The year that was

2016 was probably the most gratifying year I’ve ever experienced due to the main fact that my patience reaped a big reward : finally realizing a childhood dream of coming home to a complete family. It wasn’t an easy journey but as cliché as it may sounds, the long road was worth it. My 2016 was equally spent in half : the first half in the Philippines and the rest in Hamburg. I’m glad I pushed myself in the very beginning to document each moment, random and big, that’s why I was able to come up with this year-end video I’m about to introduce.

My goal was to create something similar to those videos I see online, in the hopes of achieving a kick-ass, share-worthy video. With this goal in mind, I planned to show only the good stuff—travel videos, food, artistic shots, and all those beautiful aesthetics. It was very shallow, also impossible because first, I didn’t even plan on travelling and most importantly : it just wasn’t me. So I just stuck to what I do best : just showing who I really am. Unfiltered, random, happy, natural, lazy, bare.

Taking videos everyday was harder than I expected especially during the busy occasions of my year. It went from one-seconders a day to a few videos a week and then the big moments of the month. The editing was even harder since some of my videos weren’t properly shot and most of them were corrupted. But so as they say, the finished product makes every struggle useless and invisible. I’m glad I pushed myself to take as many videos as I could ’cause now, I have the great opportunity to look back and cherish every single moment as much as I want to. Now, I will always have a proof of those short moments in time that passed me by; even some that I insensitively forgot to cherish. I never knew a simple year-end video would bring a huge impact as I welcome a new year. This is a perfect reminder to appreciate every single thing in the present— the good, the bad, the normal, the nonsense.

To cut the long introduction, here’s my own reflection in video format.



Be still my heart

The best and most-fitting word I can use to sum up my 2015 would be this golden, four-letter verb : WAIT.  My patience has been tested for the past couple of years (I should have really gotten used to it by now) but 2015 was hands down, the hardest.

I had a clear plan of what my 2015 was going to look like. I already visualized it and hoped it would come to fruition but unfortunately, it didn’t materialize. The changes threw me off and redirected me to a harder, longer route. Basically, it’s like this :

Honestly, I am already aware that this is how often God works but it’s totally different when you are IN the situation.

The stress of fixing my papers, submitting my application, the interviews, my classes, and the phone calls surprisingly didn’t get to me; I was motivated to get everything done. What set me off was when the only option I have, the only roadblock that separates me from my family was to wait. It will be easier if I am given a specific waiting period but in my case, I am left with nothing. I really couldn’t do anything but to be still.

The circumstances weren’t favorable, too. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, visas on temporary hold, etc.  I tried my luck on temporary work but the most convenient I could find still gave me no motion. All opportunities pointed to one place : HERE. It’s as if I am told to stay in a corner and wait for my name to be called until God knows when.

Even though a chunk of my year was spent on waiting, there were exciting highlights too. I went to Prague, watched BSB live, became an English teacher, and found a new home church! Not to mention the character-building experiences God brought my way. My dependence on Jesus grew, my trust fortified, my generosity renewed, and my acts of service developed. My family also became more open to Jesus and I get to witness transformation–I would have missed out on this if my plans prevailed. It also opened doors of opportunities for me to share the gospel. See, I may have been told to be still but it doesn’t mean I have to be passive.

I do not know where I’m headed this 2016 but I’m certain God will be there and His promises will be fulfilled—I can feel it. I look forward to finishing this race I started this 2015 and I know, all the waiting will be worth it.

Happy New Year! Frohes Neues Jahr! ❤