Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Trip to the Mothership and More

I thought I would have time to blog in the US since I was spending 2 weeks here. That obviously didn't happen since I'm only blogging now. During my first week I was so badly jetlagged I just used whatever energy I had to make sure I was up and lucid during our summit (a.k.a. trying not to look like a zombie). I would wake up so early I'd do my Asia-related work during the wee hours of the morning so I wouldn't be behind with my mail. Things go really bad by lunchtime and it took every drop of caffeine I drank from the coffee to stay awake.

I was happy to meet my new team-mates and glad that to see the other half of my team again. Being alone in the region all these years (and well in the Philippines before) can get really sad. To not feel so homesick I then collected hugs!

I managed to clock in 12 hours of sleep Friday night, Saturday trip to SFO though was cancelled so Philip and I just went to our favorite place, the gigantic Great Mall in Milpitas! That place is dangerous since you could really go broke. Ate some merienda at Chipotle, shopped more and capped the evening by eating at Jollibee!

On Sunday I met up with my good friend, Rey, who I have not seen for 16 years now! We both got so busy with work and well he moved here (and well aren't we all bad staying in touch after college?). We went to hear mass, eat lunch at a Mexican place and bored Philip to death with our college stories.

I was planning to see another college friend, but then I injured myself -- scratched my leg on the trash can! Grrrrrr!

As always my second week at the mothership got busier with meetings, catching up with fellow Pinoys, more meetings and trainings. By Tuesday my head was already spinning with too much information, but all is well and I would just take late afternoon walks around my hotel (yes... to the nearest Target! Haha). My luggage is now full of too much chocolate! I just kept remembering friends and would go back to buy more chocolates (very, very bad stress relief activity!). Anyway, I ended up buying a new bag because of that (hmph).

I spent my last night in the US in San Francisco and just working out of the SF office. I'm glad I also finally met Fumi in person and she was so nice to walk me back to my hotel on her way to the train. I also managed to squeeze in some time to meet a childhood friend -- Maan (he now calls himself Marnie!). He made sure I ate some good ol' American burger and walked me around Embarcadero which talking about our crazy teenage years!

My trip ends tonight and I'm finally going back home! I've been away from my boys too long and I seriously need family time before I head back to my assigned ship in Singapore.

And no, I am not leaving my heart in San Francisco because it's in Manila.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Singapore, my second home

Today is a sad day for Singapore with the passing of it's first prime minister, Lee Kwan Yew. I feel sad as well since Singapore has been my second home in the last four years and I have so much to be thankful for what Singapore has given to me - work and an extension to my life.

Much as I try to stay in home in the Philippines as much as I could, Singapore is where I am employed and my second home. I've been sharing an apartment with my childhood friend for the past 4 years, I just travel a lot that's why it doesn't seem I'm around much. I do a lot of brain calisthenics when I'm in Singapore and so normally keep to myself and I'm probably busy hanging out over Hangout in the evenings with my boys.

I remember Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew when I was taking my degree in Political Science. I had a class on International Relations with Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta as my erstwhile professor. We had discussed about Singapore a lot in class and the work PM Yew did for Singapore. He built the country and brought it to where it is today. He was a selfless leader who made sure his countrymen would get the best.

I am thankful for PM Yew for all that he did for Singapore. My move to Singapore just happened which on the hindsight I think was pre-destined since my cardiologist is Singapore's best cardio (yoohoo Dr. Koo!!!) and the most expert surgeon for my condition (Dr. Shankar!). My doctors said that I probably would not have survived surgery if it was done elsewhere (but that's another story, just back-read my old posts). So I would forever be thankful for this beautiful, efficient, clean city Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew has built (the health care industry is so far the best!!!).

Thank you Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew for building Singapore. <3

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Off to the Mothership

March 15 post The quarter is almost over and usually I don’t travel as much in the first quarter of the year because it’s spent assessing the previous year, planning and preparing for the new year. I had spent most of the last 3 months in Singapore. It gave me time to rest, relax and do some thinking.

A lot of the colleagues I’ve worked with in the past 8 years have moved on. I pretty much feel like the last living dinosaur at work because I’ve been around even before we had offices in the region. There’s so many new faces at work, many new things ongoing. One of the thoughts I had was whether it was time for me to go to since a lot of my contemporaries have moved on. This thought plagued me for a a few days until I had lunch with my new director. He said he’d been around for 13 years already and have not thought about moving on because he always had something challenging to work on and couldn’t think of any other place to move to.

Early last year I was presented with a fork in the road. Follow the road where a lot of people wanted to travel on or take a leap of faith and join a team that was still on a rough road. I chose the later despite the protests of my then VP. He was just worried that I would get buried in the region and my talent wouldn’t get recognised at the mothership. I fought my case and showed that I wanted to take the unchartered course. It was what I was originally hired for anyway.

A year has passed since I made that decision and I thank God my Kuya gave me guidelines on how to make my decision. The last 12 months was certainly challenging, juggling multiple programs with limited resources. I am always thankful for the opportunity, the trust for the responsibilities given to me. I am also always humbled with all the voluntary help for the programs that’s thrust on me.

I am off to the mothership again to learn new things. I look forward to the new challenges and hopeful that as in the last 8 years I would be navigated by God to the right path. =)

Thursday, March 5, 2015


A Lenten Reflection

In the last few years I have lost many loved ones. In my family my Dad and my second-Dads (my uncles) have gone to heaven (the women have proven to have longer lives in our clan). I have several friends who have also left.

Yesterday I was so happy to hear from a friend who is going through a very rough time with his health. I knew he was undergoing surgery and I was so worried all week since I have not heard from him for awhile. I've been praying so hard that he would be okay and I breathed a sigh of relief when he pinged me. My joy was short-lived though because he said there's been a recurrence in what he's going through.

After experiencing complications with my surgery (my cardio later on admitted that they were very, very worried), I honestly did not know what to say to my friend. There's a huge difference between undergoing surgery for repair vs. surgery for recovery. It got me thinking, how come I survived two life-threatening episodes? I almost gave up those two times, but I held on to the idea that my family needs me and I need to survive.

And then I remembered what my Dad kept telling us, "You are here for a purpose. When your mission is done, that's the time that you will be called home."

Prinum Regnum Dei.

Now I understand why my Dad requested to have that engraved on his tombstone. It means, "First the Kingdom of God" from Matthew 6:23 which ties up to what my Dad kept reminding us on about our purpose.

I must say the last 2 years following my surgery has been a test of faith. I buried myself in work, probably to prove that I could still do things and I am alive. I've moved teams recently and the last few weeks have given me time to breathe and reflect. I have had time to do things I like doing and spend time engaging with friends. It's reminded me to enjoy life as well and not just spend it working hard (hopefully at my purpose).

The reminder though does not ease the sadness I am feeling over my friend, but it has renewed my quest to fulfil my purpose.