30 Minute Write: Family

funny pic during Honie’s wedding at the restroom 🙂 Couldn’t resist 🙂

It may be a cliche to say that “my family is the best one in the whole world”.  We are not perfect but I would dare say that we are rich in love.  My family has gone through a lot in the past 10 years.  We’ve faced bankruptcy, my brother had to give up school for a year or two so his two older sisters could finish college first,  fights (sibling vs. sibling), a period of 6 months without power because we did not have enough income to pay the electric bill but after all these shaking, tests and trials, I am blessed and happy to say that one of the joys of our lives is spending time with each other.

I especially love Sundays because this is when I get to have dinner with my nephew S and my niece A.  They’re my sister’s kids and they are just adorable and lovable.  I think every aunt or uncle thinks that way of their nieces and nephews. 😉

As for my dad and my mom, we have been blessed to have parents who raised us up “equally” and “fairly”.  For me that means parents who don’t compare us with one another and who don’t talk against the other child to another.  Respect, respect and respect were always the words my mom hammered unto us when we were still young and even now when we have disagreements or arguments.  She would always say that “even if you are siblings, you have to respect each other.  Respect your siblings even more.  Don’t just take them for granted just because they’re your siblings.”

One of my fondest memories as a kid was that time when my sister and I had the chicken pox and we were in danger of missing a summer vacation in Hongkong because we could not get into the plane for danger of contagion.  My dad cheered us up by letting us fly a kite under the heat of the sun.  We were supposed to be “hiding” or in isolation but he let us play freely and I will always remember and treasure those times that he ran and flew that kite for us.  Of course suffice it to say, he also got the chicken pox from us.

Another fun imprint on my mind was that time my feisty sister and I climbed up the Ford Fiera (it’s an Asian Utility Vehicle) that my dad and the mechanic-driver were repairing in the garage that was a bit inclined.  The gate was closed and the keys were not in the ignition.  But my very curious sister had seen my dad and the driver start the vehicle with a starter.  A button that one had to press that revved up the engine.  Vrroooommm…It suddenly started and we were moving!  I looked at my dad’s and the driver’s very shocked and surprised faces and we waved goodbye as the car started going down the inclined driveway and bang!  It hit the gate, opening it and down we went crashing into the fence of our neighbor across the street.  My dad and the driver went chasing after us.

Daddy was furious.  That was an understatement to say the least.  He was boiling mad.  “What if someone was walking along the road and you hit him or her?  You could have killed that person!  What if a car had passed by?  You guys could have been killed!”  Ooops, we had not thought about that. 🙂

Looking back to that time, I believe it was the hand of God that protected us or any passerby or car from an accident.   My mom wasn’t home at that time.  She was in Hongkong with some clients and after my dad called her to report to her what we had done and how furious he was, he was calling my sister and I with the loudest voice while we started hiding.  He took a piece of flimsy firewood and starting running after us.  I don’t know why that in our foolishness we were giggling and laughing while looking at Daddy chasing us with a firewood and running up and down the house.  Of course, we eventually got a hard spanking and we were “punished”.  Hahaha!  But still, that incident never fails to make me laugh thinking about daddy’s anger and how he looked running after us.  We were so young then.  I think Happy was 6 years old while I was 9.

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30 minutes + 7 more minutes for uploading photos 😦

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September: Life in Snapshots

Here are some photos of how September flew.  I think the song with the lyrics that say “Wake me up when September ends…” is somehow apt to describe how fast this month passed by.  It came like a dream.  Quite.a.rush.

But one good thing about being busy these days is that I’ve been busy studying, meeting up with long lost friends, cousins, bonding with my nephew and niece and good friends.  It was worth the full sched. 🙂

One Friday evening with my cousins, Joan and Ken {the one who took the photo} at SM City Cebu
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My sister Happy {the one beside me} and I had lunch with J., a good friend of ours from Manila. She tells me it’s been 8 years since we last saw each other. Surprisingly, it felt like it was only yesterday since I last saw her. That’s how you know you’re with a friend. 🙂
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Had a great time playing “Breakthrough” with M, a good friend & now-cousin-by-marriage, at Cafe Caw. :))
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One Sunday evening after our family dinner at my sister’s place, we played dominoes with the kids. Losers get lipstick streaks. Boo! The three of us lost to my sister {their mom} and my bro-in-law. It was a hilarious and fun time with family! Precious moments.
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This is how the Marvel dominoes look like.:) The cause of all those lipstick marks on our faces. ^_^

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I look forward to spending one hour with them every Sunday afternoon. Our church has scholars and as part of their scholarship privileges, we also have bible studies with them. I am blessed and privileged that God allowed me to be a part of their lives in this season. 🙂

Clique: Time for the Annual Barkada Shot

I guess there are just some things (well, maybe lots) that we’ll never outgrow.

One thing I’ll never get tired of or outgrow are the barkada (clique or group of friends) and family pics. Hahaha!

So forgive my penchant for nostalgia as I post some photos of our high school barkada’s dinner and “reunion” last Friday evening. I consider them God’s blessings. We practically grew up together and have been friends through thick and thin (literally and figuratively). Our friendship go a long way back – wait, let me do the math. I think at least 20 years now. Hmmm, grade six until today. Go figure.:)

I still remember my dad fuming mad at us during our HS prom as we were all very late for the event as we got tangled up at the Colours Photo Studio along Mango Ave. beside Rustans supermarket then just to have our group pic taken. He was the one driving us to the event and he waited for us for a loooong time. ;D

Guess the younger kids don’t remember that place anymore. Now all they have is a smartphone + Instagram or Facebook and instant upload. Then we had recopies and negatives. Ooh la la! So old, I am!

Among the times we’d get to reunite and bond again are Annabelle’s birthday (August), her son N.’s birthday (October) and Christmas when our friends who are living and working in Singapore come home to spend the holidays here.

Here’s our latest pic together minus half of the group. Two could not join us. Two are in Singapore and one is based in Manila. So it was just the 6 of us but oh was it a noisy, fun and “bulabog” (unruly) 6. Hah! I dare say these are some of the times when I keep forgetting I’m in my 30s already and no longer in high school. ;D

My first time at Dolce last Friday and oh how I loved the interiors and the lighting! The place is one-of-a-kind.

Okay, now I’m going to post some through-the-years group pics that we’ve had every time we bond. As always, no matter how fun it is to catch up and update each other about what’s going on with our lives, the talk almost always goes back to our high school crushes, the fun that we had in school and the fond memories of old classmates and teachers! As if! We’ve been friends for so long that we’re already used to each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies and yet still discover new things about each other every now and then.:)

Thank You, Jesus, for friends who are like wine. The older, the better it gets. 🙂

UZ at Annabelle’s pension house last year – August 2011

Baby Eya’s birthday (Diya’s daughter) Diya is the sexy mommy in purple. 🙂

Nathan’s birthday, October 2011 with Aaliyah, our honorary member 🙂

our annual Christmas get-together, December 2011

Annabelle’s birthday, 2010 at Cafe Laguna

August 2010

Dinner with the hubbies, January 2009 🙂

UZ THEN…Brace yourself for some really geeky and old school pics. Hahaha!:)

Pics courtesy of our friend A.’s FB album

Look at them then 🙂 hahahaha! funny!

Senior year field trip at Philippine Dream (this is UZ with our male barkada counterpart) hahaha! so cliquish and childish that time! (That’s me at the rightmost side) hahaha

high school graduation 🙂

Overwhelmed by Love

The love of God is so overwhelming.

It is the kind of love that transforms sinners into saints and calls back the prodigals home.

Nothing we’ll ever do will make Him love us less. It’s as perfect as perfect can be.

It does not love during the good times only but remains steadfast even when we’re at our lowest point, inspite the failures, wrong choices and what-have-yous.

Jesus continues to love.

He’ll whisper it to you while you’re walking, show it to you as you share His Word with someone in need of healing, He’ll write it in BIG letters up in the sky for all the world to see.

But the greatest demonstration of Christ’s love was on two pieces of wood, shaped as a Cross.

He didn’t only say it, write it, sing over us, shower us with gifts as lovers are wont to do, He did all those and beyond that…

Jesus gave His life. Willingly. With joy.

That, my friends, is what real love is.

Today, as His love overwhelms me that it just almost makes my heart burst, I feel myself loving Him more and more.

We love because He first loved us. 🙂

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My happy thought: Teaching :)

There are a lot of things I don’t want to admit.

One of them is missing those teaching moments in a classroom and another one is missing the kids I taught.

I’m not teaching in the classroom set-up right now though I’m still “teaching” as a tutor. The set-up is quite different from the classroom thingy but I have to admit that the fun and the challenges of imparting what you know and understand to these kids are the same.

The “I miss ’em” syndrome hit me last Sunday when I attended a bash {quite a bash} of a former student who turned 4 years old. Most of the kids I had taught last year were there and it was such a joy and a privilege to hug them and talk to them even for just a minute. The hugs and the innocence and the refreshing candor of kids are just one of the many things that a preschool teacher misses.

Teacher Kha and I with E during C’s birthday bash. We had our photo taken since he’ll be leaving for the US for good. 😦 No smiles from E here. 🙂

Last night, I got to sharing what was in my heart with my dad and my mom about missing my former students and wanting to open a preschool. That is the second thing I have to admit. I want to start a school. Something that never crossed my mind in the last 12 years I’ve been a teacher.

I’d like to have a preschool or a daycare where children from less privileged families can go to school by paying a minimal fee of P300/month. How I will manage to operate in those figures will take a miracle from heaven.

For two years, I taught in a preschool that catered to kids who come from very affluent families – expat kids and children of businessmen and politicos. It was a delight and so much fun to teach in that environment where we had a lot of resources {papers in all colors, all kinds of art materials, educational toys and manipulatives and every learning resource necessary to catch the kids’ attention and inspire them to love learning}, meaningful learning experiences and good facilities but oftentimes I would catch myself dreaming and thinking “God, how do I make this available to those kids from the slums or from the streets?” I am praying and waiting that I’ll have wisdom and the answers from heaven to make this a reality.

It hit me then that God has a purpose why I’ve handled all four levels. In the past, I’ve looked at it as signs of not knowing what level I should be in but this time I am starting to see that God set me up. Now, it is a privilege for me to have taught 2.5-3.5 year olds, high school students for a practicum stint, college students for the most of my teaching life and now this new level, teaching or tutoring elementary students.

I’d like to confess that the times that I look forward to most when tutoring is that time when we’re done with all the assignments and it’s what I call “laughing time” where we horse around, they ask the funniest questions, goof around with my camera phone and just enjoy that time with each other. That is also one of the times that I miss with my college students. Me just sitting on a bench, them approaching me and talking…talking about everything and anything under the sun. I think it’s the humanity factor and stamp that we teachers enjoy the most. It’s relating and connecting with your students and enjoying that moment that leaves an imprint on you.

So as I enjoy this season of my life where I am teaching in a non-classroom set-up, I’d like to share some snapshots that always, always make me smile or laugh out loud when I look at them remembering those times I spent with young people. One of my regrets though is that the first five years I taught, camera phones were not that nice plus the fact that I didn’t have one so I didn’t have a lot of pics from my early teaching years. Still those moments are forever engraved in my heart and they will always be one of my happy thoughts.

Unforgettable photo walk aka exercise along Colon with my Philippine History class 🙂

Super loved this batch!

Practicum in a public high school 🙂 ’twas such fun and challenging!

My Abellana High {evening class} students, DPE Practicum