Kindness breeds kindness

Today, I was approached by an old man.

He is a barker.  In the Philippines, “barkers” are known to call out to passengers who would want to ride jeepneys.  They also make sure that the passenger sit close together to fit in as many passengers as possible. In return, the jeepney drivers give them a tip for their service.  Tips can vary from 2 pesos to 10 pesos depending on the number of passengers the barker was able to get.

Two weeks ago, Manong, as what we call old men here in the Philippines, asked me if it is okay for him to sleep outside our office.  I told him yes but never asked him why.  He jokingly told me that now I have another guard to look after our place.

One cold, windy night, I went outside and saw him arranging his bed made of cardboard boxes.  I asked the guard what happened to Manong and why he no longer has a home.  He said that Manong and his son-in-law got into a fight and he was asked to leave his house.  He did and while he was still looking for a new place to rent, he decided to just stay outside our office.  I bought him a blanket.  No one should sleep in that kind of cold without a blanket.

I told Anya this story.  I told her that parents, however hard-headed they can be, should still be respected by their kids.  And if the kids are older, they should understand parents more especially if they begin to act irrationally.  I told her about how much Mama loved our Lola all throughout her life and how the kids should always love their parents the same way.

Today, I saw Manong again.  He looked rested and he had a smile on his face.  He told me that last night, there was a little girl who ran after him and gave him twenty pesos.  He said that all his life, no kid that young ever gave him money.  He said he told that story to every one he knows.

You know what?  That kid is Anya.

I asked her why she did that.  She said “She just feels like it.”

My heart is full of pride today.

If my baby’s “I just feel like it.” means being kind, I think me and Mama are doing a good.

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Dolce Far Niente

The beauty of doing nothing.

Don’t we all wish that?

I’ve always dreamed of a vacation where I would wake up whenever I want to, when I would be able to say out loud “I’m ready to face the world, I’ve had enough sleep”.  The kind of vacation where breakfast would start at 11 in the morning, where I wouldn’t worry how I would look as I sip fresh coconut juice while the wind rustles uncombed hair.  I’ve always dreamed of a vacation where I would sit under a tree, look at the vast ocean, listen to the sound of the waves as they reach the shore, and gaze at the shadows the trees and the boats make and how they change by the passing minute.

I’ve always dreamed of a vacation where the word rush, speed up, or faster is never mentioned.  A time where no one would judge me if I finish eating a slice of pizza in five minutes because I want to savor all of the flavors its different ingredients has.  Or what I wear.  Or how many pounds I gain.

I’ve always dreamed of vacations where I would walk as slowly as possible, stop as often as I feel like it, taste as many varieties of food that my jeans would allow.

A vacation where, when night comes, I would just gaze at the stars and wait for sleep to visit me because who would care what time I would go to bed when I could wake up anytime I want the next day.

The beauty of doing nothing is the most beautiful thing of all.

Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

I could hope that I would get to experience this, right?  And I promise you that once I do, I will tell you about it.

I will write about it and I would be surrounded with palm trees, with the breeze gently blowing my still uncombed hair, and with fresh coconut juice waiting to be sipped.

65 Books,

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This year, I am challenging my self to read 65 books.

I choose 65 because it was Mama’s age when she died.

Each of the 65 books that I will read will be my homage to her.

I always tell people that I find people who don’t read books boring.  I know, I am a snob.

But I think books are the most wonderful thing in this world.

How else can we live the lives of others if we don’t read?

How else can we travel to exotic places?

How else can our minds grow, our ideas come to life, and ourselves to be inspired if we don’t read?

I pray that in the 65 books that I will choose this year, there will be stories or lines that will remind me of my mom.  I hope the lines I will read will let me remember all the lessons she taught me.  I hope to cry, to finally cry uncontrollably to release all the pain that still doesn’t want to come out of me.  I hope to smile, to laugh, and to remember.

I hope that all the 65 books will be able to do that.

If not, there’s always next year.