Biggest Lessons in 2009

Trader asked me what my New Year’s resolutions are. His were to sleep earlier, play less video games and read more books. He’s just started getting addicted to video games and wanted to curb this time-wasting endeavor.

To be better than I was last year,” I told him. “Am not the type of person to make concrete resolutions, but strive to be a better person in a better place than before. So far, I’ve been quite successful at that.”

Boy, the decade was quite a roller coaster ride. From a chick back in Manila to now working striving my ass off in Hong Kong. Who knew I would’ve stayed in three different countries in the last decade?

Anyway, I felt that listing my resolutions would be a moot point, and a bore to most of you. So I’d rather share what were my bigger lessons in 2009 so that you can learn from my mistakes. I’ll start from the end of December and move on till today. Here goes:

1) It’s obvious when it’s over.

My ex didn’t call me for two freaking weeks on vacation. At first, I had this dreaded feeling which grew especially as I tried to make Hong Kong my home. And by the end of 2008 two weeks later, I knew it was over.

He did call come December 30, 2008 but everything has changed.

If a guy’s not into you, feel free to bash about it with your friends, bawl it over something naughty and fattening but seriously, just let it go. Because it’s only when you let someone go that recovery happens and really nice things come into your life. Don’t beg for him to come back (though he will when you no longer want him) or wistfully think what might have been if you just changed yourself a bit, girlie — It’s O.V.E.R.

Your heart’s limited — give it only to those who deserve it.

2) The one with the lower salary keeps her job.

In the recession, everyone from the Managing Directors to the Assistants were afraid to lose theirs. Upon my arrival, my own line manager who asked me to come to Hong Kong lost her job, causing much trauma in our department. Little did I know that I would take on a lot of her work for my own measely pay.

In the end, I managed to hobnob with other country heads and help support them with their events because my former boss wasn’t there — all at a measly salary and even insignificant bonus. But then again, I still kept my job and going strong then.

3) Then again, you realize not everything is about work.

You’ve seen me when I was still a workaholic in Taipei. It’s been said that my drive was the factor that catapulted me to Hong Kong. The ironic thing was after I arrived, I realized that a job is just that… a job. It’s not the end all and be all of everything.

So even though I still give work my all and strive to offer perfection by the deadline, I’ve learned you don’t really have to kill yourself to perform well. Instead, just be better than your colleagues because surely, they’re not giving it their all especially during a lackluster bonus year.

4) Sometimes, you really have to give love a chance — even to someone you don’t really expect.

Trader was never really my White Knight in a Horse. Everyone I know praises him to the moon (myself included) but let me tell you this, if Trader was still single and he went after you (if you’re female), I don’t know if you’ll even give him a chance.


He’s a homebody.

He’s too nice and decent.

He’s too boring.

He’s needy, clingy and calls/SMSs you a couple of times every single day.

He’s in Singapore, 3.5 hours away. How can you even outlast that?

He’s too traditional and wants a sweet traditional lady.

He’s younger than me.

He goes to mass and listens to his parents.

He’s too nice.

Did I mention he’s too nice?

We women like the bad boys. The guys who take us to nice dinners and trade barbs with. We like the passion and excitement. It makes our blood boil.

But they also break our hearts.

Seriously, I think most of people’s love issues stem from choosing guys/girls who don’t like them enough. Who don’t appreciate them enough. If only we can choose people who adore us, just as we are, even after he/she “has” us and the chase is over, then I think we save ourselves the heartache we usually subject ourselves to.

5) The best way to find that love (for women): Do nothing. The best way to find that love (for men): Do something, stop and see how she responds. If she bites, take that giant leap.

I’m sorry if I’ve been complacent but Trader complains that I don’t call him that often. It’s just me. I have this gawd-awful rule that if a guy wants to talk to you and see you, he will call. And if he doesn’t like my ex didn’t, then he won’t. It’s really that simple.

So if he calls, I answer. If he emails, I reply back. I send him loving mails from time to time. However, do I take the initiative? No, I let him call the shoots, and surprisingly, he’s still callin’.

As for the men, when you like someone, do something. Don’t assume that we get your hints.

Trader called me long distance for a month and a half just to talk and I didn’t get the hint. It was only after he flew over that I truly got it, and it was only because he asked me to become his girlfriend. 🙂

6) Sometimes, you just have to be loud.

Quiet gets you to be in the sidelines, evilly plotting for your next move. However, for a newcomer in Hong Kong like me, I felt that sometimes being direct, opinionated and clear is great. If people like you, they’ll really like you. And if they don’t, tough. Life will introduce you to more people anyway.

Don’t ask, don’t expect. If you don’t raise your voice a little, don’t complain when people are already stepping on you or forgetting that you exist

7) Get out there if you want to make friends.

I credit an online forum for getting me my first group of friends. I really went out there to make new friends because I didn’t know any when I arrived.

Sometimes, I had to take the initiative. I organized a breakfast and met one of my better louder friends. I joined a movie screening and met my British-Indian compadre. I hiked, travelled around islands, discovered Disneyland and Ocean Park with a group of strangers and though it was scary at first, it was really well worth it.

At the very least, I’m no longer lonely in Hong Kong. 🙂

8) To experience, you must spend. Unfortunately, that comes in a package.

People say that fun doesn’t mean expensive. That may be true, but in order to enjoy yourself, that does take a bit of moolah here and there.

My best memories in 2009 was traveling to Turkey for 10 days. That was expensive but well worth the money.

I also loved eating out in various Hong Kong restaurants and trying out afternoon tea at the Peninsula, The Four Seasons, Mandarin and Sevva. That can easily take you back a few hundred Hongkies, not a small expense.

However, looking back, these were the memories I cherish the most. And life is about making and collecting memories right? So though it’s great to be tightfisted (and Trader will definitely agree), you sometimes have to spend to make the hard work all the more tolerable and worthwhle.

9) I missed a lot of opportunites because I  didn’t put the money where my heart was.

I wanted to get an MBA but didn’t apply in time because I didn’t take the GMAT, which was a simple requirement. As a result, things got in the way, my MBA plans got delayed till this year just because I didn’t plunk down USD250 to take the stupid exam.

Such a big investment would’ve prompted me to cram when needed and just take the stupid test even though I don’t really want to. So am a big procrastinator who hates tests, sue me.

I’ve learned more about myself last year in such that I took, crammed and passed the CFA Level I exam because I applied to take the exam and later on found out that I couldn’t get a refund if I cancelled. So I studied and passed. Am not going to make that same mistake — just plunked USD250 to take the GMAT this March.


10) We must blog/update more often.

Been too busy with a big conference and maintaining my long distance relationship amidst pending approval from both sides of the parents. Still not an excuse from blogging more often.

Hope all is well. Happy new year all!


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4 thoughts on “Biggest Lessons in 2009

  1. Hey girl! Good to hear from you! and Happy 2010 to you toooo!!!

    I won’t say “May all your wishes come true”, but I’ll say “May you be happy and content in life :)”.

    Good to hear that you’re still busy as always and you applied for your MBA! 😀 😀 :D!

    Gosh, reading your post~ yes, a year has passed again. It’s strange right? Relatively speaking, a year is not long, when you compare it to how long you’ll live… but it’s long enough to experience life and grow as person~ change as person.

    When I was in Seoul last week I met up with someone special who I haven’t seen for a year~ we could tell that we both have changed. It’s also nice to see, since than you’ll know that you have climbed further up the mountain ^^.

    I always like your reflecting posts~ after reading those posts, I find myself reflecting as wel :P.
    But heck, I do think that peeps have to make mistakes in life. It’s all just a matter of how you take the bull by it’s horns right? :).

    All the best to you my dear friend~ life can only get better if you want it to be n_n

  2. I have been reading your blog with great interest throughout 2009. I had a similar situation: a nearly perfect man who absolutely adored me and who, supposedly, was a great complement to me. But I chose not to be with him, and now I’m working on a relationship with a man who is, in many ways, much more difficult to be with. Why? Because this new man and I have passion (both good and bad), and there was zero passion (at least on my end) with the nearly perfect guy. Now, I’d hardly call new guy a bad guy; he does have a good heart and he’s very loyal. But there are certainly areas where he has a lot of growing up to do. But then again, so do I, so we are trying to grow together. Every once in awhile (usually during a big fight), I wonder if I made the right choice. And so I am guess I am reading your blog as a sort of alternate ending (even though I know that it may bear no reality to what might have happened). In any event, I truly wish you well and thank you for sharing your story with us!

  3. Cherisse, thanks so much for sharing your story. Maybe it’s really the challenge we seek. It is what it is, and we take what we have.

    Hope it really works out between the two of you!

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