Day At The Beach

Picture a warm, sandy beach,
Picture the deep setting sun,
Picture the beautiful blue water splashing,
Hear the gush as each new wave comes in,
Listen to the seagulls’ conversation,
Picture a blanket on the beach,
Picture a picnic basket and
A chilled bottle of wine.

And there you are in the middle of it all…

Flip Flops On A Sandy Beach

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It’s Gone…

I said bye-bye to my laptop, yesterday. It was stolen as I was ordering a drink at a nearby cafe. I was only gone two minutes, and somebody decided to swiped it. I was fuming mad, but what was I supposed to do? It was gone, irretrievable and there’s nothing I can do about it.

This would be those times when I’d lecture myself — Oh, Nell! How can you be so darn mindless?

It's Gone

A Reason To Live

I was doing my midnight read, when I remembered this song from my childhood years. I forgot how it starts, but I could still sing the chorus line. It goes like this:

We are the reason why He gave his life,

We are the reason that He suffered and died,

To the world that was lost,

He gave all He could give,

To show us the reason to live.

Forgive me for being melodramatic, but somehow the lyrics brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know exactly if it’s my conscience or as my grandmother would say — the Holy Spirit. But whatever it is, my emotions started acting up.

Why am I here? There should be substantial reason for my existence. Right? And then the answer came to me. I live, because I am loved. Someone sacrificed His life in exchange for mine. That alone, should be enough reason for me to celebrate life to the fullest. And not waste my time whining and asking all the sorts of question.

The answer’s real simple, unfortunately time made it all complicated. Forget about wealth and financial success. God simply wants us to live, love and be happy!

Purple Flowers

Constant Kindness

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

-Elie Wiesel- 

My mentor once told me, real kindness seeks no return. I never knew the meaning of those words till I visited the public library this past Tuesday morning.  Having been an Accountant by profession, I was trained to seek deficits, profits, returns and long term investments. Never charity, and definitely no pro bono services.

So here I was at the library to renew my borrowers card. I was in line when I saw these group of people, mostly adults in there 30’s -40’s. And they were reading childrens books. My curiosity led me to ask the librarian what was going on at that side of library. She said that it’s a community literacy program. What happened next came as a surprise, as the librarian suddenly asked me —  Would you like to volunteer? We’re short of three people. I’m sure we can use your help.  Now, what was I to say?

To make the long story short, I said yes. I’m not exactly english proficient, but I’m willing to give it a try. This will keep busy for a little while. Besides, it’s only twice a week and two hours long. So it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle. Half hour later, I was given two students. A lady named, Reshma and her husband Jasbir, both from Jaipur, India.

The couple were very eager to learn. They were able to read a whole paragraph, except for a couple mispronouncements. Writing was a bit tough. They had a hard time writing in script, so I settled with there handwriting. They were legible, but they could be better. They just needed more practice. But then again, they just started the program. So I can’t be knit picky!

Two hours has passed and I didn’t realized our session was over. Never in my whole life have I known that teaching can be fun. Reshma and Jasbir thanked me for helping them, they gave me a big warm hug. In return, I told them that they were excellent students and quick learners. Suddenly, Reshma got teary eyed and I just had to asked her why. She said to me, It’s nice that someone is treating us like equals, like you. I didn’t bother asking for an explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. I gave Reshma another hug and asked her to smile.

In a world filled with bigotry and vainglorious people, one person can easily feel inferior if he or she is not equipt with tools-of-the-trade (literacy included). I myself have been mocked for my accent. It’s given as I was born in the islands. Duhhh? At least I’m not pretending to be someone I am not. Now, how about those people who has no knowledge at all of the english language? Do we simply look down at them? Blame them for there ignorance. What if they were born poor and unable to afford proper education. Do they deserve to be treated like second rate citizens?

Reshma and Jasbir are kindhearted people. They’re both smart in there own right. I don’t think they should feel terrible not being highly educated and all. I think it’s those discrimininative, vainglorious and disdain people, who should feel horrible. For the ignorant and imbecilic person that they are. 

What good is there in putting people down and making them feel inferior? I say, it only cultivates more hatred.

Library

Busy, Hectic and Dead Beaten

Mom and I were supposed to fly to Calgary to visit a family friend in Banff-Saint Louise. Unemployment and health reasons has taken a toll of both Mom and myself. So we thought a holiday can cheer us up. But then two days before our planned trip, Kuya Ron called and made an announcement. My nephews and nieces from Chicago are spending Spring Break in Sunny California. Without any hesitations, we decided to cancel our trip to Canada (more like delaying it a couple weeks) and attend to family matters first. Besides, it’s not everyday that our family from Illinois is in town.

DSC00940

Friday was hectic, we spent the whole day in San Francisco. It’s the customary tourist activities — Cable Car ride at Powell Station, lunch at Brandy Ho’s Hunan Food (try it, it’s the best in town), walk by Pier 39 and then Crissy Field, drive up to Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, sight seeing at Twin Peaks, shopping along Market, a quick stop at China Town for some dimsum, and picture taking at Union Square. We gave our visitors the deluxe tour package, hahahah!

A View of San Francisco from Twin Peaks

Saturday, we decided to drive up the beach house and have a family barbeque. A quick stop at the nearby meat market and produce store and we have a meal. The kids had fun in the water, while the adults decided to catch up on stories and shared three bottles of Riesling over some Barbeque Spare Ribs. Later in the afternoon, our neighbours joined us for a poker game and some Hershey’s Smores. Courtesy of my nephews and niece who enjoyed every moment by the  bonfire and the beach. It was a wonderful day to be out in the sun. Horseback riding came in later, when our neighbour kindly offered there two horses for a ride by the beach. It was lots of fun!

Baywatch or Babe Watch

Sunday was picnic at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The kids wanted to go for rides and swim at the beach, so Santa Cruz was the perfect spot. But before heading that way, we decided to visit the Mystery Spot. And it was Ohhh’s and Ahhhh’s the whole time, as they were amazed by this enigmatic phenomenon. Funny how they also used the word “mystery” on almost every sentence. The picnic was totally delish — steamed rice, pork adobo, beef steak, rotiserrie chicken and macaroni salad. It was hearty meal! We stayed in Santa Cruz till about 5 PM, and by that time both kids and adults were dead tired and hungry. Dad decided to treat us out for dinner, so he brought us to Barrio Fiesta which was along our way home. We had Pork Sinigang, Kare Kare, Fried Chicken, Grilled Squid, Crispy Pata, Lechong Kawali, Binagoongan and Pinakbet. Add to that Sago at Gulaman and Halo Halo Espesyal for desert. It was definitely a Pinoy Feast!

At Barrio Fiesta

It’s Monday today, and thank heavens I am  unemployed. I needed to take a break from our hectic week end. My brother and the kids decided to head north this morning (I don’t know where they get the energy), and they’re probably enjoying Lake Tahoe by now. I am tired, as in dead tired. So, I’m off to the community pool now, do a couple laps and try relaxing under the California Sun with my dear nephew, Nicholas.

At The Club House Pool

Thank You, Miss Elle

Dearest Nell,

Dream what you want to dream,
Go where you want to go,
Be what you want to be,
Because you have only one life,
And one chance to do all things,
You want to do.

And may you have happiness,
Throughout the years,
Best wishes to you, my friend.

Love, Ellen

PS: Wish I had your courage and determination…

Bye Now

I Beg To Dis-Agree

I knew I had to tell them eventually, so I did the next day. I told my mom first, since we see each other most of the time. I was thinking of telling her over lunch or dinner, but I took my chances as I was driving her down to the BART station. “Hey Mom, I filed my resignation at work. Looks like I’ll be unemployed for the next couple weeks.” I said to her. “So you finally did it, huh?” and that was all she said as she got out of the car.

Dad on the other hand was bit tougher, as I anticipated. I drove down his house and revealed the news as he was watching the news. “Dad, I filed my resignation at work” I said. “Oh God! Are you mad? Are you out of your mind?” he said with his eyes wide open. “How are you going to pay for your mortgage? Your property taxes? Your bills?” Believe it or not, I was so expecting him to say that. I knew for a fact that he’s always been anal over money, specially if it’s concerning his childrens finances. So I totally understand where he’s coming from, he has always been this way!

I was then asked for my future plans, and I told him that I’m trying to get myself into social work or social services. “Social work, huh? You think there’s money in that field?” Dad said in a mocking way. I was thinking of holding back my opinions, but I thought he needed to hear my piece on happiness and money. He didn’t like it, but I got the message through. And he decided to say nothing else, but “I just pray that your social work can afford buying your caprichos” But I was not moved, not one bit. My minds made up and I just flush those not-so-nice criticisms down the drain.

Truth is, I have never ever been this convinced. That not even my parents can talk me out of it. I think the whole world can conspire againsts me and say that I’m dumb as dumber, but I’ll probably just keep my silence. I can turn this thing into one big argument, but I chose not to head that way. This matter is non-debatable. For when it comes to personal happiness, there’s only one person that matters. I just had to put it in mind that money can’t buy me happiness and that the greatest wealth there is, is simply finding contentment with what little we have. You may agree with me or your may not… 

Wealth