Where do you go after college? (My Big Blue Stripes Story)

From North Caloocan to Sta. Mesa Manila (vice versa), for 4 years, I commute for an average of 5 hours daily. So when I decided to look for my first job, location was number one.

And then there was IBM. God has planned so much more than just cutting my daily commute.
For 5 years, I worked for the best global company I could ever work for fresh after college. This, is personal to me, I know we all have our different stories – God loves us so much that he would pay very very close attention to each and every detail of each of our lives.

New York 2010In January 2010 God made an appointment for me and IBM and it was the start of my employment. March of the same year, I had my very first plane ride. I went to the United States. When we look at it from today it may seem normal as it happens a lot these days. But at that time, it was really a big of a deal for me and my family and everyone who knows me. Up to today, some people even think I moved to the U.S. in 2010 for good. The whole experience was surreal. I thought I was going to die in the plane. I also thought the plane was not moving when we were up in the air. I cried when I saw the sky from my window, at one side it was light and at the other, dark. I can’t believe I spend almost 24 hours in the plane. My very first air plane ride. Some people could just dream of going to  New York, and there I was, inexperienced and undeserving, though it was a business trip, still a trip to America. And so I thought to myself, “Thank God for this once in a lifetime experience.”

New Yor 2012A lot of work and sleepless life and making friends and experiences in between, in 2012, my “once in a lifetime” happened again. Just a week before the trip, I was informed I will go back to New York for another business trip. I could not believe it. What? Again? Well, yeah. Twice in a lifetime it is. For the second time I was wiser, I brought less stuff than my first – I knew what things I should not put on my carry-on bag (which was so much of a relief for me). I was more confident interacting with pretty much anyone along the way.

New York 2012It was also a busier trip, shorter and very challenging. I stayed there for a month and for 2 weeks my computer crashed. It was a lot of rework and I-don’t-know-what-to-do-here-without-my-computer dilemma for me. Praise God, I was able to go to a side trip to see the majestic Niagara Falls with fellow IBMers for a weekend.

1606381_981722168519705_3221043873694000124_oShortly after my second trip to New York in 2012, I was promoted. I was 23 years old and had a privilege to manage team. Oh, it was beyond overwhelming and scary (Most people at work wouldn’t believe I felt this way). But I learned that it was not about me but God’s power though me as His instrument. Promotion comes from God! And He is able. More than able, He would make the impossible happen right before your eyes. It was during this period when God made the best relationships I have now. If I had to go through all those hardships and multiply it by 3, or 4, or maybe 5 😉  just to have my friends and values and experiences I have now, I would be willing.

I left my first team in the middle of 2014 to transfer to another, which later on, I learned, was God’s way of preparing me for what is to come.

Brazil 2014A month before my wedding in October of the same year, with the permission and support of my husband-to-be, my third in lifetime happened. I was asked to go Brazil for another business trip. For a whole lot different reasons and purposes with my trips to New York, I had my longest plane ride yet, from Manila to Sao Paolo Brazil. I was just there for a week but learned and experienced so many things I believe I would not have any other way.

After that, I had my last year-end with the Big Blue. 2015 welcomed me with a definite answer to prayers about my career. I praise God for all the years I worked for the company who embraced who I was and who I become. I praise God for opening all the doors I would have not imagined I’d enter. Above all, I am grateful to God for all the relationship I gained throughout my stay in IBM. Even if just for meeting these friends (you all know who you are) it would have been so worth it.

A week from now, I will start my journey to my “Next after college”. I know God has written my story and all I have to do is give my best as I submit to His loving will.

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Has It Gotten Hold Of You?

“So, when do you say that money has gotten hold of you?” It was for discussion during one of our victory group meetings. My husband’s turn to answer, but couldn’t bring the words out of his mouth. He choked.

This was the second time I witnessed him tried to share about his “beginning” but (almost) cry even before he utter his first word. He holds me and I feel him trying so hard to shake off his emotion but fail. I tried to speak for him but he wouldn’t let me. So there I was, watching him as he collects himself for several more moments and tell his story.

Jun’s father passed away in 2004. It was at the beginning of our relationship, our last year in middle school. Tatay Pedro used to work as a construction worker to support for a family of seven, Jun is the youngest. During that time we were already taking up entrance exams for college. The implication of his father’s death was clear – Jun couldn’t go to college. Even going to a university that is fully subsidized by the Government will require a material amount of money just for transportation expenses. It was just not practical, just unimaginable. We were fifteen years old back then and we knew we were together with the intent of marrying each other in future. We had a plan. Finish college, pass our respective licensure exams, buy a house, then car, then get married (this, later on, was rearranged). He needs to go to college. For both of us, it was the very first dream we need to realize.

“No way. Not engineering. It’s a 5-year course and you have to add another year for the licensure exam. Plus, tools and projects for this are expensive. Just take up something that will help you land a decent job.” This was me discouraging Jun when he told me he wants to be an engineer. He didn’t bother.

Each school day, for the course of his 5 years in college, he’d wait for anyone among his family to give him the money he needs to cover at least for his transportation expenses. Every single day. There’s no weekly nor monthly allowance for him. Each night or morning they would have to figure out and ask who is able to provide. Every. Single. Day. And this was just for transpo expenses. The budget for food, projects, tools, tuition fees, clothes, etc. as you can imagine, is a whole lot different story.

As we look back for over 10 years later, we couldn’t do math and identify exactly how it happened. Sure it was the collective help of our families and friends. And it was impossible without God, our ultimate Provider.

Jun became a Registered Mechanical Engineer in 2011.

It was sometime after his father passed away, Jun stood up in our church altar to testify which left everyone in tears. He said he might have lost his father on earth, but he surely is not fatherless for he has our Father in Heaven who will never leave us nor forsake us. Hebrews 13:5 has been his life verse ever since.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

When my husband finally was able to get it together, he said:

“When you let money dictate what you can or cannot do. You know it has gotten hold of you.”

It struck me. God is able. For with HIM, nothing is impossible.

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