Being Involved in a Car Accident, Building a Montessori, Getting Proposed to, and Other Year-End Highlights

Looking after Laces and Tiaras proved to be challenging when we got into a car accident at the beginning of 2016. We were on our way home when a speeding bus hit us. Things could have been much worse but I was only left with bruises and fractures that required me to rest for a month. We may be called home anytime but I’m grateful that I was given more time for things I ought to try. 

With the help of my parents, we managed to put up a new Montessori. Mama established one in 1984 but it was her passion project with her siblings. This time, we had no one to rely on but ourselves. I came from a different field but I had to learn things while healing from my injuries. Running a school, liaising with people in the field, and dealing with parents sometimes take their toll on me, but what keeps me going is seeing the cheery smiles of our kids.

While on “bedcation,”  the election-related mudslinging and demolition jobs towards politicians that I see on my social media feed everyday prompted me to finish a paper. I nearly lost my drive to complete the paper but He spoke to me through Isaiah 26:3. I sent the paper to an international panel and a month later, I was informed that it was accepted to a Journalism and Mass Communications conference.

In October, I went to Singapore to present the paper. I was the only one from my country, the only one who had no “Dr.” in her name, and the only one armed with a champagne pink business card (remember a scene from Legally Blonde?). I was intimidated at first but it was great to come home with insights from brilliant people.

I gathered the courage as well to try Halloween Horror Nights. I’ve been visiting Singapore every year since 2014 for vacation but that night, I tried HHN and completed 4/5 scare zones.  For those who will visit next year, remember that the key is to pretend you’re not terrified and to compliment the performers for them to not prey on you. “You have beautiful skin,” I told this White Lady and she left me. It worked!

Many from my generation grew up loving J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe. Regardless of how old you are, the magic never really goes away for Potterheads. Thirteen years after I first came across the novels, I finally got to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We spent a total of 10 days in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo. Japan's charm made the weeks spent planning for that trip worthwhile.

As a way to thank Him for his goodness and protection, I celebrated my birthday in Mindoro. While my previous thanksgiving affairs were bigger, this celebration left the deepest mark on me. It was simple yet the Mangyans' shy smiles emanated sincerity and appreciation. That day wouldn't be possible without the help of my thoughtful friends. My former colleagues shared bath soaps while three great people traveled with me to Mindoro and pulled an all-nighter to prepare food and pack gifts. 

After sharing photos of their humble community, I have received messages from people wanting to extend help. We’re planning to come back this summer to give something that lasts. A library perhaps? 

We spent the last few days of December in Seoul where I got proposed to.

I felt guilty that I would go to Seoul and miss Aujen’s birthday. I then asked a friend to bake a cake for him which I intend to deliver to his friend who would surprise him. On the day of my flight, I pursued my plan, but it rained. I left Cavite early but the rain left my calculations futile. I managed to deliver the cake but there was no way I would make it on time for my flight.

I was on the verge of crying inside the cab because all the bookings were under my name (there were 8 of us) and I was the only one who knew the itinerary by heart. I thought of my Mama who was so excited to spend winter in Seoul only for me to ruin the plan.

With 20 minutes left before the check-in counter’s closing, I decided to go down the cab and ask help from motorcycle drivers. A girl in the middle of a flyover surrounded with vehicles contending with traffic gridlock helplessly flailing her arms above her head – yes, that was me.

I was downright rejected by the first two drivers for their lack of spare helmets. The third guy was luckily on his way to the airport for work although his duty wouldn’t start in two hours. The counter would close at 2:15 p.m. but because of that Kuya who showed compassion, I arrived at 2:02 p.m.

Unbeknownst to me, Aujen and his mother would fly to Seoul a day after our flight. Kung alam ko lang, sana dinala ko na lang yung cake sa Seoul! Haha. He followed us to Nami Island where he got down on his knee. In my disbelief, I ran away and slipped on the snow-covered pavement. Nonetheless, it was the perfect way to end our winter sojourn. He could have given me a ring made of twine but he still would have gotten the same answer from me. 

Other highlights include delivering a talk about “Cultivating Poise in the Workplace” to the employees of Office Warehouse (I still think I am not fit for that talk because I rarely last a day without tripping or dropping things) and being interviewed by a talented group of Journalism students from De La Salle University for their campus magazine.

Seeing my life flash before my eyes taught me a lot about redefining my purpose. The battles that we still have to fight might leave us feeling hopeless at times, but when this happens, think of the magnitude of blessings that awaits you.