Year: 2011

To stress or not to stress

  Christmas vacation officially starts today. That means I no longer have to wake up early to prepare the girls for school, at the same time keep a tight schedule as I juggle house chores, child care, online job(s), etc. throughout the day. However, I have a feeling that although there’s no school, things won’t really change much for me. I bet that a few hours from now–after I have gone to bed, that is–I would be up early again as I normally would on weekdays. Blame it on my body clock and the stuffs around the house that need my attention, especially our pets and plants. I have been neglecting some of the plants, it seems. The big alley cats have been coming in and out of our backyard and have apparently been trampling on some of them. They badly need some rescuing–I have to start transferring them to pots. Meanwhile, our puppies need a good bath and some exercise, too. Plus, I still have more cleaning to do around the house. Honestly, having …

My misconceptions about China

I enjoy teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), but I didn’t realize that I would actually enjoy having Chinesestudents and professionals in my online classes. Don’t get me wrong; it’s just that I’ve always had Filipinos and Koreans in my classes before. It was my first time to have Chinese students in class. I have also come to admit that I had so many misconceptions about their culture, their country, even their form of government. The following are some of them. There is no marginalized sector in a communist country, including China. I was fully convinced that communism exists to provide for every family’s needs equally, at the same time empower each citizen of a communist nation to have a decent living for the common good. However, one of my students told me that there are also many people in their country who belong to the marginalized sector. In addition, many of the poor people in their country become more visible in the streets when the Spring Festival is approaching (to beg for some …

Goodbye, November

It sure has been an eventful month for me and of all the months that came this year so far, it seemed like November was the one that passed most quickly. I don’t think I’m ready for Christmas yet, even if I’ve already started decorating our house. With all the emotions that shook me this month, one would think that I’d be ready to move on, but somehow, something makes me want to look back and hold on. Maybe it’s because my November has never been so colorful in the recent years. Let’s see… The month started with me getting very excited over my birthday. And that was something that I had not felt in a long time! Then there came my presents from my husband, particularly my brand new iPhone 4S all the way from Singapore. Plus, I didn’t just get one whole day to celebrate my birthday, but I also got a post-birthday celebration on the last weekend of November. I also met a couple of old friends during this month, gained a …

My 34th birthday

I could no longer recall the last time I had as much fun celebrating my birthday as I did yesterday. Although there were some setbacks at the beginning of the day, they were not really that bad. My mother always tried to make sure that she would be the first to greet me on my birthday when she was still alive. She’d be up early and would wait for me to open my eyes then greet me each year until my husband and I moved out of my parents’ house, though she would call me on my cell phone instead… This was the first thing that came into my mind when I woke up. I miss my mother so much! Now that she’s no longer around, her small gesture(s) of making me feel special suddenly seems like the most important thing to me in the world, especially on my birthday! Little did I know, however, that many of my friends had already sent me messages online just after midnight. God certainly knows how to cheer me up! Not to …

Before I turn 34

It’s 11pm, 11th day of the 11th month of year 2011. In short, that’s eight 11’s! Coincidence? Well, only the year, since I normally try to reflect and write the last hour before my birthday every year. I’m trying to examine how I really feel now. And I’m rather surprised that I feel panicky this time. I think about facing God and being told to recount to Him all the things that I have done in my 33 years of existence. It reminds me so much of The Parable of the Talents. I only have one hour left and what have I done so far? More, what else can I do if I were truly to face Him now? Will He tell me that I have been a good and faithful servant and grant me more talents (years, including resources) to live? Or grant me more years to live because I still haven’t accomplished much, thereby giving me some grace period? Well, one thing’s for sure. I still have a lot to accomplish, especially when …

Hello, November!

I could no longer recall the last time I felt excited about this month. I used to count the days and months until November when I was a child, but during the past few years, I just started to dread it. I was born in November, so that explains the excitement I used to feel when the month gets nearer. Plus, the fact that after November, it would soon be Christmas. However, with the marital problems I had in the recent years, including financial difficulties, the death of my mother, estranged relationships with in-laws, moving out of my parents’ house, seeing friends go and change jobs or leave the country, somehow, I started to feel like there’s really nothing to celebrate each year. I just felt alone, save for my children who would find ways to cheer me up every day. Things are still not all well with me now, actually, but my excitement grows, especially with my young daughters counting off the days until the twelfth. I’ve been trying to come up with a plan …

Reality makeover

I’ve been watching TV again. That is, aside from the regular news that I see, I have also been watching other programs, and this time, I’m into these shows that feature different types of makeover. Somehow, I find these shows both entertaining and informative. Moreover, since they’re not like soaps–and I don’t like soaps–that make you wait for the next episode to find out what happens next, I don’t feel bad whenever I’d miss one. However, watching such programs makes me wish I could have a makeover too–wardrobe, home, even appearance. Let’s see… I’m starting to get tired of my hair style. As much as I would like to buy new clothes, bags, and shoes, I have to admit that they’d be no use to me since I’m a full-time homemaker now and work for me also means home-based. So what’s the use of buying new stuffs, especially really nice ones? I think I’d be happy with just a new pair of slippers (FitFlops perhaps), and a shirt or two, plus shorts. Nothing fancy, since …

My Alina (and my first childbirth experience)

At exactly eight years ago, 16 October 2003, 1 AM, I  experienced labor pains for the first time as I laid down next to a fetal monitor in a dimly lit room at a new hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The pains had just started then–two hours after my water bag broke while I was sleeping–and regardless of my resolve to go through it bravely and with as little help as possible from anyone, I was already writhing in pain by 3AM, begging for the anaesthesia that I had sworn to avoid. And I thought that I could do it all naturally since I considered myself well prepared for it–I religiously exercised, read everything I could that would help me cope with the situation, and I was very careful with the kind as well as amount of food I ate. I guess in the end the fact remained: my threshold for pain was simply low no matter how much I willed it to be otherwise. Looking back, it’s amazing how I survived the night. The pain seemed vent on killing me, yet it would not do so. I tried to counter the labor pains …

Chasing cobwebs

It’s been two months since I posted a story here. It’s not that I have not been writing, but for some reason, I couldn’t get my thoughts together and couldn’t seem to find enough time to sit in front of my laptop and just write like I normally would. My head’s always full of ideas to write about, especially when I’m on the road, and a number of articles have already piled up in my drafts folder waiting to be finished. It’s been two months that I have not done much except clean the house, take care of some errands, worry about the budget, get sick and recover (right, as if I have planned on being ill!), and reminisce the past. It’s been two months of both busy and idle living. My late mother‘s birthday and second death anniversary came and went too. As both dates neared, I experienced deep sadness. Wishing she’s still alive, dreaming I could still embrace and kiss her, yearning to hear her voice… If only I could be with her for one …

An open space does not guarantee a smoking area

Lately, I find myself being passionate about a lot of things and among them is asserting some of my rights. I try to teach my children the same thing and I demonstrated this yesterday by telling the man who sat next to us in the park that his smoke was bothering us. But the man only arrogantly retorted, “Open space ‘to, Ate (This is an open space, Miss),” as he pointed to the sky with his hand holding a cigarette. So this was what I told him in reply: “Yes this is an open space, but it is also a PUBLIC PLACE. This is a PARK, and there are CHILDREN here.” I pointed to the children around me, including my own, as I was so convinced that this man was not only undisciplined and insensitive, but may also have a poor eyesight since he did not seem to notice his surroundings, including the children near him. I waited for him and his girlfriend to say another word, but the latter only motioned to her companion …