Oh how fast time rolls in and closes. It is so fast that sometimes I would just like to pause, replay and pause and replay. Now, another set of 365 (+1 because it’s Leap Year) days will be making its mark in each of our lives.
2015 has been a series of ups and downs; a year full of love, endless challenges and lessons learnt. I have met tons of amazing people and made remarkable memories with each and every one of them. It has been a crazy year indeed! Every day may not turn out perfectly well, but there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be thankful for such a year.
My first on-the-job-training was inside our university, called CSB Travel and Tours. Not everyone gets accepted as an intern here and being the youngest in our batch, I never vied for a top spot. My mind set was, as long as I get in, it’s all good. But, as soon as the results were released, I found out that I wasn’t only accepted but I was also chosen as the SIC (Student-in-Charge). The SIC in other words, is the elected “president” of the CSB Travel and Tours. I was so happy and excited! It was a lot of work, stress and pressure coming from everyone, but it has been so amazing. Our batch accomplished beyond what was expected from us, and it was definitely a great start to a great year.
Being a Tourism major student, we were encouraged to join as much educational tours as we can. Our finale was to Paris and it was an opportunity I couldn’t just let go of. We stayed for a week and enjoyed its beauty as au naturel as possible. I have seen the side of Paris everyone falls deeply in love with, and its other side to which rarely anyone ever talks about.
walking to the nearest McDonalds from our hotel, what happened next was to our
surprise. In front of us was a decent and handsome young man, his hands clasped
together from the freezing weather. We were pretty excited that he was going to
eat at McDonalds too. But he didn’t. Instead, he stopped in front of the
garbage bin and dug for food.
our way to Sacre Coeur, an old woman stepped on the train after us. After being
followed days before, I was pretty much crept out. I did not want to be
disrespectful when she started asking for donations, so I just put my head down
and hugged the Maltesers to myself. When she came to me, I didn’t know what
happened but I gave her my Maltesers and smiled. She started eating them in an
instant. “Merci, merci beaucoup,” was all she said to me until we got off the
Excerpt from Far From Home: Paris in 8 Days (http://xamjulliarde.blogspot.ae/2015/06/far-from-home-paris-in-8-days.html)
Early morning surprise in my dorm
|Movie Stars Cafe, Manila|
|Villa Escudero, Philippines|
My birth month!!! How could I ever forget how speechless April made me feel? This year, I turned 18. I never asked for a grand celebration, just to be with my family and friends. But looks like everyone had something else in mind. I celebrated my birthday 5 times in 5 different venues, silently orchestrated by my family and friends. Who would’ve known! I thought surprises like these are only possible in twitter photos, but then again, you people are way amazing!
May: Blogging paid off
Last year, I went to Yas Waterworld for my birthday celebration and wrote an article about that experience a couple of months after. I sent a copy of the article to Yas Waterworld’s Facebook page, simply because I wanted to thank them for an awesome day at the waterpark. Next think I knew, they were offering me 2 complimentary tickets for my next visit! I couldn’t believe it! I was so thrilled that I made a long-distance call to my mom to tell her the good news.
If you happen to drop by at Abu Dhabi, come and say hi! Yas Waterworld offers nothing less than the best. Trust me. Twice in a row and it never failed to take my breath away.
The Greatest Waterpark in The World (http://xamjulliarde.blogspot.ae/2014/10/the-greatest-waterpark-in-world.html)
Words are never enough to describe how spectacular my skydiving experience was with the Skydive Dubai team. I am definitely looking forward to getting on that plane again for another skydive!
Dubai: Flying Over 13,000 ft. High (http://xamjulliarde.blogspot.ae/2015/05/dubai-flying-over-13000-ft-high.html)
They say dreams do come true. Well, heck yes! Because on May 9, 2015 my dream of being able to fly a copter finally came to life thanks to, once again, the Skydive Dubai team and to my wonderful parents.
Dubai: Treasures From Above (http://xamjulliarde.blogspot.ae/2015/05/dubai-treasures-from-above.html)
June: Qatar Airways
Being the number 1 airline in the world, I would never have thought that I could someday be part of their team even if it was just for a few months. But hey, who says nothing is possible? I was trained under DNATA and taken under the wings of Qatar Airways to complete my final on-the-job training requirements before I graduate from university. Interning for Qatar Airways was superb! We were a family and a team. I have learnt so much from everyone I’ve worked with, from the passengers who’ve shared their stories to me, and from the little ones who I’ve assisted along the way. This entire experience humbled and inspired me. You may think that the job of a ground attendant is as easy as a pie. But let me tell you this. It is not. They have to make it through flight after flight, be able to get all the documents signed and with the captain on time, adapt to different types of passengers, keep themselves poised even when everything seems to be going wrong. Everything that they do whether in your favour or not, is because they want to ensure everyone’s safety and make every single passenger’s trip as seamless as possible. So before you snap at them, think twice, think thrice. Is it worth it? If no, then do yourself and them a favour. Don’t.
September: Promise fulfilled!
Back in high school, I have this one professor who believed so much in my writing. He pushed me to submit article after article, story after story, and have him proofread it. Before I graduated from high school, he made me promise that one day I will get my articles published, have my voice heard, and make him the proudest ever. That’s my greatest fulfillment this September.
You Don’t Have to Settle to Find Your Ideal Partner on Thought Catalog
I Am (Not) Proud to Be A Filipino on Huffington Post
Fun fact, I NEVER win a single thing. NEVER. So when I joined the GrabBali competition sponsored by GrabTaxi Philippines, I decided to not hold on to it much. But looks like September’s my month because at last, I won a trip to Bali for 2! It was something I would never forget. EVER.
My travels this September doesn’t end with Bali though, because I was also given an opportunity to satisfy my quench for wanderlust by spending 4 days each at Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.
October: Graduation Day
After 3 and half years of hard work, it has finally paid off. I’m an official graduate of De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, holder of a BS-HRIM major in Tourism degree. I may not have graduated as a Summa Cum Laude or Magna or even Cum Laude, but I am still very thankful to have made it as an Honorable Mention!
Also, another blessing that I am very thankful of this month was another article published at Huffington Post!
Life is Never Easy: 5 Indonesians Who Taught Me to Appreciate The Simple Things in Life on Huffington Post
This month, I explored Majayjay’s hidden treasures, discovered more of Bangkok’s beauty, and enjoyed Singapore’s charm. It was a month I would love to relive over and over again.
December: Global Degree
After spending almost 4 years in the Philippines, it’s time to head back to my second home, Dubai. It has been such a terrific year full of loopholes and backward turns, but a lot has been accomplished and I couldn’t wish for a better 2015.
This month, I have also decided to join a travel competition called Global Degree. It is open worldwide for everyone aged 18 and above. If you have a moment or two, please do vote for me! All you have to do is click globaldegree.tv/voting, like or follow Global Degree, search for SARAH ZONIO and hit that blue button to vote! Competition closes on March 15th. So if any of you would like to join, instructions are available on globaldegree.tv. Leave your link below so I could also vote for you!