March 11, 2008

There are many ways to friendship. In today’s busy and hurried world, instant relationships have been built through the internet. People “meet” online. People become friends online. And blogging is one of the most common avenue where people get to know each other, form a certain kind of bond, and in many cases establish good friendship.

I have been blogging here for many months now. But admittedly, I have not been a “regular” blogger. I only post here whenever the mood strikes or whenever I have extra time because most often than not I am buried among different kinds of work. With this blog, I just want to let out some of my thoughts and to practice my English as I am not a native speaker of the language nor was I taught to speak English at home.

When some good souls started leaving comments, I was thrilled. I mean, who wouldn’t? There are millions and millions of blogs out there but these good souls chose to linger a little longer at my blog and were kind enough to leave a comment or share their thoughts on my posts. So now I have a few online blogging friends. I guess this is one of the perks a person gets for publishing her thoughts online.

Today, I am celebrating another perk—the Cool Cat Award—bestowed upon me by Ida, whose blog radiates hope and love for life. I do not know if I truly deserve this award but I am accepting it. Thank you very much, Ida. Sorry for posting this late.

I think I am allowed to pass this award on to other cool bloggers so I am passing this on to all the people in my blogroll whom I think are also cool: sophiagurl, jan, rebecca, and ross.


Wordless Wednesday: Hello World!

February 20, 2008

My First Bicycle

February 18, 2008

On my way to the office yesterday, I saw a little girl learning how to steer her bicycle, a small one with training wheels. “Lucky little girl,” I thought to myself. When I was her age I only daydreamed to ride to bike, “daydreamed” because at that time I had never seen a real bike. My first idea of a bicycle came from an old magazine that was left in our house by a visitor from the city. Having lived in a very remote town, it was the first time I saw that two-wheeler thing and it haunted my curious young mind. I wondered how it would feel to ride on it.

My first close encounter with a real bike was when my father bought a new one, a big one, which he used in his job as the town’s mailman. It was to become the only bike in that small sleepy village. I had to wait for a few years before I was allowed to learn to ride. By that time, the bike was already old and worn out but it still worked—as if it purposely waited for me to help me learn how to ride. My father taught me the most basic skills needed in riding a bicycle. He taught me through the traditional way—he ran along with me every afternoon for many days. I was still a bit small for the bike but he managed to teach me how to operate it. “Maintain balance otherwise you will fall.” “Pedal, just pedal, to keep moving.” These were his constant reminders.

When I learned to get the bike going on my own, my young heart was pleased. My dream had turned into a reality. No longer was I daydreaming to ride a bike, I was actually riding it and steering it on my own.

My father’s rickety bike became my magical carpet taking me around the neighborhood whenever I was off from school or free from doing household chores. One early morning, I dared to bike to a nearby hill. The narrow road was a challenge as well as the climb. But the prize was worth it: the view from the hill. Sitting next to my bike, I was overwhelmed by the immensity of nature before my eyes—the sprawling ricefields, the rising sun, the animals in the nearby farm, the tall and big trees which have withstood weather and time, and the serene river which leads to the calm sea surrounding the town. The upward climb was not the only thing thrilling but the downward drive as well.

The old bike was also my escape. When I was sad, the first thing I would think of was hop on my bicycle and ride away to the seashore or dart toward the farm and lose myself behind the tall talahib grass.

On most Saturdays, I would look forward to visiting some of my classmates. As I steered my bicycle to their houses, I would see familiar faces walking along the way, smiling at me and sometimes calling out my name and waving as I passed by them. They were neighbors, distant relatives, family friends. One good thing about living in a small village is that you know everyone so well.

I have said goodbye to my old bike many years ago. It did not withstand time. I have had more bicycles, but the memories of the first bike I rode on still live on. Today, whenever I ride a bike, it makes me remember the small but beautiful village I grew up in and its warm-hearted and hospitable people. It brings back a vivid mental image of my father patiently running beside me as I struggled to maneuver the handlebars. It makes me realize that riding a bicycle is like riding through life’s stages: you have to keep pedaling and you have to maintain balance in order to move on.

Rainy Day Memories

January 25, 2008

While my sister was complaining yesterday morning about the rain, my heart was rejoicing simply because it was raining. There’s something about rainy days that releases certain thoughts and feelings that sometimes weigh me down.

The rainfall started to form a curtain outside the window conjuring a liquid flow of memories—flashbacks of images of better, happier, younger times — which made me swell on the inside.

There is, for example, the inviting image of champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge. It reminded me of my mother happily boiling sticky rice and adding cocoa powder to give it a distinct brown color. Once cooked, she would serve the champorado to her five eager children, all ready with their spoon and ricebowl. As a child, I delighted in the champorado’s taste which filled my belly with goodness. Little did I know that cooking champorado was my mother’s way of saving the family’s supply of rice. This she admitted to me recently over a champorado snack.

Then, there was the little lakes which form just below our window when raindrops fall. My siblings and I would tie a string to a rubber slipper, throw the slipper to one of the little lakes and let it float. For children like us whose family had no extra budget to buy toys, a rubber slipper was good enough as a toy boat. The first sun rays after the rain would disappoint us as we watched the little lakes dry up and disappear. It meant the end of our short boating adventure. But it also gave us a reason to look forward to another rainy day.

Then, this particular “raincoat” which my parents designed with their ingenuity. This “raincoat” was proof of the cliché, necessity is the mother of invention. They had no extra money to buy umbrellas for five kids so they “invented” a raincoat. What kind of raincoat am I talking about, you might ask. It was made of a big plastic bag, one that looks like a garbage bag. Only that the garbage bag is usually black and the plastic bag my parents’ used for the raincoat they invented was clear. I would try to make a sketch of the raincoat and post the image here someday, to illustrate my parents’ ingenuity.

My siblings and I would trudge along the street leading to our school wearing our parents’ innovative raincoat and singing silly songs.

Ahh, happy rainy day memories. There were too many of them rushing in my mind, too many to write in here. I have realized only yesterday that most of them happened in my childhood days. For a moment the rain made me feel like I was a child again, back in our family home in the province, rejoicing on the first raindrops hitting the ground and rooftops.

Back to Blogging

January 8, 2008

It is good to be back blogging. My blogging life has been put to a halt by the amount of workload that I had these past few months. I did some travelling, too. Also, my attention was diverted from this blog to a new hobby which had so far earned me some friends from different parts of the world. It is a pleasurable and fulfilling hobby. But I must admit that I missed this blog. I miss sitting in front of my computer at the end of the day and reflecting on simple things that mattered during the day, simple things which I call little sparks.

So as I write this post, I am hoping that those who have visited this blog will one day retrace their steps here. I thank you all for the support even while I was away. My sitemeter tells me that while I did not write anything in the past few months, there were good souls who stopped by. Again, thank you very much.

Life and Taking Pictures

August 29, 2007

Few days ago, I had dinner with my cousin and nieces who were born and raised abroad and are in the country for a month-long vacation. We chose a particular restaurant which serves native foods so they can have a taste of the traditional home-cooked meals.

In the restaurant, two tables beside us were occupied by teenage boys and girls who were giggling and having fun. They seemed to be a happy bunch. It appeared they were celebrating a special occassion. I counted four different cameras which were passed on to whoever would volunteer to take pictures. Stolen shots were taken. After each click, they would eagerly see the camera screen… and complain. “Oh, my pimples! Can we take have another shot? Please don’t focus on my pimples.” “Oh no, my fat belly is too obvious in the picture. Can we have another shot, please?” So, more and more pictures were taken. The group posed in wacky poses. Some smiled. Some stuck their tongue out. Some made face. Some raised their hands. One of them triend to hide her pimples by posing at a certain angle. The chubby girl tried to hide her belly by standing behind a seated friend. When they looked at the camera screen after the pictures were taken, they seemed satisfied.

When people take our pictures, some of us try to pose in an angle which we think will make us look prettier or a little thinner than we actually appear or in such a way that things such as pimples or fat belly or unruly hair or blemished skin will not be very obvious. But the fact remains that the pimples or the fat belly or the unruly hair or the blemished skin are still there. They exist no matter how we hide or cover them in pictures. Life is like having our picture taken. We often pose in a manner we want to be seen. But when stolen shots are taken, they capture who we really are.

Wordless Wednesday #5: Torn

July 24, 2007