San Juan – Rueda Year-end Letter 2013

by: xtian001

In: Family & Friends | Personal

2 Jan 2014

As 2014 begins, we look back at 2013 to recall the never-ending blessings and life experiences that deserve their mention in our year-end letter. This letter marks the 11th year since we started doing our year-end letter and hope that we continue sharing this to our families and friends who have touched our lives in their own way. It’s a little bit later than usual as we’ve been busy with the holidays and also letting you enjoy yours without going through this long email.

2013. Where do we start? It seems that we usually feel that the first half of the year pass us by so quickly. After the 2013 holiday break, Mavis, Xiane and I just slug it out and continue with our usual routines in Doha. Qatar is not a big city so after living here for 8 years, it indeed does become boring. Yes, 8 years!

Xiane has just turned 2 when we moved to Qatar. She already turned 10 last June. Still the bookworm, it’s always tough to get her hands off a book (physical and digital). I’ve never known or met anybody who is as voracious as her is when it comes to reading.

As Xianelle continues to do very well in school and as part of the TAP Program: Students with Talents in Aptitude, Creativity, Leadership and Potential, she was invited to take the test for C-Mites. C-Mites stands for “Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students” which provides Summer Workshop programs for academically talented students held in Pittsburgh, USA. We were informed by Qatar Academy early in the year that out of the 40 students from grades 4-6 who took the test, Xianelle got the 2nd highest mark and was offered a full scholarship for the C-Mites Summer Workshop which included airfare, boarding and workshop fees in Pittsburgh. However, since the workshops are held in July, it meant we were also going to spend less vacation time in the Philippines. Xianelle eventually decided that she wanted to spend time with her grandparents and cousins back in the Philippines than spend it on the workshop. We were set for a whirlwind vacation full of travels!

3 weeks, we took 8 flights, gone through 6 countries (Qatar, UAE, Philippines, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong), 1 local destination (Cebu), 8 different airports

3 weeks, 8 flights, 6 countries (Qatar, UAE, Philippines, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong), 1 local destination (Cebu), 8 different airports

This summer vacation must have been the busiest vacation we’ve had so far. In a span of 3 weeks, we took 8 flights, gone through 6 countries (Qatar, UAE, Philippines, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong), 1 local destination (Cebu), 8 different airports, and spent more than 24 hours on air. It felt like being in The Amazing Race! We loved going through the Vegas-like atmosphere in Macau while also visiting some cultural spots (Thanks to our friend and tour guide Jake!), mesmerized by Mystic Manor and enjoyed the jaw-dropping Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at Hong Kong Disneyland, held our breaths riding Battlestar Galactica: Human rollercoaster and Transformers: The Ride in Singapore, swam and snorkeled like crazy in Cebu. It always feels great to be able to share these experiences with family.

From Michelin-starred restaurants to hawker stands, we are indeed Foodies!

From Michelin-starred restaurants to hawker stands, we are indeed Foodies!

From Michelin-starred restaurants to hawker stands, vacation is also about food-binging! We ate at so many different restaurants, joints and holes-in-the-wall that surpass the number of my fingers… and toes We also enjoyed our barbeque and get-together with friends and relatives that involved water balloons and water fights!

Our donations to “Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth” and "Sta. Cruz Elementary School"

Our donations to “Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth” and “Sta. Cruz Elementary School”

We are also very thankful that have been given the opportunity to share our blessings to the less fortunate as what we’ve done in the past years. This year, we decided to go to “Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth” in Mabalacat, Pampanga which serves as a home to abandoned, and disabled and special children. We brought some basic supplies as recommended by the caretakers like powdered milk and chocolate, biscuits, sugar, oil, soap, detergent bars, laundry powder, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, vitamins, medicines, and diapers. “Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth” relies solely on donations so these necessities are sure to help their cause.

Since we know how much the availability of books has contributed much to Xianelle’s thirst for reading, we also donated a number of books and school supplies to our local public school, Sta. Cruz Elementary School, which should contribute to their Learning Center for Learners library.

Sadly, we had to leave home once again and come back to Doha in late August. We are grateful for the time spent with our loved ones, family and friends in the Philippines and glad that we get to enjoy our blessings with them as well.

The sweltering heat and humidity in Doha welcomed us back and soon we were back to doing the same routines before our vacation. The following months were quiet aside from celebrating my birthday in September, while Mavis celebrated hers in November. No fancy parties but just quality family bonding…and eating. We were able to celebrate Halloween with friends and celebrated Christmas for 3 days!

All in all, 2013 has been a great year for us and our loved ones as well. Our prayer is for God to continue to bless us and to give the same to all our families, relatives and loved ones. Most of all may we all stay healthy and safe from harm the whole year through and always.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year that’s full of hope, abundance, good health, love and kindness.

With lots of love from our home and family to yours,

Christian, Mavis, and Xianelle

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It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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