Category Archives: Scribbles

Call of Duty

I passed by this means of transportation for a what must be a very busy man with a most interesting signage on my way to work.

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It would have been an ordinary sight.  A bike is often used by workers specially those in the construction sector to go to work in a nearby site since it is easily the most affordable.

I recall seeing the same bike, however, on the same spot a number of times.  I wanted to take a photo when  I passed it sometimes but would be too lazy to back up or go around the block.  Today, I crossed path with the owner riding this bike as I made my way out of the village.

Later, I got a text from MD telling me she’s on duty.  This new responsibility affected family schedules.  Unlike the past years, she no longer goes home every weekend but only on the rare weekends when she is not on duty.  I am sure we would be seeing less of MS in the next few years.  Pretty much the same thing happened with ED.  Their calling requires them to sacrifice family times to take care of the needs of others.

It dawned on me that the man on the bike that caught my attention must be on his way to render service on one or more of the listed services in the comprehensive self-advertisement. The listing includes services that are in great demand or needed during emergencies…. sometimes on short notice.  Opportunities that he cannot pass up as it is his means of livelihood.     I admire his guts, talents ….. his enterprise.  With the myriad of service offerings, he must be always short on time.

Even more interesting is how did he come to learn all these trades….  Does he possess all these skills?  How long does he work?  Does he have a team?  What is the division of labor?  How much are they paid?  How do they enjoy the fruit of their labor if ever they get to enjoy it for anything other than basic necessities?  These questions may yield interesting insights into the life and aspirations of anyone engaged in any work.

It is said that the things one is passionate about is one’s calling.  And so with this man on the curious-looking bike who pedals his way to answer to a calling.

What’s Wrong with Some Scavenging?

This beautiful essay on sentimental ‘basura’or trash inspired me to share my own ‘basurera’ moment in this post.

Sharing My Basurera Moment

I bet too that we all have our own ‘basurera’ moment that made life a little easier and lighter for us.  I think that this is so typically Filipino.  We even have a term for it, ‘harimunan’.  I can’t find an English synonym for the term.  It may sometimes connote negative meaning because it can imply taking advantage of other people’s resources.  If it is a habit, it is probably bad but that is not what the post is about.  But if the giver does not mind or is just disposing his excesses, the scavenger might even be helping the person organize his home, his life.

I guess that the most idealistic among us are too busy making their lives purposeful that they do not mind repurposing other people’s ‘trash’.

I recall my own scavenging moment while on a scholarship grant to study Nihonggo in Japan in the mid 90s.  Our generous host provided for our study, accommodation, cost of living and even sundries.  However, the apartment we stayed in was empty except for the futons, washing machine and kitchen/dining essentials.

We would be studying for 6 months away from our families.  It can be daunting and lonely if we cannot have a home away from home.  So my roommate and I tried to make a home out of that cold apartment that doesn’t have a heater…. sigh.

Six months was long enough to feel pangs of loneliness as I recall missing my then less than 2 year toddler daughter and my preschooler daughter most of the time.  Yet, it was short enough to build something big and permanent.  Our host was gracious enough to provide us a tv set that only have shows in Nihonggo.  Again, no complaints.  We are thankful we could watch something lively and colorful when we’re feeling homesick.  It also helped in our study of the language.   Six months was just enough time to socialize and make friends among the small community of students, teachers, co-workers in our arubaito, and  neighbors.  How can we in an apartment lacking the essentials to accommodate guests?

Filipinos know too well that affluent countries are throwaway economies.  Japanese like Americans throw what they no longer need or use.

One day, my roommate/classmate passed by a set of two Japanese-style seaters on our way to school in that small hilly community.  We haven’t done any scavenging at that time but the sight of the seaters and thought of the empty apartment seem to be a match made in heaven, a thought too strong to ignore.  We looked at each other and knew what to do.  We carried the seaters to an area that would conceal them.  After school, we carried the seaters one at a time to our apartment .  We lost no time cleaning and disinfecting them with everything we got.  They looked good in our living room when we were done.  That small addition made the apartment feel like home for the next months, something we can flop on after a hard day at school or at the onsen where we work for our arubaito.  It later became our entertainment area where we would host small get-togethers for visitors and friends.

That wouldn’t the last time we would pick other people’s trash.  We would be icky at times but we would be lucky sometimes to find something useful or valuable like some yen that my roommate found.  We found other home stuff, a watch and other things…. some were useful, others were just trash.

After six months, we left two beautifully-restored seaters to our Chinese friends who will be studying longer than us.  On hindsight, we did not only leave pieces of used furniture but memories of how we survived and fought off homesickness in a strange land.

I carried that repurposing lifestyle until now.  I try to use things until its end of life when they are no longer reparable.  I practice the 3Rs.  At one point, I was so into collecting things. When I realized I had tons of unused and no longer usable items, I knew I developed a bad habit that must end.

Over the years, I learned better.  I am now both a disposer and a scavenger.  When it doesn’t fit or I do not like it anymore, I give it to someone who can use it.  I also ask  others for something they want to dispose which I or others might need.  I put up this page for this purpose.  Sadly, it hasn’t gained as much traction as I expected to when free stuffs are freely given.  Sometimes, it boils down to pride which is also a Filipino thing…. A friend messaged me saying she is too ashamed to ask for free stuff.  Some said they would share when they find the time.  A pity really because just look at our home and the clutter showing all our hidden ‘greed’.  Ridding our homes of clutter can help us breathe easy.

It takes the the pettiness of a person from whom we expected more to disparage the scavenging of a Vice President for us to admit we are also scavengers.  I’m glad that this issue became viral to know many stories of the resilience of Filipinos to survive in hard times to show it is not one isolated destitute story.

I hope that the shallow among us learn that it is not so humiliating to reuse stuff and .  It is even respectable to know that one can go to such length to live within one’s means   ….

Self Indulgence

Yesterday’s morning’s commute is one for the books.

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It was one of those days when the only money left in my wallet was enough for a one-way van or P2P ride.  I did not withdraw money the night before because I decided I’d just do it when I get to work the following day.  I’ve done it before and I guess there wouldn’t be a hitch…..

After I parked my car, I checked both van terminals if vans are readily available and seeing a line in one and the other empty of passengers and vans, I decided to flag a bus to go to the P2P bus terminal.

I was thinking I still have P32 credit in my Beep card based on the last time I rode a P2P bus and so I have enough.  So I went to the loading booth and paid P50.  When the lady gave the receipt to me showing P52 balance, she told me that fare increased to P80.  I was perplexed.  I mentally pictured the content of my beautiful wallet and it is not good.  There is P20 in bill and two P10 coins and some other coins.  I know that P50 is the minimum load but I asked just the same if less than P50 can be loaded and the lady just looked at me.

I can actually withdraw money but I was too lazy to go to the mall which is around 20 meters away.  I also didn’t want to be left by the bus which is filling up fast.  If I am left, the next one will leave after 30 minutes and I do not want to be late for work.

I was uncomfortable feeling other passengers staring from my back as I emptied and counted my coins which included several P0.25 coins.  I was relieved when I managed to come up with another P50.  The lady didn’t even count my payment and processed my Beep card again.

I went inside the bus and took a seat irked with myself and feeling so ‘poor’.  How could I have barely P100 on my way to work when others have enough to buy a car or condo in their purse!  I also scolded myself silently for my poor choice in commuting when I could have just waited for a van to be sure I have enough fare money.

I was being hard on myself until I read a FB post I saved for later reading in my phone about Geoselle Dela Cruz, who graduated cum laude from UP recently after so much trials.  Her story is so inspiring.  Geoselle is an amazing young lady who would make any parent proud.

I went from being petty to reexamining my beliefs, my values and I wanted to slap myself for even thinking  of comparing myself with those who have more.  This incredible lady make do with what whatever she has or doesn’t have and still thank God for making her the better for it.  I am always grateful for stories like this which put my feet back on the ground whenever I am feeling entitled or self-indulgent.  I don’t like others when they are that way.  I certainly dislike me when the spoiled me manifests itself.

Make sure you read  Geoselle’s FB post on her struggles to finish her studies.  You’ll thank God for your many blessings.  From now on, I will strive hard to be thankful even when my pockets are empty.

Rebooting my Writer’s Block

This post should do what was promised four years ago when I set up this blog, wrote the launching spiel and let it stagnate into oblivion after that single post.  I used to be so aware of what’s happening in my and other beings (in my life)’s life through my old home.  I lost all motivation to write except for the occasional FB posts on subjects close to my heart or I’d like to give my unsolicited opinion on.

This ….ty something is now almost halfway through that decade in life.  Four years of memories gone .  The mood of the moment lost with memory gaps crippling my …..ty something mind…. and there is nothing to go back to.

Those times did not pass by uneventfully…. I’ve been to places; met interesting, likable and loathable people; done worthy, important, interesting, fun things and made mistakes and been stupid along the way.  I even changed jobs and broaden my credentials (I hope).  I lost some loved ones – human, furred, scaled, through sickness, unfortunate events and betrayal (the last two are not capable of the last cause)  ……. and these could have been captured in words in this new home….. but I did not do as promised.

I have had moments when a post worthy train of thought ran in my mind like a flowing stream which got lost in the day-to-day grind.  I even thought so many times to go back and write something, anything.  I am never at a lost for words when hitting the keyboard so why stall.  The technology now is so amazingly made for bloggers.  Laziness….. maybe.  Been busy …. maybe.  I can’t tell exactly.  I didn’t have enough stirring in me…. unlike when I first decided to have my old home when there was turmoil in my life and it sure felt warm and comforting in there …. when I needed to pour my emotion……… things settled since and must have come to a pass….. so is my urge to write…

I am rebooting now, making no promises this time……. just hoping that this post will be the laxative that will relieve my creative constipation……..  I would not mind having creative diarrhea thereafter 😉  reboot

My New Home

Halfway through (wishin & hopin) in this wonderful journey peppered with the mountains and valleys of life’s experiences and the depths and expanse of what is yet to come.  Having closed one chapter as narrated in Life’s Lemons to a 40ish Seeker, this blog will be my new soundboard with hopefully lesser angst, bitter pills, pains and aches, tears …. This ….. ty something continues to live life for what it is and what it brings … with a better grasp and sense of reality.…. with more places to go to and explore; more music to hear and songs to sing; more recipes to experiment on; more of life’s deals to make or break; more mistakes to make and learn from; more people to meet and some to let go  …… Life begins anew.