2021: A YEAR OF MILESTONES
I’ve been very busy for the past hours. I’ve been preparing for our New Year’s Eve celebration. I am preparing some dishes and baking my first ever cake! Indeed, it’s time to sweeten the coming year.
Finally, I’ve had the time to unwind, reflect and write this blog entry. I guess it’s time to reflect on my 2021.
So how’s my 2021?
This image best represents my 2021. Despite being ‘contained’ and ‘immobile’ due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, I have managed to grow between the cracks. I am fully aware that to be able to do this also involves a set of resources and capacities. Hence, I am immensely grateful for every opportunity and support that came along my way.
It’s been a HUGE and CHALLENGING year. We’re still in a pandemic, that’s for sure. There’s a vaccination roll out. Some countries had their vaccination program, including Australia. Some people had the privilege to be ‘mobile’. Yet, some parts of the world are still lagging with their vaccination numbers.
In Victoria, we experienced our SIXTH lockdown. Yes, six! Sometimes, I just couldn’t remember what happened in a particular day or month, unless I refer to the photos stored in my mobile device. Truth to be told, my smartphone turned into a 'virtual garden', showcasing plentiful photos of plants, flowers, and insects. It basically mapped my routes and even roots (saving photos from the homeland) during the lockdown.
During the lockdown, I was left with no choice but to stay at home. It’s a privilege that I have been very grateful. I also have a job, supporting my everyday financial needs. And I can do work from home. In times of uncertainty, I tried my best to distract myself from feeling anxious about so many things. To be away from my family and friends in the Philippines is already challenging. Of course, I sometimes felt lonely, isolated, frustration, and even anxious. I was just fortunate to have supportive people here in Australia, such as my partner, his family, and my friends. The one-hour walk, exercising, and online/phone catch-ups with some friends helped me to get through the days.
This year, I was vaccinated, finally. I had some mild reactions with the first dose. To cope with it, I treated myself a slice of cake and a chocolate drink. Why not! With my second dose, I had a sore arm. I just had a cup of coffee! In 2022, I will be receiving my third dose. Cross fingers for mild reactions. The reward depends on the side effects. Ha!
It’s a year of WFH! I was delivering teaching and doing research, at home. There were instances I felt anxious especially during the redundancy in my workplace. I coped with this feeling by focusing my energy on what I can control.
Interestingly, this year, I conducted follow-up interviews with my research participants. I’ve been doing research on how ageing migrants use digital communication technologies in navigating the impacts of the pandemic. Due to the lockdown, most of the interviews were conducted via Zoom and a phone call.
I also started using Lego for my research project as well as for teaching. It's fun, creative and very insightful. In 2022, I am developing my skills for Lego facilitation! Exciting!
My Lego Instagram is still running. But I need to add more contents!
My research project has led to a series of invited presentations. I delivered a keynote in Malaysia, a presentation in Germany, and a presentation in a summer school in the Netherlands. I was also awarded a grant for a Visiting Fellowship in the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoE AgeCare) at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. These were delivered via online!
I also learned a lot from more collaborative works. I was very grateful to collaborate with exemplary scholars in my field, including Professor Monika Buscher (Lancaster University, UK), Dr Yang Hu (Lancaster University, UK) Professor Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University, Netherlands), Associate Professor Sakari Taipale (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Dr Koen Leurs (Utrecht University, Netherlands), Dr Tanja Ahlin (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Dr Benjamin Hanckel (Western Sydney University, Australia), Dr Natalie Hendry (RMIT, Australia), Dr Xinyu Zhao (Deakin University, Australia), Dr Monika Winarnita (Deakin University, Australia), and Professor Cheryll Soriano (De La Salle University, Philippines).
My book “(Im)mobile homes: Family life at a distance in the age of mobile media” is finally sent to production. You can now pre-order via Amazon, Book Depository, Dymocks, as well as in OUP’s website. The book will be out in January 2022, and I am looking forward to a book launch.
My collaborative book on YouTube with Professor Cheryll Soriano is completed, reviewed and revised. We will keep everyone posted about the publication date.
As a Lecturer, I finally completed my two-year Graduate Certificate of Higher Education (Learning and Teaching). On top of this, I passed my three-year probation. This means I’m tenured.
I am very grateful for my mentors in my university, including Associate Professor Ann Vickery, Professor Anita Harris, and Professor Andrew Singleton. I also received excellent support for my research projects through the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Outside of my university, I have been very blessed to receive guidance and mentoring from Professor Lenore Manderson, Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Associate Professor Narelle Warren, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Monash University. Special thank you goes to Dr Akane Kanai, for being such a generous scholar and a wonderful friend!
I have also led a workshop and a panel in a conference, pooling together scholars in Australia and overseas who specialise in the intersections of digital media and migration. In 2022, I am excited to be launching a new research stream comprised of scholars around the world. Watch this space! I am also co-editing a special issue on (im)mobility in the digital world.
Before the year ended, I was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Education Early Career Researcher Award for Career Excellence in my university. This award would not have been made possible without the support of scholars, migrant communities, institutions, and my collaborators across several projects.
2021 will be an unforgettable year. After many years of saving money, applying, waiting, and feeling anxious, and lots of waiting especially during the pandemic, I was granted a Permanent Residency in Australia. The next step is to apply and receive a Medicare!
There were low downs this year.
First, I had to see my GP and was recommended for an MRI. Nothing serious. It’s my busted foot. My GP advised me to lose some weight, which I did!
Second, there were unsuccessful grant applications. One was close to getting funded!
Third, I just don’t want to talk about it. It’s painful. But don’t worry, I am healing. Thank you to those who reached out to me. And thank you to those who have been supporting me in many ways.
I am thankful to my friends and collaborators in the academic community. I feel supported and valued despite the 'devastating' experience I dealt this year.
I am thankful too that my family and friends are healthy and safe.
2022 will be an equally busy year. Some projects, collaborations, and publications are set. But I guess this year will be different. Some events in my life in 2021 will certainly shape how I will navigate 2022.
I will be exploring new opportunities. I will be testing new spaces. I will also be developing more collaborations, locally and internationally. And I am hoping (cross fingers and toes) to get funding to support my projects.
Feel free to connect with me if you are thinking of collaborations for a funded project!
I am looking forward to welcoming a safe, prosperous, and replenishing 2022.
Just like playing Lego, life is about building, reinventing, collaborating, and never stop building to make a positive and SASSY impact.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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