Three years ago, I had my first national research presentation. I presented my masteral thesis to a congress of Graduate School students and educators in the Philippines. Weeks before the conference, I dropped by the school and saw my friend Bess. She invited me to accompany her to Robinsons Ermita. If I remember it right, her plan was to have her iTouch and Sony Ericson’s P1 repaired. Since I have nothing to do in the afternoon, I decided to join Bess. After attending to her errands, we checked out those branded shops I usually avoid. We entered Dorothy Perkins and I saw the best blazer in my entire life. It was a silver gray blazer that perfectly fits my shapeless built. The price of the blazer, Php 3,500! Though it was love at first sight, I refused to purchase it for my upcoming presentation. I joked and told Bess that I would only buy the blazer if Iam presenting in an international venue.
Fast forward now, I was able to make my first ever research presentation in Taiwan last December 2, 2011.
An international presentation is every academic researcher’s dream. In my case, it was a dream that never crossed my mind. I swear! How could a rank and file employee / part time educator, who has a monotonous work life be hit with this opportunity?
The original plan was for me to present at the University of the Philippines. I will be presenting in my own country with an international audience. Unfortunately, the conference did not push through. The hostage taking incident last year frightened and discouraged the Chinese organizers to visit the Philippines. This made me cry for days. All I have were selfish feelings of hatred and regrets. At that point, I never realized that God has better plans for me. The conference in the Philippines did not push through because God wanted me to present in another country. He wanted a real international exposure where I have to pack my bags, take an international flight and set foot to another land for the first time.
My preparations for Taiwan however did not become a smooth sailing process. I wept for all the elusive funding opportunities. I admit that I wasn’t financially prepared to fly and stay in Taiwan. But I believe God really wanted me to go. Less than a month before the conference, I received two free lance jobs and my clients paid everything in advance. And to the last minute, I was given partial support by my institution. Just when I was ready to give up my dream, doors of support opened. This served as my wake up call. I felt that God was making all means for me to fulfill the dream.
With no single Mandarin word in my dictionary, I braved myself to a country where majority of its population doesn’t speak and understand the international language I know. Armed with my dwindling confidence, shying bravery and unadventurous personality, I made it to Taiwan on my own. In God’s grace, I was able to fulfill my mission. I am happy to say that I am back home with a lot of first time experiences to cherish in my entire lifetime.
Thank you Taiwan for the safe and well spent stay. Above all, thank you to our God who made all means for me. God indeed works in the most mysterious ways.