end of chapter

i decided to pursue physical therapy before the start of my junior year in college, but i realized that i still had a lot of requirements to do and finish (oops). looking at the timing of things, the best (and only) option for me was to take a gap year to complete all the requirements and apply for pt school…so that’s what i did 😀

going into my gap year, i knew i wanted to travel, try new things, and do stuff i enjoy. i realized that i had been serving in ministry from high school to college, and it was exhausting to live under these identities and roles and the responsibilities that came with them. they were all very great opportunities that grew and stretched me, but in the end, i knew i was going to be stripped away of everything that i had established myself with, and i needed to discover who i was outside of the titles and most importantly, i needed rest. i didn’t know how everything was going to come together, but i knew that was how i wanted to use my year. with my gap year coming to an end in a DAY – here’s a look at what i’ve been up to and what i’ve learned this past year (:

| travels |
<< may 2017 to july 2018 >>
may: austin + MD (graduations), iceland
sept: chicago
oct: arizona, taiwan
nov: san antonio* (interview)
dec: VA + MD (interview turned fam trip), florida
feb: austin*
march: minnesota*, MD*
april: MD (MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED HOLLA), hawaii
may: taiwan + japan, san antonio (apt hunting)
june: ireland, europe (switzerland, italy, france)
july: dallas*

*trips i traveled by myself
p.s. my brother lives in MD so that’s why i went there so much HAHA

| fun resting |

  • 18 weeks of tap dance class
  • 10 classes of kick boxing
  • bouldered 3x
  • joined an adult small group
  • traveled/explored by myself for the first time (MN)
  • watched movies by myself (and got a movie pass YAS but SIGH)
  • made multiple dance and song covers
  • crocheted a fancy infinity scarf
  • completed 4 a thousand piece puzzles
  • practiced many new spiritual disciplines
  • finished my photo albums
  • binge watched tv shows (switched at birth, pretty little liars, white collar, sherlock)
  • met up monthly with my mentor
  • established an accountability partner
  • did multiple escape rooms
  • finished reading books (more than serving tea, crazy love, orphan train)
  • and tbh probably more stuff

even though i got to travel the world and catch up on 4+ years of rest, my gap year actually came with a lot of unexpected happenings as well but ALL IS WELL because i learned a lot and grew immensely because of it.

what happened |

  • came home stripped away from all the titles/responsibilities from college
  • had to figure who i was without all of that^ (my identity in Christ)
  • struggled a lot with loneliness, security, identity, and worth (didn’t go to church for a good while bc of loneliness — didn’t want to sit by myself LOL)
  • prepped and applied for pt school in 2 months
  • went on a break then broke up with my ex
  • living at home as a budding adult is hard lol

| the good stuff |

  • rediscovered who i was in Christ by building a new foundation for my identity to build on during the “break” by praying and talking to God daily, talking with friends/mentor, and reflecting on worship songs/verses
  • i definitely idolized the idea of companionship and thought i needed people but i only need God. friends are blessings and are great company/community but i would literally cry because i felt like i didn’t have people and i desperately needed people. but God challenged me to experience Jesus as a friend and it was honestly so refreshing (started doing things without feeling like i needed friends to do something!! can do on my own but if friends come then yay! but if not yay cuz i have Jesus!)
  • i worried A LOT. whether it was about my relationship or my future. but God time and time again reassured me and provided in ways i could never have imagined.
    • apps –> interviews –> acceptances. i had originally planned to visit my ex on 11/3 but because we went on a break, i wasn’t going anymore BUT THEN i got an interview that weekend and i felt like God was saying “DON’T WORRY GIRL I GOTCHU. ON A BREAK? HERE’S AN INTERVIEW AND AN ACCEPTANCE THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY” and i was like holy moly THANK YOU JESUS I DON’T DESERVE THIS. mostly because 1) my prep time 2) my gpa and resume 3) my lack of inpatient hours so praise Jesus because it was literally by the grace of God i’m going to pt school.
    • the break/breakup. it was hard. like really hard. it was confusing and frustrating. i felt angry, bitter, and hurt. but over time with a lot of prayer and conversations with friends/mentor i began to experience God’s overwhelming peace over everything. i wasn’t sure what was going to happen after the break ended and i wasn’t sure where we stood once things were official but God, time and time again, showed me that i need not to worry because He’s got me and things will be okay. it’s good to think about things but not to the point where it’s consuming your life and day to day thinking and it was (and still is) a constant reminding myself to worry/think about today and tomorrow instead of also the past and the future. my small group studied philippians 4:4-7 one week and it really spoke to me regarding peace, giving thanks, and overall not worrying. even though this whole process was hard, it definitely made me lean on and trust God even more with my frustrations, doubts, and anger towards Him and the overall situation.
  • my small group played a huge part in making this year a great one. a lot of the times they were the only people i interacted with, who weren’t my immediate family, during the week and it was so nice to socialize, have fellowship, and share about what i was going through with them. they were super encouraging and supportive about everything and anything but definitely during the whole break up process. there were some nights where i would suddenly cry on my way to small group, and by the time i left small group my heart would feel full just being in the presence of other believers and experiencing God’s love through them.
  • choosing joy is a very real thing. i could’ve very well let the whole break up process consume me and ruin my year, but i was proactive in finding things to do (not surprising cuz i’m also a proactive person in general but yes LOL). it’s one thing to choose it but then you have to cultivate it so that it may spread to everything!! still learning and working on it, but i definitely feel like this year has been one of my more joyful years which i’m thankful for.
  • moving back home means living with the parentals again. definitely a hard transition but it was good to be able to spend time with them post college despite arguments and whatnot. thankful for the opportunity to have quality time with them and also for their open hearts in letting me travel the world and pretty much potato the entire year :3

this year was hard but great all at the same time and i’m thankful for the things i experienced and learned this past year. there’s so much more that happened but i feel like these were the big stuff. if you read through all of it…kudos to you cuz that’s A LOT but also i’ve been working on this bit by bit in the wee of night haha so sentences/words may or may not be weird WHOOOO. if you didn’t, that’s okay 😛 i feel like this was, on one hand, a way for me to share about my past year and how God was so good and on the other, it was a way to document and reflect for myself how this past year was and how God worked and provided whoop whoop.

so here’s to the end of one chapter as another opens! i’m excited, nervous, and scared for what pt school holds for me, but i know it’s going to be another good year of stretching, challenging, and growing so BRING. IT. ON.

**i’m also an external processor so a lot of the times it’s hard to put my thoughts into words (also bc words are hard) and it ends up being word vomit, so while this makes a lot of sense to me, it may not to you HAHA so if you have any questions/thoughts or want to discuss anything with me – definitely hit me up!**

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end of chapter

Choice

*edit*

i’ve had some time to think about everything that went down earlier tonight. i’m mostly upset because i realized through my break up, i don’t like having my voice taken away, not having a say in my life and the circumstances around me. and that’s exactly what my parents are doing. i can’t tell what i want because all i’ve been hearing is what my parents wants and yes. i see that it is a good plan and i know the benefits and the good that can come out of it and the easy transition it’ll be to find good work and making good money and not struggling. but on the other i just want to live my life. i want to glorify God with my profession and that can be done anywhere. i want to be able to choose for myself what i want to do and how my life will end up. and sure i may end up choosing the clinic but i want it to be by my own volition, not because my parents gave me one choice.

really i’m just trying to figure out what i want and what God wants for me – what He wants me to do really. it was so easy choosing my school and i really felt like God was behind it all – it was like a blinking arrow pointing me to the direction i was going towards. but with this…i don’t know. i can’t think that far out into the future – i learned the hard way you just can’t. how can anyone? i know what i decide will cause a chain reaction in a lot of ways…but i have no idea what to do. i haven’t even started school yet and we’re already talking about what i’m going to do after i graduate. i just don’t value having a career/money as super important…i guess? because i can find a job anywhere pretty easily i think. sure owning my business will have a lot of perks, but idk. i feel like it’s hard to find a lifetime person too. and i just don’t want to miss out on any opportunities because of work. i don’t want work to prioritize my family. there are just so many unknowns that i don’t know how to deal with right now.

// this is pretty raw because it all just happened so here we go //

ever since i said i was going to pursue physical therapy, my future was set. my mom’s a pt and owns a clinic, so the plan has always been for me to take over once i became a pt myself. but here’s some backstory…they said this before i even graduated college.

like yes, it’s a nice plan. it’s probably the best one out there that people would love to have. i don’t deny it’s a great opportunity and a blessing for sure but a part of me never felt like it was my choice. yes, maybe a part of me is saying it’s a good choice – it’s something that i would want to do and be good at but it’s just that…a plan. but in my parents’ eyes it’s more than that – it’s my life. this is it.

it’s so uneasy for me to think that “THIS IS IT” because idk my life, my future is always changing. you have a plan – you work towards it, but it doesn’t always end up how you want it to. you make plans, all the details and everything is set but too many times have i seen God throw the blueprints away. and on the other hand, what if this is what God wants??? but who knows! nobody knows…

while it’s good to work towards something, my end goal if you will, it was something that i thought was negotiable. i knew they were pretty set on it, but i wanted to test the waters to see how flexible this plan was for them.

back in mid may, i posed the question to my mom what if i didn’t come back home and take over the business. she responded with then why am i still working. and i said well i don’t know it could happen – what if i meet someone. she replies, well then he moves back home with you. then i said well what if it’s serious and marriage is in the talk…shouldn’t i go where he goes??? in the end, it sounded like she was okay with me not coming back. and i thought yes! this is great. how reassuring to know that my mom wouldn’t be disappointed or hurt that i don’t take over her business. how great is it that i have a choice!! to find my own journey! but maybe she didn’t take what i said seriously because this topic came back up again a few weeks ago.

so the house next to us went on sale a few weeks ago and jokingly, my mom was like what if we buy the house next door then you and your brother can live next to each other when you both are back home! and i said what…that’s..weird…and i may not come back to houston anyway remember? and shocked, she replied WHAT. I THOUGHT YOU BECAME A PT TO TAKE OVER THE BUSINESS. and i was like wat. no…i didn’t become a pt BECAUSE i wanted your business…i wanted to become a pt for other reasons…all in all, my mom was confused why i wouldn’t be coming back even though i already told her my reason and this time my dad chimed in, hearing the news for the first time. he was also shocked…WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT COMING BACK.

let me break down my logic for you.
– yes. i know this is a friggin good deal/plan to have after graduating from anything
– yes. i know my parents want what’s best for me and they just don’t want to see me fail or go through hardships
– i thought that the only reason my parents would find acceptable for me not returning would be if i found a guy and we were going to get married or something and i moved wherever he went cuz what parent wouldn’t want their child to have a good dude and have a family right??
– the future is so unknown!! how is anyone supposed to plan that far out and it work out exactly the way they want it to?? my ex and i had marriage in sight but we BROKE UP. like frick – LIFE HAPPENS.
– yes. i know God is in control and everything will work out which is why i’m like um why am i planning my life so far ahead?? everything just feels so uneasy. i don’t know how else to explain how i’m feeling.

last week sometime my mom called me asking about something and ended the conversation with again “what do you mean you’re not moving back” and i explained my reasons again which was really the possibility of meeting someone and moving to where he goes because i’m gonna find a job regardless – that’s not an issue. but her argument was well have him move here or find a guy who wants to move or if you find a doctor go with him. so i’m like uh ok sure. nods head. and she’s saying i need to decide fast on what i’m going to do because what she does with the clinic depends on what city i end up living in post pt school. and i’m like well idk it’s so far out and she just replies with well then just decide houston now and we’ll go from there.

and then TODAY happened. my dad comes home to ask me why i’m not coming home after i graduate and proceeds to tell me what i would be throwing away if i didn’t come home (which i already know). he then proceeds to tell me i shouldn’t have a boyfriend while i’m in school because if something were to happen i could fail or drop out and that can’t happen because the next 3 years are vital in me becoming the successor. and how the guy should move to me because i would be the breadwinner of the family and idk i was just really frustrated at everything. they’re making it sound like my plan is to not move back home but that’s not what i’m saying. i’m just saying that there are options. i think a part of why is also because these values that were hidden deep within me felt the attacks and wanted to resist against them y’know? like idk i feel like the girl should follow the guy?? or the whole plan thing – i said what if mom got suddenly sick or something? and he was like we just will make sure nothing happens these next 3 years and i’m sitting there rolling my eyes because you just can’t plan something like that…idk.

then my mom comes up and talks to me and tells me basically the same thing and i’m like please, please, please stop talking to me about it. i already know everything! it’s my life and i want to be able to make decisions for myself. and yet in the corner, she’s still whispering “just commit houston now and it’ll be fine” so idk.

i don’t know if anyone sees my side or understands it or if they still think i’m crazy for potentially turning this down but this is where i’m at. just a girl who’s about to start pt school trying to figure out her life still. and maybe i want to do just that. life’s crazy. and i’m just trying to figure it all out. one. step. at. a. time.

Quote

no justification needed

something that i’ve been told quite a few times (and started to take note of thereafter) is “you don’t need to justify yourself – you’re/it’s okay”. the first time someone told me that i was taken aback because i didn’t realize that was what i was doing. since then i was more self-aware and began to realize it wasn’t just a one time thing – it was a tendency of mine.

as more of these instances occurred i wondered where this stemmed from and why i felt there was a need to justify myself…like all the time. after having moved home, i realized it happened a lot more and that’s when it dawned on me that it has a lot to do with my family dynamic and how we function as a unit.

being the youngest, i was never really taken seriously. what i mean by that is that what i said didn’t seem to have or hold any value and i had to fight to be heard and fight to make my point. i think especially being the youngest, my parents still see me as a kid even though i’m about to go to grad school and therefore have a hard time trusting me when it comes to doing things in the real world because to them because i’m a child i don’t know any better and they know better. so as a result they don’t take what i have to say to heart or trust what i’m saying as quickly compared to my oldest brother.

while that makes sense, it doesn’t make it okay either. i think instead of realizing what was happening, my brain just kicked in always trying to get in the last word, to be heard, and for my words/thoughts to hold strong to its value. i believe also as a result of that, my parents assumed they know what i’m about to say or are trying to get at so they cut me off before i’m able to complete my thought and me being me, i get frustrated so i feel the need to explain to them what i was going to say. or i feel the need to justify my actions/words because they got it completely wrong. and so all of this is to say i really felt that my words were misunderstood a lot of the time, and when that happens when i interact with people, everything instinctively kicks in thus bringing out this justification idea.

it’s an interesting concept about myself to think about but it’s definitely a thing and it makes a whole lot of sense when i trace it back to how it formed and grew over time.

it’s something i don’t need to do but i feel the need to do. but in a way by justifying myself, i’m looking to others to validate my thoughts/feelings and seeking value for my words through their recognition and i don’t need to prove my words have value/weight when i have that in God already. sure, people will misunderstand/disregard what i have to say from time to time but it doesn’t mean my worth/value should waver as a result of it and that’s something i’ve come to stand by as i’ve reflected on this idea more and more. my worth and value stand firm in Christ and nothing and no one else so really, there is no need for me to justify myself to prove to them and myself that i am valuable when i am valued by the Lord Most High.

no justification needed

intentionality

|be intentional|

this was a phrase that i heard constantly while in my college ministry. whenever you met a freshman, a new member, an old member, or wanted to pursue a romantic relationship…be. intentional.

even though this phrase was thrown around a lot, it was exactly that. thrown around. i don’t think we ever really knew what it meant to be intentional with one another nor do i think we had the opportunity to do so either. like what does being intentional even entail?

some would say its’s stating your intentions of the friendship/relationship from the get go, others would say it’s reaching out to people and investing in them, but mostly everyone probably had no idea even though they had a seemingly good answer.

and there’s nothing wrong with that, no, i was definitely in the “mostly everyone” category. i just didn’t know what it meant and being surrounded by the same people and being so accessible to one another living on campus, we didn’t really have to try all that hard to be intentional when we saw each other ALL THE TIME. there was no need to be intentional really, it was just…we were there.

so i guess what i’m getting at is that i think i understand what it really means to be intentional now that i’m in the adulting world.

post college, everyone is everywhere. all my close friends either moved to a different city or to a new state altogether, and i moved back home so i was away from all my college friends. basically, we didn’t have that easy and convenient access we once had in college making things a lot harder in terms of keeping up with one another.

>> insert intentionality <<

i think intentionality is two fold. first, it’s wanting to maintain a friendship with the other person. second, it’s taking action to work on maintaining said friendship.

i’ve found it difficult to do that a lot of the time because everyone is working and free time is limited. but it’s definitely not impossible. i’m finding myself messaging people more and being more effortful in staying in touch and up-to-date on my friends’ lives which also includes being present with where i’m at as well in deepening relationships i’m making in my present place.

so whether that’s messaging people more, setting up video chats, or meeting up with people no matter how tired i may be – it’s worth it. and the best part is when you see your friend trying as well and that’s when you know you’ve got a solid friend right there. that even though you may not be in close proximity anymore, they still want to be involved and invested in your life and in order to do that we’re striving towards being intentional and effortful in our friendship.

though there are a few times where i’ve tried to be intentional in meeting up and setting aside time for people that was not reciprocated back, oh well. they were just part of your life for a season and that’s okay and so when it is a two way street, it’s really nice.

being intentional requires heart and effort from both sides and with everyone working so hard and jaded from work and life, you really have to make a point to say you value the relationship and want to deepen it through being intentional.

i’m still working out the details myself, but for now, i’m going to try to

|be intentional|

intentionality

company of 1

i just got back from visiting my friend in minnesota and while i’ve traveled on an airplane by myself countless times, this was the first time i explored the streets on my own.

1) i definitely over thought how to navigate to and from places.

  • i was nervous to take the light rail from the airport to where my friend was, so i kept asking her for confirmation because i was so scared i’d get lost.
  • in a way she felt like my little fairy friend that helps you on the tutorial level of your video game hahah.

2) it wasn’t as awkward as i thought it was going to be.

  • since i came during the week, my friend still had work, so i had to go out and find food for myself for lunch.
  • back at home i would always tell myself ‘today’s the day you eat by yourself’ but i never did it 😛
  • it was a little awkward when the waiter/waitress realized it was a meal for one x-x but after that, it was really fine – they were nice (: for the most part i was on my phone or just listening to the chatter that surrounded my bubble of silence.

3) i was worried for nothing.

  • during this gap year, i have said that i wanted to do a solo trip somewhere to which people suggested going to europe. i feel like yes, it’s definitely possible but i just feel way too uneasy about me traveling and figuring stuff out in europe compared to a different state. i said maybe i could go do national parks but i feel like having a buddy is good for health and safety reasons. so it was cool that i got to go to minnesota and venture out on my own in and around town!
  • i say all this because i’m really bad at directions >< i lived in dallas for a while and still was unsure of which way to turn to get somewhere. i just get disoriented really easily LOL. but to my surprise, i was okay this time around! and i got to places with almost no trouble at all (:
  • with it came a lot of freedom to took tiny detours in order to experiment a route or challenging myself to not look at google maps to help me get to my destination 😀

4) it was pretty freeing tbh.

  • it was really nice to just walk around and adventure out. i think also because it was chilly, cold, and everywhere around me was still white – the whole experience was really refreshing.

5) company of 1 isn’t all that bad.

  • one afternoon i decided to go check out a museum before meeting up with my friend, and yeah i felt a little awkward going in and joining a mini tour where the other 3 people knew each other and i was just there lol.
  • but it wasn’t bad! i looked at everything at my own pace, yet still learned a lot about the city’s history and everything. it also helped that the place was nearly empty because it was a thursday afternoon 😛

something interesting did happen that has never happened before was that i received an unsolicited advance from a guy while i was waiting for the metro…

i had just finished eating lunch with my friend and was walking towards the light rail. i saw that it was almost at the platform, so i quickly bought my ticket and jumped on. as i sat there, i realized that there was a high probability that i was on the wrong one and needed to get off, but i realized too late. as soon as i stood up, the light rail started to move.

looking back if i had gotten on the right one, i wouldn’t have undergone the following experience but oh well -_-

so i was like ok no big deal, i’ll get off on the next one and hop on the right train. as i’m waiting there, standing against a pole with my suitcase in front of me, a guy and a few of his friends walk past me. i can hear them a ways away because they’re pretty much yelling. he walks past me and does a double take saying ‘heyy you pretty as helllll. can i leave you my number??’ and i was like ‘i’m good, thanks.’ to which he replied with ‘yo you japanese? chinese?’ and i kind of just stared at him in honestly a state of shock and terror. fortunately, he kept walking and caught up with his friends.

now yes. i’m sure you read that and was like ‘uh there were so many better ways you could’ve handled that’. yes, you’re right. immediately after that happened, i thought the same thing. honestly as i saw him walk past me, i already felt kind of scared because they seemed very loose (idk how to describe it x-x), and as soon as he spoke to me, i froze. i was honestly terrified because my mind immediately thought of all the different outcomes that could happen from that moment on. i knew i wouldn’t be able to outrun him with my suitcase, i couldn’t use my suitcase as a weapon because it was too heavy, and if i punched him or something, my suitcase would be vulnerable and i wouldn’t be able to getaway fast enough.

so then the only response that came out of my mouth was ‘i’m good, thanks’ >-> i wasn’t sure what he was going to do next, but i just stayed still and didn’t move – trying to keep my cool. luckily there were other people around me so i thought ‘ok if he does do something, at least there are people around who could help me i hope??’ i could see the dart was due soon so i kept repeating in my head like hurry uppp, what is taking so longggg. thankfully, he didn’t do anything to me and he walked away.

i get on the metro, and right before the doors close, he comes on with his friends. i get nervous because i wasn’t sure if he’d recognize me and try to approach me again. luckily he  didn’t, and his friends and him got into a fight and were yelling at each other. he then got off on the next stop. however, the entire time they were on talking, i was coming up with ways of how to defend myself if he ended up approaching me or doing something inappropriate. thankfully nothing happened!! but it was definitely an experience and the first time i experienced something like that. and sad to say, i guess that’s what comes with traveling by yourself as well.


needless to say venturing out by myself was a really great experience! i would 10/10 recommend you go out and adventure on your own (: i think it might surprise you like it did me. but i have to say, there were moments that i kept telling myself like ‘when you’ve been on tours, there have been people who were there by yourself – this isn’t weird’, ‘enjoy your time’, ‘your friend’s at work, and you need to eat so let’s go’, and many other things haha. so yeah i guess i did have to hype myself up every now and then 😡 but in the end, a company of one isn’t too bad 😀

 

company of 1