09 July 2012

Mid-Year Check

Four days into 2012, I wrote this to-do list for the year. We're at the halfway point now, so I think it's time for a self-check.

1. Sign up for the next cycle of Mandarin classes.
I'm actually in my third cycle for the year and pretty happy with how I'm doing. :)

2. Re-read the Bible two or three times.
Ha. Yeah, this isn't happening.

By three times, I meant once each in three different languages: Tagalog, Cebuano, and English. Things were going well until I hit a speed bump at Genesis 5. Yes, yes, call me lazy.

In the end, I decided that with all the things I wanted to do — apart from all the things I had (have) to take care of every day — I had to accept that I didn't have the time and commitment that such an ambitious project deserved.

I did, however, learn some interesting things about myself and language. Though I never spoke Cebuano/Bisaya growing up and mostly use Taglish in everyday conversation, I found the Cebuano Bible much easier for me to grasp than the Tagalog. Osmosis, I guess; the sounds of Cebuano in my head were just warmer and more familiar.

I guess that's how I came to the only conclusion I got out of this interrupted project: If I ever study a Filipino language seriously (again), it should be Cebuano/Bisaya. While Tagalog seems more practical considering that I live in a Tagalog region, I can't help thinking of this quote I first posted after I finished Basic Chinese 1:
"Learning a language, even a natural language, is more of an emotional decision than a practical one. It’s about belonging to a group."
— Arika Okrent, author of “In the Land of Invented Languages” (source)

There's something special in the conscious choice of a language to study. I didn't choose for English to be my first language, nor did I want to study Tagalog Filipino* all those years in school. Chinese is only the second language I chose to learn because it felt important; Bisaya, now that I think about it, now that I remember how alien I felt coming home from the States, was the first.

*I'm using "Tagalog Filipino" here the same way people use "Mandarin Chinese."

3. Move out of Cubao within the next six months.
It took five months, but it finally, finally happened. :)

4. Finish at least two economics reference books.
Hay, another reading project abandoned, for now.

I am, however, reading more business and economics news these days, and when I remember, I put in a half hour or so at Khan Academy.

5. Use my induction cooker.
Cris gifted me with a proper saucepan, and since then, I've used the stove to boil pasta, fry an egg, and watch Cris make noodle soup, hahaha. Baby steps. Half point?

6. Travel out of the country at least once.
Not yet, but soon, soon. I have a ticket to Beijing in October. :) If stuff goes really sour with China before then, I'd like to rebook for Malaysia or Singapore.

7. Email my parents more often.
I have upped my emails in the past six months, but they're still not as frequent as I'd like. Half point.

8. Get rid of old/unneeded belongings.
I did a lot of throwing away during the last stages of the move. I still have a big bag of clothes and bags to donate, but they can wait under my bed till the next charity thing at Mikko's church.

9. Get my college stuff out of storage and sort that, too.
Hmm, I forgot all about this. :|

10. Invest.
I've actually lost a lot of money recently, if we're talking about the amount in my savings account. But, I suppose new things for the apartment and the massive deposit are a different kind of investment.

Still hoping to get my balance up to a certain amount and then plunge into a financial instrument, though.

11. Read at least 50 books.
So far, I've read 13 new ones this year and am in the middle of a 14th. That's less than I'd like to have read by now, but at least I'm reading.

12. Make more complicated popup buildings.
Only three so far: The Great Wall (1, 2), a kind of landscape of Santorini (1, 2), and an imaginary Aztec temple that I decided wasn't worth photographing.

I hope to have more time for buildings once I've finished settling into the new apartment. I also have to buy a table for working and eating on. :/ Half point for the six-month mark, then.

13. Visit Luneta on a Sunday morning
I've actually been to Luneta twice in the past six months, though both times on Saturday afternoons. It was still nice, though.

15. Use my Ayala Museum membership at least once a month.
Hey, looks like I skipped 14.

This makes me feel so bad, but I haven't been to the museum once since the year began. I wanted the membership for what I'd imagined would be a year of being single and bored.

16. See Picasso's "Suite Vollard."

17. Visit Manila Ocean Park.
I'm thinking of striking this from my list. Friends have told me it isn't worth it. :/

18. See my childhood friends more often.
I've seen them only a couple of times, so I'm not removing this item. Maybe just a half point for this one.

19. Hang out with Internet friends IRL sometime.
I ran into Lance (@bottledbrain) at the museum on the last day to see "Suite Vollard," but I was about to leave already. :s

This kind of thing takes planning and courage — and more planning than courage. I can't even see offline friends without planning a month or so in advance, and something usually happens to cancel the plan. My offline friends are increasingly online friends, too. :|

20. Spend a weekend in Baguio.
Not yet.

21. Spend a weekend in Corregidor.
Not yet.

22. Find out if that thing they keep saying about my great-grandfather is true.
*sigh* Not yet.

23. Be a better editor.
Hmm. I'd rather not go into details, but suffice it to say that I can still do better. Half point?

24. Redesign certain company websites for fun with MAMP and a local Wordpress installation.
I actually did this and then showed the results to someone at the company who had a little more power to suggest Wordpress. But, the group handling the site in question decided they'd rather keep the current CMS. Oh, well.

25. Watch at least two Filipino plays.
Forgot about this one, too.

26. Finish at least one abandoned story/essay and submit it somewhere.
My interest in creative writing beyond this blog seems to fade more every year. There are just so many other things I want to do also.

27. Get a pet.
I'm definitely looking forward to this, but this might have to wait a while. I've got a lot of big expenses coming up in the next six months (a table, a bedroll, people's birthdays, my birthday, Beijing, Christmas, maybe one more cycle of Mandarin), so I don't know if I'll be to squeeze a pet in until next year.

28. Be open to whatever's around the corner.
I definitely think I deserve a full point for this, but I'm not taking it off the list. :)

That makes 10 points, if I've counted right. I guess it's not bad.

Would it be cheating if I made a new list of priorities and things to do for the rest of 2012?