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Five Years Ago

Five years ago, it was 2015.

And looking back at it now, I never realized how much of a tumultuous year it was.

Graduated from community college

The first half of the year was amazing. I entered my final semester of community college and graduated four months later with my AA in Business. 

Traveled to Canada

A little while after, I made the spontaneous decision to visit my relatives over the summer… in Canada. This trip marked my first ever solo travel experience, at least during the literal travel portion of the trip. I had an amazing time during this vacation, and I felt so much better. A change in environment and getting to spend moments with those you care about truly shapes the views you have of yourself and of life in general.

Typhoon Soudelor

Unfortunately, this euphoric feeling didn’t last long.

It was either the same night or the night after I’d arrived back in Saipan that the entire island was hit with the “third most intense tropical cyclone worldwide” – Super Typhoon Soudelor.

Having recently landed in a different time zone from a 17-hour flight, jetlag hit me hard. Suffice it to say, I was knocked out cold as the typhoon was destroying my hometown. Because of unconsciousness, I am grateful that I personally did not have as big of a traumatic reality as everyone else.

That doesn’t mean I did not feel the heavy weight in my heart in the aftermath – even now I do, as I’m remembering this devastating catastrophe.

Homes and other physical items were lost or destroyed, but nothing brings excruciating pain than having to lose a loved one, in any situation. So I am incredibly grateful that the majority of the people were, to put it bluntly, alive and perseverant in this difficult period of our lives. If you want to learn more in-depth about the overall aftermath of super typhoon Soudelor on Saipan specifically, there are definitely online articles and videos about it.

During the recovery period, I helped my community by being part of the CNMI Red Cross team as well as the CNMI Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) team. The days were exhausting and pressuring, but the experience is something I’ll always be thankful for. I got to work with amazing individuals and see smiles among the people of the community as they got the assistance they needed.

First job out of school

Soon after, I was fortunate enough to be hired by the same organization that recruited me for NAP. I credit my background in Business to having received the opportunity to work in an office where I still got to help others in any way I can. I am extremely grateful to have worked with an amazing team of mentors who were hard-working, patient, and understanding. The work itself was challenging and intimidating, but the people I worked closely with made everything more worthwhile. I will always be thankful for their trust in me, and that, for my first-ever work experience, I got to work with them.

Overall, 2015 was a year of accomplishments, endings, and beginnings.

Was I already at the beginning of my current state of thinking? Absolutely not. I’ve gained tons of new experiences for sure, but mentally and emotionally, this was not the year of personal growth. Would I have done anything differently though? Not at all. These past couple of years, I have been a firm believer that everything happened for a reason, and I had to defeat my struggles in order to be where I want to be in life.

If I were to describe 2015 in one word, it would be: transitional. I got my college degree which helped landed me a job. I put my college background to use and worked in a company where I progressed in my responsibility, endurance, and patience. I transitioned from complete reliance on my parents and finishing assignments and studying for quizzes, to financial independence, having others instead rely on me, and building my professional experience.

Keep being inspired and take care always,


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