A Blessed 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The year started with a warm welcome with my family and Rob. A great assurance to have my loved ones together!

When I look back at the passing year, I could not help but be filled with gratitude. I would not say that it didn’t go by without some hurdles to leap over, but that my blessings outnumbered my challenges.

My first big blessing was my citizenship in March this year. After nearly 5 years, I can officially call Canada my home. Yey to more countries to visit anytime without the hassle of getting a VISA! And of course, since I will always have my heart for my birth home - Philippines, I also took an oath again to qualify for dual citizenship. Smart move eh! 😊

As for my summer escapade, I had the privilege to visit and taste the bests of Spain and Portugal with my dear friend, Carrie. We went to Barcelona and got to appreciate the masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi. Madrid’s sights, sounds and tastes were definitely few of the highlights of the trips. I cannot forget the tapas and the Flamenco experiences. I also had the chance to meet my cousin, Manuel there for the first time! I am glad we both share the same interest for travelling. Further South is another beauty that surprised us – Seville! It is a small town full of exquisite architectural designs in all of their infrastructures. Man, no wonder Game of Thrones had their scenes taken there. The place was amazing!

Portugal, on the other hand, presented us with a different charm of its own. Lisbon is a town that takes pride of its history and architecture. We also marvelled at the sceneries at Nazare, Obidos and Our Lady of Fatima Sanctuary. And our last leg of the trip was at the home of best Portuguese tarts, Porto. My best memory was that one breathtaking sunset by the Duo river.

I realized that unlike all the past years where I travelled a lot, this was my only big travel this year but it was all worth it. I have only been able to afford eating tofu since then. LOL.

Then I also got my drivers licence in September which makes me the first in my family to drive! Woohoo!

It was a tough year for me at work when I got sick. But then the last quarter of the year ushered me to new opportunities. After a decade of working for the company that brought me to Singapore and Canada, I had discerned that it was finally time to take on a new journey with another firm. This also meant for me to move to a new city – Montreal. The decision didn’t come overnight. Funny that amongst my big moves from Philippines to Singapore and Singapore to Canada, this move from Toronto to Montreal was the hardest. LOL. Oh well, I still continue to discern for what God has in store for me in the bilingual city.

2019 was also a milestone for me and Rob too as we celebrated our first year together! Wooot! It was a year of constant and intentional efforts of choosing and committing to love each other. We can say our love has blossomed like the sunflowers. 😊

Moreover, along with blessings came few realizations this year as well:

   > Look after yourself. Work is just an aspect of your life and not your life. Do not work yourself to death. (I should tell myself this 1,000 times!)

  >You can never say you love enough. Everyday presents us with a chance to expand our capacity to love. Love all you can!

   >Take your time. Slow down if you must. You run your own race in your unique path. Never compare your pace or progression with others. Every hurdle leaped over is a milestone, celebrate it.

  >There is something extraordinary in making a difference in others. The fulfillment derived as a by-product is rather lingering and deeper. It fills you to the brim.

    >You can only control so much in how life unfolds. In as much as you try all you can to orchestrate things to happen your way, there are certain aspects that need waiting for time to take its course.

And as I close the page 365 of my journal this year, I thank God for all the trials that kept me resilient and blessings that made me grateful.  Thankful too for the love of my family and loved ones around. Thank you 2019 for everything!

With prayers, I look forward to a grace-filled 2020!

Here is my 2019 in review:

A Ride through Life

Thursday, September 12, 2019

One of the perks of coming home late from work is my special privilege to meet people from all walks of life with interesting journey. (Trust me, I am really trying hard to get a positive spin of things here. 🙂)
Hailed a taxi tonight and heard an uplifting story of resiliency amidst suffering. I asked the man how long had he waited on the line. He said 2 hours and he was fine with it. He could be anywhere but just like everyone else there, he took the chance. He got nothing to complain about at this point in his life. 'Wow. Ok.' Intrigued by his answer, I commended him for his positive spirit. Turns out he is suffering from a carcinoid cancer that has spread to his liver. He had already undergone surgery and is supposed to be on full rest for recovery but he opted to still make a living amidst his condition. I felt sorry for him. He told me he didnt want to mention about it at first because he does not like people to pity him and that a lot of other people he met suffered worse than him and need the empathy more.
He went further that he was never more grateful in his life before. When he first got the news of his diagnosis he was in denial and dismissed all the doctor's recommendations. Sooner someone from the medical team reached out to him asking if he could meet her or if he prefers for her to go visit him at his residence. He looked at me and said "I am the one supposedly needing help and dying, she is the one begging for me to come visit the hospital. They treated me like their brother here. I am never the same person since I got my cancer. Everyday, I wake up thanking God." The man was teary eyed, I could tell he was holding his tears from the sound of his voice. And mind you he was very much driving carefully at this time with 2 hands on the steering wheel. A very uncoventional venue for an intense conversation, eh! "A lady I met at the hospital only doing her regular check up was later told she only had 3 months to live. She died during my 4 months of treatment at the hospital. I also met a man whose son died, wife got blind and he himself was diagnosed with cancer. All these happening in 1 week!" Then he looked at me to question, "Can you honestly tell me, when was the last time you woke up and thank God for your health?" That caught me speechless. I felt like it was God poking me to check if I had anything to complain with my life now after hearing the man's journey. LOL. 🤦‍♀️Just 15 mins before that ride, I was already starting to feel like I was getting sick of life. O.K. Message received, Lord. 😁 What an uplifting and inspiring encounter it was! God bless you, Samuel and all those resilient souls out there! Respect. Never give up! Keep going! Aja! #whattrulymattersinlife #LiveFully #BeGrateful

Fifty Shades of Yummy: Taco Tuesday Everyday

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Due to the nudge of my boyfriend, I am going to try something new in here... :) He knows and kinda accepted that I love food next to him. :D 

What a more perfect way to bring light to my day than indulging my cravings after watching our favorite bloggers seemingly enjoy every food they eat! They all looked so good that we ended up getting them too. LOL.

First item on our minds, TACOS! But of course, we both speak Spanish and why not?! 

We actually just went right on google to search for the highest rated taco place in Mississauga..  And voila! We found ourselves walking up to a little Mexican resto called "El Mariachi Tacos and Churros". The festive look inside depicted the well celebrated holiday in Mexico, Dia De Los Muertos. 

A lady host greeted us warmly when we came in. The server was very accommodating and even affirmed our great choices from the menu. 

And because he knew how much I love corn, he took the liberty to have it served first. Mmmm....  Sweet, cheesy, creamy, buttery, zesty.. oh so corny... Lol. The taste of cilantro and a bit of chilly powder added flavor to it. But I think that the corn has been pre-cooked and just reheated. Still, I'd give it 3 spoons out of 5!

Next up are our most awaited Taco babies. 

He ordered the Carne Asada which came with light corn tortilla that complemented the strong texture of the beef. Though I felt there was something lacking in the seasoning of the meat. I found no distinct flavor in it. Just your typical beef tacos. 

But.... wait... My order was way better! Hmph! In front of me was this colorful enticing plate, with the regular hot and the green sauces (salsa verde) which made the whole taco experience more delightful! I love how the crispy breading of the fish welcomed my palette before I enjoyed the soft meat inside it. It had a good proportion of veggies to the fish. And the tortillas were just light and easy to eat too. It was flavorful!

Oh, I was just so happy with my choice! Wasn't it obvious? :D

We spent around $38 for the 2 orders of Tacos with 3 tortillas each plus the corn. It was worth-it for the price! Our overall Tacos experience in this place was superb. They had great customer service too! We now therefore adhere to their motto: 

Segway: After filling our happy tummies with Tacos, we also enjoyed a quick walk around the beautiful Streetsville where we were greeted with colorful flowers. Indeed, a very relaxing sight!

He had to kneel to take this angle. Good job boyfriend! Peace!

My face when he doesn't take good shots. Lol.

Trivia: The world’s most expensive taco cost a whopping $25,000. This super-duper deluxe taco made with Kobe beef, beluga caviar and served on a gold flaked taco. (Sourced)

That's all for now. Till our next food adventure! :D

Happy Mind, Happy Life!

Monday, March 4, 2019

I remember coming home exhausted from long hours at work 3 weeks ago. It was 1 am and heavily snowing then. "Long night?" The cab driver asked. I took a heavy sigh and replied, "Yes. And it has been like this for 5 straight weeks. I feel so dead tired already." He looked at me through his front mirror and with sincerity, he said, "I am sorry to hear that Miss. But you know what, everyday we should be thankful we still have a job. Just remember, somewhere around the world, a young lady like you is battling for her life from a terminal illness right now."

'Wow!' That really struck me. This man was sent from Heaven that very moment to awaken my tired spirit.

If only I could always have that positivity and relentless spirit after constant long hours of stress and anxiety.

While I know I should keep a positive spin on things, I also have to learn when my body starts giving the negative responses to prolonged stress. You see, I have always pushed myself hard to deliver, giving my 101% in all I do. That is just my character. Sadly even at the cost of my health.

I may have pushed myself too hard and I had reached my limit that it was almost a point of no return for me. I was suffering from severe anxiety attack. At one point, I could not even sleep for 1 whole day. Yes! I was awake for almost 24 hours! It was really that bad. The sleepless nights continued for weeks. I even started suffering from intermittent migraine which I have never even experienced before. And ultimately, I started losing appetite while at stress. All these almost had me to a point of total breakdown.

So for the last 2 weeks, I took conscious efforts to rest my mind and body. Sleep and sleep. Yes, i will be sleeping after this :). Do the things I missed doing for the last 6 weeks.  Get caught up with my life. Discover new things like baking. Cook more keto dishes. The kitchen has become a therapeutic place for me, thank God! And thanks to the support of my family, boyfriend, friends and colleagues, I hope I am on my way to full recovery.

I didn't really realize the impact of stress and anxiety on me until recently. I got reminded that my mind and body can only do so much. Constant exposure to stress deteriorated my resiliency over time and thus my threshold reduced. Lesson learned: health and well-being should come first. Health is wealth. Work to have a balance of things in your life. Strive to achieve a healthy state of mind. Happy mind, happy life, indeed! At the end of the day, my well-being matters more than anything else.

Take care everyone!