Sunday, October 30, 2005

to stay or not

what drives people to leave?

my brother has just decided he wants to leave. and this is despite the fact that his career in on the upswing. he is financially secure. in just two years, recognition from peers in the medical profession has propelled his career even to greater heights. his family is here. he enjoys the comforts of home. and yet he is leaving next month. maybe with a feeling of hopelessness and threat of insecurity in a country which has very little to offer compared to others. this place is not good enough for him. and no one can blame him, or the millions of others before him.

the exodus of talented people leaving our country is enough to make one think of leaving. to stay or not to stay. we dwelled on this intermittently for the past seven years since we had returned from our training abroad. a difficult decision to make until a pastor friend suggested that we study past and present events in our lives. "certainly god is telling you something, his hand has been leading you somewhere."

the lure of big money being doctors abroad is great, but circumstances have brought us back here. there is a reason why my husband became an ocular oncologist. but financial compensation is definitely not one of them as most of his patients who have eye tumor are poor. it was only much later that we realized he became one because the service had to be brought here, where it is needed most. because we still need to make a decent living out of our profession, the way was paved for both of us to get into the big hospitals without much difficulty, to earn enough and be able to serve co-filipinos, which is truly gratifying. we envy the progress of other countries. but love the places we visit where we appreciate the resiliency, strength, and warmth of the people in our own. there are more opportunities for our children abroad. but raising our children here have helped emphasize value-formation and family responsiveness. seeing them bond with extended family and bridge the gap across generations has brought not only joy to us, but also unparalelled fulfillment to our parents. we treasured our independence living abroad. but here delight in the opportunity to be able to care for our parents and elderly relatives as they age.

there is a reason why we are what we are and where we are today. god has indeed told us to stay put. he has made it easy for us to stay, and difficult for us to leave. he has made us realize what is essential in our lives. what we want to achieve, and what we are prepared to give up. his hand has led us here. he is almost shouting it out for us to hear. and finally we hear him loud and clear.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


soul n 1 : the immaterial essence of an individual life 2 : the spiritual principle embodied in human beings or the universe 3 : an active or essential part 4 : the moral and emotional nature of human beings 5 : spiritual or moral force
mate n 1 : associate, companion; also : helper 2 : one of a pair; esp : either member of a married couple
what a shock it was to find out that our friends have split up after more than eleven years of what seemed to be a happy marriage and two wonderful children. it was the wife who had wanted out. as if to lessen the pain which was all too much to bear, the husband related to me, that she had told him, "i want to find my soulmate."
soulmate... soulmate... soulmate... i have never, in fact, stopped to think if i have indeed married my soulmate. all i know is that i feel so blessed and very happy that we are together. it has been more than eleven years but it feels so much shorter than that. i guess it is true that time flies when you are having fun. although we had our share of concerns and problems, there was nothing too much that we could not handle together. when i reminisce, beautiful memories come to mind... from the years leading to our marriage, the excitement of early married life, the birth of our lovely daughter, breastfeeding, playing, our life abroad, the much-awaited birth of our son, honeymoons and adventures every year, joining a spiritual community together, living day to day, sharing day to day... some may be routine or novel, challenging or easy, sad or joyous, serious or silly.
now that i stop and think about it, i must have married my soulmate. he brings essence and meaning to my life. he is my spiritual and moral force. he makes me feel at the top of the world. he says he cannot see himself without me. as i cannot see myself without him. each of us is one of a pair, or half of a whole.
thank you god for bringing our souls together. i am truly blessed, as i know you made us for each other. i realize he is my soulmate. and i imagine, i am his.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

to beijing

our dear friends are leaving for beijing in a week.
it should be great to relocate with the whole family with an expatriate's package. it should be pretty exciting to work and live and experience a different culture for at least a couple of years. it should be wonderful to be able to achieve this and still have a promise of even greater opportunities to come.
i am so happy for them.
but i am also feeling a bit sad.
i miss them already, thinking they will not be around for our regular friday mwg meetings or fellowships. i miss them already, thinking i cannot just text or call them for ideas to brainstorm with me for friends of jesus. i miss them already, thinking we will not be talking lengthily about serious problems or silly apprehensions. i miss them already, thinking there would be two less skeptic-and-sarcastic-in-a-funny-way people to kid and gripe around with. i miss them already, thinking of how we knowingly look at each other and guffaw secretly at our own private jokes. i miss them already, thinking they would be thousands of miles away.
i miss them already.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

s p a c e

living in a flat has its pros and cons. a pro is that it is so easy to just lock up and go. being an active and adventurous family, this is definitely a plus. a con is of course the lack of living and storage space.

our two bedroom nest was just perfect for my hubby and i when we moved in as a newly married couple. then arianna came along and it was still alright as the second room became her bedroom. then roque came along, and suddenly our place was so tight. of course with more kids, we accumulated more things...

a professional organizer offers a simple solution to this problem. she says just follow these 5 simple steps:
S - SORT: survey all your stuff and group related things together
P - PURGE: throw, discard. this is the hardest step for me as i am a certified pack rat; someday there will be use for every little seemingly insignificant thing; my being sentimental does not help at all
A - ASSIGN: decide where to put your stuff depending on the various activities which happen in certain areas of the home; well, there really is no luxury of choice in our flat
C - CONTAINERIZE: this can only be done after doing the first 3 steps; do not buy a container, not knwoing what will be inside it, and where it will be placed
E - EQUALIZE: to maintain order, each day is clean-up day

seems simple enough? we actually do some of these steps a couple of times a year. and it will not hurt to try again... and again. but then one can only do so much rearranging given a limited s p a c e. and maybe it is really about time, after almost 12 years blissfully cocooning in our flat, to move out of this space we have physically outgrown. just thinking about it, i am tickled at the thought of moving into a bigger living space, for example, a house...!!! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

dreaming what ifs

a show in my favorite lifestyle channel features people who suddenly gave in to an impulse, took the plunge, made that leap of faith. for a life change. moved to a faraway place. changed jobs. served a community. whatever, wherever, right then. to fill a need. to satisfy one's heart. to feed one's soul.

how great it would be to be able to step out of one's comfort zone and trust that the challenge of change would be met with excitement as well as confidence. that everything else will be taken cared of.

a short list of possible life changes in my mind. just nice to imagine some what ifs. a couple of these have been long lost dreams. the others way far-out. like, uh-huh... really?... yeah, right.

  • be a fulltime pre-school teacher
  • open a cozy cafe-cum-dessert lounge
  • start a livelihood program for the handicapped
  • be a functional artist
  • live by the beach, own a boat, and sail around with my family

and i say to myself, dream on girl. not here just yet. but maybe someday?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

under the sea

last weekend, i was reminded of the excitement of exploring life underwater. it's been ages since my hubby and i last went scuba diving. ten years ago, to be exact. in palawan was the last time. many different corals bursting in more than a rainbow of colors as the sunrays pierce through the deep waters. tiny, neon aquarium fishes in and out of the seaweed fingers. big, silvery ones with fins and tails swooshing as gracefully as the tiny ones. a shy moray peeping from underneath a rock. a scary seasnake darting up so swiftly. a manta ray sweeping the ocean floor. a gentle giant pawikan hovering above as if in flight... we get lost in time, engulfed by everything surrounding us.
Snorkelling with my daughter, arianna, reminded me of all that. though we were in tali, and not in palawan, it was exciting nonetheless. though nothing was new to me, it's as if i see everything for the first time. we marvelled at the aqua-tipped spiky coral. but squirmed at the weird-looking brain coral. she pointed at creatures which caught her fancy as i pointed at those which caught mine. together, we eagerly swam after brightly striped or spotted fishes as they zigzagged and circled by. no moray, no scary seasnake, no manta ray nor pawikan. but just the same, we get lost in time gliding on the surface side by side, till the sunrays stung our backs. it was a different high for me, being able to snorkel with my daughter. it not only reminded me of my diving days with my hubby. but also my snorkelling days with my daddy. i was as young as her when he showed me the world under the sea for the first time.