Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

So here I am…7 months after my operation (check out the ‘Living with a hidden (not so hidden) illness’ series if you aren’t sure what I am on about) and I am finally back on track. I am able to walk more than 50 metres without being out of breath…well unless I am walking with my mum, who runs more than walks!

We just had a bank holiday this past weekend in the UK and we thought we’d use the time to go and climb Pen Y Fan in south Wales. So after dropping mum off at the airport, who unfortunately had to go back to America for work, and off we went to Cardiff where we spent the night.

Following a filling and hearty breakfast and coffee at the ready, we drove into the Brecon Beacons and before I knew it…we were at the base of Pen Y Fan. From the road we could see how busy it was and it really didn’t look like it was much of a climb. Boy was I wrong.

Almost as soon as we started the ascent, I was already out of breath!!! However, after many breaks on the way up, we made it to the top of Pen Y Fan (886m) in just over 2 hours. We then also climbed Corn Du (873m) before a steep descent down a different route. We were so insanely lucky with the weather and somehow avoided the rain.

This might not seem like a huge feat, and the mountain really wasn’t that high, but for me this was huge. This was the first real challenge I’d had since my surgery. Finally having two lungs I could use to breathe and no pressure on my spine, definitely helped. Yes I was still very much out of breath and it took me a longer than I’d hoped but I made it!

Hiking will never be one of my favourite things to do but getting to the top, I couldn’t help but feel proud and happy of my achievements. It is also the first step on a long journey. Dad and I have challenged ourselves to climb either Mount Kilimanjaro or to do the Base Camp trek of Everest in 2020. So keep an eye out for our other climbs and adventures!!

What about you? What is your favourite mountain to climb? What has been your proudest moment this year so far?

Philippines

Am not sure what I expected. For sure I had not looked at the map to actually find out where it was located… I just knew it was a long journey to get there… leaving Saturday, arrive Sunday evening…. skipping 7 hours in time difference for a few days, till the journey would be done in reverse.

Travelling for work is a recurring theme. I like spending time with the people that use the system I helped implement, and visiting them in their location is a great way to find out how we are doing. Visiting the Shared Service Centre in the Philippines meant going to another country I had not been before….

Driving from the airport to the hotel and I was already impressed and confused at the same time. Run down houses next to military installations… very busy roads with very big cars… very cool little busses (Jipnee) and rain… the hotel I was staying in was in the BGC area (Bonifacio Global City): a beautiful very well maintained area. Full of very modern high rise buildings, many shops and restaurants… as I said, very different from what I expected.

I travelled there together with another colleague, who had luckily been there and knew were to go…

The office was modern, the people very very friendly… and luckily we had a little time to see beyond the office walls… we visited all sorts of areas and restaurants… I loved it all..

Below a few pictures…

A few things I learned during the trip: the food is not so spicy but very flavoursome, rainy season means rain…., the service mentality can be found everywhere, people are very friendly, and I would like to return sometime to actually do some sightseeing.

During the trip I read a book: ‘Left To Tell’, the story of Immaculee and her ability to forgive after having survived the Rwanda Genocide. A read worthy book. I recommend it. She recalls her experience of survival and reminds us that love and forgiveness can tear down the walls of hatred. God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

I don’t know why I chose this business trip to read the book.. one sentence in the book really spoke to me….’see the world as it could be, not as it is’…. and that is what I am taking to heart… this trip it was very easy to respond kind to kindness shown. The Philippino is so kind, the world is kind….

The real question is, when times are not so easy, or when you are not welcomed with open arms … will you still see the world as it could be? And love and forgive unconditionally?

This is something I am working on….