Jane Eyre nights

Do you read yourself to sleep? Sometimes I do. Thirteen years ago I often did.

1998 was a terrible year for me. So much drama in my hands I was hardly aware of what was going on in the world. I did vaguely remember though cloning in the news. And I managed to take note of my country’s new president, the actor, whose election put images of Ronald Reagan in my head. How I like his facial expression. It’s kind.

There was something about Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide. I remember thinking as long as I get to visit Angkor Wat before anything happens to it I am fine with the world. And I buried the rest of my own problems in books.  What perfect timing to read the Brontes. Just more of the depression that I needed. But at least those depressions were not mine and I took comfort in realizing I wasn’t the Queen of Depression at all.


Wuthering Heights. Check. Agnes Grey. Check. Jane Eyre. Double check.

Yesterday I watched the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre on DVD.  A bit of classic romance for a nice break. Reading yourself to sleep could be way better than Valium. It also comes with nostalgic nights spent with story characters. This is the 1998 that I want to keep in memory.

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Pleasant November

We are nearing the end of our “flood vacation.” On Sunday to be exact. But trending updates notify some employees to resume work on the 15th. If that’s a government directive for all establishments, I might get to stay put too for another week. Life goes on normally for me and I am truly grateful.

i. Books that Changed the World and 1984. To minimize shipping costs and effort, I promised to stop collecting books until I am back home for good. But I couldn’t resist getting into a book shop when I see one so I ended up buying two more. I’ll worry about packing later. For now I am happy with my loot.

ii. Water for Elephants and From Prada to Nada (on DVD) are a few films I missed. It’s good to find them quickly while shopping, and add them to my video library.

iii. Honey mustard chicken and banana mint smoothie at Piri-Piri. It’s my second time at this restaurant. Pricey, yummy. Do you like Portuguese chicken?

iv. Listening to CJ: I can’t ride it anymore… Mommmyyyy! why did you tie my swivel chair? I replied: why? what did you do in church? Am I not so deaf! Sometimes my life drives me crazy but I’m in love with the moments that make me laugh.

v. Bonus. During routine balance check, I noticed the ATM screen showing something I wasn’t expecting to see. After changes in wages brought about by those student riots, I’ve been lucky to keep my job and wished for nothing more. But a bonus? I better believe it.

Thanks to Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story for hosting Friday’s Fave Five.

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One little guy’s opinion

Last weekend my mother sent me a text describing CJ’s comment on a page of a volume of his Bible Friends. It was one on the crucifixion:

This is Jesus. He said to his Father, why did you forsake me but he did not answer. Oh, what a pity to Jesus.

The wrong grammar and loose semantics amused me. Detaching my rigid academic head off lay stuff was a learning moment. All those fine scholarly writings I encounter at work and I get to witness a child’s cute opinion. Don’t you just love life’s bonuses?

Yesterday my mother rang. It was to worry about me and the current flood situation in Bangkok. A couple of minutes in:

CJ: (rambling in the background) I can’t ride it anymore… (then butting in to address me) Mommmyyyy! why did you tie my swivel chair?

Me: Why, what did you do in church?

Am I not so deaf?! (nakakaloka ang buhay na to)

Ma then explained that she told CJ it was my order to have his swivel chair tied in a corner to prevent ‘improper traffic’ in the living room. With CJ’s ongoing speech and occupational therapy sessions I am grateful his mind is functioning and he is behaving normally.

Summer watching Ultraman in a makeshift corner; he would later discover another way of riding wheels - like yesterday's incident

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Still in one piece

The little street I see out my porch glints in the sun. Bone-dry. I can’t believe I and a few friends remain flood-free when the rest of Bangkok are in serious trouble. I will not try to understand why or how my area is still spared because I can’t. This is God’s business now. Mine is to thank Him for allowing me to live life normally this far.

i. Passport validity sorted in time for visa expiry. What normally takes 4-6 weeks to process only took one. I would be required to exit to another country if this wasn’t accomplished before November 3rd. Thank God I don’t have to wade into an aircraft in a flooded airport.

ii. Bank transactions completed. SC Bank as most other businesses are quiet. Everyone’s gone escaping waters bursting in from the leaking dikes.  But I need jammed numbers for online shopping and payments sorted this week so I tried and it was done.

iii. I’m still properly nourished. There hasn’t been any reason yet to scrimp on food despite submerged food factories and vanishing edible goods from the supermarkets. In fact I never saw my fridge this well-stocked before.

iv. An opportunity to offer help and knowing friends care. I offered space in my apartment for friends who might need it. A friend on the other side of the world keep asking how I am, should he ship food or whatever else over…. It’s a good feeling.

v. The Three Musketeers helped me forget fear and worry while watching it.  There were only six of us in the theater. We got in and out of the building climbing up and down sandbags. I came back home in one piece. Happy and grateful.

Thanks to Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story for hosting Friday’s Fave Five.

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Something bucolic, something urban

Some of my most favorite things are oil paintings, reproduction or the real thing, of bucolic scenes.  This picture depicts exactly what I appreciate in a way that makes my heart flutter. If you thought of fluttering butterflies on a flower bed, yes, that’s exactly how my heart behaves when I look at pictures like this:

William Adolphe Bouguereau

Now to more realistic scenes – don’t you just love it when your kid shows interest in your interest? This was routine shopping last summer. I could not resist getting inside a book shop that we happened to pass by. It’s magic when I’m surrounded with books and when I saw CJ doing this, although he does this at home too, I went clicking.

Guess I will always be grateful to a friend who used her sense of perfect timing and choice to capture a very quick but beautiful moment I had with CJ. I have posted this photo previously and I make no excuse for posting this again today.  A fave. Obviously.

Favorite photos this week at The Mommy Journey.

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So far so good

Ayutthya, the Thai ancient capital has been inundated since last week.  According to news updates, Bangkok is next.  Photos and video footages, while informative are scary. I’m listing this week’s highlights as I go. Think, think… sounds like this will all be about gratitude. One major blessing is never running out of things to be thankful for.

i. Still walking on dry, solid ground.  Bangkokians have been told to brace for the flood particularly on October 16-18. We haven’t been flooded yet. This is when you are really glad predictions or calculations are wrong.

ii. Cartoons. Most information released to the public seem either exaggerated or inaccurate while blame and criticism trend by the hour. I get an overview of what’s going on from editorial cartoons.  They’re rather easy to analyze.

iii. Books, tea and coffee.  Panic-buying all around.  I don’t have to join the throng that emptied grocery shelves at virtual lightning speed. There’s enough to keep me occupied until things get back to normal. I’m so thankful for internet connection too.

iv. CJ is safe. Inasmuch as I miss my kiddo, I’m really thankful he is not with me right now but living life normally with Grandma in PI. This calamity is easier to handle knowing I only have to deal with my own safety and not worry about his.

v. Literary comfort.  There’s Noah and the first rainbow, Coleridge’s ‘water, water everywhere…,’ (I love how poetry calms the nerves) and Tennyson’s

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

The same lines I mentally chanted while on a flight home for my father’s funeral in 2005. “This (flood or any other trouble) too shall pass.” Thanks to whoever said that.

Susanne hosts Friday’s Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story.

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The nobel laureate

As writers and readers, as sinners and citizens, our realism and our aesthetic sense make us wary of crediting the positive note. ~ Seamus Heaney

Significance-to-me was my objective as I browsed handy Wikipedia for events in 1995. What is there with me to associate them with…. Here they go in random order:

WTO or World Trade Organization is established. In the grades we had this Current Events Digest that we bought for 75c, a Social Studies supplementary material. In it were important acronyms that we had to take note of. I remember WTO, NASA and WHO among several important others.

A chemical fire occurs in Manila exposing Project Bojinka, a mass terrorist attack plan masterminded by Ramzi Youseff. I had Youseff front page in a research proposal I wrote to the University of Copenhagen.

Talk of irony. I blabbed about terrorism to point out peace as my study rationale. Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 30.28 to close at 4,003.33. Ex in-laws used to talk of the Dow over meals at those family get-togethers. I would leave the table and tickle the piano with my stock market illiterate fingers.

The DVD media format is announced. To my left while I write this post, I glance at my collection of DVDs over the years. Isn’t it blu ray now?

Oklahoma City bombing. One of my favorite magazines, The Reader’s Digest, featured a book section story of bomber Timothy McVeigh and the victims. I hid my face with a larger mag in the faculty lounge so co-teachers wouldn’t see me welling up.

Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi is freed from house arrest. She crosses my mind when it’s mango season in Thailand. This brave lady reportedly likes Thai mangoes. My son’s nanny, “Auntie Gwen” is Burmese. She always had this Burmese-English dictionary with her. I like her effort to learn how to speak English.

Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “what the Nobel committee described as ‘works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.'” He is also called the most important Irish poet since Yeats. I’m a fan of Yeats (and Jane Austen). My adoration for their works is on the tag line of my Stasia Desiderata blog – austenuating a fire in my head.

I wonder if JK Rowling thought of the laureate when she created Seamus Finnigan.

Photo Courtesy: MCKERS

During those introductory grad school sessions at Bangkok University, a Nobel Prize winner was announced as one of our guest speakers. I was excited to listen to an academic celebrity, but missed the opportunity. Oh well, maybe next time.

My professional life was off to a good start. I published an article in a national women’s magazine (which later appalled me; can’t believe my writing style then). My head was going places. But my heart was reeling. Le Boyfriend got married. To another girl.

Nursing a broken heart didn’t persuade me to enter the convent though. It’s awesome to survive and I’m ever thankful to be alive. Let those memories fly on gossamer wings. Or fly back to stay. There’s a big difference when you’re over a tough dent.

I’m still celebrating.  I most probably always will.

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