Welcome to Nature's Cottage!

Thank you for dropping by. I'm not quite sure what exactly this blog will be yet. Join me in our journey of evolving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A few thoughts

It's been a busy few days for me. Beautiful moon the past few nights and mornings! I sleep right next to my window so I usually do a little peep in the morning once I've woken up to see what time it is. Since the days have gotten longer, it's still usually quite dark when I get up.

I always try to take advantage of planting while the moon is waxing- and towards the full moon. Everything always sprouts so much faster because after all, the moon has a scientifically proven gravitational pull which helps  plants grow. During its waxing period, the pull of the moon is upward- encouraging plants to grow faster. During its waning phase, the pull is towards the earth- so it's a good time to plant the root crops and such then. I've got at least 50 arugula plants coming up at the moment, plus two trays of bokchoy. I'm waiting for everything else to sprout.

I'm also job hunting. Aside from my work now, I'm looking for something else to help me start saving up. No luck so far. Anyone know of any online jobs I can get?

I'm most likely getting married in about 6 months. How crazy is that? Sometimes it feels almost wrong. Yesterday I went for a road trip with my mom and sister. I did most of the driving which was fine until the last two hours (we were driving for about 10 hours). My neck was going spazz and I had a skull-splitting headache which would throb when I'd get up and walk around. Thankfully, it went away when we got back home.

Anyway, I'm quite exhausted tonight. I'll share photos of our trip by and by. In the meantime, it's a great opportunity to just lay on the roof tonight.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Money matters

I've been extremely busy with my schooling recently. Not much time to do anything else. I've had a pretty good week otherwise. I've got my final's week coming up in a few days, so I've been busy catching on with deadlines.

I've also been worrying a lot about money and trying to figure out how to start making more- enough to start saving.  I was caught rather off guard tonight when one of my very nice and definitely trust-worthy teachers started encouraging me about investing in the projects of one of the biggest companies in the country. I think it's a great idea.  Now to start making enough money to invest! I might have the tiniest share in the company for starters.

I've worried a lot about money since I started to become more aware of it- which started when I was 9-ish. I grew up very comfortably no doubt. We had a family beach house, big houses we grew up in- cars (old as they have always been), etcetera. We just didn't grow up having our own money. Or at least, we hardly would have any. My grandparents would give us money every now and then when they would see us - but my parents rarely gave us money. Now I realize it was because they hardly had any money either. But we never went hungry or felt like we lacked anything.

I'm happy to have been raised in the simplistic way that I was. When I started staying in a lady's dorm I was just relieved I didn't have to have all the bottles of cream, facial cleansers, makeup and what not that the other girls had. Ironically, my skin was better than almost all of the girls there at that time. A coincidence or something for them to think about- I don't know. I have never been much of a dresser (much to Sam's disappointment)- but I look decent enough and dress up when I need to.

Money definitely makes the world go around. It's always best to have some of it on hand or at least have a bit to fall back on.  I wish I could say that right now as I'm running pretty low on funds. Things have just not run so well money-wise in the past two years for me. I always figure though that - just like with other things in life, sometimes you're down, and sometimes you're up.  We try and try and it'll just come. There was that sage who said that there are 3 things that cannot be changed when a person is born- namely, the length of one's life, what one will learn/study, and the amount of money one will earn throughout his/her life. That kind of simplifies things doesn't it? It explains why some people stay poor no matter how hard they try, and some people get rich without even trying.

Anyhow, wish me luck in my money matters. I kinda need it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lessons from the playground

A good friend of mine always says that the playground is one of the best places to learn about life. In particular, the see-saw:

Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. Life goes on, and it'll always be like that. Sometimes there are days which are dreary.  Some days are even worse, where the night never seems to end. During those times, we tend to dive into how bad the situation is and worry and worry about how it will probably never get better anymore. But later on- hours, days, weeks, or years later- things are good again. The sky turns blue and everything is just right.  During those times, we tend to dive into how great everything is and hope it stays like that.  But it won't. It's just the way it is in this cruel, ever-changing world.

Sam has been down with a bad stomach bug for the past 5 days. I wish I were somewhere nearer him to help him out.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting go

Some parts of this post was from a few days ago. I was with too many people and couldn't get myself to finish writing this because it kept making me cry again.

There are times when I really would rather be alone so I could cry my heart out. There are times and places which just make it impossible to find some much needed alone time. Tonight's one of those nights I'd rather just disappear for a while. It's at times like these that I have to remind myself that things in this world all pass.

It's just a passing show. Sometimes things are good and other times they're not. This world- which can appear to be a vibrant paradise, can also be pure hell. Practically everything is beyond our control. Don't even try to plan. Just go with the tides of life and pray that the tides are guided by the Supreme Lord, and will not lead deeper into misery and sadness.

My sister and her little family got here yesterday and left today. They were here for about 26 hours.This reminds me of the night I realized that my sister was gone- not just for a few months, but for a while longer. (It turned out to be nearly 3 years- what would we do without skype?) I cried almost all the way home, and it was a 7 hour trip.

I'm one of those foolish people who's taken my family for granted for years. It took several kicks in the but and heart breaks to make me realize how important and how supportive your own family really is.  My sister's visit brought us all closer to each other. It's something I know I'll look forward to doing and being a part of again... hopefully not too long from now. It pains me knowing soon I too will be the one leaving. There will be two of us leaving. Crying in the airport and making the immigration people wonder why we're crying. Crying because we don't want to leave all the people we've loved and who've loved us all our lives. And so we'll let go a little. Sometimes we just have to give something in order to gain another. The question comes of course, is it worth it? Time will tell.

Having said all that, I am thankful for what we have, and the time we have. I am grateful for what I have and am hesitant to even pray for more- because I know I have much more than countless others. Sweet Lord, keep us always close, protected, guided and serving together, no matter what geographical locations.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A walk to the river

We took a walk by the river. There were so many beautiful and interesting things to see, and so many things to do.

We saw some black pigs (not in the wild) or half boars. The mom/sow looked very intelligent, and had two little piglets who cracked me up. They cocked their ears when we spoke and looked us straight in the eye with obvious curiosity.

 I got the giggles from looking at this chicken whose feathers all curled up towards her head.  But she was very pleasant. You could almost feel her smiling at you. Yet another reminder not to judge by looks.

And of course, there was the river. The water was so sweet, cool, and clear.  It was perfect for the tropical heat. 

Isn't it amazing how- even when you run, jump, hike, and play in nature somehow you're not quite as tired? After 4 hours of hiking and swimming in the sun (and eating lots!) we were all refreshed. It's definitely a nice change from being radiated all day.

Have a nice week!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A little trouble

It's been a busy few days for me.  Had so much work to catch up with I couldn't think when I was talking to Sam today. We haven't talked in a while so that was rather annoying for him. I'm not sure if anyone else gets zonked like I do after a long day of computer work and studying though. I get all taxed out.  I just basically want to lie down and listen to him talk even if I don't have much to say- but it annoys him royally.

It's just one of those many bumps on the road of life.  Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. It annoys me that everything seems to be my fault tho. Whenever we're going through a bumpy part it's my fault. Why do I always have to be so spastic anyway? Sometimes I just seem to screw everything up.

My dad and some friends of mine went up to the waterfall today but I wasn't able to go because of a few deadlines I had to meet. In the meantime, I'm just taking some time watching some crazy videos on Yahoo.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day. I'm going to be at the cemeteries at a Red Cross Station from 8am to 5 pm tomorrow.  Hopefully we don't have to use our First Aiding skills!

Tonight I was thinking of my maternal grandmother who died more than ten years ago... and another friend who died last year.  I wonder where they are now.

Anyway.. back to work.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Picnic

Yesterday my dad took us (the family) for a swim in a nearby waterfall.  After more than 20 years of going back and forth to this place and living here for the past 5 years, I can't believe it's the first time we've see this gem.

We walked through rice fields:

By the river and sometimes, through the river:
 It was so beautiful all the way that we could've stopped and had our picnic in almost any of the spots.  But it was a bigger treat to walk a little further (I love hiking and walking) until we reached this:

Unfortunately, the only camera I had on hand was my cell phone's camera.  So my photos don't do justice to the real beauty of the place.  Besides, there were so many things to see during our hour-long hike, and I needed to focus on what I was stepping on and what I was going to step on next to avoid any accidents.  That aside, nature is truly amazing.

We spent almost the whole morning and a bit of the afternoon hiking, stopping for swims when we felt too hot, and just enjoying our time outdoors.  I've been living by the beach for several years now, so walking through the beautiful, lush forest and by the soothing water was a whole different flavor that I haven't experienced for a while. Besides, all the other waterfalls I've gone to were in the mountains thousands of feet above sea level.  The scenery was completely different.  Pine trees, regular high-land wild flowers and the like.  In those places, the water was so cold that it's not possible to stay in it for very long or your hands and feet start going numb and you get pins all over. But here, surrounded by mountains of tropical forests- where the palm trees grow in groves, or huge banyan trees seem to have either grown out of rocks, then through time, grown over and all around huge boulders, the water is as perfect as can be.  It's cold in some parts, but the sun and rocks are there when you need some warmth.  

After our walk, I was thinking about how good I felt.  I hadn't felt that good in ages. I felt so alive, not even tired after all the hiking in the sun (it wasn't sunny all the way, thanks to the trees). 

My dad walked bare-foot most of the way. As a teenager he left the city and lived deep in the forests with indigenous people until his early twenties. As far as I can remember he's always looked back fondly at those years he spent in the forest. He says this place where the waterfall is reminds him very much of those places he stayed in (the little hut he stayed in was just on the river bank) years ago.  When we were kids, he'd always take us on hikes. I remember how he'd put me on his shoulders (when I was younger) or carry me piggy back when I'd get too tired during walks. Then as we got older, he'd bring us to more challenging hikes that took several hours to complete.  Yesterday was another one of those memories to put aside and treasure. 

It's terrible to think of how the "modern person" can live their whole life in a cement and metal box, surrounded by so much noise, breathing either artificial or polluted air, and counting a day in the mall as relaxation or somehow a wonderful family outing.  Get outdoors.  Nature nurtures.  Learn to walk again, not on cemented pathways or straight cut wood, but on the soft, cool earth and on the uneven rocks.  Breathe the air that's fresh and alive.  See how beautiful real trees are and feel the wind against your face. Go into nature and live again. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Second thoughts and looking within

I've just been thinking about how life has turned out to be.  So many good things right now- but there are so many possibly bad things, and truly bad things as well.  I think I am trying to not see the bad things or, at least, see the bad things in a light where they don't look all too bad.  Other people have it worse.  I have no right to complain. Having said that, I've come to the conclusion, for the upteenth time that my dad is, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. In so many ways I can't count.

My mom is too, by the way.  Now that I'm seeing my own sister as a wife and mother and my days as a single (free & happy) girl are nearly over, I've come to appreciate my mom more.  Through the years, we've hardly seen my mom's dad.  It was due to circumstances beyond our control- many complicated things I don't want to delve into.  Now that he is frail and may die any time, I see how sad my mom is to see him in the state he's in. It's made me sad for her, sad for him.

Several years ago, my dad, who's always been so strong in every respect, (I'm not exaggerating) was very sick.  So sick that everyday when I'd wake up I'd wonder, "Is he still here with us?  Has he left us behind?"  For some reason or other, and with many thanks to God, he didn't leave us.  But one day he will.  Seeing my mom sad for her dad makes me cringe and cry for her, and for me too. It's made me think much more.  I've been trying to put myself in other people's shoes and trying to see things as they do, and learn a thing or two from it.

In a few months I'll be married.  Moving on to another chapter in my life. I am sad thinking  I won't be around to help my parents very much anymore (if things turn out the way they seem to be setting up now).  I won't be here to do things they aren't able to do anymore because their bodies are aging.  I may not even be here, near them, when one or both of them die.  My sisters and I will be in totally different areas.  We won't have each other as closely and supportively as we've always had each other.  And so life goes on. It could be way worse, I know.  I have many things to be thankful for. The pain of tomorrow I don't know yet. Sometimes it's just better not to expect too much.

A vast body of water stays calm and serene, though thousands of little streams, and maybe some huge rivers flow into it incessantly.  The beauty of nature.  The calmness of nature.  Mother Earth rests in the hands of her creator, knowing full well He is holding her afloat.

Calm down.  Expect the worst and just hope and pray for the best.  Such is life. Go on.  Things are always coming in going.  People come and go.  One day everything will be finished.  Through this life and through the end of this life, I'll try to remember and follow Mother Nature's example, and rest in the hands of the Supreme Friend.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Falling behind

Sometimes I feel like I've been falling behind everyone else ever since I can remember. As a home-schooled grade schooler, my parents trusted me enough to do my school work on my own (as I did until I became a lazy pre-teenager).  I got away with that for quite some time. I terrorized enough teachers who were often to fearful to report to my parents (who both have very strong personalities) that I, one of their children, was a wayward, lazy, downright bad student.  Little did they know that my parents would have totally kicked my butt if they had told them the truth.  Eventually my parents did pick up on how slack I was, when I stayed in one grade all too long.  Luckily there were entrance exams to allow the schools to see what grade you can enter.  And even luckier, or by some magic of some sort, I managed to skip the grades I should have studied and was allowed to enter into the grade I would've been in.  I wish I could've said and done the same thing about college! But in the end, I am glad to say that although I did not finish college at the same time most people to, I've done a lot more cool stuff, learned a whole lot more, and achieved more than a lot of other people have in the same amount of time.  

(If that would only fully justify the way I see my own situation.. :()

I'm giving myself a pat on the back. Today I finally finished several things that have been on my Urgent!! To Do List for the past two months. Yay.  Now if only those guys would stop rolling their eyes...

The leaves of the trees have also been falling, falling behind, below, and all across the yard.  Like, literally ten minutes after raking 4 big basket-fulls of leaves, a beautiful cooling breeze comes blowing through and like some magic of some sort, the yard is full of leaves again. Thankfully most of the trees just have a few more dried leaves hanging here and there, and I can already spy the little green buds coming out of the knuckles of the trees.  Otherwise I'd have a garden full of tree skeletons.  They don't go too well with the usually-beautiful-lillies which had to be reduced to less than a foot tall because of the typhoon.  

Oh the wonder of nature. Yesterday I visited one of my friends who has a lot of mulberry trees in her yard.  They all lost their leaves from the salty, strong winds typhoon Megi brought. About a week after, her mulberry trees are full of green and white whorls of little leaves, and flowers (which, in a few weeks = mulberries)! 

I have to get back to work now.  I leave you with a photo of this funny little goat I saw, who nearly poked itself on the bum. 


Till next time...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It's been a really fun and happy three weeks for my whole family.  Now things are back to the normal routine minus the damage of typhoon Megi. I'll post some of the photos I got from the long road trip we had today on our way back home to the north.  We encountered a lot of floods, broken trees, leaves and plants withered by the wind.  Even the plants and trees here in our house are all withered away.  Dry and black like a heat wave came over them.  Luckily (or not) the rain was not too strong in our little town so the farmers will be spared.  I did some cleaning and got bitten by those angry inch long fire ants who love umbrella trees.
We have a lot more cleaning to do tomorrow.

The waves are ridiculously huge they're literally right outside our gate right now.  There was a huge rumor going around that there was a tsunami heading our way and I did some research and apparently they meant storm surge.  I did even more research and apparently we are already in storm surge levels now.  Seeing the size of those monsters out there, I'm not surprised.

Things change so quickly and consistently.  A few days ago our garden was beautiful- nice and neat, everything growing just right. My basil seedlings were all nicely settled in the new beds I dug for them, and my bok choy were all growing.  We had lots of flowers and lots of shady spots in the garden.  Now our garden is a huge mess.  I'm not complaining at all though. I feel terribly sorry for all the people who lost loved ones, their homes, crops, and pretty much everything else they have.  I have it all good- and that's why I can't sit around too long- my friends and I are doing our usual post-typhoon community relief work.

That's it for now.  See you around soon.

-Nature's Cottage

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


There are so many things to be learned in life that learning should never end. No matter how old you've gotten physically- there's so much to learn and keep learning.  A few days ago while giving a class I was trying to explain to some of my older students (I've been teaching them for several years now) that through the years that they are trained, much more is expected from them.  They shouldn't expect to be treated as the same pre-teen that they were several years ago. 

Like I said before, I only became a better student when I became a teacher.  Now I regret taking so lightly so many opportunities I had in learning. I hardly remember anything now- and it's all because I was not appreciating what I had.  It was because of my stupidity and silliness thinking that I was already good, I didn't have to pay extra careful attention to what was being taught.  And so now, one of the things I'm thankful for is learning the value of time and opportunities.  Now I can only just feel sorry for the things I've missed out on, done, said, etc in the past and look forward, remembering always what I've learned.

Great news on the rescue of the Chilean Miners. I hope and pray that the whole rescue operation continues to move smoothly and that everyone will be rescued safely.  It is refreshing to see how they value the lives of people.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I've had many pleasant surprises during the past few weeks.  One of my sisters- who we haven't seen for a few years in person (usually we just talk on Skype) pleasantly surprised us with a visit.  She gave birth 7 months ago to a healthy baby girl we've been wanting to meet ever since- and now we finally have.  It's great to have them both here.  Our big family's littlest person is really pleasant and patient.  We are all looking forward and interested to see what she'll be like as she gets older.  She's a little ball of energy and is constantly trying to crawl around.

On another note- Sam gave me a call today and said that he just got himself a ticket back here and got it 1/3 of the usual price.  (Thanks to Jetstar's sales which ended yesterday!) When he comes, it'll have been exactly 872 days since we had last seen each other in real life- minus a few skype video calls.  I can probably count the number of times we had video calls to each other on one hand, so it's been just talking on Skype, cell phones, chats and emails.  We're on the last leg of our long-distance relationship.  Honestly, it's been real quick.  I We had a few arguments and nearly called off the whole thing a few times. Honestly though, right now I'm just happy.  Happy that he finally has a ticket back.  Happy that we've already gone this far even if we've really only just begun.


A good friend of mine is a researcher on Breast Cancer and never fails to send me tips on how to prevent or at least lower one's chances of getting the disease.  Two of the latest tips she gave me was:
  • Don't stay up later than 10:30 pm
  • Avoid all plastic containers for anything which has to do with cooking and eating- be it storing food in plastics, or having a plastic water bottle. Instead, opt for glass or stainless containers (be sure you don't get aluminium containers).

Saturday, September 25, 2010


A couple days ago I discovered a hive of Apis Dorsata bees hidden in the skirt of one of a trio of our trees.
(Sorry I just have a low-class, ancient camera) I took this shot while squatting on the ground.  It actually isn't that high. I'm about 5'2 and the swarm is about level with my head. If I walked under the tree I'd get bees (and stings!) on my head.

Here's a closer look :

Nature's Cottage Apis Dorsata
While the swarm looks relatively small, it's actually quite a nice sized swarm.  It's about 2.5 feet wide and about 2 feet long. 

I've been watching them every chance I get.  They're beautiful insects.  I grew up with bees (melliferas) and through the years of caring for them and watching them, I have so much more to learn and am constantly amazed by the bees. I've noticed that most of these bees have just been clinging onto each other and clinging onto the branch. Almost unmoving except for the lower portion of the swarm, where a bunch of the worker bees fly in, do their bee dance, bring in pollen and nectar (there's a lot now), then fly off again.  I've been watching and hoping to get a glimpse of a drone of theirs- or, even better, their elusive queen.  They allow me to stand about a foot away from them and don't get irritated by my presence. 

All the Dorsatas I've seen here are black and white, unlike the ones in other Asian countries.  As far as  know, as of year 2005 or so - no one has ever seen the queen bee of the Apis Dorsata because they're quite hard to study.

Here's a photo of my apis mellifera's:

I took this photo at noon time.  They were feeling rather hot and decided to move out of the house for a while.  It's a first time for me to be taking care of bees in the heat.  I'm used to caring for them in much cooler weather. There's a few things to get used to but generally it's not all that different after all. 

On a side note, it's raining right now, and this is just what I've been praying for.  We haven't had rain for about two weeks now and everything's gotten so dry.  I just helped my friend prep her garden this afternoon for planting tomorrow- so here's to hoping that it will rain again soon! Nice to "smell rain" again.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Get activated

There are many things I'd like to write about. I have to write about the lessons from ants-how it's all been, and well- just everything.  But I'll start off with my week.  What a week it's been!

I did two trainings at Red Cross this week- BLS-CPR for Healthcare providers, and Standard First Aid. It was all good fun. We just finished today. My co-teachers and I (we're all good friends) took the courses together since it was mandatory for us to become certified first aiders for the yoga asana course... and as teachers, parents, friends or citizens, it's always good to be prepared.

We had a full day of tests- CPR stuff, bandaging, carries, etcetera.  Then as part of our final exam- there was a simulated disaster. I ended up being a victim- a corpse actually. I had some big rocks near my head (which had apparently hit my head and caused my death) and lots of "blood" was poured all over me.  We had our training near the beach so there I was, face on the sand, pretending to be dead.

It was a rather hilarious scene in a sense that my team mates- i.e. the other people who took the course, were totally panicking.  They kept coming up to me and shaking me and asking if I was alive or not.  Of course I was instructed to play dead so I was just lying there for the longest time.  I was the last one to be taken up since I was the "dead" victim.  But for a real life scenario, I know I would be totally rattled myself.

It's definitely a huge responsibility and challenge to be any sort of rescuer or anything of the sort.  More often than not, life plays out worse scenarios than we can possilby think of as possible until they happen.  When they happen, there are those of us who either crumble under the pressure and intensity of the event, or - who are able to react and move with clarity of mind and perspective and do whatever we have to do without losing the plot.  I salute those people who are able to do this.  Thank you for what you do!

Anyhow... so here I am, finally re-trained with the updated CPR and first aid techniques. I'm planning to sign up as a part time volunteer at Red Cross.  They're a great organization to work with.  Gotta love the selfless spirit in the service they offer to anyone in need.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's in the name?

I know some people who not only did not take their husband's last name, but also made it so that the kids didn't carry their dad's last name. In this regad, Sam is definitely not one of those open minded men. One conversation we had long ago I half joked and asked if I could keep my own name- rather than his family name which is hard to say (it means bush in French). Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about it.  I bowed out easy out of that and said I would take his name.  It's a relatively small thing. 

I'm not quite sure about why he- and a lot of other men are very sensitive about it.  I guess they just get some pride in spreading their name around.  If I were a guy I don't think I'd really care that much.  I guess I'm just used to living and being simple and naive in so many ways. Sometimes I'm surprised at how guys react to certain things.  Maybe I'm just simple.  Maybe I'm just naive or down right stupid.  I'll let things go quite easily though.  Imagine saying, "We cancelled our 3 year engagement because she didn't want to take on my name".  Doesn't say too much about our relationship.

So what's in the name?  Is it just some people who go through this or is this more or less common these days?  Did you have arguments or at least disagreements about this topic?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A day of remembrance

In honor of all the people who lost their lives on 9/11 several years ago, - may you all rest in peace and be happy in your lives.  For those who lost loved ones or friends, my condolences. 

I was but a teenager when it happened. Asleep on my top-bunk bed.  Phone rings- my mom goes out of her room and picks it up.  I hear her on the phone- tones of disbelief.  Soon the television is on and we can hear reporters.  The second tower has been hit.  A few minutes later we're all glued to the television set, shocked.  Watching the heart wrenching videos of people either being blown out of or jumping out of the buildings. 

There's danger in every step. Love the people around you- like, truly love them.  You never know what will come.  Better be prepared.

For all those who tirelessly worked to save others- whether they still live or died trying, I salute and pray for you.  I think what makes horrible memories very much worth remembering are the people like you. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time passes me by

A Taiwanese friend of my parents' came over to visit us recently.  I learned my first chinese words from her little boy (then 2 years old).  It was the first time I met her (I was 12 I think) and her boy- and she said, "I'm going shopping with your mom. If he says 'niǎo niǎo' that means he needs to pee.  If he says 'dàbiàn' that means he needs to poo."  Thankfully all he said was "niǎo niǎo" when his mom was out.  Then he dropped his toy airplane in the toilet and refused to leave until we got it out! :p  Anyhow, he was a very energetic little boy - and very pleasant so he was always fun to be around. I saw him almost every year until he was 5 after that.  Then he started school and I didn't see him for many years- until a few days ago.

He's now a 15 year old- half a foot or so taller than I am.  Quiet and skinny (so unlike his loud chubby self) - I don't think he even remembers me.  I was happy to see them.  I used to babysit a little girl along with him- they were partners in crime.  Now she's way taller than I am as well.  Where has all the time gone?

I used to always say, "Old places, old faces, I'd rather keep."  But things happened- and more often than not, I'm happy to be looking forward.  There's a time in my life I'd rather forget. 

There are times I stop and wonder how or when I turned 24.  When did I get engaged?  The years have just zipped past since I was a teenager.  And that's a very good thing in a way. 

So whats up with me today?  I've got a full day teaching.  I've been so excited about my bees. I went to peep at one of them today and got stung on my earlobe.  I was asking for it though- what else could I expect? I had no veil on, no smoker.  It was early.  Duh.

Have a nice day everyone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


We're faced with choices everyday.  What we choose determines the direction we'll end up.  One of my favorite Chinese proverbs says just that: "Choose a habit, determine your destiny".  So true.

I've been an aching, regular pain-in-the-butt person to my WBH for a while.  Here he is: jumping around.
  Not all the time- but quite often.  I felt like he'd only call or email or sms me if I did first.  I felt like I was basically just dragging him along.  I did initiate our relationship- so sometimes I'd just feel really terrible, like things weren't working out and wouldn't work out.  We haven't seen each other for nearly 2 years (Sept 26, 2008 was the last time we saw each other) and sometimes the time, the distance just makes it tougher.  I have to accept what he says as true.  I have to trust.  I have to trust that he hasn't gotten married or had a string of girl friends while he's been gone.  I have to trust that he really made the choice to commit to me- and I have to trust that he's really coming back.  Honestly, it's not been easy.  But here we are, nearly three years of being engaged and being several thousand miles away from each other- thanks to Skype

Anyhow, sometimes I would be fuming at him. Fuming that he didn't come on. Fuming that he never texted. Fuming that it's so hard to get him to answer emails. Hurt that he'd say I'm like a "wall", being very "difficult" and "annoying" and that I was wasting his time when we'd actually get to talk.  That hurt me a lot too.  I've cried more times than I can count and thought long and hard about the choice I've made to marry him.  It was easy to make the choice based on just what I've known him as (besides, my dad approved!), but it's been hard to accept my choice knowing how different our plans are.

I often ask myself, "Will I be regretting this choice? Aren't I a fool to give up being around everyone and everything I've loved and all those who've loved me and stood by me for this one person?"  And often the answers do not come.  I'd cry and pray, and pray.  A few days ago my prayers and questions were answered.  I had a good, long talk with a wonderful friend and mentor of mine.  She was reminding me that we make choices everyday- and we can make the choice to either have relationships which are happy, thankful, and actually based on love - or have relationships which are in the guise of love- but are actually just filled with lust, jealousy, anger, and resentment.  She was telling me how many people like to give their friends or partners the "cold treatment"- but if they really loved that other person- would they actually want them to suffer in that way through their "cold treatment"?

We spoke about many things.  But after that I was feeling ashamed of myself.  Ashamed for doubting. Ashamed for being so cold and really like a wall at times.  Ashamed for thinking so many bad things about different people.  I want to live a life of real love, of real happiness- where I can actually love and care for others without needing them.  I want to have relationships with other people which will last and which are not based on how good they look or how they treat me now or later.  With prayers- my choice shall be blessed and will become a reality.

Ps. I was especially ashamed of how I've behaved when I talked to WBH and apologized about how cold I'd been so often.  Of course I know he's got his faults and quirks- but so do I.  I'm lucky and thankful for him.  (Hopefully we make the right choices so that 10, 20, 30 etc years down the road we can still be saying this!) 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Something to Buzz About

I've been puzzling over where the idiot-friendly bar for posting blog entries went.  I have a bunch of photos I've been wanting to post.  Now that I've found it again, (what an idiot I am!) I'll get to it.

It was a beautiful day here for us.  First sunny day in two weeks or so.  It's been raining so much.
Our bees were happy today. They just felt a little hot, as you can see here:

Bees are some of the most amazing creatures in nature.  I've been learning how to take care of them since I was a young girl, and there's still so much to learn.  I've always been convinced that almost all (if not all) lessons in life can be learned in nature.  As a teacher, this is something I always try to imbibe in my classes to help kids develop a good sense of awareness and appreciation for the environment.  

Spending time in nature is so much more calming and fun than being bombarded by the radio, tv, cell phones, the invisible Wifi (not that I'm against WIFI) and just being overwhelmed by everything.  Nature is nurturing after all.  On a side note, Richard Louv wrote an excellent book on how being in nature affects kids- or on the other hand- how raising kids out of nature spells disaster. I highly recommend his book, "Last Child in the Woods" to any parent or teacher. It's helped me understand many things about the children today and how to help them learn better.

 Wishing you well,
Nature's Blogger

Ps. I'm glad nobody died in the New Zealand quake. My WBH-Sam and the rest of his family are fine. Condolences to the people who lost their loved ones/friends in that sky-diving plane that crashed yesterday.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Look Into Myself

I'm quite very ashamed of myself today. Actually, I often feel ashamed of myself when I look at things in retrospect. It's almost like most of the time- I act without a brain. (I hope my students don't read this! They'd gladly agree :D) It can be really infuriating.

Speaking of infuriating, that's very much what Sam, my might be husband if nothing goes wrong fiance has been thinking about me. Some of my students are constantly infuriated with me as well. Can't please everyone right? The good thing about being a teacher or at least just getting off the computer and talking to people is that- well, we get challenged.

I get challenged all the time by different people- be it the policeman down the road, my neighbor, different students, my parents, my friends, strangers, etc. And when I am infuriated with someone else, it brings to light what I often don't want to see- my own faults.

Dealing with Sam can be really infuriating sometimes. And sometimes I can only hang my head in shame seeing how horrible a person I am. When I'm with my parents - I basically feel that, well, I've done so much wrong. I have no more face left. The only reason I may have face left is because, well- they love me despite the many silly and stupid things I've done.

In the eyes of others, I see myself. Unfortunately, most of the time I don't like to see what I am seeing. But I will not run and hide. I will pray and work and pray to change and become a better person.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some things just take time...

One of the kids I've been teaching just turned three a couple weeks ago. She is a little ball of energy- running to and fro, yelling, and smiling at everyone. Two weeks ago it was almost impossible to understand what she was saying. She "talked" almost non-stop, but 95% of what she said was just babble. But now she's able to repeat words much better, and you can actually have conversations with her. Don't expect deep, philosophical conversations, but easy ones are fine. Some things just take time, and it's important never to lose patience, and to hold your tongue. Shh, and believe.

Yesterday, my patience was tested. And as hour after hour rolled past and the dreary afternoon turned into the darkness of the night, my patience was practically gone- transformed into an angry cobra ready to spit and bite. I gave up. I swore at myself. I wanted to swear at him too, and tell him it was exactly why I doubt he'll come back sometimes. I tried to busy myself with other things and pretend my bitterness was not there. I didn't pick up the phone, I didn't dial. Of course not. And I swore I wouldn't for a whole week. Lets see what happens, lets see how far it will go. And then my phone rang. So he didn't forget. He had a good excuse why he didn't come on to talk after nearly two weeks of not talking. I was challenged again. Accept and get rid of the anger? Accept and get rid of the bitterness? But wasn't it so sweet to be angry?

I was tired. I was defeated. I didn't want to be angry anymore. After all, where is the joy in anger that we like to kid ourselves about? I cried a few and let it go. Some things just take time, like trust, like relationships, like seeds waiting to sprout from the earth, like life. And so we go, on and on...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Day

I've been traveling and doing a lot of work in the past two days. Most of the time, weekends are busier than weekdays. I wouldn't have it any other way though.

I spent some quality time with my dad this weekend. I helped him working on our bees this weekend, as I usually do. Our time together working makes up a lot of the best times I've had with my dad. He's awesome in so many ways. One of the hardest things I've had with my relationship with the WBH is just thinking of how far away I'm going to be from my Dad (Of course, I will miss my mom, my sisters and brothers and all my friends too!).

WBH is from a completely different culture and how we grew up couldn't be more different. (I know that can potentially create big problems for us) So sometimes, he just doesn't get it, just like I don't get some things about him. How painful it's been for me to even just think about leaving everyone behind is definitely something he can't seem to even start to get his head around. I know I can make friends. I know I'll have my own family. But there I'll be all alone. It's completely his territory. When we have fights or when he doesn't want to see my face I'll have no one else to run to- whereas he'll have everyone he's always had. I love being around my friends and family, and I've grown up in a society where friends are all treated as family. We're like one big family here- whereas there, when he's not around it'll just be me.

I don't want to paint WBH to be a heartless individual- he's not. But nor is he everyone I've known and loved either. I guess- just like in everything else- sometimes, we take risks- and even big ones. WBH may and will probably never love me half as much as my dad, the rest of my family, and friends do... and if or when a day comes where he gives up on me- I know my family and friends will welcome me with wide open hearts and arms. And so with a little ray of hope and lots of prayers that things will work out well between WBH and I, here we are, almost three years into our engagement, and nearly 2 whole years since we've seen each other.

A little hope and prayers are all I can hold onto most of the time. And when the hope has blown away, at least prayers stand firm and unmoving. Years and years from now, whatever will have happened after the fleeting lights of hope have blown away with the winds of time, I know what will keep me standing is prayer- and nothing else. In this truth I rest my heart. In this truth I live every day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Of Hostage Taking and Pain

The stupidity of how the hostage situation in Manila is astounding. I am very much a news-hound and I have a habit of checking and reading three or four different news websites everyday. I am sad, embarrassed, enraged, and disgusted with the way the whole situation was handled. Of course our new president is not wholly to blame. After all, the cops etcetera - who had been under our previous president for well over 9 years - only got so corrupt and twisted because of the equally (if not more) corrupt leader.

Anyhow, it's painful to think of how those people who lost their loved ones are coping. It was a situation that could have been avoided so easily. It pains me and frustrates me to think of how it turned out. But then of course- sometimes there are just things that we can't seem to control. I suppose this is a good wake up call for the state of our country. It has given us a very clear picture of just how much work and effort needs to be put in to clean the whole act up. It's ironic that the very people who are meant to be the protectors of society end up taking lives, leaving so many people in pain, and huge problems for their country and fellow country men and women.

It's just too bad that real life- more often than not, is more painful than what authors and movie film makers can think of. More often than not life - for many- is an unending nightmare that you never wake up from. Of course- there is light, peace, and shelter to be found away from all the pain of this world too. But most people shun that light like it's some sort of evil force that is out to destroy what they believe is "freedom".

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As a teacher, I encounter all kinds of people and kids. I don't speak here on terms of judging and feeling superior to any of the people I have met- I'm just going to share observations.

Every year- whenever there are typhoons or during times of need, my co-teachers and I put together some sort of a relief effort for the people in our community. We also request different groups of people from this province or the neighboring province to hold seminars and medical missions here. Through the years I've found that humble, and truly sincere people who have lots of money are generally hard to find. Most of them have problems with their children, and in times of need, it'll be hard to get any help from them. On the other hand, in times of need- it's usually the people who are either just making it financially or who are poor- who will be willing to give something to help another person. Why it is that things go that way I'm not sure of. It's just... the way things are most of the time.

One other thing I've noticed is (probably quite obvious) that even the most intelligent child can encounter problems speaking or catching up with their peers if they do not have ample mental, physical, and emotional stimulation. In the very same way, a problematic child and/or a child who has difficulties learning or is a bit slow- can grow and develop very quickly in the right environment. The role of parents and teachers - identical in many ways- is truly a serious matter.

And for an ending note, there are times also when I look forward to meet the children who will be born to me and WBH- if any. There are some children who make me almost hope that I don't have children in case they turn out that way. But of course, there are also children who make me really look forward to when we'll have kids. I guess what happens is in the hands of the Supreme. We'll just wait and see and hope and pray for the best.

Ps. It was a beautiful day here today. Busy as it was, and rather heart breaking, frustrating, and dismaying on the national level- the beauty of nature took away some of the frustration and pain of this sad day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Furry friends

Here's Drone, 2 weeks old. Couldn't open his eyes yet, already wanting to chew on everything that smelled like food.
Here's his sister, Gita, a few days later. It was the first day her eyes opened. They were like tiny bears.
It's ridiculous to see how fast these guys have turned from those little wriggly  things into these crazy puppies running around like crazy.  I have to dig up their new-born photos and take some updated ones.  They're about thrice the size now. 

I've got 4 German Shepherds now - the parents of these two crazy puppies. Dogs have been a big part of my life since I was 5 or so.  The first dog I ever had was from my uncle. He sent my siblings and I a bunch of puppies. Mine was the scrawniest. Being the youngest and last to get up from bed (in those days!) I had the last choice. His name was Dunlop.  I remember looking out the window of our room and watching him leave a diareah on the lawn. Talk about first impression!  Needless to say, I had him for less than a week because he died from some disease I don't recall the name of.

I've also had a dalmatian who could literally climb chain link fences, a crazy but much loved labrador, a very tall un-German like German shepherd (he was a total wuss and loved eating mangoes), a boxer, and some mutts in-between. 

Soon I probably won't have any more dogs-my will-be-husband/WBH hates dogs.  At least I'll still be able to keep my hamsters. 

I've grown up having all kinds of pets. Ducks, rabbits, geese, fish, turtles, lizards, birds of all sorts.  What I've been wanting to have is a little pot-belied Vietnamese pig.  My mom put her foot down with that one tho. I'll have to see if my WBH will allow me to have one.  Just think, no more sweeping.  No more left overs. I'll have a perpetually clean fridge.  No more bio-degradable garbage, and a very smart little companion to run around with.  If I can't have a dog, I should be able to have a pig right?  It's only just fair! 

I can already see my WBH rolling his eyes and asking himself what he saw in me.  Hopefully it won't be another reason to make him think twice about coming back.  The problem with long distance relationships sometimes is it's so much easier to just pretend skype got cut or your computer overheated- at the most convenient times when you just don't want to talk about something.  Not that WBH does that... or at least, not that I know of. I know I've done it once or twice. My WBH won't see this blog for a while so I'm safe for now. :P

Anyway here's a quick introduction to two of 5 dogs in my life now. I have many other furry friends. I'll introduce them all by and by.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Every parent and teacher has to inspire their own kids or someone else's kids. Oftentimes- as teachers, we become "parents" before we are actual parents.  At times, it is a very heart warming experience, and at other times, it is heart breaking. 

One of my mentors has been a teacher for over twenty years now.  He's one of the nicest people I know.  He loves his job- stressful and nerve wracking as it is a lot of the time, he sticks around.  Recently he's been brought to court by angry parents whose children died in school or near the school.  Why? Because they were drunk and drove their motorcycles.  Or because some of the older students took advantage of the innocent younger students and molested them or abused them in one way or another.  In a school with well over 6,000 students, it's hard to control what goes on.  I'm not blaming anyone in particular- but I think that parents should also look at themselves and see what they can do to help their kids get through school safely.  (Of course the authorities have been notified and the students involved are getting the treatment they deserve now) But it is heart breaking to see how some kids come in already so hard- and their parents totally blind to the imperfections of their children.  Sometimes it's necessary to keep our eyes wide open and see the problems our children have so we can actually help them.  Facing a blind eye to their problems doesn't help at all.

We all have a lot to learn, no matter what part or status we are in, in life.  The important thing is to never stop learning.

Two note so random notes: I just got back from a swim in the ocean.  It's already 7 pm- my friends called me out for a quick swim. It was beautiful under the moon tonight!  The lightning was just starting to come in close so we called it a night and ran in.
A note on the ill-fated bus I wrote about the other day- a couple people I know personally died in it.  Condolences to their families. We remember you in our prayers and give our thanks to you.  Wishing you well always, your friend.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Danger at Every Step

My dad always used to tell me, "There's danger in every step of life.  Don't be afraid, but tread carefully."  While he was driving down today (it's a two hour drive from the mountains) he drove past the bus accident that happened this morning. So far 40 of 47 people on it died.  My prayers out for all those who died and who lost a loved one.  Apparently one of them was an overseas worker who was on her way down with a child she had just adopted- and they both died.

I just rode a bus down on the same road yesterday.  I usually ride that bus line on my way up to Baguio.  Might have even been the usual bus I ride on the way up.  Whenever I travel I am vainly aware of the fact that well hey, this might be it. Whenever I go and do certain things- whether it's swimming or driving, I tend to go, "Hey this might be it.  Death comes when you least expect it.  How will I fair?"

There's danger in every step of life.  None of us know when our time will be. And that's one reason why it's always good to be ready.  There's a saying that goes something to the effect of: "Death never finds a wise man by surprise." It's so true.  It's important to not only be aware of the temporariness of life, but also that we can still truly live without fear of death or what is to come after. 

Once again, I offer my prayers and condolences to those who lost their lives and to those who lost loved ones today.  May you find peace, and may those people responsible be held accountable for what happened.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Lift

I just came from one of the schools we teach yoga asanas at.  Originally I was meant to teach two classes this morning, but I was waiting and waiting and no one came.  I ended up just turning up the music and practicing some of my wushu and did a good hour of asanas.  I just love the lift that I get from doing yoga asanas. 

The funny thing is that in the past years that I'd been practicing yoga asanas, I would grudgingly do it just because well- I had to, if I wanted to teach.  Early this year I enrolled in a Yoga teacher training course (I'm still doing the theory part) and after our intensive with our teachers, I just look forward to practicing yoga asanas.  I actually truly do look forward to my daily session.  I think it was because I realized that - although I may never be as strong and flexible as the person next to me, yoga exercise really is easy and anyone can do it.  Having said that, it really is simply silliness that people compete and force themselves into positions which are actually detrimental for their own health. 

So here I am, two hours after my yoga session- saying I feel great is an understatement.  All the aches, pains, and stiffness has been squeezed or stretched out.  I'm alert but relaxed.  My mind's all calm from the meditation, and I'm all set and ready to deal with all the problems and stresses that inevitably come with life.  Knowing I am helping people feel and have the same thing is one of the wonderful things about teaching yoga as well.  It's fulfilling to know I'm able to help others feel better- physically, mentally, and deep within.  Furthermore, unlike with teaching academic subjects or other types of sports/martial arts, etcetera, teaching yoga asanas isn't all that tiring (of course there are exceptions!).

I love teaching, and I love yoga.

Note: I don't only just teach yoga exercise- I teach academic subjects, martial arts, language, cooking, and the list goes on...

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I live in a little compound right by the beach.  Ever since I was a child- I looked forward to the summers when we'd come down to this area and spend a week or more at our family's beach house.  It was always so refreshing to just run on the beach and play in the water.  Almost endless space as far as the eye can see- everything windy, bright, and beautiful.  And so there I was. During summers my black hair would turn light brown, bleached by the sun, and my skin would practically turn black, burnt by long hours playing in the water.

Now of course I'm older and while I love the water just as much as I used to- maybe even more, I don't have enough time to swim all day, everyday.  I live in a little duplex beside our family house.  I can slide open all the big windows and I'm practically outside.  40 feet away is the ocean, in its ever changing ways.

We used to rent out the other little duplex in our property here and just the other day, the people who'd rented it for over three years moved out.  I've been working on fixing up the rented house and the garden, and things are starting to look a lot better again.

It's such a beautiful day here now, and the rains have turned our garden into a mini-jungle.  I'm not complaining.  A little trimming here and there and a little organizing and it's just about as perfect as I can ask for. 

Life's so full of changes.  Good or bad changes, they pass- just as everyone and everything (including myself) will.

In the meantime, it's a beautiful day here.  The winds are high and the waves are good.  The Lillies have gotten the trim they've badly been needing, and the umbrella trees are greener and taller than ever.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I'm back on the blogging world.  I've been reading and just lingering around blogs for a long time now, and like I said, I'm not quite sure what this blog will turn out to be.  I just want to write again.

My last blog was one for my fiancee and I to share our cross-cultural and long-distance relationship. But back then we both became somewhat lazy or just weren't ready to share everything about our relationship online.
Well, two years down the road, we're still together and yet apart.  In September it'll have been two whole years since we saw each other last, and we have about eight months to go before we get married.  Come to think of it, we don't even have a set date yet.  So what's the worry?  Skype has been a life-saver for our relationship, that's for sure. We've fought, laughed and cried (just me with the last one) on Skype.  Here's to hoping that it'll be easier when we're actually together and not only just a few thousand miles apart.

About me
Nuts? I don't know how many times I've been called "weird" and told, "Take it as a complement".  I've got my quirks, but who doesn't?  I'm 24 years old, active with community service, I love sports (used to compete), and am a teacher of all sorts.  I have a long list of hobbies- which include anything from gardening to cooking and baking to reading weather maps, cleaning cars and sewing.  I've got 4 other siblings.  I grew up in and still live in the tropics.  I also love to read and eat.

This blog is an outlet for me (and probably my fiancee, later on) to just share our daily lives.