And just like that another year is done. Just like how I do my year-end posts, I look back at the year that was and share some learnings.
2021 has been different from the previous year of adapting. It’s the year of firsts for me and my family. it’s the year we make the most out of living in Dubai. It’s the year we found a bit of normalcy living in pandemic. It’s the year I focused on relationships—with myself & my family. It’s the year of simplicity & growth.
Here are three things I’ve consciously done and how these have greatly helped me navigate 2021.
Silence. Spend some time in silence. I think the power of silence is often underrated. Spending at least 5 minutes of silence by meditation or breathing exercise has greatly helped me avoid hundreds of outbursts & mental breakdowns.
Simplify. In your way of living, in your decision making. In everything. Things are usually simple until we make it complicated or until we start to overthink and feel overwhelmed. Strip down things in its simplest form so you can fully understand it & immerse yourself in it. Consciously practice this on your daily life and you’ll sure see things become easier.
Serve. I think service is one of the ultimate blueprints of love. To serve someone is to share your energy & time. Service should be done free-willingly without any conditions nor expectations. Serve not just the people you love but also yourself. In fact you should serve yourself first (and not feel guilty) before anyone else.
Anyhow, moving on to the highlights of 2021. I honestly think nothing eventful happened this year as I rummage through thousands of photos on my phone (mostly filled with food, fitness & comical photos of my kids) it became clear that we’ve done a lot of firsts. Here are some of them.
This is such a big deal because getting a license in UAE means going through rigorous training. So to be able to pass the tests on your first try is such a flex.
I can’t help but compare how homemaking is waaaay different as we shift from a 2-bedroom apartment to a 4-bedroom villa. One thing hasn’t changed though, we still do not have any helpers/maids. Most chores have been the same except cleaning as it has been extra— literally needing to cover more floor space with my vacuuming & mopping. Nonetheless, we feel that this space is perfect for us as our kids have enough room to create & grow. Also having a beautiful space of a kitchen, I’ve been spending more time in it that I even started baking. Check one of the recipes below.
As Dubai opened up in 2021, I slowly started dressing up even if it only means I’m off to do a 10 minute grocery run. If anything, the efforts I put into looking good has made me feel good. As shallow as it may seem, it has greatly helped me get out of the funk of the pandemic. Shared on my Instagram my #FilipinoFashionFridays wearing Filipino brands to further promote Pinoy fashion.
I never thought we’d watch a movie in the cinemas this year but it happened. It may seem such a mundane thing but movie dates have been our thing as a family so being able to do this again brought familiarity & joy.
Also this year we have slowly gone back to dinning out. We started with outdoor dining until we’ve become a bit more comfortable indoors. We still follow protocols—social distance, mask, sanitize every chance we get. I also bring a plasma sterilizer whenever we dine out.
After months of doing online school, we finally sent our kids back to school. It was a nerve-wracking first day back to school (well at least for me) as the pandemic is still happening. The fear of the virus has greatly affected me. But knowing kids’ school is doing everything they can to ensure the safety of everyone has made me feel at ease. Being back to school has really given us a sense of normalcy. And being surrounded by peers & learning from teachers face to face made studying better for my kids.
IMG World, Motion Gate, Dreamworks, The Green Planet, Global Village, Unfiltered DXB & Expo 2020 are just some of the theme parks & attractions we went to this year. The most we’ve done in a year. Posted some reels of our visit on my Instagram. Hopefully, I can do separate blog posts for each visit next.
For Juro’s birthday, he wanted to do a staycation like we usually would pre-pandemic. After much thought we gave in to his request and stayed at The Atlantis for his birthday weekend. Did the water slides & ate good food!
Another highlight of 2021 is finally registering to vote! Even though we’re miles away from Manila, I made sure to register just in time for next year’s election.
This year I really focused on myself particularly my health & overall wellness. So I went to different doctors to have my routine checkups and one of the tests I was recommended to do was a mammogram. It’s not until one turns 40 that she should do this test but given my family history of breast cancer, my OB Gyne here recommended I do it 4 years earlier. So glad I did for my peace of mind. If you can, get yourself checked because prevention really is better than cure.
Our very first neighborhood trick or treat finally happened this year. Living in a condominium for years we usually do our trick or treat in malls, hotels or friends’ neighborhood. So this year was extra special because it our first time to host it & participate in our community. Our kids chose their costumes & I had very last minute one. We handed out candies & treats to neighborhood kids too. So. Much. Fun.
Participated in this year’s #DubaiFitnessChallenge While I do workout regularly, taking part in a challenge makes me feel more motivated. If you need a little inspiration to jumpstart your fitness journey for 2022 then maybe you can your very on 30×30 challenge. Try this: just 30 minutes of workout everyday for 30 days. It can be any workout you want (run, bike, swim, lift weight,yoga, HIIT, even walk). It may feel like impossible at first but being consistent will get you through it. After completing the 30 days you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to stick to a fitness routine you can do for the rest of the year.
Running has immensely been a part of my 2021. It has given me a chance to get to know myself more, made me humble & gave me grace. It has made me look forward to my mornings & has motivated me to nourish myself. This year I went on and participated in Dubai Run 2020 where I along with thousands of people ran along Sheik Zayed Road. Definitely one for the books being part of this historical moment.
We’ve been wanting to visit Abu Dhabi since we moved to Dubai but never really got to plan it. We finally did one long weekend. We went to Warner Bros, Ferrari World, YAS Water World, Qasr Al Watan & Madang Korean Restaurant. So much beauty in Abu Dhabi that a few days is not enough. Hopefully we can go back next year and see more of it. Posting more about our visit on other posts.
Another first for our family is desert camping. What is living in the the desert if you are not going to experience camping in the desert, right? So much fun doing this during one winter weekend. Again, more about this on a separate post.
We welcomed Christmas in snowy ice capped mountains of Gudauri in Georgia. It was our first white Christmas. It’s our first travel & vacation after moving to Dubai and let me tell you it has been an experience we’ll remember. Still here to spend New Year’s as well because of unexpected twist of events but that deserves another post.
Looking back at the year that was, I am extremely grateful for being able to live in Dubai and being able to experience many firsts with my little family. As we welcome the new year I wish for hope, courage & love to guide us through 365 days of 2022. May we manifest the life we want to live and the love we want to feel. May this year give us abundance of light & love. Here’s to 2022!
Happy new year everyone!