Be Thankful of Our Blessings, Great or Small

I’ve just come across a news article reporting that Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has admitted in a US television interview that being so wealthy is actually causing him “great pain”.

Whew, it blew my mind because I was thinking if I were in his place, I’d be so thrilled as I’d no longer have much to worry about the things I’m anxious about at the moment.

That I’d have the freedom to be able to do what I’ve always hoped to, if I were just as financially wealthy as he is.

And there’s also one teeny weeny bit of irritation or perhaps envy lurking somewhere inside me, as I think this person should have the luxury of complaining about being wealthy. Continue reading “Be Thankful of Our Blessings, Great or Small”

A Début Like No Other

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.

… tickled pink, my heart overflowing with love and gratitude…

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.

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When Death Gently Waits, God’s Grace Suffices

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.

Perhaps it is because Mom was always a picture of vibrancy and youthfulness even if she’d already bequeathed to my sister much of the tasks she used to do around the house. Continue reading “When Death Gently Waits, God’s Grace Suffices”

You, Robot: My BionicEyes

a robot ready to do my bidding…(photo credit below)
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!


 Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

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.