I’ve been pretty vague about what it truly is here on my blog for fear that something might jinx it, or that something extraordinary would interrupt it. I’ve been leaving hints here and there about leaving the country to visit Singapore,but I don’t think most people know my reason for going. I can’t blame them, I guess. I’m there practically every year anyway so it’s probably not a surprise to them. Now though, I think it’s suffice to say that I’m ready to announce my bit of news here.
If you’d choose to read this whole entry, you’d understand why I was so reluctant to show it before.
It’s been a long and tedious process both applying and waiting for this document, along with some other formal requirements. A whole seventeen months, if I’m not mistaken even.
I’ve been longing for this right from the moment I found out that Ateneo had a partnership with the National University of Singapore. I remember constantly going to my department asking if there were news, if there were any talks I could attend, which I didn’t end up going to anyway because of prior commitments to different rehearsals.
Unbeknownst to many, there was actually a time where I almost abandoned the thought of me taking part of the Junior Term Abroad program. It was the second to the last day of the deadline for shifting to another course that time. I hadn’t received any updates and I wasn’t keen on the idea of losing both opportunities from waiting too long. There I was, sitting on my computer chair with all of my shifting requirements in front of me, fixed and ready to be submitted the day after. I wasn’t sure of what I was doing at that time. All that mattered to me was that I’d have something to fall back on, to hold on to at the end of the day. I recalled all those times I asked for a sign and gotten none. I figured the absence of it only affirmed my procedure for shifting. So I went about the rest of my evening, commited to my usual post school routine, ate dinner, checked my Facebook and my mail, and that’s when I saw it. A sign right smack dab in the middle of my laptop screen that arrived just in the nick of time.
Subsequent to the disposal of all my documents for shifting, I excitedly set up a meeting with the past coordinator for the program. After a few bits of idle chit chat, we went straight down to business.
Him: “Why do you want to go to Singapore?”
Me: “I’d like to experience it on my own. I’ve been there quite a number of times before and this time I’d like to have a new take on it.”
Him: “But Ateneo doesn’t usually endorse students to go to a country they’ve already been to. And your records say that you’ve actually studied there already.”
Me: “Yes, but Sir, that was a long time ago. I was only there until grade 2.”
Him: “I’m going to be frank with you. There is a very minimal chance that you will be endorsed to Singapore because of your records. Why don’t you choose somewhere else instead? What about Europe? I’ve heard wonderful reviews about it.”
Me: “Yes Sir, but I really had my heart set on Singapore.”
Him: “Okay, if you really want it put it as a second choice in your application. But I am already telling you that your chance of getting it is less than 1%.”
My heart sank at that very moment. I left his office frustrated, confused, and hurt. “What was the use of the sign if it were all to come to this?” I thought to myself. It was heart breaking. I sacrificed so much. I invested too much.
I talked to my dad after the conversation with the coordinator. He told me the same thing, to consider other options just in case. We discussed almost each of the countries available, all accompanied with a story of his.
Dad: “You know, if you go to Spain, it’ll be easier for you. Our Filipino language was based on theirs.”
Me: “Okay so basically, I’ll go there knowing nothing but the words sombrero, lamesa, and como estas.”
Being the stubborn individual who never stops until she gets what she wants, I gave my application a run for my money and still placed Singapore as a first choice. It was deadly but I made a pact with myself. It was either Singapore or nothing.
I came prepared when I arrived for the interview with the dean. She was the one in charge of sending the students where she felt they belonged. I had answers to the possible questions I thought would be thrown at me and I did my research, to the point of even coming across as a walking pamphlet. It was a gamble to risk everything and do extra research that wouldn’t hold any guarantee of impressing her. But I wasn’t giving up without a fight. And well fortunately, it paid off by the time I stepped out of her office.
Then arrived the waiting game. It took a couple of weeks before NUS sent out the acceptance letters to their aspiring students. It was agonizing for me because I couldn’t receive any emails from their registrar. A week’s worth of torture, a handful of trips to OIR, and a new email address later, I finally received the glorious admissions letter. My stress on the entire episode should’ve ended there, but because of a few gray areas concerning formalities, residentship, and the Singapore embassy, I went on a two week emotional spiral involving emails and calls to the country’s immigration offices. It was a period of blood, sweat, and tears. Many a time I broke down because I felt that everything was going against me in my “quest”. I was tired, panicked, and to make matters worse, impatient by nature. But I had no other choice. Waiting was the only option available and so I did… For three weeks.
Yesterday, my prayers were answered. It was what the weeks of turmoil had amounted to. Fortunately it was in my favor.
Honestly, I’m still pretty overwhelmed with everything, me wanting to leave, me actually leaving, and me finally having the documents needed for leaving (just in time too). I can’t help but think about how He was possible for all of this, guiding me through every stage of the process. Letting me go through all of those obstacles to test both my will and want to keep pursuing something that I’ve working for for almost three years.
& I guess there’s nothing left to say except this: Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for being pushing me in the right direction when I almost abandoned my drive. Thank You for all the signs, especially the in-your-face ones when I was simply too blind. Thank You for being there for me when I cried and questioned Your ways. Thank You for giving me parents and friends who stuck with me through my roller-coaster ride of emotions. Thank You for the opportunity to study for a semester in one of the most prestigious schools in Asia. But most of all, thank You for letting me realize the true gravity of how much I wanted this.
I guess You knew all along that what I needed was assurance, not for, but rather from myself.
As for you, dear reader, thank you for taking the time to read this page of one of the chapters in my life. It really is so heartwarming whenever I get comments, likes, and followers for my blog. Usually, I don’t post entries involving too much of my personal life, but I seem to have developed quite a trust for this domain and for the people who read it as well. So once again, many thanks to all of you.:)
Cheers to having more adventures to share on this blog! Hopefully, you’ll let me sneak a peek into your endeavors as well.:)