In my time, (until today), most Filipino young girls dreamt of having a fabulous début, a special kind of party with all the splendid trimmings to mark their “grand entrance” into the world of adults, celebrated when they turn 18. A social rite of passage.
Just like many of my friends in school, I also had that kind of dream — yet as I was nearing my 10th birthday, somehow I felt a débutante’s ball would not be feasible, what with my mother about to give birth to the 9th and youngest in the family.
But surprise of all surprise, on my 13th birthday, my parents threw me a simple get-together with my friends at home. For me, that already corresponded to my dream of having a ‘coming out’ celebration, making me tickled pink, my heart overflowing with love and gratitude. My wish fulfilled.
Thus each birthday since, a début was no longer part of my girly wish for my special milestone because for a wallflower like me, except for the music, dancing and the like were not exactly my slice of cake. Having a boyfriend was more like it!
Yet, mine was a début like no other, for it was a simple day out with my mother as we ventured on a food trip out of town. So that meant riding on a commuter train. And being the 2nd time ever in my life, that sent me into visions of the train rolling luxuriously across the metro, with landscapes blurring past us.
Even so, the ride itself was not particularly impressive; more grown up now, since I first took the train when I was still a child, it just felt like being transported on a bus, not on a plane – so nothing really special about it at all.
Yet the thrill that filled me plus my fanciful musings were enough to kick off with much anticipation my bonding time with Mom on that day I turned 18. As the morning breezed into the late afternoon sun, and as we feasted on the variety of local foods from different regions of the country, the more I felt it was my best birthday ever – my tummy full, my heart overflowing with happiness, and it didn’t matter that I still felt like a little girl inside.
Time has flown into my golden age, my days will in a few more years become the colors of autumn, my beloved Mom now recently passed, yet – rather, especially because of her- the memory of my eighteenth birthday will forever be lovingly, hauntingly etched in my heart!
How about you, did you ever have a debut, or a ‘coming-of-age’ party? Tell me about it in the comment box below.
The flurry of events in the past days still leaves me in a daze; everything still seems surreal; a part of me still numbed, tears surge every now and then…
I still can’t believe that today it’s the fourteenth day since my mother passed on to her eternal Home. Death came waiting for her, gently waited while she agonized in pain…
They say that it was her purification…that she has now gone straight to Heaven. Not only was it her earthly “purgatory,” but the nun-formator at my sister’s convent said my Mom was a Victim Soul, –
a “CHOSEN SOUL who freely sacrifices oneself, one’s health, material goods, happiness, etc. as an offering to Divine justice for the sins of the world, for sinners, or for the benefit of the Church. Or as Our Lady has often said, these generous souls, after the example of the crucified Christ, are needed to “balance the scales.”
That should comfort me enough, yet deep inside – the pain of losing her sears through.
A Sense of Denial
Although Mom was already in the winter of her life, and though she was battling the disease which had grown big inside her, still it had not dawned on me that she’d be taken away from us this soon.
Deep inside me, this sense of denial seems more real than the fact she is no longer with us physically.
Oh I’ve been dreaming about this for so long, but if only I could have a Robot, so I could have a pair of Bionic Eyes that can scan my mind, as I write.
You see, now that I’m earning a living out of creating content for websites – I realize that writing cannot all be fun, especially when running out of time, and there are still loads of articles to read and curate.
And so, if ever I could, I’d command You, Robot, my dear BionicEyes, to do just this one Big task:
Capture, collect and gather all the thoughts that have been running here and there in my mind, and flash them onto my screen, so that all I have to do is just to re-arrange them as neatly, logical as I want them to be…
Not wanting to use my keyboard any longer as I curate an article, when my wrists are tired – my dear Robot – Be my Eyes and set all the ideas right before me – on the screen – Now.
This is not to say I do not enjoy what I’m doing. On the contrary, it delights me immensely so.
Yet, times when I do want everything automated, except thinking itself…so please, my Bionic Eyes, come to my rescue!
The Name’s The Thing, yes. It feels good naming some things. Just like My Writer Pad, one among several physical journals I keep. And my Writer Pad’s name is — Sean George. How it came to be, I will tell you.
Sean stands for the name of my long-time Hollywood crush — the ever so debonair Sean Connery. I’ve liked him more since watching him in “Finding Forrester” and in “First Knight.” The way he carries himself like true blue royalty can still make me swoon for the moon, letting my imagination go wild with his hypnotic gaze and deep strong voice. Sigh….
Then, George comes from the name of one of the main characters in a short love story my Korean student, a nun, and I read, discussed in class. At the end of several weeks of digesting the story, my student said she hoped I’d find my own George. Well, here he is, together with Sean.
With that name, it’s easy for me to be lured to come to Sean George, my Writer Pad, bare my soul, with my words streaming down on its pages.
Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?
Nothing gives more joy to me than food or drink made from scratch – like brewed freshly-ground coffee, just the aroma of it is enough to perk me up long before my first sip;
and nothing tastes more heavenly than fresh-from-the oven bread or cake my son has baked…
and what instant soup can ever compare to the delectable scent, oriental flavor and rich texture of traditionally-cooked soup, one that you cook with meat bones and tiny-diced veggies and spices for close to 4 hours?
I just love thick hand-crocheted shawls, just like the ones my mother patiently handmade for me, for nothing else can give that feel of warmth and coziness on a rainy or cold day or night.
And I cannot resist the beauty of hand-crafted decorative items that can adorn the home, or be used for a purpose — native food baskets woven from bamboo or rattan, cross-stitched table runners and doilies, hand-painted bowls, to name a few.
Thus, I look back with fondness to my grandparents’ house, similar to the photo above, inside of which were hand-crafted objects, like their wooden intricately-carved furniture and hand-sewn lace curtains.
I still relish handwritten notes and letters, as well as writing longhand in my various journals, some of which have been handmade with recycled paper, stitched at the edges with lovely yarns of thread.
Traditionally cooked food or drink, handmade objects, are always a delight to have, for they bear the imprint of the person that made them.
They are feasts to the body, soul and mind, and each toil that goes into the making of that special object or food carries a tale of Love, a handiwork of the Heart.
When I am grown much much older, and my granddaughters will have been bigger, I shall tell them all about these…my handmade tales of love.
I am just but one of the many wandering furry souls in your village, and every day, together with the other furry creatures in the neighborhood, we roam up and down your winding streets, climb your trees and your rooftops.
Day and night, we tread, or creep along the many crooks and crevices of this tiny conclave of yours, hoping that I and my fellow felines may be taken in, and become part of your homes.
This mission of seeking homes that can shelter and feed and care for us may take a lifetime, but still we are happy with our fate, happy we populate this place along with you, dear humans.
So at night, we may bother your peace with our caterwauling, as we exchange notes with cat friends, or safeguard our respective territories from our enemies, lurking within the shadows of your own apartments and houses.
We have nine lives, you humans say that about us.
Thus, we have somehow made your streets, or your vacant lots or even your gardens and yards as our home as well, as much as you fiercely shove us away and leave us to the harsh elements of nature and evil ways of some of your specie.
We have no choice, and we are possessed with a strange resilience in order to adapt to the way you have been treating us so callously, like garbage strewn carelessly on the roads or canals.
Sometimes, we don’t bother to give you time to let us in – you wouldn’t so anyway.
Thus, we just jump right onto your terraces, or backyards – just for a chance, if any, to have a taste of some left-over morsel from your kitchen or dining tables, to appease the raging famine we suffer from, each day of our pitiful lives, and find ourselves some shelter from the heat, or rain, or cold.
We cannot even find a bowl of fresh water waiting for us at your doorstep or yard for us to sip in order to quench the deep thirst in our parched tongues and throats.
So we have no choice but destroy your plants to squeeze off some of the bitter juice from the leaves and stems…to give us momentary relief from the scorching heat of the summer sun.
As we mark each day of our sojourn in this place called Earth, we look up to the heavens above to guide our steps. Perhaps, we are made to scavenge, until some of you, my dear humans, may find it in your heart to love us, as much as we yearn to be cared for, to be pet, to let us belong.
And until you do, this is how we survive, looking for morsels among your rubbish. If only these ornamental plants and trees were made for us to eat – but they are not.
They poison our intestines, little by little, in the way they slowly poison our view about you – selfish, cruel, indifferent humans – You, who are supposed to be stewards of God’s creations, and that includes us, felines. And canines, and all the winged little creatures that chirp beautiful melodies as they fly about your homes.
You may think we cannot feel sad, but we do.
Now my face is wet with tears, bitter sad tears at the thought of my poor dear mama who just brought me and my sibling kittens out into this cruel dangerous world – for she too has to go about the daily grind of scouring for food and water as she struggles to keep flesh and bones together. And there’s no milk in her to feed us.
And while doing this, she must also fend off any advances from the ferocious among our specie.
I envy particularly one of us, stray cats. She has been taken in by one of you, a kind heart, because my friend was wise enough to catch the lady’s eyes, hold her gaze with her own eyeballs popping out while her tongue licked the sides of her dry mouth. Such awful hungry picture she made that right away melted that person’s reserve.
So she is in a better place now, my furry friend – off the streets – and living in a multi-tiered shoe rack her lady owner has generously given as her living quarters, right in front of her doorstep, with clean rugs to warm and cushion her soft fluffy body.
I know my friend’s owner has no option but shoo me away each time – after I have gobbled up my friend’s left-over pellets, and ladled some drink from her bowl of fresh water.
Yes, her owner allows me to do so, knowing how famished and thirsty I always am.
Yet, she has to shoo me away for her next door neighbor, ‘Mrs. So-and-so,’ the little fly in my furry friend’s owner’s little patch of paradise, always peeks at her window, willing me and my friend, with her sinister look, to run away — for she hates our guts – hates the very sight of us.
Like most of you who hate us so much that you can easily throw us away from your homes, without even bothering to spare a dropping or two of food – and so we – we pathetically wonder why oh why?!
My Challenge and Suggestion
Now my dear humans, may I then suggest that you no longer let my specie to grow exponentially – if you cannot have the compassion to care for us. Please!
It is not within our means or nature to do so, to stop our specie from growing. But you, my dear humans, have been gifted with brains and brawn and I suppose – a heart within the very core of each of you.
Either more of you start caring for us, adopt us into your homes, so you can bring us to the doctor and he/she can do something to stop us from having more litters. In time, I guarantee you will thank us for the joy of having us around. Promise.
Or, for those who cannot stand having my specie within breathing distance, you can gather us all in your village hall, call some volunteer veterinarians to spay our females, and neuter the males among us. Please!
Today, the weather is not good. It has been raining for 3 hours on the morning. After that, it has stopped rain for an hour and then it’s starting to rain again, and until now it is still raining. Hence, looking at the window, I miss my hometown very much. I thought about my family, congregation and community where I used to live and serve. All of them love me very much although sometimes has something what I do is not good. Now I want to write many things about them, but I cannot because I am being rain of tears.
Lord, I offer my people what I love to you. Let’s keep them in your name as well as bless for them and be with them forever.
This is not my first time to go to a new class, but today I feel nervous with my new teacher and my new classmates. All day long, I was eagerly waiting for hours in my class, but today, there was no class because there was a storm that was attacking the Philippines.
I know in the Philippines there are many storms that happen in every year. This storm has just started. I have never lived in region which has storm, so I cannot have my deep empathy with people who are living in the storm. I have seen everyone hard after the storm and felt compassionate toward them. This compassion is described to through my specific actions: if the storm is near the place where I live, I try to help them overcome the bad effects of the storm; conversely, if it is far, I will share some of my matter to them. At this time, I am studying in the Philippines, am a new student, I don’t have time as well as any matter to share with Filipino. Consequently, I only pray to ask my God to blow the storm return offshore to the Sea. Or, if He doesn’t want to do that, He can lessen the devastation of the storm.
Maybe everyone wonders why I am nervous with my new class. I feel worried about it because my English is not good. My English listening and speaking skills aren’t clear as well as writing isn’t sure. Thus, I am afraid my teacher and my classmates ask me some question that I don’t understand and be able to answer.
I wish the Filipino and me could overcome the natural storms as well as the hurricane of language. Being so, we feel peaceful and confident in our life and in learning as well.
There is a girl who lives in Ho Chi Minh City at Vietnam to invite me making friend with her through my face book. After talking together for a short time, she asked an appointment with me today because she wants to share her great ambition to me.
Her wish wants to make charity that helps the poor patients and helps the orphans, but she cannot make it alone. Thus, she needs many people who have aspiration as her. For the poor patients, she wants to establish charity cook rice for them every week. The finance is earned from distribution of goods of everyone who attend her group. For example, Mr. Tom, a member of the group takes a commodity from main company cost 500 Pesos after that he sell cost 800 Pesos. That interest sent to the group for charity. For the orphans, the group visits the children and has enjoyable activities with them. In addition to group’s activities spirit, the group also shares some confectioneries and toys for them on weekend. Furthermore, the group also cut hair for them in every last month.
After hearing from her, I also share with her a little of my experience about charity. I have set up a group of voluntary students. We collect waste plastic material in the residents’ houses to sell and the money is used to cook rice soup for the poor patients in two hospitals of Binh Thuan Province every Sunday. In summer, we launch the campaign “collecting school manuals to help poor friends.” These activities are disseminated largely in the Diocese.
Rewriting this legitimate aspiration, I ask to you who are reader pray for her best wish is performed in her hometown. May God bless for this good work.