Quietude: A Haiku

Strength, wisdom, kindness —

They can only come to one

Who knows quietude.

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.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A quiet moment

Patience and Gardening

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. 🙏

T. 🌼

LAPC: Cropping the shot

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!🌹

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cropping the Shot

Someday: A Haiku

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Your sweet smile, laughter — 

Who knows why? I hope to see

What you see — someday. 

———————–

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. 

 

On friendship and marriage

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.

LAPC: All Wet

This week Tina’s challenge is to post “wet images.” I don’t have a lot of those, except for the ones below taken on a rainy day.

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.” 

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”  — Gilbert K. Chesterton

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One can find so many pains when the rain is falling.” — John Steinbeck 

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Lens Artists Photo Challenge: All Wet 

LAPC: At Home

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.

Happy weekend!

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: At Home

Lens- Artists Photo Challenge: Second Time Around

I did not participate in the LAPC Challenge for months because of my very busy schedule, but today I am able to squeeze in some time to write a post and John’s chosen theme is something that most of us, I’m sure, can easily find photos for as there are many places we would like to revisit or imagine revisiting at this time when we cannot travel to any place outside our home cities.

The first place I would really go to again as soon as travel bans are lifted is Jimei, where my husband has been living all alone for three months now after my son and I left. Jimei has been my second home for over 17 years, and this is the longest I’ve been away.

Jimei, Xiamen

Last year, I was so lucky I got to see the U.S. of A. for the first time, and before the virus broke out. I got to see New York and Boston and enjoyed every minute of it. I was looking forward to seeing Washington, DC and Maryland in June this year, but I guess it’s not meant to be.

Oculus, NYC
Boston

The one other place I would really love to visit again is South Korea, not just for the place but to see my best friend again.

I hope we all get to travel again soon, and have the chance to revisit places we love and create new memories.

Have a lovely week!

T.

LENS Artists Photo Challenge: Second time around

Silence: A Haiku and some thoughts

In the midst of all

This life’s hustle and bustle —

Silence from within.

—-

After spending a couple of hours marking papers in McDonald’s (I can’t work at home as I’m always tempted to do something else like doing laundry instead of marking papers!) I went to my favorite noodles shop which was noisy as it was lunch time. Traditional Chinese music blaring from the speakers, a group of young women at a table behind me talking loudly, buses, cars and motorcycles driving past, some honking — so much activity and noise, loud noise.

But as soon as I started thinking of the issue that I’ve spent months thinking about — all those sounds went away. My eyes were only perceiving the movements not quite different from a boring, black-and-white silent movie.

I was figuratively alone in a figuratively quiet but in reality very noisy place.

This made me think of most people’s capacity to tune out noise or to tolerate minor irritants if they truly want to and try. I am saying most people because I believe most of us actually have this capacity to do so, but perhaps there are many who just refuse to even try. And of course there are those who have some sensory or emotion regulation problems who literally cannot stand certain irritants (like my autistic son who does not mind loud music but cries and gets angry when he hears other children crying!)

I have heard and read numerous accounts of people complaining about babies crying during a flight, especially a long haul one. Some reactions and suggestions offered I find quite unhelpful and extremely unsympathetic. I understand that there are parents (or grandparents!) accompanying children on a flight who may not be bothered by the child’s crying and do not care that other passengers are bothered by it. I honestly think these people are in the minority though. Most parents or caregivers on the flights I’ve been on (and I fly several times a year) do try to get the child to be quiet. But yes, there are those who don’t, and their indifference is more annoying than the child’s behavior.

As I said, I have read reactions and comments that are quite unhelpful or are extremely unsympathetic to parents who do try their best to calm down their child (and I believe they do because, let’s be honest, no sane parent loves to hear his/her child cry or be noisy.) Some people said: babies should not be allowed on a flight. This is very unhelpful because these people who complain do not know why the family are traveling. One never knows unless one asks why somebody is traveling — maybe for a holiday, or maybe to see a doctor. But one doesn’t even have to know — everyone has the right to fly and they are paying for it like everyone else.

I have taken several flights with my son, and thankfully he has always behaved himself (we have 2 flights coming I hope I don’t jinx them!) Even as a baby (at 5 months was when he had his first flight), he never cried. But also as a parent, I have always prepared for our flights — toys and gadgets to keep him occupied (I am also lucky that my flights with him are no longer than 2 hours.) However there are babies and young children who are really bothered by ear pressure during flight and parents who do not know how to deal with it. (click here for Tips) When I travel domestically, I usually say something to the parents (fellow Filipinos), “Maybe baby needs his bottle or pacifier?” but in international flights, I tend to keep quiet as the culture is, “Mind your own business.”

There are misbehaving children with parents who let them be and there are babies who cry whose parents just let them be. But there are lots of good parents who do try their best and babies who, for whatever reason, just cry! I hope we can be more sympathetic. We were all babies once — were we always so angelic?

So going back to my main idea — we are capable of tuning out noise or tolerating minor irritants. We surely can if we truly want to and just try. We do not even need noise-cancelling headsets to do this. To prove this, pay attention to how you sometimes tune out your best friend when he’s going on and on about something you’ve already heard a thousand times. That easy.

Silence.

LAPC: On Display

In response to Amy’s challenge this week, I am using photos I’ve taken in our local supermarket. Two of my favorite fruits are in this collection — mangoes and durian! Yes, durian! I know, for sure, most people dislike the smell of durian, but let me tell you, I love it! And the smell of it makes my mouth water. Lol.

 

Durian ice cream, durian smoothie, durian cheesecake….

I love durian.

So for this photo challenge, I am also challenging you to be brave and give durian a try! 😉

Happy Sunday!

 

T.

Lens-Artists: On Display

Morning: A Haiku

Arise! The sun is up.

Come and see what daylight brings.

Come! Beauty awaits.

I am a morning person, but my husband isn’t. But once in a while I can get him to go out for a walk with me early in the morning.

This morning we had beautiful weather at 15C (59F) and walking past the lake I spied an egret (one of the few who haven’t migrated south). To me it was a beautiful sight, and made me smile. (I know I sound like a drama queen, but it is that easy to make me feel happy!)

And it came to me that there’s so much beauty to see early in the morning that people fail to see because they are still in bed. I feel lucky to be able to see and be touched by such a simple sight.

I hope you find something to make you smile today.

Happy weekend!

T.

Wish: A Haiku

If I could I would,

Paint the best picture of how

I remember you.

—-

Leaving the office today, I looked up at the sky and saw the clouds. I wanted to capture the image of the tree with the clouds as the background, and the result is, to me, much nicer than I imagined. To me, it looks like something I would really like to paint, if only I could!

LAPC: Nostalgic

Kempinski Hotel, Xiamen

Last night, for the first time in a long, long time, my husband and I went out to attend a party. This time it was at the Kempinski Hotel. It felt good to go out again and relive those evenings many years ago when we used to go out with friends more often without worrying about adult stuff.

But those night outs aren’t what I’m nostalgic about.

It’s Christmas. Kempinski had nice Christmas trees both in the lobby and outside the hotel, and I felt like a kid again excited about Christmas!

Kempinski Hotel, Xiamen

And Christmas always brings me back to my childhood when our Christmas tree was small and simple and the Christmas presents we got from our parents were not expensive, but we had the tradition of getting up at dawn to go to Mass at 4:30 in the morning (Misa de Gallo, literally Rooster’s Mass). Yes, you read that right. 4:30 in the morning which meant waking up an hour earlier before that to wash up and have something hot to drink!

You would think we were unhappy to be woken up that early, but we were actually pretty excited to hear our mother whispering our names to wake us up.

Christmas tree in our house in the Philippines. Picture taken by my sister

We then walked to church (a 10-minute walk from our house) and would see other churchgoers walking. During Mass, my sisters and I often dozed off especially during homily, but would once again perk up just before the singing of the Lord’s Prayer as it meant close to Communion and the end of the Mass.

After Mass, we would walk to the bakery and buy pan de sal for breakfast.

Life was so simple yet we were happy.

If only I could be a child again, and have my parents worry about things that only adults worry about.

Nostalgic.

Tiny Christmas tree in my apartment in Xiamen

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

Tree: A Haiku and some thoughts

Weary from this world

Where no one can give comfort,

One sits in a tree.

—–

As a child, I loved climbing trees. There used to be guava trees in front of our house before my uncle built his house there and a java apple fruit tree behind one of my aunts’ house, which is behind our house. My grandfather made sure all his 8 children lived in the same place, so where I grew up there are 7 detached houses where my mother and her siblings had built their homes.)

My sisters, cousins and I used to climb the trees in the afternoons and sit on the branches (we were all young and thin!) and pick fruits. We were all pretty good at climbing back then. (I can probably still climb but I don’t think any of my sisters or cousins will dare! Lol!)

So whenever I see a tree, I judge it as being climbable or not. Part of me really wants to climb when I see street trees (here they are mango trees) , but living in the city, I don’t want to embarrass myself. A couple of years ago, I went to visit my former professor and he had a very climbable tree in his yard, so I asked if I could climb and sit in it. Being eccentric himself, he said, “Why not?” So, I did!

Sitting in a tree gives me a wonderful feeling of being safe and worry-free, especially when I hear the rustle of the leaves when the wind blows.

At my age now, I see a lot of trees that were I ten years younger, I would consider climbable, but can only look at with a sigh. I wish I could teach my son to climb a tree. That would probably need hundreds more of occupational therapy sessions, but who knows.

Rainy Days and Memories

“Into each life, some rain must fall.– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It’s that time of year again — cold and raining. And the thoughts that crossed my mind last year, surfaced again this year as I walked by the lake and felt the cold wind on my skin.

Funny how such ordinary things as the rustling of leaves, the breeze on one’s skin, the chirping of birds can bring back a flood of memories — all those feelings from years ago come back and seem so fresh. Yet, you are brought back to reality as soon as you tell yourself, “That was then, this is now. And now you are wasting time and energy thinking about it.”

My best friend has told me many times I think too much of the past, that the future is more important. Maybe so.

But one has no control over what comes to mind, or does one? I can shake off thoughts that come to mind, but there is no way I can stop these thoughts from entering my mind. Even saying, “I will not think about it,” is proof that I AM thinking about it.

Walking in the winter rain does this to me all the time — full of drama in the head. But this too shall pass.

Hope you have a lovelier weather than what I have in my neck of the woods.

T.

LAPC: Abstract

Patti’s chosen theme this week is “Abstract.” And I’m taking that literally by posting pictures of my then 7-year old autistic son’s watercolor “painting.”

I have no idea what he was thinking about when he played with the brush, but I treasure these literally abstract exercises of my minimally verbal son.

The one above just got a title, “Raining Down.” Thanks to Ann-Christine at Leya. 😁

Lens-artists photo challenge: Abstract

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cold

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Canada

Tina’s challenge this week is a real challenge for someone like me who comes from a tropical country! Thankfully I’ve traveled to some places with a winter season. The first image above I have used more than a couple of times on my blog. It is one of my favorite photos because when I took it, it was the first time ever (and this was 2016) I had seen a snow-covered mountain! I couldn’t believe it! It was summer in Canada but there was snow!

Now let me say something about the word “cold” and how subjective that is: when I told my cousin who was then living in Alberta that I was visiting, she got so excited saying, “Perfect! You are lucky. It’s already summer here. Just bring shorts and T-shirts!” My mistake was I just believed her and did not bother to check the weather app.

When I arrived in Vancouver in my summer clothes (luckily I always bring a summer cardigan when I travel because I know in  some planes and airports their A/Cs are just set too low), I was not ready for the 18C (64F) temperature. When I met with a former student, I noticed she was wearing a coat. And we both said, “This is not summer!” 

When I finally saw my cousin in Alberta, she was wearing spaghetti strap top and shorts! And she had the A/C on in her house! I begged her to turn it off and borrowed winter pajamas. She couldn’t stop laughing at me and told everyone in the family how cold I felt.

Well, can you blame me?

The very first time I saw snow though was in my husband’s hometown, in Shandong Province in China. At first I was so excited to see snow. But after a day of being cold (in the countryside their houses do not have central heating), I begged my husband to let me move to the city and said to him, “Please, look at my skin! It’s brown! This skin is not for the cold!” And I’m not being racist about my skin! It’s really brown.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Shandong Province

 

Hope you feel comfortable whether you’re in a cold or warm place!

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cold

LAPC: Waiting

This week’s theme is “Waiting.” Even before I read Amy’s post I knew I would post pictures related to flying — which I do every month.

Most of the waiting I do now happens at an airport. I often go on red-eye flights because they are cheaper, though the layovers are always longer than the flights themselves. But then again they are cheaper.

So what do you do when there’s air traffic and your plane can’t land because the airport has only one runway! Take pictures of those things that are so commonplace you forget they are there!

I used to look forward to flying, but now I just try not to think about it and simply look forward to arriving. I hope one day teleportation will become real!

Taken just before a 10-minute long turbulence

Waiting for a flight may be exhausting, but at least you know eventually you will get to your destination.

It is less stressful than waiting for something whose arrival is forever uncertain.

—-

Have a lovely week!

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Waiting

The moon, the moon, the moon

For those who follow my blog, you’d probably notice I’ve posted several photos of the moon lately.

I love looking up at the sky and seeing a beautiful moon. And I thought people feel the same way I do, but one evening years ago walking with my best friend, I said, “Hey! Look at the moon! So beautiful!” And he said, “It’s just the moon. Come on!”

And then last night on my walk home from the office, taking these photos, two girls passed by and murmured, “What’s she taking pictures of?”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m glad I see beauty in ordinary things and occurrences. I am thankful I can still see.

The soft moonlight makes things look gentler. It hides the ugliness visible in the daytime and makes them mysterious. Guy de Maupassant’s story Moonlight comes to mind.

May you see beauty around you. 💕

T

LAPC: Creepy

“Creepy” is a subjective word.

As Ann-Christine quoted from a dictionary, it causes “unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.”

So what one finds creepy may be just “normal” to somebody else.

A few years ago just after my son was diagnosed with Autism, a girl, who I later found out was one of our neighbors, gave my son a look that I thought was mocking. At that time I felt too protective of my then 2-year old son and was quite emotional that I glared at the girl and just walked away with my son. A few days later I saw the girl again and saw the same expression on her face and realized that was really how she looked — her facial expression unchanged.

That truly taught me lesson — not to be too sensitive. When somebody looks at you, do not think too much about it. It may mean nothing.

In the same way what you think of as creepy, others may see as harmless or even boring.

It’s all relative.

The fish in the photos may be giving you a creepy look — but they don’t have bad intentions! 😛

Happy Sunday!

T.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Creepy

The Other Side: A Haiku

Enigmatical,

Imagined prosperity —

Then…reality.

——

The grass is always greener….

People sometimes imagine a better life somewhere else, unhappy with what they have. They follow their desire and get all excited about their new life only to be disappointed after a while.

Sometimes it’s not a change of place that’s needed. Just a change of heart. Or mind.

Happy weekend! 💕

T.

Beautiful November Morning

I went out for a walk this morning and couldn’t help taking photos as I thought the weather was perfect at 70F and it was breezy with blue sky above and quiet except for the rustling of the leaves and chirping of the birds.

Life is beautiful.

I hope you have a beautiful morning (or evening) too! 💕

T.

The Sun: A Haiku

Do not get too close.

It will burn you and blind you,

Farther — gives you warmth.

—–

Some people are better seen (or heard) from a distance, too. 😛

(Btw, the framing of this picture is far from perfect as I wasn’t even looking up when I took the picture! Just pointed my phone camera to where I felt the sun was and click! Hey! It wasn’t too bad!)

Have a lovely week! 💕

T.

LAPC: Monochrome

Huawen Xue Yuan, Jimei, Xiamen

This week Patti chose “Monochrome” for LAPC’s theme.

She said, “Monochrome can also add drama, mystery, and emotion to a shot…” and I agree!

These are some photos I took yesterday when my husband and I went out for a walk.

Long Zhou Hu (Dragon Boat Lake), Jimei, Xiamen

Happy Sunday!

T. 💕

Lens Artists Photo Challenge:Monochrome

In search of Gong Bao Ji Ding

In my first few years in China, I often ordered Gong Bao Ji Ding (宫保鸡丁 or Kung Pao Chicken) and Mapo Doufu (麻婆豆腐)whenever we went out to eat simply because the Chinese restaurants my friends and I often went to were Sichuan restaurants.
But as years passed and my friends left in China, my husband and I seldom go out to eat, and when we do we don’t usually eat Sichuan food. So I had not eaten Gong Bao Ji Ding in at least 4 years even though I live in China! Until today.

We purposely went out to find a restaurant that serves Gong Bao Ji Ding because the restaurant we used to go to no longer serves my favorite dish! We walked about 3 km until we found one that serves it. Though I was a little disappointed it didn’t taste the same as I remembered it, I was still glad I finally got to eat it again!
Another dish I recalled liking then and ordered today was Gan Bian Si Ji Dou (干煸四季豆).

This one tasted the same though.
All in all we had a beautiful morning walk that culminated in a good lunch that brought back memories of good food and fun company.

Have a wonderful weekend! 💕

T.

Circles

We move in different circles

Some wider than others

But not necessarily happier.

It doesn’t matter how big or small

The circle you’re in,

What matters is who are in it:

Who are they to you?

Who are you to them?

Do they matter to you?

Do you matter to them?

Some circles are big but empty.

Others are small but not petty.

——–

I have a 4-day weekend this week. So, happy weekend!💕

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

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.

Darkness and Light

Zheng Chenggong, Gulangyu Museum, Xiamen

We went to Gulangyu this morning, and I was able to visit places that I had never been to before.

One of these places was the museum that one could go in for free. It doesn’t seem to be a very popular place (there were thousands of tourists outside but less than 50 people inside this 3-story museum), so it was nice to walk around and learn about the history of this tiny island.

I took a picture of this statue of General Zheng as I liked the contrast of darkness and light where it stood. It was dark coming from the left side, but there was light coming from the window to the right. I thought it was the perfect location.

As a general he probably went through many times of choosing between darkness and light.

At least that’s what I saw/thought of it. Or maybe I am just overthinking again!

What do you think?

T.

LAPC: Candid Part 2

There are two places my 8-year old son who has Autism, loves to be at — the airport and the beach. But whereas at the airport he likes to walk or run around, he is most calm sitting on the beach. At one beach we went to early this year, he and his dad sat watching the sunset for over an hour.

I was at first hesitant to post candid photos of my son, but then I realize most of these photos were taken with his back to the camera.

I have used these photos before in my posts about him and Autism, so these are “recycled” photos, but definitely candid. 😉

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Candid

LAPC: Candid

Gentle and glowing,

She dazzles every creature

With her candid pose.

—–

I know Ann-Christine suggested candid photographs of people and animals, but I don’t have lots of those that I think I can share publicly. Then I saw the moon tonight and thought, “What a beauty!” And I attempted a haiku praising the moon, and thought of the word “candid.” So there. 😉

Have a lovely week!

T.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Candid

LAPC: Filling the Frame

My favorite subject for photography is flowers as I find them easier to frame than it is to frame a building or a wide, open space or a moving animal. And flowers, whether you zoom in or out, almost always come out beautiful.

Here are some photos of flowers I have taken over the years. They all “fill the frame.”

Have a lovely week! 💕

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Filling the Frame

“Howards End” and the idea of death

“Death destroys a man; the idea of death saves him.” — E.M. Forster, Howards End

I read Howards End last week, and I made several notes on it on my Kindle, but for now I want to write about this line spoken by Helen Schlegel as she was talking with Leonard.

Death does destroy a human being, literally — our bodies decay with death. But the idea of death is what drives most of us to live our lives the best we can. Knowing that there is an end or becoming aware that the end is near, people tend to try to become their better selves — asking forgiveness, fixing broken relationships, showing kindness, completing tasks, etc.

Though I am afraid of a painful death, death itself, to me, is not something to be feared, but something that is merely necessary. It can be a hassle when you have responsibilities that you cannot simply entrust to somebody else, but you know it is a fact of life.

In the novel, Helen says: “I love Death — not morbidly, but because He explains.” And she goes on to explain how with Death, one can see the emptiness of Money.

Death does explain this and much more to us, but the idea of death leads us to ask the questions that really matter:

Why am I here if I’m only going to die? How can I make good use of my borrowed time in this life?

There’s not much use asking where you’re going after you die. It’s enough to answer the two questions above and live your life with purpose and passion.

May you find purpose for and passion in living your life. 🙏🏽

T.

LAPC: Countryside

There is something about the countryside that is so relaxing. Though it doesn’t give me the same sense of serenity I get from sitting on a quiet beach, being in the countryside still feels like taking a break from the busy-ness of life.

The picture above is of a rice farm in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. I was on my way to the airport when I saw this farm. The sky was so blue with some white clouds, and the hills in the distance so green — I just thought it was so beautiful. I asked the driver to stop the car, and I got out and saw this farmer. I asked him if I could take a picture of him, and he said it was OK.

Then I got back in the car, and went to the airport and back to my busy life. But this picture always gives me that feeling of wanting even a quick break from life and its worries.

I had the same feeling visiting my cousin’s uncle’s farm in Alberta, Canada. After a 12-hour flight and then wandering around Vancouver, it was relaxing to not see people and rest the eyes and the soul by just watching green grass, blue sky, white clouds and farm animals!

Hope you have a relaxing week!

T. 💕

Lens-artists photo challenge: countryside

On Pain and Anger

It’s a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.” –– Bertrand Russell

I guess like most people I do not like getting angry, not only because it takes so much energy to be angry but also I do not like the idea that the person who made me angry is living rent-free in my head and is controlling me! And I always like to be in control of ME!

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” — Mother Teresa

And what of pain? Pain, like anger, is also exhausting. But unlike anger that robs us of wisdom, pain most of the time, makes us pause and if we pause long enough to think, we actually gain wisdom from pain.

Just recently I was angered by someone, and then I got angry with myself for allowing the person to control my emotion. Then there was regret over the angry words that came out, and with regret comes pain.

It is so easy to say, ” We have to learn to control our anger!” But it’s seldom easy to follow through. It’s perhaps easier to control our actions, but how easy is it to control our words which sometimes cut too deep that the wounds don’t heal?

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” — Ambrose Bierce

Have a peaceful week!💕

T.

LAPC: Magical

I love looking up at the sky, whether in the day time or at night. I often wonder what it’s like up there looking down, (which is why I follow NASA and the International Space Station on social media.)

To me the sky or whatever is up (or out) there is magical.

Sometimes when I am going through a difficult time, I only have to go to a quiet place — by the lake, on a quiet beach, or my balcony and look up at the sky and remind myself of the vastness of the universe and the minuteness of my life and worries.

Now isn’t that cure magical? 😉

Have a lovely week!

T. 💕

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Magical

Lens Artists Challenge: Silhouette

This summer I had a 12-hour layover in NYC, and luckily my friend and his wife offered to show me around.

Coming from the Philippines, I was looking forward to a cooler weather, but I wasn’t so lucky as it was about as hot in NYC that day as it was back home. Still, I enjoyed the few hours I spent in NYC.

And of course, I took lots of photos!

This one of the One World Trade Center was taken around 3 in the afternoon. I had thought I wouldn’t be able to get a good picture in the brightness and from where I was standing facing the sunlight, but hey, now I have an entry for this week’s challenge! Yay!

Have a lovely weekend!

T.

Lens Artists Challenge: Silhouette

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Unique

I had a wonderful time at the New England Aquarium and took lots of photos, but the one below of the jellyfish is my favorite. I find this shot the most unique among all the photos of creatures I photographed.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Have a unique week! 😉

T.

Lens-artists challenge: Take a Break

Last week I took a break from my Philippine reality and flew to the States for the first time. Now that I’m back in my home country, those six days in the States seem just like a dream.

I took lots of photos while in NYC and Boston, but these ones below were taken while on an unplanned trip to New Jersey at the Liberty State Park. It was very quiet on a Friday afternoon. It was a welcome break from busy NYC!

After that long walk around the park which probably made up for one week of no dance workout, I had strawberry milkshake — a very welcome break!

Have a lovely week! 💕

T.

Lens-Artists

Trees and Roots

(I do not know what this tree is called, so if you do I’d be very grateful if you could drop me a line in the comments section. Thanks! 🙏🏽)

Jimei, Xiamen, China

I’ve taken photos of these trees’ roots before for the Weekly Photo Challenge. The roots then were not as big as they are now.

Have a lovely Monday! 💕

T.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Lens-Artists Challenge: Wild

It was very hot and humid yesterday, but I insisted that we went out for a walk at 6pm. The sun had not set yet, and my husband said we could compete as to who could find the smallest mushroom. I didn’t find the smallest one, nor this one but I took these photos myself.

Happy Sunday! 💕

T.

Lens-Artists