Thursday, September 10, 2009


A few years ago, I came across a major crossroad in my life. I was pursuing a doctorate degree in chemistry, but my heart just wasn't in it anymore. I was restless and very unhappy. I've been in school for what feels like forever and was dying to move out. I wanted to move on to the professional world and live a different life. On top of that, I was reeling from the worst and most painful heartache I've ever experienced in my whole life. I had just broken up with a cheater boyfriend who happened to be my very first big love. I was utterly depressed and devastated. Needless to say, I felt an absolute need to leave the university and all things that reminded me of him.

But... the university was also my comfort zone. It was a place I've always been comfortable with. My friends were there and everything else that was familiar to me. Aside from that, I was scared of how my family would react if I quit my PhD studies.

I weighed the pros and cons, and mulled over my dilemma thoroughly. I went back and forth with indecision. Finally though, I made a decision to pursue my happiness. I quit my PhD studies and switched to the shorter Masterals. I've never been a quitter, but my heart was telling me it's time to make a change. I knew I was more than ready to leave the university and pursue a different life. Part of me felt that I was running away, but a bigger part tells me I need to start a new life. I wanted to be happy and I knew I won't be if I stayed there. Surprisingly, my family was very supportive of my decision. My parents told me to do what I think was best for me and what will make me happy.

It's been three years since and all I can say is... I'm glad I made that decision. I found a job right after I got my MS degree, and a year later met my husband. If I didn't, I would have graduated last fall and probably had been one of those people still searching for a good job due to the economic downturn. If I stayed in school, I probably had been miserable with the memories of the jerk instead of meeting the love of my life.

I admit that there are times when I'd have pangs of regret. Like that time when I attended my friends' graduation (the same time I would have graduated if I pursued PhD) and watched them walk on the stage, I thought for a moment, that would have been me. I would have walked on that stage and got my doctoral certificate. I would have been Dr. Chloie by now. But I think of all the good things that happened after I made my decision, and I forget all my regrets.

There are times in life when you reach a crossroad and the path ahead looks so uncertain. Just trust yourself and follow what your heart tells you. Sooner or later, you'll realize why you chose that path in the first place.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On Patriotism

I'm not what you'd exactly call a very patriotic person.

I mean... I left the Philippines despite the ongoing brain drain to go and get a job abroad, I pay taxes to a different country, I married a foreigner, and bought a house in this foreign soil. And I don't think I would sacrifice my life for my country or for any patriotic reasons.

But... I do love my country.

I defend it whenever someone says something bad about it. I feel proud whenever I hear a fellow countryman like Manny Pacquiao bring honor to it. I donate money to our less fortunate. I do have plans of going back when I'm ready to retire. And I do still call it my real home.

But most of all, I've always dreamt of making a difference in it.

I like to think that in a small way, I did several years ago.

I joined a rally calling for the resignation of the then-president who was laundering people's money. The guy was an actor-turned-politician who won the election by campaining as the champion of the masses and the man who would get people out of proverty. Two years later, it turned out that he was the one who would put the country in more debt.

So I, together with some of my friends, decided to join the 3 day vigil to call for his resignation. We marched several miles and gathered in front of the church where several officials from the opposition party give their talk. We camped there day and night. I did go home at some point to change clothes and to make sure my parents would not worry, but I'd always come back. I had never felt as patriotic as I did during those times. There was a feeling of strong unity and bond between everybody, and it was amazing. I felt, for once in my life, that I was fighting for something I believed in. I felt that I was a part of something bigger than myself and I was fighting for a cause. When after three days, news broke out that the president finally resigned, we were crying with tears of joy. It was such a joyful moment. I was so happy at that time because, in a small way, I felt like I was part of my country's history. Honestly, I wasn't thrilled with the vice president who replaced him, but we had to concede that for that time being, she was the lesser of two evils. (Now, I'm not so sure anymore!)

Anyway, I wish that one day, I'd experience something that amazing again. I'm still not willing to die for patriotic reasons, but I do hope that some day I can really say that I made a big difference in my country.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Be Thankful

My last post was such a downer that today, I decided to write something more inspiring! I feel much better now, thanks to positive thinking and to my blogger friends who left me some really encouraging remarks!

Sometimes when I'm worrying and stressing about a problem, I read astromy books. Weird I know, but they help remind me of how vast the universe is and of how, relatively, I am nothing but a microscopic dot with nanoscopic problems. They help put my thoughts in the right perspective.

If not, I read or watch the news. I read about how some amazing people bravely cope with the loss of friends or family through war or natural disasters. Of how some hardworking people struggle to find food in order to survive, or of how they deal with poverty with very little complains. It reminds me of how insignificant my problems are compared to other people. And it reminds me to be grateful for what I have instead of feeling sorry for myself.

So if you have a roof over your head, food to eat, a family who loves you, the next time you're stressing out, just think of all your blessings and how fortunate you still are compared to millions of people.