Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter Paranoid

Since the day we came to Winnipeg, I have developed a winter paranoia. I got this from listening to endless tales of well-meaning friends who warned me that winter in Winnipeg can really be harsh. They said that there are days when the temperature can go as low as minus forty that could literally freeze anyone to death.

So for weeks on end, I have been so busy accumulating winter attires. What better way than to be prepared as there is no escaping the winter. Snow is very much a part of life here in Winnipeg and so I saw no point in complaining and grumbling. By the end of October, our cabinet was heaping with every imaginable winter stuffs I have set my eyes into – mittens, gloves, scarves, torques, ear mops, turbans, hats, parkas, sweaters, jackets, thermal pants, thermal socks, ski pants, winter boots, et. etc. Most were purchased from clearance so I didn't have to drain my pocket.

When news came out that snow was to fall in Winnipeg soon, I braced myself. While the kids were rejoicing, I was silently dreading. But I also knew I had to face it.

The snow probably dropped when everybody was still fast asleep because when I woke up in the morning, our porch was already covered with white cotton-like crystals about three inches deep. Outside, the sky was all foggy and overcast as snow continued to drop in torrents. The temperature was minus 18 with a minus 6 windchill.

I dressed up my kids into bundles and bundles of clothing to ensure their protection. As I did, I kept blabbering about safety precautions, thanks to the literatures I downloaded from the internet. I felt crazy as the icy rains continued to pour. I dreaded going out but since I was so worried about the safety of my children, I had to walk with them to the bus station. By the time we were ready to go out, the snow was 4-inch thick.

As I stepped out from the warmth of our home, I expected a bone-freezing chill to hit me. Surprisingly, it didn’t come. It was cold alright but it was tolerable. Then I realized the secret - appropriate covering from head to toe.

On our way, we met children walking all by themselves to school. They looked perfectly alright. I glanced at my children - they looked fine too, enjoying the snow that I hated. Used to hate, I should say.

After sending my children off to the bus, I went back to our apartment feeling a little bit cold but not chilled. In fact, I felt relieved. The long dreadful wait is finished. I smiled at myself – my winter paranoia is over.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spiritual Quest (First of a Series)

I was raised as a Christian by my parents. I remember attending a regular catechism class every Saturday and going to Sunday mass with my family. I also remember participating in many rituals and ceremonies that I hardly understood. I nonetheless went through them as a matter of compliance.

I must admit though that Christianity never took its roots in me. I became a Christian because that was the religion I grew up with but I never really understood my faith. I went to church regularly, got married under traditional church rites and even had my children baptized as Christians. Not once however had I opened the bible to find guidance on how I was supposed to live my life.

I had many legitimate questions about Christianity and sincere misgivings about some aspects of my belief. But I was too guilty and embarrassed to raise them. I also began to be scared and unsure whether it was permissible to express uncertainty about God, Jesus Christ and the Bible.

For a while, I kept the questions to myself – unanswered, unexplored, hidden beneath my heart. I tried to suppress them and pushed them deeper and deeper until they were forgotten. Or so I thought.

When my father died, the questions began to resurface, grow, fester and loom. This time the questions weren’t just about religion anymore. I was confronted by my own mortality and there was a quaint uneasiness in my heart. What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist? Is there really a God?

I remember looking intently at my father’s grave, and telling him – “now you’re gone. Soon I will be gone. Three generations from me, no one will remember you anymore. You are now a dust in the wind, as I am. Is this everything to it?”

From that point on, I knew that I was entering a new passage. I felt like something within me was unlocked. There was no stopping the massive outpouring from the floodgates of my heart. I knew that I couldn’t go on until I pursue the answers that will satisfy my soul.

Thus began my spiritual journey

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America's New President

It’s official: Barrack Obama is the new US President.

I know that the election meant so much to the millions of Americans who went out to cast their votes. A historical milestone is almost a tame word to describe this giant event that catapulted the first black man into the presidency of the world’s super power.

A lot of people has hailed Obama as the Messiah, a God-sent man to save America and the rest of the world from destruction. The infamous “Obama Worship” and “Manifest Obama” is an indication of how some people have lost their grip and put Obama at almost the same level as God’s.

Once the dust starts to settle, that’s when Obama’s real work begins. For sure, it’s not going to be easy, given the tumultuous political and economic upheavals America is going through right now.

Meanwhile, in my little corner of this world, I and my family will continue to watch in amazement and wonder how this black guy from Colorado will turn out to be as he begins to shape America’s and the world’s destiny.

Will he deliver the goods? Will he remain true to his ideals?

I wish him all the best.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our Generation

Got this yesterday from a forwarded e-mail. The text had me traveling back down memory lane when life was a little less complicated. Some of the texts tugged at my heart and I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1950's, 60's and 70's !!

First, some of us survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.. ( sioktong ang inumin)

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, fish from a can ( brand : ligo ) , and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints , pati na yung laruang kabayu-kabayuhan.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, no kneepads , sometimes wala ngang preno yung bisikleta.

As children, we would ride in car with no seat belts or air bags – hanggang ngayon naman, di ba ? ( jeep )

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. ( maykaya kayo pare ! )

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle ( minsan straight from the faucet)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. Or contacted hepatitis.

We ate rice with tinunaw na purico ( dahil ubos na ang star margarine) , nutribuns na galing kay macoy and drank sopdrinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight kasi nga ..... .


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. Sarap mag patintero, tumbang preso , habulan taguan….

No one was able to reach us all day ( di uso ang celfon , walang beepers ). And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our trolleys or slides out of scraps and then ride down the street, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms....... ....WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. The only rubbing we get is from our friends with the words…..masakit ba ? pero pag galit yung kalaro mo,,,,ang sasabihin sa iyo…..beh buti nga !

We played in the dirt , washed our hands a little and ate with our barehands…we were not afraid of getting worms in our stomachs.

We had to live with homemade guns – gawa sa kahoy, tinali ng rubberband , sumpit , tirador at kung ano ano pa na puedeng makasakit…..pero walang nagrereklamo.

Made up games with sticks ( syatong )and cans ( tumbang preso )and although we were told it would happen, wala naman tayong binulag o napatay….paminsan minsan may nabubukulan.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mini basketball teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Walang sumasama ang loob.

Ang magulang ay nandoon lang para tignan kung ayos lang ang bata….hindi para makialam.

This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and managers ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned

And YOU are one of them!