Life Update

Last photo of Taipei taken from my window seat

September 7 was supposed to be my 8th year in Taipei. I could have gone through my usual routine
of waking up before 7am, reading my daily devotional, taking a shower and heading to work at 8:10. I could have waited for bus 311 which arrives at exactly 8:15, then pass by a breakfast shop to get either a sandwich or egg crepe with warm soy milk before clocking in.

I woke up on September 7 with a breakfast, which my mom had lovingly prepared, waiting for me on the table. We ate together- I think it was rice, tocino and eggs, and hurried to take a bath. I left home before 8:00. Not my usual morning routine in the last 8 years, but it was a happy, comforting change. I arrived at the office at 9:00am. It was my 11th day with the new company I'm working for.

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I started looking for jobs early this year. Not that I'm no longer happy with my previous work, but because I was looking for something more. I searched for jobs both in Taipei and Manila. Taipei openings were very limited and I needed a back up plan. I was open to leaving Taipei for career advancement, and because I was already granted permanent residency, it will be easier for me to go back if (and only if) things will not work out in Manila. Soon enough I was fortunate to chance upon a corporate communication role vacancy with one multinational company in Manila.  I clicked apply and took an online exam.

Thinking I flunked the test (50 questions in 12 minutes???), I didn't bother emailing to follow up on my application. In late March, while I was in Seoul for a training, I missed a call from an unknown number twice. Then later that night, I received an interview request via email with the company I applied for. 4 months, 4 interviews and 2 exams later, I received the offer.

Of course I was reluctant. It would mean leaving a very convenient and comfortable life, saying goodbye to 7-Eleven and Family Mart that are just less than 100 steps away, missing my efficient train and bus rides, parting with dearest friends. I prayed and cried over it, even when I had not yet received the offer. Sometimes I would tell myself these tears will be useless because I will not be accepted yada yada yada, but I continue crying. I asked myself so many questions that made me sleepless for some nights but in the end, I just had this one thing on my mind and I knew that this time, Manila wins: Family. The last few years, I only get to spend not even 15 days in total with them in a year. I do not know how is it to be with them anymore, because each time I visit, I feel like a "visitor."

Manila will always be home

But now, things are different. I'm slowly adjusting. Today, for the first time in 8 years, I'm celebrating my birthday at home. I went to Mass and the homily was just beyond beautiful. It resonated with me in so many ways. I had to keep my tears from falling because all my favorite songs were sung from entrance to recessional. It was like the heavens speaking to me, greeting me a very happy birthday. The Mass ended with Panalangin sa Ina ng Santo Rosario, one of my many all-time favorites. I felt Mama Mary embracing me and welcoming me back home.

Thank You, Lord. I will glorify Your name all my life :)

Home


Earlier today we dropped my brother at the airport. It was still too early to go back home so my mom and I headed to SM to kill time. We ended up in the cosmetics department and saw a brand famous for its lippies. A couple of my friends have been raving about it so I told my mom we should go and check it out. We were choosing different lipstick and lipbutter shades, picking not-too red colors and not-too matte. She asked me to choose what I think would look nice on her, and so I continued swatching several of them. I paused for a while and realized that these are the moments I have sorely missed, moments that I truly live for.

I left Taiwan last month. For good. A lot of people were shocked. I only told my close friends about it a month before my intended departure. It was not a sudden decision though. Last year after receiving my APRC, I made up my mind that I will be leaving Taiwan either late 2017, or early 2018. However, a job offer came earlier than expected and I didn't want to let go of the opportunity. I prayed so hard for guidance and enlightenment, but deep down I really knew it's time to go. Have Your way, Lord, that was what I uttered in every prayer. Wherever life takes me, He will walk with me. I was scared of the move, the adjustments, the traffic, but now that I'm home and surrounded by people I love, I need not fear anything. They are my home. I am home. Thank You, Lord, for bringing me back home.

A day before I started working, I went to Mass to offer praise and thanksgiving. I survived packing boxes, filing last minute documents and moving out because of all the people who reached out to help. I was dead tired before I left... All I wanted to do was hop on the plane and leave, but with 3 more pieces of luggage waiting to be packed, I had to soldier on.


I'm extremely grateful to everyone for all their love and support. The photo below was probably me telling my friends who showed up at the airport to please stop crying!!!
I will write more on my 'journey home' when I have the time. Shout out to the Phil government for the warm welcome--- imagine 3 consecutive long weekends! I have never experienced this in Taipei!

Side note: Before she left Taiwan, I promised my good friend Hana that I will not miss her wedding day... even if I was barely a week at work, I took the courage to file for a leave for you and only you my love! May God bless your marriage, Han! It was the simplest, smallest, most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. They pulled off this super secret wedding of the year :)

Weekends are Love

My weekends are for doing nothing. I wash my laundry and do other chores on a weekday so I can have the weekend all to myself- doing  nothing. I wake up late, have a toast smeared with a thick layer of peanut butter, choose a Spotify playlist and just bum around. I go out to get lunch take a late shower and put on hair mask. But on some rare weekends, I get brunch invites and go on random escapades.

My friend chose this really nice cafe in faraway Banqiao-landia (which does not seem too far if you take the subway-blue line) for our brunch date some weeks ago. The food was simple but tasty, and look at that cup of matcha!
Merci Cafe
No. 17, Lane 7, Xinmin Street, Banqiao District, New Taipei City, 220




Hydrangea flowers were trending on Instagram and we wanted to see them up close. We did some research and found a farm located somewhere in Beitou. We thought it was an open farm where visitors can just enter and take photos, but the farm was private-owned and the owners made a pretty good business out of it by charging an entrance fee of NT$ 100. Oops. The flowers were really beautiful, I wonder if hydrangeas grow in the tropics... Has anyone seen them in the Philippines?

竹子湖高家繍球花田 Hydrangea Farm 
112, Taipei City, Beitou District, Zhu Zi Hu Road 30號
Take S9 from Beitou MRT and get off at Hu Tian Qiao (stop after Zhu Zi Hu)