up to him for his patience, for knowing when to be serious for work and when to wack out. He's pretty mature for his age,  and I admire him for that. He's quite the gentleman, and hates having to hurt anyone, so I understand when he chooses to be quiet whenever I insist on talking when we fight or merely disagree. He may not know this, but he became my voice of reason when I act immature or do something out of line. Which was why I considered him my best friend on the team, though he may not think the same of me. I don't know if we could be better friends again after everything that had happened, but for now, I'm just grateful for the friendship we once had.

Abby is like a sister I grew to love. Another person who's wise beyond her years, I admire her for her spunk and her talent. Every bonding moment with her is never boring, and she became my confidante in so many ways.

Meeting Ags wasn't pure coincidence. I knew there had to be a reason why I met her. Despite her young age, I do believe she's more mature than I am in more ways than one. During the times when we were in constant communication with each other, I sometimes feel sorry for her whenever I would rant, especially about people who are are both close to our hearts. Her patience is immeasurable, and her understanding as well. I learned a lot from her, especially with her tact, understanding, honesty, and trustworthiness. Even though she once told me to fight for what I may think is supposedly mine, I think it was still a decent choice for me not to do so, for the sake of someone's choice. After everything she's been going through, I'm glad she's somewhat happier now, and she deserves it.

I cannot exclude Kuya Bryan from this list. Even if it was just for a time, his advice in his long text messages really struck me hard. He is another person who puts it bluntly, but the sound advice he gives still gives you a somewhat soothing and comforting effect.

There are still so many people I'm grateful for this year, but these people are the one who gave so much impact. 2013 was a very challenging year for me to shape up in terms of physical and in terms of my attitude, and these people helped me with that. Thank you, and I love you guys for being there.

"So many changes in one year... wonder what next year will bring." - Brett, Children's Letters to God.

I bid 2013 a farewell with a happy heart, and move on. With this, I'm excited to begin the new year with new opportunities and new adventures.