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a heart across the ocean

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What Are You Thankful For?

When I arrived here in the United States in 2009 I had no idea what the holiday Thanksgiving was all about. It has never been celebrated in the Philippines, and I don’t remember any of my teachers in school discussing the topic. It was my husband who gave me a crash course on the significance of this holiday. As he was busy playing chef in the kitchen, I remember him explaining to me how the Native Americans and the Pilgrims came together in a feast to give thanks. Since then celebrating Thanksgiving has become a tradition with our small family. My husband always prepares the same meal every year: mashed potatoes, corn, beans, Hawaiian Rolls, pumpkin pie covered with Cool Whip, and, of course, turkey. I, on the other hand, will always set the table and clean the dishes afterwards. I am truly thankful for this division of labor because I am sure our Thanksgiving dinner would be a disaster, considering my appalling expertise in cooking (no kidding).

“Every person is gifted in some area. We just have to find out what.” – Evelyn Blose Holman

Seven years later I found myself in front of my three classes, retelling the same story of the first Thanksgiving to my ESL students. I thought it was surreal. I’ve always dreamed of teaching in a college or university even when I was in my native country. Deep down secretly I never thought that one day I would make that dream come true – here in the US, at a respected state college. I have a lot of things to be grateful for. I am thankful for my life; my family, especially my wonderful husband; my new graduate degree and the opportunities it has unlocked for me this year, especially my college instructor’s position.

Every time I attend my ESOL classes, I see myself in my students. Some of them have been in the country for many years, some have just arrived. Like me, as when I first came, they are full of hope that one day they’ll fulfill their American dream. I can see it in their eyes; I can feel it every time they struggle to communicate in broken English. In hindsight, you may think that my role as an instructor is just to teach my students the new language skills, (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) they need in order to function and assimilate in their new country. However, it is more than that.

Every time I assume my solemn role as an educator and stand before my classes, I feel that I have a vital mission: an obligation to encourage and inspire my students to believe that their present state doesn’t define their future. Learning a language is a process; it takes time. Dreams do come true, however, and no matter how challenging their situations are, I need to reinforce an understanding and a belief that their struggles are just temporary. With tenacity, persistence, and resilience, any goal can be obtained in America. This mission is what makes me excited to go to work every day. I have found my purpose, and, I must say, on this Thanksgiving day, this is what I am most thankful for.

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There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.”- Rusty Berkus

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy 7th!

A few weeks ago my husband and I went back to Cocoa Beach to celebrate our 7th Wedding Anniversary. It has become our tradition to celebrate our anniversaries on the beach in remembrance of our beach wedding in 2009. It was really nothing fancy but a quick escape to spend quality time together.  We stayed for four days at the International Palms Resort and took advantage of its amenities. Since it was blistering hot in the afternoons, we lazed around the pool in the mornings, and did our beach strolls in the late afternoons. On our second day we also visited the famous Cocoa Beach Pier. It was pretty, but not exactly what I expected – it was crowded with beachgoers and board surfers who enjoyed riding the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.  Water sports enthusiasts would surely love it. Unfortunately, for us who were taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, it was just too much.  In the evening, we went for a night walk on the beach. It was beautiful. The skies were clear and I was happily surprised to see stars radiating like little diamonds.  The last time I saw stars in Florida was in 2014 – and, mind you, it was at a planetarium. I didn’t realize that simple star gazing could be very romantic. I wish we could do it more often. On our third day, we went back to the pool, and later enjoyed some live music playing at the resort’s beach bar and restaurant. I must say, it was really just a simple anniversary vacation for us but, nonetheless, it was very sweet and refreshing.

Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquility of a lovely sunset. Ann Landers

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My Life After GTA

Before my graduation I was afraid that I won’t get employment immediately. I was aware that the school year would open two weeks after my graduation, and I haven’t even started applying for any jobs. The truth is, I didn’t even have any prospects.  My fear for the unknown, however, was immediately dismissed after I was invited for an interview by the associate dean of one of the state colleges in the city.  It turned out my Lead GTA recommended me for a teaching job that the college had available. Although I was hesitant at first because of the location, I still went for the interview. I was glad I did it because I found out eventually that the college has a branch located 10 miles away from my home. To make a long story short, I got the job. I was offered to teach two ESL courses two times a week: one for beginners, and the other for advanced.

My schedule is fantastic! That was my initial reaction – until I ran out of things to do at home, and I started feeling bored. So, I started applying for a part-time job to fill my free time, and it didn’t take long before I got an offer from another organization. However, as fate would have it, an unexpected circumstance came up.  One instructor suddenly left and the college had to offer me another two courses to teach. I was very happy when I received the offer. More than the financial gain, for me it was the vote of confidence from my supervisors that was really more important. So, now I teach four courses – four hours a day, four times a week. Still, I am far from my target goal, but I couldn’t be happier. I am truly grateful for my teaching job.

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but believe.” Anatole France


The Most Awaited Graduation!

After a long wait finally everything came to a meaningful and heartwarming finale –  the Commencement Ceremony! I don’t know how to best describe it. When I woke up that morning to get ready for my graduation, I was consumed with so many emotions. There was sadness, excitement, and, of course, the overpowering anxiety gremlin.

The feeling of sadness stemmed from the thought that I will no longer see my GTA friends on a regular basis. For almost a year we have shared a lot of life experiences together, not only as classmates in the graduate program, but also as colleagues at work. This Summer Term we sat next to each other in the faculty room and almost every day after our classes, we would share stories, jokes, and laughter. There was never a dull moment with my co-GTAs. They are so full of life and optimism that sometimes I forget these ladies are actually half my age. What made us get through the challenges in our program was the unified support we rallied for each other. We conquered our obstacles and reached our goals not by competing with each other but rather by lifting each other up.

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The feeling of excitement, on the other hand, obviously came from the thought that I will finally be off the hook from the endless writing and long chapters of reading. Oh boy, that was tough! The day I finished my final exam for my last course requirement, I felt a big load was lifted from my shoulders. For the first time since I started the program, I didn’t have to worry about schoolwork; I didn’t have to worry about anything at all. I’m FREE and it feels wonderful!

The night before my graduation I rehearsed in my head what to expect during the ceremony. Surely there was nothing to worry about, but it was still nerve-wracking (at least for me). I can only compare it to the drilling of a root canal-similar anxiety. But once it is over you wonder what all the fuss was about. I believe it is human nature, of course, that we feel anxious about the unknown. Despite the fact that this was my third time to walk for a graduation (first for my Bachelor’s Degree, second for my first Master’s Degree), obviously I still haven’t gotten used to all the pageantry. The anxiety built when we entered the UCF Arena while the graduation song was playing. There were several thousands of people in the audience. I felt my tummy churning when I saw the crowd, and the first thing that came to my mind was where’s the bathroom. Thankfully, the butterflies in my stomach settled down as the program progressed. I felt both proud and humbled when my name was called and I heard my husband shouting “Omaha” from the crowd. I am still comprehending why he did that except for it had something to do with Peyton Manning, who is his favorite football player. I also felt victorious when I shook  the Dean’s hand and crossed the stage without tripping (that was my husband’s greatest fear). Phew! Likewise, I didn’t wave and pose like a model just like I did during our dress rehearsal in the faculty office (that was my husband’s second fear after seeing my video). He thought it would be a nightmare. Haha! So, overall, it’s a mission accomplished. Yes, I MADE IT!

A lot of people have been part of this journey: my brilliant professors in the MA TESOL Program at the University of Central Florida; my wonderful GTA Lead; UCF’s ELI faculty and staff; my co-GTAs; my family and friends from the Philippines; and, of course, my loving husband who untiringly supported me during the entire program. To all of you, THANK YOU so much for believing in me!

Here’s a video of our Summer 2016 at UCF’s ELI courtesy of Ms. Rose Tran. Enjoy!


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A Fast and Furious Ride

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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It has been a couple of months since I posted my last blog. I must say, the months of May and June came fast and furious (a warning that came from my professor regarding what to expect – ouch!). Nonetheless, compared to my Fall and Spring terms, they were still less chaotic. In May I enrolled in my last two graduate courses: 1) Research, and 2) Independent Study on ESOL Grammar. Likewise, I received my two teaching assignments: 1) Listening 1, and 2) Grammar 2.

I finished my Research class in 6 weeks, which means I am now down to only one course. I am pretty satisfied with everything. I won’t say, the ride didn’t go without any hiccups – because it was full of surprises and twist and turns.  At times I felt like a pretzel! Every assignment I had to spend time reading the assigned chapters, analyzing research types, writing proposals, and, of course, preparing for exams. The only good thing this term is we were allowed to work in a group, and that helped a lot. With two other members helping in the tasks, we divided, conquered, and finished the course with an A. My other course, ESOL Grammar, is still on going. It has its own challenges, but, thankfully, I am currently teaching a grammar class, which helps me a lot in staying focused on my assignments.

Now that I am not so tied up with schoolwork, I decided to volunteer to help in our school Movie Club. Aha, isn’t that exciting?  Every Wednesday, Jen (my co-GTA) and I prepare drinks, popcorn and, of course, a movie for our students. We are very happy about the turnout of students who come to watch our movie. Our first week was a full house. I bribed encouraged my students to write a synopsis for extra credit. Those who came the first time and enjoyed it became our regulars. You would think that spending longer hours for the movie would make me feel tired, but for unknown reason, it does not. On the contrary, I feel energized. I totally agree with the saying, and I quote, “We find greatest joy, not in getting, but expressing what we are…The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.” (borrowed quote online).

My fast and furious ride is finally slowing down. I am just counting the days now. My graduation is coming very soon, and I can’t wait to cross the stage and receive what my husband refers to as my “shiny brand new degree.” It was a wild ride, but I’m glad that I’ve stayed on through the ups and downs.  I don’t know what my future holds, but I don’t worry. I know that God sent me here for a purpose, and that purpose will be revealed to me in His perfect time. Right now all I know is I am happy and content for whatever happens. I feel truly blessed for this wonderful journey.

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Hanging in there. This is where everything is going to happen – in four weeks…

“I believe any success in life is made by going into an area with a blind, furious optimism.” -Sylvester Stallone


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Happy Holidays!


It’s the time of the year when everyone is feeling happy and looking forward to another new year. I’m no exception to that, I’ll be the first one to admit it, but before I get ahead of myself, join me as I take a quick look back on what this year has meant to me. Here are some of the highlights of my 2015:

LFBG 365 Challenge: halfway short to make it to the finish line

When I started my 365 Looking, Feeling, Being Good Challenge early this year, my goal was to document my success every day. While in the beginning, I was very hopeful that I would succeed in my objective, of course, it didn’t materialize as I expected. As a matter of fact, it was more difficult than I thought. I blogged a few of my experiences here if you were following my stories, but I didn’t get very far. In fairness, however, I must give myself some credit – and a pat on the back- for keeping up with the challenge. Albeit, maybe just not keeping up with the documenting part of my adventures. I may not have “technically” finished it as stipulated in my own-created rules, but I could honestly say that I went that extra mile and beyond to surpass all the tasks and opportunities that came my way this year.

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Too Many Hellos and Goodbyes

Have you ever tried moving in two cities, miles and miles apart within a year? Well, don’t even think about it because it was a daunting, foreboding experience. After moving from St. Pete Beach to Celebration in August, we started packing again in October to move to another city, Orlando. I won’t call it bad planning, but let us just say it was just a perfect example of life’s unpredictability.

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When I was accepted in the GTA Program at UCF, I didn’t anticipate driving 100 miles back-and-forth from home to work.  To guarantee the experience will remain forever memorable, in addition to the long drive include the 5 budget-buster tolls that was part of the “sweet” commute (sarcasm). While at first I thought I could handle it, eventually it took a toll on me (no pun intended, well maybe). I felt that the long drive was cutting back on time that I should be studying and preparing for lesson plans. It surely was pretty exhausting that it almost drove me to the verge of giving up. The good thing is I have my husband, who always plays the leading role of my amazing saving grace. I knew from the moment I married him that he would love and care for me. But that conviction was just further substantiated when he, knowing my struggle, agreed with me without batting an eyelash to pack our belongings once again to look for a place near the university. We barely unpacked all our boxes from our move from St. Pete Beach and yet we started packing again. If that’s not love, I don’t know how to call it.

The search for a new home was not all smooth sailing. We spent a few days every week in a hotel to visit different properties in the area in between my classes. How we pulled it off successfully in a short period of time was truly a miracle. The house we found was more than what we expected. As a matter of fact, it was a dream come true. In our six years of marriage we always planned on living in a house instead of a condo, but it did not become a priority until this beautiful house presented itself, so now we are finally “home.”

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We made it!

Despite some challenges we had to vanquish this year, I must say 2015 has been a great year for us. This year I must say I was able to accomplish the first part of my journey of the American Dream, and I couldn’t be happier. Come and join me as I look back on my 6 year-accomplishments here in the US.


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September: Ten days after I arrived here in the US, we said our most-awaited I do’s. It didn’t take long and I got my US Resident card.


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February: I received my Driver Learner’s Permit and started learning how to drive. A couple of months later my husband bought me a car which I used for my actual driving test. My score from the test was far from perfect but thankfully I made it on my first attempt, no injuries or twisted metal.

April: I started my first job and have been a teacher since then.


March: After successfully passing the Florida Teacher Licensure Exam for TESOL K-12, I got the status of eligibility to teach K-12 from the Florida Department of Education. Likewise, after satisfying all requirements in education and training in Early Childhood Education, I also received in the same year my Staff and Lead Teacher VPK Credential from the Department of Children and Families.

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September: We flew to Manila to visit my family in the Philippines.


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May: We flew to Indiana to visit my husband’s family.

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August: We moved to St. Pete Beach to give our dream to live on the beach a chance.


January: I enrolled for my Graduate Program in TEFL.

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February: I became a US citizen

September: After completing the necessary Montessori education and training, I received my Montessori Assistant Teacher credential. For two and a half years I worked as a Montessori Assistant Teacher.


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July : We visited the three branches of the government in Washington DC. In the same year, I also received a personal letter from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

December: I exercised my rights to vote.


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May: I completed my Graduate Program in TEFL from the University of Central Florida.

June: I had my internship at St. Petersburg College, teaching English for Academic Purposes.

August: I got accepted in the MA Program TESOL at University of Central Florida. I was also admitted as a Graduate Assistant-IEP Instructor at English Language Institute, UCF.

In a nutshell, it looks like I’ve fully maximized the use of my brain the past few years. Thus, what I look forward to do next is the opportunity to enjoy myself. No more school after my graduation in summer. This time I want to do something that will feed both my heart and soul. The first in my list is to do a little bit of travelling next year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me luck. Happy New Year to all!


Haggardness in April

I am obviously in a rat race when it comes to keeping this blogsite updated. Although I’ve always included it in my to-do list, there’s always something that comes up bumping down in priority, deterring me from doing it so. Evidently, despite graduating from my program at the university in May, I am still wrestling with my checklist to squeeze my blog to the top.

Anyway, there is no other way to describe my April but downright toxic. It was the last month before my graduation, and the final requirement of the course was, of course, just demanding. My class was assigned to write a secondary research paper on a given topic which required us to go through different academic journals, reading, and analyzing contents. While I didn’t see this assignment as unsurmountable, what I found to be my biggest challenge was indeed the time constraint. By the time I arrived home from work at 5:30 p.m., not only was I physically drained, but I was also brain dead. These two factors were not a perfect combo especially when you were dealing with tons of pages, lots of details, and intimidating numbers.

How I survived the taxing process was something I gave full credit to God. It was tough, considering three of the seven theses I used as references were more than two hundred pages. The information overload was just overwhelming; no wonder there were times I could hear my body screaming enough! There were days I couldn’t help it but just give in to the loud admonition. My favorite escape was my quickie battle nap before going through the arduous work; this was mandatory each day. But often times due to limited time I would just pretend I did not hear my body saying I was tired. I shut up my brain for any disruptions out of fear of not making it on time. The whole month of April there was absolutely no weekend fun for me.

Discipline helped me to make it on the dot, albeit I looked like a sack of potatoes by the time I finished. I was so exhausted! I felt like I went from 0 to 60 in 1.5 seconds and when I finally found the brake pedal, I could not help but just parked my ride and got out. The weeks that followed I couldn’t even finish a 30 minute newscast on TV. The moment my back touched the couch or bed, I would crash out and travelled for hours to lalaland. I was so lazy, I was not moving.

A week after I submitted my paper, I received my grade. I got a few deductions from my score for not including figures in my report, but overall I passed the course with flying colors. Weeks after my graduation (and yes, after catching up with much needed sleep), my husband and I went to Sirata Resort to celebrate – at last!

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Simple dinner with hubby

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Scenic sandy beach outside the hotel

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Husband’s special graduation gift

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” –Mark Twain


Waiting Room

“Good things come to those who wait.”

I have been waiting for this moment. Thanks to Daily Post for this interesting topic. This title just hit the nail on the head. The quote definitely got my attention, enough for me to sit down and get my creative juices flowing. I have to admit, the past couple of months have been demanding. With my teaching job, graduate school, and wifely duties, it was like being pulled in all directions. But despite some challenges, I cannot complain: my life has always been an ah-mazing ride, no matter what.

I am in a holding pattern, in a waiting room, so to speak as far as my graduate school is concern. I am aware that I am almost near the finish line, and I keep telling myself it’s just two more semesters left. Yes, two more semesters! It may sound short but, the truth is, it means I still half of the year to keep my nose to the grindstone. I don’t consider the course per se as my biggest challenge; it is juggling the course in between other chores that makes it daunting. My nightmare is every time I need to beat a deadline and my brain doesn’t seem to cooperate. I call it brain dead, and I can understand why it happens at times: Imagine exhausting your gray matter from eight hours of work, and then going home to wrestle with a demanding research paper until wee hours. Oh, that’s tough! I know you have been there too. That was my experience last Summer term when I had to squeeze in reading voluminous passages every night mercilessly. It would have been easy if it was only reading. The real angst was also writing and submitting a paper in a short time. How I passed the course, I still have no idea.

In retrospect, however, I still consider myself very blessed. I am truly grateful for the many blessings that made me still here, and up in the running. While I can’t wait to get out of the “waiting room” to see what is in store for me after graduation, I know that it’s not yet the time: there’s more I need to learn during my stay in the waiting room. So, I will hang in here for a while and believe that “Good things (indeed) come to those who wait.”

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University of Central Florida (my launching pad)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


When Knocking Isn’t Enough: PUSH!

When things don’t go the way we think they should, most of the time we toy with the idea of  retreat. We forget that every goal comes with a price – and that price means overcoming the hurdle of disappointments. Each one of us has learned how true that is. We all have experienced at one time or another when our expectations were not met, and often led us to a gloomy place. That’s human! But, the good thing is, from our failures we are also compelled  to stand up from where we have fallen and charge onward to victory.

Life is about having BIG dreams, taking the risk to chase those dreams, and then seing them through to the end. While there’s always no guarantee that we can easily  get what we want,  we can always tell ourselves, “The door to opportunity – and success –  is always labeled ‘push‘.”

 “You must not for an instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.” – Daisaku Ikada

* Lesson learned after last week’s post : My husband  told me while I was writing my draft on “Hope” last weekend , “Don’t toot your horn until the tuba player arrives.” However, stubborn as I have always been, I answered, “Yes, but it’s not over until the voluptous woman sings. True enough, I tooted when I should have just muted.  Lesson learned, learning curve, now straight.


Sweet Dreams


 My husband was seriously engaged watching an old movie on TV recently when he suddenly started laughing. It turned out the outfit of characters in the film reminded him of his childhood dramatic play of “grown up.” I briefly glanced at the TV screen to get an idea of what he was talking about. As I watched, I saw a black and white movie from the 1960s, a period where wearing conservative clothes and hats were the norm. Women then were wearing long coats that were knee length, while men’s fashion imitated Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. My husband revealed that when he was still young he watched TV a lot, and copied what he saw from the actors. He recounted, he would usually play with his dad’s Fedora hats, business jackets and ties. He would carry his own brief case and pretend to be a Private Detective on the job. Little did he know that while he was playing investigator – wearing jacket with sleeves hanging out and tie reaching down his knees – his curious mom was closely watching him. One day while he was busy going around the house portraying his favorite role, his mom, who couldn’t help herself anymore, posed  the question: “what are you doing, son?”  Without batting an eye, our lead man answered with all earnestness, “Hold on, Ma. I have a big case – no time to talk.”

True enough, decades later my husband handled hundreds of different cases in his chosen profession. He was able to realize the character he played as a young boy, and became his dream unknowingly. Until the day he shared his story with me, who would have thought?

 I guess this is what they call subliminal affirmation. It is not what you dream or hope for, but rather what you believe you can be, for whatever the mind can perceive, the body can surely achieve.  I must admit, this incident mystified me. Believe it or not, it has been in my mind since my husband related to me his funny revelation. One thing is for sure, I did portray a mother role in my childhood dramatic play of “grown up”, but what other roles did I play? – I am still doing a mental inventory: tossing, turning, twisting, squeezing, and squashing my gray matter until a flash from the past will be revealed to me in detail.  I certainly need to recall them though, for it may be my BIG lead to a dream job that I have been trying to realize for myself. Hopefully, one that trips my trigger where work seems like play.

Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.~ James Allen Quotes from As a Man Thinketh

Success Redefined

I dedicate this blog in honor of  our  2nd wedding anniversary  

“There’s a cure for success-stress syndrome: Surrender!”

Reading Kristine Kathryn Rush’s* compelling theory about success made me ponder for a while.  I guess she was right in saying that success is more complicated than failure, for its meaning is quite subjective and very much dependent on who is giving the definition. While the dictionary usually associates success to social standing and wealth, often than not, it carries a more personal meaning that is deeper than we might imagine.

For instance, I know that I made my husband panic the other day when I told him that if I had my choice I would rather work part-time. Not that I am tired of working, but I feel that this arrangement would allow me to spend more of my energy playing my role as a homemaker:  taking care of the house leisurely and attending to my husband’s needs without being grumpy which is usually caused by stress.  I thought it would be a perfect role – at least for me. After all, since we married late I imagine this set-up would help us compensate for the lost time. However, as agreeable as my husband can be; he strongly felt that my wishful thinking could be a waste of my education, personal self-fulfillment, and perhaps would be interpreted by some as being slovenly and idle.

 I cannot blame my husband for his view. I know that I literally bribed myself to finish writing my thesis paper for my Master’s Degree; rewarding myself with a trip abroad once that last paper was done. It was a no joke proposition! Not only was the research process tedious; but my reward to myself of travel also drained my bank account to the max.  But who cares?  Receiving the well-coveted title was like walking on the moon. Nothing can beat that overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. To me, it’s a  BIG time success!

 But here’s the thing. People change over time, and so as their outlook and definitions of things. I look back on my prior career in the Indonesian Embassy, and after being surrounded for 15 years by powerful men and women while I was serving in the diplomatic mission, I can honestly say that my education has served enough a noble purpose for at least one lifetime.

 If you’re wondering if I have always thought this way? The answer is no. As a matter of fact, on the contrary, in 2006 I was enticed by my ambition to expand and advance my career opportunities. At that point I never thought of wanting to work part-time, or placed my education on the back burner. When I found myself being offered a teaching job by a charter school in Nevada, I started dreaming about the American dream. I put all my energy and resources on the table just to secure a US working visa legally, and combined them with prayers.  Every night I would religiously pass the church before going home; I would kneel down on my knees and with all earnestness begged God to give me a visa. However, despite my persistence, my prayers didn’t seem to strike a chord. Heaven remained still; there was not even a sign: no thunder, no lightning, and – yes, NO Visa came.

 But it may be true that it is when we are broken to pieces and torn apart that God takes us into His loving arms and makes us whole again. It was in the midst of my debilitating pain and disappointments that God orchestrated His great plan for me. Without a working visa consuming my mind’s attention, I was able to turn my focus to my God’s greatest gift – the man, I did not know, He was preparing for me.  All the time I was healing my broken heart, it was my long time American friend who was consoling me.  From friendship, our relationship evolved to love, and it did not take long for us to pick up God’s message. We got engaged after months of seriously dating and a year later, instead of receiving just a working visa, I was granted a wonderful husband and a Green cardNow everything makes sense. The jumbled puzzle pieces have all been put to places, and now I understand why I have to go through a failure. God’s love is magnificent. Sometimes He allows us to go through some setbacks so we can let go of our “cheap” desires and receive more of His great blessings.

 Looking back, I realized that success happens when we step in faith and align our plan with His. As the bible says, “commit thy ways unto the Lord: trust also on Him. And He shall bring it to pass.”  Psalm 37:5. 

 * Kristine Kathryn Rush, Success,






I remember watching the Figure Skating Competition of the Vancouver Olympics last year.  The performances were truly breathtaking; they just blew me away. I could not believe that at very young age, many of our  athletes have already accomplished so much. I saw figure skater Mirai Nagasu of United States bled her nose after a stunning performance. She was just amazing with all her glides, flip jumps, and toe loops. It was almost like seeing her fly.

While I was all glued on our TV screen watching Mirai in the ice rinks, I wondered how many times have I also glided and flip jumped in my life. In my two years stay here in the US, I know that I also have experienced going through a bumpy road to get where I want to be professionally. My nose has been in books endlessly, so to speak:  taking courses after courses; sitting for exams after exams; and submitting applications after applications. It was a long process. However, with faith and strong determination, I was able to make it. Early this year, I received my eligibility to teach ESOL K-12 from Florida Department of Education after successfully passing its Teachers Certification Exam in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages). Likewise, just recently I received my Voluntary PreKinder teaching credential after completing my Early Childhood Development courses at the St. Petersburg College.

True, the experience may be less deadly considering that I didn’t have to literally throw myself on the air and land my feet on the ground unscathed, but I thought it was all the same gliding, flip jumping – and yes, nose bleeding, the way I was called for to do so.

I am sure for the athletes, the awards and honor truly mean a lot. But to me, who didn’t risk the same kind of life threatening danger, just to reach the finish line, knowing I do and give my best, is indeed more than enough.

I believe I can fly! My Tip:

Receiving a degree or license from the Philippines or any other country does not automatically mean that it has the same equivalency to its counterpart in the new country you are residing. It helps to have your credentials evaluated by a reputable organization, such as World Educators Services (WES).