Hell-av-a-Monday

I feel stupid, frustrated, disappointed and depressed today. I can hear The Cranberries sing in my head, asking me ‘do you have to let it linger?

I don’t want to, but it just won’t go away either…

First Event

I went back to BIR South to follow up on our Authority to Print, with Form 1906 on my hand. I was more hopeful that everything’s gonna be okay because I was referred to a ‘better’ person (that handles) updates regarding pending ATPs – who is Ms. May. Only to be told that the received stamp was not from their office but from the other district’s branch.

More simply, our printer gave the application form to the wrong branch.

ATP BIR

Biogesic please!

Now angry and frustrated, I went back to Roedils Printing to report to them what I was told. I should’ve known they were disorganized when they had a hard time finding our Form 1909. This time, they said they would prioritize us with their next batch of follow ups with the BIR. I asked them where should I follow up next? Took a while before anyone from the 4 printing press staff could respond that they would update me later around 5:00 pm (which didn’t happen).

Second Event

I was supposed to cross off 3 items on my to-do list: 1) withdraw additional petty cash 2) pay our water bill 3) get a haircut. I was only able to accomplish 1.

Because I felt bad already, I was thinking twice whether I’d give myself a break and go to SM to do everything there. But because I was so fickle-minded, I took a jeep going to the main MCWD branch to pay there. I didn’t even know I lack enough cash, but I retreated upon seeing that it was so crowded inside. I opted to go to E-mall instead.

Cebu Jeepneys

Braving the commute and losing my way…

I hailed a jeep and asked if it would go by E-mall. Speaking in Bisaya, they said no, but would drive by the coliseum. Thinking that they were being sarcastic, I ignored them, but hopped in anyway. I was thinking it would go around anyway and I could just hop off and walk. But it didn’t drop by the Coliseum, and I noticed that we were already on the N. Bacalso highway.

Goodbye haircut.

Third Event

Trying to brush off my stupidity and my misfortune, I was thinking to pay the bill at the nearby bank when I get off on the way to our apartment. I was able to withdraw money from the ATM and was about to enter the bank when I was stopped by the security guard.

Oras

Tumatakbo ang oras naiiwan na ako…

Turns out water bill payments are only until 2:00 pm. I didn’t notice that it was already 3:00 pm. I was still feeling rebellious and I wanted to accomplish more today, so I stood by the roadside, waiting for a jeep to drive by…

I could still pay the bill. I could still get a haircut. I might lift my mood for even a little.

On Second Thought

After I few seconds though… I just walked back home.

Olive is alone with her yaya. I have a deadline to meet tomorrow. I have collections to follow up. I can’t manage to smile or even look at myself in the mirror. I feel dirty from the smoke and dust particles. I feel like an old haggard mom.

And I found myself irrevocably sad.

What Happened?

Why am I sad? Why am I down again? Can’t the happiness factors outnumber the bad things that happened today? Maybe… But my mind is just too clouded to look at the silver linings.

I felt stupid for not being fully literate with this third language. I found my confidence lost because I can’t engage in a full conversation with other people. I lose my way around. I’m like a handicapped person. I wasn’t like this since elementary and high school…

That’s sad, right?

And then I wanted to attend to myself. Because I feel old and unkept. Because I was told that I looked pregnant even if I’m not. Because I didn’t have the freedom and the time I used to have when I was single. Because I can’t go out anytime I want when my husband is working and there’s a baby, a business and a freelance job to look after.

But then, if I want to go out, I’m just by myself – no besties, no friends to talk to – about movies, how our friends are all getting married and having kids, the latest hook-ups in our social circle, where to find a good hairstylist, how was traveling to this country like?

I think I’m going mental…

Even an introvert needs a bit of socializing.

First Aid

So what’s a quick remedy?

I was thinking of Jollibee Flip Float, but its gonna make me more fat. Running? Too early, and it looked like it would rain anytime. I have calls and emails to check. Coffee and chocolate mix – too much caffeine, I might go Parkinsons mode again.

Instead, I rushed to check my Facebook and read the news. Flooding has reached Cavite, and it got me worried some part of our house would break. So I checked on my folks to see if they were alright. My dad called and I learned that the wall at the National Power Grid (which was near our residence) gave in from the the flood and caused damage to the main road and a portion of a huge house nearby. Work was cancelled at the city hall. And the weather was just chilly. Gosh I miss home!

Typhoon Maring + Habagat

Water world ang peg ng Cavite ngayon…

I received mail from a satisfied client. I’m happy that it was worth not sleeping for.

Lastly, I took everything in here. Without this blog, I’d probably be in an asylum now or ran off elsewhere (to mini-vacation on impulse). Its like I’m having a monologue. Unsure if anyone would read, understand or respond. But at least I have a blank page to talk to.

I do not regret living here and having a family, the business and all. Its just that it sucks when you don’t have a social circle and you have a language barrier to break. Maybe its also my fault because I’m not the type to easily make friends with anyone. I often stick to my wolf pack and meet new friends from there. But they’re just beyond my reach right now…

You know that feeling when you miss going out with your bunch – drink, sing at the videoke and talk about stories you’ve talked about infinitely? You wanna catch up with their lives and yours, get advice and share some insight. Girl talk! Bitch out, rant and throw fits for fun or nothing at all. Spend time with people who share the same favorite TV series, books, places, foods… It hasn’t happened for years now. And maybe I’m at my social need limit.

If I was a character in The Sims (yes the game & my favorite one), I’d probably be the depressed one, the one crying helplessly, or the one who fails to wake up and prefer to stay dreaming. (Or later on begin to see aliens and ghosts as well, lolz)

Depressed Sim

Depressed character in The Sims game

And how do you satisfy that virtual need? The character calls up friends to chat, invites them over or they go out.

That’s in virtual reality.

But I think, right now, it essentially holds true in real life.

On the last note, I actually feel better after writing out everything.

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Mindset Overhaul

Hello blog!

Its been 4 months since my last post and I sincerely missed you! I’m currently on my energy boost mode (that’s between 11:00pm to 2:00am daily recently). And as I found my to-do list brightly highlighted with “DONE”, I figured I now have a guiltless time to revisit my alternate world.

Last time I checked, I mentioned that we had Olive baptized. She was 3 months old then. Fast forward to now. She’s a budding 7-months old baby with advanced locomotor skills which have kept us (me, Mr. H and Yaya) all the more watchful of her. She’s been laughing at funny faces we make, peek-a-boos and quirky sounds. A few weeks ago, she was down with mild fever, cough and flu, but she’s all better now. She’s grown her first teeth and has been fond of biting anything and anyone. She has really become our source of fatigue and joy. And each day, I wanted to spend more time indulging in this phase of her childhood.

7 months old Olive

7 months old Olive

Time is essential for me right now. And time is something I do not want to spend often as a stressed out work-at-home mom who doesn’t have a social life and is unhappy. So I decided to shift back to gear one and take things in stride.

The Happiness Factor

In June, I was able to earn $300 a week from my freelance job. It felt great and I wanted to maintain earning that figure for as long as I could. But that accomplishment came with a price.

I was less attentive in taking care of Olive. I did not gave enough attention to my husband and our business. And despite those, I still found myself constantly stressed and feeling guilty. Stressed because I know, I left a lot of things undone for our business, and guilty because I felt I was irresponsible as a mother and a wife. Think of having a bag full of a month’s laundry which I only washed because we didn’t have anything to wear anymore.

I tried justifying my act. I pushed myself to work hard because I wanted us out of our current apartment. The houses we are looking at cost the same, if not more expensive. But I was looking for a place where we could be more comfortable as a family with a growing kid. I was unhappy with our current environment and the fact that we’re experiencing flooding.

I wanted us to be financially capable of drawing ourselves out of here. But I learned that I can’t change everything in a month’s time, no matter how mad and desperate I am with working.

I was only leaning to become more stressed, more unhappy. I felt like no one was taking me seriously and I was hating by myself, alone.

Pause and Realizations

That’s when I tried to stop for a while.

I felt like I deserved to rest after working so hard. I took time to literally just lie down and do nothing but reflect. Then realization and remorse hit me.

I realized it wasn’t just me who’s having a hard time. Mr. H has also been restless (driving for days, sometimes sleepless working on preventive maintenance schedules and lifting heavy objects). It wasn’t my sole responsibility to earn for us. We’re partners and he’s also burning his ass off earning for our family. I need to stop saying “I”. It should be “us”, “we”.

I shouldn’t work hard. I should be working smart. But right now, the place just doesn’t allow for an engaging workplace to hire an assistant. The first and last one who came for a walk-in interview didn’t came back. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t work smart in the future. Answer: Set up a spare workstation once we’ve transferred office.

I am unhappy and whining all the time. I am too stubborn to accept that some realities that can’t be changed overnight. I read somewhere that 90% of the problems a man has is caused by himself. For instance, I was sleepless for 2 nights in a row because there’s a wild and loud party on a nearby covered court. I can’t do anything about it. And yet I kept myself bothered about it for several days.

I don’t have a social life. But becoming a mother didn’t cause that. I chose to live here, that’s why. And naturally, I wouldn’t have my family and friends here.

I am not the best person to take care of a child. I admit that. That’s why we hired an in-house nanny. But that doesn’t excuse me from bonding with my baby, and for not lending a hand when Yaya needs to do the cooking, dish washing and the laundry.

Finally, I felt like I was too hard on myself for no good reason…

Night owling again…

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Cultivating Good Vibes

The rest period after my workaholic June was an extended one.

WE treated OURSELVES to a full body massage. It wasn’t at the expensive spas we used to frequent when we were still dating (those that offer sauna and 1.5 hour couple massage). But with a baby behind us, Nuat Thai at the nearby Shopwise sufficed. The last time we had a more luxurious one was the day before our wedding in 2011. I know… its 2013 already.

I started declining job invitations I’m unsure if I could accomplish in time. Instead, I focused with my regular clients who send me tasks every now and then. That meant I didn’t have a full load. But I wasn’t really happy with having a full load and restless just the same.

Pending job invitations... >_>

Pending job invitations… >_>

I scoured the newspapers, internet advertisements and braved talking to the Cebuano landlords/ladies of apartments and houses for rent. I wasn’t successful and we were nearly frustrated discussing with prospects only to back out because of practical reasons. Just in time, my father-in-law told us that someone from their hometown is building a house and they’d want to rent it out to someone they know.

We visited the site (it was still under construction) and it turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. A 3 bedroom duplex house with a garage. The owners are kind enough to allow our business. One room was allotted for our office. They had a really nice ventilation (strategically placed windows in almost every room) which were lacking in most of the houses we’ve seen. The bathrooms are new. And Olive can roam around in a walker. It was the answer to our prayers!

There was a kapilya nearby where fiestas and parties are held oftentimes. But instead of whining about it, I just found a valid excuse for us to occasionally sleep in a pension house.

Alba Uno

Alba Uno Pension House. I dream of sleeping here one noisy night.

I volunteered to do collections from business clients and bank deposits from time to time. Going out of the house makes me forget that resentment of not having family and friends close by. Aside from the cardio, I’ve been able to visit the public library and learned that they offer free wifi access. I was able to enroll our accounts for online funds transfer which has been in my to-do list for so long. I also made efforts to meet with fellow freelancers within the city (who also lack the social life that usual employed people enjoy).

Looks familiar? #librarygirl

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More than anything else, I made it a point to express and show my love for Olive and my husband. I let her crawl, sit, roll and stand on our queen size bed, play with stuff toys, sing songs to her, teach her how to high five, clap and close/open her hands. I embraced her, kiss and cuddle as much as I could, because I know tomorrow she’d be bigger. I carefully watch over her milk, vitamin and hygienic supplies so we wouldn’t run out of stock, and personally walk to the drugstore to make the purchase even when her dad isn’t around.

Whenever my husband comes home after a full schedule (of deliveries, checkups and pull outs), I remember to prepare a dry bath with lukewarm water and a soft towel. I kiss him whenever he goes to sleep first, and take the 2-3:00 am shift of feeding Olive. I became more thoughtful of buying material things (while we’re together) that he needs but wouldn’t prioritize because he’s thinking of our expenses, like a new collared shirt or a better brand of hair gel.

Let Go

Within that rest period, I let myself indulge with things unrelated to work and with which I felt gratification afterwards. Things I stopped doing because I thought I didn’t have time or I couldn’t afford them like:

  • Cooking a meal
  • Doing the laundry
  • Reading AND finishing books (I’ve finished 2 books within that rest period, including Steve Jobs)
  • Watching movies and random Youtube videos
  • Having drinks and pastries in a cafe
  • Appreciating new artists and downloading MP3s
  • Running (although I haven’t repeated this after that one time)
  • Sorting things (clothes, files, bags etc.)
  • Making random lists
  • Thinking about the good times and how I could repeat that with my family in tow

Otherworldlyworkplace

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With those, I let go of my workaholic self and saw how different everything could be. The end result wasn’t like an Extreme Makeover Self edition radical kind of change, but I knew I felt better.

I saw that I have a budding family, a promising business and career, a hope for a better household and the resources to enjoy life. Nobody was demanding me to work 40 hours a week while looking after a baby and running another business but MYSELF. I should stop because I wasn’t actually happy.

And when I did, I felt more lighthearted. I was more playful and was easier to get along with. Everything seemed simpler.

I finally came to terms that in order for me to be happy with what I have now, I should not focus on my anger, frustration and sadness. I am licensed to feel angry, frustrated and sad. But I shouldn’t keep myself feeling that way all the time. Looking back, I felt stupid and stubborn acting like a kid.

I couldn’t say that I won’t feel negative again in the future, its part of my personality after all. But I wouldn’t force myself to go robot mode again, and feel sorry about myself afterwards.

To sum it up:

My to-do list is always full. But I’m pleased that everyday, there’s something being crossed off.

Black Hole

I had a milestone to celebrate yesterday, but am in no great mood to cheer for it now. I’m sharing a bit nonetheless…

I have actually managed to finish another book – Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. That accomplished during breastfeeding and waiting for Olive to burp. My enthusiasm to share an unsolicited review was washed cold. I could relate perhaps to the characters since I’m a mother now, crying at one point when Giffin narrated through Marian and Kirby, the painful decision to give away a baby. I loved that Kirby is somewhat a kickass girl with a cool biological parents who turned out to be a famous TV show producer and a musician. Must be the dream of any child out there…

I was reminiscing a little about my working life at Dasma after remembering that it is National Women’s Day yesterday (March 8). I sorta miss the brief recognition program for the female employees of the LGU. Some are even lucky enough to win a simple raffle of gift vouchers. I wasn’t sociable back then (well, even until now), but I do miss being a part of the crowd and having something different happen in your day.

That rarely happens when you’re working at home. There’s a very thin line that separates the awareness that you are at home and you are at your office. Oftentimes, I tend to mix it up and admittedly, my productivity gets affected. And it doesn’t help when you’re shuffling with various jobs (graphic design for your right brain, bookkeeping on your left brain, baby on your chest and arms). Sometimes, you need a change of scenery. But having a baby who’s dependent on you ties you where you work, sleep and eat.

The only reward I know is that I’m doing what I love for work. Not so much for the accounting tasks though. It friggin feels like I’m handed a final exam doing the spreadsheets.

Numbers

Felt like taking an exam in accounting

I have the urge to write more, since I have no friends to talk to in this hour (actually, even in daylight since we’re islands away). Blogging has after all, been my way of venting of anger and frustration in the past decade. Thank you Multiply for bringing down that feature of yours. I wonder how I could ever digest the negativities if I bothered reading them again. But browsing through numerous blogs authored by a variety of people made me feel that I could share my brighter side of life this time around. I was aiming for that outcome…

Oh if only I still have a car to drive around at my whim. Maybe city lights could offer a little spark. Going adrift to see something different and hopefully help fill up that hole in your chest that aches of gloom.

Home Sick. Again.

Its 4:20 AM as I write this. Just finished several logos for 2 clients and my eyes are about to give up. The baby inside me is still awake though. Possibly roused by my slouching posture for the past few hours now. I know we both need to sleep and that its bad for both of us to have all-nighters… But like the early morning adrenaline I still have, my homesickness has been lingering since my parents’ last phone call.

Yes, and that was almost 8 hours ago. Just before Breaking Dawn 2 began at the cinema. I had to cut off my conversation with my dad coz the movie was about to start. They just called to tell me my cousin is giving me my nephew’s stroller and crib.

Its seldom for them to call that late, considering there’s office work later. I just miss my family… 😦 can’t wait to get home next year with baby in tow and meet the new pet. And to think it’d be Christmas in several days makes it all the more sad… T_T

On a home run

I’m on a homerun! Finally on my 8th month. Still friggin’ summer-like in here. The only things that make me feel like Christmas is near are the Christmas decorations my husband hanged in our office and living room, the Christmas lights we light up at night and the old-fashioned foil parols – very reminiscent of those my tita used to hang back in Cavite. Mr. H probably caught me tearjerking while tapping a blog entry. A little bit sobbing coz I’m homesick and I haven’t been getting enough sleep for the past few weeks.

I must’ve possibly ranted so much about the things I hated here. How crowing roosters mess up my sleep, neighbors’ squealing voices, the gross habit of construction workers spitting everywhere, how I developed and still have dust allergy and the rust/bits of soil our improvised filter has gathered in the bathroom (meaning the apartment pipes aren’t safe healthwise)… I must’ve been lucky to have married someone who hasn’t told me (YET) that I’m such a nagger. But thinking about it, right now, we really don’t have a choice. Moving to another apartment is so unlikely since I’m about to give birth in a few months time. We wouldn’t have been able to save something for my delivery if we hadn’t stayed here. Having people to split the rent really helps minimize our expenses.

Looking back, I couldn’t imagine how I’ve gotten through 7 months of seemingly endless complaints (about not feeling good, dying from heat and wanting to find another place to live). But maybe, most probably its because…

My husband loves me. That’s the first thing in my mind and my heart when I think about everything I’ve been complaining about. Another guy would’ve fought or debated with me, dared me to go home, worse – left me for an unopinionated woman. When I think about the jobs we get that require him to work on graveyard shift for several consecutive days and he doesn’t complain, I know he’s doing it for us. He LISTENS, and he knows we both yearn to live more comfortably than we do right now, especially when our baby arrives. I’m also lucky that I get to visit my doctor with him as company when most women line up at the clinic by themselves or with their girlfriends.

I’ve got supportive in-laws. Again, a second stroke of luck! My in-laws are ecstatic to have another baby in the family. We’re often sent fresh catches of fish, crabs, even beef – which are considerably more expensive when bought here in the city. I’m really thankful of their generosity!

We got a helping hand. Since we started running the business, I could barely juggle freelance design, office work and doing the house chores. Have to wake up early and cook, take calls, process paper works, do freelance design and cook again in between. Being pregnant made it worse. Its like working 3-jobs while you’re sick. We finally had someone to help us around with through our in-house worker/technical staff. He was my mother-in-law’s scholar back in the province and he lived at Mama’s house as a runner for errands. It was a great relief for Mr. H and I. At least we’re able to rest on weekends again.

I work at home. I might’ve decided to resign if I were employed in another company. It’s really terrible when morning sickness strikes, the heat when commuting and my UTI attacks. At least I’ve got the bedroom upstairs when sleepiness attacks. I could run to the bathroom when I need to pee. I could wake up whenever I want, especially when I couldn’t sleep straight in the wee hours of the morning. Best of all, I could take a bath twice or even thrice a day!

I’m such a spendthrift. When I’m about to reach my limit, when that string of patience is about to break and even when my tears are brimming and I want to rush back home to Cavite – I always do the math. Traveling there and the cost of hospitalization (in case something bad happens while on the plane or land travel) aren’t priority expenses. If I stay in Cavite, I’d be obliged to contribute to food and utility expenses, which are more expensive. I’d be very much tempted to splurge on food, clothing and land travel there. Multiplied by the number of months I have to rest before the baby isn’t as delicate enough to travel. That and I grab the tissue.

I got social media and a blog. Thank God for Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest. At least I have a spot on the wall to pour out my feelings whether vaguely or literally. I might’ve been insane right now if it ain’t for them. The people who really care for you would understand and somehow you have people to talk to – even if its not a straight conversation. It kills homesickness a little.

Avril, Pink, James Morrison, Paramore, Katy Perry. When the noise and annoyance becomes intolerable, I cram my ears with my noise-proof earphones and blast some music on. That or I blast on the speakers to get back at the neighbors who have their fair amount of noise pollution.

Air-conditioning is a life-saver! I might have died without an AC! I was hesitant at first because of the increase in electric bill we would surely incur. But you wouldn’t mind the additional PhP500.00 if you could sleep soundly, be a little bit more comfortable than your usual sweaty self, and feel like you’re not located in an equatorial region in this world.

Less than 50 days now and we’d be holding our first family member. Time really flies by so fast. And maybe before we know it, we’d be moving somewhere where God has planned. Maybe He gave me the 8 things I mentioned above to really bear with the challenges, so we could save while we can, think and plan more wisely. Knowing our plans by next year, it still seems overwhelming. And I know we might not accomplish everything that easily. But I know His plans ALWAYS turn out way better than we could ever imagine it to be.

Dealing with Getting Stuck in an Inhospitable Environment

I’m up at 5:30 AM as I’m beginning to write this.

Blame it on the neighbors, neighbors’ pets, and the pesky construction workers who buy their coffee from the apartment next door. My pregnancy must be at the most sleep-deprived phase as of several weeks now. Tough getting sleep as my stomach gets bigger. Tougher keeping oneself asleep when you hear even just a little noise.

I could rant the whole 9 months of my pregnancy and even after giving birth perhaps. And yes I’m at the threshold of my patience. But given our financially constricted situation, we have no choice as of the moment but to stay here…

We’re supposed to have found an apartment in a more ideal environment. I’ve even convinced myself that its worth spending our little savings if I could afford a little peace for ourselves. But upon almost final negotiations, we realized we’d be spending more than we thought about. Not good considering I’m about to give birth in 2 months (62 days from now to be exact). That’s 50k slashed off our pockets and we haven’t bought any baby stuff yet. Heck, 7 months on and I haven’t even bought myself that maxi dress! Paeta!

So to console ourselves… I decided today should be a bit more rewarding. We’ll have lunch out, buy some Christmas décor, get a haircut and shop a little. Anyway, I was able to withdraw some dollar savings with a higher forex rate last night. I promised we’d allot some of that for our personal shopping needs. We haven’t bought anything for ourselves in almost a year now.

*Sigh! So this is how it feels to live (almost) independently. I didn’t realize how much it could cost to eat well, rent a comfortable nest, and keep the simple lifestyle we have. We’ve been so frugal in shopping, traveling and nights out. And we’re still grateful that Cebu offers an urban life at a cheaper cost. I’m sad to admit that my mom was right when she said it was a pain to write down daily expenses and review each tiny expenditure if its worth it or not. Sometimes, especially when a pregnant woman craves for it, you just have to spend. It feels wrong to compute every peso you spend just to eat a decent and filling meal – not when you’re having a baby and is living with 2 adult males.

If I do the math, what we’re probably earning right now is just enough for our basic needs. And it could be lesser than what my parents were earning when my dad was on active police duty. I could almost hear my mom behind me sarcastically saying ‘I told you so…’ =_=

So after accepting the (SAD) fact that we’re bound to stay here a little bit longer, the only helpful things I could make of our situation is to:

1)   Be more productive (as tough as it is to concentrate on working). I’m glad I was able to attend the oDesk Contractors Appreciation Day. I think everyone who participated were able to get increased client job invitations. I plan to increase my weekly quota in earnings. Slacking is not an option if we want to beat life’s bitch. I’m also thinking of collaborating projects with some people in our network. All that while still performing as co-manager of our humble business. AND DESPITE finding it hard to focus. (Construction workers spend their break times on the next door apartment selling snacks. THEY ARE LOUD & always on a yosi break!).

2)   Save more. Increase quota. Increase earnings. Increase savings. We’ll be saving for three people by next year already!

3)   Acquire household stuff one at a time. I didn’t realize we barely have any furniture, household equipment and fixture when we move out. Top on the list would be water boiler, drinking glasses, pitchers, pails, laundry basins, curtains, rugs, kitchen towels and bed sheets. Washing machine and LED TV is also a priority for clean laundry and space-saving home entertainment.

4)   Keep constantly on the look out for rental properties. Apartments for rent don’t run out in the city. Somebody always moves out and moves in. But there are only a few that offer comfort and peace. They’re like needles in a haystack though and may be more expensive. But as my cousin (who’s been renting ever since her college days) says – you’re also paying for the environment. Never live in a place where you’d be unhappy.

5)   Financially, mentally and emotionally prepare. Rent plus utility expenses could almost cost one of our salaries. Being pregnant, I can’t stay sane without an air-conditioning unit. I sweat all the time. Right now, we’re also splitting our rent with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and a lodger. If we’re moving out, we’ll be paying for the rent by ourselves. And when the baby comes out, we can’t settle with eating noodles and street sold food as meals. It would be quality over expense. Health shouldn’t be sacrificed.

So there… I am now about to count our savings. Not going back to sleep because everyone in the nearby compounds, that brat who always scream for his mama, construction laborers and the roosters next door are thrice more awake by now. Throwing bombs and going on a killing spree is not a kind option. I’m trying to stay positive hoping that somewhere before I get to deliver the baby, we’ll be able to find a better nest.

Yesterday’s ramblings

NOVEMBER 8. This is DAY 2 of me jotting down random thoughts I would’ve posted on FB or Twitter, had I got intentions of annoying everyone. Anyhow, for a difference and to see whether I rant more than I could appreciate, I’ll be color-coding negative statuses. Let’s see if would need a shrink anytime soon…

  1. Day started with enduring 8 hours of black out, terrible terrible heat, only some hours of sleep, waking up around 2:30 with diarrhea boiling in my stomach, and waking up at 6:30 when electrical power finally resumed.
  2. Rain… why didn’t you just pour in the 8 hours that we had to fan ourselves to sleep?
  3. Happy to be going out in a rainy day for the oDesk Contractors Meet Up!
  4. It’s the second time I get to attend a free seminar/meeting in a hotel with free lunch within the city. So fortunate that traffic isn’t a dissuading factor here! Everything seems so near!
  5. Loved strolling outdoors even for a short period of time. Thank God its overcast!
  6. Bought assorted bread at Casilda’s. 🙂
  7. How can I collect all 5 different Anmum feeding bibs when they’re packing the boxes with the same pattern for 5 months now?? =_=
  8. Saddening scenery. Seems like the next-door neighbor acquired a cockfighting rooster. No wonder the crowing seemed louder overnight! At the end of the alley, hangs an multi-level array of the other neighbors’ machine-washed clothes waiting to dry and the group of construction workers having their afternoon snack, smoke break and usual chattering…
  9. Meeting people who work in the same setup as you feels more encouraging. I hope to get encouraged more.
  10. Really appreciate the traffic management system in the city. Hate that there are a lot of asshole drivers though, and fellow commuters who love to spit phlegm and saliva in a whim. >_>
  11. Love to murder the neighbor’s rooster!

IN JUST ONE DAY: Statuses that could’ve flooded my Facebook and Twitter wall…

To spare flooding social media walls… These are my random thoughts… If only it won’t seem weird talking to walls…

  1. Cebu weather is terrible this last quarter. I miss the dampness of Cavite.
  2. Would like to go to oDesk Contractor Meetup Day tomorrow… Hope there’s free lunch!
  3. I want to buy Christmas lights and decorate. But I don’t think the Christmas season fits the weather in here… 😦
  4. Feels like I ate something raw and huge. And its struggling in my digestive tract. #7monthspregnant
  5. I wonder if having no social life is to my advantage or not. Guess I’m avoiding unnecessary expenses. But not having the liberty to BUY on a whim makes me sad too…
  6. Miss having lots of creative people in arms length to talk to…
  7. I feel like today’s US elections would drastically affect tomorrow’s Forex! Hoping for higher $ value!!!
  8. Ironic how cold it was this overcast morning. Then there’s hot wind blowing from behind me now… 😦
  9. The problem with having a limited social circle is spending most of your time on social media and getting satisfied with a few comments on your posts… =_=
  10. Nearly the end of the year. Missing giveaways from the office, suppliers, friends and family… Really those calendars and planners!
  11. WHAT TO EAT!!!??? #lunchtime
  12. I may need another workstation soon.
  13. Will attend oDesk Contractors Meet-Up tomorrow! J Kinda excited to go out!
  14. So many lists to make: grocery list, needed office supplies list, questions to ask doc list, oDesk open forum question list.
  15. At the end of the day… this could’ve been my 15th status update. HOW ANNOYING!
  16. And I even forgot to mention that Obama got re-elected! Looking forward to higher USD exchange tomorrow. 🙂

 …Nao do you think I need to find a dog at least to converse with?

A lambasting to the Catholic Church’s propaganda against RH Bill

Today Mr. H & I went to hear the mass. Its a humid afternoon and I’m constipated, but we went as devotion to thank God for the blessings of the past week. We were, after all, spared from the disaster brought by heavy rains in the northern part of the country. Our trainee and helper also arrived, giving us an extra hand and allowing me to break my weekly oDesk working hours recorded, doubling this week’s earnings. We also won a fairly huge bid from one of our clients and my UTI is cleared (for now). There’s much to be thankful about!

Cebu is cradle of Christianity in the Philippines. Home of Sto. Niño, the Sinulog Festival and strict Catholic church values. We were just in time for the priest’s sermon. I was remember one of the Bible verses we were able to study back in high school. It was when Jesus summarized all of the commandments into two – 1) to love the Lord our God, with all our hearts and mind, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30 & 31). The mass was delivered in Cebuano and I’m quite amazed that I could somehow follow with what he’s preaching. However, I was lost in a sea of confusion when everything led to the issue of RH Bill.

The Reproductive Health Bill has been a source of controversy and debate amongst politicians and the Catholic Church. President Aquino was so vocal in promoting the bill that he got his fare share of criticism, as well as those senators and congressmen who were the main proponents. In an overpopulated country composed of a majority of poverty-stricken families who depend on the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of the government, PNoy saw it as THE solution which would cause the vital turning point of our society like those among our neighboring countries. In fact the UN says that the Philippine’s economic progress would be hindered if this wouldn’t be made into a law. I’m not a PNoy fan but I commend his effort in promoting this despite the bullying of the church. (Well, until his SONA wherein he referred to it more modestly as RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD BILL. But, whatever!)

BULLYING! Yes! Numerous heads of the church have been vocal about opposing the bill, saying it hinders the right to life. They have this interpretation that abortion would be legal and thousands of children would be put to death even before they’re conceived. Everyone has a right to life they say. This is biblical they furthermore emphasize. More precisely, the priest even mentioned during the mass that it is WRONG TO TRUST THE CONDOM rather than to TRUST GOD. I know I was in church but I couldn’t help but utter some negative thoughts in my head. (Forgive me Lord).

I am disgusted at the negative notion they made of contraceptive options offered by obstetricians and family doctors. That these pills and devices are unsafe. I shake my head. I bet there are church attendees on their pills and IUDs. True there are risks, but that’s why there are also options. Its up to the couple to choose where they would be most comfortable with. Then there was the doubt of politicians making profit out of the funds to be allotted in the program. There would always be shadows like that. But if we wouldn’t start now, when are we going to place a belt on our hungry populace?

I think every mother in the congregation knows the hardship of raising a child. Anyone who came from a large family of 4 to 12 siblings know the challenges. I am even more disgusted at the mention of a text message (probably forwarded from priest to priest) wherein they warned that last week’s calamity was God’s way of punishing PNoy, even referring to the sins of the people which pushed God to cleanse the world through the flood. Even Pro-RH Bill Catholics weren’t spared. How discriminating after preaching to Love your Neighbors as yourself. I can’t stand to listen any further. Everything else that followed were lambasting of senators and politicians who were vocal on supporting the bill. This isn’t about Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbors. I was expecting that they would be expounding more on that. For the longest time, I think I missed our high school bible studies and the 2-hour Sunday service of the protestant church.

One of the many Pro and Anti RH Bill poster floating around Facebook.

…I don’t know if all the bishops and the priests met together and discussed to have this on agenda this Sunday’s Mass on all churches in the country. But I’m not buying it. I may share the same faith with Jesus but I am entitled to my own civil beliefs. I wouldn’t blame August 7th’s flood to PNoy and spread this chilling prophetical coincidence over the trauma suffered by our fellowmen. In scientific terms its the Law of Cause and Effect. An overpopulated community just happened to occupy and illegally settle along the waterways of Luzon, threw garbage and made obstructions. Collectively over decades, this disaster is going to happen. And it will continue to happen if we wouldn’t decide on a solution. Come to think of it, where was the voice (and funds) of the Catholic Church when all of the flooding happened?

Now there’s this what we call the separation of the Church and the State mentioned in our Basic Philippine Constitution class. Lawmakers shouldn’t bother with the Catholic church, but I’m seeing this manipulation over the Catholic congregation that they’re trying to impose. We are even requested to utter a prayer against RH bill before the mass officially ends. I JUST CAN’T PRAY AGAINST IT!

In the end, these priests and Catholic minions are stressing that THE 2013 ELECTIONS is near and they have power to influence over people’s votes. I beg to disagree though. The Catholic vote will always be diverse. Only INC maintains a solid opinion in electing leaders. So for those congressmen and senators who’re going in circles and letting themselves be bullied by the church – I’M PRAYING THAT AS GOD FEARING INDIVIDUALS, YOU VOTE FOR THE BENEFIT OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS. Those who are suffering from ignorance of choices in proper family planning, safe sex and unexpected pregnancies. As leaders of our country, know that the only victims of the failure to pass this bill would be the children born out of this illiteracy. Unplanned, unwanted or unexpected children born again and again to live regretful misery of poverty and hunger.

Defining Family vs Relatives

Oftentimes, I have critics who’re disgusted when I tell them I don’t know THAT person who shares the same surname/middlename/maiden name as mine. I really don’t bother browsing through family history to trace whether we’re related or not. Some INSIST I should, because we COULD BE FAMILY. Well I beg to disagree. Being RELATIVES and FAMILY has quite a stark contrast in my philosophy.

FAMILY in the Filipino sense is always nuclear – something that extends beyond places, dialects and regions. Maybe that’s why some people push me into looking through the (family tree) and locating how some stranger is related to me. I just don’t buy it. Another product of my cynicism is a harsh realization at how some ‘relatives’ take advantage of that connection depending on your occupation. Like when my dad used to be in active police duty and even now as my mom works in the justice system. I do empathize with relatives in really dire situations. Heck, we help out friends and neighbors when they’re in need. But sometimes, relatives just recognize you when you’re needed. People think sharing the same name and blood thickens the connection and puts a special ring of importance. It doesn’t.

Sometimes, there are friends who are more like family to you than your own relatives.

As common in most groups of people, not everyone likes everyone. When you don’t do anything, something’s gonna be thrown behind your back. I don’t really care.

Possibly the worst I was told, was that one person who shares my maiden name is quite a problem in their community. That’s the problem. You introduce yourself to me as a relative (my husband’s side), and you ask me if I know this person because we share (my maiden) name. And then you tell me how he/she is a nuisance around your neighborhood. Well, I don’t know him/her and neither do I know you. But don’t follow up your statement as if you’re trying to generalize the people I share my name with.

Because like me, you are also a part of a nuclear family of relatives – known and unknown to you, who could be problem people (addicts, rebels or thugs) equally adding a negative connotation to your brood.

For me, a Family is that group of people you’re comfortable with, who accepts you as you are (despite brutally knowing your flaws), who unconditionally stays with you through good and bad, and those who just doesn’t bother keeping up with you no matter how distant you’ve been, how you’ve changed and even after that – they don’t treat you any differently. No need to remind you of how bad you’ve been in the past, or how you did something to smear the name of your family. They say we don’t choose who becomes our family. I say we do. We choose the people we want to keep up with, bear with and live with unconditionally. And that makes the difference of being a ‘family’ and a ‘relative’.

This popular soap on TV, Walang Hanggan, shows the essence of being relatives and family. A grandmother who gave away her grandson heartlessly, and decades later begs for forgiveness upon realizing how deserving that grandson is of recognition. (He became successful, wealthy and equally rich as she is). And there’s the other grandmother who kept this unwanted grandson, raised him as her own child, wept when he was lost and rejoiced when he was found. That simple.