Sunday, December 31, 2006

Instant New Year's Eve Party!


Ate Ella, we have a gift for you. It's heavy and we want to go to your house to deliver it...


You're still sick? You don't have to feed us, don't worry.


Can Fr. Brian come, too, please?


Now we sang in four masses already and we're verrry hungry....



Thanks to you, Mommy and Daddy for hosting our instant party! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

About Us

Wala lang. I just googled "Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon" and came across this writeup, which from the looks of it seems to have been lifted from the official documents that we have in Lingkod. So here's a link to an article about Lingkod, the community that up until very recently, was my world.

I'm still very attached, obviously. What am I doing googling its name in the middle of the night? Tsk, tsk. I'm having withdrawal symptoms already. What happened, why the change you may ask? There's no drama and nothing unexpected occurred. The day just came, after seven years in the same branch, when I felt God was encouraging me to investigate a covenanted community. The desire for lifelong discipleship - not just for a period in my life - grew in me. I got invited to investigate too and after months of prayer, decided to let go of Lingkod as an active member and pursue this other community we also belong to, as a partner-in-mission. It's like I'm moving to a bigger house in the same compound. I already miss the small, cramped house with all the noise and the familiar faces, however.

Since the bigger house is opening its doors, I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity to walk right in and see if there's something in it for me. For life. In Christ's Youth in Action (CYA), our motto was Kay Kristo Buong Buhay Habambuhay. I stayed in Lingkod after CYA to continue living for Christ. Now it's time to move, I guess.

I'm a pilgrim and the journey continues.

Cover the World with Love

This is the duet recorded on cellphone that's why the colors aren't that sharp. The voices came out clear, though. Luigi, 9 and Miko, 7 singing "Cover the World with Love" which they learned from their school Centro Montessori. They sang this before opening their gifts on Christmas day. I told them their song is the best Christmas gift I received. What a beautiful gift for Jesus!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Little Things

I’m doing this “rest” thing. The guilt is there but I’m trying to ignore it. After living to please most of my life and feeling bad whenever I have to let others down, this is most definitely new territory.

I disappointed one circle of friends as I refused to travel all the way down south to have dinner with a classmate I had neither seen nor heard from in the last decade. I don’t have the energy – physical and fuel – to go the distance. If they’re really my friends, they’ll still talk to me someday. I hope.

I disappointed former colleagues who wanted my opinion and inputs on a couple of things we used to work together on. I had to say no. I’m not emergency-room-sick but I’m nursing a cough, and all of a sudden, the bed sounds more inviting than digging up old files and putting my brain to work. I can’t even imagine getting started on the writing required for that. Sorry if I seem to be a bit irresponsible and downright selfish with my time, but really, I ache for rest.

Yesterday, I had coffee with a sister, slept a lot, watched “The Best of FRIENDS” (a wonderful Christmas gift from Kuya Dan and Peeya), and went to mass. Today I had coffee with my spiritual uncle, went for a short walk, watched “Sideways” on cable, and heard mass. I noticed that our community had been upgraded because there’s now a Jollibee along Don Antonio. I also bought “our daily bread”, but more like every-other-day bread because my parents and I don’t consume a loaf of Gardenia everyday. We share some with the three carpenters who are working on Mama’s dirty kitchen.

Re “Sideways”, it was a movie that appealed to me given what I’m going through. I could relate to the character played by Paul Giamatti, a recent divorcee who wrote a book that would not be published. He tried to do the right thing most of his life, except that he particularly loved wine and drank too much once in a while, making him mover over to the “dark side”, as his best friend put it. He also fell for a wonderful woman, an attractive waitress, but he was shy and reluctant to approach her. He eventually did. I love happy endings. His book didn’t get published but he had one woman who believed in him. He could go back to teaching and life would not be so incomplete anymore.

I looked at the books on my table and searched for the unwritten novel in my mind. I remembered my fear of publishers and editors, as well as rejections. I blog because this is freedom from all that. I have a book entitled “How to Get Happily Published” but I haven’t even read page one.

I’m also doing the job-hunting thing but on a very minor level. It’s a bad time to send out applications because it’s year-end and nobody’s scheduling interviews. I should take my sweet time and enjoy the Christmas Octave.

All that wine-tasting in “Sideways” made me thirsty, actually. It was a wish that was immediately granted, for my parents and I planned our New Year’s Eve menu afterwards and it would include, I happily noted, uncorking the recent bottle of fruity dessert wine that my Ate sent us from Australia. The simplest of pleasures are indeed the easiest to satisfy.

What am I doing New Year’s Eve? Barry Manilow crooned in my Martha Steward Living Holiday Music CD. I would most probably be cooking, going to mass, eating, and drinking with my parents. Most likely, we’d be guarding the phone for overseas and local calls from the rest of the family distributed elsewhere in the world. I would probably send out text messages wishing my friends a Happy New Year.

I would be an unpublished, unwritten character but it would not matter. I would be home.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Now Playing: Unwritten

Listened intently to the lyrics of this one tonight, and found out I could relate. I am unwritten.


Unwritten
NATASHA BEDINGFIELD


I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah

Monday, December 25, 2006

Cruz-Herrera- Del Rosario Christmas 2006

Christmas Day 2006 at Don Antonio Heights - we were treated to a duet from Luigi and Miko, a visit from Tito Noel's seven kids, and a mini-piano recital. Here are the photos we took.


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You will see our small belen that Miko re-arranged. He said I did it all wrong because my arrangement was facing the Christmas tree. The belen should face the people, he said. Quite right, my little boy.

Their duet is really beautiful, however, we could not show much appreciation. Luigi almost did not perform because he said he didn't want people to be too proud of him. He said that to his biggest fans - Lolo, Lola, Mommy, Daddy, and Tita Ella. So after the performance, we could only give a thumbs-up sign and say, "That's cool, Luigi and Miko". We couldn't clap to show our appreciation. He's right, though. We are too proud of him sometimes.

And then, Tito Noel's youngest kids sang Tagalog Christmas carols while I played the piano. All in all it was a very nice visit.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nine Mornings

For the first time, I was able to complete the Simbang Gabi, the dawn novena masses held nine days before Christmas, which is a uniquely Filipino tradition.

Not being a morning person, I was always one or a few days short every year, as the novena fell in the middle of Christmas party, shopping and caroling season. Either my different priorities or my lack of dawn willpower prevented me from succeeding. I had several law school friends who were able to do the novena before the bar results came out; other friends just found it easy to wake up to the misa de gallo. As for me, not even the promise of my favorite bibingka and puto bumbong could entice me to give up my precious sleep.

This year was different. I had the same killer schedule - caroling and caroling practices; a Christmas concert; Christmas parties; token Christmas shopping; and a mountain of work to finish or turnover in Lingkod. I had every excuse to turn off the alarm at 3:30 a.m. But something woke me up as strongly as freshly brewed coffee and a persistent celebrity trainer.

I was a woman with a petition. This year had been a struggle in direction and a test of faith. I almost lost my bearings due to the despair brought about by the circumstances I found myself in. Sometime last November, Fr. Geoffrey suggested I attend the Simbang Gabi and offer “my next step” (the proverbial question) as my intention. Thinking it was going to be every 5 a.m., I thought I could manage that.

In early December, I found out that the dawn mass was going to be held at 4:00 a.m. I tried to ask that the schedule be moved later, but found out I had no bargaining power. It was simply more beautiful, I was told, to have it early in the morning. The cool breeze and the interrupted sleep was part of the sacrifice, I was further advised.

I sometimes had friends who attended with me, once my father accompanied me, but mostly I was alone. Morning after morning I attended mass, sleep-deprived yet soul-enriched. There was something very personal in what I was doing – everything was a prayer, from the waking up, to the travel time, to the entire mass, to the relating after. I did not hear God speaking directly or loudly, but I felt I had a purpose for doing it, and that is to bring my petition to the Lord repeatedly.

This morning, I was given a “spiritual certificate of completion of Simbang Gabi” by the MGLs. I had a sense of accomplishment, something that had become a rarity. I felt peace, hope, joy, and love in my heart. It was unexplainable.

I served in the 10 a.m. mass as lector. At 10 p.m. later, my parents and I will attend the “midnight mass”, anticipated Christmas mass in the parish. In twenty-four hours, I would have attended three masses. It’s another record first.

I’m setting personal records here, insignificant to none except me and my God, who knows how much it took, and who knows where He is taking me.

His love truly awakes the dawn, as the Song of St. Patrick goes. Tomorrow is Christmas. I cannot help being happy, for our Savior is born. And there is something more joyful in receiving Someone you have waited for. Having journeyed with Mary and Joseph the past nine days, I am more open to receive Jesus Christ tonight in my life. It is His love that I can give away anew.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The One with the Bomb and the Brownout

Sometimes I just need to write as a form of breather from all that's been happening.

Yesterday, after years of not going there, my mom and I went to Fairview Center Mall to do grocery-shopping, away from the madding crowd. I was dazed from dysmenorrhea so I stayed in the car while Mama finished up paying. Then we made several stops to buy merienda for the Banal na Puso Choir who were going to sing carols at our house last night. We learned from the different stores that the brownout in our area was to last for twelve (12) hours, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The show must go on, so we did receive the carolers and they sang by candlelight. It was more dramatic that way, and I loved the scents of my seldom-used candles. They weren't able to appreciate the last-minute decorating that we did for the house, but that's fine. They didn't notice the rest of the mess either, so that's a blessing in disguise. Papa requested his favorite, "Payapang Daigdig" and the carolers didn't disappoint him. The MGLs were there as well - I know, in this busy season for priests, what a blessing huh- and made the night more special by singing carols along with everyone else. We all spent time talking, not minding the brownout.

Power returned barely an hour after they left. Then we saw the newsflash: "Two grenades found under parked vehicle in Fairview Center Mall". I suddenly mouthed a prayer of thanksgiving - for God is with us! He kept us safe from harm and we did not even know about what was going on around us. So focused were we on the business at hand, that in this case, ignorance truly is bliss.

I was led to deeper reflection and offered more prayers in gratitude to God's goodness.

Without much preparation, Advent arrived with its message of hope, peace, joy and love. I wanted to focus on it and not the external activities that Filipinos like to cram December with, but how could I not be swept by the goings-on around me?

Telltale signs that the air has changed include the presence of more beggars (I cannot stop poverty or hunger, but when a child asks for food after I hand him a coin it just breaks my heart!), the mushrooming of road repairs (some people need to justify their budget and/or report some work done within their districts), and don't get me started on the traffic jams caused by the endless shopping, partying, caroling and homecoming. I have been experiencing a constant headache for the past couple of weeks because of the traffic in Metro Manila.

There are some beautiful changes as well - the metropolis is brighter with all the Christmas lights adorning the streets and buildings; the songs fill the air, at first with sadness at all the memories and longings that fill our hearts, but then with hints of things to come that work to shift our focus to better days ahead; the reunions, parties, weddings and baptisms make each day special for all of us. Neighbors bring food, friends send wrapped packages, and strangers smile at each other. It is a festive season, and it's not even Christmas yet.

Simbang Gabi and Christmas caroling with Lingkod QC have ruined my sleep, that's true, but they're great reasons to stay awake for. I love the smells and sounds of Simbang Gabi, with my body now a bit used to hearing homilies, several times piercing my heart with their challenges and questions, at dawn. If I had been a photographer I would have an album now of all the pictures that I see - of a child standing beside the Christmas tree made of red and green lanterns at our parish car park; of the blue cross perched atop our parish silently announcing hope at dawn; of the children flocking to kiss the hand of the priest after mass. I live to write about them as I don't own a camera good enough to capture those beautiful moments.

This week we shall visit houses of Lingkod families to share the good news that Jesus came to save us all. It is an exciting week.

It will also be a busy week, as I have three more days here in Lingkod Office to finish all the work I could manage and turnover properly. I committed myself to give a talk on Decision - Making to graduating seniors on Friday, not knowing how to convincingly speak of discernment when I myself, more than a decade after graduation, am still in that process. Or maybe that's why I was meant to give this talk, to show them that discernment is a way of life for disciples.

I attended my last prayer meeting at Lingkod Quezon City last week. I'm pretty sure it will take some time before it all sinks in. Almost seven years well spent, and now it's time to move on. Move on to where, I'm always asked. Without job and community, what shall I be doing now?

I walk on with less fear and more hope now. Without control of the situation, I am led in faith to believe that God has a plan for my life, and His plan is for my welfare and not for woe. Jeremiah 29:11-13 has become a mantra that I read over and over. It is how I see Jesus coming in my life, and I say yes to Him even if I don't understand. Nor did I want things to turn out this way. He makes all things new, that I'm certain of. So nothing, no bomb, no brownout, could separate me from His love. I experienced a beautiful day yesterday, surrounded by friends and family, on what was literally a dark day. What more the rest of my life, where God can make miracles, for with Him nothing is impossible.

All that remains now, as always, is the waiting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sing, Rejoice in Gladness!

Lingkod in Metro Manila (GMMMACQ) celebrated Christmas by singing carols per branch this afternoon. We invited families and friends.

The QC sisters after pulling off "Pamaskong Anyaya", "The Best Gift of All" and "Christmas Praise". The brothers could not make it to the picture. They said my "sermons" helped them to remember the songs. And I thought I was simply motivating them with impassioned speeches and exhortations...

With some of the fans who came to support us...

... And my very own fans club.

I had a headache the whole time but it was worth it. To sing forever of God's love, especially this season of hope, is worth the pain.

This headache is brought to me by the 4 a.m. Simbang Gabi at the Parish of St. Benedict. What a character-building experience! Hopefully I could finally complete the Nine Mornings.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blue Jeans!

Nakakatawa lang na lampas na ako sa kalendaryo, nakaka-relate pa rin ako sa kantang ito ng Apo Hiking Society, na ni-remake ng RocksTeddy sa CD na Kami NAPO Muna: A Tribute to Apo Hiking Society.

Kinanta namin ito nung third year high school ako. III-Calvin sa Manila Science High School. Nanalo kami, Linggo ng Wika noon. Ang costume namin - white shirt at siyempre, kupas na maong! First place kami of course. Sana Calvin pa rin...

BLUE JEANS

[verse 1]
Nandidito kami ngayon
Nagsusumikap sa araw-araw
Kayod ng kayod hanggan’ sa mapagod
Maagapan ang natatanaw

Paminsan-minsan ay naglalaro
Pag-ibig lang ang di ginagawang biro
Kung sa tuksuhan lang hindi pahuhuli
Kinabukasan ay tinatabi

Paminsan-minsan ay nabibigo
Sakit sa puso ay hindi maitago
Ngunit tuloy pa rin hindi pinapansin
Ang kabuhayan ang intindihin

[verse 2]
Blue jeans
Alam mo ba ano ang ibig sabihin
Ng ating pagsisikap sa ’skwela
Blue jeans
Di na lang iwanan ang pag-aaral
At sama-sama tayong magsaya

Ngunit ang kabataan daw ay kayamanan
Huwag daw basta’t itapon at pabayaan
Kaya magsikap tayo habang may panahon pa
Mag-aral at mag-ipon tayo ng karunungan

[verse 3]
Blue jeans
Sige-sige-sige kayod sa ’skwela
At balang araw makikita n’yo
Blue jeans
Pagkatapos ng iyong paghihirap
Di ka rin makakahanap ng trabaho

Sino ba silang nagmamarunong sa buhay
Huwag sana silang makialam sa ‘king buhay
Anong kinabukasan pagkatapos sa eskwela
Huwag ng isipin at baka mangamba ka pa

[chorus]
Kay tagal-tagal ko ng nag-aaral
Tingnan mo kupas na ang aking maong, yeah!
Kung akala mo ako ay natuto na
Hindi pa rin

[repeat chorus]

[repeat verse 3]

Blue jeans
Blue jeans
Blue jeans
Blue jeans

Blue jeans
Alam mo ba ano ang ibig sabihin
Ng ating pagsisikap sa ’skwela
Blue jeans
Di na lang iwanan ang pag-aaral
At sama-sama tayong magsaya

Blue jeans
Sige-sige-sige kayod sa ’skwela
At balang araw makikita n’yo
Blue jeans
Pagkatapos ng iyong paghihirap
Di ka rin makakahanap ng trabaho

Blue jeans
Blue jeans
Blue jeans (Eto na)
Blue jeans

Recently on QTV...

The QT's had another wedding last November - Jojo and Vine. In photo with me are Nenen, Gay and Abby. I'd like to thank our brother Sunday, florist, singer and artist extraordinaire for sharing this photo.

I missed a friend's wedding a couple of weeks ago - I was trapped somewhere and didn't have the time to enter into production for wedding-guest-best. I hope she forgives me. I haven't texted her yet!

This weekend, will attend another wedding in Lingkod. I think it's the wedding of the year, for we can have a quorum of the Lingkod Board of Directors and Charter Members among the guests. As usual I'll be singing. Gotta prepare enough lovin' feelin' for that.

Friday, December 08, 2006

AGAP BIKOL

From SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN (SLB) and ADMU Disaster Response and Management (DREAM) Team:

AGAP BIKOL extended

Reports from Civil Defense Officials as of December 6, 2006

- 526 dead mostly around Mayon volcano and another 740 missing

- 1.54 million people affected nearly 83,000 of whom sought refuge at evacuation centers

- More than 250,000 damaged houses and damage to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture placed at P1.6 billion

- Power facilities in Albay valued at about P200 million destroyed and power restoration may take more than six (6) months (Albay Electric Coop)

Relief and Rehabilitation Program

- P100,000.00 relief fund personally released to Fr. Jovic Lobrigo (Diocese of Legaspi Social Action Center Director) who visited SLB Office last December 4

- P50,000.00 rehabilitation fund released through Ateneo de Naga University's Center for Community Development headed by Mr. Nono Sto. Domingo

- Initial construction materials purchased to be shuttled to Naga December 6 evening due to reports of shortage in construction supplies

- SLB-ADMU Dream Team Batch 1 leaving December 6 evening for Naga operations. Batch 2 leaving December 7 evening for Albay operations.

- Team of Professional Psychologists from various institutions (ADMU, DLSU, UGAT Foundation and CLC, among others) formed for Psycho-Social interventions as per request of the Diocese of Legaspi. Program will start December 7.

- Various goods being collected to be shuttled to Albay.

NEEDED:

- Volunteers for goods repacking. Details, as follows:

o December 8 (Friday) 8:00 p.m.

o Cervini Function Room (ADMU Male Residence Hall) back of Church of the Gesu

o Contact Person: Franco Soberano (0917-6442626) or Cervini Director Tim Gabuna (Tel. 426-6001 local 5900)

- Trucks for shuttling goods and construction materials

- Construction materials (G.I. Sheets, Plywood, Nails and other basics)

- Medicines for cough, colds and fever and surgical mask

- More food, preferably canned goods and noodles

- More funds

DONATION MECHANISM

=====================

GOODS

----------

You may directly donate the goods to the Cervini (Male Residence Hall) Function Room at the back of Church of the Gesu. Temporary AGAP BIKOL Relief Operation center can accept donation from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight . Contact person is Residence Hall Director Tim Gabuna. You may communicate with him through 426-6001 local 5902.

Priority: Food (Canned Goods, Noodles and other kinds with long shelf life) and Water

CASH/CHECK

-------------------

Direct deposits (online from any of the BPI branches) may be made to:

SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN (Account Name/Payee)

Bank of the Philippine Islands (Loyola-Katipunan Branch)

BPI Peso Checking Account Number 3081-1111-61

BPI Dollar Savings Account Number 3084-0420-12

For proper acknowledgment:

- Please fax a copy of the validated deposit slip to SLB through telefax 426-5968

- Kindly indicate contact information: Name, Address, Email, Mobile

- Those who wish to remain anonymous may skip this procedure

Or you may send it to

Loyola House of Studies (LHS)

Ateneo de Manila University

Loyola Heights , Quezon City

Telephone Number 426-6101

Time: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Official Receipts will be immediately issued to you by the LHS Lobby Porter.

For dollar remittances:

- You may purchase a Manager's Check and send it via any courier to SLB's address OR

- Course it via telegraphic transfer to BPI Dollar Account

Should there be any concerns, please contact:

MS. MARJORIE TEJADA

Telephone Number 426-6101 local 3440 (Office Hours)

Telefax 426-5968

Email: slb@slb.ph

MR. RC BATAC

SLB Project Officer for Socio-Economic Development

Mobile 0921-3509565

Email: rc2_adnu@atenista.net

SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN (SLB) and ADMU Disaster Response and Management (DREAM) Team

Even When Conceptions are not Immaculate...

We believe that Mama Mary was "conceived without sin". It doesn't mean that sex is perceived as sinful, for between a husband and his wife, this is a participation in the divine, a gift from the Creator to take part in creation. It is beautiful and miraculous. Mama Mary, however, did not possess original sin from birth, and she was chosen beforehand to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.

Some mothers-to-be, for a myriad of reasons, do not choose to let their babies see the light of day. Whether we like it or not, intentional abortion has become a solution, and the morality question is swept under the rug. Women have a choice what to do with their bodies, they say. I am a woman, and since I read from Scripture that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I do choose what to do with my body - and that is to glorify who resides in it.

It is not time to judge, as I am not even a judge. Whether I like it or not, babies are aborted everyday. Given the right opportunity, I will do everything I can to stop this from being legalized in places such as the Philippines where it is still considered infanticide.

What made me cringe several times over was the news I read this morning. It occupied most of my prayer time and I was led to intercede and to ask others to pray with me, to offer mass intentions for today in this area.

This is the problem. I read in the Inquirer that Australia has lifted the ban on embryonic cell cloning for medical research. In therapeutic cloning, which was banned in 2002, the nucleus of a patient's skin cell is implanted in an egg. The new cell develops into an embryo from which stem cells are taken to grow new tissue. Do you know where the eggs are taken from? From aborted fetuses!

It makes me sick to think about this.
They surely crossed the line, to my mind, of what extent a life can be used or abused to take another life. They want to give hope to ailing patients, but the end does not justify the means!

If pro-abortion proponents are saying there is no "taking of life" or killing that occurs, how come life taken from the fetus can be used to save another life??? The moral questions abound, and movies such as "The Island" about cloning only scratch the surface. My limited mind can only scratch the surface.

I was left to pray. And since today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, I asked Mama Mary to pray for her children.

You can read the news from Australia's papers here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Youth are Alive!


They changed the lyrics to songs from The Sound of Music to serenade Fr. Steve on his birthday and the members of YOUTH ALIVE, the youth ministry of the Missionaries of God's Love in Manila, got their message across with choreography and pizzaz. He needs someone "cuter and nicer", and they are the charming kids for the job of, as they put it, taking care of their spiritual father. At the same time they need him, someone "older and wiser" to tell them what to do, for they are admittedly naive.



Thanks, Posh. It is a pleasure looking at the world with your eyes.

Even I, audience, critic and cameraman, was touched by their energy and enthusiasm. For they, unknowingly, are helping me out of my spiritual drowsiness, the one that is obviously being warned against by today's Gospel. They don't give me talks or preach to me, they just express love freely and share their talents and time generously. They remind me that I was once like them. And maybe I could be, again. Youth is relative. :)

I could go to the hills, that is, Batasan Hills (where most of them live), when my heart is lonely. And when I am sad, I could think of
my favorite things!

Speaking of sad, I was watching Miko shoot baskets at our backyard when he stared at me and asked, "Tita, are you sad? You look sad." Awww. He's perceptive. Or I'm just plain transparent! I should get my act together.

I had forgotten that I made that list of favorite things before, to help me on a rainy day. Well this is not just a rainy day or a storm cloud I'm going through, but a super-typhoony year (for the country as well...). As the theme song from the TV show "Friends" goes, "It's like you're always stuck in second gear/ And it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year..." I can't wait for my first sunshine-y day, and actually the whole country's. We all need a break from all these cha-cha-changes in our lives!

This is a season that the usual therapeutic things I seek can't heal. I seem to have read all the books, listened to all the songs, and talked to all the people, that used to make things right immediately. Instead, morning after morning, I still wake up with a cloud of sadness.

Now that it's Advent, it's the season of waiting for our Saviour. I have my recollection point clearly spelled out already: How can I say yes and give birth to Jesus in my life? I was identified as a resource person for this question. Thank goodness that they haven't asked for my response yet.

Surely the Holy Spirit can rekindle the fire in my heart and give a new, and positive, perspective. People are already planning my life for me, as they think that my waiting period is the best time to strike. If I intend to enjoy living independently, I should tell them I'm still here and they don't have to take over under emergency powers. I have a say on these things like how I spend my day, I seem to recall.

I really hope to wake up soon. Some dreams are turning into nightmares because I had been oversleeping.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

71 Years na si Papa

Here is the birthday boy in photo with grandchildren Luigi and Miko.


We were only seven people for dinner, but it felt like there was a party of forty people. There was so much food, so much fun, and so much dishes (not a parallel, couldn't find one while writing this). Papa is very happy today. His family, local and international, is complete. He didn't want a birthday cake, but wanted the works - wine, pancit, sapin-sapin for the grownups; spaghetti, Coke, ice cream and fried chicken for the kids.



He woke up early to go to mass and bought flowers for himself! He hummed while he cleaned his best china and waited for all of us to come home - from school or work - as if it were a holiday. His children from US, Germany and Australia all called up. His only brother and his friends from his banking days all remembered him. He tried to get us all to play the piano for him, but some of us were either too rusty or too much of a perfectionist to perform without proper practice. I was the rusty one but gave in.




He drank too much wine, he said. He didn't have time to watch his koreanovelas today but he ate kimchi and korean beef stew served on bowls that were made in Korea. Our dinner, like our growing family, was made up of fusion, east-meets-west dishes. We're now too tired and full to dry the dishes. If I had it my way, I'd let the air to naturally dry them dishes. Yes, I'm the lazy one in the family when it comes to drying dishes. It's my least favorite chore.

I think Papa will do it tomorrow, hehe.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Things I Don't Get

Aside from the usual posts that I make here about movies, music, lessons, shameless plugs, stories (see neat feature "Labels" of Blogger beta on the left column of this blog), I'd like to introduce a new Label. It's about things that make me say, "I don't get it!" in this world. Now, I have to be really careful for I could get carried away and rant about everything contrary, so I'm making a resolution to be extra-discerning before posting anything.

It's just that this morning, while reading the papers, I couldn't help but wonder if the fashion editors of a leading daily are residents of the Philippines. Add to that my total bewilderment at how boutiques and fashion houses could expect to sell to Filipinas living in humid Manila their "winter collection".

I don't get it. We don't have winter. Have these people tried wearing stockings, tights, let alone socks in this weather? The fashion gurus would like to let us take "style over comfort" to the extreme by focusing on layering and tights, tights! in this climate. I'd like to bring them down to earth or at least ask if they are really in touch with a significant number of Filipinas who live with centralized airconditioning, are chauffer-driven, and never experience the heat of the Philippine sun when they step out of their houses or offices.

I may be the wrong market for these clothes, but I just don't get it. If they're dressing up Filipinas, then they should probably endorse clothes that are actually wearable considering our lifestyle and environment. Instead, they raid the racks of stores from the U.K. (England, not the modern Eloy's) and would want us to believe that in order to be fashionable these days, we have to suspend our body's propensity to sweat.

Oh no, that sounds like a rant. Give me SM, 168 mall, good old Greenhills, or my favorite boutique two subdivisions away, Marien, anytime.

I'd Like to Leave Earth for a While...

I know very few poets. One of my favorites is Robert Frost.

66. Birches

WHEN I see birches bend to left and right
Across the line of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them 5
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells 10
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed 15
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. 20
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows— 25
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again 30
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away 35
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, 40
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches;
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood 45
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over. 50
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, 55
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. 60

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Now Playing Over and Over...

I am tired of all this sadness... I sound so serious in this blog! Actually, there are moments of grace, moments when I feel I'm directly standing under a ray of sunshine, and they are enough to allow me to weather the storm clouds that appear once in a while.

A friend teased me that I should just sing this song. She cheered me up and I ended up singing this in my head. LSS! Not Life in the Spirit Seminar... Last Song Syndrome!

Let me post the Karen Carpenter song that keeps playing in my head. You know this song. You can sing it with me. You can even close your eyes and think of that person you can't last a day without! Join me on my (in)sanity break and together let us declare...


I WONT LAST A DAY WITHOUT YOU (Carpenters)

Day after day I must face a world of strangers
Where I don't belong, I'm not that strong
It's nice to know that there's someone I can turn to
Who will always care, you're always there

When there's no getting over that rainbow
When my smallest of dreams won't come true
I can take all the madness the world has to give
But I won't last a day without you

So many times when the city
seems to be without a friendly face
A lonely place
It's nice to know that you'll be there if I need you
And you'll always smile, it's all worthwhile

When there's no getting over that rainbow
When my smallest of dreams won't come true
I can take all the madness the world has to give
But I won't last a day without you

Touch me and I end up singing
Troubles seem to up and disappear
You touch me with the love you're bringing
I can't really lose when you're near

If all my friends have forgotten half their promises
They're not unkind, just hard to find
One look at you and I know that I could learn to live
Without the rest, I found the best

When there's no getting over that rainbow
When my smallest of dreams won't come true
I can take all the madness the world has to give
But I won't last a day without you

When there's no getting over that rainbow
When my smallest of dreams won't come true
I can take all the madness the world has to give
But I won't last a day without you.


Wasn't that nice? I feel better already. :-) Thanks Gay! You live up to your name.

Truer Words Have Not Been Spoken Here

14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.

19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.

20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

Achor means Trouble. This is from Hosea 2. I am in that desert, and I have this promise to hold on to.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Subic Adventure

My sister-in-law, Mommy P, has created a video of our family trip to Subic earlier this month. She really has talent in these things.

This video captures Luigi's first go-kart experience, with a voice-over from Mommy P and Tita Ella ("Si Luigi ba yung nag-overtake?" "Nag-overtake!!!"); Miko's signature five-second swim with matching erase-his-nose movement; Lolo's joy at being with his grandkids; etc. Heartwarming!





Now Playing: Power of Your Love

Sometimes an old song given a new twist delivers a fresh message. 
Power of Your Love
Hillsong United
Performed by Sr. Susay Valdez, rc
"Stand by Me Still"


Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I found in You.
And Lord I've come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love.
 
Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side.
And as I wait
I'll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love.
 
Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see You face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me.
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
by the power of Your love.

 
Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side.
And as I wait
I'll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love.


And I will soar with You

Your Spirit leads me on

In the power of Your love.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hide Not Your Face

We tend to look at our role models and think they have it all made. They are happy, they are successful, they are famous, and they are loved. We, on the other hand, can’t seem to muddle through the mess we find ourselves in.

My role models at this stage are two magnificent people – a singing nun, who is my spiritual directress, and a writing priest, who pastors me in the parish and in our community. When I talk to them individually, I marvel at how single-heartedly they pursue the Lord and how they share their lives beautifully to those around them just by releasing God’s power in their very being. I doubt if they know each other, but I count them as two of my greatest blessings, for they both lead me closer to the Jesus whom they seem to know so well.

Not having a calling for religious life, I fail to apply what they teach me to my everyday because I draw imaginary distinctions between their ministry and mine, their vast audience/ influence and my small, sometimes possessive circles of friends, as well as their great roles and my trifling responsibilities. They are my living saints, but I refuse to live like them in every sense of the word, out of fear and more often than not, sheer stupidity.

As I found myself sinking deeper into this state of uncertainty, my voices of wisdom and compassion were somehow called by their respective ministries out of the country. And I, stubborn, slow student, was left to figure out what to do. I could not run to them to wait for them to spell out what God was telling me. I could not receive practical advice or hear freeing sermon. I was on my own, as I was supposed to be.

I could only hold on to my prayer time. Even then, I was afraid to be left alone with God. I had a Companion – a Catholic Scripture diary. I read other people’s reflections on Word Among Us. I had music – Jesuit, charismatic, Christian, even secular – to fill my ears. I could not journal regularly, afraid once more to write my tears down on paper, lest I form a lasting weapon that would poke at me whenever I look back at it.

A sister and friend asked me if I had spent time at the Blessed Sacrament to pour out my heart to Jesus. I bowed my head and admitted that I had not. She simply told me that her life-shattering woes were soothed every time she spent an hour with the Lord. Another sister asked me at another time what Jesus was telling me about my circumstances and my future, and if I had found a specific verse from Scripture to guide me. I had the entire bible – several versions of it, actually in my room, office and car, not even counting the immense biblical resources online – but admittedly, I had not allowed even a single verse to fully take root and bear fruit in my heart, to lift me up from uncertainty and take me to higher ground, where I would see how trivial, selfish, and pessimistic I was being on a full-time basis..

I am a sick woman refusing to be healed. I’m reminded of the man stranded on an island and praying fervently for God to save him. He refused every passing boatman’s offer of a ride, stubbornly waiting for God Himself to arrive in a chariot maybe and hopefully accompanied by lightning and thunder, not knowing that his Savior had already come, because He came not in the form expected.

Remove the scales from my eyes, Lord Jesus, and let me see you, and the wonders you are doing in my life. Let me not fix my eyes on reflections of you, for they could fail, disappear, and disappoint. Remind me that you alone are my constant companion, and I shall exist, nay, live, on the power of your love alone.

The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
Psalm 27 (ESV)

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet [2] I will be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire [3] in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!

8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!

10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

P.S. Obviously, this has become my Scripture of choice for now. Every word from this psalm, I shall continue to meditate on until the day when I can reach Psalm 30/31, where He turns my mourning into dancing.

P.P.S.S. Himig Heswita has recorded a sequel to their first venture into live recording, "Songs for Healing". It is an inspiring collection, "Stand by Me Still", and cut no. 4, "Power of Your Love", is my current theme song. Vocals by Sr. Susay Valdez, r.c.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Desolation

Something is not right. There is a long-standing imbalance that I cannot set right; a major inconsistency I cannot align; a tragic conflict I cannot avoid.

I stand in the middle and wonder how long I can wait. I know I should not make huge decisions when in desolation. From what I remember of the word "desolation" as described by St. Ignatius, I seem to be there.

Life is difficult. There is not one path that is easy. Nothing is attractive, or palatable, or exciting. Everything is risky and complicated. At this point. My passion has been challenged. My dreams have been tested. I still want to give, and to serve, and to share, that's true. I'm not about to up and take back my life and say it's "Me Time" from now on.

Maybe when the rain is gone, I can see more clearly. I should hold on until then. I know God's way is not this way - this, this is chaos. He can't be the author of this chaos. I shall not give in to pressure. Good is not good enough. I know who my God is. I know He created me, beautifully, carefully, purposefully. So I shall not waste this creation by being reckless, swinging to the other end all of a sudden, listening to the voices just to shut them up once and for all.

For this, too, shall pass. And faith, well it's the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things yet unseen, as defined by the author of the Letter to the Hebrews.

Sometimes, when dreams, and loved ones, and lies confuse us, we desperately need more faith. We just need more faith to remember that the Author of Dreams, He who is Love, the source of all truth and beauty, is on our side.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

I shall repeat that and other assurances from Scripture, until the day when the flood subsides, and I see a rainbow again. I know it's out there. My God promised me that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Charismatic Mass in QC

"It's the start of something new...." This line from one of the songs from High School Musical (a Disney made-for-TV movie, so famous that all the songs must be running through moms' and titas' heads as often as they do in mine) crossed my mind when Fr. Geoffrey told me that we're starting the first of many beautiful changes in our parish.

Every Sunday at 10 a.m., St. Benedict's Parish in Don Antonio Heights, Quezon City will celebrate a Charismatic mass. We are blessed to have the Missionaries of God's Love, a congregation of Charismatic priests from Australia, as our parish priest and assistant parish priest. Starting this Sunday, we shall spread the fire of God's love in a new way (at least, for Don Antonio mass-goers). Some of us from the youth group (yes I'm still serving in the youth group of the MGLs, thus I still qualify as youth) will serve as lectors and singers.

We expect that many people from the surrounding subdivisions would join us. Lingkod - Quezon City, hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

DND: Do Not Disturb

I must be missing out on something important. I probably should be aware of the lesson by now, yet here I am still clueless. Other people tell me it's so easy and simple. Just do what, in their expert opinion, is best for me, and I will be happy.

It gets complicated when the world inside me and the world outside me are in such conflict that I get spiritual vertigo again. For me, temporary, external happiness is not the goal, but permanent, internal joy is. Success by now is not as important to me as faithfulness. To paraphrase Scripture, I do not need to gain the whole world, not even a small piece of it, if that means I lose my soul.

I do not impose my beliefs on anyone, but when it comes to my life, then I have every right to do what my heart tells me to. In hotels they have signs for guests to put on their doorknobs. One side of the sign says "Please Make Up Room", and this is the cue for the cleaning people to make the beds, take out the trash, and change the towels. This is the exception rather than the rule, for people who go to hotels desire privacy and deserve to rest. Most of the time, they put the other side of the sign, which says "Do not Disturb".

When I'm ready, I'll invite people to come in, look through my life, share their views and opinions, offer suggestions and options. But until further notice, or unless otherwise invited to do so, please do not disturb. If people have a compulsion to clean, I would suggest they go read another blog, or choose another person to make over.

I have the right to remain silent.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In Subic, Where Another Dream Came True

Subic, November 2006, was when I witnessed a dream coming true.

Luigi was born with a passion for cars and driving. He could barely say our names when he was a toddler but he could always call out "Car!" and exclaim "Eng-eng! Eng-eng!" complete with the steering-wheel motion to show his favorite toy. He grew up watching race car drivers on cable and mastering computer games featuring virtual driving. The first time he ever rode the bump car, he was beside himself with joy. His milestones continued - first time to drive a bump car alone, first time to ride a go-kart with his dad, etc. When our family went on a short vacation to Subic last week, he hoped against all hopes that he would be allowed to drive a go-kart by himself. He felt he was tall enough.

Fortunately for him, he was deemed qualified to be a go-kart driver. Lola and lolo positioned themselves on the bleachers to watch. His mom and Tita Ella, with videocam and digicam in tow, were poised and ready to catch his every move, to be included in the family archives. His dad drove the go-kart behind him, and his brother Miko and Tito Ric trailed behind.

He was ready. For P300, he drove 10 laps with nary a scratch. He knew when to slow down - upon turning, and when to overtake. He started slowly and then at about the third lap, he stepped on it and drove smoothly. I was clicking the camera like crazy, unable to believe that the 9-year old boy was driving so perfectly. He smiled and waved everytime he passed the photographer's corner.

When it was over, he had a triumphant grin on his face. We all rushed to congratulate him. He said he was smiling inside his helmet almost all the time. I asked him how it felt to have his dream come true and he simply said that it felt good. He said, "My hobby when I grow will be go-karting!"

The next day, he was allowed to drive again, and he cut short his swimming to arrive early at the go-kart area. I asked if the first try was better than the second one. He said he liked them both. It was so cute to see him thrilled like that.

It was a relaxing weekend for all of us. We visited our relatives in Olongapo City, but we stayed at Bayfront Hotel. We walked along the boardwalk facing Subic Bay and listened to the bands playing at night. It was a safe place to be with kids, for even if people were drinking, there were a lot of policemen around the boardwalk area and entire families were eating on tables set out under the moonlit sky. Some kids danced on stage. Ice cream, hotdogs, pizza, siopao, and other fun food were laid out on stalls. I heard that the tiangge will continue up to next year.


We also witnessed fireworks in Olongapo, which only added to the excitement of our trip for the kids. Miko surprised us all when he showed us he could swim, after dropping out of swimming class last summer.


The sem break, my vacation leave, and Tito Ric's trip is over. He is back to Germany, the kids and teachers are back to school, and I'm back to work. It was a good, albeit tiring, trip back to my hometown. We'll definitely come back for more of Subic.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Malling in Asia

These are family pictures from our trip to Mall of Asia - the Hong Kong Disneyland plans that were changed to Enchanted Kingdom but finally ended up at MoA - last Sunday.

I'd like to thank Peeya, my sister-in-law, for this wonderful bubbly photo album.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Photos from Butuan



E-Night. Medyo putol ang picture ano!






Opening Night. I don't know what we were doing and why we posed like that. :)






Favorite hangout next to Inland - Margie's. Great Cookie Monster!






The QC sisters with Mon Samson, the National Director. My boss. :)





After the NLTC Singing Icons contest, a la Pinoy Dream Academy slash Philippine Idol. But with a twist - group singing! It was fun. I recovered from sore throat just enough to enjoy the hosting job Vannie entrusted to me.





QT's at the Restaurant near the Pool area, Inland Resort, Butuan City. Leah, Darleth (the two doctors of the conference, aside fr. Dr. Jake Yap), Juanda, Tina, and me.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Aza Aza Fighting!


My father, the retiree, has found a new hobby, and has joined thousands of Filipinos who are addicted to Koreanovelas. His balae, Tita Marisa, lent him DVDs of two popular Korean TV series, which had already been shown on Philippine television, "Lover Story in Harvard" (LSIH, photo of lead actors above) and "Full House" (photo below).

The first time he sat to watch LSIH, he hardly left his seat for ten (10!) hours! Mama and I teased him endlessly about it, but he was so hooked by the plot that he ignored our teasing. When his grandchildren visited us last Friday, they noticed Lolo's new passion. Luigi said, "Lolo is lazy today. He only stood up to open the gate." In fact, Papa missed meals, skipped gardening, and stayed glued to the screen. Every chance he got, he discussed with us the twists and turns in the lives of the characters. In order to get his attention, Luigi and Miko played the piano, because that was the only time that he would press the "pause" (yes, pause and not stop) button. The kids were so bewildered by his behavior that they told their parents about it when they got home.



After two days, he repeated the entire LSIH series!!! Last Saturday he complained that his eyes hurt already, so he would not watch muna. Then yesterday, he started "Full House" and got me hooked as well. I didn't enjoy LSIH that much because it was too dramatic, but "Full House" is a comedy and featured a budding writer who worked with a view of the beach outside her window, so I was curious. Papa especially enjoyed the treatment of the directors of Asian parents, and loved the father-characters in both series.

I have so many friends and relatives who have been Koreanovela fans for sometime now. It was only this week that I experienced how addicting they were, firsthand. I now can say with the proper accent and facial expression "Aza aza fighting!!!"

Papa, however, is not a surprise addition to the Koreanovela Addicts Anonymous. He has always loved watching movies and TV shows, not counting the hours and not minding repeated airings of his favorites. Being a lawyer and having children who studied abroad, the LSIH plot appealed to him a lot. Now he appreciates Asian stories more than Hollywood films.
Maybe if I become a true writer I could write about my father. He will be the hero in his own novela. Well, there's no harm in dreaming. As the Full House heroine Han Ji-eun would say, "Aza aza fighting!"