My Handmade Tales of Love

My mom’s handmade shawls for me crocheted with much love

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.

 

Daily Prompt: Handmade Tales

 

Just Thinking…

Our dear cat Muning, erstwhile stray, when she first came to our home...

PLEASE people, do Not abandon your cats! Offer your home to any stray that may come your way. I have come across an article, please click here, that says a New York island has literally been taken over by cats — yes, real-blood cousins of Garfield, Tom and Jerry, and their ilk; yet these real-blood felines are forgotten or unwanted cats. The article also mentions that this is not the only island where cats have been growing in large number, as there is a “Cat Island” as well in Japan. In fact, in this small neighborhood where I reside, it seems half of the population belongs to our dear felines, most of whom roam free to scavenge for themselves, seeking food, water and shelter. How ironic that HELLO KITTY seems to hold a more special place in people’s heart – in this small village where I live! So sad…

See also Dear Humans: A Stray Cat’s Open Letter

 

Leftovers: Cherished Thoughts of Yesterday

Like an old chest, some memories linger almost forgotten but never discarded...
Like an old chest, some memories linger almost forgotten but never discarded…(photo credit below)

My hallowed past is like a chest full of memories – leftovers from the past, my cherished thoughts of yesterday.

Each recollection neatly wrapped in scented layers, hidden beneath the pages of the here-and-now, folded carefully in the hollows of my mind.

They just lay there, until a refrain from an old song, or the aroma of a traditional chicken soup being cooked next door prompts one or two to come unbidden. Continue reading “Leftovers: Cherished Thoughts of Yesterday”

What Language Teaching Is for Me

I wrote the following piece when I was still teaching at the language school where my teaching career first began. That point in my life marked my Second Wind, and I wrote this for my batch of English learners whose English Reading proficiency level ranged from Low Intermediate to Intermediate, as a fluency activity. Hence, I included the new words and phrases they were learning at that time – bold and underlined.

Language teaching is as I have come to realize, many things. First, it is not a job, but more of a vocation for me. It is getting acquainted with different kinds of people coming from different backgrounds.

The diversity in cultures, nationalities, interests and traits of students add to the interesting world of my classroom; moreover, since I am teaching mostly foreign students. It is not only getting acquainted with the different backgrounds but also getting in touch with their deeper soul, their deeper humanity that tells me who they really are and where they are coming from in terms of attitudes, beliefs and feelings, too.

I have learned in the course of time that people from all over the world are generally similar with one another. We all have similar goals and visions, but we choose different paths; we express ourselves in different ways.

Language teaching is also being introduced to a whole new world each time there is a new student. No two persons are alike whether they are of the same race or creed; hence, it is up to me to initiate a very striking conversation that will help make my student feel at home with me, and I with him or her.

Small talks, then, are important in breaking the ice. It is not that easy because there are many factors that may affect our first meeting, like a student’s hesitancy or shyness, or even fears, his or her own expectations of what I as a teacher am supposed to deliver or give, and to think that I, too, always experience some kind of reservation or apprehension toward that person.

There is a saying that first impression lasts, but I make it a point to go beyond that because I believe in being flexible.

As much as possible, I try to give leeway or space for growth to my student. I do not place him or her in a box, except perhaps when my first impression is indeed positive. Through time, it proves to be correct and I want my student to continue with his or her positive outlook (attitude). Yes, one of my favorite saying goes this way, “we can always better our best.”

So, it is also up to me to recognize my student’s special talents & skills, and to focus on them in a very positive and encouraging way. Of course, I have to painfully point out his or her weaknesses or shortcomings, but only for them to learn from these mistakes.

A student shows signs of progress when he or she can already recognize errors or mistakes, and as a teacher, I, too, in all humility, must acknowledge my own limitations.

“To err is human” is an adage or saying that applies to everyone. Learning to respect each other is a significant virtue that each one should observe in class.

One must not insist on what one likes or thinks; one must not be domineering or arrogant, whether one is a student or a teacher. We are all the same; we are just in different positions at a given point in time, but we learn from each other.

It is also fun to discover the real person sitting in front of me. I recall the genuine affection and admiration I have gotten from many of my students with whom I have already forged sincere and lasting friendships, I hope. I remember them with deep fondness, and sometimes with poignancy.

I believe that these are the greatest blessings I get from my teaching… good friends and beautiful friendships that no amount of financial rewards can ever repay.

In the end, this is what strikes me most about teaching — perhaps, because I am a mother that is why I will always feel this way towards my students and this is what I will always tell anyone of them…

“And just like how a mother feels over

Her children’s relentless efforts to learn

Your struggles and pains are also mine

Your sense of fulfillment is my joy, too.”

(a verse from my poem: A Teacher’s Tribute to Her Dear Students 04.01.02

The rain and rain and rain!!!

 

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.

The Reason There is No Class

 

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.

My new friend

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.