Noun.The examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
I’ve been going through a period of considerable flux. It’s forced me to reevaluate my entire life: my faith, my values, the relationships I have, the direction I’ve allowed my life to take, the decisions I’ve made and the decisions I’ve allowed people to make for me. And let me tell you, it was a painful and ugly process. It was hard to look in the mirror and not recognise the person staring back at me. How had I let myself get here?
I’ve had to face a lot of hard truths about myself. I’ve also had to have a lot counselling…something which I never actually thought I would find myself doing. But it has helped immensely. It has allowed me to see the positives in me that I needed to remember, so that I could rebuild and heal. I’m not saying it’s all rosy and happy-going now. It’s a process and I’m in no way even a third of the way through, not even a quarter there.
I’m going to have to start from scratch. I need to get to know myself again. Figure out what MY boundaries are, what my hard limits are, what my deal breakers are. I need to be comfortable with expressing how I feel, if I am hurt, if something feels uncomfortable, if something makes me feel disrespected, and what I need to feel seen, acknowledged, and considered. I need to stop apologising for expressing my feelings.
I know that I will need to redevelop my communication style, because I know that I have the unfortunate tendency to say what I think and I feel, without, necessarily, the required sensitivity filters. But one thing I am sure of, I no longer want to walk on eggshells in my own life. I refuse to apologise for speaking my mind and my heart.
I say that I’m still floating about, but that life has gotten in the way and that I haven’t written in a while. I have been writing though. Just not online. Writing things down in my journal because I’ve been trying to make sense of what I’m going through.
It’s been a tough few months.
The last few weeks have been even more challenging. Some days better than others. I’m taking it a day at a time. I know things will get better. I just can’t see it right now. But it’s a step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Some days even the smile sticks.
I just have to believe that things will get better.
I’ve not been feeling the urge to write. So I’m thankful for the ability to take photos. It allows me to put in content in other ways. I think the writing muses are letting me adjust to the massive change in my life. I don’t think I’m in the right grief stage. I’m waiting for the despondency to hit me…right when I’m vulnerable and not expecting it.
My feelings are still spaghetti-in-bowl tangled and I think I need to sort things out in my head first so that it makes sense to me.
He left with a smile. And he made sure I knew that he heard me when I said “I love you Abba!”
My dearest miracle man is now healthy, whole, and singing his heart out in Heaven. I can just imagine the Hebrew conversations you’re having there.
My dearest Tatay, Dr Florencio-Isagani S. Medina, III, passed away today, 10 November, early in the morning Philippine time.
My Abba was a quiet man, but when he spoke he spoke with eloquence, and he spoke when it mattered. He was strict, very strict in fact, but he would spoil us too. He knew exactly when to do it. And when he did treat us, it was treating on a massive scale. He made sure we had everything we wanted. My Abba was a generous man. He was generous not only to his family and friends, he was generous with everything and with everyone – his wife, his children, his brothers and sisters, his in-laws, his friends, his neighbours, his colleagues at work, his students and even the man who sells us taho. He was kind because he knew what it was to live without, how it was to be hungry, and if he could help someone else not go through the pain, he would do what he could.
Abba, I feel so blessed to have been born into your family. I am so proud to be your daughter. I am happy that you are now free from the limitations of your body. But I will miss you so very much, more than I can ever say. Thank you for staying with us for 7 years. Thank you for enduring the difficulties your strokes brought on your body. You knew we needed you. You knew we weren’t ready to not have you with us. Thank you for everything. My heart is so full because you gave to us so beautifully and completely. You made sure we knew we were loved., completely, unconditionally and individually.
I love you forever Abbadabbadoo! I’ll see you later!
I’ve been asking myself existential blogging questions lately.
I haven’t blogged for a while. I actually thought that I hadn’t written anything for a year.
Although the last thing I actually wrote was the eulogy that I’d prepared for to celebrate the life of my dearest Tita (auntie in Filipino) Margie, who passed away on 27 May 2021. I’d forgotten about that. But just like everything that has happened in the last several months, everything feels like a lifetime ago. That’s another blog entry altogether!
A friend asked me if I still blogged (which is what actually brought about this existential reverie) and I answered and said I still had a blog but I hadn’t written in a very long time. They said they didn’t blog anymore because they felt that blogging was something that interesting people did. I truly wanted to splutter and object and say that we’re all interesting people! But of course, I didn’t.
That conversation does weigh heavily in my thoughts these days. Am I just fooling myself into thinking that I have something to say? Is anyone else interested in the mundane banality of my extraordinarily ordinary life?
I mean I have opinions. I have all these ideas of food to cook and bake. I’ve got all these things that I want to do. I have photographs to share. But is blogging still a relevant platform? I used to have a massive reach when I blogged on a different blog-hosting platform (which weirdly enough the name escapes me!). I had so many people read my blog entries, comment on my opinions and just interact.
I guess with the explosion of social media, blogging and microblogging platforms compete for the attention of the many people who consume content online. And if you’re someone so ordinary like me, you tend to get lost in the content posted by more prominent personalities.
Then it leads to the question – Why then do I post my prose online?
That question has made me think. I guess I still want to share my thoughts. I’m still of the opinion that if I share what I think, somehow, somewhere, someone else will read it and smile (or laugh) because they’ll think that they’re not alone, that someone else in the world is like them.
It’s been an odd 18 months, I’m sure you’ll all agree. But unlike other (wannabe) creatives, I’ve procrastinated and I’ve stayed away from blogging. I’m not quite sure why. I’ve been busy with my real-world job and just learning to navigate the new world of Covidlandia.
I have been crocheting a lot though. I finally managed to finish my 100 poppies for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal British Legion. I’ve had a few people buy them from me already and I am so thankful! Please be assured that the poppies have come from a Covid-free environment (I test often as I travel to and from work regularly). If anyone wants one, please let me know and I can send you details of how you can help me raise funds to donate to the RBL!
I’m going to try to blog more often. Even if it is just to rant or share a random thing. This person’s writing muscle needs to be exercised!
In Filipino, we have a word for “big sister” – it is ATE (ah-teh). In several Philippine dialects, it is Manang (mah-nahng). We also have other words for elder sister, according to whether they are eldest, second eldest, third eldest, and so on.
In my mom’s family, there is an Ate, a Ditse, a Sanse and a bunso. My Lolo Osiong and Lola Gening had 8 living children – 4 boys and 4 girls.
The Ate in my mom’s family was my Tita Margie. Tita Margie was, to me, the paragon of all Ate virtues. Without any exaggeration, I’ve always felt that Tita Margie epitomised the perfect “Ate”. She took care of her family. She took care of my Lolo and Lola. She took care of her siblings. She was at least 10 years older than the second eldest girl and she took her role as big sister seriously.
Mom often recalled that her Manang Margie made matching clothes for them, my Tita Migen, my Mom and my Tita Bing. They had pictures of the three of them wearing matching outfits that Tita Margie had sewn for them. Mama always said that Tita Margie always insisted on all of them being turned out well, that she would sew them outfits if they had something important to go to. She was the same with us. She would insist we dressed up properly and dressed appropriately.
Tita Margie started sewing when she was in high school and never really stopped. I remember she would sew clothes for my cousins and me. I remember all the clothes she sewed for me. Her sewing machine and sewing kit were a never-ending bag of surprises and she created magic with needle, thread, cloth and her Singer sewing machine. Once, my brother Aryeh asked for a plane-shaped soft toy and Tita Margie, even though she had never made a toy like that before, gamely took the challenge on. That toy is still at home, in Don Jose, somewhere. Tita Margie always made things to last.
Tita Margie was the constant in my mom’s family…at least to me she was. She was always there for everyone – for her brothers and sisters, for her nieces and nephews. She was the head cheerleader for her family. She was proud of her siblings and their achievements and I know that in her own way, she made sure that her siblings knew that. She let them shine and she helped them shine.
Tita Margie always wanted the best for her family. She was the same with her nieces and nephews. In a way that was uniquely Tita Margie, she encouraged all of us to be the best we could be. She supported us in whatever way she could. She cheered us on but at the same time, if she felt we were behaving in a manner that was less than acceptable, she would tell us, in no uncertain terms. She had rules and she had standards. But she had a way of calling out bad behaviour that only she could. We may not have felt it at the time, but in hindsight, everything she did, she did in love, because, she always wanted what was best for us.
Everything she did, she did because she loved us. Everything she did, she did for her family. Her love for her family was in everything she did, in every word, in every deed, in every stitch, in every treat, in every gift.
I cannot imagine Manila without Tita Margie. I cannot imagine not seeing her cheeky smile and hearing her witty conversation. But at the same time, I am relieved that she is no longer in pain, no longer uncomfortable, no longer struggling to move. I am thankful that she is now healthy and whole, with my Lolo and Lola, with my Uncle Magni, Uncle Franklin and Uncle Wawell. I am thankful that she is now with the Lord. I am thankfully reassured that when the time comes, I will be with her again.
I got my first jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca on Monday.
It involved a trip into the Colchester suburbs and finding the vaccination centre was the most challenging part. It was fairly efficient as they did have their list of people who’d signed up for vaccines to check against. They do say not to arrive too early because the vaccination centre I went to was a pharmacy with basically, a consulting room, that they turned into an inoculation room. There were appropriate social distancing measures and a lot of reminders. Of course, not everyone read or followed the suggestions to social distance and that is another post all together!
Today is Day 2 post the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and I can definitively agree with Her Majesty that the jab (itself) “didn’t hurt at all!” But the list of side effects after the jab that on the Gov.UK website is spot on. There are also leaflets on the Gov.UK website for the specific vaccines. I’ve added the links to the Gov.UK web pages below.
You need to make sure you bring or have the following to hand:
According to the Gov.UK website:
Your NHS number
A face mask/covering
I had with me (because I worry, over prepare and over pack, most times)
My mobile that had a copy of my booking confirmation number and confirmation texts
Hygiene kit which included: disposable face masks, hand wipes. and hand sanitiser.
My passport, in case I need to show ID.
I felt really unwell about 12 hours after the jab, headachy, muscle aches, joint aches (I was feeling every single second of my 44 years let me tell you!) feverish, chills and brain fog/confusion. But yesterday was a better day and whilst I’m still waking up later than usual and waking up to a fuzzy head, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday. A top tip that I learned from others, if you can, take paracetamol, just before your jab so that the paracetamol is in your system already when the jab comes in and will help with the symptoms as soon as they start hitting. Of course, if you can’t take paracetamol before, take it as soon as possible, after the jab. Expect symptoms as soon as 30 minutes after the jab. A few of my friends in the NHS have even said they got symptoms sooner.
Apparently, you get a card that says you’ve received the 2 vaccinations. I’m not quite sure whether this is given at the first jab and the centre I went to just didn’t have them.
Just sharing and I hope this helps!
I’ve posted long and rambling video updates on my IGTV, if you’re interested in looking and listening to me ramble about my vaccination experience!
January has always, in the past, been a very busy month for me.
I worked for a chartered accountants’ firm for nearly 7 years and since 2013, January was a running-around-like-a-headless-chicken period because we had personal tax clients who needed help filing their tax returns in time for the 31 January deadline. I hope you’ve managed to file your tax returns online yesterday! If you need a recommendation, send me a message and I’ll let you have their contact details!
I thought moving to Drinkaware was going to be a little less harried. To be fair, I think it would’ve been less harried because most of the leg work would’ve been finished towards the end of December. Of course, December 2019 was the first time the world started hearing about the virus that we now know as Covid-19 and it was the holiday period before this novel virus became a pandemic.
I don’t think I would’ve written 2020 off as a non-starter. True, it was a year when I yelled, “Stop the world! I want to get off!” and, quite literally, life as we all know it, paused! The words “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. However, it was a year of firsts and a year where we were all forced to learn about ourselves and learn about our personal limits. And as I always say, when there is learning, it’s an environment that I thrive in!
Enter 2021. We’re all still in the midst of a global pandemic (isn’t that the right way to phrase it, surely a pandemic is already global?) and it looks like we haven’t come out the other side yet! We’re still social distancing and it seems like we’re not learning the lessons that we should’ve learned after 2020 (or at least, a small percentage of the population seem to have completely ignored the infection control lessons – I’m ignoring that particular soapbox for now!). The light of the end of this dark tunnel is that we now have effective vaccines in circulation. There is hope. There is definitely something to look forward to.
It’s the First of February! I’m relieved to have survived January 2021. It feels like it’s been a year…or maybe it was just me!
Here’s to all of us who have come out of January still smiling! Yay us!