As I lay here in my hotel room thinking about the past 7 months, I can’t help but just feel blessed. The opportunities provided to me have been amazing and has allowed me to get a small taste of what is our playground, our world.
From stepping foot on the same grounds of the Battle of Thermopylae, to exploring the sinking city of Venice, to hearing race cars screaming down the track in Le Mans, to watching a violent lightning storm parallel to the window of a plane, to walking down aisles of millions of chickens, to practicing pendulum turns on a New Hampshire dirt trail, to biking down Michigan Avenue with the love of my life…the new experiences are countless and limitless.
A couple weeks ago, as we lay on the couch of our Chicago home, I looked to Natalie and said, “Can you believe our lives right now?” Just over a year ago, I had moved to Milwaukee, a new place without any friends or family. I was starting a new career without any idea what the future held. And here we lay, one year later, thirty stories high, in OUR new home, in a beautiful city, with our careers taking us to new heights, affording us the ability to support each other and attain what was once before only our dreams.
The struggles, the pains, the late night talks and the late night tasks, the 18-hour work days…all of it has paid off. And as we continue to strive for our best, and to help each other attain our goals and our passions, it is always nice to take a step back and remind ourselves of Who is in the center of it all, and that with Him, what was impossible, is now possible.
A couple nights ago, I had trouble falling asleep.
In search of something to do to distract me, I decided to clean up my phone. It’s gotten awfully slow, so I began to clean up, consolidate, re-organize. As I went through old text messages — I hadn’t deleted any since I bought the phone in 2012 — I found some old conversations and group messages. Messaging dating back from the first group hike to Sapphire Falls, to trips to New York, last-minute invites to grab a drink with a couple friends or to celebrate at The Cheesecake Factory. Totally took me back, almost like reliving those moments.
Life just zooms by…enjoy every moment you can.
At the end of last year I wrote a recap of 2012. Looking into the new year of 2013, this is what I wrote:
"2013. Lots of things in store for this year. Several plans already lined up or to be considered. I foresee less traveling. Plans to move out of my parents’ house. More bills. Searching for a new job. Get fit and stay fit. Spending more time with family. Possible trip to the PI for the holidays. Most importantly, start working towards my dream. It won’t be easy, but if I give 110%, I know I can achieve new heights, one step at a time."
Sure, I did end up moving out of my parents’ house, but as far as less traveling, quite the opposite. Can’t believe how fast this year has gone by, but I guess living out of a suitcase makes things go by a lot quicker. This year has been quite the experience and quite the blessing. To be able to travel to where I have and to see the people I love as frequently as I did is something I am so thankful for. This year has been an amazing adventure and I look forward to the challenges and experiences 2014 has in store for me. I can’t be thankful enough for my girlfriend Natalie Sitanggang. I am so grateful to have her in my life.
SUMMARY OF 2013
209 days since moving to Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Of those 209 days, 104 days were spent out of state
Miles flown for work: 20,798 mi
Miles flown for personal: 18,149 mi
Total miles flown: 38,947 mi
Number of airports flown through: 25
Number of hotels stayed in: 29
States traveled for work: 15
States traveled for personal: 8 (and 1 international)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Milestones: New job, New apartment, New girlfriend, New truck, Silver Medallion status on Delta Airlines
Favorite business trip: Boca Raton, FL/Miami, FL
Favorite personal trip: Philadelphia, PA
Favorite new restaurants: Wildberry (Chicago, IL), La Perla Mexican (Benton Harbor, MI), Little Nonna’s
Kristina and Dennis
Sharlene and Vince
Scraped leg and arm (Dropped motorcycle)
First concert with Jennifer @ The Killers
First time wakeboarding
Met Roeum & Leo’s baby
First airboat tour through Everglades
Yankee/Red Sox game
2014: I expect to be traveling as much as 2013, if not more. I hope to financially stabilize, or at least make significant progress towards that goal. Learn and take in as much as I can in this current job, and make a move towards my life goals/dreams. As mentioned last year, get fit and stay fit. Try to take the family to the Philippines. Attend Jon Chan’s wedding in Hawaii. Move to Chicago.
Like two nuts in a sack. Or two pineapples on a cheese pizza. Little did I know the love of my life would be full of surprises. I like to think I’m a pretty good surpriser, but didn’t realize how well Natalay was one herself, making me a pretty surprised surprisee. From distant pizza deliveries to my home, to homemade pizza and boba, to trinkets hidden in my truck, to packages sent to my hotel room, she’s the first person to genuinely surprise me in honestly a very long time. I couldn’t ask for anyone better. She is so, so amazing, and I love everything about her.
Pizza delivery from hundreds of miles away.
Homemade pizza and boba :)
A little surprise in my truck
A special package brought to my hotel room
Can’t wait for what surprises the future has in store for us.
Last Friday I had my 90-day evaluation. Time really flies when you’re flying.
Quick statistics since starting this job:
Miles flown for work: 13,306 mi
Miles flown for personal: 6,504 mi
Total miles flown: 19,810 mi
Number of states traveled for work: 10
Number of states traveled for personal: 5 (and 1 international)
Number of airports flown through: 10
Number of hotels stayed in: 12
Milestones: New job, New apartment, New girlfriend, New truck
Favorite business trip: Boca Raton, FL/Miami, FL
Favorite personal trip: Bangor, ME
Favorite new restaurants: Gotham City Diner (NJ), La Perla Mexican (MI), Puerto Sagua (FL)
Favorite repeat restaurants: In-n-Out (UT), Shake Shack (FL), Jimmy John’s (WI)
Miscellaneous: First time wakeboarding, Met Roeum & Leo’s baby, Owned first vehicle (not including motorcycle), Broke longboard, First airboat tour through Everglades, Yankee/Red Sox game
So blessed to have an amazing experience so far. Can’t wait for what this exciting future holds.
Life is just so…crazy sometimes. Always on the go, always on the fly. Next appointment, next meeting. Late nights, early mornings. Thank goodness for fresh air, swimming pools, and iPods.
For some reason tonight I started scrolling through my contact list on my phone. Going through some names triggered things in my head. Like, “holy crap, I haven’t talked to that person in forever!”, or “I wonder what happened to them”, or “I totally forgot about that person”.
Sadly enough, so many people in my life have come and gone. Many have stuck around. And some check in once in a while. Most of them I don’t even talk to anymore. A few I wish I could talk to at this very moment. But I don’t think it’d go as well as it would in my head.
Makes me wonder if those same people I wondered about wonder about me also. If they ever think, “What happened to that guy Kris?”, or “Remember when Kris tripped over his own roller backpack in 7th grade?”, or “Do you remember when Kris would name every car that passed by on the street?”
Being out here on my own gives me a lot of time to contemplate life. Maybe too much time. Too much thinking leads to dwelling in the past. Wish I had an on/off switch for all of this stuff going on in my head, like some people do, and just make decisions purely on logic.
Bittersweet. The first word that comes to mind after being with a group of close friends for a little more than 24 hours. At this point of my life, it’s those few moments you spend with people you care about that really matter. And when it’s over, it makes you miss it that much more.
Gosh…it’s lonely out here…lol.
RIP Paula “Nanay” Yaplag
We love you and miss you always.
Hi Nanay. It was so good to see you this weekend. This is happening too quick and too soon. I’m scared. I’m scared this might be the last time I see you before it’s too late. I love you nanay. But not as much as mom does. She is so strong, but I pray that God brings her and the rest of the family comfort through this. I pray that perhaps you may become healthier, at least long enough and strong enough to visit everyone in the Philippines. I hope to visit you again soon.