Friday, November 9, 2018

Shred and Burn

Pulbusin mo anay ang kulungang kahon. Palayain ako sa aking kahapon.

-Pinaglumaan, Allan Popa-

Those lines from an old poem was echoing in my head as I spent my birthday night doing something radical. As everyone in the house retired from a tiring day and slept, I found myself taking out this thick, heavy photo album from my bookshelf and removed a few pages worth of photos.

The next thing I knew, I was slumped on the floor tearing and shredding the photographs from the first four pages with my bare fingers. I tore them into pieces to the last photo until my fingertips hurt.

Those were photos from the last five years or so. I won't deny it, my birthday is gloomy this year because next to my family's ordeal, I am also going through a rough patch of an irreparable kind.

But this time, rather than dwelling too much on it, I decided to do my part to move on. And part of it was getting rid of those photos to start getting rid of the memories. After all, I no longer see the point of keeping those photographs anymore.

And call it odd but as I tore down those photos, there was no hint of tear, anger or sadness. Unlike in previous times that such chore included tons of drama. I kept the torn photos underneath my bed and burned all of them first thing the next day.  

I don't know but I guess, there's really no use with keeping those anyway. And I hope that move would do me good to move forward and start anew.

Photo: @thegoodquote on Instagram

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Quiet Birthday

As of this writing, I just got back to work for two days after taking a vacation. I turned another year older three days ago and given that I rarely take a time off, I took my birthday as my chance to get some time to rest. 

I still reported for work on All Soul's Day through it was technically a holiday. I've been used to being in the office during holidays except on four days: Christmas Day, the last day of the year, New Year's Day and Good Friday, It's been sort of a tradition in our group for a birthday celebrant to feed the constituents of our little baranggay. And here's us before having our lunch of pizza and chicken wings (which was not pictured here). We grabbed the affordable deal from S&R Pizza that day! From folks of 12, we were down to six that day as the others opted to grab the chance of having a holiday leave.

Nothing much really happened on my birthday. I did not plan anything "grand" to celebrate. Instead, it was a low-key celebration on an ordinary day. I simply stayed home the whole day and finished a book that I've intended to read. One of of the main reasons I filed for a leave aside from rest was to catch up on sleep and use the time to help Mama with the errands related to taking care of Papa and his needs. But that doesn't mean forgetting to pray and saying those words of thanks for being granted with another year. After having lunch, I traveled to Taytay, Rizal's St. John the Baptist Parish. Yes, the same church where my parents got married, to say my prayers and pay the place a long-overdue visit.Next to the gratitude for being blessed with another year, I'm just thankful that I still have Papa with us for my birthday -- even if in reality, this might possibly be the last.

The next day, I took another afternoon off to fall in line in the cinema to watch Bohemian Rhapsody which is the 11th movie for my pet project. I've been trying to fulfill my 12 Movies Project for two years. While I wasn't even born during the era where Freddie Mercury and Queen became famous, I grew up loving their songs. I enjoyed the movie likewise. I'd like to believe that I am indeed an old soul.

I returned to the office yesterday refreshed. Unplugging from daily routine even for just a couple of days can have advantages. And just when I thought the shenanigans are over, these guys from my team gave me a small belated celebration in the middle of my busy workday. It's my first time to celebrate my birthday in our new workfloor (we've been here for a month now!) and my seventh birthday in the office with these guys.And being with them somehow lightens up the load -- not just from work but even those personal matters for we treat our little baranggay as a family.

Four days of simple solitude. I did not ask for anything anymore for the traditional birthday wish. I may not have received much birthday greetings from people but I received one from those who truly mattered anyway-- and that is what's important. I guess that's how it really is when one gets old. You just crave for silence and simplicity and you know you're very much fine with that.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Scribbles: Moving On and Forgetting

Moving on. That's what you do on planes. You share an armrest with someone for a few hours. You exchange stories about your life, an amusing anecdote or two, maybe even a joke. You comment on the weather and remark about the terrible food. You listen to him snore. And then you say goodbye. 

There's a formula for how long it takes to get over someone, that it's half as long as the time you've been together.

-Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight-

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My August in Pictures

The start of "ber"month had kicked in. And while a lot may have started to be ecstatic about it, I'm just writing this post to do a short rundown of how my August went.

1. I became featured in another quarterly magazine.

After months of waiting, the third quarter issue of Family Matters magazine was released online around late August. (I'm still anticipating the arrival of my complimentary copies that are yet to arrive in the mail) . My writer friend Excel interviewed me for this quarter's theme months before and this is my second time to be featured in a magazine (the first being the Millennials and Money issue of MoneySense magazine last year) discussing all about my career and how a day in the life is like. Talk about #TitaHits

2. My parents celebrated their birthdays.

August has been what we consider the most celebrated "birthday" month with around five family members and relatives celebrating their big days just days if not weeks apart (so literal na may linggo-linggong pa- spaghetti si mayor! Hahaha!!). This one was taken during Mama's 66th birthday. Our family have gone through an ordeal a week before but here we are blessed to have celebrated two important events as a complete family.

3. My relatives from Papa's hometown came over for a visit! 

2018 has been a challenging year for us. We found out that Papa has cancer exactly on  Valentine's Day and while that revelation almost shattered our world, we still try to live one day at a time. When he experienced a terrifying ordeal in the first week of August, I believe that it happened for a reason and with a purpose. For that allowed us to interact and be with other family members that we don't get to meet often. 

4. I got to conquer one of my fears.

And speaking of challenges, we have had a lot of that this year -- mostly health wise. Aside from Papa a number of members in the family got sick this month -- me included (though I was the last to be hit by the bug!). I'm a skeptic about "ghost months" but in a way last month proved that it's somewhat real. I've hated needle pricks but it came to a point that I had to experience it. And while this isn't a good photo, I believe it's still worth-including; because getting sick caused me to conquer one of my fears. Thanks to the ER nurse on duty, my encounter with heplock and needles did not end up to be traumatic. 

5. I had my first food park experience.

I've always wanted to visit a food park but I was always battling exhaustion, distance and time constraints so Maginhawa and Katipunan is temporarily out of my list. I've been hearing about this food park that's just a 30-minute jeepney ride (includes the minutes spent in evening traffic) from my hometown so I decided to visit the place during my recent long-weekend break from work. 

6. I finally got one of my dream group photos taken. 

Like what I once said in the caption of this photo posted on my IG and Facebook accounts, I've always wondered how it's like to get the four of us in one photo given that we follow different schedules and have different lives career wise and during that dinner, the said question was answered. Enough said!

7. Got to throw an advance celebration for Jonathan's birthday. 

Going to The Site Food Park is not just to experience the hype of a booming business of food parks. Given that we don't get to see each other often (and because Jonathan's birthday falls on an approaching September weekend, I suggested to his wife that we do up an advance celebration together with our long-overdue bonding session. And throw a simple birthday party, we did!

August may have been a challenging month but I weathered that nonetheless. the first of the four ber months is here. And so here's to hoping that those remaining months will be kinder and probably happier. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Gratitude Jar Initiative

There are two personal projects that I have always wanted to try and accomplish myself. First was a 30-Day Photo Challenge and the other is this thing called Gratitude Jar. I was able to hurdle the first task sometime last year (which I will write about in this blog next). The Gratitude Jar project sounded interesting but the plan was pushed aside for a while.

Reviving the said project almost did not happen. At least not until two things happened: First was coming across this note that I found outside the parish one morning during my daily visits on the way to the office.

Grateful people are joyful people.

When I thought that reason was not enough, the second one came during the early part of this year. When we have to go through and face an ordeal which I would describe to be something I never expected we would ever experience as a family.

I decided to give the project a go not really thinking much about it. In my mind, I was asking one thing: How and where can you find something good when a day and situation turn out to be something bad. Yes, I know it sounds pessimistic so I thought I'll go through this project one day at a time. 

I know for some people, they would think of a Gratitude Jar as just a basic fragile container filled with sappy notes. Admittedly, I used to think of the same before; which was a reason why I shelved the idea for quite some time. But as days passed, I just realized it helped me with something -- to form a habit of finding something good and beautiful out of a day -- no matter how simple, complicated, tiring and toxic it might be. This activity also allows me to recall a number of random acts of kindness that were done to me by strangers that I meet. And just thinking about those is enough not just to leave me with a pleasant memory but  with a different kind of happiness as well.

The other thing I learned while doing this personal project is the importance of celebrating each success no matter how big or small it is. My gratitude jar has also become a vessel  of appreciation because I realized I wrote not just memories but milestones as well.

The Gratitude Jar Project will entail daily effort. It's a 365-day activity. I've yet to count the contents of my jar but just seeing it filled with happy, positive memories that I can read through by the end of the year is enough for me to pursue and continue to get going. It might  just be a little personal project but somehow, it gives meaning to the 24 hours each day that I'm blessed to have.

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Prized Possession Just Helped a Meaningful Cause

For quite some time, I have been making amends on my weekend schedule to do some spring cleaning at home. While there's no such thing as spring season in the country where I am, the primary reason why I finally decided doing so was to give way to a number of things from removing the clutter to allocating space for new things.

While I was able to easily discard the usual stuff, I realized that the next thing that occupied much space in my room were my old books. Sure I want to be able to stock my shelf with new titles for my eyes and my brain to devour into but the question as to where to send the old ones was a concern. I dismissed my mom's suggestion of sending them to a junk shop because while they might be old (some of them had been with me for 20 years!), those books could still be read and used as reference materials -- and junk shops that tear off the pages to dissolve them aren't just a good idea.

The existence of municipal public libraries proved to be a blessing as they gladly took in a box filled with my old books back last year. But there are still quite a lot  left with me at home. I tried searching for foundations that might benefit my prized possessions. And while I was able to find quite a number of them, most are located far from where I live which would make transporting the books an issue (aside from the fact that I work on weekdays and no one is available to drive for me on weekends).

I was ready to give up and give in to mom's recommendation when I found this sign during one of my lunch hour trips to Eastwood Mall:

I've been supporting a number of advocacies as an employee volunteer of the company where I've been with and seeing this sign stationed in Cibo in Eastwood led me to a light bulb moment. The restaurant is a sharing center of Books for the Better. They work together with Books for a Cause, a non-profit organization that aims to provide precious knowledge to every Filipino and increase literacy through continuous learning. This led me to immediately consider this advocacy as one of those that I can personally support.

Right there and then I just knew this will be an ideal place for my old books and I did not waste time to approach one of their staff who was accommodating to answer my query. I was hesitant at first that my books might just be declined but the move of asking was not a futile attempt. I was told that they accept books regardless of type or genre.

As of this writing, I've sent quite a number of books to their branch thrice. And in those three instances, my book donations were cheerfully received. I told their staff that I would return with more books as I still have some left at home. I'm happy that despite being tagged as old, my prized possessions can still go a long way and ignite a love for reading to someone else within the country. Those books might be vintage and old but the way people will benefit from it will be as precious as gold. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rainy Days and Drama Marathons

Just as another school year started this month, my favorite season has also set in. Yup, rainy season is finally here. I can now breathe some relief that I can finally be spared from the scorching hot summer evenings and get some restful sleep at night. And next to curling in bed with books, or drinking hot tea (a very "Tita" activity) which I'm doing as I type this, another activity I found interesting these days are having these foreign drama marathons. Two on my list are A Love So Beautiful and Doctors. 
Photo: Wikipedia
I first learned about A Love So Beautiful from my former officemate Ayel while I was binge watching the episodes of It Started With A Kiss. At first, I was hesitant to take her recommendation simply because it might not be interesting enough. You see, the story was about two people in a plot that starts during their years in highschool, and we all know what highschool life is made up of. I was up to no good with the hesitation because when I decided to give it a shot at watch, I never expected that I would do so religiously.  While A Love So Beautiful may have began tackling highschool-related things and issues, it extended through college and eventually the lives of Chen Xiaoxi (Shen Yue) and Jiang Chen (Hu Yitian) together with their friends as adults. The story did also tackle the importance of friendship (the characters in the story are #SquadGoals), the struggles of a young relationship and how time, sincerity, forgiveness and effort can make a person win someone's heart back. 

I never thought I'd be that glued to the series that I was able to finish all the episodes two weeks before it concluded its Philippine TV release last Friday. 

Photo: ABS CBN
And while It's been a long time since I watched Korean dramas, I found myself interested in one, Doctors (or more known here in the Philippines as Doctor Crush) that stars Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won. I just started to seriously watch it around its third week of airing (so I had to find the first 10 episodes) and I never thought medical romance drama could leave me both giddy and interested at the same time. Odd as it may seem but during the course of watching the series, I realized that some TV shows could sometimes remind you of a lot of things: from a career path you once thought of pursuing to a kind of life that you could have lived (if you decided to follow "that path"). And not to miss about the show is getting a few wisdom on love and relationship, thoughts about family, justice and compassion and of course, some crash lessons on medical science (blood, gore and lots of brain tissue together with the medical terms) given that the characters in the story portray the role of neurosurgeons  for the fictional Gukil Medical Center.

I enjoyed Park Shin Hye's character who from a troubled teenager, turned to be the compassionate, kick-ass neurosurgeon Yoo Hye-jung. Kim Rae Won's character as the highschool teacher end eventually neurosurgeon Hong Ji-hong is a joy to watch as well. Their lines on the series might be straightforward but a number of it are heart-fluttering and worth pondering about. This Kdrama is aired late nights and while it might mean hitting the sheets a bit later than usual, I guess I won't mind doing so-- even if it might mean seeing brain surgeries in my dreams. The episodes could also be watched online but I opted to restrain myself just to prevent preempting the suspense and kilig (if ever) on what's gonna happen next And as if watching this nightly isn't enough, I also have the soundtrack on my playlist -- good for rainy night listening sessions.