Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dreams to Reality

It's been a week already since I arrived and a simple way of celebrating is by strolling and exploring the areas surrounding the institute. After work, I bought a chocolate-filled baguette and ate it while walking. While enjoying the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze, the beautiful architecture of apartments, and the people just passing by, I still can't believe that all this is happening.

What was once a dream is now a reality.

I will always be thankful to God because, indeed, everything is perfect in His time. I may have waited several years, but everything is more than I had hoped for. To my family, Mama, Papa, and Nikko, for supporting me every step of the way and for loving me, even in my most unlovable moments. To my Lola, for being a big part of my life; you are an inspiration, and I hope I make you proud up there in heaven. To my mentors, previous teachers and supervisors at work, for imparting knowledge and honing my skills. To my friends, for listening to my rants and anxieties and for cheering me up (You all know how paranoid and negative I can be sometimes). To my current supervisor, for believing in me and accepting me even though I come from a different field (from plants, I will now be working on mice, though I have yet to learn how to handle them). To my scholarship provider, the Marie Curie Fellowship, and my host institute, the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, for equipping young minds into becoming the scientists they ought to be. Thank you very much!

To all the dreamers out there, young and old, if there's one thing I've learned in this whole process, it is to never give up on one's dreams. But I tell you, it's easier said than done. The truth is, you need to work hard for it, try over and over and over again even if you fail. Trust me, I know how it feels. Also, there's definitely a moment where you would cry hard on it. It will be emotionally exhausting but never let that stop you. And most importantly, you need to talk to God, pray if your dream is really His will for you, and if it's not, pray that He may lead you to the path He has destined for you.

Sharing Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hallo Deutschland

Yes, I have to type it again.

Hallo Deutschland!

Finally, what was once a dream is now a reality!  













Monday, July 3, 2017

Catch Up With Good Old Friends

Where did the time go?! We're already halfway through the year!

This entry is supposed to be posted on the last day of June (because I don't have any posts for that month) but LIFE happens. So, I'm just dropping by, trying to keep everything sweet and simple.

It's important to make time with people who have been part of your "old" life. Twelve years ago, I met four wonderful girls in a dormitory in college. We were roommates for three years. And I tell you, three years isn't a short time. Spending days and nights for three years in one room has allowed us to get to know each other - the good, the bad, and some of our quirks...


They are actually one of those people who really know me and my not-so-easy personality. Hehe!


And now, even if we already live in different places, have different careers, different set of friends, it's nice that we still get to see each other. They are actually a breath of fresh air in this busy and stressful life that is adulthood. It's just nice to catch up, reminisce the good old days, and simply talk about anything under the sun.


Oh, and we also did some shopping...because GIRLS!


SM Aura




BGC High Street

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Life These Days

A few weeks ago, in a newly opened bookstore in town, I decided to browse and buy something interesting to read. It took me about half an hour to get through most of the stuff. Then, as I flipped the pages of the book 365 Days of Wonder, I found this:

Such an interesting thought by Edward Morgan Forster. And I guess, in one way or another, this applies to most of us. I, for one, have just experienced what it's like to let go of my initial plans and go with what life has in store for me. But just to clarify, this doesn't mean that we just wait for what's going to happen without having some sort of plan or setting some goals. It's still important to have them because they will be our guide, our map to living the life we want.

I have always wanted to do a PhD abroad. After finishing my Masters in South Korea in 2013, I went back to the Philippines to prepare and search for PhD programs and, at the same time, to work. In 2015, I started reviewing for TOEFL and GRE, and took both in October of the same year. My plan was to study PhD in the United States which requires TOEFL and GRE. My TOEFL was good, however, my GRE was a disaster so I reviewed again and planned to retake in the coming months. In 2016, I started emailing professors and applying to various graduate school programs (mostly in Europe and Australia since I haven't taken my GRE yet). Then, US elections came and the results made me rethink about my plans. The US economy looks fragile and funding for research was not that high. Now, this is the part where E.M. Forster's quote comes in. I decided to let go of my plans of doing PhD in the US. I abandoned it but I did not abandon my dream of pursuing a PhD. I knew that I just have to look for other options. I still continued to search for programs and vacancies. Then, in January of this year, I found a scholarship announcement for PhD Studentships at the site of Nature Jobs. I submitted my application to the coordinator and it was forwarded to the Principal Investigator (PI). The PI then contacted me. And the rest is history... Haha just kidding! To make the long story short, after getting through interviews, I was finally accepted! *insert HAPPINESS*

So, in everything that we do, I think it's important to be guided by our dreams or goals but also (as what E.M. Forster said) be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lola Luisa "Loleng"

Been missing my lovely, wonderful, and courageous grandmother every single day.

Mahal na mahal po kita Lola. (I love you very much grandma.)

I hope you're having a grand new life up in heaven!










































Tuesday, April 25, 2017

See You Again Lola


It's been eight days since you left us and my heart still hurts.

I miss you deeply, Lola*.

Whenever I walk in your room it's as if you're still there, lying in bed. But I'd like to remember you sitting on the porch, waiting for me, and seeing your big smile whenever I come home. Or when you're sipping a cup of coffee, asking me if I already have breakfast. Or hearing all your stories from your (difficult) childhood to how you (together with Lolo) worked so hard just to send your children to school until they finished college.

You lived with so much strength and courage, even in your last days.

I know the time will come when you will meet God and I only have one favor, I pray and ask Him to give you a big hug. But more than that, I know that God will shower you with eternal love, peace, and happiness.


*Lola is a Filipino word for grandmother.
  Lolo is a Filipino word for grandfather.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Holy Week



The Lenten season or Holy Week is a way of remembering the suffering and passion of Jesus, dying on the cross to save us and His resurrection on the third day, which is on Easter Sunday.

Here in the Philippines, the Holy Week is a public holiday from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. Usually, people go to their homes in the province to spend the Holy Week with their family. I, on the other hand, was all alone in the apartment. I wasn't able to get a ticket going home since the buses were already fully booked. It's probably one of the loneliest moments I've had in Los BaƱos. Also, my grandmother's condition is not good. She has lost appetite and is experiencing muscle atrophy. I went home two weeks ago to spend time and take care of her even for just a few days but this Holy Week, I wasn't by her side. She's in my prayers though. Always.

This Holy Week is probably one of the loneliest but it's also one of moments where I really prayed hard, not for myself, but for my beloved grandmother. It has also given me time to reflect about life and to go back to what Jesus did for you and me.

We can never repay what Jesus had done for us, dying on the cross to save us. But one thing we can do is to have a deeper relationship with him.

Happy and blessed Easter everyone!


P.S. Dear reader, may you include my grandmother, Luisa or Lola Loleng as I fondly call her, in your prayers.

image source here
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