Friday, August 28, 2015

The Road to Four-Ever

Introspection.

Pag-mumuni-muni.

Something I've been doing in the last few weeks leading up to four-ever. This is likely because I've been stuck in Singapore for a month already, by choice. My body has been telling me to just stop and rest. I've also been wanting to settle down and put in some roots and actually have friends to spend time with (aside from my family).

I started blogging ten years ago (on Friendster) around the time of my birthday and I remember listing down 30 special things I've done in my life (ugh but please don't read it na!), the last from that list is joining a search engine. The last ten years of my life has simply been extraordinary.

On Love

Ten years ago I was heartbroken, became an ice queen (Elsa isdatu?), eventually started dating again, kissed a few frogs and eventually found my prince (there is a lot of hope!). I had actually given up, but you know you just really need to trust God and allow Him to write your love story. How Sweetie found me was an extraordinary experience even though we met at an event and I ended up fan-girling when I found out that he was the founder of Titikpilipino.com.

Friendship though was key. We became best friends even before we thought about love (we were actually dating other people!) and things just rolled up nicely. We've been married for 5 years now and ten years ago I never even thought I'd eventually get married (busy sa career at bitter ocampo!). God would really find you the right (and the best) one if you allow Him to.

When God Writes Your Love Story (part 1)
When God Writes Your Love Story (part 2)
The Perfect Proposal
The Wedding Day

On Parenting and Family

Ahhh, one of the most difficult roles I play in life is being a parent. Ang hirap! It's really hard since there's no manual for it and each child is different from the other. I will not have it in any other way though and I'm happy that I over-achieved and had Miguel at the young age of 17 (while all my batch mates are slaving away for their kids I'd be retiring in a few year!). It's not been easy though since you really have to work on things all the time.

I realized that my family is quite small. I just have two siblings and they both live faraway. Lost my Dad four years ago and I've been feeling disjointed without him in the last four years. Tears always come to my eyes whenever I think of my Dad (and that happens everyday). After my Dad I also lost two of my uncles, so my family has been getting smaller and smaller. We realized though that we all have each other when needed. And I'm happy that we have a tiny boy in the family now, my grand nephew Jet!

On Friendship

The last ten years has been a struggle on staying in touch with friends. I've been traveling so much that I've lost touch with my "offline" friends and I miss then a lot. Some of them have just slunk away into oblivion, but I realized that I've made a gazillion new friends across the globe and they are just happy to be there when I ping them. I'm still much better though at talking 1:1 than being in a big group (hey I'm an introvert!), but I think most of those who stuck around understand and accept me for my quirks. I've learned to accept the fact that there are those who you try to stay in touch with but don't. It hurts but I realized there are other people out there who are willing to open their hearts for you.

On Working

Ahh, I've been working since I was a student. I started out as a student assistant at Yuchengco Institute, then worked part time as a writer at Pilipinas Shell. When I graduated I started work at Smart, left Smart when work conditions became weird (I knew early on I didn't really like sales), became an entrepreneur exporting furniture and houseware and then eventually joined the Cyan group of companies where I worked at One Hundred Services, the Yellow Pages and Dream Satellite TV. After that I spent some time doing consulting work for DMCI Homes while I was waiting for my papers to be finalized to join Google.

Looking back I never really had a break except when I had heart surgery and where I am today is because of all the hard work I do. The companies I joined were carefully picked because I wanted to learn as many skills as I could. I never said no to any project or task because I feel I should help whenever I can. I always also pray for guidance especially during tough times. I'm lucky now though because I have very nice and caring managers, my bosses in the beginning of my career are ones you would not want to have but I learned from them as well.

On Faith

Who I am today is complete because of my faith in God. I always seek guidance from him all the time and I am very thankful for all the blessings he continues to give me and my family. Thank you Papa God from the bottom of my heart.

To everyone in my life, my family, my friends, my colleagues, my friends in the community, thank you very, very much for everything! Love you all!




Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cranky and Averting a Crisis

I'm feeling really cranky today, so thought I'd vent on my blog to ease off some of the negative energy from my system.

I'm cranky because I didn't get a good night's sleep (which is apparently a requisite to my good mood and perkiness). Last night the haze in Singapore hit 99 PSI. Hitting 50 PSI is already a bad indicator for me since I have a heart condition. By 9pm last night I felt like being choked. I used the nasal spray my EENT gave me, but that only helped a little. I tried to calm myself down by quilting since one of my friends advised me that I should let my body adjust. It helped a little and I eventually fell asleep around midnight.

Part of the reason I'm cranky is stress. The last two weeks have been extremely stressful since I had to work on a crisis situation. I do enjoy figuring out how to get out of a crisis, but part of it includes getting stressed.

So how does one get out of a crisis?

1. Audit the situation - a crisis usually happens when someone messes up. It may be work-related or something in your personal life, but usually it's because someone did not fulfill their responsibility (on or off-work). Before diving in to solve a problem it would be best to assess the situation. Check who are involved, the status and know what needs to be done.

2. Listen and ask Questions - one of the beautiful things I learned from the coaching course I took was the importance of listening and asking questions. Before making any pronouncements listen to what people have to say and ask questions. Ask more what, how, why questions and you'd be surprised with the answers you'll get. (We were forbidden to ask yes/no questions at coaching class).

3. Ask More Questions - I learned that it's better to ask than to make assumptions.

4. Check Resources - as you listen and as you ask questions you will get a lot of information. Assess the data and counter-check available resources you may have. It's very important to get all sides so you can make the proper recommendation.

5. Make a Recommendation - with the appropriate data, counter-checking resources and matching these to objectives (and maybe adding more goals) you can then make a proper recommendation to make things work out.

[Hmmm... I think the above recommendation works for love as well].

Nothing like writing to make me less cranky. =)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Acceptance

Acceptance can mean a lot of things. It can mean it's suitable, adequate, tolerance, and perhaps to some it may mean defeat. I started thinking about this word when I read about a friend experiencing some health problems and he's been having a hard time about it.

Back in 2008 I contracted pneumonia which resulted in heart failure. I was constantly coughing for about a year because the water in my lungs just wouldn't go away. When it did my immune system had deteriorated a lot and all my allergies were activated. I couldn't eat chicken, chocolate, couldn't drink Coke and cockroaches (even their smell) made me feel like I was dying. There's no cure for heart failure but there are ways to help ones allergies. So I saw an allergologist, Dr. Canlas of Makati Med. Being the best allergologist in town the line was long and I waited for about 3 hours before I could see him. I thought I was going to pass out while waiting for him, good thing Sweetie was there for me and told me I would get better after I see the doctor.

So after getting pricked 40 times to test for allergies the doctor rattled off the stuff that would trigger my allergies. He said though that the first step to getting better was accepting the fact that I have allergies and that I would need to adjust how I live. I was feeling sorry for myself then because I was so weak, I could barely eat and I couldn't do anything anymore. I thought then that I was probably dying a very slow death.

That was the first and the last time I saw Dr. Canlas, but the advise he gave me on that day made a huge impact on how I live today. Acceptance doesn't mean defeat. It means that you can face challenges in a mature manner. It means being flexible and adjusting to what you have. I know I have a lot of limitations because of my heart, but it doesn't mean I cannot do anything anymore. It also means I just really need to be smart about the choices I make so I can still do what I want and like doing.


Monday, August 3, 2015

The Top 10 Things I Learned in the Last 3 Decades

A few weeks from now I will be leveling up to the next decade of my life. One of my Kuya's told me when I sent my birthday invite was, "How time flies!" Indeed time flies so fast since I met him when I still an undergraduate student.

A few years from now I'll probably be having a mid-life crisis, or I may have gone through it early this year. I remember going through quarter life crisis quite early as well. A few years back I read a question in a magazine, it said, "If you were to relive your life, would you rather go back to your 20s or 30s?" My 20s was quite turbulent and things just stabilized in my 30s, so I'd much rather relive my 30s than my 20s.

Here are ten things I learned along the way:

1. Be content - the more you want, the more you get frustrated. Be happy with what you have.

2. Unload those baggage of expectations - if you do things with loads of expectations, more often than not there would be things that would not meet your satisfaction and you'll just be frustrated. See #1.

3. Save - and live within your means. Rainy days are sure to come.

4. Be realistic - you will never get everything you want. Manage your expectations and plan ahead (remember the 5Ps of preparation!).

5. Be flexible - I had to adjust to a lot of situations, primarily my health. There's a lot I want to do, but I can't anymore because of my condition. I've found ways to channel my energy to something I can do.

6. Listen - a lot of misunderstandings happen because you don't listen.

7. Love like there's no tomorrow - #there'sforever

8. There will be bumps in the road - life is not perfect and there will always be bumps in the road. Just take a deep breath and meditate and don't hesitate to ask for advise/help if needed.

9. Always pray - and meditate.

10. Enjoy - you live only once, so enjoy as much as you can too. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Live Life, Take Risks

"Life life."

"Take risks."

Today I bid goodbye to a friend who has been battling cancer in the last seven months. My friends told me, "Be brave" when I told them I was on my way to the wake. I told myself I should not cry (it's very bad for my heart). God sent an angel after I arrived at the wake, he accompanied me to see our friend. I was relieved to see that he was smiling and looked very much like the times we spent chatting during lunch and at airports.

I've had very meaningful conversations with this friend of mine. I miss my Dad a lot and chatting with him about politics made me feel that I was talking to a younger version of my Dad. We'd also talk about family and discussed his dream about building a very nice house for his family. He would excitedly share with me his plans for his dream house and he'd always say that he'd like to show me his house when it is finished.

He taught me how to dream again. And to enjoy living. I shared to him that I've been very prudent about spending, investing and just getting what I wanted because I want to make sure that if ever something happens to me (knock on wood) that my family would be cope and be financially stable. When I told him that he smiled and said, "But you are alive, you should just enjoy what you have now."

I only knew him for a few years and had these meaningful conversations at least once quarter. I'd bump into him randomly in the cafeteria or at airports. Unplanned. Unexpected. I can only hope that I provided some relief to him and for his family when he reached out to me to ask advise about what was going through. He swore me into secrecy and I kept it as he wished. I never knew though what kind of sickness he went through until yesterday. It was exactly the same disease my Dad had suffered through.

They say the people you meet, the people who become your friends come to your life for a reason. Life is so fleeting, but as my friend taught me. Live it. Take risks and enjoy your life and love, love, love.

Thank you Claro (Lalen to many of his local friends) for teaching me to live again.  It was an honor to be your friend. Pa-hug na lang sa Daddy ko ha.

PS Bakit nga ba wala tayong selfie noh?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Araw ng Kalayaan!

Nung nasa kolehiyo pa ako naisip ko na dapat matuto rin ako magsulat sa ating wika. Nagpaturo ako sa isa kong kasamahan sa org at nakapag-lathala naman ako ng ilang kwento. Iba ang kinalabasan ng mga sinulat kong kwento nun, mas mababaw at nakakatawa kaya malaki ang aking respeto sa mga manunulat na magaling magsulat sa ating wika.

Marami akong kaibigan na kahit nasa Pilipinas eh Ingles ang ginagamit sa pagsasalita. Aaminin ko natuto ako mag-Filipino sa school bus dahil sinanay ako ng magulang ko nung ako ay maliit pa. Mula nung ako ay matuto mag-Filipino yun na lagi ko ginagamit. Hindi masyado masaya magulang ko kasi sabi nila eh yun daw ang "language of business" and makakatulong sa akin kapag may trabaho na ako. Eh matigas ulo ko at mas komportable ako magsalita sa ating wika. Hindi naman ito naging hadlang sa pag-usad ng aking karir at ang mga kaibigan at katrabaho ko na Pinoy kinakausap ko pa rin sa ating wika kahit Ingles sila ng Ingles.

Bakit ko ito ginagawa? Sanay naman ako magkwento sa wikang Ingles (kaso sabi nila sa opisina makapal daw ang aking Pinoy accent). Dedma lang kasi sila rin naman ay may accent (at mas mahirap maintindihan yung mga taga-Europa), hehehe. Sa tingin ko malaki ang naging impluwensya sa akin ng kanta ni Florante noong ako'y bata pa --

"Wikang pambansa ang gamit kong salita 
Bayan kong sinilangan 
Hangad kong lagi ang kalayaan. 
Si Gat Jose Rizal nuo'y nagwika 
Siya ay nagpangaral sa ating bansa 
 Ang hindi raw magmahal sa sariling wika 
Ay higit pa ang amoy sa mabahong isda."

Kaya naisip ko na kahit na "English is the language of business" eh ang paggamit ng ating wika sa pang-araw-araw ay importante dahil kahit dito man lang mapakita ko sa iba na ako ay Pilipino at ipinagmamalaki ko ito.

Sa araw na ito, sana bawa't isa sa atin ay maipahayag natin sa kahit ano'ng paraan na ipinagmamalaki natin na tayo ay Pilipino... sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa.

PS Aaminin ko gumamit ako ng Google Translate sa ibang mga salita hehehe (mahirap talaga magsulat sa ating wika!). 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My First Quilt Project After 20+ Years

When I was a kid I would spend my summers with my Mom teaching me how to make crafts. I went through sewing clothes for my Barbie dolls, making bags using straw rope, making crochet coasters, creating Christmas trees using pistachio nut shells and one summer in high school she taught me how to quilt. My Mom would get retaso from Tita Maming who had a clothing export business and should would cut them into square patterns. My school bag and lunch box in my high school senior year were my hand-made quilt products. I still have them and use them sometimes (yes they're still alive!).

Mom never stopped quilting and eversince she would make blankets for her grandchildren and me. I was looking for a hobby to revive early this summer since I didn't really like creating loombands (I wanted to be offline while crafting and making loombands require you watch online vids). I wanted to go back to reading, but my eyesight has deteriorated (probably coz I use gadgets too much!). One day I realized I wanted to try quilting again, so I found myself in Spotlight buying some fabric and thread.



It was a journey for me to create my first project because I realized that my Mom only taught me how to stitch together square patterns. My quilting lessons didn't include how to put everything together -- the batting, the backing and the piping! My Mom used to finish my projects for me back then. To practice I made a small wallet first (project zero) to figure out how to finish a whole project.



I guess that's how life is as well. Your parents will teach you as much as they could, but you would need to figure out the rest. It took me 2 months and 20,878 kilometers worth of travel (I lugged it around with me) to finally finish this project - a sleeve for my Chromebook - and I must say that it's an achievement for me since I made it on my own. It's not perfect -- all the stitches are uneven, and ugh don't even look at the underside! But I think my Mom would be proud that I finished this without her help.



For my next project I'm going to make a sleeve for my tablet and after that I hope I can have the courage to veer away from solid colors and follow a simple project from a quilting book.

Aja!