Menagerie

I don’t like animals.
Please don’t hate me because of this.
My dislike for animals is not because I hate them or anything.
It’s just that I’m scared of them.

Actually, this fear is not of animals alone. I’m scared of anything I don’t understand, really.
So this goes with unpredictable situations, people, and well… Animals.

Yes. I know some animals are totally predictable because you can actually train or tame them using these predictabilities. But I don’t understand them still. It’s like I’m constantly trying to decipher what goes on an animal’s head. What makes them bark or purr or attack or react however it is they react.

I am in awe of them. If anything, I have such deep respect for animals that only shows as fear on my side. Plus, an animal’s life is LIFE. Like your life and mine… it is LIFE. So, I am scared of the responsibility that an animal comes with. How can one that don’t understand something be responsible for this something’s life? You know what I mean?

Anyway, our family did have one pet dog.
Probably the one and only animal I will ever have in my life.

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Jigger the couch potato! (Taken using my old Nokia smart phone)

 

The family got Jigger when I was already away for college. So I never really knew him or took care of him. And every time I went home to visit, I spent half the time avoiding him because I was too scared of him.

We lost him two years ago.
I felt sad and a little regret of not having to know him better.
But I am forever grateful and proud to say that I’ve met him.
He’s the only animal I’ve lived with… And probably, the closest thing to a pet I would ever have.

**This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Menagerie.

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Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

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This is the street where I grew up in. My childhood home in Zamboanga City, Philippines.

This post is in response to Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood .

Playlist of the Week

It has been quite a week for our family.

Our grandpa-uncle just passed away.
Although he is the brother of my father’s mother, we called him “uncle” all our lives.
We never met my grandmother, but he filled that role to us.

More than that, he was like the godfather of the entire family.
Our very own Don Vito Corleone.

He was many things to each member of the family.
But what I will remember most about him is how he ALWAYS seem to bring the family together.
Even as we said our final goodbyes to him, I realized that he brought the family back together again.

Uncle was a man full of passions.
One of this passion is music. He sure had taste in music.
So this week, not only did the family got together with overflowing prayers and sympathies for him, but also with overflowing musical dedications.

The top 5 songs playing in this week of mourning were:

  • Moon River by Frank Sinatra
  • What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder
  • After All by Peter Cetera
  • Bye Bye by Mariah Carey

The first three were some of uncle’s favorites.
After All was sung in the interment.
And Bye Bye was a song performed by my sisters and cousins in dedication to him in one of the nights of prayer for him.

Every thing about this week was a mixture of…
… sadness and gratefulness,
… mourning and rejoicing,
… tears and laughter.

But as with all our family gatherings, it was filled with drama, love and music.

Till we meet again, Lolo Uncle!

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This is in response to Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week.

Mini Garden

The secret mini garden at our home in Zamboanga City.
**Taken using Blackberry 9300.

Fantasy

Daily Prompt: Fantasy

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

Definitely a harmless fiction.
Well, in the Philippines, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are not popular fiction told to kids. So most kids in our country don’t know them, actually. All except for Santa Claus.

I will never ever forget the feeling I had as a kid during Christmas mornings. Having to wake up to presents that magically appeared overnight under the tree, all with the card saying it’s from Santa Claus. And previously empty stockings, now filled with candies to the brim. Also, days before Christmas, we would write him a letter asking for what we want and we would leave it by the window.

There was one Christmas that trumps all my memories of Santa. On Christmas Eve, my cousin got a present from her godfather. It was a complete set of cool pens and stationery. I was so jealous that I wanted one for myself. And I knew that it was too late to ask one from Santa because he would not have the time to buy or create one for me since its already Christmas eve. Plus, how will he get my letter on time? So all I did was cry that night. Christmas morning came, and there was a gift for me from Santa. I opened it and saw the exact gift set my cousin got the night before. I was so happy that I wanted to scream my thank you to Santa. Right then, I’ve always been so grateful to him and as an eternal thank you, I vowed to never be a naughty kid again.

After that everything was a blur.

I never knew how I got to know the truth about him not being real.
My parents never told me.
No friend of mine blew the whistle.
Maybe it was because of watching movies or reading stuff that I got to know.
But it was never clear.
I just got to understand that whatever my mama and papa did during Christmas was a part of a tradition that they did not want to break.

I do not even remember the first Christmas I stopped receiving gifts with the card written “From Santa Claus” on it. I never remember being heartbroken about it. May be because the other two Santas in my life– mom and dad– never stopped giving me their love and gifts. And those are the best Santa Clauses a child can ever have.

So maybe, it is a good idea to let children have a few good memories to keep with them. It’s the memory of having that feeling at least once in your life that is worth all the lies. Of course, you have to couple this with never-ending love, support, and proper candor (in time) from loved ones. Always.

A Plot of Earth

Daily Prompt: A Plot of Earth

You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Land and money?
What else to do with it but to build a dream home!

A home where each of my immediate family has their own room.
A home with a library. Books from floor to ceiling.
A home with a mini theater where I can watch my favorite films.
A home with a pool and mini bar.
A home with a state-of-the-art kitchen.
A home with a mini farm.

All this plus a means to sustain it, like:
Building an inn nearby or a hotel; or
Building small homes to be rented out.

Oh, to dream is such a wonderful thing.
*sigh*

Mentor Me

Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

In my twenty-six years of existence, I cannot think of one person that struck to be a mentor to me. Well, not one that I can say that directly and officially guided me.
This may be because I’m stubborn.
I hate being told what to do and what to think or what to believe in.
I tend to question everything and over think things.
So no one would also probably own up to being my mentor.

I do, however, have some people in mind that had taught me lessons and left impressions that have helped me in the path of life.

One person is my mom.
When I was in college, I got to be independent.
I was already living alone at the other side of the country.
During this time, I had been in situations where I had to make decisions and choices that greatly affected my life and future. And every time I would ask my mom for her guidance.
And every time she would give an opinion but at the end close it with:
“You know what’s best for you.”

At first I hated these seven words.
I wanted to scream and say:
“That’s just it! I don’t know what’s best for me!”

Being independent is exhausting.
And knowing you get to live with the consequences and possible regret is nerve-racking.
Sometimes I wished that somebody would just make the decisions for me.
So I have someone to blame if things don’t turn out the way I planned.

Years later, I realized how lucky I was for having such a mother.
I finally saw and understood how these words affected me and helped me to grow.
It made me know how to think and decide for myself, have the guts to follow through every choice and live with little or no regret at all.

My mom was right.
Whatever other people may say the right path or good choice one should take, at the end of the day, we will be the ones to get to live with those decisions. So we should be the one to know what things we could live with or without.

Now, unconsciously, I find myself using these exact words when people ask me for advice.
And come to think of it, maybe this is one of the reasons why I don’t think I have (or need) a mentor. Because my mother have taught me to guide my self.

Makes sense? I don’t know.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

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Grand Palace in Bangkok Thailand
A complex of marvelous buildings in the heart of the city, which were once home to Thai royalties.

This photo is of the main building in the compound. I will try to post the other pictures in another post. (Click here for more photos.)

Childhood Revisited

Daily Prompt: Childhood Revisited

Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

I have no major complaints about my childhood.
I had the most amazing childhood memories of fun and inventive summers, coolest friends, and best parents ever.

Every time I go home for a vacation (however brief), my childhood friends and I make it a point to see each other. And every time, we reminisce all the fun, stupid, and weird things we did as children.

The silly fights.
The play houses, restaurants, schools, and games we imagined and built together.
The hatred for when school starts.

However, when school began, I started to not hate it all that much because I realized that I will get to have new school things, meet my friends at school, and join school activities we’ve been waiting for the year before.

Looking back, I really missed being a kid, which is weird.
Because when I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and finish school and have a job.
Now that I’ve done all that, I wish to be that kid again minus the dreaming of growing up.
I still feel like a kid, though. But it’s hard to keep those feelings of youth when you have to face grown up issues and problems.

*Sigh*
Kids don’t know how lucky they are to have just kid problems.
Life was so much easier.

(Well, minus the kids that have to work in a very early age or with similar problems. I think that is so unfair. Kids should experience to be carefree even just for a while, until they get to face the real world.)

Anyway, I’m digressing from the topic.

My childhood was pretty amazing but it wasn’t perfect.
If had to change some things, these will probably the following:

1. I wished we were picked up earlier after school.

These were really one of the worst memories I had as a child. I remember, my sister and I were always the last ones at the school waiting for our father. There was a time in first grade (my sister was in kindergarten) when I was so mad and convinced that he forgot about us that I dragged my sister out of the campus to walk home. Halfway, we were picked up by my classmate and her family and they brought us home. Of course, my parents were furious when we arrived. I took a major scolding that night.

I never really got to ask my father why he was never on time because this changed when we got older, which was already useless because we could actually go home alone by that time.

2. I wished we had the resources to take up after-school or extra-curricular lessons.

Some kids don’t realize how lucky they are that their parents sign them up for piano lessons or dance classes. When I was young, I envied my friends and cousins who got these opportunities but just wasted them. They were always complaining that instead of playing outside, they have to go get their lessons. If only we had the money, I would gladly take their place every time.

What my sisters and I did is that we studied on our own. We learned the things we wanted to do but never really proficient.

3. I wished I drank milk more!

One thing you should know about me is that I’m super skinny.
I am so skinny that people think I am sick or have an eating disorder or something.
I wish I had though, so that I can finally give them an explanation and I would know what to do to get myself fatter.
And what I hate the most is that people really don’t give a second thought at saying you look like an anorexic but it would be already be offensive to call someone chubby, let alone, fat! You’ve got to realize, people, that it hurts the ego and confidence just the same.

So anyway, I just wished I drank milk when my parents say to drink it. Maybe it would have made a difference (not that I think it would).

Anyway, what’s done is done.
Forget regret. And I did.
What we have is now.
I’m super thankful for the wonderful memories from my childhood.
It really did make me turn out okay.

Zamboanga Hermosa

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This is the raw shot of the picture of I used as header image for this blog —
Unedited shot of the sunset by the beach in my hometown with the iconic vintas going with the cool sea breeze.

Beautiful Zamboanga indeed. 🙂