It’s actually Monday already but still, I don’t want to skip my gratitude post altogether. Specially after an awesome vacation. So here’s what I am thankful for this past week:

I am grateful for our 3-week vacation. While it had been physically taxing for the most part, what with all the road trip, daily walks and full day itineraries, it was emotionally refreshing for Ariel and I.

I am grateful for the new places we’ve discovered, people we’ve encountered, food we’ve tried for the first time, and cultures we’ve witnessed, immersed in, and experienced. God created a beautiful world for us to live in temporarily and I am truly honored, privileged and so blessed to have seen another part of it.

I am grateful for the beautiful weather every single day we are in the UK. It hardly rained and the sun was out almost on a daily basis. We were able to go around comfortably and enjoy the sights conveniently.

I am grateful for our good health. Despite the cold weather (it was warm by British standards, but cold for us), our bodies adjusted well. We did not get sick. Not even minor colds or sore throat.

I am grateful that we were kept safe all the time. We prayed for God’s traveling mercies and for His angels to constantly surround us and He did just that! We were protected from illnesses, accidents, robbery, mugging, and other potential harm. One time, going “home” late at night, two men who had a bit much to drink almost had a fight inside the train in the area where we were sitting. Good thing it was already our stop, we got off and got home safely. God is good!

I am grateful for the kind, helpful and accommodating taxi/bus drivers, and tour guides we’ve encountered who not only drove us safely to our destinations but also took the time to educate us on the local history and culture, and also took the time to get to know us a bit.

I am grateful for the hotels and B&Bs we’ve stayed in as we explored Scotland and Ireland. They were all nice, comfortable and safe, and they provided us much needed rest at the end of each busy day.

I am grateful for the deals I found on the internet that allowed us to enjoy our trip at relatively affordable rates.

I am grateful for the financial blessings that Ariel and I received over the past years that allowed us to take this trip and enjoy time with each other.

I am deeply grateful for my brother and sister in law who generously shared their home for us to stay in while we were in England. They also joined us in some of our tours, spent for our train tickets and admission fees to some of the sights, and prepared homecooked meals for us. They have been a huge blessing.

I am grateful that we are now safely home. Our flight had been uneventful for the most part. On our final approach, shortly before we were supposed to land in Manila, we were told that we will be delayed by about 20 minutes as the local airport staff has not yet given us clearance to land. We were flying above Manila in turbulent weather for a couple of minutes. Finally, we were able to  land safely. It was only much later that we found out there was a tropical depression and the weather’s been bad in the past few days. We praise God for keeping us safe during our entire flight.

I am grateful that Ariel and I have stable jobs here that allow us to live comfortably and close to our family. While the UK is a beautiful country, it is hard for most Filipinos to live so far away from home amidst a different culture, with hardly any support group, and sometimes even subject to discrimination. Yes, the earning opporunity might be better for some, but they also sacrifice a lot. It is a huge blessing for us to have that choice to live here and be near our parents, siblings, other relatives and friends. For that, I am truly, sincerely grateful.

Have a great week everyone!

Written by Alby Laran

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