Life’s Golden Hour

The golden hour occurs twice each day, in the early morning just after dawn’s blue hour. At the first golden hour of the day, the sun has started to rise in the east and cast its glow.

At morn’s golden hour, you feel a tinge of warmth, if you happen to be outdoors, and if looking from the inside, you can observe everything to be cool yet there is a promise of a bright, warm or sweltering day.

In the late afternoon, the day’s golden hour occurs just before the blue hour this time. The scorching sun is no more, its warmth already tame upon your skin, its reflection bathes the environment with long soft beams of light.

This day’s afterglow lends a certain radiance and coolness around that sorts of warms the heart — so unlike that of the morning’s golden hour.

Just to clarify,  I’ve only started to know and appreciate this beautiful moment –being a novice photographer, or simply a photography enthusiast who’d like to take photos with a little more skill.

my 1st feeble attempt at the Golden Hour

So my golden hour shots still leave much to be desired — but am enjoying the process of learning. I find myself awaiting this precious moment almost spontaneously.

Afternoon glow

I like how the golden hour creates a different kind of beauty each time, bringing a different color or mood to the surroundings: both a promise and a hope; a call to rise and shine and do your best, and a call to slow down, relax, and hope for another sunny day.

So it is with our life’s golden hour. The rhythm of the golden hour offers something for us to ponder.

Our beautiful moments fleet by and everything in between is just temporary. Things may be good or bad, happy or sad. Yet at the end of the day, there is hope things will become better.  We can always hope — like each day is always beautiful no matter if there is a storm coming our way.

It is just how we deal with what life’s throws at us that sometimes create all the chaos around or within us.

Life’s golden hour is also a time to pause, reflect, and plan to do better and be a better person. Just like I’m finding it inspiring to take better golden hour shots each time I try. Still a long shot for me — as you can see from all these amateur shots — but I keep the hope.

Just trying to catch the glint of the sun upon those structures…

So when you’re feeling a bit down, just look at the sun.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

My Special Birthday

In my Convent, we never celebrate our birthdays, we only celebrate our baptism. Nonetheless, since I go to school again, my teacher and my classmates celebrate with me. Thus, every year on my birthday, I always thank God for having created me in the world. This year, my birthday is very special because it is also Happy Father’s Day.

On Father’s Day, I give time to think about my father more and sometimes I phone to say happy father’s Day to him. I miss my father very much. My father always loves me. He usually does all things for me, even now that am already a nun. Every time my superior allows me to visit my family, he always cooks many things for me as well as prepares the bed for me to sleep well. Furthermore, he drives me to travel as well as visits our relative. Until now, I live very far from him but he always telephones to ask me only two question, “How are you?” and “How do you live?” These two questions he repeats every week when he talks with me. He always encourages me to learn and reminds me to live well with everyone. I try to live by his words every day.

Maybe on my birthday of this year, nobody will celebrate with me because I just moved to a new school, but I feel glad about it because I will pray for my father and myself more and more. Indeed, I am enjoying this occasion. I would like to express my deep gratitude to him for all what he has done for me on my birthday. I want to say, “Father, I love you!”