Adverbs

The first post for the month shall be dedicated to my SO, whom I lovingly call Adverbs.

The nick came from a conversation about a “novel” called Adverbs from the guy who wrote the Series of Unfortunate Events books. I was immediately drawn to the title; what English teacher wouldn’t be? I initially thought it was a book of essays on writing and grammar, but I was in for a then-pleasant surprise when I discovered it was actually a novel. 

Well, that pleasant surprise soon turned to disdain when I realized that it was actually a series of short stories. I was confused at the sudden shift in character perspective from the first to the second character; I thought that the two stories were related. I was sorely mistaken. The first story bored me; the second was meh, and the third? Let’s just say that the third’s not always the charm.
I ranted about this so much to my SO when we were just friends that he joked about calling me Adverbs on a daily basis. I told him I’d call him the same thing. It stuck. Aside from the usual terms of endearments, we use adverbs because it is our own crazy name for each other with an equally crazy love story behind the name (but that’s for a separate blog post).

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2015 in review

My favorite teacher, Rica Bolipata-Santos, posted this writing assignment on her FB account:

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Ma’am Rica said that it wasn’t really important to follow the number but that we should “Write [our] year, in honor and in supplication.”

So I choose to write my year in months, with these highlights and disappointments and game changers and things I focused on and forgot remembered in the order they happened.

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Almost on break

I refer to the annual semestral break and not a personal one.

I sit at my desk with piles upon piles of papers surrounding me and I find it necessary now to just pause and sigh and write. All these students, eager to pass, eager to get a high grade, but neither understanding the text completely nor writing very well (“decent” is the best adjective I can give them) break my heart. I echo the perennial cry of teachers around the world, “WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG?! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THESE KIDS?!”

And so I sit and listen to Beyoncé screech Love on Top and Mumford and Sons mumble and rage about white blank pages and love.

Ah, love.

I would like to believe that my heart has grown bigger, that I’ve learned to be more accepting of people no matter how disagreeable they may be to me. My dislike of certain people remains, but… I’m trying to be more… well. I’m just trying to be nicer and kinder.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Be kind when you’re working.

Be kind when you’re on break (academic or personal).

Be kind to your family.

Be kind to your enemy.

Be kind to that poor person knocking on your car window, asking for some change.

Be kind all the time.

Brain vs. Heart (again)

Listening to more senior colleagues last Friday night talk about life, love, and work over a refreshing ginger-lime fizzy drink got me thinking about MY own life, love, and work.

And I still got zilch in the love department.

When I was younger I thought I’d be an old maid like my dad’s older sister. I like her. She doesn’t fall under the cool aunt stereotype, but she was cool in my books (ahem) because she ALWAYS gave me books (there you go) as presents. She’d give me an occasional piece of clothing, but she knew me well enough to know that I loved my Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley. I thought that if I’d end up an old maid then I’d be cool like her.

My dad recently asked me if I were the only one left in my circle of friends still single. (Fortunately) I wasn’t; there were two of us, and I told him so. He merely grunted in reply.

My mom on the other hand used to be relentless in asking for a granddaughter until I stopped showing her all my friends’ babies.

My colleagues keep teasing me about guys who supposedly have a crush on me, but they never say who. Makes me doubt if these guys DO exist because I haven’t heard from ANY of them.

AT ALL.

My brain says it’s okay, but my heart says I need a man (screw you, oppressive society expectations). My colleagues have backed up my heart and wiggle their eyebrows at me, saying I should go after so and so or some other so and so.

And I’m like…

Give me a book na lang.

I don’t know

Today’s blog post is supposed to be all about the letter I, and I initially thought of doing a blog post on Instagram (check mine out, yeah? work and personal). There was a time I swore I would never join instagram because I had this thing about going against the popular.

BUT

being the social media hound that I am, I caved late last year and signed up. (And now I have two accounts).

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So while that up there’s an entry already for the A to Z challenge (WordPress tag reader here), I also want to talk about what I don’t know. As a teacher, I’ve struggled the past two years because I was teaching material I had not taught before. These were things I had not known about or known how to teach before, so researching and asking senior teachers and my bosses for help became half my whole teaching life. The other half was the actual teaching and then the checking, of course.

This coming school year, I’m going to be faced with some new responsibilities as well, and I feel terrified that I won’t be able to do enough, which, in turn, is already more horrible than you’d think because in our school, everybody (admin, students, parents) expect nothing short of excellence. It’s not enough to do the bare minimum.

So there.

I admit I don’t know much, but that’s not going to stop me from doing well excellently.

Boredom

It’s Maundy Thursday in the Catholic world, and while my family observes the Lenten season, one cannot deny that this is the most boring times of the year. Your patience gets tested year after year.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have cable television, so we were stuck with the local channels, which unfortunately showed nothing but Lenten season specials starting Thursday all the way to Easter Sunday. It was all good because we learned to be creative with our time. I was too young then to participate in the actual activities for the Pasyon, so, if I’m not mistaken, that was when I had resorted to making up stories in my head. I had fanfiction in my head on the life of Christ. (What if Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married? What if I were part of the Super Book/Flying House crew and got to join in the adventures with Jesus?)

When I was old enough, I had to join the traditional dawn reenactment of the Salubong where Mary and Christ meet after the latter had risen from the dead. That was my first taste of waking up at 3am. After I got too old for that, I turned to books during this season. When I got even older, I had to go to Church as well. The rituals were pretty interesting, and I know that as a Catholic, I should be strictly following/observing these practices as well not only as a sign of respect and devotion but also as personal sacrifice. I can’t do it anymore. My reasons will remain private, but suffice it to say I’ve stopped attending the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday masses. While we do have cable television now, it’s sort of a personal sacrifice here at home not to watch TV during this season since we most of us already begged off from the activities. Today, our one consolation was one episode of the Korean reality show Roommate. After that, zilch.

I looked at my Instagram feed and saw friends and colleagues who were off on pilgrimages or vacations. In our family, going out was a no-no during the Lenten season, and this tradition carried over to my adult life. Invites of beach trips were turned down when they were scheduled during the Holy Week. What is my point? I forgot.

Oh yeah. Boredom.

Honestly, though, this is the kind of boring days I don’t mind. It’s a time to reflect and pray, and giving up your daily luxuries like TV or the internet (this one was very hard for me) is a small sacrifice to pay, in my opinion.

May you all have a blessed week. May you all be blessed every day of your lives whoever you are and whatever your belief is. 🙂

My history with books

My mom is a reader–not a huge one, but she was the first one to encourage me to begin and continue reading. She and my dad got us this whole ten-volume collection of texts, but the only one I really loved was volume #3, which contained oh so many stories from fairy tales to absurd ones to classic shorts to legends to OH. MY. GOD. I just want to read them all again.

I had this, and I read this. 😀

 

Then my mom bought me my first pop culture novel: Sweet Valley. I forget, though, if it had been a Kids or Twins book. Either way, I got hooked. I borrowed every single one we had in the library, and I borrowed whatever I could from classmates–never mind that I was in no way close to them. I had books they wanted to borrow and vice versa. The books brought us together.

I remember during Intramurals (week-long sports activities) that fellow bookworms and I would sit along the hallways instead of cheering on batchmates as they went head to head with other levels because we preferred to read. I had an endless supply of Sweet Valley (Kids, Twins, High, University, Saga), Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Babysitters’ Club, Sweet Dreams, Love Stories and probably some less known other book series.

I also remember that when my mom gave me my first Nancy Drew book, we were on our way to Cebu. It was an overnight journey by ship, so I had my new book to keep me company. 🙂 Before that time, I had been reading only the Nancy Book stories from the library–the hard-bound classic ones–and then my mom got me my first “contemporary” Nancy Drew paperback. I was giddy beyond compare. On the way to the port I had already been sneaking peeks at the pages. I had to do it secretly because my mom wouldn’t let me read in the car because she said it would ruin my eyes (and she was right, huhu), but when we were on the ship and settled in, I had that book out quicker than Superman could catch a speeding bullet. I was done long before we had stepped off the ship the next day.

I don’t remember much anymore of the different book titles I read in my youth, only that they were mainly Sweet Valley and Nancy Drew books.

I started reading more serious stuff when I got to high school. I remember reading Austen’s Persuasion after I graduating from grade school (I think) and Pride and Prejudice a few years later. I didn’t understand them, to be honest, mainly because Austen’s prose was too much to handle for a pre-teen. I watched the movies when I got copies, and they helped me understand the stories when I read them again.

When it was time to apply for college, I was torn between taking up Psych or Literature or Japanese Studies–all these being my main interests at that point in my life. It was when my senior English teacher commended me on an essay that I decided to go for Lit. In hindsight, I realize that I only chose Lit because I loved to read. When it was time to read those tough but beautiful stories and critique and analyze them, I found myself way out of my league.

I persevered and survived. I discovered a love for children’s literature and young adult stories, but it didn’t mean I had turned my back on the more “serious” literature. Right now I have DFW’s Infinite Jest on my TBR pile. I’m 50 something pages in and I’m nowhere close to making a dent in this tome. Among the books on my TBR pile are Chocolat, Lolita, and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Um. Yeaaaah. The only reason I still haven’t cracked these books open is that I’m not sure I’m ready for the earth-shattering emotions I’m sure I would encounter. There’s something intimidating about emotions, isn’t there?

If there’s one thing about literature I love, it’s that it makes me think and imagine and FEEL, no matter how strong the emotion is. Literature is true, and it is powerful, and I love it.