Posted in Health & Medicine

The Ugly Truth About the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic hits and continue to take over everyone’s lives, we question every information that we read and watch on social media, newspaper or any news for that matter. Technology has its benefits but it can also lead to destruction when used inappropriately. While clicking each link on our devices became more of a second nature, the  pieces of information that appear before our eyes can be clouding our judgment or deviating us from the truth. 

Now, the health care workers are fatigued, burnt out and have reached the breaking point. Some may think that this is another conspiracy theory but it is not. Hospitals are overflowing with patients not because of COVID-19 but of sicker patients. Remember the lockdown when all surgeries and clinic appointments have to be stopped? Yes, those scheduled appointments have been stopped to accommodate an “expected” large influx of COVID-19 patients. The hospital beds were made clear. The first wave was an appetizer. And now we’re getting the first bite of our main course, as we speak.

After a few months of lockdown, the hospitals opened and began catering to patients’ delayed surgeries or treatments. From surgeries to appointments to clinic visits. In the mean time, the COVID-19 cases continue to rise. From reopening of gyms, restaurants and other business establishments, there was a huge price to pay, increasing number of COVID-19 cases. From health care workers to ordinary people, everyone was engulfed with fear, panic, confusion, misinformation and frustration.

Those who were submerged with fear may have their own medical  issues. They could be immunocompromised. On the other hand, another person might be fearful that their family members would contract the virus and may potentially lead to death. And then you have another one who fears the whole idea of having a pandemic. Who doesn’t? I bet most of us were not born before 1918 to witness the Spanish flu pandemic.  Moreover, health care workers who work in outbreak areas fearing about their health and contracting the virus, infecting their family members or significant others or giving it to their patients. From mask deficits to unsafe working conditions and staff shortages, it was rather a difficult time to work in the health care field. I’m not saying that it’s easier now, I would say it’s more challenging than before.

Kudos to all health care workers!

Panic, fear and anxiety create a tunnel vision.  And for some individuals, they lose their decision making skills and sound judgment. Some have the audacity to question the known facts of a profession that took years to be mastered, thanks to Dr. Google. A few don’t care and are just complacent in general. Some are irate and hostile towards health care staff and disregard warnings and suggestions to prevent the spread of the disease. Too much complacency and conspicuousness became acceptable. In fact, respect and tactfulness were nearly forgotten. Unfortunately, everyone is a doctor or a nurse now or an epidemiologist, insert sarcasm here.

The fear about this global pandemic is real, we get it. To live in such an era where the internet is a super highway of information, fake news and clickbaits, we are collectively vulnerable to internet vultures. A part of the population became defiant against the rules and norms. Our society has unquestionably changed and continuously changing. On a sore note, some of us are not willing to adapt to it and our behaviours are seriously affecting how this pandemic saga is going to play out. Here are the ugly truths about this pandemic that we may have to live with for a while, at least in Canada:

  • Online degrees and programs will continue to be the norm. 
  • Mandatory mask wearing, everywhere.
  • Zoom meetings in replacement of face-to-face meetings in various settings.
  • COVID-19 swab tests every now and then. Our poor noses will be so traumatized.
  • Buffets, clubbing and parties are a tale of the past.
  • More job losses and foreclosures.
  • Less doctors and nurses because of burn out.
  • Ubereats and SkipTheDishes continue to thrive.
  • You need to wash your hands with the sticky, sometimes sour-smelling hand sanitizer at the store.
  • Travelling to other countries is such a hassle.
  • People who argue about wearing masks and think everything about the pandemic is still a conspiracy. Worse, wearing masks causes oxygen deprivation. Okay, Karen!
  • Some still don’t wash their hands. 
  • Everyone will look at you weirdly when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Violence and upheaval continue to rise because of misinformation.
  • The vaccine has yet to be proven effective and ethical issues must be addressed before mass immunization.

And the list goes on and on. Despite the negativities, we should continue to look into our values and what’s important to us. Stop being self-centred or selfish. In this case, we will find a way to cope and thrive in this unprecedented era. It would be a story to tell to our grandchildren. Additionally, we must act maturely and responsibly so our society can go back to a place where the pandemic seems like it never happened. After all, we’re a history in the making and it’s up to us which road we’re going to take. A path to greatness or a path to destruction. Choose.

Sorry, just ranting. 🇨🇦

Posted in Food & Drinks

Top 10 Must Try Foodie Spots in Ottawa

Sometimes, you just have to indulge yourself with a delicious meal. After a busy work week, you finally can’t decide what to cook or what to eat. Quarantine has made us love our food more as it gives us comfort and a whole new level of happiness. So you’re home and you’re now wondering what to order. If you’re in Ottawa or visiting Ottawa, you must try these 10 spots that will fulfill your taste of heaven.

10. Pomelo Hat

From acai bowls, smoothie bowls to milk tea and boba, Pomelo Hat offers these mouth watering options made from real fruit. They also source their ingredients from local suppliers and are 100% vegan. Check out their menu. They offer curbside pickup and delivery on Ubereats, Doordash and SkipTheDishes.com

9. El Camino

If you’re looking for the best tacos in the city, you came to the right place. They also offer gluten-free food choices. Their nachos and guacamole are to die for. This restaurant was hailed as #2 Traveller’s Choice in 2020 for TripAdvisor, El Camino is a Mexican restaurant that everyone should check out! Are you ready to order yet? El Camino only offer takeouts at the moment and online ordering is available through this site, click here. Visit their Facebook page, click here and Instagram page.

8. Sugar Marmalade

Sugar Marmalade takes their dessert to another level. Origination from Hongkong, this fusion restaurant is something to watch out for! Their innovation for fusion desserts will capture your taste buds. Not only do they offer sumptuous desserts, they also offer scrumptious lunches and dinners! Check Sugar Marmalade Ottawa’s Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow their Instagram page! You may order from UberEats, SkiptheDishes and Doordash. What are you waiting for? Look at these selections!

7. Kanata Noodle House

Ready to feed your umami taste bud? You should order at Kanata Noodle House. This restaurant specializes in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. From stirfrys, spring rolls to pho, they offer an extensive menu with a large variety of noodle, rice and soup dishes from popular Vietnamese cuisine including selections in seafood, chicken, beef, and pork, well as vegetarian options. Are you drooling already? Check out their Facebook page. They just launched their online ordering system on their website for Carling location and Kanata location. What are you going to get?

6. Gyubee Japanese Grill

Craving for an all-you-can eat barbeque? Gyubee Japanese Grill is now in Ottawa! According to their website, their wide selection of quality and fresh ingredient offerings, they ensure that everyone can enjoy the generosity of the art of Japanese barbecue — all with a personal flair.​ They offer curbside pickup, takeout and delivery through Ubereats, SkiptheDishes and guess what, dine-in! You should definitely check them out on Facebook and Instagram!

5. Bite Burger House

Burgers like no other! Bite Burger House offers handcrafted burgers with locally-sourced ingredients. According to them. “The Bite experience features premium service in a comfortable setting, accented by a unique and ever-changing selection of craft beers, fine wines and specialty cocktails.

Owners Glen & Bettina have designed a high end twist on an old concept. This includes using local meats and cheeses and in house made sauces. Bite is based on bringing back basic comfort food with added flavor profiles while offering unique drinks. Visit their Facebook and Instagram.

They’re located at Byward Market and Orleans. Ready to order these mouth watering burgers?

4. Tomo Restaurant

Sushi cravings? Tomo creates a wide array of pan-Asian dishes using the finest ingredients. This restaurant offer weekly Japanese special cuisines with the freshest ingredients from east and west coast of Canada. You can order online through Ubereats and SkipTheDishes and reserve online at tomorestaurant.ca and opentable.ca. Also you can visit their Facebook and Instagram page.

3. The Smoque Shack

Established in 2011, The Smoque Shack provides a menu drawing from the best of the best in the BBQ genre, such as Texas Brisket, North Carolina Pulled Pork, Tennessee BBQ Chicken, Jamaican Jerk, as well as smoked seafood, and unique and traditional sandwiches.

Visit their Facebook and Instagram page for a wide selection of yummyness! Only takeouts are available for now due to the pandemic but hey, it’s worth the drive!

2. Pirho Grill

This restaurant’s roots stemmed from Greece, and highlights meal time traditions. The founders grew up immersed in Greek traditions, and after travelling throughout Europe and Greece, they were inspired to build a restaurant that emphasizes togetherness, a time to tell stories, and to share love for one another.

With a variety of fresh, healthful and conscious true food, Pirho’s kitchen prepared meals has is a one of a kind experience. You deserve to enjoy those precious moments and connect with your loved ones, in real life, with true food with the freshest ingredients.

Online ordering is available through this link. They’re also open for walk-in and takeout orders. Curbside pickup is also available and delivery through Ubereats. With three locations in Ottawa. you can’t just get enough! Don’ forget to drop by on their Facebook page for Pirho Elgin, Pirho Kanata, and Pirho Barrhaven and plus their Instagram page.

Ready to order your first bowl?

  1. Sansotei Ramen

With two locations in Centretown and Merivale, this ramen is a must visit when craving for that authentic Japanese noodle soup. Simplicity and consistency with their menu makes Ottawans line up and wait in the cold just to have a taste of this delicious ramen. They only accept takeouts and UberEats deliveries at the moment because of the pandemic but I kid you not, it is well worth it! Visit their Facebook page and Instagram account!

So which one did you order?

Posted in Animal Lovers

Top 5 dog breeds you may want to have during the pandemic

Let’s face it. This pandemic has made us feel isolated and despite the stay-at-home quarantines and work-at-home trends, our little paw friends provide us comfort, love and affection that helps us get through this rather gloomy year. Let me start with a list of dog breeds that you may want to cuddle and care for. Get ready for some cuteness overload!

5. Cavapoo

The Cavapoo is a mixed breed dog — a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle dog breeds. Outgoing, playful, and curious, these pups inherit some of the best traits from both of their parents.

Cavapoos go by several names, including Cavadoodle and Cavoodle. Despite their unfortunate status as a designer breed, you can find these mixed breed dogs in shelters and rescues, so remember to adopt! Don’t shop!

These adorable pups make amazing family pets, as they’re outgoing and adore attention. While they can work in smaller settings, they definitely thrive in a “pack” setting. If you want a loyal, playful dog who enjoys romping around with you or snuggling on the couch, the Cavapoo may be the dog for you!

4. Bichon Frise

http://instagram.com/bichon_tori

The Bichon Frise is a cheerful, small dog breed with a love of mischief and a lot of love to give. With their black eyes and fluffy white coat, the Bichon looks almost like a child’s toy.

It doesn’t take long to realize that the Bichon can be your happiest and most enthusiastic companion. They’re super playful and intelligent, and even novice pet parents and apartment dwellers will get along great with these dogs. However, they do need plenty of playtime and activity, and they don’t care for being left home alone for long hours of the day. If you can give your dog lots of attention and love, you’ll get it back tenfold from an adoring Bichon.

3. Shetland Sheepdog

Canines of the Shetland Sheepdog dog breed stood guard for farmers in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, keeping hungry birds and sheep out of the farmer’s garden, and they served as herding dogs as well. Today they’re excellent family companions and superstars in dog sports.

Smart and eager to please, dogs of this breed take well to training. Even though they’re quite affectionate with just about everybody, they’re also very protective of their families. They’re sensitive and shouldn’t spend too many hours home alone without companionship. If you can keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated with tasks, training, and exercise, you’ll have a loving furry family member.

2. Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu dog breed was originally bred to flush birds and small game, and was occasionally used to hunt wild boar. They’re one of Japan’s six native breeds: Akita (large), Kishu, Hokkaido, Kai, Shikoku (medium), and Shiba (small).

Even though these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if you want to bring a dog home.

Shibas are known for their spirited personality, small upright ears, and cat-like agility. Today they serve primarily as companion dogs in Japan and the United States.

  1. Dachshund

Dachshunds are scent hound dogs bred to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals, rabbits, and foxes. Hunters even used packs of Dachshunds to trail wild boar. Today their versatility makes them excellent family companions, show dogs, and small-game hunters.

But don’t let this pup fool you. Dogs of this breed might be, as legendary literary critic and humorous journalist H. L. Mencken said, “half a dog high and a dog and a half long,” but this small, drop-eared dog is tough enough to take on a badger. In fact, that’s how they got their name (Dachs meaning badger; hund meaning dog).

However, you may know them by one of their many nicknames, including Wiener Dog, Sausage Dog, Doxie, and more. If you’re looking a little pooch who will keep you on your toes and shower you with love, this may be the breed for you.

So, which one are you going to adopt? 🙂

Posted in books

Top 5 books to get you through COVID-19 pandemic work-life

COVID-19. Pandemic. Social distancing. Fatalities. Outbreaks. Mandatory mask wearing. Lockdowns.

As the world continues to dramatically change and evolve into the unknown, it’s very important to look into taking care of ourselves. Remember, there’s always a silver lining to this. Even though much of the activities have been stopped during these unprecedented times, there is one activity that’s remained untouched by this pandemic, reading. Sometimes you just need a good book to drown your thoughts into and help you get through the stressful and dynamic work life. Although social media has been readily available at the tip of your fingertips, I recommend indulging yourself in a book that will get you through the stressful times. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are my top 5 list:

5. Happiness at Work by Srikumar Rao

This book talks about creating joy no matter what is going on around us. The rough economic and personal difficulties are everyday experiences. It may be difficult for you at this time, but hey, there’s no harm in trying, right?

Learn to create resilience and happiness no matter what’s going on in your life.”

2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

This book tackles the fact that we all have an enormous potential. Self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours should be changed to get what you want. This also emphasizes self-love, setting big goals to reach them and create a life that you totally love.

3. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames,” by Thich Nhat Hanh. 

This book focuses on mindfulness. It raises the awareness of “self” and how to manage your emotions. During these times when everything seems to be out of control, we become angry and frustrated. Being mindful solves our anger that tends to dominate us. This book will teach you how to channel your frustration and anger to mindfulness. With the unexpected difficulties and ever changing workplace dynamic, it’s easy to get your emotions at a peak of frustration. Learn to manage those emotions through this book!

2. You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times,” by Max Lucado. 

Though these unprecedented and challenging times may bring a load of uncertainty and fear that feels too heavy to bear, God gives us this promise: You’ll get through this.

This book takes you back to the time when Joseph was sold to slavery and later on evolved into a much greater man. He faced difficult challenges, deceit and hardships. This thought provoking book encourages you that amidst through the storm, you’ll be resilient and end up in a place where you want to be. Definitely a good read.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good life by Mark Manson

We seldom hear about the counterintuitive approach but it works. We are living in a society with expectations and standards however at times, it doesn’t flow to the right direction. Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

We have our own flaws and learn not to sugarcoat it. The author presents a witty and humorous approach to convey that life is f*cked up, learn to live with it. Suck it up, buttercup and just carry on!

Posted in Photography & Travel

Top 10 Nature Spots in Ottawa and Surrounding Areas

Visiting the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas? These are my top 10 spots to visit when looking for places to unwind, chill and have a taste of Ottawa. While city life could be hectic at times, Ottawa living offers various options to explore and delve into a relaxing getaway. It could be a simple walk, bike ride, hike or picnic, these places have a lot to offer. Get your cameras ready when you visit these spots as it’s too beautiful and too instagrammable!

10. Mer Bleue Bog

Beautiful colours in Autumn

Mer Bleue provides a unique opportunity to see a northern boreal landscape located within minutes of a large city. This 7,700-year-old bog provides habitat for many species of regionally rare and significant plants, birds and other wildlife. It also supports plant and wildlife populations that are typical of northern boreal bogs.

Picturesque view

With more than 20 kilometres of trails, Mer Bleue offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Wonderful boardwalk

You can take a self-guided tour along the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, a 1.2-kilometre interpretive boardwalk. Check out the Dewberry Trail as well. Photography and birding are also popular activities at Mer Bleue.

Discover the remarkable trees in this area.

Remarkable trees

9. Rideau Falls.

The twin falls mark the spot where the Rideau River flows into the Ottawa River. The 2.89-hectare park is the site of several commemorations, including the Mackenzie-Papineau Monument, the Commonwealth Air Force Memorial and the National Artillery Monument.

Raging waters

Confederation Boulevard landmark, Rideau Falls Park is located at 50 Sussex Drive, a short walk from Rideau Hall. In the 1800s, the site was an industrial area powered by the falls. Rideau Falls Park was developed after the Second World War, when the area was acquired by the federal government and cleared of industry.

Rideau Falls and Green Island

8. Princess Louise Falls

This waterfalls is located in Orleans and is a part of a river system that was buried underground to allow suburban home construction.

Princess Louise Falls

7. Eagle’s Nest, Madawaska, ON

Eagle’s Nest Lookout is a 2.7 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Greater Madawaska, Ontario, Canada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Inukshuk on the trail, uniquely Canadian.

An easy 1.5 km hike along an old logging road that climbs gradually uphill, through the woods, leading to a spectacular lookout at the top of a 120 metre cliff. 

Trail to the Eagle’s Nest

Across the road, on your left, you will note the Eagle’s Nest trail sign marking the entrance to the trail. Follow the trail for about 20 minutes. Note the eagle’s head, painted signs in the trees above you on the right. As you pass a pond on your left, look for a large, colourful and informative sign, just off to your right. Follow the short trail up the hill to the right to the cliff site and enjoy the view.

Magnificent view from the top

6. Andrew Haydon Park

Andrew Haydon Park is a park on the Ottawa River that is managed by the City of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is situated on Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road.

Migrating Canada geese, brants, ducks, and shorebirds stop over along the marshy edges of the river near the park. Resident Canada geese and mallards also inhabit the park’s two ponds.

The park was named after Andrew Haydon, former Reeve of Nepean.

Red and orange
Serenity
Before sunset
Sunset at its finest
Just chillin’ here

5. Mississippi Mills, ON

Mississippi Mills is a town in eastern Ontario, Canada, in Lanark County on the Mississippi River. It is made up of the former Townships of Ramsay and Pakenham, as well as the Town of Almonte. It is partly located within Canada’s National Capital Region.

Mississippi River
Pakenham Bridge
Chillin on the Mississippi River

4. Petrie Island

The Petrie Islands group on the Ottawa River was formed by sand deposited at the close of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. The 2 km by 500 m area, from the foot of Champlain St. to Trim Rd in Orleans, has a total shoreline length, including all channels and bays, of about 12 km.

Some simply come to relax in a peaceful setting, often bringing a good book; photographers, painters and musicians visit, and many come down to view sunsets over the river. The picnic area has brought new popularity to the islands, and children love to play in the sand or explore the trails looking for turtles and other wildlife. While the area is busiest in summer, it is a local favourite for ice fishing in winter and offers quiet woods for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Petrie Island
Relaxing waters

3. Rockcliffe Park

The Village of Rockcliffe Park is like no other, offering not just abundant green space and beautiful homes, each with their own intrinsic character, but also a very special sense of community. It offers excellent schools within walking distance and recreational activities to fit almost every taste and stage in life – from walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, rowing and sailing, skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing to a variety of indoor activities scheduled at the community centre. And all this just minutes from shopping along Beechwood Avenue and downtown Ottawa.

Old Victorian house
Whitemarl Drive, Rockcliffe

2. Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is the National Capital Region’s conservation park. The largest green space in the region, the Park occupies an area of more than 361 square kilometres, and is a place of rich and unique biodiversity. It is the second-most visited park in Canada, and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts to engage in recreational activities that respect the environment.

Gatineau Park’s vast territory is divided into several sectors, one of which is accessible from downtown Ottawa–Gatineau, and each of which feature various points of interest and historical places. Unlike other national parks, this park has several entry points, and some roads through it, leading to the northern and western sectors.

Gatineau Park Lookout
Lac Philippe Trail
Gatineau Lookout
  1. Major’s Hill Park

Between events, the park is a calm oasis in downtown Ottawa, and the perfect spot to take a break between visits to the ByWard Market and nearby museums and galleries.

This park features some of the best lookouts in Ottawa, offering stunning views of the Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and the Parliament Buildings. Take a stroll through the park’s stately trees, over its rolling lawns and winding pathways, and learn about its history through a series of interpretation panels.

Major’s Hill Park is an exceptional site to see tulips blooming in the spring.

Overlooking the Parliament Hill
Major’s Hill Park during Tulip Festival
Parliament Hill
Posted in Own Story

COVID-19: The Unseen and the Unyielding

Chaos. Fear. Uncertainty, fueled by the unseen enemy, COVID-19. When is this going to end? Did the statistics go up? How much people have recovered? Worse, how many fatalities today? These are the questions that curb our mind everyday. Never have we ever checked the news this much before the COVID19 pandemic. The traffic in those websites must be explosive. It’s almost similar to the anticipation of vote counts during election, just the opposite.

Before the COVID19 pandemic, man was preoccupied about their own needs and interests. In fact, the influx of technology and information has taken over the world and our lives. Similarly, man has disregarded the basic values of humanity. In other words, respect, empathy and compassion were completely forgotten. Despite some government warnings and recommendations to stay home, news of large gatherings are still rampant, a cringe-worthy moment. Certainly, the pandemic highlighted the ugliness of the human behavior. By all means, man has no regard about others but themselves. We have become self-centered and selfish. We have seen the worst in mankind within a few months of 2020. Altruism and good character are dead. Indeed, we have to restart and emphasize what really matters to our children. We are building the next generation of self-obsessed, uncaring and obnoxious generation.

Months later, here we are. We are still facing the same problems as the government continue to find the cure and vaccine. America is in chaos. China continues to shrug its shoulders. The world is in the verge of collapsing despite the technological ad medical advances.

How did we get here? The virus has its prime consequences however, it is up to us to realize what’s vital. After all, our enemy is not COVID19 but ourselves.

Posted in Love, Own Story

Soledad: The Greatest Person I Know

You taught me everything I know, Lola. I exist because you didn’t give up on me. You would get the efficascent oil and Vicks vaporub to massage my belly with love when I was feeling sick. You cooked me all the delicious meals and taught me good values that made me into who I am today. You managed to stick around when I have nobody. You understood me very well. Where do I start? The millions of great things that you have contributed to this family are countless. I couldn’t find the words to describe how great of a person you were. When I left home, you told me to follow my dreams and never look back. I still did in my own little way. I didn’t forget you. I would never forget you. For every dream that I was chasing and opportunities that I was grabbing, you were my inspiration. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted me to be your biggest accomplishment. I knew I made you proud and happy. I always told you how much I love and appreciate everything that you did for me, for us. Your sacrifices for us were impeccable.

I want your good memories to linger. I will continue to chase the stars for you. Now that you’re gone, what am I left with? Your wisdom and constant encouragement were all I have in this world. Without you Lola, I am nothing. We are nothing without you. What happens now?

December 02, 2018. 5:00 AM EST. I woke up suddenly with my heart pounding in my chest. I know something was not right but I couldn’t pinpoint where. I turned to the other side of the bed, and again to the other. I did it several times that I gave up trying to fall back to sleep. I turned my tablet on and continued the Russian show I’ve been watching. Reading the subtitle gave me a little bit of a headache.

Then came 9:00AM. My phone beeped. It was my mother who sent me a text message from the Philippines, “Your lola (grandmother) bade goodbye.” Silence. Numbness wrapped my whole being. I was trying to contemplate as to whether it was real or am I dreaming?

1992. My Lola Soledad/Soling moved swiftly to and fro around the kitchen. She was washing the vegetables and cutting up the pork in the wooden cutting board interchangeably. She looked around with her disheveled hair trying to search for something or someone behind her. Her disheveled hair showed some streaks of grey. Her stained dress with holes were quite wet from splashes of water and sweat. “Anne!” My lola called out my name with such authority and gentleness that it made me flinch. “I’m just here, lola. I will be nearby, ” giving her reassurance. I went and ran energetically like a normal kid would do. “Be careful!,” her voiced echoed in worry and concern.

My grandmother, Soledad, was the 9th child out of 10 children. She grew up in a house that was made of wood with capiz shell windows. Spanish influence. She would tell me stories about her childhood as if it were yesterday. We would lay in bed together and she would take me down to memory lane with her interesting stories. I remember her story about the World War II. She was barely 8 years old. She told me they all left their homes to flee in the mountains and hide inside a hole to hide from the Japanese soldiers. My grandmother’s father, according to her, killed two Japs with their own rifles with bayonets. After the World War II, they went back to their home with some little to rebuild. Together with her siblings and parents, they were able to do so. Life went on.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman. After the war, she continued to study and was eager to learn more. She lived in a time where women were not empowered enough to do what they please. Basilio, her father, unfortunately asked her to stop school at Grade 6. They couldn’t afford it and her father chose to send the older brothers to finish school instead of the girls. I remember when she was telling me that story, I saw the sadness in her eyes, not just that. I saw regret. She would peep outside their window and would see her friends walking to school. She would hide and cry.

“Anne, lunch is ready!” My grandmother’s authoritative voice reverberated throughout the house we were renting at that time. She cooked my favourite adobo. I stood up and went to the dining room. “Don’t forget to wash your hands,” she reminded as she was preparing my plate. I washed my hands and sat on the chair with legs open. “What do you think you’re doing? Sit up like a lady with your legs closed and back straight!” I looked at her in fright and did as I was told. I felt that if I didn’t do what she said, I would suffer a consequence. I look at my grandma and saw the look of exhaustion in her face. She still have some few chores to do. She woke up as early as 5 in the morning to start finishing the chores.

1950s. Soledad gazed upon the heavens and sighed. Her two older sisters left for Manila to work. Now, she was stuck in their home to just exist. She prayed that her sisters would send her to school when they have money saved. She wondered how her future would go. She was frustrated but optimistic. Her other sister, Maria stayed with their mother to help out with the household. She was invited to a dance tonight. She could go if her sister will chaperon her to the dance. That night, her fate changed. She met my grandfather. The rest was history and they had four lovely children, one of them was my mother.

“Try to eat everything on your plate. Some people are starving with nothing to eat. You don’t want to throw that food away. It will be a waste.” She was attentively looking at me while chewing my food and I just answered, “Opo, Lola (Yes, grandma). When lunch was finished, Lola asked me to sit in the living room and play. After she finished washing the dishes, she walked to me with a radio and blank cassette tape on her hands. “What are we doing, Lola?” I couldn’t hide my excitement. She gave her sweetest smile, looked at me with her gentle eyes, “we will record the poems that I taught you. You’ve memorized them all, right?” I nodded and smiled back.

“Ang Munting Inakay”

May isang inakay na ibig lumipad

Ngunit pakpak niya’y di pa maikampay.

“Bayaan mo anak, ikaw ay magsanay.”

Ang sabi ng inang siyang nagbabantay.

Ang munting inakay na nais matuto

Sa gilid ng pugad ay paluksu-lukso!

At isang araw nga pakpak ay gumalaw

At lumipad na siya sya sa malayong lugar.

Like the poems that you taught me, fly away, Lola. You’re at peace now. Fly away with the angels, my dear Lola. Watch over us. I love you. Rest well.

Posted in Own Story

Redemption

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For weeks, I was a nut case. Not to frighten anybody, but I’m not talking literally. I have zero motivation in life. And definitely, it’s not what I want to hear from myself, nor the people that care about me. My friends have been supportive about the whole breakup situation and I am really grateful that they’re on my side.

But quite frankly, I could spend the day with them, laughing and joking around, and when I get home to my apartment alone and just hearing the clock tick tock-ing, that’s when the sadness seeps in. I couldn’t say that I am a weak person, cause I am not. I have encountered worse situations in my life before and yeah, this has taken its toll on me. It is draining me mentally and emotionally. I couldn’t sleep early now. I distract myself from reading self-help books or watching any show on Netflix. I started drawing and it gave me a sense of satisfaction that indeed, I can do something worthwhile. I am valuable.

It’s baffling how a breakup could make you feel worthless about yourself. At first, you will feel you own the world or have won the lottery and in a blink, everything is gone, they’re gone and stole your heart away. Your capability to think straight is shattered, even your ability to breathe freely is compromised.

When somebody breaks your heart, you lose yourself. I understand how many dating advisors would tell you, show them how strong you are as a woman and he will come back running to you because by then, he had realized how worthy of a woman you are. I call it bullshit. In the first place, if the person loves and accepts who you are, he shouldn’t have broken your heart and spirit. A person who truly loves you would never bring a single tear in your eye, would accept you no matter what your differences are, respect you as a human being, and wouldn’t toss you away like trash. One minute they will declare their love for you and the next, they act like a total stranger. But why?

I decided to end this misery by not thinking about the good times we shared. It just hurts me more and brings me back to that limbo where I was when the breakup was still fresh. I am strong. I am an independent woman, but I am human. I am in the process of healing myself and in the end, I will be stronger. I have learned my lesson, a valuable lesson.

I will focus my energy on things that matter in my life. I will love myself more and rebuild myself from the broken pieces that he has left me with. I will be happy not for the sake of others, but for my own. I will live my life for me and not for anybody else. There are goals that need to be accomplished and new memories to be made. I call this redemption. I am redeeming myself from the perils of a one sided relationship, being made worthless by a man who just thinks about himself and unhappiness brought about by a failed relationship.

I, is what matters…

I, is where happiness starts…

I, is the one who realizes her own value…

I, will choose to redeem herself…

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts & Random Complexities: Nonsensical Rants

I’m getting there. Sob. Repeat, ten times. I know it must be bothersome to read these blog posts that seem to take you to the mounds of misery and unhappiness. It’s almost the end of 2017 and I’m still stuck. It’s a never-ending proverbial ranting. But, I want to take time and empower myself and other women.

Note to self: Stop! You are better than this. You are a strong, independent woman who has a lot to offer. You have surpassed all the difficult challenges in your life and here you are, strong and still standing. You are a queen of your own decisions and choices. You are a purpose-driven individual who knows what she wants in life and doesn’t give a f@#$ about what everyone will say, as long as you’re happy. You are a woman of character that lives in respect, loyalty and honesty. You have been broken but you will pick up the pieces, rebuild yourself from the remnants of pain and come back up stronger than ever. You do not need a man. You are a woman that a man needs. Your worth is within yourself, you don’t find your worth in a man or others. You are always determined to achieve your goals for your own satisfaction not because others wanted you to pursue it. You are fierce and your passion reverberates louder than your fears. Life has knocked you down a few times, you experienced things you never wanted to experience, and felt sadness and rejection. One thing is for sure, you will always get up. You know what you bring to the table and you are never afraid to eat alone. You are a diamond. You started off with a rough patch and through the process, you became harder and sparkles with great light. Do not shatter. Do not wince. Instead, give life a wink and anticipate what the future has to offer.

So let’s be clear, you are a S-T-R-O-N-G woman! Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are worthy. Happiness will find you.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Realizations: Lessons in Life

antLife brings us various challenges everyday. The people we meet, the experiences we have, the winnings and losses we acquire; and the never ending struggles we have to face, mold us to a more resilient individual that could brave any storm that comes along.

Strength is a powerful word, however, we only learn that we possess this specific power when we are faced with the most difficult situation. We often wallow ourselves in misery and self-pity because we want to play the victim. Playing the victim is the easiest solution to resolve our problem. It does not require any thinking and reflection thus, it continuously buries our strength in the depths of our soul. Strength will be unused and we would end up in the darkest tunnel. End result? Angst, misery and frustration. If we get lucky, we will end up being depressed and life has slowly ticked away without us realizing it.

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The people we meet would play a significant role in our lives. They may bring joy, pleasure, sadness and disappointment. At the end of the day, this roller coaster of emotions may affect our outlooks in life. We never realize how much the emotions we invested on these people. Happiness, joy and pleasure should start within ourselves. Disappointments are normal. We may be disappointed because we expected other people to act according to what we wanted and when they do not meet our standards, we end up feeling angry and frustrated. It was never the other people who made us feel this way. It was all along, ourselves. Expectations hurt. Misery is a choice. Happiness is doable. It is only us who could make these unnecessary feelings go away and choose living our life again, happily.

The winnings and losses teach us a lesson. One day, we would be in a total bliss due to successes and endless opportunities. Next thing, failures. The latter is more difficult to deal with. Failures would make us question our capabilities. What am I? Am I worth it? Should I continue doing this? Will I still succeed? Should I just quit? Again, quitting is never the best option. Take time to reflect and fix the problem. There’s a reason why winning and losing are together. It promotes a constant balance in our universe. Instead of quitting and losing hope, channel the frustration to create something unique. Learn from it. Your weakness is your strength. Utilize everything and the next thing you know, the remnants of your losses will lead to a path of greatness.

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Prepare yourself to meet new people, face more challenges, learn new lessons and more importantly, let yourself grow into a more mature individual. Be strong, you got this!

Posted in Uncategorized

Goals for 2018

Even though my heart is bleeding and aching, I am focusing on the following goals for 2018:

  • Pass my CPNRE and get my permanent nursing license
  • Buy a car
  • Start working in two hospitals
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Go home and see my family
  • Travel Asia and Europe
  • Move to a nicer condo
  • Go to the gym religiously and lose 20 lbs. of weight
  • Attend my graduation that didn’t happen this year
  • Meet my friends more and bond with them
  • Start paying off my student loans little by little
  • Post wonderful blogs
  • Buy a beginner’s camera
  • Doodle more