Monday, July 30, 2018

Shocking Discovery at the Wilderness Trail

Our every day walk allows us not only the opportunity to maintain a healthy life style but also to bask on the beauty of our small town. There is no pollution, the roads are clean, and there are trails where we can walk without worrying on getting hit by cars.

That’s the luxury that I enjoy the most living here in the United States. Thus, I was deeply saddened last week when we visited this place (July 27) and found a shocking discovery. We’ve been to this area several times and we never saw it in this condition. Soda cans, plastics, and other forms of garbage were thrown in the small body of water. It was a flagrant disregard to the no littering signs all over which left us the question, why?

We saw several soda cans floating on the water. :( 

At closer look, that thing at the right corner looks like a tupperware. 

Bottles were everywhere.

I simply could not believe that it was the same place where we used to watch fish and turtles. The water was so filthy we could not see anything except garbage.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Ripley Home

History aficionados will fall in love with the circa 1883 Ripley home. The tour inside provides an esoteric insight into the newly renovated structure teeming with original hardwood floors and features 12’ ceilings and 10’ doors.

We walk through this area almost every day and I never really thought that the brick splendor exudes all the elegance you could hope for including a new kitchen with Viking appliances, large sweeping staircase, crystal chandeliers, four marble fireplaces, sauna, and the original intricate custom brass hardware.

Nestled on a charming Montague town, it is a reminiscent of the days long past perhaps offering also a glimpse of the life of the original owner, pioneer businessman and pharmacist Lafayette G.Ripley. 

(A virtual tour of this home and a brief biography of Ripley are available here.)

Friday, July 27, 2018

How We Survived a Long Distance Relationship

Long distance relationship is not for a faint heart. Humans are wired for instant gratification and the thought of not seeing or not being able to talk to the person you love is a difficult struggle to bear.

During our simple wedding at Jakarta.

Skype or Facebook messenger may not totally diminish the pain of separation but you can use it to build a strong foundation for your relationship. After all, it is known that people in long distance relationship have deeper and more meaningful communications. David and I were separated thousands of miles before finally seeing each other in person and more years of separation after getting married and processing our papers. It was through video calls and messages that we were able to work on establishing a stronger relationship.

Don’t doubt your love. Second-guessing decisions will weaken both of your will. What kills long distance relationship is the constant underlying ambiguity or irrational expectations. David and I had the same vision since we first talked. We knew that our goal for the future is to grow old together. This helped us surpassed all the struggles that we faced.

Don’t listen to skepticism. You have no responsibility to explain your choices in life and that includes your relationship. It is complicated enough for two people in love. People who surround you are merely spectators wishing for you to succeed or hoping for you to fail. When I married my husband, so many people expressed their doubts and indignation. But, marrying my best friend is the best thing that I have ever done. Cliche as it may sound, listen to what your heart says.

Live in love and hope.
A long distance relationship without hope will not live. Eventually, the excitement will die. I remember that from the first day we started talking until the last day we were separated, the level of excitement whenever we talked was the same. I would wake up 4:00 a.m. to be able to talk to him before work and he would do the same thing. Thousands of messages, hundreds of phone calls, and endless conversations kept our relationship strong.

Communicate from your Heart. Be open about your feelings. Spoken words are important since it’s hard to read body signals if you are thousand miles from each other. Explain your fears, insecurities, and reasons for jealousy. Love thrives in honesty.

There is no secret formula to make sure that long distance relationship works. However, my husband and I can assure you that all the tears, all the pains, and all the difficulties are definitely worth it. The day I came here to the United States to be reunited with him is the best thing that ever happened to me. His tight hug and tears of happiness affirmed a deep commitment to our future and to a love which is to infinity and beyond.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Filipino Immigrant's Life in the U.S.

I love the trails here! 

Some days, I try to picture my life back in the Philippines and Indonesia. My day was usually filled with worries on teaching, winning in different contests, and meeting deadlines of school publications. However, life has taken a complete turn around when I moved here in the US.

I had doubts when I left the stability of the past. Financially, I was secured. Professionally, there were many opportunities. It was the thought of spending the rest of my life with someone I love that pacified all those uncertainties. The beginning of compunction is the birth of a new life and strange as it may sound, sometimes you need to travel far and wide to realize what your heart is missing.

I didn't really have any idea of the level of toxicity of my life until I came here and experienced some things that I used to disregard. Life in the U.S. has taught me the greatest joy of simplicity. I find more enjoyment walking on the white sand than shopping at the malls. Though I still own the latest gadgets, I find more happiness in spending time with my husband going on a walk. I find more serenity living in the city and having the pleasure of watching different animals right at the comfort of our home.

I had doubts when I left the stability of the past. Financially, I was secured. Professionally, there were many opportunities. It was the thought of spending the rest of my life with someone I love that pacified all those uncertainties.

Life in the U.S. is not perfect and I have my own shares of struggles and difficulties. We may not live an extravagant life but every meal is a reminder that it is worth a one-month meal of a child back home.

Some decisions may define your future while others are meant to change your life. Though I miss the people and the place where I used to live, I won’t lie that I found the meaning of my being when I chose to move here with my husband.

Life in the U.S. helped me to plant my feet firmly on the ground and cultivate a simple heart. Since I get to spend more time outdoors, it also helped me to live a life rooted from within.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Solid Reasons Why You Should not Give Up

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
― Haruki Murakami

Life is ever evolving; change is the only thing constant. When circumstances give you thousands of reasons to doubt your abilities and forget your dreams, DON’T GIVE UP.

The vision of the future might be blurry as you face huge obstacles, keep on trying and pushing. You may not have all the answers to your questions but one day you will.

You may dread waking up and facing another difficult day but DON'T GIVE UP. Longfellow said, “Every person has a secret sorrow that the world knows not”. It can’t always be a rainy day; one day the sun will shine.

If you see nothing but failures and you are overwhelmed with your ability to succeed, DON'T GIVE UP. Think of the lesson of time- to everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose under heaven.

If you are drowning in sorrow, DON’T GIVE UP. Time and pain are relative. By allowing your soul to linger on the pain, you are inadvertently growing the wounds inside you. There is a ray of hope if you will start swimming on the surface.

If your will is weakened by discouragement from others, DON’T GIVE UP. Ignore your naysayers and draw strength from within. It is only through deep introspection that you would realize, life is worth fighting for. Unless you are dead, there is no justifiable reason for you not to fight back.

Don’t drown in the sea of nonsensical thoughts. You are needed. You are wanted. Your life has a purpose.

The instinct to fight is within you.

Filed under: 
Inspirational Articles/ Daily Blog

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Thoughts/ Opinions

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How Death Teaches Us to Live Fully

Too many deaths in the recent days reminded me that no one is promised a tomorrow. Their stories though painful reminded me of essential lessons in life.

The first lesson was from a young boy I didn’t know personally but whose death made me shed buckets of tears. I witnessed his battle and journey of bravery through his Facebook page which was regularly updated by his mom. Through him, I learned that death is a celebration of life- a well-lived life. It was hard to imagine the life of a young boy who fought cancer since three years old only to lose it at the end. However, through his positivity, he was able to transcend his pain and inspire others.

There are days when we wake up that our hearts are anxious about how the day would go not fully realizing it might be the last day of our life. How do we really live fully?

The second lesson was from the tragic death of a family of five. Five souls perished in a split second while they were on the way home from a vacation. The father and four daughters died instantly in a car crash leaving the mother as the only survivor. The heartbreaking story reminded me that every second of life is of infinite value. Living life to the fullest is tough because it is scary to make mistakes. However, these can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. The fragility of life, the fact that it could be taken in a split second, reminded me to live life fully.

The last lesson hit me the hardest because it came too close- the death of our loving neighbor who showed me nothing but kindness. Though we were told of the looming news several months ago, the truth was nothing that could prepare you for it The world seemed to stand still when I read about her passing. She was a beautiful person in and out that will be surely missed.

The question about death has motivated the most arduous efforts of philosophers. But, the reality of death lays plainly with the bleakness of the grave. Death is ultimately inevitable. As Hemingway said, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Qualities that Make a Great Teacher

One truth about children that resonates with me was explicated by Rousseau: Children are neither good nor evil. They can be either. It’s how they are brought up that determines that. Therefore, parents and teachers play a crucial role on the lives of children. While teachers are given years of education to do just that, the task of shaping the lives of young, impressionable children can be daunting at times.

The qualities that make a great teacher are not easy to inculcate or duplicate, but understanding these qualities can set a distinct standard of excellence to strive for.

ACCEPTING. Create an environment of love by accepting any kind of learners.

BUBBLY. Teaching is a high-energy job that requires constant interaction with different students and an upbeat, bubbly personality is a must.

CONSIDERATE. Students need to feel that they are equally valued and their ideas, beliefs and tenets are respected.

DEEP THINKER. To gain understanding of the children’s complex development, a deeper insight is needed.

EFFECTIVE. Studies revealed that students who were placed with highly effective teachers significantly outperformed comparable students on various assessments.

FAIR. Our society is founded on the idea of justice and equality and teachers play a vital role in instilling this.

GENUINE. A child can see through a looking glass and he/she can can feel if you genuinely care about her/ him.

HONEST. Teaching honesty helps develop character and self-esteem.

INTERESTING. Children can be truly engaged if teachers present lessons in a thought-provoking manner.

JOYFUL. Learning is futile if the experience of “doing school” destroys children’s spirit to learn. Boredom is a disease of epidemic proportion.

KIND. Too often, we underestimate the power of kindness. A kind teacher helps students feel cared for and loved.

LIGHTHEARTED. Teachers have the power to create lighthearted fun out of serious learning.

MOTHERLY. An explicit mothering role to students can bring an inexplicable amount of positive change.

NATURAL. Be natural. If your heart is in teaching, it will naturally show.

OPTIMISTIC. When students are facing hurdles, the teacher can influence them to be more optimistic in attaining their goals.

PASSIONATE. Passionate teachers believe in the importance of their job and their role to promote student’s intellectual and moral development.

QUINTESSENTIAL. Teachers find gratification that their job is worthy of sacrifice.

REFLECTIVE. The ability to reflect and draw decisions on thoughtful analysis is an integral part of being a teacher.

SINCERE. It runs through the core of your soul and reflects to the way you deal with all kinds of learners.

THOUGHTFUL. A thoughtful teacher carefully plans to foster learning.

UPRIGHT. The role of a teacher in a society is undeniable and being an upright teacher means displaying good character worthy of emulation.

VIRTUOUS. The old mantra holds true: virtue is first “caught” and then “taught”.

WILLING. Be willing to explore new teaching ideas and strategies.

YOUTHFUL. Teacher’s enthusiasm is infectious. Be youthful. Be alive.

ZEALOUS. A zealous teacher can make a world of passionate and energetic young learners.

Most importantly, teach LIFE.


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