They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Visiting the Motherland

It has been almost 10 years since I last visited the motherland over the winter holiday. Well, “winter,” in this case, is used very loosely as there is nothing winter about the Philippines except, perhaps, the air-conditioning that is blasted in vehicles, malls, and other indoor establishments.

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Winter, brrr!

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My Childhood Home

I used to go to the motherland every two years or so and my mom would always say, “Why do you choose to go home? The world is such a big place and there are so many other places you can go explore,” to which I would always respond with, “But…but..our family! My friends!” Then she would just shake her head and reply with, “Our family and your friends will always be there. You can always come back. You should take that money and explore the world instead, come home later.”

I didn’t get it at the time, but I certainly do now! Since then I’ve made it a point to travel to at least one new place a year, preferably some place international. But…it is nice to visit home now and then, especially seeing my childhood memorabilia.

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It was really good to go to our annual family reunion in the Philippines. I was worried it was going to be intense, with its detailed programming, games, and family talent contest to be judged by a panel consisting of The Five Sisters, the eldest of which is my grandmother. As it turns out, it was a whole lot of fun! Every part of it! We won the talent contest but didn’t win the family collage. Not that I’m biased or anything, but I still think ours was the most artistic looking.

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Look at that masterpiece!

It was also very interesting to note that certain common terms in the US are also common in the Philippines…but used in a much different way.

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Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – Established WAY before American Pie

Since I spent part of my childhood in the motherland, I still have a few friends who I still somewhat keep in contact with. However, knowing that I had a jam-packed schedule while I was in the Philippines, plus considering how busy I was during the weeks preceding my vacation, I purposely did not contact any of them. I did not want to deal with coordinating because I had very few “down” days and also because I can’t really go very far in the Philippines due to the crazy driving conditions. Additionally, I didn’t like the fact that my friends would have had to cater to my schedule and my location. And because it wouldn’t have been the easiest coordinating, I have to admit I got lazy. In retrospect, I really should have reached out. Those who really care about you will make the time and effort to make things work. Fortunately for me, two of my oldest friends did. 🙂

I had forgotten to take a photo of my high school friend and me, but below is a picture of  my oldest friend and me, one I’ve known pretty much since birth.

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Words cannot express how good it felt to reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen in several years, and yet have it feel like it was just yesterday. They both told me to send them a message next time I’m in the Motherland. Why, yes, yes I will. 🙂

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I’m Going…Going…Back…Back…to Cali…Cali

Actually, that’s not quite true. I’m already back. I went to the motherland on Christmas eve, had a wonderful time with family and childhood friends, then got back to Binghamton this past Sunday. Then I had 4 days to pack before I had to fly back to California on Thursday. ‘Twas definitely hectic, to say the least!

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Now, I knew this assignment was going to end at some point and even though it ended up being longer than I thought (about 1 year rather than 6 months) it still took me by surprise when I got the final word in mid-December that my company, indeed, wanted me to be back in the California office.

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Then a couple days after I received the notification that my presence was no longer required to support those specific programs, my boss informed me that the possibility of my moving permanently on the east coast and working remotely was denied.

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My knee-jerk reaction was to quit my job and move to Binghamton anyway, even though a job possibility wasn’t quite finalized yet! You’re not going to give me what I want!?!? Forget you then!!

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But then I calmed down and realized that although my time in NY proved to me that yes, east coast is where I belong, there is really no rush or pull that’s making me stay there now. Perhaps the best thing to do is to move back to California for some time and then look for opportunities later. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine over brunch, he unexpectedly told me about a government position at the LA Air Force Base. He didn’t mention it to me before because he thought I was done with CA and determined to move to the east coast now.

Then shortly after brunch, my friend in NY told me that if I wanted, his company will open a position for me since there are not that many people in Binghamton with my particular background. Can you believe it? Two amazing opportunities without even me having to try too hard. The universe, God, or whatever higher being is out there truly must be looking out to me. And thus my first-world problem was born.

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Prior to my trip home to the motherland, which I will have to write about in another post, I was truly distressed about which option I wanted to take. The government position in CA will allow me greater flexibility in the future as far as applying for jobs within the country, plus the benefits of working for the government such as having all holidays off, pension, etc. BUT…I will be back CA and I already know I won’t be as happy moving back. The position in Binghamton has a far more interesting job description and I’ll live in the east coast BUT…I would take a pretty significant pay cut. My planned trip turned out to be perfect timing so I could get away from everything and really think about what I want.

The result?

I still don’t know (lol). However, I did get some clarity on what the deal makers and deal breakers are for each position. I will make a decision in the next couple of weeks and either way, I know it will be the right choice. One thing is for sure though: 2014 has been an amazing year and I will forever remember this time in my life. I got to travel quite a bit, I’ve met some amazing people, and most importantly, 2014 has been the happiest year of my life so far. I cannot wait to see what 2015 brings but I have a feeling this year will be amazing as well!

Cheers to life, changes, and the amazing things about to come!

opportunity


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Starting 2015 off with a bang!

The original plan was to leave Palawan the morning of New Year’s eve and return to Manila in time for my dad’s friend’s party. Didn’t happen. Instead, we got booted off our original morning flight and got rebooked for an evening flight, scheduled to land at around 10pm. It was an extremely tight schedule but we could have made it…but we didn’t. Why? Because it’s the Philippines and nothing seems to ever go on schedule lol! Instead of landing in Manila by 10pm, we ended up leaving Palawan at 10:30pm. It worked out, though. We landed by 11:45pm and because folks were impatient and didn’t wait until midnight to light fireworks, we actually got to see fireworks from the sky and from the landing strip at the airport! How cool is that?!

At first the fireworks looked like whit LED lights randomly turning on and off, but as we started descending, the colors began to be distinguishable, then the shapes. It turned out to be an incredible way to spend New Year’s eve with my family and good friend! Talk about starting 2015 off with a bang!