Category Archives: Memories at Sea

Fish

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swim

I want to be a fish.

I want to swim gracefully and wide awake.

I want to open my eyes down under

and flap my excited little fingers.

I want to sway my arms in circles

or float while learning to whistle. 🙂

I want to freely move my small feet

and know what it feels to play with one’s precious breath.

I want to dance with water in a sweet rhythm.

Oh I truly, madly, deeply want to swim.

Never mind if I’ll get darker.

I know I’ll be happier (Masayang negrita. Masayang pritong isda.)

just to glide, jump, and dive wherever.

 

Thanks Mary for a quick yet fruitful session. Someday I’ll swim with you for real. 🙂

Sea of Dreams

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plansThey say that You planted dreams in our hearts. We have them inside as early as a child. And that we have to try our best and use all resources available to have them realized. I thought I already knew what I wanted. It’s something I carried tenderly in my heart and mind. I’m certain that this dream came from You, too. And I believe with all my might that one day it will come true. I don’t know what I’m feeling these past few days. I’m bothered by a thought that won’t budge. I don’t know but for some reason there’s a new color that’s starting to be added to the picture I intend to paint in my life. An unexpected new dream is starting to bud. I don’t want to entertain it but then each day this seemingly interesting mental image is starting to unfold. It gets clearer as more details are added. And I hold it dearly not knowing exactly where this would lead. I’m not sure how long it will last. Maybe it’s just temporary. Probably a passing thought. But then I’m happy to have it in mind. I’m confused though because once I allow myself to be charmed by it, it will go against the things I previously planned.  Haaaayyyy… 😦

The sea seems to call me. The waves seem to whisper a different sound. Before it was all about agony and restlessness. Now it speaks of a new love. And the scary part – I am slowly falling into its hands. It offers en exciting promise. It makes me think everything will be alright. Despite the uncertainties. Not minding all the odds.

I want to see the wonders of this world. I want to see the magic of Your hands. I want to witness those pictures I cut and articles I read as a little girl come to life. I want to see them for real, experience them first hand. I want to do all of these while I’m young and unattached. I want to hear more stories and write about them for others to read and understand. I want to make more mistakes which in the future will just make me laugh. I want to learn precious lessons and keep getting better wherever I’m at. I want to keep my zest for life. I want to meet new people. I want to learn other culture. I want to work harder. I want to earn more. I want to dream more dreams. I want to make all of them real one by one.

I know that this is not going to be easy. Complications will once again present themselves. But I also know that if something’s meant for me I will get it no matter what. I can do all things through You. You will help me. You will guide me. You will bless me. You will walk with me and help me shape my destiny. Thank You for this little fountain of hope. I’m not sure where this will take me, what new adventures this will give. Whatever it is, I’m excited to find out. 🙂  As you said, “ You know the plans You have for me. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give me a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) And I believe Your words.

Then speaking of divine intervention or simply good timing, I read this:

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Help me decide. I still have a few more months. I lift up to You the concerns of my heart. I know that whatever choice I’ll make, You will never leave my side. Even though I walk through the valley of darkness, I fear no evil for You are with me (Psalms 23:4). 🙂 Forever, you will stay with me.

Just Wait

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I am waiting. I am dying. I am trying so hard to ignore this ugly feeling. “Hang on. You’ll get there somehow.” I’ve been telling that myself for many hours. What a torture! One thing I hate about waiting – you don’t know how long before it’ll come. Then I realized you’re actually not sure if it will really come. 😦 You just keep hoping, praying, and guess what??? Waiting!!! There’s nothing else you can do. It takes a lot to bear the agony.

I was looking forward to visit this beautiful port once again. For many weeks, I’ve been thinking about Champagne Bay and the last time we were there. Happy images started parading in my head – white sand, cool water, bright sky, yummy lobsters, beautiful tan lines (thanks to Mr. Sun). Perfect timing for I was off in the morning. The only thing that didn’t fit the picture was that I had to wait for friends who were also dying to go out. How unlucky for us that most passengers opted to go out late. Open tender had to be adjusted. So sadly again I had to wait. I started losing hope for I’ll be working early in the afternoon. I was thinking of backing out and just wait for maybe months (ang tagal naman) before we’re back here again.  Good thing Ms. Elsa offered to swap schedules with me. She knows how I wanted it so badly. I can never thank her enough. You could just imagine the joy I felt once the announcement was made. Open tender!!! Hurrrrrrrraaaaaayyyyyyyy!!! I hurriedly went to Mary’s cabin. But then she’s still not dressed up. She just finished her duty. Also, Rain and her friend were still in the mess. Almost there, I thought. Just be patient. But then those few minutes felt like forever. 😦

When all of us were finally together, we headed to the tender area. To my dismay, we were put on hold and were asked to join the next boat. I didn’t want to start complaining nor start feeling sorry. Negative thoughts only sap peace and strength. I didn’t want to kill the little hope I have which was starting to flicker. I can do this. Or can I??? Good thing I did. One by one and carefully we went inside. The waves were dancing wildly. We can feel the tiny boat grooving from left to right. Then we finally started moving, I felt like winning an award. Haha!!! My happiness was cut short though because usually it only takes 15-20 minutes to get to the island but then due to a series of unfortunate events, I had to wait again. You know how bad it feels when you see something you’re aching to have, you know it’s almost within your reach. Suddenly someone comes in and tells you with glaring eyes you can’t have it just yet. That’s exactly how I felt. We were a few meters from the pontoon when we were forced to stop because the other tender boat was still there. They seemed to be having a minor problem. I can see it, I can see it. I just can’t touch it. Is this my marshmallow test? It didn’t help that the other passengers were upset. I felt tired and seasick. We were rocking and the more I can feel it because we’re stuck. The woman next to me couldn’t breathe. She was claustrophobic. We had to open the window on top because the one near us won’t work. Haaaaay when will all of these crazy things stop? Just when I was about to close my eyes I felt a sudden jolt that really made me smile. The wait was over. I wanted to jump. Truly, good things still happen even late in the game. Time check: Almost 1 o’clock. I only have like an hour to spare but I really didn’t mind. I can make the most of that little time. And I did with dear friends. 🙂 So in the end, my waiting paid off.

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You know how beautiful it feels when you waited so long for something and you finally got it in the end. It’s hard to describe. Beautiful is an understatement. It’s something more than that. It’s like winning. It’s like conquering something big and grand. You feel like giving up to avoid the terrible feeling brought by waiting, of not really knowing, of holding on to nothing except the belief that what you’re waiting for is worth it. It’s hard. Of course you want instant gratification. You don’t want to delay your reward. Surely, it calls for discipline. It takes growing up. 🙂 It’s a battle waged within, a game played in mind. You forced yourself to think that what you’re waiting for is really important. You compromise present comfort and happiness for future rewards. A wise exchange, I must add. But then again so haaaaaaaard.

In the past I waited and was rewarded. I cried and I died but then again I came back to life and received my prize. At present I am waiting for many other things. And I am dying. Many times I’m crying. I wish to know when this will last. Every now and then I get impatient. Every now and then I get disappointed. But I’m certain that one day the agony will end and I will once again emerge triumphant. So while I’m waiting I’ll get busy and strive to be happy. Thanks for this special anecdote. Something to think about. It’s enough of an upper. It really means a lot. 🙂

I was thinking about this, when a thought bubble suddenly popped. I’ve seen this video a long time ago. May this inspire you and make you laugh.

Ayayay Pag-ibig

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He was late. He was sweating profusely. He was catching his breath but he was smiling when he saw me. He was holding a flower. It was pink. It was tiny. It was pretty. It’s not a rose though. Bougainvillea siya e. Haha!!! “Happy Valentine’s day teacher! I got this for you. Took it from our neighbour’s front yard.” This he said with a toothless grin then off he went to play with his friends. Did I say he’s only 5? 🙂

When I was still teaching back home February is one of my happiest months. Well when you’re surrounded by kids every occasion has to be extra special. I remember the love hearts and cards we make, the chocolates and flowers they give. A happy spirit is all over the place. There’s no reason to feel lonely even when you’re missing a date. You’ll just feel the LOOOOOOOOOVE… But what is love really? Whenever we’d come across this word, I’d ask my students what this means to them. Interestingly with no hesitations, they’d come up with instant replies. Simple and honest. Just plain and pure. Love is mom and dad. Love is Ampa. Love is Jesus. Love is Miggy. When mommy buys me new shoes. When you share your toys with friends. When you give your baon to your classmate. When you help someone in need. When you don’t fight. When you kiss. When you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend.  When you get married. These and many more. Always ready to answer. I must say always ready to give love, too. 🙂

The Valentine Project. Crazy 3 weeks. Funny and happy, too. This is nothing serious, though. Just to fill the time. A way to fight boredom. Many crew members were surprised when asked one corny yet cute question. What is love? Some were too embarass to utter a response. There were those who were taken aback and were caught off guard. Others just didn’t take it seriously. But there were few who gamely took the ride. So many thanks guys for making this possible. I enjoyed hearing your answers (and the bonus chika about your lovelife kapag sinusuwerte). A different Valentine. 🙂

Love is…

So there. What is love again? Nothing much. Just that. 🙂 Whew!!!

Our answers may vary depending on our needs at the moment or the stage we’re at in our lives’ journey. After all, our thoughts and beliefs are shaped by our personal histories and individual experiences. Some already know what it is. Others are still struggling to find it. To a few, it’s a curse that only brings pain and heartaches. To many, a blessing that leads to immense joy. There are those who feel it when simply holding hands. To others a sexual bond which is hopefully much more than just an exchange of body fluids. To parents maybe, a lifetime service for their kids. To young daughters, working in faraway places to send allotment. And there are those who put their trust in God, believing He is the source of all love. 🙂 It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It’s wild. It’s fun. But then it’s crazy. It’s tricky. It has dark sides that can cause harm.

Whatever meaning we have for love at present, let’s own it. For we’ll never know long we can hold that thought. In the end people, things, and even our theories evolve. Mean time, just feel the love in the air. Because love is real. Love is everywhere. It’s a special gift that’s meant to be shared. Enjoy your Valentine. 🙂

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. 🙂