As a certified Single Gal in the Big City, here are proven ways to keep your life happy and joyous as you journey through life being the wonderful single human you could ever be:… More
As the leaves fall and Autumn bids goodbye while Winter slowly introduces itself again, I am reminded of the excitement I had when I was told I would finally go to Canada and be reunited with my family in 2012. You see, that time, it was October and it was getting colder in Iloilo because the months were approaching December. I had the ‘go signal’ from my parents, my PR card and ticket were ready, I was ready to go, but my flight isn’t until December. Much like now, cold as it is, there was a feeling of excitement as the holidays come in but there was also a feeling of anxiety since it will be for sure one heck of a winter, and that means uncertainty, dark days and storms.
When I stepped into the land of Canada on December 8, 2012. I was a lost 19 year old college dropout from a prestigious university in our city. I was so frustrated with myself since I was always an overachiever ever since in high school. You would see me in extracurricular activities and as well as excel in the academics too. But all that changed in nursing college, where I, for the first time in my life was introduced to uncertainty and stress. My family moved to Canada first and I was left to finish my nursing course in hopes of having a successful career as a nurse abroad. But the Lord had different plans.
I was a naive little social butterfly when I was younger. I would be in parties, groups, barkadas and all that jazz you name it. When I came here, I was no one, so I got depressed. I would find things to do and so-called “friends” (who became lessons learned) that would compensate my life back in Iloilo. I won’t lie, I did wrong things just so I could please others and so that I could retain my status as this “popular girl” back in university. It broke me. So I got depressed. Long story short, I developed anxiety which had me confined in a hospital during one of my very first anxiety attacks in 2015.
Needless to say, my years here in this once was foreign to me country were like a roller coaster ride that I don’t dread it because all of the experience were worth it. Some people would ask me sometimes about my life here. And if I could leave you guys advice on how to live life to the fullest here in Canada, it would be these three:
- Embrace change
Coming from a city where everybody knew each other, this was a struggle for me. People in my area knew who I was because growing up, my grandmother was the principal of the elementary school in a well-known university in our province and she is active in our church. So naturally when I was growing up, not to be proud, but I was a bit spoon-fed all my life since people would do things for me since I was “the granddaughter of Mrs. Padernilla.” Also, my family weren’t that wealthy but my dad had a high paying job and we were provided with our needs and our wants, which made me a bit sheltered as a child. I had no experience whatsoever on how to “diskarte” in life because everything was laid out to me. When I came here, I had to learn – how to do everything because we started from scratch. How to cook, clean, ride the bus, be independent and most times, be alone. I learned how to embrace change when the going got tough. Which I guess was a long time, but it’s okay. As long as you are willing to embrace change, you’ll be okay.
- Church got your back
Remember when I mentioned that I was looking for so-called “friends” to help me move on my previous life in Iloilo? Well, I never realized those true friends who got your back were in my church until 6 years after. I sometimes wish I could have taken seriously being active in church when I first came here, that way I would have evaded some unruly experiences that up to now still haunt me. I was a lost sheep back then, it’s because of my lifestyle in Iloilo where I was happy-go-lucky. When I came here I was yearning for something similar to my lifestyle there – parties, drinking and having a close circle of friends. I didn’t realize that this life was not about me at all, it’s all about God. Last year, in 2018, I was able to renew my love for Christ when I joined life group in our church again. I attended conferences, became a bit more active in ministry and eventually now, I am active in church! Hallelujah! My life turned around as I was going back to the Lord. Blessings after blessings manifested and I can’t thank God enough for these. The church really is something you should consider being a part of when you are starting in a new place to live. Community is important because of, not only a sense of belonging, but when you are with the family of God, everything just seems to be better. It’s proven and tested.
- Learning to be alone, doesn’t mean you’re lonely
Back at home, I would always be surrounded by friends. If not friends, then family. Everybody in that small city almost already know each other so it’s easy to make friends because of connections. Here, you learn to be alone.
But that doesn’t have to be a problem. I learned the art of being alone when I came here. I would always be going to restaurants, events or even sight-see with just me, myself and I. And it’s perfectly okay. Being alone lets you get in tune with yourself, especially when you joyride the bus and listen to a music or podcast. You get to be a tourist in your own city when you explore what your city has to offer, in my case, Toronto has a lot of things to do so I would always never run out of activities. They say it’s pretty boring when you’re alone. I say, it’s fine because some days you are with others and some days it’s just you. Not all the time people will be there for you because they are also living their lives. We just have to accept it. One thing I love about being alone sometimes is that I can be in tune with God without the noise of the world. I can go wander around the city reading a book or listen to a podcast and internalize The Word. It’s a wonderful thing, being alone sometimes. It’s actually liberating because you’re learning how to be independent. And it’s not lonely as you think it is.
There you go, three things I would advice when living here in Canada, especially in Toronto. I hope you guys have gotten something out from my write up. Feel free to comment or message me if you have any questions at all.
Thank you and catch you on the flipside!
Yesterday was a Sunday that was one for the books. Aside from an incident that had happened to me, seeing a friend whom I had bad experiences with in the past and was able to forgive them with my heart, God was able to answer questions that have been lingering in my mind for quite some time now. To be honest, I have been restless for weeks, nay, months because of these questions and thoughts, and this Sunday, on God’s day, one by one God had answered my questions.
Here are the questions I’ve been ruminating and the internalizations I have realized:
1. Why am I still single after all these years?
There are some who knows the back story of my love life. I would give you, my readers the whole story, but it’s just too time consuming to read for this post, so I’ll save it for another time. Basically, the gist of it is this: I still had feelings for my ex (which was my first boyfriend/ puppy love in high school) and it’s been 11 years since when we broke up and I had trouble moving on. Mostly because he was my ideal guy and in comparison with the guys I met after, I realized he was the only guy who set my standards way too high. Which I thought was the reason I have been single for this long after our relationship. I won’t lie, I’ve dated a bunch of guys after him but it never did flourish into a relationship because some of them weren’t really boyfriend material, and I was in a broken place back then so I did things that were wrong, which hurt me as well.
However, one thing remained after all those bad experiences, was my faith. I would be reminded of Jeremiah 29:11, that God gives me a hope and a bright future and that His plans are not to harm me but make me prosper. Some people would say it’s a verse for careers, but it can also be true for singleness. And yesterday I was reminded of that after I attended an engagement celebration of a beautiful couple, and I was blessed by their love story. “There is a reward in waiting.” the groom-to-be said, and not only did he meant to say it for the couples, but for the singles in the room too. With that, I am holding on to that promise of God to me. And I am excited to see what He has in store for me as I await on His best.
2. Was I really in love with my ex?
This question popped in my head friday last week when I went out with my good friend and we celebrated her birthday. We went out for dinner and had a heart to heart conversation. I didn’t expect to actually pour out my heart and come clean with what I have been struggling for sometime now – and that is having a peaceful mind. I have been restless ever since I believed I’ve had closure for the feelings that I had with my past love. I actually sent a long message of closure after all these years and I don’t even think it mattered to him but it absolutely mattered to me so I sent it him anyway, even though we completely broke up in 2008. And yes, that was in high school 11 years ago. You would think that people could move on, some people do, but not me. However I did eventually. But what got me thinking, and it was a topic of our conversation during dinner, was if I really fell in love with him? And was it love that got me lingering after all these years? After careful thought, and I won’t go into details because some of them are pretty personal. I don’t think I loved him as a person, but I loved the idea of him.
I loved the idea of having your crush to actually be your boyfriend in high school. The idea of the romantic dates of innocent and puppy love, whether he taught me guitar in the hallway or that we danced in an empty auditorium with heaphones in our ear listening to High school musical love songs. The idea that he actually rode a bike from his house to the airport before sending me away to Canada. It’s all grand gestures, but was it really love? And I realized, no. The idea of love, yes. But then reality sinks in and you get the bigger picture. Which is we were two old loves, who grew up learning to love different things. Time as well wasn’t on our side. And I finally moved on, maybe.
Which brings me to my next questions.
3. I like this guy, but is it going somewhere? And if it does, am I ready for it?
I just want to say first and foremost, God really does answer prayers. I remember a year ago, I was crying in my room studying for a test, I was about to graduate college that time, I was weeping and praying to God, “Lord, when will this longing end? When will you let me move on?” Some people think moving on can be easy if you just meet someone and date them and you’ll be fine. But to me that’s not the case. It takes a while for me to get attached with someone who has a huge impact in my life. And so naturally, it takes time to break free from them as well. Though I am learning now to be strong, the old me was otherwise. And friends, after that message to my ex of closure. Let me tell you, someone came in the picture and I am able to hope again. Hope in a sense of, not necessarily having a relationship with this guy, but how God works in my life which make me believe that He really hears me. He just answers in His time and His plan and His way. Yes, I like a guy now, but I realized after attending church yesterday, these questions were answered. I’m not sure where this experience will lead me, but I know for sure, that God wants me to think of good thoughts, and guard my heart and mind, so that I may glorify Him. So in terms of readiness, I will know if I am ready when God allows it. And for now, I will pursue God because He pursues me recklessly and endlessly.
That Sunday, wow, was really a blessing. And I hope, my readers, that you will be blessed by my realizations as well.
‘Til the next time.
Note: This blog post was written on April 26, 2018 right after my last week in college.
Wow. 4 years in college. Doesn’t it sound intimidating? To me, 4 years ago, it wasn’t that much of a big deal because I really needed to graduate and get that diploma. But halfway through it, it became scary. I mean, I’m halfway through but why does it seem so overwhelming now? I was ready to drop out (again) because of circumstances but thankfully I didn’t do it. And here I am, I just finished taking my graduation photo and #gradwaiting. I mean, my grades aren’t up until next week, hopefully I pass all my subjects, but I am awaiting for the convocation eventually. So, how did I do it? How, as a new immigrant in Canada, did I finish 4 years of college here? It wasn’t all ups, there were a lot of downs as well but one thing is for sure… God is with me. Along with that are some of my tactics on how I survived college:
1. Be friendly towards your classmates
Canadians are naturally friendly. So naturally you are expected to be friendly as well. Where I came from niceness sometimes can lead to the wrong idea, it’s either you are called “plastik”, a fake person, or you’re naïve. But here, it’s the norm and one of the reasons why I like being in Canada because they are genuinely nice. You will survive college if you’re not a rude person because if you’re friends with your classmates, they can update you if you are absent in class regarding the lesson that was discussed and groupworks won’t be hard for you.
2. Be open minded
Don’t be small minded or thinking just inside a bubble. Think outside the box and use your imagination. Also, use Google for almost everything you think of. Accept love and don’t tolerate hate. Accept and understand different religions because Canada is a diverse country with different nationalities living here. Never get pride get away with your emotions or think you are better than anyone or else you won’t get any friends in college.
3. Check your school email regularly
The school email is like, the Daily News, per se. It’s where the teacher communicates with the students, not only the teacher but the Dean, Course Coordinator, Advisor and the head of the school communicate with the student. It’s where you’ll know what will happen to class, what you can ask the teacher what happened to class if your absent or any information you need to know you can email directly the teacher. I mean, you can call them, but mind you, they prefer email because they can reply faster there.
4. Use the tutoring services/ career services
When I first started going to college, I was advised by my mentor (from the SMILE program) to use the tutoring services for almost everything that you could think of if they can help. I asked them for tips in essay writing for my english courses, I had a weekly tutor for math and accounting subjects and even general education courses they can help as well. As for career services, I attended workshops on how to build resume, cover letter, what are my career goals and steps, etc. They can help you succeed, and indeed they helped me succeed in college.
5. Your school website is your best friend
The school website has everything. It has your class notes, your grades, references, resources, MLA Citation tips, many to mention. You need to know it by heart if you want to survive college. Usually the username and password gets changed every now and then for security. If you have a Laptop, Tablet and a Phone (who doesn’t by the way), download the app for the website so you can access it anywhere. They have computers at school as well so you can log in anytime at school if you need to print a document or make a last minute presentation.
6. Get a part time job or volunteer
You don’t have to use your brain all the time in going to college. Use your body as well so it’ll balance out. Get a part time job so you can have money and explore the city so you can unwind. If you think getting a job is too much stress on top of school, you can volunteer so it can be at your own time. OSAP isn’t enough to sustain you though, I’ll tell you that, that’s why I prefer you to get a job at least in the first half of college life and in the remaining half you can now concentrate on graduating.
7. Have fun sometimes but not all the time
All work and no play makes James a dull boy. I think that’s the phrase. Anyway, it’s true, if you can’t learn to unwind once in a while, you might become nuts! And mind you, you don’t want to experience that (Been there). You can hang out with your friends, or family, and go out and eat once in a while. Go bowling. Check out the scenery in Toronto. Go snowboarding when it’s winter or ice skating. Whatever. Just don’t forget that assignment that you’ve been putting off because the deadline will surely come. Do your best to live life but don’t forget your priorities as well.
8. Surround yourself with people who believe in you
This is significant. For me, I surrounded myself with people who are go getters only, not toxic people because if they fall, you will fall as well. Gratefully, I have a family who believes in me even though I was at my lowest point that I didn’t think I would finish college anymore. Thankfully God is with my family, they helped me get back up on my feet and run the race once more. When you surround yourself with people who believe in you, you rise up and in the end hit that goal that you’ve been wanting to reach.
9. Friends are important in your journey
Friends are friends even if it’s a small circle. I had a small group of friends back home in the Philippines but here I only have 3 friends, nevertheless I thank them for being understanding of what I went through and for being a beacon of light to my darkest days. I’ve met many acquaintances whom I thought were friends in the end they just let me down. You really have to choose your friends in college because it can make or break you.
10. Understand that everyone has different time zones
I was supposed to finish college in 3 years. But because life has its many surprises and mysterious ways, I ended up finishing college another year due to (again) circumstances. But nonetheless, the Lord is still good. You have to understand that college isn’t a race or a sprint, it’s a marathon. Even though you may not finish in time that your peers, it’s okay, as long as you can get there and get that diploma. It took me 7 years in total, shifting from nursing school in the Philippines to business school here in Canada. But in the end, it’s the same. You will still get that diploma no matter how long it takes.
And there you have it, my tips on how to survive college here in Canada. I hope you got something out of the things I have said. By the way, feel free to comment below your thoughts on my write up.
‘Til next time,
It’s been a long time coming, and finally that state of happiness arrived in my life. Before, I used to think that if only I have a relationship with a guy, I will become happy. Now, I realized that even if I was in a relationship, I will never be happy if I am not practicing contentment for whatever it is that I have in my life as of the moment. I was always looking back at the past, now I stay focused on what’s in my present. Even though I may be single, I try to become happy of who are in my life – my family/ friends/ loved ones – and I become hopeful and expectant of God’s blessings in my life. But it wasn’t an easy ride. It was seven years in the making, it involved experimentation and a whole lot of faith.
When I came here to Canada, I had absolutely no clue what was going to happen to me. As I am reminiscing my early months in this what seemed to be a foreign land at that time, I realized I was hopeful but naive. Coming from a place where a lot of people knew me since childhood (and I knew a lot of people as well) to living in a city where you have to mingle with strangers using a language that is familiar but still foreign, it was a big jump. And I wasn’t ready for that leap as what I thought I would be. And that resulted to what people have known me as now – that girl living with anxiety and depression.
If I could go back and try to change what happened to me, I wouldn’t go back anyway. You know why? Because even if circumstances happened and it resulted into what seems to be a negative thing – this anxiety and depression – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because those seasons where I was in a dark place made me who I am today. And to be honest I am proud of who I am right now, yes, even though I am living with this condition.
I could tell you my backstory, but it will be so long. I’ll save it for another time. But the gist of my story is this: no matter how many times you have been beaten up by life, you will always win victoriously with God on your side. Victory may not be superficial, it may be low key as well. For example, I may not be popular, recognized with a lot of awards, or wealthy (as what the world wants you to think about as the definition of success) but I am Christ-driven, a loving daughter/ friend, and most importantly I have Jesus. He’s all I need. And that’s the secret, friends, to happiness. It’s knowing your identity in Christ. It’s not a boyfriend or a girlfriend, not a status in life if you are earning a lot or earning little, it’s not popularity even if you have a strong support system at the end of the day, it’s your life not theirs. You only have one life to live, why not live it to glorify and expand His kingdom? And that’s exactly what I am doing right now.
I’m not blessed because of what I can do but what God can do through me.
I’m at my happiest right now, all thanks to my new found joy in Christ.
Wow, I don’t even know how to begin. This movie was just breathtaking. From Alden and Kathryn’s on-screen chemistry, the lightings/ cinematography, to the climax of the story up until the ending, every scene shot was a masterpiece. When I decided I would watch the movie, I didn’t expect it to be this good. I just wanted to watch it so I could ride with the hype of my filipino friends. In the end, I’ve learned a lot from the theme of the movie. Out of all the filipino movies I’ve watched, this by far is my favorite one. I could relate to it so much, not only because it depicts that Canada is the dream destination of the main character, Joy, but because of the depth of the story. How it is much more than just a love story — it’s an ode to Filipinos searching and finding that greener pasture for their future. I could relate to it as a person living abroad and, my fave part is how it gave me nostalgia, most especially of my first love.
My love story isn’t as mature or as intense as the story in the movie. But I guess with regards to leaving a country for my goals and dreams and choosing family over a relationship — that’s what hit me. Regarding my first love, I have already accepted the fact that we’re never meant to be. He his happily in love with someone else already. However, sometimes I do think, what if I just stayed in the Philippines for a longer time? Will it still matter? Will it still be us? It’s true, as what the movie lets us understand that sometimes people come into your life as a passage-way that leads to where you are meant to be. For me, it took me 7 years to finally move on from my ex. Although when I came back to the Philippines sometime last year, I still had feelings for him. My friends say I should definitely forget about him because for sure he has forgotten about me already. And I could see that. He looks so happy and contented, I wish him health and happiness.
I guess, that’s the dilemma of OFWs or people living abroad too huh. You can never really tell what is going to happen when you leave, but you still take the risk for your dreams and future. Through the movie, I now understood why I had to leave my old life in the Philippines before. So that I could have a better life for my family, and myself included. No regrets, even if I failed a long time ago. Because everything falls into place when you have faith in Jesus. Romans 8:28.
Well, Hello Love Goodbye, it was heartwarming to watch that movie. Some people want to have a part 2. But me? Naahh, it’s better to leave it as it is and let imagination run its course. Leaving something hanging but somehow hopeful can be a beautiful thing as well. Not everything needs to be explained or finished. It’s the mystery that makes it worthwhile.