Friday, January 10, 2014

Christmas 2013

This was musings before I head to the province for the Christmas break. Then, I completely forgot to publish it. I stumbled on it today sitting on my draft box. I wanted to just delete it. But then, I realized that what I intended to say is still relevant today even if the holidays are over.

What are you thankful for in 2013?


It's a different kind of Christmas celebration this year.

Christmas decors are less festive... gift-giving is toned down... corporate parties are almost non-existent... dinners and lunches are kept to a minimum... and the malls are less crowded. 

Most people have chosen to forego lavish celebrations. Instead, families are sharing their time, money and gifts to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda. On a personal note, I've made a decision this year to share with the kids in my barrio's neighborhood. 

Every year, I give back to my family. Christmas is a season that has traditionally made it possible for all of my siblings to be under one roof. It's been 15 years that I have left home. I have been relocated to so many places (I call myself a nomad) but I have always managed to get home in time for Christmas. And my brothers have looked forward to it. In recent years, my niece and nephews mark the calendar for Christmas because they know that we will be home then. 

My 3-year old nephew Joshua was bewildered last September when I went home. The moment he saw me opening the gate, he exclaimed to his mom "Christmas na ba?" So cute.

Spending the Christmas holiday with family makes me less guilty of being away from home all these years. With the two-week vacation, I mostly spend it holed up in my room reading, catching up with sleep, meeting friends in the city. But the little kids always sneak up on me. The moment they're awake, I can hear them outside my door asking the adults if I had woken up yet. If I don't open my door, they would park themselves outside my window and took about me and Tito Tyrone. I don't know if they know that I can hear them but oftentimes, I make them wait because I still want to close my eyes and enjoy a moment's peace.

I love them but they can be a handful. And I don't have the patience. I give them gadgets to fiddle with just so they won't bother me. This year though am going to share with them my passion for reading. So instead of letting them borrow the iPad, PSP and iPhone, I will give them books to read. It should be fun!

My family keeps me grounded. They can also make me lose my temper. But family would always be family regardless of circumstance. 

This Christmas season, I choose to celebrate my blessings. 

1. God's saving grace. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast."

2. God's faithfulness. He provides, all the time. 

3. Tyrone. Because I now have a partner. 

4. Family. 

5. Friends. They make me laugh, dream, imagine the future and hope for a better tomorrow.

6. Job. A steady one that allows me to earn a living and aspire to make a difference in the lives of others. 

7. Travel opportunities. My work has allowed me to touch base with colleagues and friends in the different regions of the country. I am thankful for that. 

8. Vacations. Being able to see a tiny portion of the world with Tyrone and friends. 

9. Material blessings. 

10. Adversities. At work. At home. Everywhere.

Yoga. Bikram yoga. It is by far, my greatest adversity towards my quest for a healthier lifestyle. It is difficult. It is many things. But at the end of the day, it has allowed me to look forward to sweat out the toxins, at least three times a week. Am grateful that towards the end of this year, I won over laziness. I came back to yoga. 

This Christmas, may you find joy and meaning to the celebration.



2014 Resolutions

We all know that resolutions are a cliche. Especially the ones that are made at the start of the year. Yet, it doesn't prevent almost everyone to try to scribble the hopes they intend to accomplish within the year. 

So, here goes mine.

1. Practice Bikram Yoga, all year, at least three times a week. Hello, Bikram Yoga Manila, any promos?

My goal is to do this right by the end of the year. Not looking like a broken umbrella, as I do these days :-)

2. Travel more. Spend less on material things and re-allocate resources on travel experiences.

I love to have a baby soon but I know that once it's in the picture, our lifestyle would drastically change. So, while waiting for our bundle of blessing, we will try to give in to our wanderlust and see a little more of the world.

3. Save at least P400k. It would be really nice when I can finally realize my goal to save enough for my our emergency fund. 

 4. Edit. Edit. Edit. I vow to do spring cleaning, regularly. Let go of stuff that I have accumulated through the years that were just for sentimental reasons. 

5. Read more quality books. The past two years I've been reading anything that's thrown my way. This year, I intend to read at least 20 books that are meaningful. Be more discerning. 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

How about you? Do you still believe in NY Resolutions? What are the things you want to accomplish, fulfill this year? 




Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year!

When I left home last Friday, I was overcome with emotion. Saying goodbye is really never easy. I felt like crying but I did not. I don't want to be a spectacle for the neighbors. He he he. 

We spent 12 days in the barrio. It seems like a long time but it was actually too short to do anything. Internet was so intermittent we gave up on it on the next day after arrival. 

Instead, Tyrone and I slept to our hearts' content. Ate breakfast. Played with my six month old nephew. Trade kisses with my other nephew (2 year old) for a few minutes of air time on the iPad. Sometimes, we bartered them for treats. Took long naps. And read in between. 

My niece at 7 years old has already outgrown us. She already has her routine down pat. Gone were the days that she'd team up with Joshua (4), my other nephew to wake me at eight in the morning so we can laze in bed together while discussing their little lives. Children grow up so fast.

Tyrone has finished all three books of the Hunger Games set. Awesome!

Life in the barrio is more laid back than laid back Davao. Crickets dominate the neighborhood noise by eight o'clock except perhaps in our house, as my nephews are like energizer bunnies. They run around like maniacs until midnight. 

In between lazing around, we managed to go to the city to see the dancing fountain in SM, attend my brother's wedding and do some grocery shopping. 
Brotherly love.

My brother and his kiddos with my Tita Goria.

Just a fraction of my large family.
Some of our Christmas Eve spread. We invited some of the kids from the neighborhood.

Jaycee & Karen. My brother got married. 

I am the eldest and the only girl in the family. So, when I was asked to make a toast, I got emotional. Embarrassing but yes, I cried a little. Tyrone hugged me afterwards. 

So, Jaycee and Karen we wish you the best and keep on dreaming big dreams for the both of you.

Every year, we roast our own lechon. Here's Tyrone with his annual photo op with our nephew, Alexis.
I have it on good authority that my brothers make a really mean lechon (roasted pig). New Year's lechon was gone in sixty seconds. Ha ha ha. 

So, there that was how my Christmas holidays went. Before I left the city, I had a chance to get-together with some very good friends. 

Custom bracelets.
These women are the first friends I had when I moved to the big city.
Claire, Josette and Catho live a very hectic schedule; all three are career women with a child in tow. We seldom manage to be together for quick dinners but we make it a point to spend time before Christmas break. 

Thank you guys for the years of friendship. And for helping me survive Manila when I was a very naive probinsyana. 

My lunch girls. Sandra, Erica & Dawn ditched us.
Boy, am so glad to have these girls around. They keep me on my toes. And they make lunch breaks interesting. Never a dull moment. We made a pact to live our lives as organically and originally, as we could. 

The pinky swear was done at some point as a promise to lovingly and/or brutally anyone from the group who strays the path and at the precipice of social climbing. Ha ha ha.

I am thankful for 2013 but I am ecstatic that it's over and that we have a chance to start over in 2014. 

How did you spend your own Christmas holidays?