When I first arrived in Florida, I was stranger here. I had no relatives, I had no friends. My future was very uncertain. However, I relied everything upon the Lord, believing that He will take care of me, as He's always done in the past.
A month after my arrival, I moved temporarily into a condo at Young Circle in Hollywood. One afternoon, while shopping at Publix, I overheard two Asian-looking ladies conversing in Filipino. After they were done chatting, I approached one lady and introduced myself. She was very nice and we ended up exchanging mobile phone numbers. Her name was Dempuls, a native of Cebu, who works as a special education teacher in a private school in Hollywood. She lived in a condo on the other side of ArtsPark, just across our condo. She became my first friend in Florida.
Then I had to leave Hollywood to move into our current place at Coconut Creek.
About 15 minutes from our place is Deerfield Beach. In this part of Florida where Filipinos are a minority, I was blessed to meet another Filipino who since then have become my very good friend. Her name is Sylvia, a kind-hearted, warm and outgoing lady. Through Sylvia, I was able to meet other nice ladies who've become my friends.
When I enrolled at Broward College during the Fall semester, I met Maynel, the College's Technical Advisor (South Campus). She and I first "met" over the phone back in December '08 when I was making inquiries about the school's Legal Studies program while I was still in Hawaii. When we met in person in June, I found her to be a warm and sincere person and we instantly connected.
Being a transferee and an "international" student, the college had plenty of requirements before I was allowed to enroll, which I tried my best to comply; however, up to this time, I could not understand why their system has been lax about updating my records. However, my friend, Maynel, made it possible for me to enroll. She's been very helpful.
During the Fall semester, I attended two campuses (North and South). My professors were all great, particularly Prof. Milchman. He's a genuine person who considered us (his students) a part of his family. Another very wonderful professor is Judge Sonom, who, like Prof. Milchman, is approachable and helpful to his students.
I met some very nice people who became my friends both in the North and South campuses. Two of these classmates became my dearest friends. They're wonderful, bright, helpful and down-to-earth. Sharon was a classmate in Immigration Law and Probate Practice at the South Campus. Noelle was a classmate in Domestic Relations at the North Campus.
Like me, Noelle's also a full-time student so we're able to spend time together outside of class. We would spend Saturdays in the campus library studying for our exams, or hang out at the cafeteria before or after class to discuss our school work. Even though we do not live near each other, Noelle is kind enough to give me a ride whenever I need one.
One Saturday, she surprised me with a gift bag. I call it my early Christmas gift. This is the first (and probably the only) gift that I received this Christmas. Thank you, Noelle!
The people I've mentioned above are my friends here in South Florida. However, I also have good friends in other parts of the U.S. and even back home in the Philippines, who continually support me with their prayers and love. I do not have to mention them individually by name but they know who they are. They are my friends who remained true despite the distance that separates us. They are there to listen to me when I need somebody to talk to. They are my "shoulder to cry on". When I am confused and in need spiritual advise, I know whom to turn to.
I know the Lord loves me a lot because He's blessed me with good friends.
Friends are like angels who lift our feet
when our own wings have trouble remembering how to fly.