The Last Five Months

How does one get one’s writing mojo back? I have been pondering what to write since I have gained some time to do it but I never really got into that zone where those brain cells of mine just start working and send signals to those muscles in my fingers to type those words away. I guess that the only thing left for me to do is just type away what is in my head and wish for some coherence in my thoughts.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

So what have I been up to for the last five months?

I TAUGHT MATHEMATICS! And to be precise about it, I taught Probability and Statistics to Grade 9 students.

I think I have mentioned before that I have a Mathematics degree. (here, here and here) So, I have quietly applied for a teaching position (and surprisingly got the job!) when an opportunity came up.  Thus, the past five months was spent doing my best to share knowledge to bright young minds.  Last December, my teaching contract expired and I decided not to renew it. There were other interests I wanted to explore that I was unable to because teaching took so much of my energy and time. So, hats off to all teachers who continue to do what they do. I think the past five months gave me enough memories that I can look back with fondness and enough anecdotes that I can delightfully keep on inserting to conversations.

There are no regrets in trying my hand on teaching mathematics. I gained friends along the way. I learned a little something about myself and others. It found fulfillment in seeing the transformation in students when they are challenged and when they finally get what you taught them.

I will share more about my insights and experiences in the succeeding posts. For now let me say this: I am back from my blogging hiatus!

Well-deserved!

The preparations for my friend’s birthday kept me busy the week before the Holy Week. You see my friend, Ernelyn, was turning 40 and she dreamed of having an 18th birthday type of celebration. She had this dream written in her dream book! (This made me panic a little since I do not have a dream book!) Many of her dreams have already been fulfilled: having her own family, building her own home, buying her own car and having me as a friend (kidding!). Having this party was one of those dreams she wanted to cross off her list.

For those who know her, we all agreed that Ernelyn deserved this grand celebration. When you look at her life, it seemed that the odds were all against her favor (credits to Suzanne Collins). She was born out of wedlock. As a baby, her mother left her in the care of her aunt who raised her like her own but her aunt was not rich so they lived with meager means. She told me that she used to go to school without breakfast.  She did not even own proper school shoes. Yet, she survived it all unscathed. She graduated with honors: elementary salutatorian, high school salutatorian, cum laude in college. She passed the CPA boards. All her hard work paid off and she started to fulfill her dreams.

Even with all her achievements, she never forgot to give back and share her blessings. Her home is always open for her family and friends. I was one of the recipients of her generosity. I remember last year I was working during my birthday that I did not have time to organize even a simple celebration. She came to my house and told me to dress up because she was going to treat me to dinner. What a friend!

And since she asked that I take care of her slide show, I did the best I could. I am glad she was happy with what I did.  All of us, her friends and family, were there to support her.

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Here we are with our party duties: Mitzi (right) is Erns’ best friend and she was asked to deliver a speech and Bobot (left) was one of the hosts for the program.

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Jen (middle), Erns’ neighbor and bff,  was the official party photographer. Wela (left) and I (the girl with a poor posture) were on double-duty. Wela was one of the hosts and since we brought cameras, we also took photos . (Btw, I am using Wela’s photos in this post.)

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These are some of our friends who each has a role to play in the party.  Left to right: Wela, Kikim (one of the hosts), Ernelyn  (the debutante. hehe), Teram (photobooth sponsor), Me and Mitzi (the bestfriend).

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This is my photo with the birthday girl. Ernelyn really deserved this party!

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If you have noticed,  I wore makeup. You can count on my two hands the number of times I wore makeup in my lifetime. Thanks to my friend, Teram, for insisting. Otherwise, I’d look like Cinderella before the ball. Haha Good thing, I bought a black and white houndstooth printed skirt from Zalora when there was a sale last December.  (Here’s a tip: Visit ZALORA’s wide range of plus size clothing if you want stress-free shopping.)

Ernelyn’s birthday was a party to remember. Looking forward to other birthday parties!

The Year So Far

I wrote that one of my goals this year was to write more but judging from the interval of my posts, I am not doing well with that goal. So, let us rectify that with this post.

My year started with a sad note. I lost 3 relatives one after the other. On top of that, I contracted chikungunya.  We mourned for our loved ones and I fought the disease with rest, nourishment and lots of fluids.  I tried to be a trooper, faced the challenges and just embraced the year ahead. It was not hard to brighten my mood because I received post-Christmas goodies from loved ones. I feel blessed.

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Despite the challenges, I was able to spend time with family and friends.

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There were small achievements for the past two months. I was able to clean the room where my aunt and uncle would stay this month. The room still needs a little organization but with the major cleaning done, I think I do not have to sweat that much anymore to make the room comfortable for them. And, I was also able to do some kitchen experiments.

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I set up my Facebook page. (Shameless plug: Please like my page if you have not done so. )

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As soon as my Facebook page went up, my friend,Tess, asked me to paint the walls of the pads she owns (and rents out). I have such supportive friends who put their trust in my skills.  Last year, my friend, Erns, also asked me to paint her walls.

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Oh, I was well-fed. I was not a starving artist! My friend made sure of that!

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Oh, I did some projects, too. They were mostly requests from friends.

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And I practiced some lettering and flourishing.

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I also cleaned up my work area. I found those cute and colorful organizers in a local shop here.

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See that painting? It was my first attempt at using acrylics but I was not happy with the outcome so I painted over it. Tada!

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Now, I have 4 canvases waiting to be painted because my aunt wanted me to paint 4 panels for her. My niece also asked me to paint her something as my wedding gift for her. Plus, a friend also asked me to paint 4 watercolor artworks for her.  I am always thankful when someone appreciates my art.   I hope I will be able to paint something they will like.

How was your year so far?

My 2016 Goals

I wrote a long list of plans last year. I only achieved 11 out of the 25 things I planned to do. One would think I would stop making a list.  No, sir. Here I am again. I have learned my lesson and settled for five goals for this year.  I got the idea from Lindsey of The Postman’s Knock. She posted a challenge to write one’s goals in a creative manner- something that is display-worthy. So I came up with this.

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 Let me expound my goals further.

1. Create more art. I have enjoyed doing watercolor art for more than a year now after picking up that brush again. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to practice. Friends asked me to make them some artwork and I accepted their requests as a challenge. Yes, they paid me! I am now in process of creating my Facebook page for my art and other future projects.  I will start accepting commission work from those who are interested in owning a watercolor artwork from me.  I will blog about it soon.

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Commission work I did last year.

2.  Write more often. Technically, I write for a living. However, when I say ‘write more often’, I meant that I should blog more and write about my experiences. I am often tempted to just post the pictures on Facebook and just let the photos tell the stories.  There are experiences that are best described using words.  I wish I can do more of that this year.  It is when I write that I get to process my thoughts better and polish them into something that is worth reading (I hope).

3. Make time for personal reflection.  I wish I can say that I pray a lot. I do not. I try to be a good person but I do not have that regular routine where I take time to meditate and reflect on the what happened during the day. I want to enrich my day with daily reflections, meaningful prayers and words from the scriptures.

4.  Do more kitchen adventures.  I cooked some pork ribs with sauce last December. My aunts liked it that they requested I make it for Christmas lunch. I should do more of such kind of cooking this year. My aunt from Canada is coming home and I want to cook nice meals for her. Plus, my aunt is getting an oven this year so I will embark on more baking experiments. In many of my daydreams (hahaha!), I own a bakeshop where the shop is adorned with my art. I would offer baking and art classes every month and hold afternoon tea parties for friends. Hey, daydreaming is free!

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Pork ribs in Korean Barbecue Sauce by Kat

5. Keep track on finances. I did my taxes yesterday. I realized I did not earn that much last year. I am a freelancer. The projects I get are unpredictable. However, I did not realize that I was already taking a dip on my savings and it created a dent on my liquidity.  The plus side, I am not in debt but I felt poor. This year, I will try to keep track on my expenses and earnings so there will be no surprises for me.

Do you have goals for 2016?

That Busy December 2015

Honestly, we did not have a great start to 2016 in the family because we lost a few relatives one after the other on the first few days of January and I also got sick. However, this is not a reason for me not to look back at the blessings I had for December.

I was done with my writing work by mid-December. I have pending commission art work which I already planned to complete before the year ends. My December was full of get-togethers, food, presents, friendship, family and laughter. I tried my best to embrace every moment with joy in my heart.

My friend, Teram, threw a party for us and I enjoyed what she prepared.

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These are some of the bunch I went to Coron with this year and we are looking forward to our next trip together.

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My friend came home for a vacation and we got these as presents.

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I also got pomelo from my former colleague.

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When Christmas came, we did not want to slave in the kitchen so we just cooked a pre-sliced ham, made macaroni salad and bought brownies. We had these for dinner.

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Because we were not busy with the preparation, we were able to attend the midnight mass for Christmas. When we went home, we ate cookies.

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It was on Christmas day when we prepared for Christmas lunch with family. We were well-rested for the night so it was a stress-free lunch.

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This is my family.

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There were more parties and get-together with friends and relatives.

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And I got this awesome carrot cake from my high school friends. It was rich, moist and dense. The texture was even. I told her that she needs to teach me how to bake this goodness. I cannot bake as well as her and I am excited to learn especially that my aunt is getting an oven this year. My oven still needs fixing. It has been two years since it broke.

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December was also the month that I lost my loving father six years ago. I posted this photo on Facebook to remember him. I really look like my father and in this photo, many saw that he is my doppelganger. I am now older than him in this photo.

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And despite the busy schedule, I am happy I was able to complete this commission work.

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I hope you all had a wonderful December!

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