First Time Visiting an Elderly Home

“Some students get emotional and cry when they visit.”

Those were the words of one of my instructors in the caregiver training course that I’m currently taking. I laughed it off at that time not knowing I’d be one of those students.

“Grabe pud ni si Ma’am,” I said to myself.

It was a few weeks ago when our Care for the Elderly module came and our teacher decided to bring us to St. Joseph’s Golden Home Foundation, Inc. SJGH is a non-profitable foundation serving as a home for indigent and abandoned Filipino men and women aged 65 and up. It is, I believe, the only elderly home in the city of Cagayan de Oro.

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Up until then, my only knowledge about elderly homes was based on what I see on movies and TV. I’ve never been to one. And if I hadn’t taken this course, I wouldn’t have known about there being one in our city. #CluelessGirl

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Before we could walk through their doors, we were greeted enthusiastically by a very sweet and jolly lady, one of the residents there. Upon seeing the joy on her face, the genuine welcome she extended to us, I could feel my heart swell up for some unknown reason and I started to tear up. I tried controlling myself. I really did.

But before I knew it, the first of my tears fell as I desperately made my way to the back of our bunch. Luckily, I was not alone in taking refuge in the back while wiping tears away. A classmate, who upon seeing the Lola, remembered her own grandmother also made her way to the back in hiding.

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Lola in the middle was the one who greeted us (Hate myself for forgetting her name)

Honestly, I don’t know what it was that made me cry. I had grandparents but, unlike my classmate, I was never super close to them. I went in there completely emotionless. I came out feeling like a different person.

Maybe it was because I expected to see grumpy old people who would love nothing else but for us to leave. Maybe I saw my grandparents and saw how much I missed and how much effort I didn’t make to get to know them. Maybe I saw my parents and my fear of them growing old and leaving me just overwhelmed me.

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And… maybe I saw myself in them.

Old. Alone. No family.

I always tell myself that it’s totally fine to be alone. And a good part of me genuinely believes that. However, that day, I realized that I’m also terrified to spend the rest of my life alone.

Filipinos have a tight-knit, family-oriented culture. I grew up hearing people say that one should have kids so you won’t be alone. I get raised eyebrows whenever I tell people that I’m not sure if I want the package, husband and kids. Parents break their backs raising their children. Yet we have people like the lolos and lolas of SJGH who were abandoned by family and probably by their own kids. Really, this is a sore topic that has no exact and concrete solution.

I guess it was everything. All the reasons written above were what made me cry. You’d think that you’ve accepted the inevitably of old age until you see yourself in the eyes of the very warm lola who greeted you like you were her long lost grandchild. It’s truly heartwarming.

That day, I looked at my parents as if with a whole new set of eyes and I thanked God for them and prayed fervently for more time with them, for a chance to make them happy, for a chance to be a better daughter to them. And that night… I also prayed that maybe, just maybe, somewhere in this huge, chaotic world someone out there is waiting and praying for me.

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My Happy Project | Vol. 02

Hello everyone. Yay! I finally got around to making another entry on My Happy Project series. I was inspired to do this by The Happy List tag (?). Last July has been hella crazy month for me. I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad it happened, too. It was hectic and fun at the same time. 😀 Without further delay, here’s my list of things that made me happy recently.

*Got Ears Pierced Again…

I’m not talking about another set of piercings though! 🙂 I got my ears pieced when I was a kid but since I’m not a fan of wearing earrings, it just closed as time passed. After so many years, I decided to get them ears pierced again. No photo for proof though. Sorry. Can’t take decent ear photos. 😦

*Fun Beach Activity

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As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m currently taking classes right now. Our class had an event at the beach for our Personality Development module. It was a super long and stressful day because it was all short notice so we went insane with the preparations. I volunteered to make the program for the event and ended up having to volunteer myself to do the opening speech for the program, too.

We spent the whole day at the beach but didn’t really go swimming, which is totally ironic. We just spent the rest of the afternoon after our program singing karaoke and dancing, me swaying 😀 It was a public resort so there were quite a lot of people around the area, who probably thought we were all drunk but we didn’t have a drop of alcohol on us.

Some of my classmates and I didn’t go home until it started raining, so we had to walk under the rain for a couple minutes. It ended up raining soooo hard that there was a power outage by the time I got back to the city. I had agreed to meeting my family that night so they picked me up from somewhere and we went to the mall. That was the first time I went to the mall drenched in rain. The lady guard looked at me funny when she gave me a pat-down. 😀

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*Formal Dinner

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In another one of our modules, we had a fine dining event where we had to dress up and doll up. The stress I had leading up to this event was beyond me mainly because I hate looking for a dress. Hours prior to the photos above, I had a mini meltdown because I hated the dress I got. Haha 😀 But! It all worked out.

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Here’s me getting my hair and makeup done. The MUA put on pink lipstick on me at first. I loved it but somehow I didn’t feel me looking at the mirror so I asked him to change it. Out of all the mirrors in the venue, silly me went ahead to take an OOTD photo in the dark area of the venue. By the way, this is my first OOTD photo, believe it or not. 😉

*Bargain Sandals

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A few days before my formal event, I went to look for the perfect footwear for that said day. It was an awesome timing when we went to the mall because there was a huge sale. Huge as in BUY 1 GET 1 huge. Two pairs of sandals for just 600 pesos, which is around US $12 give or take. Cool, right?!? I got four pairs even though I only needed one. I gave one pair to my cousin (not in the photo) and I gave the gray one to my mom.

I wore the white one to the event which was probably one of the best decisions in my life. JK. Seriously, it was not a mistake choosing that pair. It was comfy and it made a clumsy person like me pretty steady. I was able to dance and run around without tripping over in it.

*Clubbing

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The first and last time I went to a club, I was 16. Ssshhh… That moment I knew I hated it and didn’t bother to go back. However, not wanting to waste my dress and makeup after our formal dinner, my classmates and I went clubbing. It was fun! And I felt free after a long time. I never thought I’d one day dance in public sober but I did!!! And I congratulate myself for that. 🙂

*Socializing

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Class ended earlier last Saturday so we got pizza! I’m not a very sociable person so it’s nice to go out with new people once in a while to bond over pizza, small talks, and laughter. Had a fun afternoon with these people.

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Well, that concludes My Happy Project for now! Those are the recent events in my life. It’s been fun and I had fun writing about it, too. 🙂 Until next time!!! Oh! If you’re interested, here’s a link to my previous My Happy Project entry. Thanks for reading. Bye! 🙂

Know Thyself 3 | A personal growth exercise

Hey! Hey! Hey! I’m back with the third and final part of the personal growth exercise I’m doing. Part 1 and Part 2 are here. As I’ve said, I got this from Pinterest from Misty Sansom. So here are my responses for Questions 18 through 25.

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18. What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object – something from you personally)?

For someone who likes being alone most of the time, I’d say I love giving others my time. I love it when I actually look for other people’s company because it rarely happens. So when it happens I make sure to make the most out of it to reconnect with people in my life.

19. What excites you?

Pens, books, and booze. And taking top spot on the list would be lipsticks!

20. What do you wish you did more of?

Adventures and travel. I liked being safe too much when I was younger. I wish I had been a bit more open to adventures before.

21. Pretend money is no object. What would you do?

Pack my bags and go where my feet take me.

22. What area of your life right now makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel worst? Why?

The truth is, there are a lot of areas in my life that make me feel worse right now but I can’t really talk about it yet. The area that makes me feel best would be is the fact that I feel like I’m on track to making problematic areas of my life better. I feel best right now because I feel like I’m headed somewhere. A feeling I haven’t had in years.

23. Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?

I hope I’d be an NC II certified caregiver by then and that I’m already processing things to go work abroad. I hope this blog would still be alive and perhaps bigger. I don’t know about bigger but I hope I’d be putting better content by then. Haha! 😀

24. What piece of advice would you give to five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Twenty one-year-old you? Right now?

To 5-year-old me: “Go outside more. Play like it’s the last day on Earth. Sleep early, drink milk. Brush your teeth. Don’t be afraid. Cry less.”

To 16-year-old me: “A boy you like will ask you to stay and change your college plans, have the courage to ask him why he’s asking that of you. Explain to him why you can’t. Don’t shrug it off, you scaredy-cat.” “Listen to Mom about taking care of your skin. She won’t push you about it and you’d regret it.” “Don’t listen to Mom when she tells you something on your cab ride when you’re about to go to Dumaguete. Stand your ground.”

To 21-year-old: “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Forgive yourself. For the love of God, stop punishing yourself.”

25. How do you want to be remembered in life?

Someone who conquered her greatest obstacle: herself.

***

Aaaand… it’s a wrap! I loved answering these questions. Sure enough, I feel like I know myself a little more. I did have a harder time answering this part though that I pushed it to the very end of my self-imposed deadline. I think Question 25 was the toughest, evidenced by my one-sentence answer. 😀 But I love, love Question 24. It allowed me to really look back on what life was then and reflect on things I needed to hear then. If someone told me those things, would I have listened? Hmmm. I’ll never know. Now, while I can’t turn back time, there’s still so much to look forward to.

If you would like to answer these questions, feel free to do so. And tag me if you’d like! It’d be awesome to see your answers. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

P.S.

How would you answer Question 24? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Know Thyself 2 | A Personal Growth Exercise

Hey! Hey! Hey! I’m back with Part 2 of this personal growth exercise that I’m doing. If anyone’s interested, Part 1 is here. 🙂 As I’ve said, I got this from Pinterest from Misty Sansom. So here are my responses for Questions 10 through 17.

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10. What are you most afraid of?

I would say I’m most afraid of losing people I love, most especially my family. I don’t know if I have the strength to go through grief if/when it happens. The last time I lost someone really close to me, I didn’t deal with it very well and it wasn’t pretty. I’m terrified of being in this world without the constant people in my life.

11. If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

A lot of things. 😀 I’d regret not making more mistakes, not having more fun. I’d regret not living my life to the fullest.

12. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

I would like to reconnect with Nugget. Not for anything else, just… I want a chance for us to talk again. See what it’s like. Perhaps get some of my questions answered, my what ifs put to rest. And finally, finally close that chapter?

13. What qualities do you admire in others?

I admire one’s strong faith in God. I admire others who believe God’s purpose without a doubt. I also admire spirit and determination. Kindness and selflessness. Those are qualities I would like to have. Of course, I also love and admire one’s sense of humor or ability to make others laugh because it’s really nice to be able to put a smile on people’s faces or just brighten up someone’s day.

14. What practical skills do you wish you had?

I guess it wouldn’t really be considered as a practical skill but I would love to have singing skills up my sleeve. Maybe just enough that I could sing in a karaoke without being conscious about it. I also wish I could cook better. I probably would eventually with tons of practice. I would love it if I could whip up an awesome dinner and people would be all over how great the food was. Haha! 😀

15. Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?

I would like lots and lots of memories of beach trips, memories underwater hopefully of me scuba diving. I want wonderful memories from trekking adventures, of majestic mountaintops, lovely sunrises and sunsets.

Of course, I would like to have fun stories like, “I was sooo drunk I <insert crazy thing here>,” or “That insane ride we had in <insert name of country here>.” But one story I would really like to have is the story of how I overcame everything, how I felt so lost in my 20s and then I figured it out and everything made sense. I want stories that would inspire my grand-kids (if I ever have any) to be good people.

16. What is your favorite book/movie/song? Why?

How Could An Angel Break My Heart by Toni Braxton. I love this song because for some odd reason it helps me concentrate. I have an unbelievably short attention span. I jump from one thing to another but this song somehow settles my mind and I could focus on one thing for several minutes longer than I normally would. I just really wish I had discovered this little fact about my brain back in college.

17. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?

With all the bloodshed that’s going on right now, in a city not too far away from mine, in different parts of my country, in other countries, my heart weeps for all the wasted lives, for children who lost their parents and parents who lost sons and daughters. I wish for the whole world to have peace but peace is such an elusive state. So if I could change one thing in this world, maybe it would be to give every single human being a sense of kindness. I don’t know if it would change everything but I know it would be something.

***

So the first part of the questions were all fun but I must say I had somewhat a tough time answering this second set of the questions as it required a little more reflection into what’s in my heart. I especially love Question 15 because it made me realize that there’s still so much I have to do and I want to do. Anyway, that’s it for now. Part 3 will be up soon!

Thank you for reading! 😉

Know Thyself 1 | A Personal Growth Exercise

I was down the Pinterest rabbit hole last week and I found this… (not sure what to call it) prompt? post? Anyway, it’s called a personal growth exercise. I found the questions interesting and I would like to see how I’d respond to them. So it was posted by Misty Sansom. It has 25 questions and I’m gonna answer in three parts because I didn’t want it to be too long. Here’s the photo…

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1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would be waking up early, like around 6AM (which never happens ’cause I sleep really late), get a nice workout in, have breakfast. Get some work done (girl’s gotta earn some moola). Head to the beach and wait for sunset. Lovely dinner with the people I love. Sneak in some TV or reading time. Lights off.

2. What did you want to be when you were younger?

A lot of things. I wanted to be a famous actor even though I couldn’t act to save my life. I wanted to be a doctor or a journalist. None of those things happened. 😀

3. Who are you most inspired by? Why?

My parents. I just really, really, really want to make them happy. Everything I’m doing right now I’m doing for them and I pray it works out.

4. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

God. I know this is too much to ask. But just… there are a lot of things I want to understand that only he/she could explain.

5. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

I would like to stop procrastinating. This has been my problem my entire life. Seriously, if breathing weren’t involuntary, I would’ve died years ago. I even procrastinate on stopping my procrastinating habit. It’s a disease. I would like to start being more positive, if that counts as a habit.

6. Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

One of the persons I admire is my older brother. I know he’s not perfect. I am completely aware of his shortcomings but his heart for his family is just something so… remarkable. I admire his spirit and determination. It’s something I wish I had and something I’m striving to have.

7. How do you like to relax?

Flick through channels on TV or watch feel-good, no-brainer shows like Spongebob Squarepants. And have a Spa Day. My favorites… manicure/pedicure, foot and head massage. 🙂

8. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

July 16. Danced in public. Context: I dance but not when it’s not required. Hahaha! I always thought I’d only dance in a club with a gun to my head or if I’m drunk AF. Surprisingly, that night, I danced completely sober. Yay! Achievement unlocked! I don’t know what it was, maybe I was too happy or it could’ve been my makeup or the dress. I’d never know but I’m glad I did! 🙂

9. What are you most proud of?

I used to say I’m proudest of having once published my stories through a local publishing. But right now, I want to say that I’m proud that I’m trying. Again. That I’m trying to make something of myself. Even if it’s uncertain and it’s terrifying. I’m proud that I’ve had a couple of good days lately, even my okay days outnumber my terrible days for now. Most of all, I’m proud that I feel somewhat sane.

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Indeed, it’s been fun answering and reflecting on these questions. Excited to answer questions 10 through 17 next! 😀 Please look out for it. Or not. Whatever works! 🙂 If you see this, thank you for clicking and taking time to read my post! Hope you have a lovely day.

Sunday Curently | 02

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Hey, everyone!!! I had so much fun doing my first Sunday Currently I decided to do another one this week. 😀 Plus I had a little bit of extra time ’cause class ended waaaay earlier than usual! *woot woot!* Anyway… here goes!

Watching

MasterChef US Season 8. I love watching this show even though I haven’t tried most of the dishes they cook. I feel like I learn a lot of cooking techniques in theory though! And it’s fun watching Gordon Ramsey cook and his insults are funny (if it wasn’t meant for you). 🙂 In fact, right now, I just heard him called somebody’s rack of lamb looking like dog chew.

Writing

This Sunday Currently issue and a couple more blogs after this one.

Thinking

How I should be more careful and mentally present whenever I’m out. So I rode the jeepney (Philippines’ number 1 public transportation vehicle) earlier, there were a couple of passengers when I got in. I didn’t bother to look at their faces. And not even two minutes since I got in, I felt someone suddenly bump into my back, which I found weird but totally ignored. I learned later that three of the guys who were also passengers snatched another girl’s necklace and took one guy’s phone. The girl who bumped into me did so because she was avoiding and protecting herself from the guys.

Feeling

Grateful for being safe overall. Experiencing or seeing theft opens your eyes to not be complacent. Look out, be alert, protect yourself.

Wanting and Hoping

To do a blogging challenge next month and hoping I could finish it to the end 🙂 I did the 30-day blogging challenge last time and I only got up to the 25th day (I think) before it all crashed and burned. 😀

Loving

The sleep I had. I like a three-hour nap. Hahaha! Well… I guess I couldn’t call it a nap.

Needing

Love. 🙂 Let’s leave it like that, yes?

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So that’s it for now, guys! How’s your Sunday so far? 🙂

 

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!!!

A Revisit: Out of Time |Way Back Wednesday

I’ve never been afraid of death. That’s mainly because I feel like I have nothing to leave behind. I have no child to leave behind, whose welfare I have to worry about the moment I stopped breathing. Of course, I have my family, my parents and brothers. But they can take care of themselves. My family along with my friends will grieve for some time and then they’re going to go on with their lives.

I’ve never been afraid of death… until I came to the possibility that I was out of time. It was nothing really. It was just me being my usual paranoid self. I had seen a doctor and when I got home I decided to Google my medical results.

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And then I started reading about the likelihood of cancer at freaking 2AM and my follow-up appointment wasn’t until two weeks after…

It’s laughable right now. But a few weeks ago, I found myself thinking whether or not I should tell my family. If I decide I would, how do I tell them? I found myself composing goodbye letters for all those people who mean to me.  I found myself crying like I was actually about to die.

And on those crazy moments, I thought about all the things I missed. The place I haven’t gone to because I kept postponing my trip there. The trip I’ve always wanted to take with friends. The hobby I still haven’t pursued. The book I haven’t read. The get-togethers I missed because I didn’t feel like seeing people that day. All the play-times with my dog that I put off. All the trivial things I should have done a long time ago but didn’t.

That’s when I realized that I haven’t lived yet. Up until then, I’ve never been so afraid to die because I didn’t realize how much I haven’t lived until I thought I was out of time.