Hello, 2014

My last post here was in October last year, after the US Embassy event for regional journalists. Since then, to say that my plate was full is an understatement. I blame the deafening silence here to how crazy things got after the two back-to-back disasters that hit central Philippines. The 7.2-magnitude quake and Typhoon Yolanda hit just barely a month apart. Two deadly disasters right after another. My first year working in Cebu was a baptism of earthquake, typhoons, and one heck of a storm surge.

I can’t even begin to describe 2013, both professionally and personally. I would be at a total loss if I were asked to sum it up in one word. So many good things came along with the bad stuff, at work and otherwise. I learned to overcome some of my greatest fears, and the twin disasters taught me how to do my job better and be a better person.

Sometimes, when I look back at all that happened last year, a part of me is amazed that I survived all that. Sure, it was rough for the first few months, dealing with homesickness and culture shock. Although my parents raised me to be a strong and independent person, you never know how much you can take until you are put to the test, right? Not having your friends and family, your support system around you physically when you need them the most is a form of torture.

But it is character forming, like my boss would say. The more I deal with difficult personalities (“difficult” being a polite word I’m forced to use) the more I’m toughening up, but in a good way. I’m learning my tolerance level for, well, BS coming from other people.

The more I’m facing challenging tasks at work, the more I’m learning that I like challenges. There’s always a way somewhere, always a workaround to a knotty problem. If there’s none, then buckle up and go with the flow. Make the best of what is there.

When people say it can’t be done, I like to prove them wrong and I do it with relish and a red lipstick. (No woman can ever go wrong with a red lippie.)

2013 was the year where I was forced to face my fears and face them one by one. I feared hosting a forum on live radio and on TV. I feared managing a provincial center. I feared the constant traveling across the ocean. I feared introducing myself to VIPs. I feared living on my own.

Now I realize that these fears were silly. I looked them each in the eye and knocked them down one by one.

So, children, after that long-winded storytelling, the lesson here is nothing is ever as bad as it seems at the start. Don’t let the fear hold you down. You’ll soon have the opportunity to kick it in the balls. And it’s going to feel so good, I promise you.

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