31 December 2008

The Last Word: A Personal Review of 2008

The Last Word: A Personal Review of 2008

Each year, many people experience different pieces of their lives. There are many things a year can bring you; new friends, job promotions, births, deaths, weddings, and of course, breakups. This past year has brought me a few mentioned and many more. I wanted to take the time to share with you what this past year has brought into my personal life’s experience, as it was an interesting year.

As I grew up, my mother always told me that whoever you spend New Year’s night with, is the person you’ll be spending a lot of time with throughout the year. This is completely true, as I kicked off the 2008 year with my cousin and best friend, Dean. We counted down the 2008 ball in Las Vegas along with Jason and his family. The night was filled with parties, luxury, and The Phantom of the Opera musical somewhere along the way. As we flew back to LA, I remember looking out the city lights and wondered what this upcoming year will offer me. I only knew so much.

January almost felt like a Rowland High, UCR, and AphiO reunion in the making. Thanks to my best childhood friend, Michaele, I celebrated my 23rd birthday at Club Façade in Hollywood. This birthday was also shared with my best friends Kristin and Ralph. We had our own VIP room, bottle service, and glamorous outfits. But that wasn’t the best part. The night was filled with surprises as many of my older high school friends, college buddies, and fraternity brothers came out to toast an unforgettable birthday. Until today, I still cherish that night, because there is nothing better in the world, than to be in the same room with old friends, new friends, and endless camera flashes.

February was a month full of tears. On the 18th of February, my mother’s dad passed away. It was a sad time for my family, especially my grandma who loved my papa so much. The morning of the funeral, I read my papa’s eulogy and shared with my family and close friends my experiences with him. As tears fell down my face, I remember one of the first things that came across my mind was that last Christmas was our last Christmas with him, and that this Christmas will be missing him.

March was a time dedicated for the healing of my family. My younger brother, Nate, finally turned 21 on March 20th. Dean and I flew him to Las Vegas on the night of his birthday and we introduced him to the world of alcohol, mixed drinks, and entertainment. We had such a great time, especially since the last time just the three of us hung out together was when I was in junior high. The rest of our family met up with us the days following and we enjoyed ourselves at what we do best…eating!

April and May were months that wrapped up my second semester at Cal State San Marcos. I had so much going on with school as all the projects and papers were due. For the first time, I interned with the school’s Student Health and Counseling Services as a Health Peer Educator. I worked close with the university’s Health Educator, Cathy Nguyen who taught me a lot about health promotion and management. It was such an awesome experience for me as I met new friends and attended many of the school’s events. We even got nominated for the TUKWUT Leadership Awards based on what we contributed to our Survivor Spring Break Awareness week. Although we didn’t win, we all enjoyed the opportunity. By the end of the semester, I completed over 15 papers, 8 oral presentations, and a handful of exams. It was all worth it, because for the first time, I was on the department’s Dean’s List! The letter was sent back to my Mom’s, and she called me super excited! Felt good to make mom proud!

The Summer of 2008 was full of surprises. I have moved from Escondido to Rancho Bernardo, got promoted and a pay raise TWICE, and partied in Hollywood at a high rate. But then again, it was a tough summer since the gas prices were soaring. My Honda Fit was nearly $40 for a full tank when normally I can get it at $18. Times were tough, but there were no limits to having fun. I remember in July, as we were celebrating my roommate Alicia’s 23rd birthday, I got word from my District Manager offering the position of Assistant Manager. It was a decision that I had to make, taking school into consideration. So now, I work full time and go to school full time. Hey, if the money is there, I can’t complain. I even made friends with the greatest coworkers: Ashley, Cat, Penelope, Catherine, Monica, Nina, and Steph! You guys rock! In August, Alicia, Ralph, and I moved into our own condo called The Summit in Rancho Bernardo. Although we pay a few bucks more than where we used to live, it is completely worth it! We have a view of the hills, our own garage, 2 pools, a workout room, huge closets, and the Rancho Bernardo zip code! And for those who are wondering, Life Rocks with Alicia and Ralph! There’s no Lo and Audrina here! Lolz.

September was a turnaround month from February. My sister, the only girl in our generation of the Tacto’s, married the man of her dreams, Mr. Daniel Newman. On September 6th, we celebrated the Tacto-Newman wedding right in our backyard in Walnut at the Royal Vista Golf Course. Family from all over the world came down to celebrate the occasion. As it was such a priceless moment watching my sister walk down the aisle, I couldn’t help but smile seeing how happy everyone was. I’m also glad that my little speech offered humor, memories, and tears for the Newlyweds. Welcome to the family Daniel. Who knows what 2009 can offer them, *ahem* baby diapers? Lolz

October through November was a time for me to focus on school and work. Being a fraction from completing my undergraduate degree and minor required me to maintain and raise those grades. Since I got promoted at work, I had to prove myself that I was well equipped for the job. Working retail and customer service has its downfalls, but it’s definitely something I enjoy and I admit, am good at! Lolz Somewhere in October, I also had my first small case hearing. Due to some crazy people out there, Alicia and I were sued for monetary reasons. But all in all, case is closed in our favor! (yay!)

Lastly, December gave me the Holiday spirit we all long for during the year. I went back home a few times in December to help my mom decorate the house, since it is usually me decorating it when I used to live there. The Christmas color scheme this year was Champagne Gold with a tint of Black. We called it “The Golden Christmas.” Christmas was celebrated at the Walnut house this year. We also decided to spice things up by having a non-Filipino food Christmas. (We had a Filipino Thanksgiving a month prior and we all voted on something different). So Chinese food it was! Cooked or catered we brought it on.

My plans for New Years Eve? As I look at my clock, it reads 8:16PM, meaning if I had party plans, I would have left the condo an hour ago. Due to certain circumstances, I will be celebrating the New Year in my condo with Alicia. We both work early tomorrow so instead of being ugly drunkers, we decided to have a clean New Years and catch up with how our Christmas’ went. Ralph never enjoyed going out for New Years Eve, so for the first time, he headed to West Hollywood to countdown the New Year.

Ironically, this year had its turns. From Las Vegas to Los Angeles, to San Diego and back, I have enjoyed what this year offered me. Who knows where I’ll be a year from now. One thing is for sure though, I will finally be holding my Bachelors Degree and I will hold myself to it. As for the person I will be spending the year mostly with, I guess it’s going to be my Tialitia!

To All My Friends and Family, Happy New Year!
I love you all and I wish you a safe and prosperous new year.

Always,
Chris Oliver

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