Week 2 Prompt: Bridge

Incheon Bridge, South Korea

It does not matter how long

this bridge is, that we are on,

as it will never be long enough —

when every second, every inch

that we cover to get to the other side

brings us closer to the end

of this painfully short reunion.

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I have started my own weekly writing prompt to make me write something or post a photo. Feel free to use the prompt for your own posts!

Have a lovely week!

T. 💕

Life, Love and Flowers

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.” –Victor Hugo

All these photos were taken during my trip to South Korea early this week. Although I went there not for sightseeing but to comfort my friend, I ended up going to so many places that not many tourists get to see (in fact most of the places I’d been to had zero tourists! Except for me.)

I am glad I had time to take photos of the flowers I had seen. Flowers are my favorite subject for photography. Hope you like them.

T. 💞

South Korea blues

After 14 years, she finally saw him again. He was waiting for her at the airport. They saw each other at the same time. They hugged and laughed, incredulous at seeing each other again after that quick goodbye at an airport in China like a lifetime ago.

For the next three days, they went out to a number of places, different cities, exploring like they were racing against time.

But the truth is, they really were — they are — racing against time.

And as they drove past Surisan Mountain on her last day in the country, she thought to herself, “Goodbye, Surisan,” because she knew her voice would break if she said it out loud. But then she heard his voice as he said, “Goodbye, mountain,” like he knew exactly what she was thinking (perhaps he did.) And that was all it took to make the tears fall, and she looked away, trying not to let him see as she wiped the tears away.

They had said goodbye so many times before.

But this was different.

T. 💞

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A few minutes before landing in Incheon

Banwol Lake, Gunpo

DMZ, Imjingak

Sanbon Catholic Church, Gunpo

Blue and white and green — photos taken in Chomakgol Ecopark

View of Surisan from Chomakgol Ecopark

Main Gate of Seoul National University

Incheon Bridge on a cloudy day

Life goes on though it ends for some

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Life goes on though it ends for some

This life some love and others hate,

This life some fight for and others willingly surrender.

What is life that you seize every second to live it?

What is life that you just want to escape from it?

Life has meaning only if you give it one,

And believe it and live it.

Find a meaning

And live.

T.

 

WPC: Place in the World

“For this week’s photo challenge, explore what it means to find your place in the world. Where’s your safe space? Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up? Do you prefer to feel cozy and comforted in a smaller town or do you thrive on the buzz of a big city?”

One thing my husband, my son and I have in common is we find comfort in sitting on the beach, hearing the waves roll onto the shore. It’s mesmerizing, relaxing, comforting.

At 7 years, my son still cannot verbalize what he feels, but seeing him so calm — not stimming — is enough to make me realize that, just as it is for his parents, this too, is his place in the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge :

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/place/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unlikely

My husband and I were walking from the restaurant to the post office when he spotted this caterpillar. I wouldn’t have seen it because it was high up on a vine on a fence, and I’m short. Luckily phone cameras have a zoom function.

Weekly Photo Challenge:
Unlikely

WPC: My favorite place

Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada

Jimei, Xiamen, China

Dalipuga, Iligan, Philippines

… any quiet place near a body of water, where I can sit and watch the sky and its reflection on the water, and feel the breeze on my skin and perhaps hear the happy singing of the birds.

It doesn’t matter which country. I can have a favorite place anywhere.

Favorite Place

Remembering Mother

It’s been two years since my mom passed on, yet a part of me still feels she’s just back home in the Philippines. But that feeling doesn’t last very long because I am conscious that I just can’t make a call and hear her voice again.

Life is so different without a mother, even for an adult daughter in her 40s.

I have so many fond memories of my mother as she was a funny woman who laughed loudly and was talented at story-telling. She could never tell a story sitting down — she gestured; her facial expressions changed as quickly as Chinese opera players changed masks, and her voice made it difficult not to imagine whoever she was portraying.

My mother was a very interesting character; I hope one day I can really write a story about her. She would love that. Since I started writing poetry in high school she had asked me to write about her, but I only started to write about her as she lay dying, two years ago.

One of the things I truly regret in my life was not being able to give a good eulogy for her. My mother loved drama, and she would’ve liked something dramatic at her funeral (and I say this with fondness for memories of her ), but unfortunately I failed.

Last week I bought flowers (photos above) to put next to her picture which I keep in my apartment. It was her death anniversary, and wherever she is, just in case she has a way of knowing, I wanted her to know I still think about her and wish she was just a phone call away.

WPC 2: A Face in the Crowd

Wonderful performance from these young men at the Hong Kong International Airport. We will never know who these young men were, nor recognize them when we see them up close, but as a group, their performance will be remembered for a long time.

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A Face in the Crowd

WPC: A Face in the Crowd

Initao, Northern Mindanao, Philippines

Initao, Northern Mindanao, Philippines

“Explore the use of anonymity to express both that which is common to all of us and the uniqueness that stands out even when the most obvious parts of us are hidden. Just as all of us can oscillate between conformity and individualism, allow your photo to do the same.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

Daily Prompt: Constant

He laments the quick and merciless

Passing of time and the white strands of hair

That are starting to show on his temples.

He looks at old photographs and then looks at himself

In the mirror and sighs …. “Time is unkind.

“We were so young then…,” he says.

“And stupid,” she adds.

 

She looks at herself in the mirror and sighs…

This is inevitable,” she says to herself.

“The only thing that is constant is change.

Nature, too, ages.

The sun may rise and set again day after day,

And the waves rush back and forth,

Second after second…

Yet they, too, go through change.

 

“But some things can remain constant

In our lifetime.

We can keep them constant.

And that should be enough.”

Daily Prompt: Constant

Daily Prompt : Compromise

We’re not children,

We don’t need to fight over petty matters,

It shouldn’t matter who has the last witty retort,

In fact there’s no need for a retort

Nor for the cause of such.

Let’s be the grown ups that we are.

Compromise.

——-

Daily Prompt: Compromise

Beautiful Bukidnon

Bukidnon means “from the mountains” or “mountain dweller.” It’s a province on the island of Mindanao. Dahilayan is a village in the town of Manolo Fortich. In recent years, it has become popular for its Forest Park and its Adventure Park.

Go check out their websites by clicking on the links. I’m not a very adventurous person, but I did go on the zip line. I truly enjoyed the beauty of this village — cool, clean air, blue skies, mountains and trees everywhere. I enjoyed just walking around and taking pictures.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

I grew up in a coastal city and love watching the sunset. Yesterday, my husband and I went to my favorite spot in the city and watched the sunset.

It’s been a very busy month for the two of us, so it was good to have to some quiet time, walking. I will always love this part of my hometown.

Tour Guide

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sweet

While I never and will never think of myself as “sweet,” the fact that my husband likes to take photos of me even when my back is turned makes me think I’m blessed to marry a man who thinks I am. Lol.

He likes taking pictures of me, especially candid ones. I know he finds my facial expressions funny, and I’m like a comedian to him, but I especially like the ones he takes of me when I’m not aware of what he’s doing, like the ones above.

These two were taken just this weekend while we’re on holiday in the Philippines.

Have a lovely week! 💕

Sweet

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

E. spent two weeks with us in China, and he was quite happy. I made sure he wouldn’t get bored when his father was at work and it was just the two of us. I got him to play with the brush and paint and these are his “works.” Not a single stroke is mine — he did everything by himself. As he doesn’t really know how to hold a pencil properly yet, I thought a paintbrush would be easier for him.

To be honest, I don’t really see any meaning in these three, but I certainly love the colors he chose. I will treasure these “paintings” of E. as if they were masterpieces. No matter what people say or think of them, they are beloved by me because my 7-year old son made them. 💕

Beloved

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

I saw this tree trunk from a distance and thought it looked interesting. You might say there’s nothing interesting about this trunk, that it’s even ugly. And you might be right.

I wish I had taken a photo of the whole tree — its leaves were quite green. This tree survived a super typhoon in 2016. The tree itself looked ordinary, but it’s the trunk that captured my attention. This weathered trunk to me stands for strength — something that I feel I have and should not lose in these very busy and stressful time in my life.

What do you see when you look at this trunk?

Weathered

2017 Favorites

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” — T.S. Eliot

Below are two of my favorite photos that I took this year. Both are records of my first visit to North America and of the very first time I saw  snow-covered mountains. That feeling I had as I looked out the window and saw those mountains will always be as vivid as I felt it when I was on the plane flying to Alberta from Vancouver.

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After all the pain and sorrow of 2016, 2017 was overall a calm and peaceful year for me. And I am very grateful for that year. I have no idea what this year is going to be like,  but I continue to be hopeful. I am ready for another beginning.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

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Canada

img_2011Weekly Photo Challenge:
2017 Favorites

Daily Prompt: Varnish

The over 200-year old trees on Gulangyu that were uprooted by Super typhoon Meranti were turned into works of art by Chinese artists. This trunk has been varnished and inscribed with Chinese characters that mean “remember” and its synonyms. It is also fitted with several speakers that play recordings of local people talking about their memories of the island.

Have a lovely weekend! 💕

T.

Daily Prompt: Varnish

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

I spent the whole day today on Gulangyu (Gulang Islet) and was able to visit the church that my husband and I used to go to every Sunday more than a couple of years ago, before we had our baby.

The church was locked when we arrived (as is usually the case when it’s not Sunday and there’s no mass), but the priest’s assistant opened it for us. (The young couple in the photo were just getting their wedding pictures taken outside the church but didn’t have a ceremony inside. )

Gulangyu was very crowded and noisy, but inside the church, it was quite serene.

Christ the King Church, Gulangyu, Xiamen

Weekly Photo Challenge
Serene

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

I’ve been living in Jimei for over a decade, and this place is just a 10-minute walk from my old apartment, but I’ve only been to this place twice. It’s not my in my usual route when I go walking. Yesterday though I decided to show my friend this place, and we loved it. It was 17 degrees C, cloudy and breezy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

Daily Prompt: Honk

It’s early morning,

Hardly anything is astir

Save for a couple of cars

And the birds overhead

Singing a happy tune.

I say a prayer of thanks

For this time of quiet

Before it is broken

By the loud honking

Of trucks and buses

That rouse the city

From its much needed sleep.

Daily Prompt: Honk

Weekend Trip: Quanzhou

Hubby and I went to Quanzhou to visit a friend whose work place is close to the oldest mosque  in China (Qingjing Mosque was built in 1009) that has since become a museum. We also went to West Lake Park and walked around a little bit.

Hope you like the photos.

Have a lovely weekend!

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West Lake Park, Quanzhou

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West Lake Park, Quanzhou

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West Lake Park, Quanzhou

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West Lake Park, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosuqe, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

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Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

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Tomb covers, Qingjing Mosque, Quanzhou

Daily Prompt: Prefer 

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” — Friedrich Nietszche

The other day I was talking with best friend number 3 who asked what’s up with me  reading about philosophy now when it’s dead. I told him I’ve been interested in philosophy since I was 19, I just don’t talk about it much except with my husband (best friend number 1.) And as for philosophy being dead, I think for as long as human beings can think and feel the way we do now, there will always be philosophy.

I have three best friends whom I enjoy spending time with — and two of them almost always disagree with what I say. I’ve known M. who is best friend number 2, for 20 years now, and he is still sarcastic when he talks with me and always tries to makes me see that my arguments are either weak or  “stoopi” (he still can’t pronounce stupid correctly. Lol ) Best friend number 3 is more or less the same — mocking me for my interests and telling me I’m wasting my time reading about these things.

Yet I prefer spending time and talking with any of my three best friends any time than with any other acquaintance. With some people I easily get upset when I am judged for my ideas. I can say I don’t care what they think, but their words can really hurt me. But with these three, they can be brutally honest with me, and they have, and I can still laugh and be grateful to them for being themselves with me and for accepting me for what I am.

We each have our preferences, our own ways of seeing things,but these have not stopped us from being friends.

Prefer

Daily Prompt: Surreal 


It would take a Kafka

To make this charade of yours

Pass for reality.

Surreal are your words

That seem to come naturally

From those lying lips.

Surreal are your thoughts

That seem original

Yet hard to accept.

Surreal is the life you live

That only you

Can ever make sense of.

Daily Prompt:
Surreal

Daily Prompt: Cacophony 

Xiamen City


The cacophony of sounds in the city 

Makes one yearn for the music 

Of the waves 

As they hit the rocks,

Or the crackle of dead leaves 

Under oner’s feet,

Or the whisper of the wind 

As the trees sway 

When it blows. 


Daily Prompt: 

Cacophony

Daily Prompt: Enlighten 

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Life can sometimes feel like

A big joke — a practical joke

Played on you

Which you don’t find

Funny at all.

And if you’re a believer,

You just feel like asking,

“Really, God? Are you f-ing kidding me?” 

But you go on

Living.

Smiling.

As if everything’s all right

With your world.

Yet deep down you’re yearning

To understand what the hell is going on.

Your heart is screaming —

“Enlighten me or just put an end to it.”



Daily Prompt:
Enlighten

Daily Prompt: Expect 

Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada

She was told not to wait, 

Not to expect and just live 

As if the things that had happened 

Never happened. 

But was that even possible? 

How could one forget — 

Those eyes that smiled

Even when the lips didn’t? 

The embrace that seemed 

To promise to never let go? 

The words that should only be uttered 

By those who mean them?

She couldn’t. 

So she waits. 

And expects 

As she remembers

Everything that happened. 
Daily Prompt: Expect 

Daily Prompt: Release 


I watched you walk away, 

I called your name out loud, 

But my voice just echoed in this room. 

You said I’d be safe in this place, 

And I believed you. 

But why do I feel, 

Like I’m not free

To even say goodbye to you?

Why is my heart crying out 

For release? 
Daily Prompt: Release 

Big clouds, tiny houses 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale 


I took these photos yesterday flying from Mindanao to Manila. Everything below looks small when you’re thousands of feet above the land. But sometimes you see clouds that look gigantic right outside your plane window. 

Have a lovely week! 💕
T. 

Daily Prompt: Exceptional


There’s nothing exceptional about you,

Nothing that anyone will ever notice. 

You can go in and out of any place,

And people wouldn’t even know you were there. 

You may even laugh, but your laughter 

Is always drowned by others’ louder laughter. 

Your tears are yours alone, 

The world never bothers to ask

What bring them to your sad eyes. 
So now that your back is bent,

And your feet hurt when you walk, 

You think no one will miss you 

When you simply disappear. 

No one will come runnning 

To stop you from jumping 

From that bridge 

You walk every day 

Of your lonely adult life. 

But you have to know — you’re not exceptional. 

Not even in this. 
Daily Prompt: Exceptional 

Weekly Photo Challenge : Pedestrian 

The first time I came across the word “pedestrian” as an adjective was in an article by a literary critic describing a writer’s use of language as such. “Pedestrian” — ordinary, uninteresting, lacking imagination. 

Pedestrian, as an adjective,  is subjective. What is ordinary isn’t necessarily uninteresting to some. 

Just look at this lotus leaf …

An old decaying leaf. 

While people were eager to take photos of the flowers nearby, hardly anybody noticed this leaf except for some (perhaps equally pedestrian beings) like me who see something interesting in this old leaf, with droplets of rain on it. (My husband who saw this photo just now said it’s nice. “It’s dirty but nice.” Hmmm. OK.)

There’s nothing pedestrian about this leaf from my perspective. But then again pedestrian IS subjective. 
Weekly Photo Challenge: Pedestrian 

Daily Prompt: Superficial


Why can’t we be

As pure as a flower

Growing naturally, artlessly?

Why do we have to pretend

To care when we don’t,

To feel when our hearts are empty,

To believe when we’re full of doubts,

To love when there’s only contempt?

They say if you live in society,

You need to socialize,

Be friendly, smile.

But what if society’s superficiality

Is killing you?

And you’re dying a slow, painful death

With your fake smile, and your fake laugh

And your equally fake concern

For your fake friends.

 
Perhaps this is part of living.

Perhaps life itself is superficial.

Daily Prompt: Elastic 

To be elastic is to be flexible, tolerant, resilient, to easily recover from depression or exhaustion.   

To be elastic should be everyone’s goal. 

I easily get angry, but I also easily get over the anger which sometimes annoys me because I think people shouldn’t just be allowed to readily forget the hurt they caused you. But that’s me. 

I also get depressed so easily, but let me walk around a quiet park and give me solitude and let me have a good cry, then I’ll be fine. 

Fuzhou Normal University

Jimei University

I like to think I’m “elastic,” but my husband doesn’t think so. He always tells me I’m stubborn, and maybe he’s right. But there’s one thing I’m 100% certain of — that both us have some “elasticity” within us or we wouldn’t still be happily married after 11 years! 

Have a lovely weekend! 💕
T. 

Daily Prompt: Elastic 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pedestrian (-less)

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This week’s photo challenge is to interpret “pedestrian.” I’m choosing to interpret the noun form of this word in that the bridge, the road, the sidewalk, and the campus are devoid of pedestrians.

These photos were taken yesterday on the campus of Fuzhou Normal University in Fuzhou, China. This city is an hour-and-a-half by fast train away from Xiamen and is the capital of Fujian Province.

Even though it was cloudy, hubby and I had a nice walk with my cousin (who teaches at a neighboring uni.)

Have a wonderful Thursday!

 

T.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pedestrian 

Daily Prompt: Popular 


I think most of us, in our childhood, have dreamed of becoming popular. We wanted to be liked, to have the most number of friends, but as we grow older, most of us realize, we do not need that many people in our lives. We just need our real friends, and they are usually fewer than what we originally thought.

These days people, young and old alike, gauge their popularity by the number of “likes,” “comments,” or “shares” they get for their post in whatever social media platform they are using. I was genuinely perplexed one time when a student asked another student in my class, “How would you feel if you find out your best friend ‘liked’ the post of one of your friends, but didn’t ‘like’ yours?” I really didn’t think it should matter. But then again I’m “old.”

If you’re popular, you will never have peace. People will always want to get your attention or get something from you. (I heard about Ed Sheeran refusing to use a celllphone, so he can get away from people who are always asking something from him.)

If you’re popular, you’re an easy target for criticism from people who do not like your popularity. And there are always that kind of people. And if you’re the type who value popularity, most likely you wouldn’t like criticism.

The desire for popularity, like any other form of desire, causes suffering. If you want to be popular, better be ready to suffer.
Daily Prompt: Popular

WPC: Windows

Whenever I travel, I always try to get a window seat. I’m on a plane at least 4 times a month, and still I don’t get tired of looking out the window to see the clouds or the land or the ocean.  There’s just something about these three viewed from above that makes them mesmerizing.

So here are some of the many photos I’ve taken from a window seat of a plane. Hope you like them.

T.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

WPC: Windows — Outside Looking In

I’m interpreting the challenge in another way.

Not everyone will find this lamp attractive, but I like the way the light comes through the U-shaped holes. I imagine a small house in a dark forest with a light shining from the inside through the windows. 

Have a beautiful Friday!

 

T.

img_2315-1img_2316-1img_2313-3Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

Daily Prompt: Focused 


“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” — David Hume

There is so much beauty and goodness in our world, but some people are more focused on what’s ugly and bad. 

Even the most ordinary flower by the side of the road has its beauty. If you just learn how to stop and have a closer look, you will see. 

May you find beauty in your world today. 💕
T. 
Daily Prompt: Focused 

Of flowers and funny mothers 


I bought these flowers yesterday with my mother in mind. She would’ve turned 83 today. She loved flowers and liked to have fresh flowers on the altar, so I always bought some on Sundays when I was home.

I miss my mother. I miss hearing her voice, especially her laughter. She was a funny woman who could not tell a story without standing up and making gestures and lots of facial expression. But she only did that in front of her 4th grade pupils and us, her family. She always seemed different when with other people.

At her funeral, my sisters unanimously voted for me to give the eulogy. The youngest always gets the least easy task. I was unprepared (funeral was held three days after she passed on) — sleep-deprived, a restless 5-year-old to look after, and a flight to catch –and I was unable to deliver a eulogy my dramatic yet funny mother would have liked. Sorry, Ming.

These days what it feels like is wanting so much to speak with somebody but the person can never be there anymore. Not even a video call or even a text message. Just silence. And a big part of you just wants to break that silence even just for a minute, even if what she says is the same thing over and over again.
T.

Daily Prompt: Sympathy 


Where were you …

When a baby was crying in hunger, 

A mother was grieving over her dying child, 

A beggar was looking for shelter in the cold? 

You weren’t there, 

And you refused to see

Or to even think of them. 

And now you weep, 

Alone, outside your once happy home, 

Certain that nobody will come

To comfort you in your grief. 

But don’t worry…

Somebody always does, 

And most likely they’re the ones,

You once despised 

For their silly faith 

In love, sacrifice, generosity, forgiveness and sympathy. 

Daily Prompt: Sympathy 

Daily Prompt: Peculiar 

There was nothing special about her 

Nothing unusual,

Nothing that would make one 

Take a second look. 

Then one day, people saw 

Not her ordinariness, 

But the peculiar way 

She died for the man 

That no one else could love. 
Daily Prompt: Peculiar 

Daily Prompt: Overcome

I took this photo this afternoon during a walk with hubby.


On a 12-hour flight to Vancouver and another 12-hour flight back to Manila, I watched 4 movies altogether. I liked three out of 4: Logan, The Accountant and Collateral Beauty. The fourth one was Passengers, which ironically, my friend really thought I would like because I like the idea of a life beyond this planet. But no. 
The three movies all have the theme of overcoming something. I plan to write a review of each one, so I won’t write much about them in this post. 

There is no grief, obstacle or  challenge in life that we cannot overcome, if we only persist in overcoming them and not let them overcome us instead. 

I’ve had my share of challenges, and I’m facing really tough ones these past couple of years, but I haven’t given up yet, and I don’t see myself giving up. 

I hope you won’t give up either. đŸ™đŸ»

Have a lovely weekend! 💕

T. 

Daily Prompt: Overcome

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

I took these photos of the campus of the University of Saskatchewan while waiting for my friend who was in class.

It’s a beautiful campus, and I didn’t mind waiting at all.

Hope you like the photos.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Daily Prompt: Symphony 

A symphony of natural beauty

Here’s a collection of photos I took from the day my plane landed in  Vancouver to the week I spent in Alberta, and to the last day I spent in Saskatchewan. 

Canada is a beautiful country, and the Canadians I’ve met are such wonderful people. 💕

Daily Prompt: Symphony 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures 

I took these photos in Saskatchewan, Canada. The birch bark photo was taken at the Berry Barn in Saskatoon, and the rest at the Boundary Bog Trail at the Prince Albert National Park. 

Enjoy! 💕
T. 



Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures

 

Flowers at Berry Barn

Yesterday my friend took me to the Berry Barn, a wonderful place where you can pick berries, see different flowers, shop for things for your garden, and jams and tea and all sorts of souvenirs, or have a meal or snacks in their cozy cafe with a view of the South Saskatchewan River. 

What attracted me most was the … flowers. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did taking them. 

Have a lovely Wednesday! 💕
T. 

Morning Walk around Kinsmen Park, Saskatoon 

I arrived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan yesterday afternoon. And this morning I walked around Kinsmen Park which is quite close to where my friends live. 

I’m really liking Canada (in the summer). I love the big old trees, and wide, open spaces. As I walked, I imagined how my son would love lying on the lawn and looking up at the sky. 

Enjoy the photos! 

I took a picture of this tree because I think it’s climbable, and I miss climbing trees!

E. would surely love running around or lying down on the grass and looking up at the sky.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction 

Walking around a park or any place where I can appreciate the beauty of nature gives me satisfaction. These past couple of days I’ve seen so much beauty in Canada. So much beauty gives one so much satisfaction. 😊

I hope you enjoy the photos. 💕
T. 




Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction 

Beautiful Weather in Vancouver 

Beautiful weather welcomed me today in Vancouver. So even if I had no sleep for over 24 hours, I was eager to see the city during a 17-hour layover. My first impression is there are so many Asians. I only got to walk around the University of British Columbia where I met with a former student (Chinese) who is doing a summer program there. I met her classmates who are also Chinese, and everywhere I went I heard Mandarin. It really felt like I was just in China, except that everyone can speak English. 

I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I wanted to as I wasn’t feeling well. But I’ll definitely do that when I come back to Vancouver next week. For now, I’ll sing with Neil Young…”Think I’ll go out to Alberta…đŸŽ¶đŸŽ”.”

I hope you enjoy the photos. 

Have a lovely week! 💕
T. 


Daily Post: Disastrous 


This is the trunk of one of the many mango tress that line the roads of our campus. It seems this mango tree is dying even though its leaves are still very green.  I don’t know if this has anything to do with the disastrous super typhoon that struck the city last year, or that this tree is very old. 


I took this photo a week before I left Xiamen. Perhaps by the time I get back weeks from now, this tree shall have been replaced by a healthier-looking one. Like everything in China, old stuff can easily be replaced. Even trees. 
Daily Prompt: Disastrous 

Daily Prompt: Savor

Here’s a collage of photos of tropical fruits in a supermarket here in Xiamen. They are all imported from Southeast Asia; the bananas are from the Philippines.

I’ll be home soon. Then I can savor the taste of these luscious tropical fruits at a much cheaper price! Yay!

Have a great week ahead!

 

T.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage 

Daily Prompt: Savor 

Daily Prompt: Roxy’s Moxie


Roxy lived

Hiding in her shell,

Afraid of showing

Her true, bright  self.

Then she met him

Who showed her the world

And how to survive in it.

Though now he’s gone,

She still remembers

How she finally got the moxie

From him whose name is Rocky.😜

WPC: Purple Collage

 

 

For this week’s  photo challenge, I made a collage of all the purple/purplish flowers I used on this blog. Why flowers? Because I love flowers. Why purple? Because…why not purple? Lol. I realized I have several purple flowers in my folder.

Have a lovely day!

 

T.💕

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

Daily Prompt: Savage 


Your roots savagely grow down 

From you, growing faster and stronger 

As they reach the ground 

And later strangle you. 

You from whom they came from. 

If you could stop them, 

Would you? 


(Banyan trees are also known as “strangler figs” for their “strangling” growth  habit. The roots descend from the branches and grow a pseudotrunk that makes it look like it’s strangling the main trunk. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of a pseudotrunk although I’ve seen so many here in Xiamen. I chose these two photos for the way the roots seem to grow savagely from the branches.) 

May you have a CALM week, not a savage one. 💕😁
T. 

Images of a Jimei Evening

This year Xiamen hosts the 9th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit from September 3 to 5. The city has been preparing for the summit for some time, and this is the reason the whole city, not only Xiamen island, but its district on the mainland as well, has seen so many changes — all to make Xiamen more attractive. 

Right after super typhoon Meranti struck Xiamen last year, Jimei looked so dark at night viewed from the plane. It was such a sad sight 

But these days, Jimei is all lit up, and I enjoy walking around the campus in the early evening when the lights are on. 


Have a lovely weekend!💕
T. 

Daily Prompt: Sail

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Northern Mindanao, Philippines

The last time I traveled by boat was in 2002 from Bohol, Philippines to my hometown. I was with a new friend then. We were just getting to know each other, and he was really nice. So even if it was very dark, star-less night at midnight as we hung out on the stern of the ship, and all I could see was the white foam on the big waves, I didn’t want the evening to end. (I always find it interesting looking back how when I was younger, I was not easily scared by dangerous situations — bombings, typhoons, big waves — for as long as I was with a guy I liked! How silly was that?!)

These days I would rather travel by plane than be on a ship, especially if I have to travel in the evening. I don’t care if Bradley Cooper is on the same ship, I would never travel by boat at night.

sail

Northern Mindanao, Philippines

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Don’t get me wrong. I love the sea, the ocean. See, I made this watercolor because I really like this view of a boat sailing on the sea. When I made this, I was imagining myself being on that boat watching the horizon. But now several months have passed, and I look at this again, I’m thinking that can’t be me. I’d never get on a boat alone.

 

Daily Prompt: Sail 

Unhappy? 


Happiness may be momentary, but then so is unhappiness. One can’t be happy every second. It’s just not possible. I’m sure even the happiest person in this world has had his/her share of heartaches.  And one can’t possibly be unhappy every second. Even the most depressed person can find something to smile about, no matter how fleeting that moment may be.

I’ve been reading Balzac’s Father Goriot, and in this novel the titular character, M. Goriot devotes his life to making his two beautiful daughters happy even if they do not really care about him. His young neighbor, Eugene, asks him why he does everything for his daughters and even live so poorly when his daughters live such extravagant lives in their luxurious homes. M. Goriot replies, “Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another’s happiness than in your own.”

When we truly love someone — our spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends — it makes us happy to see them happy especially if we are responsible for that happiness. It does not even matter if they consciously do something to make us happy or not, just seeing the happiness reflected in their eyes is enough.

And this is proven to me every time my son laughs or smiles at something I say or do. That look on his face and the sound of his laughter give me joy that last as long as I can recall them.

It is easy to be happy: make someone happy. 💕

Have a lovely week!

T.

Daily Prompt: Passenger

passenger

I can see the island from here,

A part of me is eager to see

What it has to offer,

What kind of people I’ll meet.

But a voice inside me tells me,

“This island won’t be any different

From the one you just left. 

The stories you will see 

Unfold before you,

Will have the same plot,

Different characters,

But the same endings

Because you are the same you. 

Wherever you go.

Your story never changes.” 

T.

 

Daily Prompt: Passenger

Changes, Transitions and the Passing of Time

JMU at 6A.M.

Yesterday I went out for a walk at about 5:15 in the morning. These days sunrise is usually around 5:30. As most of the students have already left for the summer, the campus was blissfully quiet when I walked around.

Jimei at 6:30 P.M.

In the evening, I went out again after spending the whole day working on the computer. This time I went out of the campus. I took a picture of this new bridge that will replace the rickety temporary one that they put up after closing the old underpass, which I kind of miss because of the memory I have of the people who were always there during my first year here: the friendly fruit lady, and the old man who played the erhu, the melody of which echoed around the walls of the underpass and even above ground.

Jimei at 7:15 P.M.

Getting back to the campus, I walked towards the west side. I  took a photo of these new apartment buildings situated in what I used to think was a swamp. A taxi driver whom I’ve known for as long as I’ve been here once told us that they used to take a boat from their home on the southern part of the district to this place where these buildings are now.

For me, Jimei  has changed so much in just over a decade. For the quinquagenarians and older, even more so.

Everything changes. Everyone changes. 

All one can do is move on.

Have a lovely weekend!💕
T.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delta

Daily Prompt: Local

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Mango: my favorite fruit. The sweetest mangoes I’ve ever tasted were from the Philippines.

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These ones are from a local supermarket here in Xiamen but they are imported from I’m not sure which Southeast Asian country. Or maybe they are just from Hainan.

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Back home we would slice these green mangoes into strips and dip it into a mix of soy sauce and vinegar. It’s sour and salty and just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

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I don’t have a picture of it here, but the Carabao mango or Philippine mango, locally grown in Zambales, is supposedly the sweetest mango in the world.

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, try Philippine mangoes. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

 

T.

Daily Prompt: Local 

Daily Prompt:Cringe


As a child, I always either cringed or ran away at the sight of insects (especially flying ones like moths and cockroaches) and bats! Now I’m married to a man who grew up in a farm and finds insects fascinating.

We noticed this moulting cicada one afternoon while we were walking, and my first question was, “Is it going to fly?” He assured me it wasn’t going to fly. Yet. So I got my phone camera  ready and started snapping pictures of this creature that would normally make me cringe, but which my husband looked at with…a meaningful smile.


I got to see this cicada shedding off its skin and growing its wings just a couple of days after my husband and I watched Alien:Covenant (not my kind of movie, but when you’re married you sometimes have to watch movies that you don’t like!) This cicada reminded me of the creatures that the android character, David, created. The word “beautiful” never came to mind. But after seeing this photo on my iPad with my reading glasses on … I thought it looks quite interesting.

Perhaps those things that usually make us cringe just need a closer inspection. Perhaps we’ll change our minds.

But nah, I’m not interested in taking a closer look at cockroaches.

Have a lovely Monday! 💕
T.

Daily Prompt: Cringe 

Daily Prompt: Commit

A patch of blue sky on a cloudy day in Jimei

To commit not only means “to do; perform; perpetrate.” It also means “to give in trust or charge” and “to pledge, to bind, to obligate oneself.” 

It was only after I got married that I  formed a different idea of commitment. Before marriage, I was committed to making myself happy. I was always my first priority — if I was unhappy, or worse, angry, I showed it and never mind if somebody else became unhappy or angrier than I as a consequence. Marriage made me realize that commitment means not only pledging or binding yourself to your partner but also doing what is best for both of you. And sometimes what is best for both husband and wife is humility, which is quite a tall order of a virtue. 

I know I am not an easy person to live with, but my husband is committed to being with me for the rest of our lives, and so am I with him. I have a personality that I’m sure no other man would be able to tolerate, but my husband does. And for that I’m grateful. Both of us have changed so much in over a decade of being married, and despite the many trials we’ve been through we’ve managed to remain each other’s best friend. I guess we both have accepted who and what we are — good and bad, and just remain focused on our first priority, which is not our individual selves, but our son.  To me, that’s commitment. 

Have a lovely weekend! 💕

T. 
Daily Prompt: Commit 

Daily Prompt : Paper


When we were just little girls, my sisters and I collected scented stationery. Those sheets looked so pretty and smelled so sweet, we couldn’t write on them. We just looked at them. Well, some of them. There finally came a time when we used them to write to someone who deserved such beautiful paper. Of course we made sure our handwriting didn’t ruin the look of the paper.

Three years ago, my friend gave me this boxed set of notecards and envelopes. They look so pretty I still haven’t used them. I know one day I’ll be able to scribble a few lines for someone who deserves such a beautiful note card.

But that person will have to decipher my handwriting.

Have a lovely weekend! 💕
T.
Daily Prompt: Paper 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient 

Jimei Bridge, Xiamen


This photo was taken last month as our plane was landing at Gaoqi Airport, Xiamen. 

For the  last two years, I’ve been flying home every month, which means at least four flights a month. So I feel something like a transient in the two cities I call home. They are both home, yet when I am in either place, it seems I’m only there as a guest. 

I am hopeful that this year, I will cease feeling like a transient and have more stability in my life. I hope my whole family can be together in one safe place. đŸ™đŸ»
T. 💕

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient 

Daily Prompt: Meddle 

There are people who can’t seem to stop meddling in others’ personal lives. They will say they care about us, so they feel they have to say something. Sometimes we may appreciate being told, other times we may think it’s annoying. 
As now I have only a few people with whom I talk about myself freely, I don’t have this problem anymore. I don’t have to be rude and tell anyone, “Get off my back!” 

Have a stress-free day! 💕
T. 
Daily Prompt: Meddle 

Daily Prompt: Relieved 

This may sound very simplistic, but it is quite true: when I am stressed out, all I need is some alone time (not necessarily a quiet place, but a place where I don’t have to talk to anybody) and a bit of nature to to look at — flowers, trees, lake — and then I can recover. My problems may not be solved, but at least I’d have the energy and the clarity of mind to face them.


When people are unhappy about things, they want to cure themselves of this unhappiness as quickly as possible, and do things that most often just add to their unhappiness. I think we ought to embrace this unhappiness first before we let it go. And then we can look to nature to remind ourselves that everything is being taken care of.

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” –Luke 12:27

I believe nature can help heal our unhappiness. We just need to spend time with it and be relieved of our worries by it.

Nature loves patience: always remember that. It is a law given her of God Himself, who has blessed all those who are strong to endure.” –– Gogol, Dead Souls

May you find relief from all your troubles. 💕
T.


Daily Prompt: Relieved

Focus on the Ephemeral 


Just like I don’t have the confidence to call myself a writer, I cannot ever call myself a photographer. But I enjoy writing and taking pictures among other things that introverts like myself enjoy doing.

When I take photos, I try to make them look the same way I see them with my own eyes. And to me it can be very difficult sometimes because first, my hands aren’t very steady; second, I do not know much about lighting and that kind of stuff; and third, I just use either my iPhone or my iPad to take pictures.

One time while I was walking with a friend, I stopped to take pictures of flowers, and he shook his head and asked, “Why do you take pictures?”

Good question. That time I only said because I like doing so. But having thought about it, I think I now know the answer.

Perhaps subconsciously it is an attempt on my part to capture moments that are simply that — moments, ephemeral, temporary. There may be flowers and leaves and trees everywhere, but as Robert Burns said, “And this same flower that smiles today, / Tomorrow will be dying.”

They may look the same, but it’s not the same flower, not the same moment, not the same minute.

Every photograph is a record not only of the subject (flower, leaf, sunset, or ocean) but also of a certain ME, at a certain time, at a certain place with a certain person. Everything we do leads us somewhere. We are always changing. Everything around us changes. As Heraclitus famously said, “No man can ever step in the same river twice.”

You can’t record every minute of your life. But you can keep photographs of certain moments of it.

Have a lovely week!
T.💕

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order 

Misamis Oriental, Philippines 

 

There’s chaos in some parts of Mindanao, but in some areas like Misamis Oriental where the airport is, there’s peace and calm and order.

I had asked the driver to stop at this spot.  The farmer agreed with a smile when I asked if I could take a picture. My family and I were on our way to an airport hotel where we could spend the night before my flight back the next day. I didn’t want to miss my flight because of the curfew and numerous checkpoints (at least 6  during a one-hour drive, but the soldiers were all courteous and friendly!)

Being home and seeing how people were scared but were fighting their fear by trying as best they could to live as normally as possible, I was greatly encouraged, and I’m very proud of my fellow Mindanaoans.

Lohas Hotel, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental

 


With or without Martial Law, life goes on in Mindanao. There’s still some kind of order.

Have a peaceful week!
T.

“Gather ye rosebuds…” (WPC: Evanescent)

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Nothing symbolizes the evanescence of life more than a beautiful flower.  Life has its beauty and its fragility, reasons we value what little time we have. The beauty of a flower is as ephemeral as its short life.

Evanescent. Ephemeral.

The only way to deal with the evanescence of life is to enjoy every minute of it.

Carpe diem. 

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To the Virgins,  to Make Much of time 
By Robert Herrick 
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent 

De-stressing after socializing 

As an introvert and a creature of habit, I get stressed when my routine gets thrown off especially by socializing with people with whom I’m not really keen on socializing. A friend asked why I meet with such people when I don’t like doing so. The answer is simple: because as a member of society, I have to.

I have a very small circle of people I get in regular contact with, and I usually initiate the communication. So when I have to meet with people outside that circle and put on some kind of a role, where I make “polite” conversation, I get exhausted after such an “event.” It IS like an event.

You may say, ” You don’t have to pretend! Just be yourself.” Now, if being myself is looking unhappy while having a meal with people, is that a good thing? You may also say, “Nobody is forcing you to hang out with these people.” Well, I am forcing myself to hang out with these people because I do not want them to think there is something wrong with them that I do not want to spend time with them! This is really true — it’s NOT them; it’s ME! Just because I do not find them interesting or like listening to them does not mean they are bad people. They are not, so I do not want to hurt their feelings. Besides, what I feel about them is not a rational judgment of them as a person. What I feel does not really determine who or what they are, but it says so much about who and what I am. Hence, I socialize and suffer afterwards.

So what do I do to de-stress after socializing? I go to a place where I don’t know anybody and nobody knows me. And then I go dark.

Earlier today I visited a park I had not been to in 10 years, and right now I’m writing this as I’m having coffee at a McDonald’s I had not been to in at least 5 years. It’s a busy place, but nobody’s talking to me, and I’m at peace.

Is it age that makes me get easily exhausted after socializing and disoriented after a change in routine? Or am I no different from my son?

Here are some photos I took at the park.

Hope you have a relaxing weekend!
T.


Zhong Shan Park, Xiamen 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting 

Sunrise over Visayas, Philippines. I took this photo early this month on a trip back to Mindanao. 

It may sound cheesy but … the beauty of the sun reflected on the the ocean made me reflect on the beauty of nature. And I’m grateful for this beauty and for being able to witness and experience it. 

T. 
Weekly  Photo Challenge: Reflecting 

Daily Prompt: Exposed 

“Violet by  a mossy stone 

Half-hidden from the eye …” — Wordsworth 

I saw this beautiful little flower by the side of the road during my morning walk last weekend. From a distance, it truly looked quite ordinary  but, since I had not seen this kind of flower before,  I knelt down and took a closer look.  I thought it was beautiful, so I took this photo. 

This particular violet flower is no longer “half-hidden from the eye.” Its beauty is exposed for my readers to see. 🙂 

Have a lovely week! 
T. 


Daily Prompt: Better


Blue, blue sky

White cottony clouds,

Cool breeze blowing the hair from my face,

Warm water touching our feet,

And your soft little hand in mine

Holding tightly, afraid of being let go,

Days like this are few and far between

And make moments like the