Month: May 2007

What I learned in art class

Hmm.

Perhaps I can write about how it is working in a mission center, teaching kids from depressed areas how to appreciate art.

But first a little background…

The Mission Center

With partnership from two Protestant churches (one in the Philippines, another one in Korea), a Korean missionary came to the Philippines seeking to be of service to residents of depressed areas (as my mom insists is the politically correct term for squatter areas).

The Mission Center opened in the last week of February and offers livelihood programs, workshops and awareness seminars for parents. It offers, as well, as academic tutorial services,  a sports program and arts appreciation lessons for the children.

Recently, the Mission Center held its first Summer Class Graduation for the children.

The Community

I’ll just call the community the Mission Center serves Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow is home to more than a thousand families living way, way below the poverty level. This depressed area has been in existence even way before I was born some twenty something long years ago.

I remember Sleepy Hollow from what memories I could dredge up from my childhood days. There was already a touch of irony when I enter the street that served as the entrance to Sleepy Hollow.

Actually, even if the entire street was marked by an arch saying Welcome to Sleepy Hollow! Mabuhay!, The real Sleepy Hollow stands on the right side of the street. Even then, the left side of the street was cleaner. There, a collossal private school stands proudly. It frowns down on its rat-infested, spit-strewn, dog-dropping-carpeted right side of the street.

That grim private school was my alma matter.

Also at the left side, at the end of the block where the private school stands, another street opens up. If you care to go further along this street, you will notice that the houses here are very big, well-kept. Cars are parked in garages. The gateposts have doorbells and proper family name plates are screwed on the gates. Some imposing gates even have surveillance cameras mounted on top of them. And there are rarely people loitering outside. It’s as if that crowded, filthy, chaotic right side of Sleepy Hollow’s street does not exist at all.

I’ve lived on this side of the street of Sleepy Hollow when I was little. I’m living here now.

And I was one of those taga-labas (from outside). The denizens of the inner Sleepy Hollow carry the badge, taga-looban (of the inside).

And so, allow me to take you on a brief tour of what Sleepy Hollow’s looban is, even today.

You see, the only thing that has changed in there was the density of makeshift houses that have inevitably sprung up, one on top of the other to accommodate the ever-growing families of the original taga-looban.

Let us wend our way through the mazes of dark, narrow paths into the stifling atmosphere of the looban. On days when the conditions are right, we can breathe in the low, putrid smell of the dead river, a few meters away further on to the right.

Families jostle for space in this area. Some have come from provinces as far as Tawi-tawi and Abra, in a stereotypical story of being lured to the city by the promise of a better life than what they had in the province.

Heavy in the air, almost as pungent as the smell of the dead river and human excrement thrown haphazardly into blocked esteros and drunkards’ urine on some whitewashed walls, is the palpable throb of unlived dreams and despair.

But there are also some people who have thrived in such places. There are families who have gained material success which are loathe to leave Sleepy Hollow because they have grown accustomed to the rhythms and flow of life there; even if they could afford to buy a decent property of their own.

Rarely will a day pass without Sleepy Hollow experiencing the upheavals of neighbor conflict. The taga-looban are a territorial lot. And they fight tooth and nail to defend what they feel is theirs. There is a strong sense of pride within the hearts of these people. Perhaps with the constant frustration and constant witnessing of something being taken away from them, it is easy for them to get incensed at the smallest bit of perceived threat to their dignity, to their property, to their person.

Children grow up and learn early on that in order to survive, they must talk back and assert their rights as individuals.

Parents have to slog in sweatshops all day, taking home the below minimum pay to feed a family of five, or seven, or nine, or eleven.

Many marry young. Many are left young and pregnant.

Many are involved in fisticuffs by the age of seven. Many are involved in assault with deadly weapon by age of twelve. Many are involved in armed robbery by age of fifteen. Many have served time in prison before the age of twenty.

Most of these children are intelligent. But intelligence is shunned in favor of street smarts and the way of the fist.

Anyway, as one of them have said about having dreams for their future: “…why bother dreaming when we have no means by which to support our dreams?” (…bakit pa mangangarap eh wala naman kaming pangtustos sa mga pangarap namin?)

The Now

I began teaching on a Tuesday.

The kids were rowdy. I could sense that most were eager to show off to a novice teacher who was obviously told to be kind to them. Some couldn’t care less.

For some, art class in the airconditioned room in one of the townhouses on the left side of Sleepy Hollow was just another diversion from the heat of the summer sun outside. Some wondered when  snack time was.

I asked them to draw their family.

Some wanted to escape the bleakness of their reality and drew their family portrait between trees, underneath a rainbow with a smiling sun.

Some drew airplanes to represent family members who have gone away years and years ago.

Others drew their family members holding hands with each other, a wish for unity because some of the other children have revealed that So-and-so’s family are always fighting.

Others drew only their favorite family members.

Others drew their family plus their pets.

And when I asked them to stand in front of the whole class to explain what they drew, they were very shy. Maybe because they weren’t used to public speaking. But maybe they were also scared of their friends’ teasing if they reveal just a bit of intimate detail about their families. But I want the reason to be the former. Because even the rowdiest child in class was tongue-tied when his turn came to explain his stick-people drawing to the rest of us.

That was just the first day. But my heart went out to those kids who have so little good things to look forward to in life. And as time flew, they’ve taught me important lessons.

Of survival.

Of honor.

Of honesty.

Of loyalty.

Of respect.

And of acceptance.

Between friends

For want of something to write, here’s what i’ve been reading lately:

dscn2645.jpg 

It’s Between Friends — Writing Women Celebrate Friendship, edited by Mickey Pearlman.

It’s interesting because in more ways than one, writers are reclusive and it is somewhat unbelievable that they can maintain something as socially interactive as friendship — that relationship requiring a lot of effort to keep in touch and caring for and caring about  from both parties.

And indeed, that concern was even discussed in the intro of the book by the editor herself.

Yet, compiled in the book are essays from writers about precious memories of their friends and their experience of lasting friendships.

I’ve browsed through some of the essays and the general verdict is that the book is quite riveting. I am not halfway through it yet. I plan to savor each and every piece. Enjoying those as I go along.

I’ll just lift off this quote from the book as an ode to my friends (who may be reading this)

I always felt

that the greatest high privilege;

relief and comfort

of friendship

was that one had to

explain nothing

             — Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)

 

A hungry rambling

I’m hungry.

It’s thirty-six minutes past one in the afternoon and i am hungry.

It’s a Thursday and I’m holed up in an internet cafe where the ambience and the coolness of the air remind me of my old workplace in Dumaguete. And I am hungry.

I read blogs by my friends and answer friendster messages from friends. And I am hungry.

I glance around the entire cafe and see at least four cute guys huddled over their PCs. And I am somewhat not hungry anymore.

I feel my nose threatening to run away with the cold I caught while visiting a hospital emergency room four days ago when we brought our housemate in for tetanus shots because he stepped on a nail and I am hungrier and queasier.

I wait for the SEO gig keywords to appear in my gmail account while hear in the next computer terminal a guy swearing at his opponents in a frenetic war game. And I get hungrier. 

I think about the art class I’m teaching this afternoon and I am still hungry.

I wonder where I’ll eat lunch when I get out of here and my mouth waters. I’m very, very hungry.

I shall shut up now. I need food. I need sustenance. I need………………………

Thursday art class

~`Whew`~.

 must have lost 9000 calories just this afternoon. who’d ever said that being an art teacher is a breeze? it ain’t. but this afternoon was rowdy, messy, and fun. ilovedit!

the paint from korea (mixed by one of their national artists who refused to be named) finally arrived in the center and the kids painted the center’s walls last tuesday.

however, nobody was satisfied with the results of the first attempt so the entire group decided that it was good to repaint the walls — this time with more planning.

here are some evidence of what went on last tuesday and this afternoon (thursday)

[rockyou id=69167166&islocal=true&w=400&h=300]

To the Stars Keeper

Let me drown in your stare
For in your eyes i see
That stars do sleep there
Two worlds
This story
That was almost never told
Chance
And happenstance
Could I stay?
I should go
I know
Yet with that first meeting
It was like coming home
From the longest journey
Far flung distance
It separates nothing
That belongs
To both of us
And that even this far
I feel you near
And know
It is you
I will come home to…

Headmusic

it’s days like this when stars are cold and the air is still

that i miss all that i ever was

all the places i have gone

all the people i’ve loved

it’s nights like this

when skies are clear blue

and birds wing their way across treetops

that i wish

it were tomorrow again

see faces

and hold hands

with dear friends

and pick a fight

with an old enemy or two

it’s hours like this

when years seem like centuries

and seconds can’t cry coz

their tears have dried

that i long for days past

when all i’ve known

are what still made the world work

and all i believed in

are still what moved mountains

it’s the silences like this

when stereos blare old songs

and strums of chords

batter my ears

transporting me in time

painfully

yet sweetly

to days when all i know

are the music of my time

the power chords sublime

the rhythm of ancient drumbeats

and the throb of my aching heart

longing for yestertimes

to be here

again

and now

so i could sing

in that familiar key

in the days

when all was safe

and all sounded good

play music

in harmony

as the voice of one…

Surrendo

tell me
are you there
healing what was once broken
mending
fixing

tell me
about the past
and how it still haunts
in the dead of the night
stifled screams

tell me
of cold dreams
and broken sleep
of longing to just be
but can’t

tell me
of jagged edges
meeting flesh
bleeding
mending
still broken

Forty-eight hours of craziness (3rd part)

8 May  2007, Tuesday

I did a stint as an ESL teacher for two days. Then I quit the job.

I couldn’t stomach it.

It took all i had to maintain a straight face at the korean brother in law when he asked me why i disappeared quickly from the scenes.

Can i really tell him that i didn’t like the filth and the heat and the fact that there was a “Cockroach Killing Diary” posted on the bulletin board? And that I feel it was a great injustice that there was poster taped to the airconditioning grilles saying “Aircon should be turned on from 7 am to 7 pm only. 600 pesos charge when used after the hours specified”. Oh, and the fact that I felt it was unfair because part timers are not allowed to have breaks. Hey, even the place where I used to work was humane enough to entitle their workers to have half an hour off when they’ve already rendered four hours.

I guess I could. But I chose not to.

I could go on with so many more reasons.  But I chose not to.

And the book is closed on that.

They could have the four hundred and eighty pesos I’ve earned for two days’ work. It couldn’t reimburse the money i spent on toiletries, food, and fare to go there. Nevermind that those people there think I lack ambition because I cannot sacrifice and I cannot wait until my salary is increased.

They’ve truly misjudged me. It was really not about the money why I agreed to be there. And it still wasn’t about the money why I left…

Forty-eight hours of craziness (2nd part)

4:30PM (same day)

What am I doing, diary?

I should reveal the details now. The Korean who called earlier is supposedly a project partner of my mother.

But I wasn’t aware that he was a partner. I had assumed that he was some sort of sponsor and I hadn’t wanted to rock any boats coz he was kind enough to offer his help when he learned that I just resigned from my copyediting job. I guess he thought he was doing an act of kindness when he referred me to his sister-in-law as an ESL teacher.

But the problem, diary, is that I’m no certified teacher. I have no proper teaching experience to speak of except if Vacation Bible School, where I taught one time, would be counted.

And I’m bone-tired and stressed and wanting very much to go home.

But initially, I had thought that I was doing a good deed when I decided to agree to what this guy’s sister in law wanted. Because she had a need and I felt it was in me to help her out, I guess I was thinking of some pay-it-forward scenario.

Okay. I walked into the doors of the impressive-looking building. I was awed. I checked in my ID at the information desk and headed for the bank of elevators.

I won’t tell you the exact floor that was my destination, diary. But suffice it to be known that the office where I was “interesting” to work was far, far from the office I had first imagined it to be, an office that was totally out of whack with the chrome and glass of the entire building. Incongruous would be the word.

Oh, diary! The office wasn’t dirty. It was filthy. I had thought, when the elevator dinged me to my specified floor, that I had punched the wrong button. But it was correct. But I had thought I wandered into some sort of cargo forwarding company and not some “international school”.

Yet, hoping for the best, because the signage told me that I am at the right place, I opened the door and asked,

Me: Hi, I’m Feyoh. Ms. _________ asked me to come today.

Grasshopper disguised as bespectacled girl (GDBG): Oh, do you have your resume?

Me: Err… I…

GDBG: Nevermind. Wait here for a while. (Goes to inner sanctum and comes out again with a smile on her mandible lips) She will see you now.

I went with her to a nicely-furnished office with wall to wall carpeting, totally different from the peeling linoleumed flooring of the front office. The office was well-lit and cooler than where I came in from. Ms. _________ was at her desk and she obviously was the boss. GDBG kowtowed.

GDBG: Ms. _____________, this is Feyoh.

Ms. _______ (in her version of English): So, you want to teach, only part time?

Me: It’s okay. What exactly do I do?

Ms. ________: You teach Korean chidren English. You talk phone and then by video.

Me: Okay, that could be fine.

Ms. ________: You have crass at seven-thirty until ten-thirty pm.

Me: Okay. When can I start?

Ms. __________: You start now.

Me (eyes wide in panic): What?! You mean NOW?!! I…but…. I… I just came from a job interview in Ortigas—

Ms. __________: So you accept the job?

Me: I said they give me one week’s notice.

Ms. ________ (frowns): My brother in law told you I need teacher.

Me: Nobody said that it’s now, today. I’m sorry but I am not ready. You mean the teacher starts today?

Ms. __________: Yes. I need teacher now. I have two new students and they have teacher this evening. We need a teacher. Please.

I was about to say something and then I saw her brother in law. He was in another office and when he saw me, he gave a wave and came over.

The Brother in law (all smiles): You teach Korean children today?

Me: Err…

Ms. ________: We need teacher now.

Diary, they both said that I can refuse. I don’t know. The day was stressful for me. I had wanted to do a tantrum in front of them with Ms. __________ repeating that she needs a teacher NOW while in the same breath saying I can refuse and her brother in law smiling like someone in a toothpaste commercial because he’s helped a soul find work in the vast unemployment umbra of the Philippines.

Sometimes this whole pakikisama thing really sucks. But I said yes. Just to help her out. I thought Ms. ____________ was so desperate for a teacher that she has to get an unqualified one to fill the spot.

I learned that the pay was by the hour. I nearly snorted when she quoted the rate. It was not enought to pay for the fare going there and coming back. Yet she needed a teacher NOW and I felt pity for the woman.

I shall write about this job i got in another entry but for now, i shall give you over to chin, the nevergirl and she could describe her own experience of how it is to work as an esl teacher.

(…to be continued)

Forty-eight hours of craziness (1st part)

I’ve gotta write this out of my system before i go insane and go off running out the streets in my underwear.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Dear Diary,

It’s 7AM on a Monday morning!

I’m dressed in my black ensemble complete with the blazer even if I know that the weather is scorching. I have on my best pair of sandals with two and a half inches of pointy heels guaranteed to stick into the cracks in the sidewalks. And my hair is tame enough this morning that I was able to gather all strands in a ponytail.

I look decent.

You know why I’m dressed up today, Diary?

Coz you see, I have to be in Ortigas before 9AM today. I have an appointment, you see. It has to do with a call I received last Wednesday (2 May). I had almost completely forgotten that I had submitted my application for a job opening in a call center through their online portal coz that was some months ago.

I wasn’t serious in that application that time, you see, coz I was still a copyeditor then and never dreamed of doing anything else.

But, diary, boredom does things to a person’s sense of integrity or lack of it. So here I am on a Monday, hurrying out of the house with my ma. Ma has to go to city hall but agreed to drop me off Ortigas even if it was so out of the way.

It was so early that I just ate a hard-boiled egg and drank a mug of coffee made out of freshly roasted cockroaches (that’s what it tasted like).

You know, diary, Ma has this thing for asking God for specifics. So this morning she asked that we get a taxi that is driven by an honest and kind person. Some funny thing happened. There were lots of taxis which whizzed (a mouthful) past us, most didn’t have any passengers. But none seemed to slow down for us even if we waved our arms wildly and even if we were standing by the curbside.

After at least five such bypasses, Ma looked at me and shrugged. She said, “I guess none of those drivers were kind or honest.”

A taxi finally stopped for us.

And indeed, the driver was kind and honest, just the way Ma has specified.

And you know why we thought the driver was kind and honest, diary? Because, unlike most drivers, this one didn’t turn on his meter before we got into the cab. And because this driver allowed other cars to cut in front of him. He didn’t beat any of the red lights along the way, too.

But, diary, I was a bit nervous because it was nearly nine o’clock and the taxi driver has let four cars to cut and has stopped at at least two dozens of red lights. Waiting. Patiently. Waiting. I nearly wanted to tell Ma that maybe the driver was just too kind.

But you know, when I thought that I was already late for my appointment, it turned out that I still have half an hour to spare. Ma walked me to Ortigas Building. I had wanted her to see the place where I might work if ever I decided I liked the job. So I really appreciated that she came with me to the place even if it was so out of the way of her destination. Then she was off and I was alone.

There is something about call centers that tickles me, diary. It is the notion that getting in is soooooo hard, and that the job is prestigious and the pay is good.

I’m grinning as I write this, diary. Coz as I see it, call centers are impersonal. I have a suspicion that I could lie through my teeth and babble all I want in the interview and still could get away with it — as long as I do the lying and the babbling in near-perfect English. With accent, of course. But no worries, diary. I do not do things half-baked. I answered all questions in wholehearted seriousness and sincerity. No joke. And besides, I never lie when asked about something. But I did babble a bit because I lost my train of thoughts when I was asked what my personal plans were. (I thought it inappropriate to tell the HR guy about that world domination plot or that plan to end hunger and poverty).

I mean no offense to those who work in call centers. And for sure, not all of those who work in one are paid huge sums, no matter how much night differential one has accummulated. Anyway, as for prestige… well, it’s a reason for dressing nicely but comfortably — professional and polished. Although today, I feel so overdressed with the blazer and slacks. I wished for a more casual outfit but it was too late for that.

Here’s what went on the moment I submitted the requirements they asked for, diary:

  • Start: HR personnel called out names, including mine, and those who were called filed in a room with workstations. We were handed sheafs of paper and a clear plastic folder with what looked like test questions. The HR guy says that we’re to take an IQ test first. He have us one hour and ten minutes to finish it.
  • (Twenty minutes later) Okay, IQ test is done. I’m sitting in the waiting area for the results. Memorable question from the supposed IQ test: You are taking an IQ test now. What is the meaning of IQ? Choices were (a) Internet Question (b) Intelligence Questions (c) Intelligent Quotient (d) Intelligence Quotient…tricky question, that one
  • The HR guy appears again and calls a set of names. I guess I was one of those who passed the first round coz we were to take another set of exams, this time about grammar, syntax, etc… and some computer applications.
  • Comment about the second exam, quoting Khyria: Ning, always remember you ARE a copyeditor.
  • Finished the exam in half an hour. Waited again in the cold room with the huge TV broadcasting a noontime show.
  • Comments on the hour: Am already hungry.
  • The HR guy appears again and called my name. He told me to return at 1:40. Great, I still had over an hour for lunch.
  • Lunch.
  • At Robinson’s. I was pretty annoyed with the Shakey’s people coz they have overlooked my order and wanted me to wait for another twenty minutes. Walked out of there and moved my hungry ass to Deli France. To set the record straight: I am not really picky with where I eat. It was that Deli France was the only place in that whole wide foodcourt that has vacant tables. So I went there. And dined like some, uh, French.
  • Bought mouthwash after lunch from a drugstore. Loaded cell phone and called beau (miss you!). Called Ma but no answer.
  • Walked back to Ortigas Building under the noonday sun.
  • Got phone out from bag. Registered 3 missed calls, 2 messages.
  • Message 1 (from some unidentified number): Hi, this is ___________. Where are you?
  • Message 2 (from Ma): Hello. I gave your number to __________. Sorry I didnt consult you. Did he contact you?
  • Missed calls were all from the unidentified number.
  • My phone rang again in the Ortigas Building’s 5th floor women’s toilet. It was that unidentified number.
  • The call was from a Korean. He wanted me to go to his sister-in-law’s office in Ortigas. I was already in Ortigas. I told him I was to be interviewed for a job. He asked when could I go to his sister-in-law’s office. I distractedly said “in a while” because my name was being called already.
  • I forgot about the call and proceeded to do blather with the HR guy in the call center who was my interviewer. I was beginning to find him a bit cute after seeing so much of him since that morning.
  • Interview done. HR guy was puzzled when I requested they give me a week’s notice before I accept the job. But I guess I passed again coz he gave me the situational test. It was fun and I blathered through email. Nice. Impersonal.
  • After the interview and test, a lady showed me the way out and said they will call for a scheduled contract signing (?)
  • Out of the Ortigas Building. Was prepared to go home already.
  • Phone started ringing.
  • Oh. The Korean.
  • It was a missed call.
  • Then an SMS.
  • Message: Hi, this is ________. Are you interesting (sic) to work as a part time English tutor?

Okay, diary. I replied yes. And asked where the office was. I asked the guard outside Ortigas Building and he gave me precise directions.

Walked, walked, walked. I saw the building cutting a smug blue outline in the grey horizon.

Orient Square…

Wooooooooow, I said to myself. Isn’t the building somewhat impressive diary?

So I thought that what I was in for was something nice. Anyway, if the interview I went to this morning didn’t push through, at least I could have some fallback.

With these thoughts, I walked up the steps and a doorman ushered me in. I must admit, I was impressed. (to be continued)

first come, per serve

sometimes the loneliness of people in the city is so palpable… it takes on its own form and the presence is felt everywhere.

so, during this morning when i went out to buy bread, i happened to look at a wall well plastered with rum and cigarette posters and there, written on one of the posters was the shout of loneliness, crying out for the masses to acknowledge the author’s humanity

the message cried out,

signage.jpg

in a way it was amusing. but the desperation was so glaringly obvious that it tore at me.

~Sigh~

It was a still afternoon and I’ve sent off a nonsensical message to my friend asking him what song I’d be if he was to describe me.

He replied with three. The first two jabbed me about my past failings in relationships: Sappy by Nirvana and Self-esteem by Offspring (he knew me that well and he’s that grunge) and the last one is something he chose because he liked the song’s progression. It’s a theme song for Grey’s Anatomy 2nd season finale — Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

Something about this song leaves tendrils of melancholy and has sent me sighing half the day. And that’s the way i like it… The lyrics go this way, by the way:

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
[1]

~Sigh~

… if only…

[1] lyrics grabbed off elyrics.net

I wish Willy Wonka was here

I’m washed over by homesickness…

My mind is running reels of film of my carefree days with Faith and Ta and the pets and the friends I have in another island in the big archipelagic, economically challenged mess that is my country. And it’s taking all of my willpower to stop myself from bawling “I wanna go home!” even though this is also my home.

~Sigh.

But I’ll digress a little. It’s probably boredom that’s making me want to take the next available flight back to Dumaguete City.

I’ve been cooped up in the house for the last couple of days.

What?! No shopping?!!!

Yes indeedy! I haven’t made any cash registers sing in that distinctive metallic soprano voice of theirs. I’m cash strapped and relying on the goodwill of others for spare change just so i could load my cell phone and call the loved one who has stayed behind hundreds of miles away in another island. It’s pathetic and it’s a long story. But the end total of it is I’m all broke. So I’m in the house doing a LOT of reading and thinking. I haven’t started teaching the kids yet. The art supplies are still with the couriers and they’re in no hurry to deliver them.

But i did get to see a long-missed landmark when I went with my mother to her house in Cubao last Tuesday. It’s that chocolate castle standing in the midst of a moat of congested traffic and snarled electrical wirings… a castle whose turret rose in majestic pride, standing proud in the foreground of leaden gray skies.

I’ve been thinking that it is a fitting place of residence for Sir Bern, the wonderfully generous, sweet elf in my former office.

The Castle of Baking and Confectionery Arts is located in P. Tuazon corner Benites streets in QC. It isn’t so hard to find. The place is a haven for those who love chocolates, baking, and pastries. The monarchs of the Choco Castle have baking supplies and offer baking lessons, too.

Here, I’ll post some pics I took as our taxi passed through it on our way to my mom’s house (we used to live nearby).

dscn1991.jpgdscn1992.jpg

dscn1995.jpg

Mmmm. It’s nice that some people never lose touch of their whimsical sides. I’m glad that the fairytale spirit still lives on.

Hey… that cheered me up a bit.

Maybe I was exaggerating a bit when I said I didn’t get out of the house for the last couple of days. I did. I walked for maybe fifteen minutes. And bought some personal stuff I forgot to pack in my luggage from Valencia.

And what I’ve been reading are enjoyable stuff. I never realized that Garfield could be entertaining. And there’s so much of Roald Dahl’s work lying around the house so i plan to go through the entire collection available. Nevermind that it seems kid stuff. There are lessons and nice insights into the peculiarities of humanity in this guy’s work.

The books on queue in my reading list include

  • The Twits

  • Matilda (more entertaining than the movie version)

  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and

  • James and the Giant Peach

So there. I’d have something to occupy my mind for the next few days and dissipate the homesickness I’m feeling.

Perhaps tomorrow I’d go out again for a walk. Or water the plants. Or stay online.

Who knows?

To the Deity, the Monkey Keeper

Ahem.

Another thank you is in order.

Even with the distance that separates us when i relocated, the newly instated deity, Lurchie, known temporarily as The Monkey Keeper, has done it again. Another gadgetry for me to fiddle with and use in the netherworld.

Thank you, Monkey Keeper, for igoogle and the stuff i found therein.

Be brave, be true.

Don’t forget that the new animals may bite in there.

ps. I’ve tinkered with my multiply page to upload some new photos…

Homecoming

Almost forty-eight hours already. Am in another world.

I have left a world surrounded by greenery, cool evening breezes, free flowing water, open blue skies and beckoning fields.

Am now in concretized territory, the roads seethe with heat, the skies are leaden gray and tall buildings frown impersonally at the sidewalks.

I miss Tata, I miss Faith. I miss the dogs and the cats. The blooms. The hoot of the owls at night. I even miss the croak of the woodland frog who has found residence in one of Tata’s ponds, even when a week ago I wanted to nuke the pond because of the croaking that kept me up all night.

I could fret how hot it is and how unnervingly fast paced everything is. But I feel at peace. This is where I was born. Where I’m staying is three minutes’ walk away from the hospital where I was delivered twenty something years ago.

This morning I walked past the fences of my alma mater of my elementary and high school years.

I went to the house my mother owned and later today to the house of my great grandparents.

Yep, everything’s hectic. And it’s back to having to bathe at least twice a day to feel refreshed.

I’m in another world, but in this one, everything also feels like home.