Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Easter Miracle

Easter last year marked a huge milestone for me a year ago. I was stuck in Singapore for three whole months after my heart surgery. My doctors wouldn't allow me to go home to Manila because of my condition. My surgeon had a hard time operating on me and we encountered a few complications. I was in ICU for almost a week and I was in so much pain for many weeks after. The meds didn't really help ease the pain and I just prayed and prayed for it to go away.

At some point I dreamt I was with my Dad. The pain was really unbearable at some point I wished my Dad would just come and get me. I remember waking up from the dream and looked for my Kuya instead. Despite how I was feeling I knew that if I called out for my Dad my family would worry a lot. My brother had to go back to Jakarta the day before my surgery, but he surprised me and arrived the day after I looked for him.

My Kuya and his family (including those in Jakarta via Google Hangout) prayed over me. It was only then I felt calm and more settled. I was discharged two weeks after surgery but the road after was a difficult one. I couldn't sleep well and I couldn't even lie down. Two weeks after I had to go through another surgery to drain water in my heart and lungs. I had to stay in the hospital for another two weeks. Recovery was very slow and I can honestly say that it's only in the last month that I started to feel stronger.

I have been asked several times where I got the strength to go through heart surgery. It took me a decade to finally decide to go through it. I wasn't scared because I knew Papa Jesus will take care of me and Mama Mary would watch over me as well. My doctors said that I was the cheeriest patient they had (they weren't around at night when the pain would set in!). I didn't see them worry the whole time I was in the hospital, but my doctor told me during my check-up last February that they were actually very worried about me and that I had given them a huge scare. I just gave my doctor a huge smile and thanked him. I pulled through this whole ordeal because of my faith, my family, my friends, my whole community and my work family who prayed for me to get well.

And that's why Easter for me has a whole new meaning. A new lease on life and a chance to have a better quality of life with my family and everyone in my life.

And this is me recently at Angkor Wat. I never imagined that I'd be able to visit 2 huge religious temples (the other one was Boroburdur last June) within a year after surgery.

Happy Easter everyone! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Beautiful Angkor Wat

The Angkor Wat is on my list of places to visit. Sweetie though has been wary about going because of the fate one of his classmates met when she visited. I only understood his anxiousness when I finally got the chance to go to support the community in their first mapUp of Siem Reap. The temperature was extremely hot for me. My seatmate told me that it was hotter in India, but I told him that my doctor warned me about avoiding extremely cold and hot weather since it would be bad for my condition.

I was undeterred though since I really wanted the chance to see the Angkor Wat in person. I took extra precaution and brought extra bottles of water to keep myself hydrated. I had to make sure I would be okay so that my colleagues wouldn't have to worry about me. I hopped on the ride to Angkor Wat with colleagues and in no time we arrived at the largest religious monument, the 8th wonder in the world.

Angkor Wat

Oh my. It was awesome! And HUGE. I only found out then that there isn't just one temple, but a HUNDRED. My friend Jerome visited Siem Reap a few months back and I remember he told me that one day isn't enough to cover everything. So, of course, I had to take a selfie.

Thanks to Sovann, my Cambodian colleague for taking my photo!

Another thing I didn't expect (my fault for not reading up about the place before going) was the presence of monkeys! We were told though to keep our distance because they might bite. There was one fat monkey who grabbed the water bottle of one of the guests, opened it and drank. There was one guest who kept reminding us to stay away from the monkeys because she said one attacked her before. The monkey got attracted to her blond hair and sat on her head. It took awhile before they managed to get the monkey off her head. Scaredy-cat me decided not to stay any longer after that and left.

Naughty monkey!

Scratch scratch.

Much as I would've loved to stay to take more photos and explore the temples I had a flight to catch and I didn't want to push my body too much. Google Street View anyway has about 90,000 images of the Angkor Wat I could enjoy anytime. It's a great way to visit a place that you want to go to. I'm definitely exploring Angkor Wat through Google Street View (without worries!).

And here's the Pinoy contingent during the launch.

Clara, Gibbs and the Matanglawin crew.

More photos!

Mike Nelson and Manik Gupta, Google.

International journalists at the launch.

The Google Street View car at Angkor Wat.