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Posts Tagged ‘journeys’


Some call it the big C, I don’t.

The big C for me is Christ. At one time in our lives, we experience such life-changing ailments and fear for our health, we are afraid to die. But let’s face it, when our time comes, no matter how careful we are, no matter how we show the world how brave we are, then it is really time to go.

It takes courage to face something we didn’t even expect. It takes a brave outlook in life to go on.  Today is my 9th year since I underwent sigmoid surgery because of stage 3 colon cancer.  Six cycles of chemotherapy, almost six months in the process. I’ve said before in my other blog posts that every July 13 for me is a celebration of life, a life of second chances.

Yes, life has changed since then. I gained more friends here, I  got a wonderful gift when my grandson Nate was born, I’ve been strong enough to face those everyday challenges that are part of life. Additional nine years of bliss, small miracles that happen every day, wonderful  things that made me laugh and smile and cry sometimes because of joy.

Life is a miracle. Every day that we are alive, there is always sometime worth-celebrating.  There is always something that makes us stronger in our faith, courageous in life’s battles and  having  enough confidence to face life itself.

Courage is not just the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have enough of it. The journey is not always a paved highway, but sometimes they are back roads, the roads less traveled.  The destination doesn’t matter much but the journey does. We will encounter obstacles, make mistakes along the way but we will learn through it all.  Sometimes we discover beautiful paths.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

 

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High school life was so different from the grade school years I spent in the province. The probinsiyana kid was now a city girl 🙂

I was actually late in taking the admission test for high school at the University of Santo Tomas but since my father worked at the university, the high school principal accommodated me. I even took the exams at the principal’s office.

Though my brothers and I spent summer break  in Manila during our grade school  years to be with Dad, residing permanently in a city was a challenge for me.  I have to take a commute from our place in Quezon City to Espana in Manila. Back then, there were buses traveling the long road passing in front of the University gates. Jeepneys were plenty too and traffic was unheard of. The girl sections in all years usually had their class in the morning while our brother sections had theirs in the afternoon.  We only get to mingle with them during joint school activities like sports fests, spelling bee contests and the like.

I do remember the very first day during my freshman year. We prayed the Morning Offering after the flag ceremony then our Spiritual Director gave us each a blessed rosary.  In every subject, we had to introduce ourselves to our teachers. I felt so conscious back then. My classmates looked so smart and well-dressed. Eventually we had to wear our uniforms. It took me a while to adjust to high school life.  The grammar was okay but the diction was a little hard on the ears if you know what I mean.

I have always loved our English subjects. I didn’t like  Algebra much because I could not understand all those symbols but  I adored Chemistry and Physics.  Religion subject was also part of our curriculum from first to fourth year. We had yearly retreats and once a month  celebration of the mass in school where we had to wear our gala uniform.

It was a tradition in our school that before we leave its portals, we had to make a presentation for the lower years and for our teachers.  Each of the senior students was given assignments. We had to brainstorm on a title of our presentation but  ended with Walang Pamagat  meaning No Title. We adapted various television programs and made our own scripts. Other graduating class after us followed  suit with the same title but added numbers like Walang Pamagat  One, Walang Pamagat Two.

We started having reunions back in 2003 and it is now a regular thing every three years. Every year, the organizers are able to trace more classmates and school mates. Some groups have get-together every time a high school friend takes a vacation from abroad. Half of us are working and staying abroad now. Some of them had become doctors, engineers and lawyers.

My high school life at a glance.

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A former grade school classmate created a group for our batch. Since I only spent two years with them before I graduated from elementary, I  no longer remember some of their faces. The names are familiar though.  What comes to mind  are those early years spent in our small barrio where I spent Grade 1 to Grade IV. Back then, all of my classmates lived in the same place as we did. Most of us are even distant relatives. We had only two teachers until Grade IV. They taught two classes in a day. My teacher in Grade III and IV was mommy’s first cousin.

Uncle Berning as we used to call him was quite strict when we were in class but outside the classroom, he was a caring, loving  and kind uncle.  When we were kids and when Mom spent some days with Dad here in Metro Manila, we stayed with my  maternal grandmother and an unmarried aunt in the big ancestral house they used to have back then. Uncle Berning had lunch with us every day, from Monday to Friday.  He would take a cat nap after lunch before starting afternoon class.  Since the school is a walking distance from the house, us kids (my cousins, older brother and I)  would run ahead when the bell rings. We never walked back to school with him. We were in awe of our elders and specially our teacher.

I remember those days when some classmates would stay standing for a while when they could not answer  questions from our teacher. I remember the days that we would clean the school yard after class or water the plants before we start flag ceremony. There were always designated cleaners for our room. Gardening was a must for us. We planted mustards, snow cabbage and even some eggplants at the back of the school.  We made simple school projects. I remember making a floor mat  out of coconut husk.

When school ends, we would run to the small wooden gate of the school. We  had no school uniforms and we went to school in clogs or slippers. Barrio life was simple then.  My Mom taught us how to cook rice in a clay  palayok, an unglazed ceramic cooking pot. It was my afternoon routine after class, cooking rice  the primitive way using charcoal or dried branches that we usually gather every summer break.

Nowadays, every convenience is in our hands. We wouldn’t need to labor around a wooden stove to cook meals. There is always the rice cooker ever ready, the oven for some complicated dish and the gas stove for our everyday use.

Those years.

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The sun is shining bright. I hope the monsoon rains which typhoon Maria would be bringing are not strong to cause flooded streets and houses. Sometimes monsoon rains take as long as more than a week, a little inconvenient when you want to go out and it’s raining outside.

I checked the garden for a while making sure that the the plants in the planter’s box not reached by the previous rain yesterday are not too dry.  I also checked our jackfruits which are still fruiting and our two kalamansi trees.  What do you know. I just harvested about a kilo of fresh kalamansi. Perfect for  marinating meat, dips and making kalamansi juice. I am trying to limit my sugar intake though so it would be just a bit of  sugar.  I am planning to buy honey when I go back to the supermarket.

Fresh kalamansi

For the past two days, I avoided eating rice. Carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar and sugar feeds cancer cells. Trying to do it right slowly until my body adjusts to no rice at all. My daughter Nissa is on a Keto diet. She’s been on it for the past two years.  I asked my internist about it and he said I should not eat fats  since I am on maintenance with high blood pressure. I  don’t like fats specially from pork  and chicken.   When I buy chicken, I remove the skin or have chicken breasts deboned by the vendor.  Josef suggested that I cook my meals in our steamer to avoid those unnecessary oils and fats that I don’t need.

Over the weekend, Josef and I bought some wonton wrappers and cooked  Pinsec frito. Pinsec is a type of dumplings wherein wonton wrappers are filled with ground meat, carrots, sesame oil, salt, ground black pepper, green onion, crab meat (optional), and egg  or seafood filling and then deep-fried until golden and crisp. It’s best eaten when it’s hot and it’s best with sweet and sour sauce as dips.

Pinsec Frito

As we grow older, it’s not just the body aches and muscular pains that we experience. I still feel my immunity is low. After all these years, maybe it is still the effect of chemo drugs. I am grateful though that despite all these  setbacks, I feel okay and I thank God for that.

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♫♪Slow down, you movin’ too fast
You gotta make the moment last…♪♪♪

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Blue, you said, fits me more

Than any color would do

That canvas called life

Could never hide the truth inside

As you once were, I feel blue tonight.

I chose to be a poet

But you wonder why

My poems never rhyme

Maybe I’ll find the words

That will match the music and the song

If only you were here!

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Finally reached my 2,300th post including this one but that does not include the additional 523 posts (total) in my  other four blogs. The stats here is just for Dreams and Escapes.

Sometimes I feel I lost my muse, finding it hard to write after so long. Sometimes I feel I have already covered all the subjects that a blogger like me writes about. Sometimes I feel I am sharing too much – family life, my garden, my friends, photographs I took over the years, books I read and books I still have to read in the future, dreams and what have you’s.

But sometimes I think they are never enough. As long as one is alive and kicking, you get to experience life and all its angst all the more. You get to learn through time and the journey may be easier to navigate  or the road may be full of stones.

I made a similar title of this post six years ago. There is still that desire to get in touch with the world in general and to close friends in particular. One good thing about this blogging genre is that I found many online friends here, read about their lives in the process. I treasure the times when I open my reader feed and I see their names and their updates.   I feel so excited to see their lovely photographs, read about how life is in other countries far and wide.

And I’ve always said that blogging has become a way of life for me.

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