Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It was 22 years ago when I arrived in Canada and chose Calgary, Alberta to be my home.  Leaving my family and friends behind, it was a new adventure for me to be in a new country without knowing anyone.  That was the time I looked for a Filipino community paper and never found any, [...]

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Page added on December 29, 2017

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Christmas Grace

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

On my way to the Human Resources Department of American Specialty Health, Inc., my steps were springy and I can feel the glow on my face with a hearty smile. That day in December 2, 2010, I decided to hand deliver my resignation letter as well as my retirement documents. I couldn’t believe I’ve worked diligently in this company for eleven years. I’ve been tremendously rewarded with several certificates of recognition, a $500 American Express Card for five-year service and a one-month salary for a ten-year service. I felt very, very blessed. Having worked in this company provided me tremendous learning experiences, received great support and valued endeavours. My eleven years of service in ASH were the best in my entire working experience.

I started in the summer of 1999 when the company had only 200 employees but through the years, the company with seven (7) subsidiaries rapidly expanded to 1,100 employees in 2010 when I decided to leave, take early retirement and move back to Calgary, Alberta.

There was a typhoon warning the day we left San Diego, California, on the 19th of December. My husband and I can’t delay our journey home since we determined to arrive in Calgary before Christmas. I drove first upon my better-half’s request until such time I needed a break. After putting the key into the ignition switch, I also placed my Gospel CD into the CD player. That’s my routine whenever I travel, near or far. My favourite couple, Guy and Ralna of the Lawrence Welk Show, their sweet harmonious voices filled the vehicle with their unparalleled rendition of “ Let there be Peace on Earth, You Never Walk Alone,” and others. The music put me at ease on the driver seat. Something greater than myself must be upon me since the warning for heavy rain and strong wind didn’t scare or bother me a bit. I got the power of my faith in high gear. I just kept a simple prayer in my heart.

I’ve driven the Interstate 15 many, many times before. The 1643 miles (2644 km.) stretch was a sight-seeing joy for our children when they were young. While we approached the California-Nevada border, downpour of much stronger rain met us. I felt as if marbles are hitting my windshield. I drove very slowly almost to a halt. I can feel my husband getting uneasy in his passenger seat and I noticed it. I prayed quietly. “Dear Lord give me a watchful eye and a steady hand. Help me that no one will be hurt as I pass by. Help us Lord to get through this storm. Jesus I am yours in life and in death.”

We took refuge in a Barstow Hotel located right across a factory outlet mall. No point going shopping., we thought. Our safe trip home occupied our minds. Early morning we found our truck buried in a snow pile. We dug the snow around the tires and off we drove. My husband relieved me from driving duties. Plans to stop by Las Vegas was in the radar. We stopped briefly at a factory outlet mall south of Las Vegas.

In no time, we were driving through the winding roads of St. George,the southwestern city of Utah. Snow flurries started to fall. As we drove deeper into the state, the snowfall appeared heavier. We passed vehicles left and right of the highway careening into ditches due to slippery roads. Our windshield wipers worked incessantly. Our truck’s wheel traction on the snowy road seemed to lose grip. My husband informed me we need to replace our all-season tires with winter tires. We stopped at a Nissan dealership outside of Salt Lake City for that purpose. It cost us a big chunk of our travel budget but it’s worth the sacrifice. We got solid peace of mind and we traveled with great confidence.

Everything went well for awhile. We stopped and rested for the night at a Salt Lake City Hotel. As we were about to leave the hotel, the guest clerk informed me my credit card didn’t get through. I called the credit card company right in front of the guest clerk. I was told one thing I failed to do before we left California was to let them know I will be traveling so they blocked the card when they saw I was using my card in Utah. It was a security measure which I wasn’t aware at such time. This was another important learning experience.

Winter driving is quite risky but it could be exhilarating, too. Passing through the vast lands of Montana covered with snow as far as the eyes can see, is awesome. After all the challenges we had for the past few days, here we are welcomed in the state with the golden sun shining very brightly and warmer temperature than usual. What a big difference! “The sun always shine after the storm. “ We felt elated, very thankful and grateful.

As planned, we arrived in Calgary before Christmas. The children did their best efforts to make our home very festive. The smell of the fresh, elaborately decorated Christmas tree was soothing and calming. The aroma of Swiss Chalet food on the table was very inviting. Great to be home for Christmas. Our family are all together again, in one place under one roof. We don’t have so much but we have each other for Christmas. The Christmas grace was upon us.

Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar is the past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Alberta (UPAAA), 2012-2015. Currently she is the Chairperson of the Stewardship Committee of the Holy Trinity Parish Church and also chairs the Catholic Women’s League Committee on Legislation and Resolutions of Holy Trinity Parish CWL Council.









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