My Big Fat Story | Nina Santos








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Nina ♥'s
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AN OPEN LETTER

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On this exact day- a year ago, I set foot in Aotearoa. Jesus Christ. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the moment I thought the flight attendants would kick me out of the plane for crying so much. It’s been a year since I’ve seen my family and friends in the Philippines, a year since I feared that I would spend the first few weeks in my new school quietly eating in a bathroom. Its been a year since I left the city I’ve always known. It’s been a year since the big big switch. A year since my life turned 360* around.

Over the past year I’ve experienced the most extreme levels of separation anxiety and homesickness. There were times when I wanted to secretly catch a flight to Manila and never return. times when I wished plane tickets cost 10 dollars. times when I cried myself to sleep,when I went to the school bathroom to wipe my tears and times when I pretended to be sick so I could stay at home.

Seems a lot, yes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The past year has been the most exciting year EVER in my life. It was a year of firsts—- a year filled with lots and lots of learning, love and adventure. A good number of people I know picture New Zealand as either a sheep and cow infested country or simply a plain green chunk of land without any form of modern architecture and all that- basically a human-less country. When I told people that I was moving to New Zealand, the response ranged from “oh yeah I see that name at the back of milk cartons ” to “is that even a country” Prior to moving I didn’t even know Auckland was a city somewhere, and I thought New Zealand was a place where people go to retreat, where concerts don’t happen, where no famous celebrities visit, and where people live in the middle of farms without any neighbors, slow wifi, and 100 km fr the “shopping” mall. Well, If you’re one the those people, I can tell you right now that New Zealand isn’t just a piece of plain green land on the Map. And there are actually people here. And not just regular people. kind hearted, welcoming, smart and open minded ones. I know this because I’ve been so blessed to have met and encountered with such kind of humans. Sometimes inside the classroom, I stop and realize that “whoa” am I actually here. And it’s so funny because I am. I’m pretty sure all of my friends in NZ don’t realize how grateful I am to be here. Not only am I living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I’m also surrounded by the best kind of people. Educated by the best kind of teachers. Nurtured by the best kind of friends.

I originally planned to write a letter for each and every person who made the past year an amazing one. seeing as I am extremely piled up with schoolwork, I’ve decided to save that for another time. If you’re reading this, that’s because I probably asked you to visit my blog and read this. And here’s why.

this post is dedicated to the following people, who’ve all played big roles in my journey.

New Zealand based:

  • Phoebe Anderson
  • Paris heather
  • Shannon jennings
  • Lina tele
  • Billie schnell
  • Angela boonchuen
  • Brooke selby
  • Alana Santos
  • Jeshua manu
  • Olivia mendoza
  • Rose johnston
  • Faith Leaso
  • Polyana silva
  • Lena lin
  • Tamiel Tangaloa
  • Liz gosche
  • Serenity sola
  • Akilele Fale
  • Kristel oril
  • Priya patel
  • Mica meija
  • Tamkeen saeid
  • Tara parsons
  • Louise Matthews
  • Patricia paynter
  • Jasmine Appleton
  • Summer Nesar
  • Trinity crummer
  • Maria Sao
  • Tash mudaliar
  • Clare duder ozyurt
  • Leorida peters
  • Taeja maliepo
  • Estelle rose
  • Zion petersen
  • Ate hansel agon
  • Ate harsen agon
  • Ate Sophia maniquis
  • Ate zeph sacayan
  • Ate Ara arnesto
  • Ate theresa soriso
  • Binbin yang
  • Catalina Nunez elavancini
  • Ravenne jariol
  • Camille Mendez
  • Taylor rodgers
  • Emma Menzies
  • Ms Jodie stone
  • Ms Kathleen Becker
  • Ms Leisen Jobe
  • Ms Libby Giles
  • Ms Fiona Larsen
  • Ms Idoya Munn
  • Ms Carter Murphy
  • Ms Michal Denny
  • Ms. Yvonne New
  • Ms. Jen Sturme
  • Ms. Esther Graham
  • Ms. Rose Fischer
  • Ms. Anny Ma
  • Ms. Maree Flannery

I’m going to make this really simple—unlike most of my essays ( ms Munn and Ms. Denny, you should be proud of me.) If you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. I know “thank you” is a such a common word we hear everyday, and no words can actually express my gratitude to you—- but please accept my simple thank you. For what? For everything. For welcoming me here. For not letting me eat my lunch alone in the bathroom. For inspiring me become a better person. For constantly reminding me not to stress about my life. For opening up big opportunities for me. For thinking of me as a good student — even if I’m probably not. For understanding that I haven’t been here for a long time, and helping me catch up. For the guidance. For making me feel safe, loved and valued. Meeting you is one of the highlights of my year. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that I am so grateful for you. Because If not for you, the past year wouldn’t have been as awesome as it was. If not for you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. So thank you. I may not show it everyday, but I really do love you.

Of course, to all my family and friends in the Philippines, who dont need specific mentions ( you know who you are!) I miss each and everyone of you so much. we may not talk everyday, but know that you’re always in my heart.Tita Jing and tito don, thank you for everything.

Mom and dad— none of this would’ve happened if it wasn’t for your hard work and perseverance. I, more than anyone, know how much you want to give Us the best kind of life there is, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for everything. You guys are one of the main reasons why I work hard. My goal in life is to make you proud. And to take care of you, one day. I love you!


It’s been one heck of a year. One heck of an adventure. One for which, I am very grateful for. I regret nothing, and I definitely wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially to God, who has been with me every single day. A year ago, I never imagined my life to be the way it is now. It’s pretty freaking amazing how much can happen in one year. I’ve learned so much things since the big move, from the meaning of “nek Minit” to great great life lessons. I can’t wait to see what’s in store. My new year’s resolution is to make every moment count. to live life to the fullest. To go on more adventures. Take more risks. Meet more people. Make more mistakes. Find my passion. My advice for you is, if you’re thinking of making a big change in your life- DO IT. For without change, nothing will ever grow and blossom, and we will never become the person were meant to be. So, Move. Get lost. Find yourself.
Life does begins at the end of your comfort zone. Its been great so far. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.

Posted on August 09, 2014 by Nina ♥
NINA’S REMINDERS

School, work, family, social — life in general, can be really really stressful at times. Try to always keep the following in mind. Always. 

1.Live by your values, whatever they are. You confuse people when you don’t, because they can’t predict how you’ll behave

2. Speak up! No one can “hear” what you’re thinking without you be willing to stand up for it. Mind-reading is something most people can’t do.

3.Honor your own good word, and keep the promises you make. If not, people eventually stop believing most of what you say, and your words will no longer work for you.

4. When you ask for more responsibility, expect to be held fully accountable. This is what seizing ownership of something is all about; it’s usually an all or nothing kind of thing, and so you’ve got to treat it that way.


5.Don’t expect people to trust you if you aren’t willing to be trustworthy for them first and foremost. Trust is an outcome of fulfilled expectations.


6.. Be more productive by creating good habits and rejecting bad ones. Good habits corral your energies into a momentum-building rhythm for you; bad habits sap your energies and drain you.

7. Have a good work ethic, for it seems to be getting rare today. Curious, for those “old-fashioned” values like dependability, timeliness, professionalism and diligence are prized more than ever before. Be action-oriented. Seek to make things work. Be willing to do what it takes.


8. Be interesting. Read voraciously, and listen to learn, then teach and share everything you know. No one owes you their attention; you have to earn it and keep attracting it.


9. Be nice. Be courteous, polite and respectful. Be considerate. Manners still count for an awful lot in life, and thank goodness they do.


10. Be self-disciplined. That’s what adults are supposed to “grow up” to be

11. Don’t be a victim or a martyr. You always have a choice, so don’t shy from it: Choose and choose without regret. Look forward and be enthusiastic.


12. Keep healthy and take care of yourself. Exercise your mind, body and spirit so you can be someone people count on, and so you can live expansively and with abundance.

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Nina ♥
ED SHEERAN | MULTIPLY SHOW

Another one of those "I can’t even believe this happened" moments. Seriously, I still cannot absorb the fact that I watched Ed Sheeran LIVE. Can we just please take a moment…….ED. SHEERAN. FOR REAL. 

We all know that one direction is first and foremost on my concert list ( i moved to this country for that, geez) After them is Ed Sheeran. I knew I was going to see him one day (being the dedicated soul that I am) but I had no idea it was going to be during this term break. Truly, great things come when you least expect them. When I found out that he was coming here for a show sponsored by iheartradio and 2degrees,  I was prepared to do anything to get my hands on those tickets. And then it happened!!! When I received an email telling me that I was finally going to Ed’s show, to the moment the show ended- I was just like “this is absolutely crazy” and it was so crazy - surreal type of crazy. The I cannot even type of crazy. 

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I seem to have a thing for last minute tickets. I got my ticket’s to see one direction tickets hours before, lady gaga - minutes and believe it or not, I found out that I was going to Ed Sheeran’s show the night before - and got the tickets an hour before gates opened. My friend Liv came with me. It was a general admission event, so to get good seats, I planned to start queuing at 9 am hahaha! Okay- it might sound outrageous, but come on, ITS ED SHEERAN! I would’ve  camped out if I had to! 

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Just look at my super duper excited smile! 

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And after hours of anticipation, queuing and suffering from pre concert anxiety, He finally came out. . I think My heart stopped for a while there. Prior the show, Liv asked me who my favorite ginger was- and I said “Rupert Grint closely followed by Ed sheeran” But when he came out and started singing I was like "whoops sorry Rupert grint you’ve been demoted" hahaha!

Seriously though, Ed Sheeran is just so so lovely!!!!!!!! I haven’t met him, but I sense that he really is one of the nicest and most down to earth artists. You may think that I only like Ed because he is tied closely to one direction- but thats not the reason behind my edsession.     I’ve always loved Ed Sheeran because creates substantial, honest and REAL music. People who don’t know Ed perceive him as just another guy with a guitar- but to me he’s much much more than that. I think that despite immense number of artists and different types of music, the industry still lacks sounds with sense, and that’s what makes Ed Sheeran special. He writes songs based on true people, experiences and what he really feels - and he delivers it so wholeheartedly so I never fail to capture the meaning behind his lyrics.

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Throughout the entire show I just felt so calm, relaxed and happy. I literally just sat there, closed my eyes and listened to him sing, like I normally would every day through my earphones, but this time it was for real. Ed sheeran’s music is just…Ahhh! Such a talented guy! 

He performed songs from + and some songs from x. I was in tears when he sang A team. Its such a beautiful song, and to hear him sing it live is just euphoric. I cannot wait for multiply to come out on June 20! Its gonna be amazing! (and there’s a song entitled Nina!!!) 

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*fangirl grin* 

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Another dream of mine has come to life and I can’t even express my gratitude and happiness. Thank you so much to 2degrees and iheartradio for making this happen! From now on, every time I listed to Ed sheeran on my iPod, Id think back to the moment when I first witnessed him sing live. Ed Sheeran, I think I love you (even)  better now. 

Posted on May 03, 2014 by Nina ♥