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.

Taipei First Day

When I left Manila, the weather's gloomy as it started to rain. I saw the raindrops on my window, and it happened. As the raindrops fell, so did my teardrops. I cant believe I'm really doing this now. But I know it is part of God's will. My best friends just surprised me at the airport and gave me a scrapbook I can always turn to when I'm sad. Of course mom and dad went with me at the airport. I was feeling normal when they left, but it's completely different story when I was about to board the plane.

So yesterday was my first day in Taipei. I met two Taiwanese girls, Kerry and Jane, who helped me in buying the internet cord and all other stuff I need. They are so nice they even helped me set up my internet here inside the room. I also met up with Diether and Sir Mark, both Taiwan scholars. They accompanied me to Carrefour to buy a mattress and other things. The room's okay. I can live as long as I have a bed, internet, and shower heater. It's my second day now and I miss home, I miss my mom, my brother and my dad. But I know I can survive with Skype. The week's pretty hectic. I will be attending an orientation tomorrow, and a workshop the next day. Please include me in your prayers as I start a life here. :)

Quick Update

Just a quick update. Mom and I were about to buy a luggage this afternoon but we failed. The one we wanted was out of stock. Guess what we did? We watched Kimmydora instead. After laughing my heart out, everything dawned on me. No luggage yet and I have not started packing a single thing. The clock is ticking so tomorrow I have to finish the things I need to do. Luggage first, then pack pack pack.

But so far I have been enjoying the company of my friends and family. All these bon voyage dinners and coffee dates they are hosting for me are making me fat. I love how we get to bond during these times. I'll call it a day now because tomorrow's a busy one. Sometimes I wish everything's just a piece of cake, a walk in the park. But there's always gotta be challenge. It makes the journey worth it and fruitful.