Friday, December 13, 2019

Rebuilding Me and a Surprise Quilt

The past year has been a stressful year for me and by November I was barely functioning properly. It was a mix of many things and I thought it was the best time for me to take a long break. I have been really ruthless with myself and I was told I should love myself and be selfish for once. As much as I felt guilty dropping things I knew it was best for me to take a break. So thank you to all those who supported me these last few weeks and for releasing me so I can rest and relax for now.

My coping mechanism is rock solid. I know when I can, when I can't and when it's time for me to hit the panic button. After a hard day's work I usually spend time doing something creative at home. Like my Mom I can never be bored at home and can spend days without going out. I quilt, crochet, work on my scrapbook (yes I still make scrapbooks!), read, cook, bake and of course there's Netflix, Spotify, YouTube. There's so much to do at home! Things hum along nicely when I can do any one of my hobbies at night.

When I travel I have a bag that contains my current project (usually a quilting project). I sew on the plane or at the hotel after work. I do go out, but I compared to normal people I need more time to rest. I guess my age is also catching up with me and I need to decompress, clear my brain cache and just basically reset. I had not been able to enjoy my free time the past year. I've been too exhausted to do anything when I get home and I did some crazy travel the past few months.

The last few weeks to keep my balance I embarked on a grateful project. I made a quilt project for friends who recently tied the knot. It was truly a labor of love since I had to work overtime to finish it in time for the wedding (hello eyebags!). I call it the grateful project because this two people have been taking care of me for a long time now and I wanted to show how much I appreciate them and their friendship.

One thing I didn't anticipate though was the size of the project. It was huge and heavy! I couldn't find a gift bag or box to make it fit! So I had a brilliant idea of sneaking in the blanket in their room. With special agents Paola, Hester and Ate Ingrid we snuck in their room during the festivities. We had staged the perfect surprise. Here's how we made it work -

The is my first vlog after almost six years! That's probably how long I haven't really been giving myself any love. I hope bringing out the creative side of me will help heal me so I can serve again at the level I usually do. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dear Juned

Dear Juned,

I finally found the email you send almost ten years ago. That email that made me so mad at you for sending. It never occurred to me that the day would come. I had a hard time finding it because you always had a beautiful way of putting words together. I write the way I talk and that's probably why all the search words I was using didn't work. It took me almost two days since I found out you were gone.

I was enroute to visit my MIL at the cemetery when Karla pinged me. I've been a zombie since then and it didn't help that I've been suffering from food poisoning too. I could just imagine you dispensing advise on what I could do to alleviate my condition. That's what you've always been to me my dear friend.

Funny I don't even remember exactly when we met, but our friendship just grew through the years. When I was trying to find the email I found a gazillion chat messages between us. It always started with a good morning from you checking on me and it continued for many years. Our chat sessions dwindled eventually and we only managed to catch up whenever I went home and squeezed in time to meet. The last time we got together was January last year when you hosted a dinner with blogger friends at your new pad.

I have so many happy memories with you Juned. The events we both attended were just excuses to meet up and do our tsismis sessions in person. There were also lots of trips! One of the most memorable was when you went to Baguio and typhoon Yolanda hit. I insisted you stay with us. We all stayed in my room. I only managed to sleep through the scary winds because you were there. Then there was our trek up Borobudur. It was an achievement for both of us because I just had heart surgery and you had to go up with assistance. Good thing JR and Vanj were there to take care of us.

Of course, you were our lifesaver during our wedding. Our bridal car did not show up and after reception both our parents left Jay and me to fend for ourselves. We both didn't have any money to take a taxi back to the hotel and so your Ford Fiera instantly became bridal one. I think from everything that happened during that day that's one memory I will always cherish.

Thank you Juned for the 12+ years of friendship. For being a great listener, for all the stories (even though sometimes you'd doze off midway!), for bailing me out of situations, for being a great supporter (you were always there for all my events!), for everything I have learned from you (some photography skills yo!), for the respect, the trust, for being a true great friend. I love you my friend, you can now have your bottomless crispy pata and Coke without Fritz the pulis getting mad at you. I'll do my best to do your wishes. See you at the end of the rainbow. 

Love, your friend,

*Juned's wake will be from Thursday to Saturday at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral (map).

Friday, June 21, 2019

Do the right thing

I'm not perfect, but one thing I learned from my parents is the value of doing good. Growing up I saw my Dad fight bad things. I will never forget that time we had to spend a few days in Baguio because of death threats my Dad was getting. I know because I answered one of those calls at home (landline days).

I didn't know how to react so I just told the caller, "Wrong number ka" and just put the phone down. Immediately told my Mom about it and the next thing I knew we were sent packing to leave for Baguio. This was why my Mom never wanted my Dad to be involved in politics. She knew it was the quickest way for her to be widowed. And this was also why she did not consent to me running for the Sangguniang Kabataan.

I have gotten myself in so much trouble over the years. I just cannot tolerate wrong doing especially if it impacts so many people. It eats me up and the stress has been affecting my health. I asked my Dad once why I seemed to magnetize these issues. He told me that it's probably a mission of mine to get things straightened out. Yes, until today I always end up walking in situations where I end up being a troublemaker.

I was telling a friend earlier that oftentimes it's just me being naive and sharing thoughts about the right thing to do. That thought eventually snowballs into getting the issue resolved. People do get hurt along the way and I'm sorry for that, but I think I'll continue to do this as long as it will help many more people.

I was just happy to share some thoughts today because a huge thorn just got pulled out of my side today. I realized that as long as you follow the right path, things will be resolved. This thought sums up nicely to Google's company motto, "Don't be evil" (Alphabet says "Do the right thing").

If we all followed this slogan we could probably have a better world. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Do What Makes You Happy

I haven't been blogging that much since I've been afflicted with invisible illness. I look physically okay, but my insides have been going bonkers. It's not been easy to resolve since the issues are more mechanical, not really something that's easy to fix with medication. It's not been easy for me, I have to give myself pep talks every day.

Yesterday a friend reached out to check on me. She remembered that I had gone through a procedure last Friday. She probably wondered why I was so quiet on social media the last few days. I told her I was unwell and had to go home from work. I thought I could already manage, but ended up limping all over the place and was very tired for a short amount of time. My day brightened up when my friend pinged me. She acknowledged my pain and just reminded me to do something that made me happy.

Something lit in my mind when she said that. I know I keep telling friends to look up when they feel anxious about something, but I forgot to do it for myself. After having our brief chat I kept telling myself, "Do something that makes you happy." I realized that my work makes me happy and I ended up doing as much as I could yesterday. Finished with work I started to think about a special project I want to do for friends who are getting married soon.

I thought I'd write this quick post to thank my friend who gave me a timely reminder. It pulled me away from the abyss I was falling into again after the medical mishaps I've been going through again. I was supercharged today and barely took a break (which is bad I know!) because I was so busy. I'm going to get some rest now and think happy thoughts. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


When I got sick in July I almost went to the dark side. Being unable to breathe does that to you. The pneumonia wasn't as bad as the first time I had it, I was probably paralyzed more by fear. At that time I didn't feel I was getting any better despite seeing my doctor every other day. He gave me meds after meds after meds. There was this medicine that affected me long after I stopped taking it. It was either I take more of it or I just wait it out until it was completely out of my system. It took almost two months before the effects from it went away.

I was angry at first, then sad, then depressed. I was spiraling down an unknown path for me. I almost gave up. My family was very supportive and understanding. What broke the free fall was getting inspired. I became a couch potato and I stayed connected with the world by reading posts on social media for almost 3 weeks. Through all the grayness I was thinking about how I could get myself out of the rut I was in. I snapped out of it when I saw the posts of teacher friends who were helping other teachers learn how to use technology in the classroom.

I remembered why I do what I do and why I keep fighting to be alive. I was able to hang on because of my family, it was getting inspired that pulled me out of the rut I was in. I felt like an old car sputtering back to life after being jump started (on second gear, pushed down the road with you turning the key and stepping on the gas). After a few days I went back to work even though I wasn't feeling 100% yet. It was the adrenaline rush from being inspired that kept me going and even made me well enough to travel to Rome.

So I thought that I'd start the year by firming up my gratefulness muscle by finding things that inspire me every day. This will help me build my well of strength since I know I still have a lot to go through in order to be 100% well.

What about you, what inspires you?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Surviving 2018

I started 2018 with a blog post about being grateful and counting your blessings everyday. I ended the year with a grateful heart, happy to have survived a life-threatening health issue caused by too much traveling. It was discovered only by chance because I insisted on having a second opinion. I am grateful that the new doctor did everything he could to find out what was wrong with me. It was a nerve-wracking experience and has been a bumpy few months getting treatment. It's not over yet, but at least I'd like to think I'm out of the woods for now. I'm only here today because of the care from my family and friends and patient colleagues who had to deal with the bad days. There are still bad days, but I'm happy that I'm up and about and can do my regular activities again (like cooking!).

We also lost the sweetest mother-in-law on earth last January. Mom is now our angel in heaven watching over us. I will certainly miss her laughter, the special food she would set aside for me because of my allergies. I would also miss the advise and practical perspective she would give us whenever we needed it. I really wanted to have another baby a few years ago, but she explained to me that sometimes there are things that are not meant to be. I am forever thankful that she accepted me in the family and loved me for being me. We miss you Mom every day.

I was grounded for most of the year from traveling, but I was still able to squeeze in trips to Manila, Penang, Taipei, New York, Japan, Bali, Sydney and Rome! And that's the bare minimum I've gone in the last 12 years (and is the reason why I got sick hehe). Rome was an amazing experience. I haven't been able to write about it yet because I had to focus on resolving my health issues when I got back from my trip. I was supposed to write more in the last ten days, but ummm I've been busy with my Mom hehe.

I would probably remember 2018 as a test year. What I went through was not easy. It almost broke me. I realized though that there are things you cannot bear on your own and help will always be available. I also think I should have put in some general goals in the beginning of 2018. I let the year just pass by without any specific plans (except for my quilting), I could've done better in my personal life (my boss said I did an excellent job work-wise).

I'm going to make sure 2019 will be a spectacular year. Sweetie and I are celebrating our 10th year anniversary, Mom is turning 85 and Miguel will finally finish school this year and will hopefully join the workforce by second half of the year (hello animation studios!). My general themes this year would be: self-care, stronger faith and happy family. Work will take care of itself, I realized that growing up in Catholic schools would always compel you to do your best (I still delivered a great job despite being very sick!). 2019, I'm ready for you. Let's get this rocking!

Happy new year everyone!