09 January 2014

2013 Annual Newsletter: Grieving the Times When Everything Was Not “OK.”

2013 has been a challenging year. 
I started this year in my paternal grandmother’s homeland, the Philippines.  I celebrated the new year on North Pandan Island: watching turtles lay their eggs, seeing baby turtles born on the shore, sleeping on the massage tables and hammocks, and diving Apo Reef (second largest contiguous coral reef in the world!).  -- http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5033/
Spent a good portion of my time in the Philippines in Palawan and the Visayan region.  Then, I traveled with Filipina-American manais (older sisters) to Mindanao and visited the Indigenous tribal communities still thriving there.  I was even asked to share my research on women’s spirituality in Zamboanga.
Overall, although this time had amazing moments of superb joy and beauty, I was also really challenged by the hard realities of racism and sexism, which I perhaps saw and felt more clearly traveling in South East Asia.  Still, from these experiences I was able to recognize much more clearly the multiple oppressions of race and sex in California, in my history, and in my communities upon my return.
Returning to California, I continued my graduate studies and lived between family and old (now many farmer) friends.  To help motivate myself, I wrote about my academic journey on my blog: cristyroses.blogspot.com.  In the spring, I wrote and submitted my dissertation proposal.  In the summer, I advanced to candidacy and began writing the dissertation itself.  Then, in the autumn, I submitted a complete draft of my research!  I’ve had many opportunities to present my research along the way, and I’ve also been honored to have my creative writing published in a handful of anthologies.  In 2014, I hope to continue this presentation and publication trend!
Additionally, as a part of my school endeavors, I’ve been developing mentor relationships with my dissertation committee members.   It was with their encouragement that I submitted and presented at the Gloria E. Anzaldua conference this year.     
Moreover, with their support, I helped to facilitate community events with the Fil-Am community in the Bay Area including the opening ceremony of Fil-Am day at the Asian Art Museum. 
Other big mile markers?  In September, I celebrated my birthday with an under the sea party.  In October, I journeyed to Alaska for some adventures, and in November, I sprained my ankle badly.  This injury is perhaps the biggest of my life (lucky me right?), and it’s created a growing season these last couple months.  Thankfully, I was still able to join in on our annual Joshua Tree New Years Camping Week.  What a glorious time!!  
Truly, the holidays were so precious to me this year because of my travels last year.  And, altogether, 2013 has been one of growth for my creativity, my writing, and my whole integrated self.  I can’t even imagine what 2014 will bring.