Thursday, 31 July 2008

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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Can you forgive?

Mood: Happy with my new laptop! Whoo-hoo!!!!

The question above doesn't want to invite any sort of preaching from any sort of religion. It is a simple question. I am not religious so this is not going to be about anything like that. This has got nothing to do with it at all so it is not necessary to give me quotes of anything from the Bible or from any other Holy Book, if you may. This has got something to do with what forgiveness really does inside of us psychologically, mentally and emotionally.

First of all, says forgiveness is 'the act of excusing a mistake or offense.' I have been reading a lot of books on forgiveness, most of them are psychological books. I have been hurt for too many times by all kinds of people - some were dear to me, some were mere colleagues and some were just people who were insignificant really. Of course it hurts the most when it is someone close to your heart and someone you hold dear that does something horrible to you. Or someone very important in your life. If forgiveness is the 'act of excusing a mistake or offense,' does this mean we just have to keep ignoring the mistake? I don't think so. I've written something about burning bridges. I think this has got a lot to do with burning bridges as well. Forgiveness, in my view and from what I have gathered and read, is simply letting go. Letting the pain go and forgetting it, even if sometimes it means also forgetting the person to stop the pain. Forgiveness, for me, is letting the person be even if it means not wanting to have anything to do with that person for the rest of your life. Forgiveness means just accepting the situation or whatever happened and what will happen. For me, it is that good feeling in my heart, that feeling of 'maluwag sa dibdib' (God, I don't know how to translate this phrase in English!), it's that feeling when I wake up in the morning feeling good. Do you know that feeling? But it is not always easy to forgive. In my case, sometimes it takes years. My healing takes time as well. For others, it is easier and I find these people blessed, if not lucky, to be able to have that kind of attitude. I wish I could have that kind of attitude towards life. Just living, loving and letting go.

I have been thinking of an example of someone who has really annoyed me lately. It has been awhile since I got really irritated (of course that excludes the little irritations the hubby gives me, hehehe) I could only think of one. There was this woman who used to work in the company where I am working. She knows me and I know her. Although we were never friends, we knew each other's name (well, at least I know hers!). She left the company a few weeks after I joined. She joined a new company within the same area so I always get to see her - bump into her - at lunch time, in the morning on my way to work and in the afternoon on my way to catch the bus. Tell you what - she always ignores me! She never acknowledges my presence. I always said hello to her. I smiled. I winked. I waved. I tap danced. I even did a somersault. Nothing worked. She just ignores me. Like I don't exist. Naturally, I began to get annoyed. I started to have this irritation when I'd see her. So I stopped saying hello. I stopped smiling or winking or waving. I stopped the tap dance and the somersault. Nada. I stopped giving her any of my attention. But I hated her. For what? For ignoring me. For not making me feel important. For not giving me the attention I wanted. And I knew it was wrong. It was the ego in me that was doing this and making me feel this way. So this afternoon, on my way to the bus stop, I saw her again. But differently this time. I removed myself from the situation. I used the technique of becoming an observer in a situation and not being the actor in it. All my anger went. I didn't say hello to her. I just let go of the bad feeling. I started to think straight. Perhaps she didn't want to be friends, so what? Perhaps she is always in a hurry so she's just not bothered to greet anybody, so what? Why do I have to be offended? It has got nothing to do with me. She's not important. She's not significant in my life. So I just let it go.

I know situations are not as simple as this experience. Some people really hurt us badly....and sometimes it is hard to let go. It is hard to forgive. Believe me, I know. I have been there. To be honest, I am still in the process of letting go, of forgiving people and forgiving myself. I tried all sorts of stress-relievers to ease my pain and to relieve me from this gnawing feeling. It took awhile but it is working. I have now let go of a lot of anger in my heart and I feel happier.

I specifically said that this has got nothing to do with religion because no religion helped me in this process. I just realised that it is unhealthy to be angry. It is affecting all of me. My anger doesn't affect the subjects of my anger but affects me, my loved ones, everybody around me. Remember the last time you got really mad? Think about it, why were you so angry? Was it really the situation that made you angry or did it only trigger your anger? Anger can be deeply-seated. Anger can build up inside you without you knowing it. It is like energy, it is like steam that needs to get out. That's why forgiveness is letting go. Let all the steam go. Let all the negative energy go. Even if it takes time.

There is only one person who knows if you have truly forgiven the people who have hurt you.

And that is you.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Animated Conversations

In animated conversation with Jemi, Orren and hubby. This photo was taken by my better half and I liked it. I like looking at how jolly I was that weekend. It's kind of nice to look at ourselves by detaching ourselves from the picture. It's like imagining you are not the person and just observing what actually happened. So by looking at this photo, I become a mere observer, not the actor, not the person in the picture.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

I ate my words...

Mood: Very good mood indeed
My brother has been asking me to get him a Nokia N70. I always tell him off saying, 'Why do you want a phone like that??? Are you an executive??? What do you need an expensive mobile phone for? You get a phone for its features because you need them but if you don't, then sod the idea!'
You see, I have never really been a phone fanatic. I have always chosen the cheapest, most affordable phone available when getting one. I only need it for texting and voice calling. Nothing else, really. But then it happened. My good old friend Anne has been encouraging me to get a monthly subscription from a mobile phone network that works well in my area. For two years, I dismissed the idea. I thought it was always more economical to use 'pay-as-you-go' (in other countries including The Philippines, this is called 'pre-paid') and so I would get a £10 voucher regularly from the shop which I thought was making me save money. But I restricted myself so much that with 'pay-as-you-go', I couldn't phone my husband because it would cost me so much per phone call. I would pay for each use of the phone so it was very seldom that I ever used it for phoning people. But after summing it all up, I realised that I was actually spending as much as £50 each month and that only included texting! So I started to look at other offers. I found out that mobile phone companies offer to give you a free mobile phone, a monthly fee of as low as £15 giving you enough airtime minutes and texts for a month plus a surprisingly low rate for international texting, less that half of the text rate for 'pay-as-you-go'! I know that sometimes this could be deceiving so I inquired more. Then the best thing was right under my nose - the rates include VAT!
This, my friends, made me decide to get a Nokia N95 for free with a montly subscription of 1000 texts and 400 voice call minutes. Not bad for £30, eh? I ate my words. What do I need a N95 for? Am I an executive? Why didn't I sod the idea the first instance? I didn't need an expensive phone! Well, yeah, I am not an executive. I don't need the camera on my phone or the radio or the video facility. But it is free! So I grabbed it! Ha!
No, I haven't told my brother yet. If I do, he'll throw back at me my own words or worse, he'll ask me if he could have my N95. So I will keep it a secret for awhile. And yes, I do feel bad about it.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Revisiting London with Jemi

Mood: Still's Friday night and I will get the chance to sleep all morning tomorrow!!! Woo-hoo! My favourite day is Friday!!!
I have to tell you before you proceed that I am not a travel writer. I am not very good at describing places. I think I do not give them enough justice. I cannot seem to find the perfect adjectives to describe a place. I always check the on-line dictionary and thesaurus just to find the right words. So bear with me, I beg you.
On my birthday last year, hubby took me to London - for the first time. I was in awe. It was a long-time dream to see The Houses of Parliament and The Buckingham Palace (although during my first few months here, I kept calling it 'The Birmingham Palace'). But we were pressed for time last year. So this year, with my dear friend Jemima and her hubby Orren, hubby and I went to visit London again....and this time we went on a cruise!
How exciting it was! It was like visiting the place for the first time again. This time I got to see St Paul's Cathedral up close and I was able to take a proper photograph of the Westwinster Abbey. Plus - I took photos of me and Jemi with the Big Ben and The Houses of parliament behind us!!! This time we were not so pressed for time - although we still felt we were because we wanted to do so much and go to so many places all in one day but of course, we couldn't. London looks like a giant city to me, everything seems to be huge! We still had ample time to go back to anywhere we like but our legs and feet were just so sore and we were all starting to get cramps that we just all gave up and had a meal at Liverpool Train Station. That was the last meal we had together before Jemi and Orren left. In two years, they were the very first who came to our home and spent a weekend with us, this is why husband and I find it to be so special having them in England. Jemima was like a childhood friend, someone who knew about my family background, who knew my Dad and Mum, my sister and brother. Although we had to catch up on a lot of things - practically almost 20 years of not seeing each other, we still felt so comfortable with each other. We still talked like it was only yesterday when we were together doing our term papers, projects and assignments in college. Ok, stop Len, stop, this is supposed to be about London. Yes, I know, but Jemima made the London trip more memorable and more enjoyable so, actually, this is about her, isn't it? Ha! I better stop now as it is pretty obvious I am starting to rattle.
Yes, London became even more beautiful with a very dear Jemima in tow. Of course, it wouldn't have been much fun without our hubbies to carry our bags, haha!
I told you, didn't I? I am not a travel writer. And this is not a travel blog.
Top photo: Me and Jemi sticking out our tongues, behind us is The Big Ben Bottom photo: Orren and Jemi in Norfolk, near the Norwich Castle

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The sound of flip-flops

Mood: Sleepy. Haven't had much sleep lately.
It is summer and I just love to see the sun shining. It can change really quickly but for a few days now, it has been consistently sunny and bright. I am even surprised that at work, I can take my office jacket off because it gets too warm. Big windows can have a greenhouse-effect, most especially if you've got poor air-conditioning system. But then I love summer - the warmth and brightness of a sunny day!
Because it is summer - some people, mostly ladies, wear flip-flops at work! Yes, at work! A week ago, a colleague popped in our department and I turned when I heard the sound of her flip-flops as she walked. It looks perfectly normal for her to be wearing flip-flops. Tsinelas. Step in. Sandalyas. We have several names for flip-flops and we wear them in the Philippines when we go to the wet market or to a shop nearby but never ever to work! It is quite amusing though and it brought back pleasant memories of home - walks on the beach, seeing my father at home watching TV wearing his tsinelas or the sight of my brother topless, with a towel around his neck and yes, wearing flip-flops! Or my 8-year old nephew playing with his friends on the street - all wearing the lovely flip-flops! These indeed are ordinary things in my home land.
And right now, I can only dream being home and wearing my very 'presko' flip-flops.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A dream that became a story

Mood: A little bit irritated due to virus on the computer - which I was able to remove, thank God! Have you ever had a dream so vivid that you felt it was real? So clear youc ould smell and almost taste it? I have....and I entered it into a contest. Waterstones, one of England's largest book shops (more like National Bookstore in the Philippines I suppose) launched a contest called 'What's Yours Story?' The story must be able to fit in a storyc ard that they provided (just a little bit bigger than a post card actually). I thought it would be cool to join and submit an entry. So, I wrote this dream that I had a month or so ago and sent it to them. Announcement of winners will be in a few days I think. I would like to share with you what 'My Story' was, here it is: The Voices of Wealth She knew at that moment she was surrounded with wealth. It was all over her. All above and under her. She could feel it. She could smell it. But she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see them. She looked around her but the wealth was invisible. ‘We are here,’ one voice from her right side whispered. ‘We are here, another voice whispered from the foot of the bed. ‘We are here,’ for the third time, the Wealth said in unison, in three different voices. Then the Wealth asked, ‘Where do you want us to appear?’ She opened her mouth to speak. But something happened. Something she did not like. There was a noise - one tiny noise from somewhere - that made her open her eyes. The noise that awakened her…and stopped her beautiful dream. She did not like it. For it was only…a dream.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Mood: Relaxed
Been really busy the past two weeks. I will be posting about my trip to London last week and visits from beloved friends Jemima & Orren and Karla & Ed.
For the meantime, here's a lovely photo of my dear old friend Jemima with me whilst roaming around Norfolk with our hubbies. It was a beautiful weekend with them two. Jemima and I spent two days and two nights reminiscing the good old days. When we were in college, we called ourselves, The JEWELLS. You know those good old days, we did the corniest and silliest things, didn't we? The word JEWELLS actually is an acronym for our names. We were a group of 7 young ladies who studied and hung out together. J stood for Jemima, E for Ellen, W for Weng, another E for Edlyn, L for Lorie, another L for my nickname Len and S for Sonia. We somehow found a way to get hold of each other's emails and have now been communicating via email. But of course this also opened the door to constantly communicate with Jemi, haha! (which surely will drastically increase my phone bills! but what the heck!) ...and being as dramatic as I am, it made me cry leaving Jemi and Orren at the Liverpool Train Station that Sunday night. Bhuhuhuhu. I truly enjoyed being with them. Hubby also enjoyed the time with them and we could only wish that it would happen again one day.

Friday, 4 July 2008

My Lovely Prestonian Friends!

Mood: Excited! A friend from way way back (University years) is coming over to visit us! Talking about friends. I haven't told you about hubby's best friend (and childhood friend), Reuben and his lovely wife Pat. Two lovely people who always welcome me in their lovely home when we visit Lancashire. We always enjoy our visits. The last time was early this year, just before spring. I would like to share with you some photos with them (Reub and Pat, thanks for the permission to publish these beautiful photos with you!)

This photo to your left is Reuben whilst cooking his specialty for was lovely! Reub, I was stuffed that evening! Thanks so much!

Husband and I always enjoy their company. We always have a good laugh with them. They are also the first two people who made me feel like I belong here. They made me feel so welcome. I remember my husband introducing me to Reuben over the telephone when we were in the Philippines. That seems to be a long time ago now. My better half was saying the truth, Reuben and Pat were ones of the very few people who accepted me with open arms. I know I get so dramatic sometimes but it was difficult for me starting here with no friends, no family, nothing. But with my two friends Reuben and Pat, it was a much better world for me. Life was easier.

Thanks to the both of you, Reub, Pat! We will see you again very soon!

From left: Pat, Reuben, myself and husband.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Summer Barbecue!

Mood: Happy - most probably due to high adrenalin caused by Filipino lady friends! Today - all day - it was Tuesday (ha!)...and sunny, warm, bright and beautiful! It was indeed a good time to get together out in the sun and take advantage of the warm weather. Otherwise we wouldn't have this for the next week or so because on Thursday, and for the next few days after that (I don't really know how long it's going to last) it is going to be raining again! So, tonight, really, was a good break! Tonight, I had a last-minute-but very welcome-short-notice-kind of invitation from a Filipina friend. Barbecue with other Filipina friends! I was on the bus when hubby phoned me to tell me that our friend Irene phoned to invite us to her barbecue and it was tonight! Hubby had a phone call from work asking him to report tonight so I was having second thoughts. I wanted to go - I wanted to see Filipinos! So my mind started to think (yes, sometimes I make my mind work by thinking a little bit) - better half's work starts at 9:30 p.m. so if we go at 7:00 p.m. and stay there for at least an hour, it will be alright. That gives hubby the time to get to work. So I phoned him to tell him we were going. He didn't disagree. As soon as I was home, off we went. Tell you what, it was bliss having Filipina friends around! I have never chatted so much in my life that I didn't know if it was wind in my stomach or the sausages that I ate that made me feel so stuffed! Husband showed off his Tagalog words and sentences and everybody just loved it. I laughed so hard until my tummy ached. I have never had so much potatoes in my entire life! I let a little bit of my hair down (ya-ha!) and had so much fun! I enjoyed the food immensely. There were roasted lamb and steak, salad, roasted potatoes, chicken kebab, lots of fruit juice and the dessert - fresh strawberries from Irene's garden!!! (Sorry I wasn't able to take photographs, I completely forgot all about taking photos!) Here I am at 10:00 p.m., still awake and thinking how much fun it was to be with some Filipino friends, most of them nurses, who are just so jolly and enthusiastic and spontaneous and...what else do I have to say, they are just so lovely! So, tonight, I thank the Universe for finally bringing me some Filipino friends who I can be myself with, who I can laugh with...Filipinos who don't measure me up and don't interrogate me, don't ask me intrusive questions (like 'Where did you get your husband from?' as if I took him from a stockroom or from a shop!) and most of all, who are genuine. It's just like being in the Philippines again. This piece is for the wonderful ladies I met tonight (thanks dear friend Irene for introducing me to them!) Pat, Merlin, Analyn and Nelia. To Irene's daughter Jo, thanks for driving me home! To Irene and her family, thanks so much for your friendship and hospitality. You are such lovely people!