The little pink “panther”


“Hey Matt, have you seen these babies?” I asked my 9 year-old nephew one time, while we were having lunch at their place.

“Sure, tita, they’ve been there for about 3 days already…” he said to me, referring to the new hamsters.

“For real?” I asked. He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, and went ahead to join the others.

I stuck around for a little longer, staring at how amazing it was that they were so miniturized they were, and yet all their organs were working, all their paws were formed, right down to the littlest claws. Amazed at how such things could survive, I snapped away with my phone camera, wanting to capture the beauty of their movements. Everything was fascinating up close, and  I was in awe at how I could see their organs beating through their nearly-transparent skin.

Despite the fact that these are tiny creatures were rodents, and could be considered vermin, they were in this primordial form, and it never failed to amaze me to see how surely they took their deep breaths of air into their little lungs, and how determined they were to seek out their mother’s teats to survive on the milk from them. 


Although posting this photo may make it seem like it is in bad taste, I’ll do it anyway, as it is a good exercise in seeing how these tiny forms remind us of how great things are (however small they may be), when they happen. Viewing the world with a sense of wonder, always makes things worthwhile. 


Photo: Nina


One of the oldest friends, from way back in grade school recently posted a photo of him and his new daughter, Nina Gaelle. I absolutely love this photo. She’s adorable…all milk and cuddles! ๐Ÿ™‚

Twan and Marian are so blessed! โค

Amazing Stories ( “Alternate Universes” entry for #TheBlogRounds 3.0)

I remember feeling infinitely bored daily when I was growing up. 

It was a deeply intense desire to always be stimulated. To always discover something new was a daily quest for me. A new thing, new person, new experience would always fascinate. 
I grew up in the province. Back in the day, we had no internet, no phone line in our house for many years. In fact, I distinctly remember that cable TV didn’t get hooked up until I was in high school. The closest thing we had to multimedia entertainment were the weekly VHS tapes of cartoons that my father rented out in the city (for we had finished the movies we had of our own in the house).
Also, books (or, at least, the fancy books that I wanted) were considered a luxury and my parents didn’t think it was necessary to spend much on books, because I would “burn through” books so fast that…well, they didn’t think it economically sound to cater to my reading needs at the rate I was going.. ๐Ÿ™‚
So that left me with a lot of free time… I was always looking for ways to occupy myself, even back then. I’ve been known raid other people’s bookshelves, and when that was done, I’d move on to the next. If I didn’t have a steady supply of books to preoccupy me, I would constantly (and in a melodramatic manner at that)complain that “Life” was moving on without me, and that I needed to travel and tell more stories.) Then, I found a Book rental store that allowed me to borrow books at a price my daily allowance could afford. That kept me preoccupied again, until I had finished their haul, and I was hankering for another set. ๐Ÿ™‚
Stories were a lifeblood, even when I was young. I had an insatiable need to be told them, to read them…and to experience something so I could know them. My father would tell us stories at night before bedtime, but that eventually became boring for me, as he used pretty much the same characters (not his fault that I was dreaming up more sophisicated stuff to be entertained by.) 
So I tried to make my own, but at kindergarten, I found that I did not have enough of a vocabulary to really express what I wanted to.. I knew what I wanted to say, just not entirely how to say it. But I tried. My brother and 2 other male cousins were my playmates, and we’d always stage role plays to entertain ourselves. In our “warrior’s garb” that we fashioned out of blankets from our own parents’ beds, and “laser swords”, we would pretend we were aliens coming to visit Earth after a successful interplanetary conquest. I remember one time, in the “farewell” scene I had concocted, I saw a tear falling out of my cousin Gremi’s cheek, and I realized then how much power stories held.
Power, yes, but more of a fascination with how it was told and ways to tell it. My second grade class put on a play of Cinderella for the elementary school, and because I had a good speaking voice then (but none of Disney Princess charm, regretfully), they made me “The Narrator”. The Narrator really just reads stuff, and tells the story while Cinderella (played by my cousin) was wooed by the handsome Prince Charming (yes, he was. :-)) . Peering from sidelines, I watched how the words of the story (and the characters who were playing them) enthralled the audience completely, until the end.
When I was sixteen after years of work in the school paper and other writing tilts,  I had set myself up for a career in writing. I so wanted to tell stories. I had been accepted to the premier State University in Diliman, but my parents vetoed the idea of sending wee Stephanie Eloisa to the big city to study either Creative Writing or European Languages. Instead, I was sent to the next best thing. A local university whose name sounded exactly like the one in Diliman…where, wryly, I took up something so far removed from storytelling as possible, Medical Technology. ๐Ÿ™‚
Thinking back, I think my life’s major timelines broke off into two separate alternate realities at the time. It always makes me think of what other possible life I could have been leading now, had I taken that path. What would I have been? WHO would I have been? I may have been La Belle Parisienne writer Stephanie, so chic and smoking cigarettes with a thin black handle, married to someone named Jean Pierre. Or I could have been Estephania, at the Foreign Service, cultural attache with an addiction for collecting Italian modern art. Who would know, really?
I wouldn’t know…well, not exactly, anyway. 
Yet somehow, thankfully, life thankfully takes us to places and leads us to people who make us realize that despite what choices we may have regretted in our lives, we somehow gravitate to a place and time where our wishes and dreams are fulfilled in a better way than we actually have planned. I say this now because even though I didn’t get to study writing, I somehow ended up in a health care profession where I get paid to listen (and interact) to people with stories and even interact with them, and ahem, know on a biochemical level, why their “stories” are that way. ๐Ÿ™‚
Speaking of everything turning out in the most surprising ways that we don’t expect, I DID get to have coffee with Prince Charming (from that grade school play) as friends last year, and wouldn’t you know…his stories were pretty amazing too. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Photo: Japanese subway art

The Midori notebook my cousin Chris got me from his recent trip to Japan is really pretty. This subway map is very nice, and I find humor in that it is all written in Japanese, and I can only appreciate how organized and efficient it looks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I have an opportunity to travel to Singapore for a few days in the first week of May, so that got me thinking about subway systems that I will take when I am there. ย Quite excited. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Japan is my next place to go to, fingers crossed.)

Photo: Final exams

Teaching part-time has its rewards, and I thoroughly enjoy talking to younger people about my line of work. It also encourages me to work on my own knowledge and skills set, so it keeps me fresh.

This photo is a documentation of my students’ final exam from Tuesday. ๐Ÿ™‚