Tuesday, February 18, 2020

My Childhood in Camangui, Pasacao

I'm feeling child-like today because I'm finally moving on to what I really like doing. My new teammate told me I sparkled when I talked about what I love doing. This triggered happy childhood memories.

My parents started bringing me to out of town trips when I was less than a year old. We'd go to my Mom's hometown in Bicol every summer. That was when I earned the nickname "kutong tubig" (water flea) because they always had a hard time getting me out of the water. The only time I learned to voluntarily get out of the sun was when I had a very bad sunburn. Oh my it was so painful and since then I don't stay long under the sun anymore.

Villa Merced was the name of the our place. It was named after my Mama Lola (grandma). Back then we didn't have electricity so every night the trees would be filled with fireflies. I tried catching some of them, but never did. I feared the tuko though. It's a gecko with a big voice. You'd know it's near you because it chirps "tuko". It's quite loud so I always thought it was a huge gecko.  I was scared of it because they told me it would cling to you if it gets near you (thus the term "kapit tuko".

Taken from the rooftop of Casa Moderna (called Moderna Bakery back then). 
When you go up early in the morning you can see the beautiful Mayon Volcano.

I was quite mischievous when I was a child and my Mom would always tell me, "Ang malikot nakakadampot ng ipot!" (A naughty child will pick up poo). I remember one time I was collecting cats eye and stones and my Mom was telling me to clean up already because we were going to eat lunch. I ignored her and continued to poke on interesting looking stones and shells. I saw a shiny, brown round stone and I was ecstatic to find a very nice piece. I poked it and it wasn't a stone... so since then I became obedient!

I was really happy whenever we went to Pasacao. I loved that we would sleep in a nipa hut and bathe in the poso (manual pump). It was a very simple life. Uncomplicated and I'll always remember being with my family there. I'm happy Miggy experienced that also when he was a child and I hope he keeps it in his treasure of happy memories too. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mad Monday and Thinking About Immunity

I have a feeling I might conk out in the middle of writing this blog post. I had PT after work and only felt the effects of the exercise midway through dinner. My physiotherapist had a hard time with me again today because I have really bad body coordination. She's had to break down every single step in the exercises she's been teaching me (including when to breathe). Now I know why I never really got into sports. I'm so lucky my physiotherapist is so patient with me.

I had lunch with my seatmate and his friend. They asked me how I was since I was a bit under the weather last week (lagnat laki) and of course we talked about the coronavirus. One thought that came up was whether one would have immunity to SARS if you've had it before. This came up because I read on this article that plasma from recovered patients can help treat sick patients.

I did some more reading and found an article on the New English Journal of Medicine citing a study on whether the antibodies stay in your body after recovering from SARS. Sadly the article said it diminishes, but the don't know whether it would be "adequate to protect a person from reinfection".

From my layman understanding, this means it doesn't act like you've been vaccinated from having it again in the future. I hope since there is another outbreak they can continue their studies. At best we should just follow what authorities have advised about proper hygiene to protect yourself -- wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your mouth/nose, don't scratch your eyes and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

Our advantage today is we can easily access information online. We need to be mindful though about the sources we get information from. One other item I have read more about is whether I could pick up the virus in a chlorinated swimming pool. Yikes!

It's been a mad day today since I didn't get a good night's sleep. I was surprisingly productive today despite that, but I'm going to end this post now so I can get some zzzzzs.

Night night everyone. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Did You Panic Buy?

Earlier Sweetie and I went out to buy some groceries. While buying some items for my Mom we talked about the panic buying for toilet paper that happened over a week ago. We're still a bit baffled about why that happened. Sweetie also told me that he read an article that said there was someone who ordered 800 kilograms worth of groceries online.

Of course I'm concerned also about our supplies at home, but I don't see the need to stock up on so many things. I've been through so many calamities - countless typhoons, coup d'etats, volcano eruptions - and I never saw my Mom buy too many supplies. I never saw her panic in any of these situations.

When the Taal Volcano erupted last month I was honestly quite unprepared. I had enough food and water and medication at home, I just didn't have an air filter and masks. We were able to "seal" our tiny home, but what really worried me was my Mom since you can't really seal her home from outside air. When I had the opportunity to go out to the mall I immediately got all of us an air filter. It really helped because it was so hard to sleep wearing a mask.

So while in line at the pharmacy I realized that given any situation there's always a way to cope. And the most important thing I learned from my parents is faith. The day after Taal Volcano erupted a friend reached out to check on me and when she found out I didn't have a N95 mask she immediately sent two for me and Miggy.

Panicking is a natural human reaction, but as the government and experts always say, "When you panic buy, you will be taking away supplies that others may need" (they say the same for masks). I also believe that we just need to be calm and have faith that God will take care of us.

A blessed Sunday everyone! 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

My Happy Thoughts Project

I've been working on my happy thoughts project this past week. I copied all the thoughts my friends threw my way when I asked for happy memories they had with me.

After pasting all the thoughts on a Google Doc I looked for photos that matched the memory. I've been having a great time looking through my photo baul and I probably need to add more pages to the photobook.

I know it's hard to be consistently happy. I fall into a rut every week. My Kuya taught me a technique how to remove a bad feeling. Imagine that the bad moment is on TV then turn it into black and white. Replace the screen with a happy memory. Switch back to the bad screen. Then move back to the happy screen. Switch between screens fast and you'll naturally anchor on the happy screen.

Kuya explained to me that our tendency when bad things happen the thought becomes important. It's like a flashing sign in our mind. So the way to get our of the rut is to diffuse that thought and make it unimportant.

I realized just now that I used to do this often before. I used to print photos and have a lot of photo albums at home (in Manila). And I haven't done this for many years now. Ahhh, I should have done this a long time ago!!! Hope to finish this project soon :)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Learning Japanese

Ohayou Gozaimasu! Two years ago I tried to learn Nihongo. I enrolled in an online class and did a 1:1 class with a sensei who was based in England. She was the most wonderful and patient teacher. I did make progress and was stringing sentences together already. I also learned a bit of hiragana which helped me a lot when I visit Japan.

Beautiful cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

Nihongo is a beautiful language although quite hard to learn. I did a trial for a Chinese class, but I really struggled with pronouncing syllables and that's why I elected to learn Nihongo instead. My sensei said I pronounced words very well and we attributed it to how similar it is to how we pronounce words in Filipino.

Elevator self-we with Japanese educators + my forehead haha.

In the beginning I was taking notes on a small notebook. I had a hard time taking notes and it made it hard for me to review. I realized I was doing things wrong! I decided to use two Chromebooks for my online classes. One was for the platform my teacher used to teach me and another one for notetaking.

My sensei said I improved a lot during that time. She asked me what did I do differently and I showed her my notes. I was completing my homework much faster as well. Me and my sensei had a great partnership because she taught me Nihongo and I taught her how to properly use Google tools for distance learning.

Akihabara at night.

We used Google Calendar to set up our Google Hangout calls and we used screenshare so I could follow where she was on the online workbook, then I used Google Spreadsheet for my notetaking. It was so easy and my sensei said it made it much easier for her to use the tools for her other students as well.

I miss my sensei. I ended up just completing one year because that was the time I was found to have PE. I could've enrolled again, but I'm now doing a different market. Learning a new language though was a great challenge for me and maybe I'll do it again someday. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Re-aligning 2020 Plans

So we've been basically stuck at home the past few weeks for a number of things. I originally planned 2020 to be a year to explore new things. I wanted to travel more, enroll in a cooking class and generally be more active.

I guess this year is going to be a different kind of normal for all of us. When SARS hit almost two decades ago we were not as scared as we are today. Well I was in Manila back then and I did survive SARS, but I didn't feel scared as I am today. It was just another illness to get over back then and things went back to normal.

We're going to be stuck at home for now and I've been thinking about things to do at home. Oh but I really wanted to do more outdoor stuff this year since I was already stuck at home the last two years since I had PE. The PT has been helping me a lot become more active so this situation really sucks.

Anyway, the best thing to do now is accept the situation and be flexible. Here's a shortlist of things I can do at home outside my home-work-home existence.

(1) Watch Netflix - I think I'm doing too much of this since I've been generally unproductive at home haha.

(2) Read - I have quite a lot of books that need to be read.

(3) Quilt - I haven't sewn since I finished that huge blanket I gave as a wedding gift. My projects are wanting to be finished.

(4) Happy Thoughts project - I started working on it, but probably need to give myself a deadline to get me going.

(5) Blog - I've been blogging now for more than 40 days! I wanted to do more vlogs, but since we can't really go out I need to re-work that plan.

I could still go out, but Sweetie and Miggy are worried I'll pick up the virus somewhere so they want to make sure I'm safe. My friend today sent a message that there was a suspected case near the office. I've been home the last two days because of slight fever. They've been checking the temp of people coming in to our building so I thought it would be better for me to stay home and rest.

What about you? What adjustments did you have to make because of the current situation?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Valentine's is just around the corner. Sweetie asked me the other day what our plans are and I said we can't really make plans because of the current situation. We don't really don't go out for Valentine's since we celebrate it every day! Cheesy!!!

Sweetie is sweeter than me. He prepares a sandwich for me everyday. It started a couple of years ago and the name "Jaybucks" started as a joke. He started making notes as part of his promise to replace all the love letters he gave to me before we married. All of the letters, notes, cards etc. went under water during Typhoon Ondoy. He's actually kept all the Jaybucks notes through the years and some are in an album.

Here are some of the Jaybucks specials -

It looks like Sweetie wants to expand though because last January when we came back he surprised me and Miggy with a snack bar!

Can you guesss what's my favorite Jaybucks sandwich?