The year just came and went in an insta.
I’m always in reflection mode this time of year, this month being the last one for the year and my birth month. Although I don’t keep a journal and have been remiss writing here, I realized I’ve amassed some photos on Instagram where I’ve been posting with some regularity. It turns out I’ve documented personal and professional milestones, travels, and other meaningful moments this year through serendipity. So here’s a visual run-down of my 2017 captured in pictures and videos.
1. Making (and breaking) New Year’s Resolutions 2017
Around this time last year, I wrote some resolutions in a piece of paper that I never get to read again. It had on it something about health, creativity, and (non-professional) productivity. I’m rating myself a “Moderately Satisfactory” on all three accounts. But what does that even mean? According to the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group Performance Ratings Codebook, “(t)here were moderate shortcomings in the operation’s achievement of its objectives, in its efficiency, or in its relevance.” I’ll take that. I’m still alive, got to learn new skills, and wrote a couple of long-form writing (and could have blogged more. Fine).
2. Easing into the Northeast: Fort Totten and Brookland
As I settled back in DC, I lived for eight months in Fort Totten, Northeast of the District. Since the neighborhood is still up-and-up-and-up-and-coming, I trekked almost daily to the next neighborhood, Brookland, which has arrived. It’s no Brooklyn but it has a couple of cafes and other dining options where I got to “work from home,” eat, and join a yoga studio in late 2016.
3. Visiting Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls
It still feels wild when I look back at my previous consulting work with the Climate Investment Funds. I together with a team travelled to Zambia to meet our partners in Africa for a climate adaptation knowledge exchange event. My role was to assess participants’ existing knowledge and skills, and evaluate the activity. On top of seeing Victoria Falls, we also visited local communities and learn from the agriculture and livelihood projects they have been successfully implementing.
4. This is what democracy looks like
It has been a politically-charged year in DC. I’d tell people that I was able to escape the authoritarian rule back home, only to arrive at a much-contested and divisive presidential election in the US. The ballots are in, and for the first half of the year, there seemed to be a protest being organized every weekend: Women’s March, March for Science, Climate March. You name it.
5. Bursting my DC bubble
It’s easy to stay in my own DC bubble and get stuck in my apartment-and-office routine. But outside its borders are quaint small towns, reemerging cities, parks, harbors, and architectural treasures in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia just waiting to be explored. I missed out on many of these the last time I lived in the city, and now made a resolve to step out to push my geographic boundaries.
6. But within DC, there are still things to do both old and new
I really can’t blame those who don’t bother to go out of town. The District does not disappoint with the variety of fun and cultural activities available- ambling down new downtown and waterfront developments and parks, checking out museums, and attending festivals.
7. Moving to Columbia Heights
Last summer, I moved in to a tiny studio apartment as soon as I locked-in a new work contract. No, a “tiny studio apartment” is not redundant. It is a tiny apartment, which I don’t really mind living in as I strive to live a minimalist lifestyle. It’s location, location, location. In my neighborhood, I get to walk to grocery stores; eat at my favorite Indian (Salt and Pepper Grill) and Dominican (Los Hermanos) dining spots; chill at cafes; and get around by bus, bike or the Metro.
8. Made it back to Manila with a side trip to Laguna
After being away for a little over a year, I got the chance to fly back home, reconnected with family and friends, and meet my nephew for the very first time!
9. Checked in with family in Canada
The upside of the great Filipino diaspora is that I probably know someone, a relative or a friend, who’s living abroad. Canada is no exception, and I visited three branches of my family who have found their way just outside Toronto. I’ve been meaning to visit them the first time I lived in DC but I never got around to do so. So when the time came for me to exit the US last November, I hopped on a one-hour flight to Toronto and spent my Thanksgiving break with them.
10. Chilling without the chills in South Florida
Just before Christmas, I took a week off for an early break in Fort Lauderdale, a welcome respite from DC’s winter. The region’s pleasant weather mimics that of Manila, which means I get to wear shorts and enjoy long walks this time of year by the beach.
Want to see more photos from 2017 and next year? You should check out and follow me on Instagram @jandrewz or click “Follow” on one of the photos above.