Last Friday was the sweetest. It ended weeks of stressful, crippling imagining. You see? Even the way I described it was pained. Haha! No, I was just exaggerating. My US Visa application got approved on Friday! Yey! I’m going to Washington, D.C.! Yey!
I was actually unsure if I’d blog about this because some people might think I’m making this too much of a big deal. But it is! Well for me and the many people who have prayed for and with me!
To some extent, the US visa application process really proved stressful and crippling as I frequently found myself thinking how it’s gonna be if I’m denied a visa. The tickets were handed to me by the office that sponsored the trip, will I pay them the cost just in case? It was extraordinary. Here’s the story.
It started in September 2012. Doris, our Executive Director, just popped the question, “Butch, may US visa ka na?”
“Wala pa,” I said.
“Wala namang dahilan para kumuha.”
“Sige bigyan kita ng dahilan.”
I have been with the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) for 16 months now. My official job title used to be Advocacy and Special Events Officer but Special Events seemed out of place so it was changed to Advocacy and Special Projects Officer. It stood for some time but given how vague it was relative to how I functioned in the office and because we are currently putting together an operations manual, I am proposing to have it changed to Advocacy and Information Management Officer. I hope I didn’t bore with that one but the short of it is I do and will do advocacy work as long as I am with CEAP.
The cause for me to get a visa was the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy conference that happens annually in Washington, D.C. It’s a gathering of educators and advocates for the cause of education. In broad strokes, it would be like a crash course on how American educators do advocacy work. CEAP is a nationwide networking office of the more than 1,400 Catholic private educational institutions, which comprise its membership. Hopefully, we’d get to network with them, benchmark good practices, and get updated on international trends that may be applied to how we do it here in the Philippines.
I was the one who wrote the proposal for funding to the Fund for Assistance to Private Education. I intently prayed for its approval. And when it got approved, my prayers even became more fervent, for visa approval this time around.
One of the better advices that I got in 2012 was from Blue, a former co-teacher. Well it wasn’t really an advice but something I picked up from our stream of subconscious. We were talking about where life took us right after we quit teaching in 2004. It was a chance meeting in Legazpi, Albay in August. He writes down his dreams and wishes and it just happens he said.
I have not done much traveling outside the Philippines. In fact, I’ve only seen Vietnam and that’s it. Traveling to the US as a tourist is on my list and spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square has been an obsession since 2007. I tried the exercise. And prayed for it.
I opened and closed 2012 in Davao City. I was sent there on January 2012 for the International Conference on Mining at the Ateneo de Davao University and I spent the last days of December 2012 also in Davao for the emergency CEAP Caucus on CHED’s Memorandum Order 46.
My US visa approval got me excited all the more because I am opening 2013 in the US! The conference happens on January 27-29. We’ll leave on January 25 and will be back on January 31. If the same pattern holds true, who knows, I MIGHT have to spend the last days of 2013 in the US as well!
Again, thanks to all who prayed and threw in their support. Thanks to Doris, CEAP, and FAPE.
Yes, it’s a big deal. It’s extraordinary.