Death comes in threes

They say death comes in threes, and today I was gravely reminded of this omen. When I woke up, I scrolled on Facebook and saw that a friend’s sister had gotten her tombstone engraved. The headstone said that she was a mother, nurse, sister, daughter and friend. I didn’t know her well, but I remembered her bright smile and silky black hair. Then in the middle of the day, when I had a few minutes between meetings, I scrolled on to Facebook again and saw that a fundraiser had been organized for an 11-year old boy who recently passed away. He was diagnosed with cancer in February and fought through the doctor visits, sleepless nights and unbearable pain. When I clicked on the link, the $25,000 goal was near its target, even only having a day’s notice. I didn’t know the young boy, but at 11- years old, he could have easily been one of my future students. Then later that night, as I was winding down on the couch, I scrolled on Instagram and saw that Chrissy Teigen and John Legend had lost their baby. There were complications that forced her to go to the hospital, and after severe bleeding, their son didn’t survive. I stared at the black and white picture of her sitting on a hospital bed with the starched sheets wrapped around her tiny son in her embrace while John sobbed into Chrissy, his head pressed against her eyebrow, his lips on her arm.

The news of death in one day certainly puts things in perspective. Today, I experienced one of the most challenging professional days in my career. In short, a principal complained to my directors about his dismay about my performance and lack of support. My director called a meeting and ultimately offered her support, but I know she was disappointed in me and expressed that I needed to listen and focus to repair the situation. This weighed heavy on me all day, as this was the first time I’ve felt “reprimanded” for a job I felt strongly about. I felt shame and discouragement, letting the situation overcome my thoughts. Even when my sister, her boyfriend, niece and brother came over for dinner, I didn’t feel present– the trepidation from the day clouded my mind.

Yet, as I write this and I think about the three omens that anchored my day from this morning, to the late afternoon, to the evening, I’m reminded that a “bad” day at work is nothing compared to the loss of a sister, a student or a son. Sure we all have heavy, troublesome days, we might even be chided by our superiors, but when I think about the days that others are fighting, I’d be remised if I didn’t acknowledge their strength , their struggles and their loss. Yes, there’s many things I can certainly complain about, but a loss is not one of them. If I did, I wouldn’t have anything to gain.

My niece at dinner today. One of the rare moments I was actually engaged.

Presidential Debate #1

I don’t know what the rest of the world’s impression is of our current leader after watching tonight’s presidential debate. For me, it was very exhausting, disorienting and pensive. I assumed during a time of unrest, COVID, and fires a leader would offer a plan, or at the very least calm anxiety, not perpetuate it. After watching today’s debate, I didn’t feel motivated or assured. I was reminded of how I felt as a first year teacher, when I didn’t know how to manage my class and I had yet to evolve as a leader or an effective director. Fortunately for me, I learned to listen and accept feedback- true signs of a person bettering themselves. Unfortunately and shamefully, what I witnessed tonight showed no promise of the true leadership it requires to unite a nation. I saw a person taunt, bully and act in the most unprofessional manner. For one to be president, he/she must conduct in a way that is presidential. This beholden title is more than just a role, it’s a way in which a person performs and interacts. I don’t know what the rest of society is feeling at the moment, but I hope in November we will all have a collective way of saying enough is enough, and that our exclamation will be bold, loud and presidential.

Photo by cottonbro on

How to make Cloth Napkins (super easy)

If anyone wants to learn an easy and simple way to sew napkins, then read this post from Picnic Punk

Picnic Punk

Hello! I bought a sewing machine last week and have been learning how to use it. Here is something easy you can make (that you can take on picnics/use at home instead of wasting paper napkins)

I made these using cotton “fat quarters” that I got from a quilting store. I thought the pattern was pretty cute and these two fabrics kind of matched.

I had no idea what fat quarters were before but supposedly they’re 18″ x 22″ pieces that make a quarter of a standard 1 yard x 44 inch fabric and they’re commonly used in quilting.

You can use 2 different patterns of fat quarters to make 4 napkins (these quarters are like $1-$3 each depending on how pretty you want the patterns to be). So I guess it cost $6 to make 4 napkins but that’s because I went to a quilting store in a rich-people…

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My Monday

Today I attended an impromptu dinner party at my sister’s house; this is actually one of the reasons why we moved–to be closer to family and create memories. I can’t tell you the last time I attended a dinner party, on a MONDAY. Living away from close friends and family didn’t give us the opportunity to experience much spontaneity. But today, when my sister sent a text around 12:00 non and invited us over for 6:30 PM that same day, we didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.

Dinner wasn’t complicated: my sister made a hearty pasta with plant based meatballs. I brought over a salad with ingredients from my refrigerator– spinach, broccoli, shredded carrots and toasted pine nuts. We drank wine and played with my niece before she took a bath. We sat around and watched Shark Tank and somehow we ended up talking about identify theft.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a lasting memory; sure we could have made it more elaborate and complex but there was something about the uncomplicated, impulsive, and relaxed night that made everything easy and different.

I didn’t take a single picture tonight, so here’s one from the net. LOL

Photo by fauxels on

Six Weeks in Distance Learning

It’s been a very tough week for me. We’re finishing up our 6th week of distance learning, and just when I feel like I’ve got a handle on things, some thing else will come and a whole set of other challenges will ensue.

I find my work very meaningful and purposeful, and when I look back years from now and I’m asked how I helped with remote learning, I’ll be able to say that I may not have had all the solutions and answers, but I was there, helping teachers and students navigate their way through the most uncertain and challenging times of education.

I don’t know how long remote teaching will continue, nor do I know if I’ll be in education next year, but the skills I’m acquiring today will prepare me for other unexpected situations. Like the many teachers and students who I’m supporting, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and who knows if we’ll be prepared, but I know for certain that our resilience will prevail.

Camping in COVID

On Saturday, my siblings, partners and friends went to Kirby Cove to camp for one night. I haven’t camped in about four years, and never with my siblings or with this group of people so naturally, I was a little anxious about how the experience would be since this was going to be a new surrounding, a new set of people to interact with and new restrictions that would complicate the experience. 

No fire: Because of the recent fires, there was a state mandate that didn’t allow open flames. This meant that we would have to camp with no campfire, which meant no wood, no s’mores, no huddling around the fire with hot chocolate. One of the reasons why so many people are fond of camping in the first place is because of this experience. No fire obviously also meant no cooking and no warmth.

Primitive bathroom: There was no place to shower and the bathroom consisted of a hole in the ground in a very murky, smelly and fly laden public restroom. There was no running water, so campers had to bring their own supply of water and hand soap. 

COVID and physical distancing: California is still experiencing aspects of sheltering in place. While many businesses are opening up, with safety precautions, health officials are still encouraging people to physically distance with face coverings. How would this look while we were camping? Would it be possible to relax in the company of potentially infected people as we spent time together enjoying the outdoors?

Even though we were only camping for one night, we had to consider these implications because they would affect the way we spent the next 24 hours. In the end, we did what many seasoned campers did: make it work. We ate food the didn’t need much preparation like granola bars, crackers, sandwiches and later in the night when we saw other campers lighting fires, we did the same. We ate bowls of ramen and mac and cheese. Someone even brought bags of MREs. My brother managed to make us s’mores to go along with our wine. The weekend wasn’t the most gourmet, and we definitely got our fill of sodium, but the pleasure of eating simply and meaningfully despite the fire restriction made every bite of food more savory and sweet. 

Having decent amenities in a public restroom are ideal, especially when it’s dark, cold and you’re tired. The last thing anyone wants to do is struggle with is the smell and sanitation of the “toilet”. I wish there was an upside to the primitive bathroom at Kirby Cove, but I’m finding it very difficult to write one, let alone think of one. 

The physical distancing was challenging. We were outdoors, in the fresh air, so we definitely felt more relaxed. Although we didn’t hug or sit next to each other closely, the experience still felt intimate. We had the best campsite in the park, and it was very exclusive from the other areas. We had an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and we were away from the noise and heavy foot traffic. We had enough areas for people to retreat for alone time and other places for people to join in a conversation. Again, under other circumstances we probably would have played games, shared drinks, even hugged, but because of the present situation we had to do without what felt natural while camping. Still, we didn’t walk away from Kirby Cove with negative experiences; in fact, we’re already planning the next trip. Bathrooms and fires or not, we’ll be ready for whatever comes. 

We know there are more experienced campers who thrive and manage off much less conditions, and while I playfully referred to us a seasoned, we obviously are not, not even close. But for a day, eating out of bags of dry food, squatting with hungry buzzing flies and sleeping out doors with the private view of the most beautiful landmarks of mother nature, we surely felt seasoned.

Running into a former student

Funny, unexpected situations can occur at any moment when a teacher is out in public. One of the most random things that happened to me was running into a student’s parent at a club, and the father had no I idea I was his daughter’s English teacher. Long story short, I graciously declined his offer for a night cap. Then there as another time I was at a grocery store at 2:00 AM, and I ran into a group of students who barely recognized me because I wasn’t in my “teacher clothes.” Instead of my usual cardigan and knee length skirt, I was wearing my club outfit which included a strapless top and platform shoes. I slurred my words and mascara was smeared underneath my eyes. Again, it was 2:00 AM; obviously I was just getting back from a bar/ club and needed a snack on my way home. Both events happened early in my teacher career- back when I was 25 years-old, single and living by myself in a one-bedroom apartment. Life was different then. Because of these experiences, I vowed that I would never live in the same city I worked in. I didn’t want to “run” into students on my personal time; I needed to separate my private life from my professional life, and for the past 15+ I’ve managed to do just that. I haven’t run into a student in over a decade.


Today, at Sports Basement, as I was sliding my debit card in the registrar and the cashier saw my name flash across the screen, I heard the familiar phrase: “Ms. Navarro? Do you remember me?” We were both wearing a mask, and I had on my sunglasses, and it took me a moment to take in his face, but when I read his name badge- Aldrin, it didn’t take me long to remember him. Aldrin happened to be one of the few Filipinos I taught in Pittsburg, and I even though I didn’t have vivid memories of him as a student, I did remember him fondly in overt details like that he was over-all athletic and liked to offer his help. It made sense that he now works at Sports Basement. Even though his mouth was covered with a mask, I sensed that he was smiling when I said “Yes, I remember you!”

There as an awkward pause because it had been about 13 years since I last saw him, so I needed to do a temperature check before I dove right in to ask him questions about his life. I broke the ice with: “How cool is it to work here! Adventure all around you” as I pointed to the hiking boots and skis on display. He chuckled and agreed. He massaged his curved chin and relaxed his shoulders. He shared that he was living about 15 minutes away and his roommate was another student in my class. They were best friends and finishing up school. Because of sports basement he went on a lot of adventurous meetups and trips but because of COVID many things were put on pause. He hoped things will get better when it was safer and the company would be ready and prepared, not rush into things for the sake of adventure and when he broke eye contact and folded his arms against his chest, I genuinely felt his concern. He asked about my life and I was surprised how much in depth I went: I said I just moved here from South San Francisco and was no longer teaching but coaching teachers. I shared that I was going camping this weekend at Kirby Cove and that I was bringing an air mattress because I’m first world problem and didn’t want to sleep in a sleeping bag. He chuckled again, and then I introduced him to my sister and my niece who handed him a hand warmer as some sort of peace offering. He politely took it and pretended to ring it up. I appreciated his jovial spirit.

When I reflect about this serendipitous moment, I recall how different I was 13 years ago. Back then I would have avoided the confrontation and probably would have hid in fear of small talk and making connections. Now, I welcome them and was even disappointed that I hadn’t bought more things to prolong our conversation at the cash register. Thirteen years ago I was timid of revealing my personal life with my students in very real ways, now here I was conversing with a student, taking my time and not feeling ashamed about the way I was dressed or how I carried myself. Sure, some of this is greatly due to maturity but more than that, I’m in a different part of my life where seeing former students thriving in life and willingly offering pieces of their life with me I know are gifts that many people don’t have the luxury to experience. Do I regret avoiding this the last decade of my life? No. I’m older; I’m wiser and I like Aldrin I know when not to force something that isn’t ready.

List to 50

This past Monday, September 14, 2020 was my 6 year wedding engagement party. While this date is not as momentous as a wedding anniversary, when I saw my timeline and pictures of my engagement party, I was pulled back to that time in my life–2014, when I was newly engaged, a budding writer, and imagined my life – five years later a little differently. I remember, during our party, I was sitting on a chair with my then fiance, now hubby by my side and taking in the scene in front of me- family and friends clamoring for the photographer to take their picture on the stage. I recalled embracing this moment because in a few years I predicted that I’d have a novel, house and kids in my life.

Well, that was six years ago and nothing I had imagined came to fruition. My hubby and I still rent; God hasn’t blessed us with kids yet; and the draft of my novel is still in the drive of my computer. Yes, I can sulk and criticize myself for not obtaining my “life goals,” but guess what? I have achieved more that I can imagine.

In Julia Cameron’s book, The Right to Wright, she offers a writing exercise where she asks the writer to write down 50 things you are proud of- small or large. She explains:

“We do not see our size. We do not view ourselves with accuracy. We are far larger, far more marvelous, far more deeply and consistently creative than we recognize or know. We do not credit ourselves with what it is we can- and often do- accomplish. We are blind to our gifts; we are deaf to our voice. We do not see or hear our magnitude. Why is this? 

When people cannot see the larger picture of what it is we are trying to do, they will pick out some detail and pick at that. We have, many of us, had the experience of being all dressed up, ready to go somewhere and feeling pretty marvelous, when someone –a parent, a friend, even the babysitter — picks a small piece of lint off our outfit. Lint picking is focusing on the small imperfection rather than seeing the greater glory of the whole.

We must be small enough, humble enough, to always be a beginner, an observer. We must be open to experience, new experiences, new sources of knowledge and insight while still staying grounded in the fact that what we already know and have done is also estimable and also important. In other words, how do we stay vulnerable enough to and tough enough to survive. 

Valuing our experience is not narcissism. It it not endless self- involvement. It is rather the act of paying active witness to ourselves and the world. Such witness is an act of dignity, an act that recognizes that life is essentially a sacred transaction of which we know only the shadow, not the shape. As we attune ourselves more and more closely to the value of passing moments, we learn that we are something of moment ourselves.”    

Julia Cameron, in her eloquent prose, reminds me that we have to celebrate the accomplishments, however trite and minuscule. Small or not, they carry a significance. So while I may not be where I had envisioned, another writer has gently reminded me I’m where I need to be, and that is worthy of celebrating.

Below is my list towards 50 things I’m proud of. What would you include in your list?

  1. Selected as a fellow for the Squaw Valley Community of Writers
  2. Writing 10 short stories
  3. Jogging 3 miles (although I am currently taking a break)
  4. Making vegetarian pancit for the first time
  5. Google hangout with my parents in the Philippines once a week for the last 6 months
  6. Offering a virtual writing class with 40 attendants
  7. 1000 piece puzzle
  8. Meditating for 5 minutes a day
  9. Webinar for Wonders ELD and EL resources
  10. Making a gluten free coconut cake  
  11. Running a half marathon with my sis and friends
  12. Moving during COVID
  13. Keeping some indoor plants alive
  14. Learning how to apologize and really meaning it
  15. Getting better with keeping in touch
  16. Supporting local artists by buying their paintings
  17. Eating mostly plant based since January 2020
  18. Paying off credit card bills
  19. Achieving and maintaining a credit score of 800
  20. Traveling to South Africa and Iceland
  21. Resurrecting this blog
  22. Singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider to my niece
  23. Parallel parking uphill in SF
  24. Getting accepted in an MFA program and graduating
  25. My job for SSFUSD
  26. Opportunities to read my work for literary events such as PAWA and Napa Valley Writers Conference
  27. Publishing my work in various publications
  28. Accepting my body in any shape and size
  29. Perfecting my skin and teeth regimen (because you know I have an obsession with teeth)
  30. Owning 300 books but reading more than 300

Here are some pictures from our “Books and Beats” theme engagement part. I’m “books” and hubby is “beats”, obviously because I’m a writer and he’s a DJ.

More pictures here

A lesson from a stranger

It’s been a busy few days, since I officially moved on Saturday, so I haven’t had time to post on my blog. Today, I made a concerted effort to get back to writing because of a gentle reminder from my new neighbor, Julietta. Julietta is a Filipina in her early 60s, twice divorced, with two married sons living in Las Vegas. She has five grandchildren– the oldest is seventeen and the youngest is five. I share these details with you because I feel like Julietta will be a person in my life that I will write about regularly. When Julietta knocked on my door, unannounced at 9:30 PM today, her hair was in a bun and secured with a bedazzled clip; she wore a bell sleeved top with starched white wide pants. Her fingernails were painted a metallic color, and she wore sandals that had a big gold bow. When she laughed, she slapped her knee and fanned the air. From afar, she looked like one of my students. But up-close, with no make up, while she didn’t look her age, her face was alert, like she had experienced many lives and knew many secrets. Within five minutes of pleasantries and introductions, she offered to bring a bottle of wine with grapes and cheese. I said sure, assuming she was referring to another night, but I was mistaken. She meant tonight– as in right now. My first thought was my 8:30 meeting tomorrow morning, in which I will be presenting to the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, so obviously I needed to be well prepared. The idea of polishing off a bottle of wine with someone who I barely knew and old enough to be my mother but dressed like a younger version of me, seemed like the most irresponsible thing to do. But when Julietta smiled and said she just got off work and did a little shimmy with her shoulders, there was something about her candor I couldn’t resist. I said Ok and went to the kitchen and rinsed off the wine glasses that had been collecting dust.

The visit with Julietta ended up being very interesting. I found out that she is a care taker, and her entire day revolves around people dying. For a person to be around death for over 20 years, I imagined she’d be more cynical and depressed. But actually, she is the complete opposite: she lives simply and appreciates every meal; she doesn’t go a day without thanking God for the roof over her head and she talks to her plants everyday and listens to motivational podcasts in the morning.

In our conversation she shared that you have to smell the flowers while you still can. And if you’re able to give flowers to someone– even better. As the saying goes- life is short. Julietta knows this, especially since her patients include a professor from UC Berkeley who wrote a published book about Organic Chemistry and her other patient is the former District Attorney of San Bruno, and both of them can’t even tell you their name or what day it is. They both have dementia. She referred to them as “The walking dead”. I asked her, knowing what you know, and seeing what you’ve seen, what’s a piece of advice you can give me. Without hesitation she said: “Do what you love. And if you love it, make sure it knows it.”

Julietta’s advice isn’t new. We’ve all heard a version of it, but for some reason her words resonated with me. Maybe it was because she didn’t seem like the typical 60 year old Filipina, and she knew a thing or two about death since she saw it almost everyday for the last two decades. Maybe it was because I had 3 glasses of wine and I was impressionable to anything I heard, or maybe it was because I genuinely cared about the wisdom Julietta was imparting on me. What ever the case, here I am on my blog, in which I’ve neglected because of moving. It took a complete stranger to remind me to go back to the thing I love and make sure it knows. I don’t know how to express to my blog how much I appreciate it, and I’m even more uncertain how to audit how it might even know that it is loved. But what I can do, as Julietta showed me today, is to make an effort, whether it’s praying and giving grace for every meal or offering a bottle of wine to a new neighbor or logging into an account and writing about a stranger. We all have our own unique ways of showing love for the things that matter. According to Julietta, as long as we live with this purpose, you’ll live a very fulfilled life. Her fingernails may be painted silver and gold and she may do a little dance when the opportunity arrises to drink on a random Monday night, but never the less, she’s absolutely wise beyond her years. It’s written all over her youthful face.

Photo by Secret Garden on

bay area’s orange sky

For the past few days, when you step outside, the entire bay area has smelled like a camp fire– coal, smoke, and wood. It’s as if everyone has decided to chop wood and set them all on fire, letting it flare up and blaze. Today, not only did it smell like fire, but the whole bay area looked like fire– the entire sky was deep red and burnt orange. I have never seen anything this mysterious in my life.

For the entire month it’s been one mystery after the other. Lightning in August. Fires the following week. And now a red and orange sky in September. Maybe it’ll snow tomorrow. Better yet, how about a sand storm. I know I shouldn’t make light of the situation; Mother Earth probably needs deep healing right now, and the way we’re taking care of Her and each other is nothing to laugh and joke about. Honestly ya’ll I try to keep the vibe on my blog positive, but lately it’s been so hard to keep it together. I’m really struggling with all these changes, and I’m starting to feel my positivity slowly fade away. Everyday, I’m putting more and more effort to remain loving and positive because I know there’s no room for negativity, especially when the state of the world needs lifting, not sinking.

Maybe, I’ll channel the bay area energy and remain resilient. Even when scarred and burned, she fights through the haze, only to come out changed and transformed, in light and in color.

courtesy of


Lately, I don’t know if it’s because of COVID or the civil unrest happening, but I find myself in more and more difficult conversations where people express anger because they are misunderstood. I can’t remember a time when the volume of verbal strifes have increased and people are putting blame or acting defensive because of what was said or how it was said. It seems that every person that I’ve talked to has expressed a recent argument that they’ve had with a partner, child, co-worker, or friend and the bane of the disagreement happens to center around communication, or more accurately, the lack of communication.

Being able to effectively communicate is a life long skill, and sometimes it’s the difference between going to bed angry or a happy, or a life or death situation with the police, or a job offer or job rejection. So much power and fate can be determined by what someone chooses to say and how they choose to express it.

Recently my partner and I had a quarrel because of Twitch. In short, I was upset because we both agreed that his live radio show would only be 1 hour a day. Well, lately it’s been more than an hour and this compromised our schedule for dinner, chores and most especially my mental health. I desperately need peace and quiet after work, which is also the same time his twitch show begins. Because of the fires, I can’t go outside and because we live in a one story condo- there’s no other place to escape the noise. I want to be supportive of my hubby’s outlet, but we agreed on a time limit, and he wasn’t honoring that. We talked about it and came to a compromise- 45 minutes day. In retrospect, this was a trivial fight, but I think it could have potentially led to a more serious one. With all the previous practice we’ve had with conflict resolution, I think we’re getting better with communicating our needs.

One thing about sheltering in place is that it’s forcing me and I imagine many couples and relationships to have the difficult conversations. Being at home, day after day, month after month, it’s natural that people will disagree. Being in each other’s space, with no respite sounds like a recipe for many verbal altercations. We’re all either going to come out of sheltering in place as expert communicators or a better version of our former selves. I know that I’m not an expert and I probably will never be when it comes to communicating with my partner, but I’m content with the progress we’re making and glad that rather than crying and giving each other the silent treatment, we’re talking, even when it seems like the most impossible and difficult thing to do.

Here we are “communicating” how to take pictures in front of our new place.

Paulo’s 37th birthday

These days, it seems frivolous to celebrate birthdays, but we could all benefit from looking forward to something, especially celebrating life, which is what I did today– we went to Oakland to celebrate my younger brother’s 37th birthday. When the idea of having a bbq at his house was brought up by me and my sister, Paulo hesitated, saying that he wasn’t in the mood. In context, work has been overwhelming and he’s in the middle of purchasing a house, so the very last thing he wanted to do was plan a birthday bbq. At the recourse of my pleas, Paulo eventually contested, probably out of guilt. But later today, when we were sitting around the dining table, with our plates filled with a blend of traditional American food, like ribs and mac and cheese, and Filipino food like lumpia and pancit, as ambient music played in the back, and as my niece, dressed in her Hawaiian dress nibbled only the crispy edges of her lumpia, and as the Oakland sun set in and the soft light afforded a calm and peaceful evening, there was a mirth of gratitude felt by me and I suspect, everyone else, including my brother. Paulo, in his relaxed candor, signed and smiled, unknowingly unaware of how grateful I was for this Saturday, this moment, this birthday, and the best present- him. Love you, little bro. Happy birthday!

As a gift, one of his good friends Kirby, made his rice crispy cake. It was delicious!

Rest in power Auntie Emy

Today I received heart breaking news: my Auntie Emy passed away due to a massive heart attack. The last time I saw her was in March 2016, on my wedding day. She wore a beautiful black gown, red lipstick and her black hair was styled like a sleek bob. Before that, I saw her on New Year’s Eve 2014. We visited her at her house and she said I looked “sexy,” even though I was wearing work out clothes. LOL. Later she came over my mom’s house and smiled when I took shots of whiskey and tequila and sat in the nipa hut and said Mabuhay as we raised our plastic cups in the dark.

She was the kind of aunt I would have loved to grown up with. I imagined that if I got into a fight with my parents, I’d run over to her house and she’d console me with a plate of pancit then, secretly, call my parents to pick me up and take me home. She was that kind of person: she knew exactly what you needed even if you didn’t know it yourself. She was wise, kind and a second Mom to me and everyone.

We don’t have a lot of memories together. How could we? We lived oceans and continents apart, and I couldn’t visit often besides a visit every 3-4 years. But with every visit, she was there, always there, being Auntie Emy. In some way I always imagined that she’d be there the next time I visited. She was like a security blanket, a warm hug, a familiar home. I know that she won’t physically be there, but at least I have my memories. Maybe I can still imagine running away from home and visiting Auntie Emy, although this time with, pancit and whisky, she’ll let me stay for as long as I need her.

Bloggers vs. Writers

On Sunday, August  30, I had the great privilege of taking a writing class with the People’s Poet Tony Robles. For those who don’t know, Tony Robles is a poet from San Francisco who is now the Carl Sandburg Home Writer in Residence & Resistance. On Sunday, he offered a virtual class titled “Writing out of Quarantine.”

I consider it a privilege to write and study with literary role models whose work I have admired and looked up to. In my short time as a budding writer, I have been fortunate to be in the company of writers such a Tony Robles, ZZ Packer, Kristen Valdez Quade, Patricia Powell, and so many brilliant, creative minds, that it is humbling to ponder on the luck and fortune that has shaped my writing trajectory. 

On Sunday, I was expecting Tony’s class to be an opportunity in which I honed my poetry skills, since poetry isn’t my strongest genre. I know that writing poetry inherently improves literary craft techniques such as imagery, rhyme, metaphor, simile, etc. My prose writing could benefit from this experience. Instead of learning lessons about poetry, I actually learned a more valuable lesson about writing. 

In the beginning of class, Tony asked us how the quarantine affected us. There were about a dozen people on the call and for the most part we all expressed the same feelings- we couldn’t write. We felt it took more time to accomplish tasks. There was an overall sentiment of despair. Many expressed grief- from the loss of a life to the loss of motivation of the things they once loved to do like paint, write, hug. It was sobering but empowering to relate to complete strangers.

When it was my turn to share, I expressed that I had felt the same sentiments and that I have had lingering feelings about the direction of my writing. Lately I have been investing more time and dedication to my blog, that I have neglected my other writing projects, specifically the short stories I have been writing for the last four years. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing. In fact, on my blog, I’m writing 4-5 times a week, about 30 minutes to an one hour, sometimes more depending on the topic. While I’m not actively writing my short stories, I’m still actively writing- on my blog. Does this make me less of a writer? I know blog writing is not the same as literary writing, but it’s still writing. I still put in the time to craft sentences, phrases, and I’m particular about certain words and details. I apply the same craft elements as I would in literary fiction such as developing imagery, tone, theme and sometimes character and setting. And while I’m not publishing a book, I hit a little button 3-5 times a week that says “publish.” I share my work with others and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll get encouraging phrases like a “like” or a comment. With all that is going on in the world, on my blog I try to write about the positive aspects in my life, and this is done intentionally because I need an escape from the pain and sorrow I’m feeling every day. This blog is saving me. 

I know one day I will return to my short stories. I haven’t abandoned them completely, but for now my blog is what I need. It’s a place that I can simply write and be proud to be in the company of bloggers, readers and writers. While some might argue and suggest that blogging is not writing, I will respectfully disagree and say writing is writing. Like breathing is breathing. Like walking is walking. Sure we all do it a little differently, but at the end of the day, we all exhale and inhale, take step by step, put words together, one by one, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. Am I a blogger? Am I a writer? Maybe I’m lucky — I’m both.  

Liebster Award

Thank you Janis from The Momshie Diaries who nominated me for the Liebster Awards.

Here are the rules: 

*Thank the Blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

*Answer the 11 questions given to you.

*Name 11 fun facts about yourself.

*Nominate 11 other Bloggers.

*Ask your nominees 11 questions.

My answers to the questions given to me:

  1. What piece of stationery do you love the most? I really like the thickness and smoothness of Rhodia. 
  2. What is the best Happy Meal Toy ever? It’s been so long since I’ve ordered a happy meal, but if they have stickers, then sign me up! 
  3. Which fried chicken brand is the best for you? When I used to eat meat, it was Jolly Bee. 
  4. Do you buy generic brands? Yes
  5. Would you wear a preloved clothing? Yes
  6. Where is the scariest place for you? Anywhere where there is no diversity. 
  7. What is your favorite December memory? Going to Lake Tahoe with my family and enjoying the snow. 
  8. What mattered to you the most when you were in 7th Grade? Writing letters. 
  9. What is your favorite childhood memory? Dancing in the backyard to Janet Jackson songs. 
  10. Do you remember your first ever username? Something with my name 
  11. Do you have a favorite post? If so, please share it with us! My obsession with teeth


11 Facts about me:

  1. My favorite movie is Stand by Me.
  2. I got married in the Philippines.
  3. My favorite holiday is Halloween.
  4.  I once did hot yoga for 30 days straight.
  5. I ran a half marathon a little over 2.5 hours
  6. I don’t know how to properly make scrambled eggs.
  7.  I have read all of Jhumpa Lahiri’s books.
  8.  I sleep with 3 pillows.
  9.  I once had a secret admirer leave a dozen roses on my car.
  10.  I will never deny Thai food, especially Pad Thai and Pra Ram.
  11.  I own over 300 books.


11 Questions to answer

  1. Would you rather want the ability to communicate with plants or animals?
  2. How do you start your day?
  3. What is your favorite scent?
  4. What is a piece of furniture you would like to make?
  5. What are you most likely to be famous for? 
  6. What movie title best describes your life? 
  7. Explain the story behind one of your scars or tattoos.
  8. What’s the most interesting place you have ever been to? 
  9. What is something you learned last week?
  10. What is the most memorable gift you’ve ever received? 
  11. Do you have a favorite post? Please share it.


I’m tagging the following bloggers:

Mr. A


Color My World

Pinay Mama in Singapore

The Second Chance Writer

Saania Sparkle


Doin the Most with Mel