Day 33: The Beginning, Part Two

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Today marks the end of my second round of my 15 Days of Writing True Class. It is a beginning more than an ending, because my first one ushered in a daily writing habit which led to attending the Writing Room e-course and embarking on my own #The100DayProject. Today is also my thirty-third day into this journey. I am thankful that I never run out of topics to write about. Life has many experiences to delight, surprise, and move me. Even a recent traumatic event has led me to count my blessings and realize that yes, there are still plenty of reasons to say thank you for each new day.

I will soon be ending my three-year relationship with my diet delivery service. My workplace does not allow deliveries of food subscriptions without knowing when to expect them. The recent growth of the diet company has led to erratic delivery times, so I cannot have them delivered to my office. If I continue having them delivered at home, it will cause me to be late for my shift. It was a painful decision, but being with them has trained me to count my calories, practice proper portion control for my body's needs, and eat healthful options to address my unique nutritional needs. Having hypothyroidism AND keeping trim is difficult, but it IS doable. Embarking on this new chapter may seem shallow to most people, but for me, feeding myself without the aid of my diet service is a form of freedom. Of course, responsibility comes along with this, so I have to continue controlling my portions and choosing my food with care.

I am excited to commence writing without a writing class for the first time in over a month. I will learn to use my voice to highlight the good and keep it real in my online island. So instead of marking this last day of #15DaysOfWritingTrue as an end, I am considering this as a beginning. 

I cannot wait to write on the ordinary, the special, and the true!

Day 32: Daily WROTEin

Werking it even with sore throat!

Werking it even with sore throat!

I'm celebrating my second monthsary at work today! Being an alumna of the university where I work definitely has its perks, such as knowing the layout of the libraries by heart and knowing where to buy awesome brewed coffee based on my budget. However, my homecoming is not a single event. It is a daily routine which I am surviving thanks to willpower and prayer. 

The best part of my day is when I wake up. I get to thank my Creator for a new morning and say the The Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10 : “...Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”  This prayer has kept me grounded and blessed since I discovered it in 2006. I then wash up and workout for at least thirty minutes. Exercise is a must as I have hypothyroidism. I mix it up with different routines so I will never be bored. 

I take a shower, take my prescribed thyroxine dosage, and drive to my parking space. I cannot eat breakfast until forty-five minutes have elapsed since I took my medicine. I usually eat in the car, after it is already parked. I take the MRT or P2P to my stop, then walk to work.

My first stop in the office is always the chapel. It always fills me with awe that I am able to work and live a normal life despite my health condition. I then unwind with a cup of coffee and my morning snack. There is nothing more rewarding than a cuppa, which wakes me up while calming me down. It is a paradox which has never ceased to intrigue me. I randomly count my blessings, check my social networks, and respond to emails. If I still have time to spare, I return to the chapel to pray the rosary.

My work day usually goes by quickly. I like being organized, and I keep an analogue planner to take down notes and tasks. I listen to music while working, using a cheap radio and earphones which I regularly replace. I switch between pop and classical stations. During my downtime, I also update my blog and chat with my boyfriend. Lunch and coffee breaks are healthy yet filling. I am always focused on my fitness goals, and I know which food to eat and avoid. I also stay away from frappuccinos and calorie-rich desserts.

My commute home is a reversal of my trip to work. I enjoy light dinners, to help me sleep earlier and lessen bloating. I also stop by our nearby park to buy fresh coconut water. It aids in detox and re-hydrating me after a long day.

I end my day by writing on my Five Year Journal, a prayer, and a book until I drift to sleep. The next day is the same cycle, with the same willpower and attitude.

I will never be able to pull this off without the support of my family and boyfriend. I may not be earning much, but I have enough and that is what matters. I look forward to having a more abundant life and eventually, the chance to settle down.

 

Day 31: Living Mindfully and Helping Others

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

I prayed the rosary again after a long time. I used to pray with it everyday during my previous job. My old building was adjoined to a mall, which is a stone's throw away from a church with a quiet adoration chapel. My previous job was stressful, and this ritual calmed me down during my lunch breaks. I enjoyed meditating on the mysteries, and I never lied about going to the adoration chapel whenever I was asked regarding my whereabouts. I have always been proud about my faith, and this motivates me to look for ways to integrate my passion for prayer in my other love, which is social enterprise.

I have previously used cheap plastic rosaries and jewelry-type ones from pilgrimage sites such as the Vatican and Lourdes. All of them were easily broken due to daily wear and tear. I have never been dainty, so these rosaries never appealed to me. I only used them out of necessity and because they were presents and purchases from important places of prayer. I have constantly been on the lookout for a durable rosary, because I believe that prayer is a tactile experience. I depend on rosary beads to guide me along the way. If the beads are too small and the gaps between them are practically non-existent, then it will make prayer less of the soothing ritual which it was meant to be. Thus, I have been accustomed to replacing my rosary annually, which became a pain because I do get attached to things especially if they have memories connected to them. 

Usually, the crucifixes are the first ones to break. The cheap plastic ones cannot withstand the pressure of daily commuting, which is not pleasant because I do not enjoy seeing the representative image of Christ cut into half. For those with metal links, the chains would get disconnected. Having them repaired is an obvious choice since I do have experience in bead work, but it already dampens the enjoyment of prayer. As the years have gone by and the handmade movement grew along with the internet, I have discovered options which finally meant having sturdy rosaries for less heartbreak.

I bought a chotki rosary from Caritas Manila a couple of years ago, and it has served me well. It was handmade by an inmate from Bilibid Prison. It is sturdier than most rosaries I have owned, and it still works until today. It has began fraying though, as the string they have used is fibrous, so I am already seeing the signs of wear and tear on several areas. I will still recommend this though, for it is a good conversation starter and it is for a good cause.

This has then led me to the search for a new rosary. My boyfriend and I are going through challenging times in our personal lives, so we need a spiritual weapon to inspire us to renew our faith and pray more often. I have ordered four rosaries from Rugged Rosaries, an artisanal social enterprise in California. They make rosaries by hand using military-grade paracord, beads, and components. The two full-size five decade rosaries have been carefully selected to represent our personal faith journeys, while the two one decade clip-on rosaries are for everyday use and commuting. I am excited to receive them and road test them once they arrive from the US! I am also happy that part of the proceeds from my purchase supports a team of artisans who promulgate the faith through beautiful rosaries in America, and provide rosaries and MP3 New Testament Bible players to the troops.

My faith has led me to support social enterprises and the handmade movement. My advocacy is my biggest means to help others, and I look forward to doing so by shopping meaningfully, sharing the products on my blog, and living mindfully. I also want to keep on praying, because it is a meditative practice which lets me focus on the positive.

I hope that your passion will lead you to support an advocacy with minimal effort and true joy!

Day 30: Soul Sam

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

The past few days have been challenging. I have encountered incidents which shook me to the core. I lost my trust in the people around me, and it seems that I am being harassed by an unknown entity. I have already reported these incidents and I have faith that authorities will handle this accordingly. Meanwhile, I am healing and moving on. I have decided this morning that I do not need to dwell on the feeling of distrust. Rather, I should focus on what I must be thankful for.

I woke up early this morning and did my ab and cardio routine. I had a hearty breakfast and a medium Americano from my go-to convenience store. I am wearing my five year old Doc Martens which cushion my feet and keep them warm and toasty in the rainy weather. Most of all, I have a family to go home to, a boyfriend who drives me home when visibility is low due to the rain, and a best friend who will drop everything to spend a few hours to comfort me. 

My best friend works in Quezon City but he managed to treat me to pancakes and coffee during my lunch break in Ortigas. I appreciate his effort and concern, as he knew I was going through a difficult time. My boyfriend had a family reunion at Pampanga, but he waited for me at Quezon City to have ramen with me and drive me home. These simple gestures mean heaps to me. It has been said that the only resource that we cannot reclaim is time, so I am grateful that my closest people look after me. I am also looking forward to moving on from these recent issues and carrying on with work. 

I have reasons to be thankful and happy amidst troubles and the rainy season. I will always have something to write about and experiences to share. People may try to take my trust away, but they can never conquer my spirit. All I have to do is breathe. 

Day 29: Trust Issues

Me in 2007

Me in 2007

I feel dismayed because my workspace has been violated for two consecutive days now. Yesterday, my traveler's journal was closed the wrong way, resulting in a loosened garter. When I got to my cube at 7:15am this morning, I found my top drawer open. My drawers do not have a lock, and these incidents may seem petty. But if you think of it, it is not petty at all. I work in a university, so files are all pertinent to educating students and upholding the corporate ideals of our community. These past two days have proven that it is possible for trust to be broken in an admirable company. Small items like my traveler's notebook may not seem much, but it is full of my art journaling and lunchtime sketches. I am also dismayed because I always psyche myself to get excited for each work day. These instances disappointed me, and it will take some time before I can regain my bearings. 

I have already filed an incident report, and I have updated security regarding this morning's incident. I know that they are doing their best. My cube is not covered by the CCTV, so there is no way to catch the suspect on video. I am praying that this gets resolved soon.  

I am also thankful to still be employed and that nothing was lost or stolen. I would not wish this on anyone else. After all, I was a student of this university ten years ago, and I do not want to disappoint my college self by being derailed by negativity. I just have to keep moving on.  

Day 28: Sammie 2.0

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The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be its staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, it still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice makes eating sandwiches in this country a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and it is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Just let me be.

Day 27: Dear Diane,

With Diane, 2007. 

With Diane, 2007. 

I wish I texted you more after we finished college. I remember 2008 as a busy year, with me preparing for the World Youth Day in Sydney and you preparing for your first semester in Ateneo Law. I was also jobhunting, with my frequent interviews becoming more like a reason to dress up in corporate attire. I recall the anxiety and anticipation of waiting for follow-up interviews. It was daunting, since I wanted to embark on my first job as soon as possible. I did not know how to tell you all of these, because you seemed so put-together, like you had everything figured out already. I felt like a kid next to you. Talking to you always felt like being with an adult, and in many ways you were the designated grown-up in my life. I hope you understand now that I was not avoiding you before your death. I was figuring out how to grow up so I could step up in life, which you seemed to master effortlessly.  

It is ironic that in your death, I realized that my life was only beginning. My first job happened shortly after you passed away. I was handling tasks beyond my Humanities training, and my role had a steep learning curve. It kept my mind away from the pain of losing you, but it seemed to help me find myself too. It was in my finance job that I realized how much I love to read for pleasure. I can never give up on myself and what makes me who I am. The pain of your loss made me delight in this finding. 

I am returning to you on your thirtieth birth anniversary. The pain has never left, but I'm more stable now. I am working in the academe just like you, and the funny thing was you told me before that I am a perfect fit for this industry. I am still learning the ropes, but I'm liking the seas I'm sailing on. I hope I can make you proud. 

Love, 

Sam

Day 26: Lay Day

Whenever I feel uninspired to write, I find ways to entertain myself. I eat out, go on a coffee run, listen to music, play with my art journal, and window shop. I also visit my friend Diane from time to time in her vault, where her ashes have been laid to rest. I sometimes bring a book so I can read with her, because she was a well-versed bibliophile when she was still alive. As the one who was left behind, I make sure to be updated with what's new in bookstores so I can read and continue my favorite hobby.  

I also like going out on errands, such as updating my pixie with an obligatory trim, getting my legs waxed, and buying my monthly toiletries at Human Nature. I usually browse through social enterprise pages too so I can see if there is anything new to buy and support. 

I am a believer that boredom is a reason to learn something new. I enjoy going on workshops to brush up on my watercolor skills and meet artists. Book fairs are also good venues to pick up new novels and ideas.  

I like beginning and ending each Lay Day with a cup of coffee. There is nothing more comforting than a cuppa and a book, and this combo inspires me to live beyond the lure of mediocrity.  

Day 25: There Has To Be A Word

Today is Diane's 30th birth anniversary. She was the closest thing I had to a best friend in high school. She's the one on the left (in red) in this pic taken during my birthday in 2006. 

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I miss her everyday since her passing from a car accident in 2008.

This one's for you, Diane. 

1) There has to be a word for missing someone in random moments, and anyone still alive can never replace someone who passed away because she was the best person to give spot-on advice.  

2) There has to be a word for realizing that you should make the most out of this life because your late friend is no longer here to experience new stuff in the present.  

3) There has to be a word for the friendship that binds you and your high school girls, and one of the things that bring you together is a late friend who was everyone's soul sister. 

4) There has to be a word for falling in love with someone whom you introduced to your late friend back in the day.  

5) There has to be a word for a friendship that goes beyond someone's passing

I ❤️ you Diane! 

Day 23: Sammie

Smoked salmon sammie. Last night's dinner at  Italianni's  

Smoked salmon sammie. Last night's dinner at Italianni's 

The Philippines, like most of its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be a staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, rice still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels our most important resource, which is the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice is the reason why I believe that eating sandwiches in this country is a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and the pleasure I partake in with every sammie I enjoy is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

Today's brekkie situation at  Mc Donald's  

Today's brekkie situation at Mc Donald's 

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Let me be me.

Day 18: Why I Don't Write

I'm writing this entry as I am enjoying a cup of halo-halo! The definitive Filipino summer delicacy is perfect for this sunny day. It is also a sweet way to usher in ROUND TWO of my 15 Days of Writing True!  

I have learned in design thinking that repeating a process albeit in a different iteration fosters creativity. I chose to repeat my class not because I failed, but because I want to see how this journey can be taken differently. How can I enjoy a trip with another perspective? There is only one way to find out and that is by taking it all over again.  

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

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I am here at Human Nature for their beauty fair! They have released a bronzer, lip miracle (sunflower oil-infused lip balm) and cheek tint! I have personally tested them and they are perfect for sensitive skin and everyday use. I also adore this brand as they are a social enterprise that provides employment to those who need it most. 

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I can't wait to see how Round Two turns out. For now, I need to finish my halo-halo and shop for sustainable makeup.