My Year in Review

Let me take you into a journey on the whirlwind of events that took place in my life this 2009. Recalling memories, fond or not, is always a nice way to end the year.

January- I resigned from my first job. I realized there is something more to life than sitting in a cubicle and waiting for a marketing miracle to happen to boost the brand I'm handling. This resignation was easy for me as there were no regrets. I have always set high high expectations to myself and I think I didn't even make it to level 1 of my standards. The first day of the month was also the day when one of my favorite teachers in high school died. She was truly one of the best. Happy first year in heaven, Ma'm Babes!

February- The month I began my journey to finding what I want in dear life. I started submitting my application to various masteral programs and scholarship just because I think I need an experience on higher learning. Well, on the real sense of things, it's just an excuse on my road to discovering what to do next. I also applied to Eat Bulaga spontaneously. Emailed my resume on the day of the deadline. Got a call and was invited for an interview. Good vibes during the interview because it was mom's birthday that day. My beautiful mom turned 50 this year. She still looks young.

March- Here's the most exciting part. Being part of the creative writers team of the country's longest running television show. Accepted the challenge, and was enjoying all the stress, fun, and negativity the job has to offer. I think this is also the end of my social life. No going out on weekends, no dates with friends, not even shopping. It was work from Monday to Saturday. Tiring but fulfilling.

April- Parents are thinking twice why I have to work that hard to earn my own money. They didn't like the idea of me going home at 7 in the morning and going back to work at 10 the same morning to be at the studio. I also started complaining and ranting, but at the end of the day, I felt satisfied, I felt so fulfilled. Afterall, the projects given to me was that one thing I wanted to do in life- sending children to school.

May- Parents cant stand me anymore. I have to let go of the job some people have been waiting for all their lives. It was given to me and yet I surrendered. I gave up too easily, I wasn't even able to defend my love for the job. But deep within, I have questions if everything was truly worth it. I called it quits. I knew God will give me another path to take.

June- The results of the masters program and the scholarship were finally out. I was jumping for joy, not thinking about what will happen in the months to come. I never have thought of leaving things behind. But I know it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was God's gift and I prayed for it. Perhaps there is a reason why He gave it. It is His will, and I will do everything to be whoever He wants me to be.

July- Getting ready for all the requirements needed for my scholarship and masters. This was also the month when my brother, James, left for Jeddah to work as a civil engineer. Everyone's sad after he left, but we all know that it is for his future and for his success. Well, I have always blamed the economy of our country for people leaving for higher pay. I hope one day, when everything is good, people abroad can go back to their families and be with them, and enjoy the opportunities available in our homeland. Hong Kong & Macau trip with the cousins too!

August- My one-month break from everything. A break turned mourning period as my grandma passed away 12th day of the month. It was a quiet passing. She was old and needed to rest in the arms of God. She will be celebrating her birthday on January 1st, and it will be the first time that lola will not be physically there. President Cory also passed away first day of the month.

September- I left Manila on the seventh day of the month. It was raining, like tears from the eyes of the sky, joining my own, as if patting me on my shoulder, high heavens telling me I'll be okay. I eft to study abroad. I left to grab the opportunity given to me. I left without knowing that I would miss my family and friends this much. It is my first time to live alone, in a foreign land. But I lifted everything to God… guidance, safety, protection. He gave me everything I needed. He is and He will forever be my security blanket.

October- Celebrated my birthday alone. It wasn't bad but I cried. All my friends went online on my special day and I was filled with love. My brother also celebrated alone in Jeddah. First month away and I'm still groping in the dark.

November- Second month and I felt I'm already adjusting well. Doing great in school. I also got a happy and sad news from my eldest brother. He will be leaving early January for work. Which means that all three of us will be away. Also, Poligov professor friend in DLSU, Jason Hecita went for a visit slash conference. That's my small family enjoying the blessing of Skype and the so called video-based online communication.

December- Made a surprise trip back home to be with my eldest brother, and to bond with parents and friends. Everyone was shocked, they never thought I could pull a surprise, with the help of my mom. This was also the month that I thought I was gonna die from that big earthquake here in Taipei. Around 6.8 magnitude and I'm inside my room, shivering and crying from the cold and fear. Christian Terrazola of Plaridel also came for a visit. And of course, first Christmas away from home. Sad and empty, but I made it through with my friends here. Two days after birthday, my aunt was rushed to the hospital. Prayers are constant conversations with God to heal my dearest aunt. She is on her way to recovery now, praise God.

2009 is definitely filled with firsts. But with these "firsts", I learned wonderful lessons of cherishing every moment I have with my loved ones, and showing them how much I care and love. We don't have forever to tell them we love them and we care for them. If there's something I'm grateful for about me being away, it's the irony of keeping my family members closer to me despite the distance. I learned to live with prayers, with God being my constant companion. I learned to thank technology. And above all, I learned to thank life. For without the life that He has given me, I wouldn't be here smiling from all the joy and happiness my family and friends bring. I wouldn't be here crying for all pains, fears and at times loneliness. I wouldn't be here sharing these wonderful pieces of lesson to you without the life He bestowed upon me. Goodbye, 2009! I welcome 2010 with open arms. Let us sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride to a better year! Happy 2010!

To God be the glory!

Maligayang Pasko po!

Matagal na rin akong di nakakapagsulat gamit ang ating sariling wika. Pero bago ang lahat, isang MALIGAYANG PASKO mula sa isang bayang ni anino ng pagdiriwang na ito ay di ko maaaninag.

Ngayong pasko napagtanto kong unti-unti nang namumulat ang isip ko sa katotohanang hindi na nga ako bata. Hindi na importante sa akin ang mga regalo. Lalo pa't nasa isang daigdig ako na mahal ang shipping fee, haha echos lang. Anu pa nga ang magagawa ng isang nilalang na nasa ibayo? Wala nang mas mahalaga pa siguro para sa mga Pilipinong nasa iba't ibang lupain kundi ang makasama ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay sa isang masayang pagdiriwang na ito. Pero dahil hindi nga magkakasama ang mga mag-anak ngayong araw, sapat ns ang marinig ang boses nila. Konting tiis, ika nga.

Sa kabilang banda, masaya ako at ginawa ako ng Diyos na Pilipino. Sa katunayan, di ko maisip kung ako ay isang Kanluranin. Ganito pa rin kaya ang aking mga pagpapahalaga? Dito ko nakita ang pagkakaiba natin sa ibang lahi. Kung paano natin pahalagahan ang pamilya natin, kung paano tayo magmahal, kung paano tayo magdiwang sa ispesyal na araw ng pagdating muli ni Hesus. At dahil mag-isa ako ngayon, kahit walang dekorasyon sa aking kwarto, o walang makukulay na ilaw sa mga kalsada, walang masasayang batang nangangaroling sa kalye, kahit papano ay buhay pa rin ang diwa ng pasko sa akin. Nananalaytay sa kailaliman ng puso ko and tunay na kahulugan ng pasko: ang pagmamahal sa kapwa, gaya ng pagmamahal Niya sa atin.

Muli, Maligayang Pasko po!

Home for a While

I went home for a couple of days to visit my mom and my brother who will be leaving early next year for Chicago. He will be assigned there for one straight year and since not one of us is sure if we'd still be able to catch up on January (I will be going back on Jan 14) I decided to just make a quick trip. It was a surprise trip. Only mom and dad knew about it. My brother and friends didn't have the slightest idea. Papa was supposed to come over but he changed his mind. I will try to compensate for it next month, I'd stay in Cagayan longer.

It was fun surprising everyone. And it was so nice to be welcomed back with smooches and hugs from my mom. Even if she has to wake up at dawn to go pick me up at the airport, she still cooked adobo and sinigang for me. After lunch I headed to the salon for some pampering. Gah. No pedicure for 3 months. My toes looked pretty with the delicate pastel pink polish painted on em. My closest friends had the shock of their lives when I went out of the room when mom told them to Skype with me Live. I couldn't even stop laughing when I saw my best friend, Monica's reaction when she saw me. I realized that I really am unstoppable. When I think of something, I should really do it. I had the time of my life surprising everyone back home.

Now that I'm here again, I'll push myself to eat all bland foods for five more weeks until I go back to the warmth and coziness of our home. Final papers are due before I leave so it's just a matter of writing and writing till kingdom come for the coming weeks. I actually have started scribbling on my new Starbucks planner courtesy of Ahia. There's no lines on the pages, I'm OC like that. I want my handwriting neat on my planner so I don't know how I'd manage to write without lines.

Moving on, for Christmas and New Year, I don't know what the plans are. Hotels are fully booked on the 31st so I don't know where to stay after watching the fireworks in 101. So help me God.

Thank You

I opened my planner. Stared blankly at the last few pages for the month of December. Then flipped through the first page, a calendar for 2009-2010. I wrote down my goals, the things I would want to accomplish for next year. I realized I did exactly the same thing the previous year. And what struck me is that whatever I have written down, God made a way and led me to the path I want. I'm still holding on to my faith that next year would be the same, He will shed light and help me find my way.

Thank You for being my companion, for being my source of strength. At night when I'm alone, who do I talk to? No one but You. Thank You for making me strong and independent. You take away my sadness. In my conversations with You, I am relieved that everything will be okay. If I don't have this faith I have now, I would have put everything down and surrendered. Thank You for the kind of relationship I have with my family and with my friends. I sometimes think about the things I do to deserve all Your goodness. But please, don't stop being there for me. I can't do this alone. Thank You and I can't wait to be with You in that another phase of my life that I'm dreaming of. We will do it slowly, as You have always done. I have learned through these experiences that setbacks are natural part of life and so I know now how to manage it. Thank you for everything. My heart, my faith, they all belong to You.

Post Midterms Hurrah

Would like to share this to you! The picture above is one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have tasted. Not that I'm a huge fan of grilled cheese, or any cheese. I just love the hot of the grill taste of the bread plus the super gooey cheese filling.

Oops. It's been awhile now. See the picture above with my love? I have finally found love in Taipei. Love, love has come my way haha. I guess this is what graduate studies do to me. It drives me nuts. Haven't been updating lately. I have a lot of free time but due to unforeseen events, like waking up late during my free days because of the really crazy cold weather, I end up not accomplishing any single thing. No, seriously, I opt to read materials for school than spending time thinking of what to write. I always try to be the productive me during school days. I'm just lazy at times to write and update, so here we go.

Midterms is finally over. I did some presentation for my Comm Theories class, an examination for Research Methods and some papers and proposals for the upcoming finals. The only thing that bothers me here is the amount of reading materials we have to go through each week. Devastating, I say. Sometimes I bring the readings on my way to Church, on Sunday, since it takes around 15 to 20 minutes for me to reach there. I feel restless and sleepy every time I read in my room, I don't know why. But nonetheless, everything's a okay this semester. Looking forward to the next one. I cant actually wait for the course list next semester. I'm taking another 12 credits, which means that I only have 8 credits left. I wonder if I really can finish it in one and a half years. I'm positive though. Lord, I really want to land on a good job after this one.

December is fast approaching, so is Christmas, and New Year. It's my first time that I didn't get a Starbucks Planner Sticker card. My brother is doing it for me though, and according to mom, the acclaimed planner is now sitting on my table at home. Yaaay! Want to scribble on it now! Anyoo, I still can't believe I'm celebrating Christmas and New Year without my family, without my mom's Chicken Salad and my Aunt's embotido and fruit salad. But most importantly, this coming New Year would be the first time that we'd be celebrating the birthday of my lola, without her. I hope there's a party in heaven though. My lolo might be so excited to celebrate with her. Rest in peace, lola.

As for our celebration here, we're thinking of celebrating New Year's eve in a hotel, somewhere with a kitchen so we can cook and relax in uber soft pillows and bed. And for Christmas, we might go out of Taipei. Nothing's definite yet.

By the way, happy thanksgiving! I'm sure all of us has something to be thankful for this year and for the rest of our lives. Relaxing in bed now listening to music :)

Still Surreal

Eight weeks and still I find everything surreal. Each morning when I wake up, I always have to ask myself questions like where am I or am I home. Yes I miss home terribly. But going out with my now closest group of friends gives me time to not think about deep nostalgia. I am fond of them now because as days go by, we share parts and parcels of our lives with each other.

I cant help not to count the days. It is what motivates me to yearn and do all my best to study well and learn new things every day. I thank God for keeping me safe always and keeping everyone back home safe too. But please Lord, no more typhoon.

My heart longs for home. But this is where I am now. I love my present and I will strive for everything.

Birthday Post

Just a quick birthday post! I want to thank everyone who greeted me. Despite the distance, I was somehow able to celebrate with my friends and my family. As written on my facebook stat, I am really thanking God for the beautiful 21 years, for the gift of friends, colleagues, relatives and a loving family... am truly overjoyed even if I'm thousand of miles away from home. Thank you everyone!

Against All Odds

Wow, I don't even know where to start or how to start my update. A lot has happened here in Taipei, and back home. Maybe I'd start with the most unfortunate event that happened to my hometown last Saturday.

Typhoon Ondoy hit Manila last Saturday. Many lives were taken, houses destroyed, people injured. I cannot explain how I felt because aside from the sadness buried in my heart after reading updates from Twitter and Facebook, there was guilt in between. Guilt that I should have been there experiencing this together with my fellow Filipinos. This year, our nation has been struck with so many challenges. From the master rapper's death, to the dreaded ah1n1 virus, to a beloved president's passing. I think all I can do for now is pray and have an unceasing faith in God. Although I am thankful that my family is safe, it still breaks my heart every time I hear stories that my friends and their families have gone through. And I shall continue praying so they can cope well with their situation, against all odds.

As far as my studies is concerned, I'm doing pretty okay. The readings, even if they're couple of inches thick, I still find them interesting. Afterall, masters program is about higher learning. I have to read fast and understand them well, and not to waste so much time. I'm discipling myself and scheduling things step by step. But Sunday is definitely mine. My friends and I go to church and spend time together.

Last Sunday we went to Minquan E. Road- the Filipino Community here in Taiwan. We're so happy we finally saw Filipino goodies and ate Filipino foods. It's one of our happiest days because we're so dying to eat Filipino home-cooked meals and alas our wish was granted. We scoured through ShinKong Mitsukoshi and Kmall after, then had dinner at KFC. Yes the chicken cooked and tasted Western, no hint of Chinese flavor, thank heavens.

And tomorrow is my special day. I don't know how it'll go but one thing for sure, I'll celebrate it with my Filipino friends here, Bea and Diet. Too bad tomorrow's the scheduled outage at home… I'll be able to talk to mom and dad in the evening, and skype with my girls… I miss them so much but thanks to God's gift of technology, we can see each other daily.

That's all for now! :)

Not Just Studying Here

I promised myself I will be blogging after reading a chapter from my Communication Theories class and after reviewing for my Research Methods quiz. Classes have finally started for me. It feels so college-y, sitting in a lecture for about 3 hours. It reminded me of all the major subjects I need to take during my undergraduate years. Education system here is a bit different compared to our system in the Philippines. I don't know how to explain it. Let us just say that our CommArts professors in DLSU had the best 2-page concise syllabus and their matter-of-fact teaching is truly incomparable. Nevertheless, I have yet to experience the education system here so let me write about it in a month or so.

I will be taking four courses this first semester, and that is equivalent to 12 units, a full-load for a graduate student. I just don't want to slack of. I want to do everything I can so I can finish this as early as possible and do my serious stuff after. But don't get me wrong. I love the environment here (well, except the heat, the melting sweltering scorching heat), and our university is beautiful. It adds up to my wonderful learning experience yada yada.

But my life here isn't just about studying. It would be boring if I kept it like that. I still Skype with my parents and brothers daily, and also chat with my friends, and…. I'm now on the road to discovering Taiwan and all its wonders! Last Saturday my Filipino friends and I went to Dan Shui, a nice place overlooking the sea; to Fort San Domingo, somewhat similar to Malacanang of the North in Ilocos, and to Shi Lin, a night market (where you can literally faint just looking at the swarm of people). I cant wait for mid-October to come. We all promised we will take ourselves to a shopping spree. And and and! I cant wait to bring my family to the places I've been to. I miss them with all my heart.

Today is also the 40th day of my lola, so I cant be all too giddy and happy. I am still continuously praying for the repose of her soul, and asking her to be always by my side. My mom and aunts had a gathering this afternoon for Lola. I also prayed to her during the mass. I hope I can keep up with going to mass here every Sunday because I never missed my obligation back in Manila.

Tata for now. Some pictures :)

First Week

First, sorry for the backlog of posts. I was meaning to write things down every single day but the week was hectic. I skype with my mom, dad, and friends each night to let them know how I'm doing so I didn't really have the time to write. So here goes.

September 9
I attended the International Students' Orientation and met Lucia, a Slovak. We were given a tour inside the campus and there I met a super nice and bubbly student ambassador named Phoebe. The day was really tiring but the night ended sweet as I was invited out by my new friends here in the dorm (see previous post). They took me to Shi Da Night Market and I love the place, and the foods too!

September 10
This day was pretty much a drag but hey, there's something that makes my evening always special. I attended the Fire & Disaster Prevention Workshop in the morning and went to Immigration with Lucia to apply for our ARC. After which, we literally ran back to school to do the health examination, which was the weirdest health exam I had in all my life. I don't even want to talk about it. After that, I headed to the dorm with Lucia, rested for a while and went to Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is magnificent!

September 11
Another workshop for the scholarship thing. Met up with fellow scholars and decided to go out together the day after. This is also the day that I successfully managed to do my laundry! Hooray!!!

September 12
Miramar with the scholars!

September 13
Sunday is the time to thank God for always being there. to keep me safe, and to keep my family safe while I'm away. I met up with my cousin's cousin, Lynlyn, and we went to Church. Headed to Ximending after for lunch and yummy dessert.

Today marks my first week here in Taipei. I have been to different places and met new people and everything's well, thank God. The course orientation was held earlier. Met the classmates and the higher batch and also the professors. Everyone's so cool I hope I can get to know each one better.

Tomorrow is my first day of class so I hope I can make it good.

So Far, So Good

I'll try to blog daily about my adventures here. Second day, so far so good. I'm continuously thanking God with the things I have like Skype, and my laptop, nag my internet connection here at the dorm. I was able to talk to my mom and brothers yesterday morning.

After the chat I went down for brunch and had warm savory noodles with wanton soup for only $55. Not bad for 2 meals in one. Then I met with Barney, we went to the upper level of the school and checked out his dorm, but I don't think he likes it that much so he had the money refunded. He toured me inside the College of Commerce and the IMBA floor is just amazing. We had some milk tea and cookies at their lounge. But before heading home, I walked around, outside the campus area. Bought some foods from the bakery.

Finally when I went back to the dorm, I was able to talk to papa through Skype. And then to Joy and Kaymee! I also talked to mom before sleeping. Joy actually met my first friend Kerry, because she knocked at my room while we were talking, so I introduced her.

I have three friends now, all Taiwanese, mind you! They went to my room and proudly showed them my cork board and the scrapbook the girls gave me. They will be taking me to the Night Market tonight! I cant wait! But I have this International Students Orientation thing to go to this morning until the afternoon… I hope I can meet new friends again! God never fails to surprise me with good people, and good friends! :)

Some pictures of the campus and of my new friends namely Kerry, Jean and Caroline.