All posts filed under: Postcards from Everyday

A Place of Yearning

Wherever we are, we are always, it seems, in the same place–a place of yearning. Yearning to rest, yearning to work; yearning to be someone better, yearning to do something great. Yearning to be relevant and yearning to be invisible, unburdened. Yearning to finally start, yearning to finish. Yearning to be free and yearning to love. Even in our moments of supreme happiness and contentment, there are flashes of how it could be better if… Exhibit A: I was lying down on my yoga mat on the terrace, sunbathing as I do every morning now (vitamin D vs COVID-19, people), when I heard the determined singing of a bird. I scanned my mother’s plants, then the spots where my two-year-old niece Nami leaves biscuits for her bird friends; I finally found it perched on our metal sliding door–the little sparrow belting out like it was in a karaoke bar. I don’t know if it sensed a human watching but it stopped singing, glanced at me, and flew off. And I laughed at such snotty behavior. …

Lessons from a Lockdown

I’ve been working from home for seven years now, so when the Philippine government announced a month-long community quarantine beginning March 15, my first thought was, “Pfft, I do lockdowns like a pro,” followed by “I’m an introvert; I invented social distancing,” and finally, “We’re going to need a huge supply of food, toiletries and donuts.” Three weeks later, we all know what happened here: 3,018 COVID-19 cases, 136 deaths, and thousands more under investigation or monitoring, many of them dying without even being tested because hey, VIPs first, then their families, and then their staff, right? It has become clear that this new coronavirus is serious (even if many elected officials are not). Health care systems are collapsing even in the most advanced countries; people are losing jobs and losing hope; families don’t get to see or hold loved-ones on their death beds, receiving them only as ashes later on; and tensions are high everywhere, especially on social media. People are beginning to wonder: will this be the new normal? To keep me sane …

The gift of sameness

The thing with new years is that people tend to look for the big things when they look back — better jobs, financial breakthroughs, new romance, bucket-list travels, dreams fulfilled. Any milestone that could mark the year as “good” or at least different from years past. I’ve been around four decades now (which suddenly makes me sound old). I won’t pretend to be wiser than I was 10 years ago, but I do know this: the non-events of our lives are as important as the “highlights.” The series of actions that make up our every day is no less special than the special occasions that we like to dress up for. In fact, the older I get, the more I find comfort in sameness: waking up in the same bed that knows my sleepless nights; spending Christmas in the same house that has been our home for nine years; seeing the same weathered faces with the same old jokes in family reunions; wearing the same shirt and nightgown that were among the last gifts from …

For Tatay

On days like this when I wake up to the view of a calm sea, and summer music breaks the quiet of the morning, I remember similar days from over 35 years ago, when I was but a tiny hand clasping the rough, reassuring hand of my grandfather, a fisherman. Back then, there was no music from bluetooth speakers, just an old man’s voice asking if I was ready to pick up my grandmother from the market and get ice cream afterwards. And then we would walk or ride the tricycle. That was the joy of my childhood mornings. Oh, what I would give to hear that voice again and hold those weather-beaten hands. To sit beside my grandfather and tell him about the life I’ve lived so far, the parts he missed. I would ask him if there was anywhere he and my grandmother wanted to go so I could take them there, and this time, mine would be the guiding hands. But I sit here, and there is nothing; the twinkling eyes had …

Undoing Old

It has been so long since I’ve been to my own website that I have had to figure out how to manage the menu. Still, that’s better than forgetting the password, which is what happened to the wedding blog I put up seven years ago to keep me sane during our wedding preps. But back to this. This blog has grown old; I have grown old. During my absence here, I buried my beloved grandmother, supported a presidential campaign, wrote countless stories, loved people, hated people, forgave people, hired someone to design a house, applied for a loan to build such house, returned to the province of my childhood, realized how different it is (or I am), finally took that trip to Europe with my 60-something parents and sisters… I’ve become such an expert at being adult that I think I have forgotten the joy of just being. Of wondering and giggling. Of dancing in the rain. Of taking chances. This photo, taken in Cesky Krumlov, reminds my heart not to grow old. It tells me to dream, and to imagine beautiful things from God. I …

Unwritten Scenes

I’m listening to Spotify as I work — I’m a late discoverer of this awesome app — and instead of focusing on the post offices I need to visit for a book we’re doing, I keep thinking of movies I’d like to make, stories for film that I’d like to write to match whatever is playing on my phone. Weird, because I’ve never written a script before. And yet I have all these scenes in my head. There’s one where this person’s walking, just walking, and this song by Susie Suh is playing in the background. There’s a story in my head, and oh how I’d love it if it would just put itself together while I work on projects that pay my bills. But it won’t. I’ll just have to reimagine the possibilities that come with the sense of being lost.

Carmel Dream

There are few things in this world that support our belief in the fairy tales we loved when we were little. I used to secretly dream of being in faraway castles and magical towns and royal balls and gingerbread houses — happy things that reality slowly but surely clawed out of my heart. Growing up is sad like that. Today, a rather pensive Sunday, my thoughts go back to another day in January, many years ago, when I first set foot on Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was one of the stops in our hastily planned New Year (2009) drive along the famous Highway 1 in California — just me, my then-fiance now-hubby, my cousin, and a roommate in San Francisco. It was in Carmel that I found the stuff of fairy tales again. Sadly, we didn’t get to see the inside of those quaint cottages, and this picture here is the only decent one I got of the 300-year-old San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission. But I remember how everything was achingly pretty. I would give anything to go back there.  #adreamisawishyourheartmakes

Yellow Burst

This time last year — that sounds so far away already — the husband and I welcomed 2014 in a quiet mountain lodge at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, a mystical place considered sacred by the locals in Quezon, about two hours south of Manila. For three days we had no Internet or cellphone signal. We spent hours and hours reading, sleeping, talking about our dreams, and picking raspberries and mushrooms. We ate locally grown vegetables and drank water sourced from a nearby spring. We did whatever people did when they had time. We would walk in the morning and in the afternoon, chatting with friendly neighbors along the way. I saw this yellow flower on one of our morning treks on January 1 and thought, “This thing’s just bursting to be!” And I suddenly couldn’t wait to live 2014, which ended six days ago, with family and money games and a lot of eating. I wonder how nature will inspire me this 2015.