In my usual tradition of looking back through my last year as a means of reflection, act of gratitude of the year that was and my way of keeping memories through the years, I would often create a gratefulness list for the last year.
My 2019 started out promising. My prayers were answered. The change I have been praying for the last part of my 2018 has been answered, a change my spirit has badly needed. But yes, change is never easy. In fact, it is even painful. But sometimes you just know you need that change.
My 2019 was a year of change, a year of new adventure, a year of jolting me out of my comfort zone, a year of slowing down. In spite of the discomfort and struggle of the new changes that were happening in my life as well as my little family, 2019 was a better year for me than my horrible 2018.
Here is my GRATEFULNESS LIST OF 2019:
1. Reached my goal weight at 8 months postpartum
It is a bit superficial to put this 1st but I was proud of myself for being able to reached my desired goal weight at 8 months postpartum. It took me several tweaks in my diet to find the right formula to achieve my goal weight.
We considerable amount of discipline and consistency, I did these to lose the baby weight:
– Sticked to an almost Vegetarian Keto diet. Stopped eating white rice. Replaced salad as my “rice”. However, I eat quinoa and occasionally brown rice.
– Did modified intermittent fasting (ate breakfast by 10:00 am and stop eating by 6pm)
– Drank lots of water. Avoid sodas. Removed milk in my coffee. Used stevia in my coffee & tea instead of sugar
– Try to eat clean and avoid processed junk food. I try to keep my diet gluten-free.
I felt great with the weight loss. Though I gave back a bit after my vacation in the Philippines because it was hard to resist temptation with all the foods I miss in the Philippines. But I am getting back into the groove again.
2. Got my visa to work in Oman
I have been praying in 2018 that I will get my work visa in Oman. I been wanting the change so badly. I was hoping to get it before the end of 2018 and I was so disappointed, I didn’t. But the start of 2019, I got the good news that my visa was ready.
3. Wonderful memories of my 6 years in Singapore
I have very fond memories of Singapore. The Little Red Dot surely have a special place in my heart. It will always be a second home to me and my family. It is where I matured, started a family and learned so many things in life. My initial months leading to a year in Singapore has been a bit rocky as I navigate the challenges of moving to a new country but it was truly a blessing that I get to live and work in Singapore for a few years. I have gained so many experiences, learnings, friends and memories that I would treasure fondly as I closed my chapter with Singapore last year.
4. Second chance to go back to my profession: MEDICINE
Not everyone get to have a second chance but I did. I realised I missed being a doctor. So I was grateful that I got a chance to work as doctor again in a new land.
5. Fulfilling doctor work in Oman
Being exposed to a super busy polyclinic work in Singapore, seeing 60-80 patients a day, working 9 hours with 1 hour or less lunch break, no tea breaks, my physician work in Oman was a wonderful contrast. Average patients a day would be around 30 at a 7 hour shift. It was great to have nap times after work and lull moments at the clinic. Though I have to struggle with learning Arabic to communicate with my patients and there are night calls & ambulance escort rides, I was still feeling blessed to be in a less busy environment and I get to learn new things, upgrade some physician skills I have never used before and become more confident in my management. I got to learn how to do antenatal check up & pregnancy ultrasound, deliver babies and ACLS, etc.
6.Assigned to a work place that gave me an opportunity to learn at my own pace and meet wonderful workmates
I prayed to God that I will be assigned to a clinic or hospital that wouldn’t be intimidating for a timid doctor like me. God has answered my prayers by bringing me to a peaceful health center in the tourist spot area up in the mountains of Oman. The workplace totally matched my personality and my workmates were all so warm, kind and helpful to a newcomer like me. It was the best place to start my work in Oman.
7. Experience single living again (at least temporarily)
Any mother (or father) would agree that even how much they love their kids and family life, sometimes they miss the joy of single living. The life of having the whole time for yourself, the peace & quiet, the absence of chaos or abundance of self-made domestic clutter without caring about it. I have to travel first in Oman and settled in the country & my workplace, waiting for my family’s documents to be ready for their move. So I got to experience my single living days again. Emphasise on the “my” single living because for some, it may mean, frivolous night outs and constant partying. But my definition of fun single life would mean binge-watching on Netflix shows, junkfood dinner on the bed, quiet night with the incense lamp burning on with a good book, uninterrupted exercise mornings and nap times in the afternoon.
8. Simple Minimalistic Living
I aimed since 2018 & 2019 to live a minimalistic lifestyle and living in Oman forced me into the “real” minimalistic living that I have been trying so hard to achieve. Due to the distance of the city, inaccessibility of transportation and the culture of modesty & simplicity in Oman, I am living in a simple minimalistic way. I didn’t need a wardrobe of different outfits or various kinds of accessories. I let go of my expensive monthly beauty sessions for eyelash extensions, manicure, pedicures, facials, etc. My schedule has less activities and less hustle & bustle. Even my beauty and makeup regimen is simple and I let go of my 8-step Korean beauty routine.
9. My family joining me my adventure here in Oman
I was ecstatic last September, my family finally joined me here in Oman. I miss my boys terribly. Even if I did enjoy my single living moments, it still never tops my happiness to be with my family. Living abroad for me is best experienced with my little family with me. I enjoy discovering new foods, new spots and learning about the country together with them. And I must say, my husband and I have always been a great team in life and I always believe living abroad, raising family in a foreign country is easier with him by my side.
10. Support group for my healthy living & vegetarianism
I have always been flirting with vegetarianism since I was in Med School. It was the only way of eating that made me lose the weight I have gained when I reached my 20s. I was never able to become consistent with eating vegetarian. I have also an interest in healthy eating which is important now that I am getting older. I am glad I found support groups that is helping me in my desire to eating healthily and become fully vegan.
11. Found a nice home for my family
I have always been lucky in finding a new home in places that we have lived in. I am glad I found a nice villa in Oman that would be my family’s home for the next few years. It is a large duplex villa with 3 big rooms and 3 bathrooms, a living room, dining room and a rooftop. The neighbourhood is very peaceful and not crowded. The owner of the villa is a nice Omani guy that speaks very good English and extremely receptive to our needs.
12. 1st Christmas in Muscat
We had a lovely 1st Christmas in Oman. We celebrated it by have a 2 nights staycation at Somerset Panorama Hotel, our favorite go-to hotel in Muscat so far and a Christmas buffet at City Seasons Hotel. We had a grand time and we even hang the kids’ stockings in the hotel living room for “Santa” to drop his goodies & gift for the kids. We also spend some time at Snow City at Mall of Muscat. It was a wonderful Christmas family time in Muscat.
13. Learned about the importance of Habits
One of the best books I have read this year is the Atomic Habits by James Clear. I learned the best way to achieve goals and be the best version of yourself is by have strong good consistent habits. Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have proven the importance of cultivating good habits. James Clear’s book went further by creating techniques and guides to make good habits stick and abolish bad ones. I learned that creating specific system to achieve is more essential than having only a goal to reach. If you have only one non-fiction book to read this 2020, I suggest you read this book.
14. Workplace transfer nearer to our house
Even if I love working at the health center in the quiet mountains, it was 1 hour drive away from the villa I am renting with my family. I was hoping to be transferred to a workplace nearer to the villa. By the end of the December 2019, my bosses officially informed me that I will be transferred by 1st week of January 2020 to a hospital 30 minutes away from our house. I know I will need to adjust again to my new environment but I don’t mind as long as I am nearer to my family. When we do get a car soon, a drive back in forth work and home is much easier than if I am working 1 hour away up in the mountain.
15. New friends
New country, new place, new friends. I am grateful for the new friends that I have gained last 2019. It made my transfer here in Oman so much easier. I made new Filipino friends, Indian friends, Omani friends. I felt taken care of by the generous wonderful people I have met and made friends in 2019.
Now 2020 is a new fresh year. It is full of possibilities. It is a new decade too. In the last decade, I realised I was busy building a family of my own.
2010 – J & I became a couple
2011- J proposed
2012- I move to Singapore for work
2013- J & I got married, J joined me in Singapore, I got pregnant
2014- Gave birth to Naj
2015- Got pregnant
2016- Gave birth to Fynn
2017- Got pregnant
2018- Gave birth to Zeke
2019- I move to Oman for work
2020- Hello New Decade
I feel complete with our little family. It is time for us to secure our future and that is our goal for this decade.
I made a list of things I decide to let go as the new decade. I have several items on the list. But what is funny, come January 2020, one of the item in the list that I decided to turn my back on came beckoning back to me. My family and I are on a new mission and we hope to achieve it in a few years time.
My word for 2020 is Zen. I hope for this year to be a peaceful calm one. I hope to renew and strengthen my relationship with the Lord. Even with all the worldly goals and desires we hope to achieve, in the end our ultimate goal is to be reunited to Him and I need to work on pleasing Him starting this decade. The world has been getting chaotic and we have lost sight of our real purpose here on earth. But while we try to better ourselves and learn in our temporary sojourn on earth, I would like to work hard to slowly reach the goal my family and I are aiming. Please pray for us that it will be bestowed to us if God wills it.
May you all have a wonderful 2020 and amazing new decade ahead!