I found inspiration to write about 2007 as it is a year of crossroads, firsts and a lot of trials for me. It was a baptism of fire, that a lot of times I found myself shocked, disoriented, or simply saddened by the fact that things/people are simply DIFFERENT. Sometimes, I would re-examine my motives for coming here, try to find some inner quiet and think in hindsight, am I strong enough to face all these? Is this worth all the pain that I’m trying to endure, the pain of being away from my loved ones?
One day, a friend said, “if you think you’re not strong enough to hack this, I suggest you go home…” That was my turning point. Like I said, it’s a dog eat dog world, one has to develop a strong defense mechanism to be able to survive. Whether you swim with or against the tide, you still got to swim and stay afloat.
On the flipside, while I have been trying to “stay afloat,” a lot of pleasant things happened to me too. I’m going to summarize and share with you some of the nicest things worth remembering, give you a visual of my “happy thoughts” . Boring as they may seem, please bear with my inanity :) Here goes…
I have always been skeptic about online dating, but for some reason, I couldn't refuse an invite from this surfing paramedic for a dinner at Outback. It was on the 4th of January and that being a Thursday, it was a long day for me because aside from the fact that it's a regular school day, we had PTC that night until 8. At the back of my mind, beat as I was, I honestly felt there's something in this guy that must be worth all the trouble. He looked cute and fairly decent albeit the inappropriate attire (well, I thought, this is america and he can wear board shorts to a dinner date!) and the african roses was a pleasant surprise. We seem to have found each other interesting, so finally, we hit it off and started seeing each other almost everyday since.
The surfing paramedic took me to NY to see Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden, we strutted the streets of Manhattan, took the ferry to Liberty Island and back, he watched The Devil Wears Prada while I slept (and snored horrendously) halfway through, sang Eraserheads songs together…January was awesome, beautiful and sweet because of the surfer dude.
For the first time in 22 years, I received a valentine gift. Artificial roses (so it’ll last a lifetime) with a teddy bear the size of my hand hugging the stem, a card and some chocolates…I always dreaded the advent of February because the past years’ experiences were too unkind, let alone painful. This year, the wheel of fate has turned…February is now worth looking forward to.
I got an 88% passing rate (which later on became 94%) for my regular Algebra class state exam. Looking back, I thought I did shabbily. I know my students should have done better. When you’re a new teacher, everyone’s eyes are on you. A couple of parents belittled me, thinking that a brown skinned teacher with ridiculous accent can’t teach their kids. So, I traced my performance against everyone else's...and guess what? I faired pretty much like them! So I guess I've done pretty well...well enough to show that I fit in!
Nothing really significant and noteworthy for this month...but as if bitten by the love bug, Will (the surfer dude) and I delighted in each other's company even more :)
I had to trade in my 4runner and got myself a truck. I felt bad at first because I really loved the SUV, but my co-owner wanted to bail out for some personal reasons. Inasmuch as I liked the 4runner, I settled for something more practical, reliable and convenient to use. I’ve always been a truck lover, and the blue Tacoma is it for me :)
June 2 was move-in day. Will and I found a nice apartment complex 3 miles away from the beach. We signed up for a single bedroom apartment with a nice view of a manmade pond at the front yard. The place is very cozy and quiet, except for the occasional jet noise that we already got accustomed to. Moving in with someone is a new experience for me that some people frowned at because they say it is unFilipino and not right. Well, my philosophy is “you can’t win them all!” and I’m simply trying to survive. June was adjustment month, but I’ve never been so happy since.
Will’s one and only (11-yr old) daughter, Lauren, spent 3 weeks with us. Before we met, I was anxious and thought of how I should act around her, but reason told me that I should just be myself. It was a tad awkward at first, but after a couple of days since she arrived, the little girl warmed up to me and we enjoyed being together :) July was interesting, and so is Lauren.
I received a commendation from my principal saying that 100% of my special education students passed the summer state exams. And perhaps because of this, the principal granted my request for a higher level class. Perseverance paid off in August.
September and October:
Nothing really significant has happened as of yet, but life with my partner seems to get more and more interesting every single day. I have never felt so good about going home in this little haven where I can do just about anything. Don't get me wrong though...there had been tough times too, but we all know there's nothing that two people who honestly care for each other cannot resolve.
"My Lord:I am thankful that I don't have everything I desire.
If I did, what would there be to look forward to?
I am thankful when I don't know something,
for it gives me the opportunity to learn.
I am thankful for the difficult times.
During those times I truly grow.
I am thankful for my limitations,
because they give me opportunities for improvement.
I am thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build my strength and character.
I am thankful for my mistakes.
They will teach me very valuable lessons.
I am thankful when I’m tired and weary,
because it means I've made a difference.
Lord, it is easy to be thankful for the good things,
But I also know that a life of rich fulfillment comes
to those who are also thankful for the setbacks,
for the trials, and for the tribulations..."
Good things happen to those who work hard and believe.
Here’s to a great and fruitful year! Cheers!