When my friends and I started The Optimism Challenge a year ago, it was with the intention of having a daily project that would keep us busy and thus keep me from feeling homesick. Well, I was actually given a choice - they came up with 365 days’-worth of roadkill pictures and 365 days of happiness. The latter seemed more appealing. And less likely to make me puke my meals out.

I kind of feel bad for not writing about my last two Optimism posts on their actual dates, but I was out of town and several things - an April Fool’s prank that got blown out of proportion, almost getting blown away by tornadoes, the arrival of the last two Hunger Games books, SCHOOL, and Nashville - kept me from sitting down and typing my thoughts out.

But I actually finished this little endeavor, and I’m quite proud. :] Weeks ago, I looked through all my entries and was once again reminded about how pathetic I am when it comes to numbers. Somewhere during the last couple of weeks of January, I got my day numbers mixed up… That said, the last day of this challenge was supposed to be March 15. However, I was too lazy to go back and correct every single post and I figured that extra days of happiness couldn’t possibly hurt. So herp derp, here we are! Let’s just pretend that I did finish this on time and that I do have exactly 365 days.

I’m really glad I stuck with this. It was almost like… therapy. I look back at my entries - long and short, exciting and trivial - and each one brings a smile to my face because for all I know, those could have been the most awful days (and believe me, I’ve had a ton of those this past year) but I can’t seem to remember anything bad about them as I scroll through this happy tag that seems to consist of posts that are 90% about food and three-hour naps.

This was a fun project and I’m actually pretty sad that it’s over now, but I do think that I’m a much happier person because of it. To any of you who have been following it, I do hope that my little ramblings and the snapshots of my days brought you some semblance of happiness as well. :]

Day 365 (Mar. 29, 2012)

Three Thursdays ago, this is what I woke up to.

Corpus isn’t nearly as pretty as the beaches that surrounded me back home in the Philippines - the water isn’t as pristine and clear, the sand isn’t white and powdery, and I didn’t spot any pretty corals or brightly colored fish - but a beach is a beach and it was a huge comfort to get a whiff of the salty smell and catch a glimpse of the pretty sunrise I’ve missed so much.

It was the first day of competition for TIPA. I normally compete in news writing, feature writing, or script writing events, but my station manager couldn’t make the trip this year, so I was thrown into the Video News category. Although the idea of shooting everything and lugging the equipment around on my own kind of terrified me, I really wanted to compete to prove my worth to the guys in the department who have dubbed me as the studio’s little princess.

I really didn’t know what to expect. The TIPA folks usually get pretty dramatic with their staged press events. Last year, we had two girls yell out really colorful language and beat each other up in the middle of a press conference.

This year… was… wow.

We were shuttled off to a college that was 10 minutes away from our hotel, where they were dedicating a new mail center. An old man who introduced himself as Justin Bieber, Sr. (yes, I nearly choked on air too) was giving some opening remarks when an explosion happened. I JUST finished setting up my camera on the tripod when this happened and wanted to kick myself when I had to pry it out. That tripod stood there during the entire event, useless as I was running around from one place to another trying to get good shots and interviews.

I’ve always thought simply walking on heels was awful, but running with them on while I had an HD camera that weighed as much as an infant perched on my shoulder was a completely different level of torture. My feet were red and my toes were blistered, my shoulder was crying out in pain, and I was so tempted to just walk around barefoot. I was one of three girls (and I was the littlest one on top of that) in a sea of ginormous men, so I really had to make sure to be aggressive in getting my footage. One of the advantages of being little, however, is that I am able to squirm around and slip into places… So I usually found myself right in front of the action. I got some pretty good shots (really, I was just pointing the camera at anything and everything). I was quite impressed with TIPA’s efforts this year… They brought in the fire department, OSHA, the police department, and had some pretty good people play dead and pretend to be crazed bombers. The only sucky actor was Justin Bieber, Sr…


Everyone was crowding around the old man, trying to get some decent quotes about the explosion, and he started telling us his life story about where he went to college and how he ended up as a local Corpus actor.

“Do you know anything about the explosion and why anyone would target the new mail center?”

“Oh, I’m not sure. That’s not part of the script. This is just an exercise organized for you guys and I’m just an actor.”

Well no DUH, you moron. If you’re such an experienced actor, you could have at least played along.

Thankfully, there was an actual press conference that I was able to film and get my information from.

I had until the next day at 10 a.m. to turn in my entry, so I rested my poor battered body and feet and went straight to work that night while everyone else was frolicking along the beach and getting wasted. I finished my video package at 1 in the morning because of some editing issues but didn’t get to go to bed till 2:30 because I encountered even more issues once I burned it to a disk. I don’t understand why we had to submit it in disk form since video ALWAYS lags in that format. So just to play it safe, I saved it on to a flash drive and thankfully, the judges accepted that.

I ended up placing third! I later found out that the main reason why I didn’t place higher was because I only had one interview source in the entire package. I don’t know who the first and second place winners hounded for more interviews, but I hated Justin Bieber, Sr. even more when I found out about that. Oh well… I’m still happy I placed. :]

It was a great experience - much better than last year - and I came home feeling quite accomplished and with the burning desire to lug ALL the equipment whenever I shoot stuff from now on! 8D

Pffft. I’m totally kidding.

I have my package marked as unlisted, but you guys can check it out [here].