Monthly Archives: January 2013

Brave

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Fate be changed,

Look inside.

Mend the bond,

Torn by pride.

Thanks Merida!!! :)

Thanks Merida!!! 🙂

Mothers can be the oddest people. They tell you things you wouldn’t understand. They can be complicated at times most of the time. They say they only want the best for you. You wonder how come they know what it is you really want. They share stories about lessons they say they learned as a child. Stories that you’d rather not hear about because they pressure you to grow up fast. They tell you you’re too young for love. But then when caught doing things they dislike, they’d scream that you’re old enough for that. They can be overprotective, sheltering you from all the storms of life. But sometimes they embrace you too tight you end up suffocating because of their caring hands. They have a say on almost everything – your hair, your clothes, your nails, your grades, your suitors, your friends, your dreams :(, etc. The list never stops. Certainly at some point in our lives there were moments we wished we can change our mothers just like Merida (pero wag naman bear :)). This way, we can change our fate, too. This way, we can shape our future based on our own liking.

We’re different from them. We have our own wants. We have our own plans. We have our own lives. With these bold thoughts in mind, we try to do things to prove to them we’re right. We know better. Their words don’t matter :(. And so the friction starts. The more we couldn’t understand. The more we refuse to understand. But then due to some unexplainable turn of events which is all part of growing up, we find ourselves wanting to mend the bond which is not an easy part. But nothing can get in the way of a determined heart. So we try and we don’t stop even if it’s hard. Until we get our much deserved reward.

I wish I’m back home again eating palabok with you. Looking for mocha flavoured cake with Joy. Telling you I love you not just over the phone. I thank you for the many things you did for us (a lifetime service). For the many things you didn’t do, too. You taught us how to be brave. That courage doesn’t have to be grand all the time. There is also a quiet kind. I’m sorry I hurt you many times. Maybe I was just too young. I long for your stories. I miss you when you laugh. We’ll window shop again and eat in Jollibee after 5 months. (Nyaaaayyy!!! Ang tagal naman.) I now know better. Your words do matter. Happy birthday! 🙂

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Young, Wild, and Free

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They say that teaching is like parenting. You guide young lives at the start when they can hardly stand. Then little by little you let go of their hands because you’re certain they can take care of themselves by then. Isn’t it a wonder how sometimes the role gets reversed? We end up learning or being looked after by people we’re supposed to care for and teach. J Just when you thought you know what you’re doing, someone will come to you and tell you “Look, this is how you do it.”

I’ve been working with little children for a long time. And it’s something I consider pure fun. Time flies when spent with them. There’s never a dull moment. I know I’m at my best. I know what words to say and what stories to share. So when I started working on the ship and was asked to work with very young kids I was delighted. But then after some time I realized I have to make adjustments because I also need to work with teens, which for me a scary part. Yeah a bit frightening. Something I’ve never done before. I’m certain they can be much of a rebel. They can be pushy. They can go out of their way to get what they want. They can size you up and test your authority. Talk about power struggle. They can do crazy things just to appear cool to their friends. On the other side they are just too fragile for me like those cute babies loving moms carry. Little kids in big bodies that’s what they are. Still looking for their identities, still searching for some parts of themselves.

Surprisingly during my month long stint in HQ and HQ+, I must admit I had the best time. And this is in total contrast to how I felt the first time I worked with teens in my previous contract. I was so afraid then. I guess it helped that now I am more open to try new things. Truly, things become more exciting in the absence of fear. Of course it didn’t happen instantly. It took a while for me to warm up. But in the end, I learned many important things. This time around, they’re the ones teaching. So thumbs up to them for doing a great job! 🙂

How to work with teenagers on board??? For sanity and for future reference, I came up with this list.

  1. Treat them like a friend. Tell them stories. Listen intently when they share their own. Ask them how they are, what they do, what they feel. Don’t boss them around. Don’t make them feel inferior. Don’t threaten them.
  2. Set boundaries. Make the rules clear. You stick to them no matter what even though you’re friends. You don’t blur the line. Doing otherwise can be risky.
  3. Be confident and comfortable. Don’t make them feel you’re afraid. They will smell your fear and they will feed on that. They will test you again and again and wait for you to make mistakes so you can fit the image they have of you in their heads. If you don’t know what you’re doing don’t play smart. Admit it and they’ll be happy to help you out.
  4. Talk to them right away when they misbehave but do it discreetly. Never embarrass them in front of their peers. They don’t want their cool image shattered. Sort things out together. Talk like two grown-ups. 🙂
  5. Find ways to make them meet new friends. Come up with activities that will make them get to know each other. It would be nice to be surrounded by young people having the time of their lives.
  6. Remember their names so they will never forget yours. Greet them whenever you have the chance. Make them feel welcome.
  7. Listen to their music. Sing the songs they sing. Never mind if you’re out of tune. Dance with them when they party. Show them you, too are having fun.
  8. Play with them. It can be a quick game of Foosball or air hockey. Maybe board games, Wii or PS3. You have to get involved. You don’t just stay in one corner and watch them do their thing. They will welcome you when you show interest in the things they do.
  9. Make them feel important. Be appreciative of the things they do and the little achievements they accomplish. It can be in dancing, singing, magic tricks, telling jokes, doing arts and crafts or simply helping you clean up when the day is over. Also, show them you care. Don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll miss them when they say goodbye.
  10. Take pictures. Make tangible memories of fun with them. Let them in to your life. This way, they will let you in theirs, too. 🙂

More than all of these (which I think will really help me as an educator and future parent), these kids also taught me important lessons on a personal level. While quietly yet happily looking at them from the background I learned to make the most of the time you have at hand. To break the ice and to loosen up. To be crazy. To embarrass oneself. To be not perfect and just be cool with it. To laugh out loud. To find interest in other people’s stories. To play and to give your best shot. To take a chance on love. To argue and to make up. To do nothing and just chill out. To be here today and to have fun. “To suck the joy out of life.”

Many thanks to all the teens from PD1301 to PD1304. I will miss hanging out with you till midnight. 🙂

Shopping Lesson from Port Douglas

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PDGloomy. That’s what it’s like. My expectations were crushed into pieces by dark clouds that covered the whole heavens. The sky was painted with gray, a not so happy color. In total contrast to the usual heat and brightness brought by the yellow sun whenever we’re here, I felt cold and saw paleness. Refreshing to the body, I know. The gentle touch of the cool breeze relaxed my senses. But somehow I felt a bit lonely. Then came the drizzle which eventually turned into a heavy downpour. Under the shade of the shops we passed by, my friends and I had to wait patiently for the rain to stop. Funny how nostalgia brought us scenes from home. We found ourselves missing street vendors selling umbrellas of various designs for only P50.00. A happy thought amidst the staleness of everything.

After a few minutes of chatting and giggling, the rain stopped and we headed to the main town where more stores are found. I had to buy some personal stuff. In a snap, thanks to the shopping list I have, I got most of the items I needed. Except for one. I was hoping to buy cute tops which I saw the last time we anchored here. You see, I am never the kind who buys on impulse. I usually stick to the plan I have in mind or to the list I have at hand.   Perky bright colors of yellow, green, and red started flashing in my head. Pastels to tone down and soften the look of interesting prints seen. What a perfect picture of joy standing solely in a place of gloom. So with excitement slowly budding inside my heart, I started walking towards that one tiny place that can surely put a smile on my face.

It took me a good 15 minutes to get there. Once again I was overwhelmed by the happy hues inside it. Enough to brighten a lonely day. Enough to lift up a sinking spirit. I was surprised to see the new arrangement of the items. They weren’t in their old places. I quickly looked for the tops I found last time. I’ve been dreaming about them for days. And clearly, I can think of their nice and simple floral designs. So when I found them again, my heart leaped. 🙂 I was planning to fit them already when I chose to ask the staff for the price. To my horror, it changed. It went up not only double but triple. Nyaaaaay!!! 😦 They were just on sale the last time I had a glimpse of their beauty. Well too bad for me. Despite this misfortune, I decided to torture myself some more by trying them on. And to my dismay, the fit was perfect. Just like I imagined. 😦 My heart sank. I would have felt different better if they were too big or too small. At that moment I felt like giving in to the loneliness offered by the dark clouds I saw outside. I know I wouldn’t buy them. I can but I won’t and I didn’t.

So lazily and regretfully, I started walking back to where I came from still thinking about the cute tops. Still thinking why I didn’t buy them before. But then that’s what I am. I was never spontaneous. I like things planned. I’m slow to decide and think things over. I prefer being safe. While contemplating on this, I realized (thanks to the pretty tops I’ll forever miss) that maybe sometimes it’s okay not to be too careful because when one is you miss really good opportunities. Happy moments pass you by and before you know it, they’re gone. And then slowly I began to think about missed opportunities in the past. Things that could have made me a little happier but then I ignored only because I was too careful, too safe, maybe even too scared. Battles I could have won. Words I could have spoken. Help I could have gotten. Love I could have received and given. A long list of could have’s and what if’s. Not so inspiring. 😦

I’m not suggesting that we totally hurl caution to the wind and forget about being careful. I can never do that. That’s not how I was built. It’s still good to have a certain degree of control, to know what you’re doing and what consequences your actions will bring. But then taking risks adds spice to life. It makes you more engaged somehow. It keeps you at your toes when you don’t know what will happen. In a way it makes you feel more alive. So I guess it’s best to enjoy shopping whatever it is you plan on buying. If we don’t try or buy, we wouldn’t know if it’s worth the gamble. Precious lessons will remain unknown. Chances to be happy will be left unborn.

Bucket List #11

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I’ve been thinking of blue water. I’ve been thinking of white sand. I’ve been thinking of little boats and basking under the sun. I was toying with some fancy thoughts while the crew drill was on. Divided attention and lame focus. Bad! 😦 After 1 long hour though, the wait was over. We went back to our cabin to get our stuffs as soon as the stand down order was given. And then in just a short while Mary, Maricel, Mariel, Frances and I excitedly got off the ship. Thanks Mommy Cecil for taking my IPM duty today. It was well appreciated. Mwah!!! Hello Vila! Here we come! 🙂

We took a cab that lead us to Le Lagoon. And wow! In an instant, childish fantasies were realized. The beach, the pool, kayak (Yey! Never mind the scorching heat from Mr. Sun), people in bright colors, strangers with warm smiles. Cameras were overused for taking pictures. Pictures of happy faces. Pictures of healthy bodies. Pictures that tell stories of fun.

To bare or not to bare??? I was of two minds the whole time. The place was almost perfect. And there were very few snooping eyes. But I was never comfortable with my body. I had issues and I struggle with some of them up to now. So when asked to take off my cover up, I was at first a bit hesitant. But girlfriends are there for a reason. No matter what, they’re always a blessing to have. They’ll pester you and they’ll bully you sometimes yet on the lucky side, they’ll support you and they’ll never fail to make you smile. So thanks to them and to peer pressure for after a few minutes, there were 5 happy and crazy girls playing and swimming in the refreshing waters of the beautiful resort. Take note in their hat  (ay mali!) hut  (hindi pa din, pero sige na nga) hot swimmers. (Naks naman). Never mind the bulges. Forget about unwanted marks and scars. Don’t think about what others are thinking. Push shyness a little to the side. It’s all about 5 pretty girls having the time of their lives. Wahaha!!!

On our way back to the ship I thought of you and I quietly smiled. I know You’re smiling, too. I know you’re happy I’m happy. I know You know I had a great time. Teach me and the others to appreciate our bodies more. To take them fully despite their imperfections – color, spots, and size. To be proud of what they have and what they lack. To love them for what they are. After all, they were created by Your loving hands. 🙂 Thank You I ticked one tiny goal from my list. Yeah one step at a time. Little goals then big goals. They will all happen in their perfect time. 🙂

The Reader

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Teach me to read you. Just try. :)

Teach me to read you. Just try. 🙂

I want to learn how to read. Put together symbols and weave their meanings to help me understand. I sometimes get impatient. I get discouraged when I make mistakes. Too many signs and too many hints. Still they don’t make much sense. I want to learn how to read.

I know it takes practice. I know it won’t happen in a snap. I know you build this skill in increments. Little by little. Step by step. Like a little kid, I want to learn how to read.  

I wish I can read you – your thoughts, your emotions, your plans. I wish all of yours matches mine. I wish I can tell you like me. I wish I can tell there’s a chance. Maybe after I read correctly a happy thought will come. Then hopefully, I can do more than read. We’ll write stories you and I. So please show me more signs. Teach me to read you. Just try. 🙂

New Fears for New Year

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Thank You for last year and all the things that happened whether they are good or not. The latter I will just consider learning experiences. 🙂 I know they’re meant to help me get better. There were heartaches and failed expectations. But then on one side, I must say there were more joys and blessings to be grateful for.

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atrium

R98 🙂

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open deck countdown

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atrium drama

It felt different attending the countdown at sea. It’s something new again and I had fun doing it. There were many people partying out loud, dancing and laughing as wild as they can. Everybody’s happy and excited for New Year. New hopes, new dreams, new opportunities. Amidst the noise, the cold, the colors and the smiles, I thought of You and all the plans I have in mind. It must have been pressure melting over me. I couldn’t understand. How I wish I have my family to comfort me, to tell me things will turn out right no matter what. I really needed that. There’s a small fear slowly getting into my nerves – fear of failure, it is. Fear of moving away from something that’s starting to feel like home to me. Fear of trying only to realize in the end it will not work out. Fear of being laughed at because I didn’t make it. Fear of hearing the words “See, I told you. It won’t work.” Fear of waking up in the morning, seeing myself in the mirror and realizing they’re all right after all. Ayayay…..Fear is such an ugly feeling. It makes me freeze and it makes me shake. It leaves my senses in turmoil. But then I also realized, how ironic that despite this ugliness it has, there’s something beautiful in it, too. It makes me pause, it makes me think, it makes me careful. 🙂 You created it for a purpose – to save and to nurture, a door towards something great. As I look back, I began to think how fear had helped me come up with important decisions which had a big impact on the life I have. Some of them didn’t turn out well yet in the end I was happy making it. I learned important lessons from them. So just take a leap of faith. I know You will always be there. You will cushion the ground when I fall. You will dress my wounds when I get hurt. You will walk with me all the way through. Just like what you did to Esther. 🙂

I guess I should not fear “fear” but rather consider it a friend. Welcome it when I see it coming. Its purpose should not go to waste. It’ll make me grow and prosper. I pray that you will give me courage to every day “do things afraid.” To speak up and fight for what I think is right. To smile and to say hello. To be seen and be heard. To forgive and forget. To risk and always take a chance. To try something new each day no matter how small it is. To listen and to believe. To sing and to dance. To be crazy and to look like a fool. To be laughed at. To let others see I need them in my life. To study and learn again and again. To hear a story after sharing my own. To dream more dreams and make them real. To do the hard stuff. To love and to cry. To hold someone else’s hand. These and many more.

Help me open the door. Guide me as I walk through avenues I’m yet to explore. I know that abundance is waiting for me at the end. Help me remember Your words. Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid of them. (Deuteronomy 31:6)