During lunch break, I had time to explore features of my iPhone camera. I tried the portrait and stage light feature, and this is the result.
This is my second entry to this week’s LAPC. Check out the challenge over at pilotfishblog.com
During lunch break, I had time to explore features of my iPhone camera. I tried the portrait and stage light feature, and this is the result.
This is my second entry to this week’s LAPC. Check out the challenge over at pilotfishblog.com
Since I live in China, I would like to share photos of something Chinese.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Still Life
My contribution to this week’s “environments” challenge from Tina at Travels and Trifles:
I started teaching right after I graduated from university, so I have always spent more time in campuses than anywhere else, and when I travel, I like checking out university campuses as well. For almost 18 years I’ve been living on campus, so for this week’s challenge I’ll share photos of the campuses I’ve visited and liked best. And the one I’ve lived in.
If you want to join the challenge, check out the details in Tina’s post here.
Two weeks ago I had to undergo a surgery to remove what my doctor believed to be a benign tumor. The night before I had to go the hospital I told my husband I didn’t want to go through with it. I was afraid of what would happen if the surgery didn’t go well, like ending up with facial paralysis, etc. But my husband wouldn’t have any of it and assured me it would be OK.
On the day of the surgery I was not really scared, and my husband and I were even joking as he helped wheel me through the operating room. My attitude was kind of the same as when I had the C-section — just get it over and done with.
It wasn’t my first time to be put under general anesthesia, but this was the longest I was unconscious — two hours and a half. And when I woke up, I felt like days had passed instead of just 2 and a half hours. I was disoriented for days after the surgery.
It didn’t help that I couldn’t sleep for about a week. Even now I still feel weak and don’t feel like my normal self.
It feels so strange how you’re up and so active one day and the next you’re too weak to even walk half a kilometer.
Two days before the surgery I helped organize a webinar which was more successful than our professor and the department ever expected. I played a big role in organizing it as I had invited the speaker and some participants from other countries.
After the surgery, the excitement over the successful webinar was just like a dream.
Two weeks after the surgery I still wonder about the time I was put under for two hours. I was unconscious. It was not like sleeping at all. When you wake up from a sleep, you know you had been sleeping. But when I woke up from anesthesia, I felt like for a few hours, I ceased to be. My world stopped. I was gone. And it made me wonder if death is just the same. When we die, is it like our consciousness has been switched off? If death is just like that, what’s there to fear?
I think I’ve said it here before. I’m not really afraid of dying, but living in pain, or leaving behind people who need me, like my son.
But I know some people who are afraid of the uncertainty surrounding death.
My interest in the subject of anesthesia led me to this article about anesthesia for dying patients. Quite an interesting article.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a good week!
You’ve always watched over me
While I’ve only ever seen you from afar.
Today I look up at you,
how you have given me
air to breathe,
shade in the scorching sun,
quiet comfort in turbulent times.
You’ve always remained
Shaken yet unbowed.
This week’s challenge is “Glowing moments.”
I like these glowing moments from nature that I’ve witnessed.
I took this photo during an evening walk by the lake on our campus in Jimei.
I could have started with the sunrise and ended up with the moon photo, but I like to end with hope — a new day for glowing moments.
Read about the challenge here: Lens-Artist Photo Challenge
In this week’s challenge, Donna asks, “What tricks do you use to get the shot you want? Do you love reflections in raindrops? Is there something hidden in your photo, or the unsuspecting behind a wall. Have you ever found ice cream clouds, or illusions in a waterfall at sunset? A unicycle? ”
For my entry, I chose these two photos taken a few years ago, of the sky and clouds and trees. Whenever I see blue sky and a few clouds, I always imagine seeing a huge painting. I don’t know if there are many people like me who like to look up at the sky when I’m walking, that is, in wide open spaces like on our campus where I took these photos.
I don’t need to go to a museum to be moved by a painting. I can look up at the sky and see what new painting there is to view.
When I heard about the new Ferris wheel in Xiamen, I decided to take my son there for his first Ferris wheel ride.
It was a beautiful cloudless day, and we got a lovely view of the city.
I like how I was able to capture this scene of the Xiamen Airlines plane with Haicang Bridge on the foreground.
Thanks to Anne for this challenge. Check out her post for more details on this week’s challenge.
Is there such a thing as an “original” idea?
Folk tales have no known authors because printing was not yet invented when they were first told. There were no publishing companies nor patenting offices to which one could go to for claiming ownership of the tale.
Isn’t it true that sometimes we come up with an idea which we think is so original only to find out a few days later that someone somewhere in a far, far away place across the ocean, someone had already thought of it decades or centuries ago?
Maybe there’s no such thing as an original idea, but that some are more fortunate than others in having access to a technology that can make them claim ownership of a particular idea.
I know this musing is not original either. Someone somewhere in the same town or across the ocean must have thought the same, either a minute ago or centuries ago.
The uncertainty of life can be scary sometimes, but if you let the scariness of it control you, you are good as dead.
So you need to “keep calm and carry on.”
Crying or complaining may be therapeutic, but it uses up so much energy which can be used for doing more productive things.
So I choose to do more productive things rather than be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. My faith makes this doable.
I have faith to help me deal with life’s scary uncertainties. What do you have?
Known here as the city flower of Xiamen, bougainvilleas can be found anywhere on the island and even in our district which is on the mainland. The one pictured here is from our campus in Jimei.
I have not contributed to the LAPC for years, and I was reminded of it when I saw Soybend’s post linking to LAPC and decided to join the challenge again.
Perfect timing as spring symbolizes new life, and I feel that I am starting all over as I’ve retuned to China after being away for three years because of the pandemic.
And seeing so many different kinds of flowers on campus this spring gives me so much joy. Walking by the lake and hearing the chirping of the birds and seeing these flowers — I wish it will always stay this way.
These flowers can be found in different parts of the campus.
Fine cherry blossoms
Pretty and red, lovely spring
Springing one to life.
I’ve been telling my husband that we’ve been living in Xiamen for years, but there are still many places we haven’t gone to see. So on Sunday we went to Zhonglun Park. Xiamen has a lot of parks; every district has at least one park and Zhonglun Park is just one of these parks in Huli.
As it was Sunday, the park was a little crowded. Many were taking photos of the cherry blossoms, while others were having a picnic on the wide lawn. We just took a couple of photos and then left. I would definitely go back on a weekday.
Much energy spent
In anger is better used
Spreading kindness, love.
You are still thought of,
Though seven long years have passed.
These flowers — for you.
A tree, a branch, roots —
Roots falling from the branches
The banyan, a tree.
Grateful and happy to be back in my second home, Jimei. 🌹💕
It’s been months since I last posted, and though there were so many things I wanted to write about, I just couldn’t find the time. Nor the right words.
I hope to update this blog again soon.
For now I’m sharing photos I took yesterday when I went out for an early morning walk on campus.
Yes, I’m back in China with my son. And after three years of being apart, we are finally reunited with my husband. 💕🙏
I hope to catch up on reading posts from blogs I follow. So, see you soon.
It’s been quite a while since I last posted; it feels like years even though it’s only a couple of months as so much has happened.
This morning in class, I told my students it felt like I had not met with them for years, even though it was only in July that we said goodbye for the summer break. I forgot how to use some of the features of our virtual classroom.
Though I went to Cebu twice last year, and to Manila this year, I haven’t left the country in over 2 years. The last flight I took was 2 weeks ago, coming home from Manila, and I felt so sorry for myself for feeling nervous about the turbulence.
Before the pandemic, I took 4 flights every month for almost 4 consecutive years, and always took red-eye flights that I was too tired to worry about turbulence.
These days I easily get nervous, scared. I’d rather pay more than take a late afternoon flight. But I know I should overcome this fear.
I still have some traveling to do. I still have to see my husband again.
There’s still so much that needs to be done. There’s still miles to go….
Nor faith nor pointless gossip
Should ruin friendship.
There aren't just two roads, nor three
There are as many as the people who trod them.
No matter which one we take,
We'll get to where we are meant to be
Easier for some, harder for others.
But nothing should be a surprise
To one who believes
Everything happens for a reason.
And the discerning mind
Will comprehend that reason
And journey on,
Your world's too noisy,
And you barely hear your soul,
Go in, find quiet.
I have been terribly busy with work and studies and duties at home this past month, and trying to avoid negativity as there’s too much of it in the world right now.
But somehow being in this world, you just cannot avoid it, unless you find time to be quiet, away from people who do not want to be quiet.
May you find peace within as we continue to live in this world where peace seems elusive. — T.
By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.”
—Jean Baptiste Girard
Today I went to Sunday Mass for the first time in years. In his homily the priest talked about how in the past, Christians recited the Psalms as they went about their work. For those who have not read the Psalms, these are songs that either thank or praise God, or ask for God’s mercy and protection.
The priest said the recitation of the Psalms set the tone for the Christians’ day — their faith gave them strength to continue working, gave them joy to work on their tasks. It would have been so different had they started their day by complaining as soon as they woke up, “Time to work again!”
And I quite agree.
I am a morning person, and when I see the beauty of a quiet morning, I feel so grateful for the day, and this feeling of joy and gratitude sets the tone for my day.
My day may not be perfect, and some things may annoy me, but I can always call to mind the things that I’m grateful for, and my day still ends with thanksgiving.
I know this may sound easier said than done to some people, but it is possible to be optimistic first thing in the morning and to keep that optimism at the end of the day.
Count your blessings. There’s lots of them.
I hope you find many things to be grateful for this week! 🙏
Wishing you wisdom,
In using the wealth that will
Come your way this year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Sky, ocean touching
In the horizon, meeting.
Sky and ocean blue.
Exhausted, energy spent --
Find something yellow.
“Living well is the best revenge.” — George Herbert
I feel very fortunate to have come across this aphorism when I was relatively young. I think it was from an episode of Seinfeld that I heard it, and it was the first time it made sense to me because at that time I was rejected by someone I was madly in love with, and he had already moved on.
When I heard Seinfeld say, “The best revenge is living well,” it was like figurative scales came off my eyes, and I thought, “Why do I cry my eyes out when he is having a good time? Why do I let him know that I’m suffering when he is happy with his life? Why do I think he’ll be unhappy if I tell him I’m unhappy? He won’t! Because he doesn’t care!”
It’s amazing how an episode of a sitcom can change one’s life, but that’s what an episode of Seinfeld did for me. It made me realize that I lose if I let the one who broke my heart know that I’d become hopeless without him. I decided I was going to get my revenge by becoming a better version of myself.
A quick summary: I got over him; I’m happily married NOT to him; he and I have become best friends, me becoming his confidante for years now.
This is a lesson I always share with young friends who tell me about being betrayed or dumped by a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, or adults who, sadly, have hatred for other people.
Harboring anger or hatred towards people is really exhausting because it takes a lot of energy which could be spent on something more productive.
Instead of spending time and energy badmouthing the person you hate or are angry with, use that time and energy trying to feel better, to look better, or to do something that will benefit you — start a hobby or a project, read that book you’ve been putting off reading for years, visit an elderly member of your family, do some gardening, exercise and lose weight and feel and look better. There are so many things worth spending your time and energy on rather than feeling angry with a person who most likely is not spending a single minute thinking of you.
In other words, LIVE WELL. Once you focus on trying to live well, one day you’ll realize that you really don’t care what the other person thinks anymore. And that is going to be such a relief.
I’ve heard angry people say they want the ones who hurt them to suffer. Anyone who was hurt has the right to feel anger, but it is also important to be aware that wishing for others to suffer simply proves that you, yourself, are suffering. Misery loves company after all.
If you let the other person know you are suffering, you lose. He wins.
Don’t let him win.
Live well. And win.
Snapped this photo earlier from behind the old wet market in my city. I make it a point to stop by this spot whenever I go there either in the early morning or late afternoon. The view never disappoints..
When burdened with life's
Unending demands, the soul
I’ve been so busy multi-tasking. Once again, I’m a full-time student and on top of that, a full-time teacher.
It’s hard to find time to be quiet when now the only reason I wake up early is to work on projects my professors have asked the class to do. Though I enjoy being a student again, I miss having some quiet time. I miss going up to my property to do gardening or just raking fallen leaves which was what kept me contentedly busy last year.
I do enjoy being busy — I feel I am learning so much from the tasks the professors assign the class; I feel productive making lessons for my own classes in the university; it makes me happy spending time with my son….
Perhaps it’s time I practice being quiet for reflection while busy working or studying. I’d probably end up more productive.
Time is precious. The earlier a person realizes that, the more certain he will be he won’t regret its passing.
How are you spending your time?
Happy Weekend! 🌹💕
Do you remember how we spent hours
Talking about everything
And laughing about nothing?
Do you remember how we walked for hours
Not really knowing where we're going
But kept walking anyway?
Do you remember walking in the rain
On a rainy April day?
Sadly, you don't.
But I do.
And it's sad when you're alone
In remembering happy times
You spent with those
Who have forgotten.
Yesterday I texted with a former co-worker who was once mistaken for my mother when she brought me to her husband’s workplace. We had not seen each other for years, and I was happy catching up with her.
When I reminded her of that time when she brought me to her husband’s workplace and the trip that we took after that which was full of hilarity, she said she had forgotten all that. And it truly made me sad, not just because she had forgotten but also because, I know, one day I will also forget.
A day will come when all those crazy things that made me laugh will be as if they never happened. My friends and I are all getting close to that time when our memories will cease to be memories. No one will remember.
The practical side of me says, “Would it matter that no one remembers when you’re already dead?” No, it wouldn’t matter when I’m dead, but right now when I’m still alive and capable of remembering, I cannot help feeling sad knowing that some of the best times I’ve had with people I care most about have been forgotten by them. Not because they don’t care but because those memories have been buried underneath newer memories and retrieving them is not as easy as it used to be when they were younger.
I, too, am guilty of forgetting many things, and I know one day I will forget walking hand in hand at the park with my husband, reading books with my son, laughing with my family, driving around the city with my best friend, having coffee with my other best friend…
These are all memories which, at the moment, I am still capable of recreating and remembering, but inevitably I will forget. C’est la vie.
When I was three and twenty
I thought I knew everything that mattered
It didn't matter that I could not find
"The value of x in an angle,"
As long as I knew who mattered in a love-triangle.
Friends came to me for advice,
I listened; I counseled
And thought I was wiser than my folks,
Who could not understand how young people thought and loved.
A score and more have passed,
And now I can find
The value of x in an angle, even in a circle!
I have learned more about the world than I did
When I was three and twenty.
But then I have also found
How cocky I was at twenty-three
Giving advice that now seem silly,
Thinking I knew better than the elderly
Whose wisdom I now think to be sound.
When you reach a certain age,
You tend to look back at your life
The same way you look down
At the view from your window seat
Thirty thousand feet above the ground.
You see the blueness of the ocean
The greeness of the mountains
And you marvel at the beauty
And feel peace emanating from within you
But then as your plane nears the city
You see the unsightly smog hovering over it,
The gray waters that surround it
Then you get a sinking feeling as the plane descends.
Memories give us the same sense --
Of happiness when we think of the good times,
Of loss and sadness when we think of the bad ones.
But we can choose to look at the amazing view from our window seat
And fasten our seat belt and look straight ahead
When the view only brings sadness.
I was very busy and stressed out for most of the week, but today I had time to meet with friends I had not seen in about 5 years and we spent the whole day together. They took me to the beach and had breakfast and late lunch together. It was great to catch up and have a really nice conversation.
The resort we went to called Bluewater Maribago in Mactan, Cebu had lovely old trees.
It had been a while since I visited a place that I really liked, and today was a treat.
I would love to come back to this place in the not too distant future.
Taking this trip feels like
Going to a battle
With only courage
As your fuel
For which you have a full tank;
Experience and knowledge --
Your only ammunition
Of which you have barely enough.
Yet you go on, you fight
On a suicide mission
For the future,
For the ones you love,
For love. For life
This latest chapter
In what has been a dull life --
Full of adventures.
Hang in there
You're stronger than you think
You've been through worse times
And you've come out stronger each time.
Good times never last,
But neither do bad times.
These are all clichès,
And you know it.
Just as you know
This life you live
Is the most clichèd of all.
When the world’s all noise,
Spouting words they think are wise,
Your silence — solace.
Have a beautiful weekend!
A blessed weekend🙏
I had a very busy November and December, and this busy-ness is not ending with the end of 2020. Yet, I am very grateful for so many things, and I’m sure we all can find things to be grateful for even though we may have suffered some.
But life has always been like that, hasn’t it? We win some; we lose some. We can acknowledge the pain, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from living because life isn’t all pain. There are joys, too. We just have to open our eyes and hearts to them.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I wish you and those you hold dear all the best for 2021. May we all find more reasons to be grateful in this new year. 🙏🙏🙏🙏
Labors of love for food.Lens Artists Photo Challenge: A labor of love
Have a lovely week! ♥️
I caught this caterpillar feeding and quenching its thirst this morning. It was a treat to see this.
Have a lovely week!
Snapped this picture early this morning in my garden.
Gardening is fun! ☀️🌼🌺
I took these photos the morning after an evening of heavy rain that nearly got our house flooded.
I think it’s important to find something to be grateful for and happy about after a stressful time. And the flowers in my garden give me just what I need.
Have a lovely day/evening!
I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write or read (except for the news and short FB posts.)
I need to unwind, but….
This is a photo of a flower in my garden. I don’t even know what it’s called. I have to look it up. If you know its name, please let me know. 🙏
Have a great week!
It’s Saturday, so my cousins and I went biking AND hiking!
We went to see the place where we used to spend our weekends when we were kids. It has become a jungle over the years because of neglect, but we hope to change that. Soon. ♥️
May your days be happily spent with the ones you love. ♥️
Have a lovely week!
My mornings begin with a visit to my garden, and each time, a new bud makes me smile. How can I possibly have a bad day when my garden always gives me a reason to smile?
May our mornings always begin with a smile. ♥️
Every weekend now since early June, I go biking with my cousins, and each time I make sure to take lots of photos. These are some of my favorite ones.
Have a fun week! 🚴☀️
When I just started gardening, my aunt said to me I should talk to my plants like my late mother did. We both remember very well how my mother talked loudly to her plants — loud enough for my two then-young and naughty boy cousins who had fun “hurting” my mom’s plants. My mom would “talk” to her plants and say, “What was that? A little boy hurt you? And you’re upset?”
Now I don’t worry about kids “hurting” my plants, and I don’t talk to my plants. But recently I planted a couple of cutttings of flowering plants and I’ve been waiting to see them grow and for leaves to come out. Two days ago, I jokingly “said” to the cuttings that if they didn’t show me any sign of growing, I’d just get rid of them. The next day I saw the tiniest green thingy on the one stem, and I had to laugh. It may all be coincidence, but I was just so happy to see it.
Like I’ve written in another post, gardening takes a lot of patience, but it can also give one happiness, no matter how simple it is.
My mornings begin with a visit to my garden, and each visit is an exercise in patience and a gift of simple joy.
Now that I’m back home in the house where I grew up, and living with my two sisters and a nephew and my son, it is not very often that I get to find some quiet time.
I am way busier now working from home compared to working full time in China during the last 17 years, which makes me treasure more those years of solitude and reflection.
Thankfully there’s gardening and visiting my tiny garden in the morning allows me some much needed quiet moments.
After having my flight cancelled five times in the last 5 months, I decided I would not think about when I can actually go back to China and just live my life as if I’m never leaving home again. This decision led me to pick up gardening as a hobby.
Thankfully my sister had postponed throwing away our late mother’s flower pots and plants that badly needed some tending.
And tending I did!
At first my sister was doubtful about my resolve to take over our mother’s garden, but it didn’t take long for her to realize I was serious about it!
Now my morning routine has changed a little: instead of reading the news while having my morning coffee, I now visit my little garden and water some of the plants while having my morning coffee. I get to enjoy a quiet and cool morning seeing green plants (not many flowers yet), and blue sky and also hearing birds chirping.
Tending to the garden is quite relaxing and rewarding. I especially like seeing new leaves come out.
Though I miss my quiet life in China, I’m beginning to readjust to living at home again — I’m slowly finding ways to have some quiet, “me” time despite being busy every day. (I’m typing this at close to midnight.)
Gardening reminds me of the need to be patient — some plants take longer than others to grow, but they will grow if you take good care of them. And when they do, you’ll feel a certain kind of joy that those who have never planted a thing could never understand.
Just as I have to be patient with the plants growing, this pandemic has taught me and a lot of other people, I’m sure, to be more patient as well. These days there’s so much uncertainty, and things change so quickly sometimes and sometimes they don’t. All we can do to stay sane is to let things be when there’s nothing we can do about them, and to always do the best we can with those we have control over.
This is one reason I like gardening. I can plant when I want and feel I have accomplished something when the plants grow. I have control.
I hope you find something to make you feel good about yourself every single day. 🙏
“A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.”– Terri Guillemets
This week Patti challenges us to show how we crop pictures we took, and for people like me who don’t know much about photography, the explanation/reason she gives for cropping her photos, are really helpful.
Before the crop:
As I am not quite good at focus, almost all pictures I take get cropped!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!🌹
My son has a very infectious smile and laughter. Most of the time though, we don’t know what makes him smile or laugh. We are just happy to see him happy.
Sometimes he makes me say, “dinosaur” and then, “roar!” And that’s enough to make him smile as he walks away from me.
If only our joys could be as simple.
The other day, I got a message from Ahmed asking if I could help promote the comic book he created which features a superhero with Autism. This project aims to spread awareness about Autism. It’s called The Epics of Enkidu. You can click the link to learn more about the project.
This year is the 14th year my husband and I have been married. It may not be that long for those who have been married for at least two decades, but I am grateful we have come this far and are as committed to each other as we were on our wedding day.
As I reflect on my marriage, I feel so grateful that my husband still has the patience to stay married to me. I joked about it with my Facebook friends, but in all honesty, I really am grateful. I am not a very easy person to live with — I can be really mean to my husband, but we do find more reasons to laugh about with each other than reasons for meanness.
I don’t think there’s really any special secret to a lasting marriage — friendship and commitment are all that’s needed.
Though I prefer to remember everything I’ve ever gone through — even embarrassing, painful ones, I can understand those who would rather forget.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
May your love grow strong though this pandemic keeps you physically apart. ♥️🙏
May you find the strength to face the storms in your life. 🙏🌹♥️
This week Amy challenges us to post pictures of home.
For years after my father died, my mother was the core of our home — everything planned or decided depended on what was good for her. This was especially true in her last years. Because I worked away from home and only came to visit twice a year, home was my mother.
Though she has passed on, we still keep some of the stuff that was part of her daily routine — such as her rosary beads which she prayed daily, twice a day.
Now that she’s gone, the attention has shifted to the young ones — my son and my nephews.
Where home in the past was the sight of my mother praying and the sound of her voice directing the cleaning of the house, these days it’s the sound of my son’s endless chatter and the banging on (not really playing) the (not computer) keyboard, ukulele and of course the sound of my voice constantly reminding him to quiet down.
Our home is probably the noisiest in our community (thankfully we are all relatives — all first cousins who understand– living in separate detached houses), but for as long as my son is happily noisy making what he thinks is music, I’m fine with it.
It does not take much to put a smile on someone’s face — a very simple gesture of kindness or thoughtfulness can do that. A text message asking how somebody’s day went can make that person feel that someone cares. A flower picked from the garden to give a family member one is stuck at home with, can most likely brighten that person’s day.
We do not need to do something “big” to prove we care and make someone happy.
Sometimes a simple note on a Post-It can do the trick.
Thank you, Ann-Christine, for this week’s theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
Have a lovely weekend!