Solitude

Gulangyu, Xiamen

Voices everywhere,

And cars, buses, trains and planes —

Far from them — silence!

——–

In this busy and noisy world, may you find time and a place for solitude. 🙏🏽

T.

Shine bright: Two haikus

Though clouds block the way

Find slits through which to shine bright

Shine bright and give light.

———–

Dark clouds hide the sun

Then the wind blows and clouds move

Briefly — the sun shines.

———-

I was on a moving bus when I took the picture above. I have always liked watching the sun’s rays through the clouds. To me it always feels like the land is being blessed.

But the haikus I attempted to write aren’t about that. They are about being optimistic and sharing that optimism with others.

I hope you find reasons to be optimistic today! 💕

T.

So near, yet so far

Seen from a distance

Laughter heard across the miles

But untouched — unreal

——

Technology has made our lives easier and communicating with family more convenient.
Yet, somehow seeing your loved on the screen of your computer or phone or iPad is not the same as holding their hand or hugging them.
Online communication still seems so unreal.
Maybe it will feel “normal” in the future. Maybe.
Happy Tuesday!
T.

LAPC: Seeing Double

Two map puffers at the Manila Ocean Park

“There is no satisfaction in any good without a companion.” — Seneca the Younger

Two penguins at the New England Aquarium

Meteorites exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wax figures of two former presidents at the Dreamland Wax Museum, Boston

Wax figures of two members of the Royal Family at the Dreamland Wax Museum, Boston

“A good companion is one you wouldn’t mind dying with.

— Frank Herbert

May you find a good companion in life, if you haven’t yet. 💕

T.

Lens artists photo challenge: Seeing Double

Being alone in old age

“No one should be alone in their old age. But it is unavoidable.” Santiago in Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I think I have written on this theme before, but I am reminded of this again recently rereading Old Man and the Sea and also by something I saw while walking at the park one evening.

While walking at the park a few evenings ago, when the lights had not been turned on yet although it was already a little dark (the lights are turned on at 6:30 in the evening), I saw this tiny, frail-looking white-haired woman, her back hunched, sitting alone on a bench under a tree.

I don’t know her story, maybe it’s not a sad one, but it made me think how at my age now, I love having a “ME” time — being alone during the day and certain of company later in the day when my husband comes home, having someone to talk with about how our day went.

Many times I have heard parents of young children and teenagers complaining about how they don’t have time for themselves and cannot wait for the time when their children become adults and leave the house. But I have also heard many older parents who talk about missing their adult children and hoping, waiting for them to visit or even just call.

Sometimes we behave as if we will always be what we are at present — strong, healthy, not needing anybody. I think the more often we remind ourselves that one day we will need company, one day we will need help, one day we will miss our children, one day we will fear being alone — the more gracious we will be in living our present lives, and the kinder we will be to people whom we think we have no need for at present.

Sure, aging parents can be a burden sometimes, especially when they become demanding or even mean. But perhaps it is their illness that makes them so; they would probably never think of saying or doing these things when they still had full control of themselves. Perhaps they need compassion and understanding more than anything.

I learned this from my mother whose own mother disliked her when my grandmother was still strong and able. But when my grandmother became sick and unable to walk, my mother came and offered to help and forced us, her daughters to help as well. At first my grandmother still refused to talk to my mother but after a while she probably realized my mother was not going anywhere. They were able to forgive each other before my grandmother died. My mother’s humility in front of my grandmother and her sincerity in helping her in her hour of need made an impression on us, her children. My mother was not perfect, but we loved her and took care of her the best way we could. From her we learned that though your parents made mistakes, they did raise you the best way they knew how, and just as you have compassion on strangers who are suffering, you can be compassionate with the ones who loved you enough to try to give you a better life than the one they lived.

We are all going to grow old and weak, if we don’t leave this world earlier than expected.

The sooner we realize this, the more compassionate we will become.

Blessings. 🙏🏽

T.

A Trip to Gulangyu

I’ve been living in Xiamen for 17 years and I’ve visited Gulangyu over a hundred times over the years, but there are places on both islands that I still have to see.

So I was glad to get to the top of Sunlight Rock for the first time yesterday and be able to take pictures of the southern part of Xiamen island and the view of Gulangyu taken from the top of Sunlight Rock.

As we arrived there early, we were able to avoid the crowds of tourists that started to come around lunch time when we had already walked over 7km.

I was also able to get inside the Christ the King church which had to be unlocked by a kind lady who asked me if I was from the Philippines and did I want to pray.

It had been awhile since I last came, so I was happy to be able to come to this church again where I came to hear mass every week for years.

You can come to Gulangyu by ferry from Youlun Zhongxin (for tourists) and tickets cost 35RMB. (Thankfully we have a card that shows we work in Xiamen, and so we pay the local’s fare of 8RMB and get on a different ferry that is not crowded at all!)

We spent one morning on Gulangyu and walked for over 9km.

But surprisingly, I wasn’t tired at all.

If you’re ever in Xiamen, you can’t miss Gulangyu. It is truly worth a visit.

Have a lovely Thursday!

T.