“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” (post-)#AskWednesday

Until I read Debbie The Doglady’s post, I could have forgotten this. I had planned on posting this sometime ago but never had the right time or chance to do so. I did think of sharing it for Valentine’s, but I also felt it would have been kind of a sad reminder for some who are still grieving for our parents, so I didn’t.

I was doing some legit research one day, I don’t remember what about, but as most researches went, I stumbled on something else. I found this question posted on Quora:

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?”

My parents on New Year's Eve 2011

My parents on New Year’s Eve 2011

I could have answered, but I wasn’t planning on joining Quora. Also, I didn’t think I had any answer to that. I still don’t.

My father had a mild stroke when I was 20 and since then, he was unable to go to work, work being a teacher in elementary Math, Physical Education, and Gardening & Shop (I have no idea what those subjects were called then exactly and I think they have new names now). So maybe, whatever secrets he could have hidden, if there were any at all, my mother had long ago gotten rid of them. I know of one I found when I was young, but that doesn’t count because he was still so alive back then. So when he died in May 2012, I didn’t find any strange thing that belonged to him.

Meanwhile, my mother, who was a Geometry and Trigonometry teacher, had nothing physical to hide either, not to my knowledge, nothing strange that I found, at least. There were several secrets about her personal experiences that I found out after she died in July 2012, some things she did not tell me because she knew I would get mad that she let people do that to her, but they were nothing near strange.

I think the reason that I still haven’t found anything “strange”, surprising or shocking is because I have lived in our family’s house all my life (well, except when I was/am gone the whole week working). Non-Filipinos may go, “What???” and think “Adult and still living in her parent’s house?” Let me tell you now that Filipinos are family-oriented and living with one’s parents doesn’t necessarily make him/her dependent and useless. It is common in our culture, especially the extended family culture…

My parents were teachers and most things that I find that belonged to them are clothes, personal effects that I mostly knew anyway, various school-related stuff like books for lesson plans, IDs, lovely notes from students (especially for my mother, whose hoarding tendencies I happen to have inherited). I’m just thinking maybe I’m better off not knowing anything in case it happens to be something I’ll regret finding out.

Now that I have answered the question, I am sharing to you some of the worthy answers I found on Quora. I’d rather share the nice ones because I’d rather that we remember our parents fondly. Click on them to get to the actual pages if you want to.

quora1Click on the image so you get to be redirected to the link he gave and see what he’s talking about.

quora3This is something that I would have liked to have found. I wish I could learn more about my parents, their experiences, their thoughts, their worries, their dreams…This only emphasizes how important it is to not wait and get to know your parents more while they’re still alive, because time will come that they won’t be able to tell you anything anymore. Except for their lesson plans, my parents did not seem to have inclinations towards creative writing, which is most probably why there are no journals for me to visit in the first place.

quora4Again, one of the things I regret is emphasized here. I regret to not having video-recorded my parents (I tried, but my low-tech phone wasn’t much help,…I could have found a way and borrowed, but didn’t. Sadly.). I did not even record their voices! Now all my sister and I have of them are like the Jim Croce song: ‘Photographs and Memories’. It would have been better to see and hear them alive and talking and laughing once in a while when we’re missing them…

quora5Finding such bills would have been awesome, I gotta admit 🙂 Anyway, my father had quite a sense of humor, too, which I would not have known had he not gotten sick. It seemed he went back to his former and younger self and in the next years of his life, I got to know more of how he was as a younger man. I’m sure he was like that to his friends before the mild stroke, but at home, he was stricter. So the “change” was somehow drastic.

quora2Alright, I couldn’t help it. This one’s kind of sad in the end. Still, the mother thought of buying gifts for her children…

quora6

Make sure you click on this to see the whole of it…This reminds me of my parents, especially my mother whom her students adored. I found similar letters and cards given to her, but I really was not surprised. I had known since I was little that she was getting such expressions of appreciation from her beloved students.

 

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I hope you liked what I shared.  How about you, “What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” Again, the comments section is for your perusal 🙂

**NOTE: I thought I’d add this since I mentioned the song. It has always made me sad even before losing my parents, but now it means so much more to me. I actually just teared up having listened to it. It’s a lover’s love song, but it can very well be a song for a loved one who has gone on before you.

Oh, My 2016! (Not My) Interview with Myself #AskWednesday #ThrowbackTwenty16

It’s near the end of January and Chinese New Year’s really near. Thought it’s time to post my 2016 review that I had been intending to do.

However, I did not want to do it the traditional way. And because it’s Wednesday, I thought why not an interview? Not just an interview, but an imagined one with myself. Not just an imagined one, mind you! I asked a few peeps last night (your Wednesday morning, I suppose) to ask me any questions regarding my 2016. Some of them actually gave it much thought. A few silly questions here and there, but we all need silly from time to time.

So, here it…

(Not My) Interview with Myself

Was 2016 good for you?

Yes and no. It’s funny that most of the world unofficially officially declared 2016 as a bad year, The Worst Year, even The Worst Year Ever in History (well, maybe modern history). I understand. 2016 was mean to me and my family and the world in general.

I am rather amazed, though, that I’m not hating on 2016 all that much, regardless of the fact that the negatives certainly outweighed the positives. Must be because I mindfully kept trying to be positive. No more letting depression in my life especially now that I have people counting on me. Maybe that should be my annual goal.

Who were your inspirations in 2016?

MY FAMILY. Family is never cliche, and I know a lot of people would give the same answer because that is the truth. Difficulties and issues aside, family is most precious to me. My husband, our kids, my sister…

Were your finances okay/great?

On the contrary, my dear Watson. Sadly.

What improvements did you do to yourself?

Work-wise, I added a few online-related skills, thanks to our company. On a more personal note,…

  • I read a little more.
  • I blogged more and wrote a little more, though most writing I did was for work. You can check out my monthly recaps, just search for #MonthlyRecap.
  • I opened up more by sharing more personal stuff. Hey, I even made public my Blogspot, although that’s not really making me famous either, LOL!.
  • My bad temper lessened. Change was not easily noticed, but I promise you, it’s there. You can’t really rush these things.

Tell us anything totally new/surprising that you did last year.

  • Became a contributor to My Trending Stories. I’m supposed to say “regular contributor” but I’ve stopped. Just trying to put my mojo back on.
  • Joined a poetry-writing contest. Didn’t win, but at least, I got in.
  • Joined the Cherished Blog Fest for the first time.
  • Raised my voice at half of a fourth-grade class and told them to keep their act together…in front of their mothers! I’m not ashamed. I needed what needed to be done and, by George, it got done! One day, I’ll tell you this little story.

Did you learn something new about yourself? What?

Change is always constant, but I’m probably basically same old-same old. I did learn something quite trivial. I have a terrible sense of direction. That’s not really what I learned as I’ve known that for years. I did learn I’m not just one of a few, rather, there are many of us.

The struggle is real! We become lost to the point of looking stupid. What bothers me, though, is finding out it may not have been always like that, but the brain could have suffered some kind of damage (big or small) that was enough for it to not function the way it’s supposed to. I told you, I can really relate with the woman on that BuzzFeed video.

Best advice you received last year?

“Be patient with the kids.” I have to admit, I still need to keep heeding that advice.

Who would you like to thank (basing on 2016)?

I always thanked people. I really appreciated those who helped me in some way, be it in material ways or just through giving me moral and spiritual support. There were some who gave help without batting an eyelash and demanding for more explanations. There were even those with whom I just happened to tell my problems and they surprised me by volunteering to help. And some, they weren’t able to help in the material sense, but they lent their ears to listen and offered great advice and prayers.

They’re very good people, in my book. They did not willfully ignore me or give me the runaround or criticize me even (a few did, so thankfully, I now know how they are).

What was the biggest fear that held you back in 2016?

Fear to offend certain people so they would not get mad at me and we could keep that little amount of peace among us. In my efforts to avoid conflict, I let them force certain “rules” on me that they actually violated themselves from time to time — how selfish was that? I only did that to keep the peace even though it seemed I was becoming a pushover.

Nevertheless, as I expected based on past history, I may not move an inch from a corner and they would still find something to complain about and try to enforce more rules on me. Worse, they included others in the issue that they put those others’ health, well-being and own relationships at risk. I would not stand for that. So I let them know that I could be civil to them but would not be a pushover.

Of course, I know they are mad right now. Honestly, it’s them creating their own ghosts and problems. I’m just trying to deal with them as civilly and peacefully as I can.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?

Losing my second baby. I really wouldn’t call it “overcoming”. It was something that happened and did not leave me any choice. I still think about her almost everyday. I don’t even care that I’ve got a big tummy now because it reminds me of her. I’m not even sure I’m willing to overcome this. The real challenge is to not be sad looking at babies.

How many Koreanovelas (Korean dramas/TV shows) did you watch?

I’m not exactly a fan of Koreanovelas in general, but I do watch from time to time. Last year, I watched two with my closest roommate (I live in a boarding house on weekdays as I go to work). Watched Healer and Oh, My Ghost. I’m currently kind of following The Queen of the Office (a.k.a. Goddess of the Workplace), Korea’s version of an original Japanese show.

Most embarrassing moment in 2016?

I was thinking about getting ignored, criticized and the runarounds, but no, those were humbling experiences. I can’t think of any answer at the moment, truthfully.

What new life lessons did you learn from 2016?

I tried to rack my brains out, but to be honest, I don’t think I learned anything new and substantial. If anything, the year only emphasized to me what I already knew, be they good or bad. Okay, maybe because of this, I did learn something: to never be complacent about things. 2016 was my eager reminder.

Some reminders:

  • Keep positive.
  • Prioritize family.
  • Don’t be sensitive–deal with it gracefully.
  • Always say thank you to kind people and be sincere about it.
  • Say sorry and be sincere as well.
  • Keep calm, but don’t be a pushover.
  • Recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing and never forget they are around.
  • There will always be people who will put you down either face-to-face and mostly behind your back, so don’t mind them much. It’s their time they’re wasting.

What makes you thankful for 2016?

Just the fact that we are still alive and kicking.

 

That’s it, my 2016. So, how was yours? 🙂

Top Ten Questions People Ask Me #atozchallenge2014

In my Q&A Portion, I encourage people to ask me any questions, as long as they do not “border on too personal, below-the-belt, or unwholesome (too adult-oriented, nasty, of an intolerant nature).” So of course, being oh-so-popular, I only got a few questions thrown at me (LOL!!!).

So today, I thought I’d share to you the QUESTIONS people have most often asked me (aside from the name) and, naturally, my responses.

Q-and-A-bubble

 

 

 

 

 

j-gi-federizo

There are the Hair Raising Questions, called so because my hair tends to raise questions.

1. (Upon seeing the curls) Is your hair naturally curly?

“Yes, it is.”

Sometimes they ask this because they are amused. Sometimes, a few peeps actually like the curls. Sometimes, they ask because they are partial to straight hair. Whatever the reason, it’s in the genes, folks.

surly-hair-woman

This is not me, but a Googled image. I’ve seen some pictures of me with my back at the camera and I think this comes close to what it looks like when my hair is long already

2. Don’t you want to have your hair straightened?

“No. I like my hair.”

Maintenance is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but I kind of like it curly. One, I don’t want to conform to people’s standards when it comes to hair. Two, this is our Filipino ancestors’ legacy. I will not be ashamed of it. Three, it’s just gonna go back to curly anyway.

3. Oh, your hair is soft?!!

“Yep.”

That’s my reply because more than a question, it’s really often an exclamation. Due to my natural curls, people tend to assume the strands to feel…hmnn…well, wiry to touch, maybe, or stiff. Then they get to actually touch it and get a pleasant surprise. Another surprise is the strands are actually thinner than they seem.

 

Now let’s talk about Age-Defying Questions. Well, more like Confirm-or-Deny.

1. How old are you?

“Secret.” Or, “I stopped counting.”

For the longest time, I would give the first answer, sometimes I still do. Even when I was younger, I didn’t feel comfortable answering this. Why? Because I knew/know that people tend to label you and judge you and your capabilities, especially if you’re a woman, based on your age.

You could be as young as 25 and already, they would be needling you about getting married. You could be older and the more they would needle you about it as if the status would be what’s going to define the whole you. Or sometimes, they assume you won’t be able to catch up or be cool enough to fit in with younger people, which can be a disadvantage in the workplace.

One thing I can say: I don’t lie about it. I just don’t normally give the answer they want to hear. If it does not involve anything related to work, health or important documents, let me stop at 28. I’m in my 30s but let them assume that themselves.

2. (When I actually give the age) Really?!! But how come you look younger???

I shrug.

Ironically, many people tend to assume I am younger so they can’t believe when I say I’m this age. Sometimes I feel like a teenager having an identity crisis. I’m neither old enough nor young enough for anything. Go figure. Ha!!!

3. Have you had any boyfriend? or How many boyfriends have you had?

I smile and keep silent until I am made to spit it out.

Well, I used to smile and keep silent, that is. The truth was, I was someone who was what we call an NBSB — No. Boyfriend. Since. Birth. At my age. I don’t see why anyone could have a boyfriend at birth, but that’s beside the point.

I always believe that being single should not be seen as shameful. Why push to be in a relationship just for the sake of it and suffer?  A relationship means having responsibilities anyway and, as others claim, it is better to be an NBNP — No Boyfriend, No Problem. It’s on a case to case basis, really.

But I have to say, to be still an NBSB at 30 could be a trifle awkward to admit. It’s one thing to be single right now, another to be forever single, and it seemed I fell into that second category. I was single not by choice alone. And then here were others practically demanding that I explained further the whys, to which I said “I just haven’t been in love yet,” and what they perceived as the whys, to which I didn’t know the answers.

But what was I to do? Lie??? Being single is not pathetic. Lying like that, now that would be pathetic! Life was what it was. I was not going to lie, just hoped no one would ask so I could avoid the awkward pick-me-apart moment. It also gave more reason for inquiring minds to go around the age question and these ones below…

4.  Are you married already?

“Nope.”

That’s a typical question, isn’t it? It just wasn’t what I wanted to hear when I was much younger because usually, it would be followed up with How come you’re not married yet? said in a way that made me feel like I was supposed to be ashamed for committing a mortal sin by not being married to anybody.

Well, that’s bound to change.

5. You have kids? or How many kids do you have?

“Uh, no, none.”

Typical question, too, right? Just not the kind of thing a young, unmarried woman would like to hear. Kind of a downer because it just emphasizes how frumpy she looks.

Now before anyone reacts violently and raises hell because I just generalized married women as frumpy, please take time to realize that biologically, that’s what’s bound to happen to most of us women. That hurts but that’s reality. There are just some lucky girls who still manage to not look a day bigger after giving birth, whether they have done something about it or not.

The thing is, I am frumpy and no amount of denying is going to change the fact, so anyone who asks me the question above, I cannot really blame. I just blame my ego for not coping well with the situation. I should keep a mantra. Say it with me, girls: “I don’t care. I love myself. I don’t care. I love myself…”

 

Last, we have the Family-Oriented Questions.

1. Are you the daughter of Mr./Mrs. Federizo, the teacher? Where is s/he now?

“Yes, I am…S/he’s _(FILL IN THE BLANKS)_.”

I used to get these inquiries often enough until these recent years when both of my parents were retired and, later, passed away. I don’t really mind answering…well, most times. It’s just that folks whom I don’t know from Adam (or Eve, as the case maybe) just suddenly ask me these questions. Sometimes, they just go straight to asking how my parents are, where they are, etc., and almost always, they don’t even mention how they know my parents. They just expect me to respond.

creepy-spyI especially don’t like answering when they ask who stays with my parents when I am away (that is if they don’t  know yet about my parents being gone forever). I more especially don’t like to answer now when they ask me who is left at home when I am away, or who stays with me when I am home, or when I usually go home.

Would you feel comfortable giving your answer to complete strangers or people you know but don’t really trust? When my parents were alive, I worried about their safety, now I worry about the house’s and mine.

2. Don’t you have a sister? Where is she?

“Yes. She’s in _(FILL IN THE BLANKS)_.”

Okay, I still answer, even when I am in no mood for small talk, just to humor others. There are just some who tend to give their unnecessary opinions: “Why does she have to stay there? She should bring her family here.” “Isn’t that too far? She ought to go back home.” “It’s better here. She should stay here where….” Etcetera, blaaah…

Sometimes, I am tempted to say, “Uh, excuse me. First, she’s an adult. She has a life of her own. Second, we respect that, so should you. Third, I’m sleepy and cranky and really not in the mood to discuss with you things that ought to be discussed within the family alone. I can be polite, but please don’t push me.”

 

So THERE!!! So far, those are the usual questions I get that are at the top of my head. Thank you for letting me share things about myself, embarrassing or not, but very honest. 🙂

 

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Not sure if you enjoyed this one, but I did. It allowed me to express myself more freely and talk publicly about certain thoughts and things I have kept inside.

This post serves as my “Q” post for…

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These Islands’ Legacy #atozchallenge2014

How many ISLANDS does The Philippines have? Well, in the 1994 Miss Universe pageant Q&A portion, Miss Philippines Charlene Gonzales asked back, “High tide or low tide?” The Filipinos laughed, finding humor in it, but what she said was true — there were 7, 107 at high tide, and one more at low tide. Made sense. I suppose that in recent years, the numbers have changed although I doubt that there have been drastic changes in the numbers.

Our tiny country is surrounded by water. We still have rich flora and fauna that we have been able to preserve. Or maybe they were just able to survive us so far. History-wise, we were under Spanish rule for around 400 years, traded and co-existed with the Chinese for much longer, and followed the influence of the Americans these last decades of the century. Good or bad, all these have shaped what the Filipino is today.

Years ago, when I worked for a tertiary school, my bestfriend Jenny who worked for one of the colleges was sent to represent the school in a National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) event. She brought back a VCD given by NCCA to its guests. I forgot what the event was about but guests were given copies of the video done in-house titled Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites.

Of course, I got to watch her copy. I liked it and made my own copy — I wanted to preserve these “memories” that may one day be gone. However much I wanted to share it online, though, I couldn’t, due to copyrights. From what I remember, she said they were told never to distribute it. My copy has never been used for any purpose other than for my own viewing. I just felt it a waste that my fellowmen and the world could not see it.

That was years ago and I realized that perhaps the video is available already for everyone to see. Lo and behold! It is! There’s no better time than now to see these before more quakes and disasters, both natural (like earthquakes that destroyed several of Bohol’s heritage churches and that of neighboring places)  and man-made (like the US ship that accidentally destroyed miles of the much-revered Tubbataha Reef), totally rob us of our heritage. 2013 should be lessons for all of us.

Written and narrated by Filipino architect Augusto F. Villalon, the documentary follows him as he goes on trips to different places in the country. All these are considered Philippine world heritage sites, as declared by UNESCO. The film features “the 8 World Heritage sites in the Philippines: rice terraces of the Cordilleras; the city of Vigan; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park; and four churches built in the Spanish colonial era: San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila; San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur; and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao, Iloilo” (UW-Madison Libraries).

So to my online friends, Filipinos or otherwise, to you I share this video (you can find the next parts on YouTube). I am proud of my heritage, no matter what. I hope you are, too. Let us enjoy and protect our forefathers’ legacies and these 7,100 islands we call out home 🙂

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I hope you all found time to at least view this first part of the video. Please hit LIKE anytime now 😉 For comments, including negative ones, feel free to give your two-cents’ worth…or twenty-five centavos’ worth if you’re in the Philippines, he he…

This post, the first of two for today because I was unable to post last Friday, is a part of…

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