A Certain Place and Time

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This rustic sunset. I always watch for this sitting on the ledge of our front porch. While making this piece I felt a lump in my throat. Oh how I miss this view, and the house I’m standing on watching it. The house was the fruit of our hard work. Memories then flood my brain. All are bittersweet and wonderful memories.

We were still newlyweds, renting a tiny pad just for the two of us. I remember the times we were busy with the paper works in getting the lot mortgage. We have not yet decided to build a house right away. Then I became with a child. Nine months is still enough time so we started building our dream home. It was just a simple, indigenous house just as long as we have enough room for our coming child to play around. We were very hands on, especially my husband who has to check and supervise the people working on it, on top of having a full time job. It was not easy, and more so building a house did not come cheap. Well to make it short, the universe conspired to make everything happen. I then gave birth and after a couple months we finally moved into our dream home.

That house witnessed a lot of ups, downs and in betweens in our family life. Our son blew his first birthday candle on that front porch with our loved ones. And his second, third, fourth and fifth birthday candles as well as his many developmental milestones. It was also where my husband and I got to know each other more; our petty quarrels and misunderstandings, as well as the lazy afternoons when we just lay cozily in our living room building our dreams and talking about anything under the sun. The house itself was our achievement; building it from scratch to becoming a place where we truly felt secure. The walls heard my son’s baby screams and my off-key singing of lullabies. The moments we spent together  pulling weeds and sweeping the fallen Water Apple leaves from the garden. It was a natural exercise. The roof was even a sanctuary for birds evident with the white droppings they leave behind on our windows. There were a number of fruit bearing plants in our yard. I really miss just plucking lime fruits for my morning drink. The house saw many celebrations, holidays and gatherings with family and friends.

But it also saw how painful physical separation looks like. The house witnessed the tears and heartbreak when my husband left to work in another country. It saw how I would become the sole caretaker of the house, and the people living in it. I learned how to replace the drain pipe, fix ceiling fans, spend a whole day clearing the weeds, among all else. Being self-reliant is one thing positive from what seems like a negative situation.  The house witnessed how I panicked when my son cut his bleeding forehead after bumping on our kitchen counter or when he has a high fever in the dead of the night without someone to call upon. It witnessed my frustrations, fears, as well as my high hopes and trying-to-be- strong moments. But all those came to pass; our family got reunited for good after our family visa got approved. I learned a lot from the three years of raising my son singlehandedly, with my husband’s and our families’ moral support.

Guess this is the point of my writing piece, I have found my inner place because of the physical place where I have slowly developed my character and resilience. Overall those were great memories I will never get tired of replaying in my mind. It was full of love, sacrifice, independence, and happiness, the plus outweighing the minus. Though we still own the house, we already moved to a new place where we are starting a new set of memories; an entirely different environment, climate and culture. It is something I have to devote another entry on.

My entry on this week’s Discover Challenge

Finding Your Place

Thirty minus One

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I think of my birthdays as a time for reflection on the “what went on” during the year, and as far as I remember, I have been doing this for quite a number of years already since I turned twenty. I am fond of writing little notes here and there and then I keep it on a storage box after wards – I mean I WAS. Now I can hardly find time to scribble, put reflections on paper, I somehow lost myself in the busy-ness of life. However, this year as I celebrated my birthday yesterday I am writing this stuff in keeping up with the tradition I imposed myself to.
I was deeply touched by one wall post I got from a very dear friend yesterday. To reflect on her words I would quote:

Joan- a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend. Just some of who you have been in this life. Needless to say you have been good– exemplary of who you are. Your life is worth celebrating. Happy birthday!

I am especially struck with that exemplary part. Shocked would not be the right word, amazed? Maybe. I am humbled that she thought of me that way. I never thought of myself as exemplary. If I would rate myself, I am just on the passing mark. Exemplary would mean worthy of imitation, something that for me is a far fetched idea. I consider myself as just another ordinary girl. Everything about me is ordinary, even if I believe that every man is unique. There is such a particular order of the roles that made an impression. For me I’m not that exemplary as a daughter; I have my fair share of stubbornness and false sense of self-sufficiency. To elaborate more would take another story. As a sister, I have been not really that worth imitating, nor I’m the worst. Again, I am just on the ordinary. My sisters and I have our memories of cat fights as well as fun moments that we enjoyed just merely watching silly flicks on television. What stood out from my recollections is that one when our parents were out I got my sisters drunk after we tried drinking gin with powdered fruit juice, and one sister threw up and got stomach pains but thankfully it was not worse. Being a wife, I’m far from the perfect wife that most men desire, but I think I’m good enough for my husband- that’s why he married me. I’m not the typical housewife whipping dishes in the kitchen and maintaining a garden, nor the sophisticated wife who rubs elbows with her husband’s colleagues while sipping champagne on an evening cocktail. Again, I am just on the typical.
But I would like to differ on being a mother, which for me I am at my best,well for an average mom. I am proud to say that even while I am just new to being a mother, and that all I do for my kid is like most moms do, I am doing everything I can though grappling,learning something new each day. Every kid is unique, in terms of how they are made to be raised, and it all depends on the people that surround them as they are growing up. In my perspective, my being a mom is exemplary in a unique, ordinary way. I’m getting lost in words but I hope you get what I mean.

I just turned 29. What would life bring me this year, I wonder. I always make it a point to have some time for self-evaluation. In my past birthdays I recall I asked the same question, yet life gave me different answers each year. Answers that define the very being I am now. I am in constant search for what could describe what I feel, what could represent my present state of being, even in a word…

And that word is GRATITUDE.