Gratitude list

I don’t know why I didn’t do this for letter G, but there’s always room for gratitude any day of the year.

So today, and the past week since I’ve been back from the beach, I am grateful for the following:

  • finally getting my driver’s license (still nervous about the expressway though :/)
  • my gorgeous tan hallelujah. I usually end up burnt to a crisp or not dark at all but this time my tan is JUST RIGHT. Sad news is that it’s quickly fading from my face because I’ve been indoors most days recently
  • tomorrow’s overnight trip to hot springs hot spot Pansol. Not actually sure if the place we’re renting is a regular pool or hot spring pool, but it’s  still an opportunity to work on my tan. 
  • Vacation. I haven’t had a decent vacation in years which has resulted in my skin turning a pasty pale brown instead of the beautiful morena shade I should have and want to have. But more than my skin color, I’m absolutely grateful for the opportunity to rest and recharge. This year so far has been unbearably difficult, so this short time away from work is blessing.
  • Netflix. I’ve been binge-watching Riverdale, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Gilmore Girls, and all for free thanks to the free first month. Not sure I’ll retain the subscriotiin, though, since Netflix PH is horrible.
  • Viu. This is the Kdrama equivalent of Netflix except they don’t charge ANYTHING. 🙂 Just finished She Was Pretty and Love in the Moonlight. 
  • My brother gave me spending money since I used most of this month’s salary on car payments (among others) already. Hooray for siblings!
  • Ice cream and Ice.in this sweltering summer heat, not even the Laguna winds is enough to keep us cool. Thank goodness for these two.
  • Water. There’s this TVC being aired about how much water you waste if you leave the tap on while you brush your teeth. I grew up in a house with no running water. Well, technically we had it, but t had to be delivered to us. The water guys would come with a truck of water that they’d transfer to our backyard tank which is the source of our running water. The downside is that for some reason, the water wouldn’t go into our toilet, so we had to “manually” flush it. We had to learn to save our water by putting a small container under our heads to catvh the water when we’d rinse our hair and we’d use that to flush the toilet bowl. We brushed our teeth with a cup and we had to use that amount of water when we brushed our teeth. We had a bunch more water-saving practices that we followed daily, so I thought it was pretty normal until we moved to Laguna when I was a teenager. But until now we still try to save as much water as we can. Even if we have a working shower, we still use the traditional tabo at balde when we bathe because we use less water that way. What I AM thankful for is that we have water. Even if we have to conserve and be mindful of our usage, we actually have ready access to running water. We have ice, filtered drinking water, a shower and toilet that work. We have water, and I am thankful for this every single day.
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Waley

(wah-lei)

Street speak/local gay lingo for wala, which is Filipino for “nothing.”

Starting today I will be emptying my mind into waleyness (nothingness) as I embark on a three day retreat. I have been feeling TOO much and thinking way too much lately that I’ve ended up crying most nights, so hopefully I am emptied of all these negative thoughts and feelings during the retreat and I find peace and be able to reconnect with God.

Wish me luck. Will be scheduling posts for the other days I’m gone.

Gratitude list

  • Walks: I’ve pretty much led a sedentary lifestyle this summer, crashing on the couch to channel surf when there’s nothing urgent to be done, getting up only to do the yoga challenge and to eat and go to the bathroom. I took a physical walk and a mental walk recently and I found myself refreshed after both. The physical walk got me some good old exercise and the mental one made sure I was still sane.
  • Water: in this intense summer heat, water is both a necessity and a luxury. I am grateful I have easy access to clean, cold, and refreshing drinking water.

Valette/Vin

Vin is the protagonist of the Mistborn fantasy series of novels by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve never really taken to the main character, but the story’s pretty interesting.

Vin is a mistborn, a person who can draw on the power of certain metals to affect physical and mental states. She is introduced to her power by another mistborn, Kelsier, who is the sole survivor of the Pits of Hathsin, a prison camp of sorts where prisoners become slaves. He is planning a revolution, and he is counting on Vin and her pwers to help. She turns into a young noblewoman named Lady Valette Renoux to act as a spy.

Book one’s done, and I’ve just started book 2. It’s slow progress since fantasy novels aren’t really my thing, but this one seems to be promising.

Gratitude list

  • Vacation: Nothing like summer vacation to get time to just chill and read.

Suzuki

Today, I got my new car. 🙂 It’s a Suzuki Ertiga.

Technically it’s my family’s car, but, well, yeah. 

Ironically, I don’t have a driver’s license yet, which is why I dragged my dad to the dealer so that he could be the one to drive it home. It’ll be two weeks more before I can apply for my license, which should give me enough time to practice before the test. I’m both excited and anxious about it; I hope I don’t flunk it.

Gratitude list

  • Suzuki
  • Summer: the only thing missing is the beach. I am a beach girl and the lack of funds for even a day trip to the beach (car payments) is bery frustrating. What I AM thankful for now is the time that summer gives me to read.
  • Sticker: the first sticker we got for our car was the village sticker, and this works in my favor because it means I don’t have to leave my student permit with the guard at the gate every time I enter the village. The next sticker is the one for school.
  • Student permit: I can practice driving. 🙂

Online

I am a millenial, and I am addicted to my phone.

Well, okay, not really. I’m close to it, though.

In any case, the past few days have seen me glued to my phone reading and responding and reposting stories and articles and opinions about that rape joke that presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte uttered last week. I won’t post links lest I be accused of curating what I want visitors to this blog will see. Google it and you’ll find a lot of netizens both in full rage mode against the guy and his supporters still, well, supporting him. 

My main beef with the guy is his morals. I cannot stand to have a national leader who will demean women like me just because that’s “who he is.” He will no longer be who he is if he assumes the oresidency; he will be assuming the role of every single Filipino in this country. He will be representing us if he wins, and therefore he has a lot more responsibility now to the nation as a candidate. As such, he should shape himself up for the job. 

I got into an online discussion with one of his supporters–a colleague of mine from my previous workplace. He condemned the joke, but retained support because of Duterte’s political will. I agreed with him that the candidate was tough, but I still disagree with his use of his machismo and his misogyny.

There were a lot of other comments online that were really misinformed, and this is what ABSOLUTELY frustrates me to no end. We have Information at our fingertips, yet people still react anyway without being informed. They don’t bother to do research or even READ. They don’t bother to listen or communicate PROPERLY. We have the tools at our hands, but sadly, the majority of its users do not use it responsibly.

I’ve spoken my piece about that guy on Facebook, and I will not repeat it here anymore. All I can say now is that whoever wins had better deserve the trust of the people and had better to do a hell of a job keeping this country moving forward.

Gratitude list

  • Om: I finally got to go back to the mat yesterday after almost a week of no yoga. I caught up with the challenge and did some Om chants to calm my mind and my whole being after reading through the hate online (so toxic huhu).
  • Openness: not many people are open to other people’s point of view. People don’t realize that you can still listen to others’ opinions and not have to change your own views. What irks me though, is if their views are wrong, like in the case of Duterte’s supporters who respond to indignant cries of people over the “joke” with “LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF THE JOKE.” And we go, THERE IS NO FRIKKIN CONTEXT IN THE WORLD THAT JUSTIFIES RAPE JOKES!!! Besides, we weren’t even questioning the narrative behind the incident that brought that statement out; we were indignant over the thinking that it’s okay to crack jokes about raping somebody because no harm was meant, they were just words, they were said in the heat of anger yada yada. NO. Rape jokes are NEVER okay. NEVER.
  • Om: I need to chant Om again.

Moms

One of my closest college friends is giving birth in a couple of weeks and we threw a surprise baby shower for her today. The event was a success; we had good food, good company, and good games (one of which was eating Nutella off a diaper).

Conversation turned to the process of giving birth and motherhood once we finished the program. Those who were moms gave their two cents while the rest of us singletons just cringed whenever someone mentioned the word vagina in the context of givig birth (e.g. “feels like a bowling ball coming out of your vagina;” “You mean you’re going to video the whole thing and see your own sister’s vagina?”)

One of the guests commented that parenting was a scam when she heard how much baby stuff cost. All of us laughed and I guess partly agreed, too. However, none of us laughed when the moms started talking about raising their kids (currently toddlers) into kind, respectful, and responsible people.

Every time my friends talk about their kids’ antics or achievements, I can’t help but feel proud of the kids, but I also am proud of my friends for being great moms who aren’t afraid to discipline their children when needed or teach them to be compassionate. I remember my own mom and think of how much trouble I must have caused when I was a kid myself, and instantly I feel guilty. My SO sometimes talks about his mom raising him and his two brothers while the dad works overseas; I am amazed that one woman can raise three wonderful human beings mostly on her own.

With Mother’s Day coming up in less than a month, I plan on doing something a little bit more special for my mom this year. Don’t tell her; it’s going to be a surprise. 🙂

Gratitude list

  • Moms
  • Money: I have a new car! Ish. Coming. No more dealing with the heat and rain while commuting. New problem? Parking and motorcycle drivers. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get my license.
  • Meals: I eat regularly even though soemtimes I don’t like the food laid in front of me. That’s a whole lot more than most of my countrymen who sometimes don’t have money to buy even a piece of pandesal (bread).
  • Mornings: Today I woke up feeling excited. I had a disagreement with SO last night, which we also resolved immediately, so waking up today was better than usual because I knew I’d get to see him today.
  • Metro Manila traffic: Okay I absolutely hate traffic in the metro, but because of this, I come to appreciate my life in the province even more. Having grown up a city girl, the move AWAY from the city was crushing, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So… Thank you, Metro Manila, for helping me realize and constantly reminding me that I live in Vacationland.

L

I’ll just do a gratitude list because today is full of L words.

  • Lakad: Filipino for the word “walk,” lakad can also mean a trip out of the house to meet with friends or do errands. Today I had to go do errands and am thankful to be able to do so with the company of a close friend who’s moving into our village soon. She had errands for their house and I had errands for our car so we accompanied each other to our lakad. I don’t usually get to hang out with friends anymore especially this summer break, so this impromptu lakad was a blessing even though it was full of errands. The best part was when we decided to visit another good friend in a neighboring village for late afternoon snacks and ice cream. Perfect day is perfect. 🙂
  • Love: My friend was talking about her new life as a married woman during our errands, and she was saying that it was so hard for her to understand her husband’s work because it forces him to stay at work until midnight. His work in a local candidate’s campaign keeps him busy, and while she understands that the campaign work was only temporary, she can’t help but worry when he isn’t home by 9pm. I realized that this girl–my friend–was sticking with her husband not because they’re already married and there’s no way out (no divorce in this country) but because of her love for him. They’ve had similar problems before and some which have caused her to cry buckets and buckets of tears, but through those oceans of tears she never once thought of leaving him. That to me was and is inspiring, and it reminds me that great love is also great work.
  • Laguna: I live in a province called Laguna, an hour south of Metro Manila. When my parents told us that we would be moving away from the city and into the province, I was heartbroken. I had already established close-knit relationships with friends and neighbors, and the thought of leaving was too much. I cried when our car pulled out of the garage one last time. Now, however, as I was doing my errands, I can’t help but say a silent prayer of thanks because my parents decided to move the family here. There’s traffic, yes, but nothing like the one in the metro. There are cars and commercial buildings as the province is slowly becoming more urbanized, but almost 20 years later the fields still outnumber the buildings here. I am grateful for the convenience of the newly opened malls, but I am also grateful for the fresh air and the kind locals. Even the migrants like myself have imbibed the ways of the people here. The villages are quiet, there are no loud videoke concerts in the middle of the night, and people are in bed by 9pm. The life here is both ideal and idyllic. As my colleague says, “I’m so glad I moved to Vacationland!”
  • LA Lakers: I’m no basketball fan, but even I know of Kobe’s achievements and contributions to the sport. I am thankful to the Lakers for taking care of Kobe and giving him opportunities to shine and show the world how the sport is also an art.
  • Line: This refers to the mobile chat platform. Similar to Viber but less annoying, Line has allowed me to stay in touch with friends from all over the country and even the ones abroad. I don’t like Viber because the notifications are usually delayed, and sometimes the notifications only arrive when you open the app. Line is just so much better. Plus the stickers are also better in Line than in Viber.