Sunday, March 29, 2009

Deconstructing the Past Six Months

The shadows of an idea for this piece started coming to me about a month ago. I knew I had to somehow reflect on and dissect the past almost-six months, a journey that took me to places I never expected to visit, where I met people I didn’t expect to meet, and experience some growing-up that I never thought I would do , at least so soon. As I look back, I can now truly say that the past half-a-year has been the highlight of my 27 years and seven months of existence. There are a myriad reasons for this but it is not all because I got to travel through the greatest nation of our generation. My best attempt at a summary would be to say that the trip has been one bundle of tremendous blessing from the Lord, and even that sounds so deficient to describe what I think and how I feel.

The main reason why I came to the US in October was for my residency application and the Match. Before I left, I had expected to get some interviews, attend them, and wait for the Match results. Through all this, I had expected God to make everything fall into place, according to how I planned things. At the back of my mind though, I knew there was the distinct possibility that God would send me back home empty-handed. As I wrote in the previous entry, that apparently was the case.

I had a Plan B in the event that I did not Match. In my plan, I was to go back to the Philippines and start residency training at the Medical City. I do not know what awaits me at home but I was told that I would have to make changes to Plan B. I realized then that I was once again planning things on my own, without consulting my boss, (to borrow from this blogger) Big J. And so now, I come home with a semblance of a plan, but I have endeavored to seek an approval from the Big Boss upstairs first. I will have a talk with my parents and people whose counsel I consider important and we’ll see where I’ll go from there.

As I think back through the past six months I spent away from home, I am ever more cognizant of God’s perfect and absolute faithfulness to me. He was my comfort when I missed home and my family. He was, and continues to be, my provider and source of grace. Since the Match results came out, He has given me clarity of mind and a tremendous amount of peace, the kind that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Aside from all the things I have received from Him (and this is one of the main reasons why I wrote this entry), He had such grace to have sent me so many people who, along the way, have been pockets of strength and support, shelter and sustenance, and sometimes, just a good laugh when I sorely needed it. After the Lord, these are the people I would like to honor with this post. I broke down my list by geographical area to minimize the people I might forget.

Jacksonville, FL
  1. The Ibarretas - my home in Florida. Tito Lito understood what I was going through and it made all the difference.
  2. Dr. Pamela Rama - for allowing me a glimpse into the US health care system, for teaching me so much, and for strengthening my desire to go into Cardiology.
  3. Jacksonville Heart Center doctors and staff - for the warm welcome and the fun and easy-going work environment you have
  4. Pastor Ranola and CCAC - for their warmth and prayers
  5. CCAC college group - for interesting (and intense) discussions about the Word, for new friendships; my special thanks to Elika and Jonathan for the drive to the airport.
  6. Lola Lydia Dominguez - for giving me a small peek into my dad’s world before he was my dad

Chicago, IL
  1. The Santiagos - for allowing me to experience a genuine American Thanksgiving and for their support, generosity, and prayers as I prepared for my interview
  2. Frances Alvarez and Margie Amarga - the lunch meet-up was great! I ask again: who would have thought we’d someday be eating deep-dish pizza in Chicago?

New York, NY
  1. Uncle Tito Campomanes - for arranging my accommodations in NY and for the prayers
  2. Pastor Gerry Depano - for taking me in to his home, for driving me around, and for one of the best Italian meals I have ever had
  3. The UST people in NYC (Reiner, Sherilyn, Nikki, Sarah, etc.) - while in med school, who would have thought we’d ever be having dinner (after a walk through pouring rain) in NY?
  4. Jen Joaquin - for the tasty breakfast in that fancy place
  5. Marj Golekoh - for the Step 3 advice and for putting up with my frequent calls as I prepared for Step 3
  6. Colleen Jocson - for the friendship and everything that comes along with it. You’re one of my unlikeliest friends, and I mean that in a very good way.

San Francisco, CA and the Bay Area
  1. The Guimbatans - for the tremendous support, love, and encouragement, and for Tita Pearl’s terrific spareribs adobo and her goofiness
  2. DCFWC - my home church in the US. My deepest thanks for the prayers.
  3. The Balambans - for making the holidays a little less sad and a little more memorable
  4. The Taghaps - for opening their home for me when I needed it (especially to Menchie for giving up her room for me); for the prayers and the friendship between our families through the years
  5. The Rodriguezes - for reminding me of home and church and for commiserating with me about missing the Philippines. I praise the Lord for His faithfulness to your family!
  6. Mike Velarde and Kat Co - for memories of college, some of which I’d rather forget (e.g. Physical Chemistry)
  7. Richard Lim - for the Step 3 materials and the advice
  8. Ryan and Anna Aban - for the yummy Chinese lunch (with matching mini-ipis) and for the old-new friendship.
  9. Ann and JP Riturban - for the coffee and for allowing me to be the first person in our circle of friends to know about the new baby; it was an honor.
  10. Rodney Rivera - for lunch and catching up; you’re always in our prayers, cousin!

Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia
  1. The Alpanos - for the rekindled friendship and their generosity and encouragement. Also for Ate PJ’s pag-aalaga while I was there.
  2. Tricia Bes-Whitman and Dindi Patena-Martin - for the nice lunch but more so for the catching up. I was truly pleased to have seen you guys again.
  3. Ross Baua and Oliver Arquero - for the company and the stories from med school
  4. Mylene Moredo - for lunch and the new friendship.

Across the WWW
  1. Carl Arenas - another surprise new friend, for the tips and tricks, and for the YM chats, which really were helpful.
  2. High School friends - for reminding me of what I’m missing back home
  3. Med school friends - for making me miss home more and for giving me one more thing to look forward to when I come home. A barkada dinner is definitely warranted in a few weeks.
  4. SMPJ - for the friendship and the forthcoming FP. I am proud of your accomplishments.
  5. Facebook and the people I interact with on the site - a precious companion throughout all these lonely and boring months
  6. UCSF Library and Daly City Public Libraries - for giving me a cool place to study for Step 3.

Beyond borders, my greatest thanks
  1. The Moredos - no words will ever be enough to express my deep gratitude to this family for everything that they’ve done and given. They shall always be home to me in the US. Thank you for allowing me to be your adopted eldest son, even for a few months. If there’s one thing that I’m sad about in leaving the US, it’s that I’m leaving the warmth and love that I found in your home.
  2. Crossroads Fellowship - my home church, for the prayers and the tremendous amount of support. I am excited to finally see you all again.
  3. My family - No words. Just my love and my eternal gratitude. I’m finally, finally coming home.

The Lord is sovereign. The Lord is loving. The Lord is wise.

On the morning of my flight home, Tito Norman Moredo prayed for me over breakfast. Out of all the things he said and prayed for, those three short sentences were quickly etched into my mind: The Lord is sovereign. The Lord is loving. The Lord is wise. I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I continue to affirm that the future is firmly in the hands of my God and wherever He will take me is where I will best be used for the glory of His name. There is no place on earth I would rather be than there.

Soli Deo Gloria.


Rene said...

Bittersweet and yet, God closed a door, so be looking for that window! :0) He always knows what He's doing, even when we wonder WHAT He's doing!

Your blog says it all.

Nevertheless, what a gifted writer you are, Karl. The way you presented your thoughts and feelings, you ministered to me.

In any event, you are a very thoughtful and caring young man, and it shows with how you present yourself and how you show appreciation towards those who befriended you while you were in the US.

Moreover, I have to say, that the way you expressed your views re: my country shows a pride that my own people have sadly forgotten. Not the 'bad' pride, but the grateful pride. Despite all the warts and wrinkles, America will always stand for freedom and equal opportunity. I hope one day - sooner rather than later - that opportunity will once again tempt you to revisit our shores!

Also, thank you for continuing to address me as Mrs. Perlich (even though it does make me feel a tad older than I like. It’s a courtesy that our youth here in the U.S. unfortunately lack. ). :0)

God bless you,

karlmd said...

Hi Mrs. P! Thank you for all the kind words. Indeed, I'm looking forward to that window that's about to open for me.