“And miles to go….”

It’s been quite a while since I last posted; it feels like years even though it’s only a couple of months as so much has happened.

This morning in class, I told my students it felt like I had not met with them for years, even though it was only in July that we said goodbye for the summer break. I forgot how to use some of the features of our virtual classroom.

Though I went to Cebu twice last year, and to Manila this year, I haven’t left the country in over 2 years. The last flight I took was 2 weeks ago, coming home from Manila, and I felt so sorry for myself for feeling nervous about the turbulence.

Before the pandemic, I took 4 flights every month for almost 4 consecutive years, and always took red-eye flights that I was too tired to worry about turbulence.

These days I easily get nervous, scared. I’d rather pay more than take a late afternoon flight. But I know I should overcome this fear.

I still have some traveling to do. I still have to see my husband again.

There’s still so much that needs to be done. There’s still miles to go….

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. 🌼

Hope and Gratitude

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My last post wasn’t very optimistic, so despite my busy schedule, I am determined to write another one just to do my share of encouraging anyone who reads this, to have hope and to always look forward to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; and more importantly, to cherish this time when you CAN stay at home and prepare your meals and/or sleep in instead of rushing to work without breakfast.

I, too, cherish this time when I can be with my son for a much longer time — we’ve been together since December 23rd when I came home, and then we left for China and stayed there for a little over 2  weeks, and then came back home on the 11th of January. My flight was cancelled three times; I rebooked 3 times. Finally a couple of days ago, I just asked for a refund.

With the “community quarantine” order in our city, classes have been cancelled; malls have been closed; public transportation, suspended. Thankfully, being at home all day has not really affected my 9-year old son that much. He has not gone to school or to his occupational and speech therapies for almost a month now, but simply having all of us at home — me, my two sisters and my 17-year-old nephew — is enough to make him happy. He does speaking, reading and writing  activities with my sister, and PE activities with my nephew. Having my sisters and nephew at home allows me to do my online teaching for the university. Though I am way busier now than if I were back in China teaching in a classroom, I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my son and be able to contribute to the progress he makes by reading to him, talking and playing with him.

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This is not the first pandemic the world has seen, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. But humanity survived previous pandemics when they did not have as much means to fight the enemy as we do now with advances in science and technology; when they did not have as easy a means to share information as we do now. I don’t think it is a false hope that we will overcome this one.

So believe that things will be better because they will. And in the meantime, focus on the many things you can do while stuck at home — because if you really look, you’ll find there are many tasks just waiting to be done that you have not been able to do because you had to go to work. Now is the time.

May you always find a reason to be hopeful and grateful.