I finally got time to sort out some of the paperwork I brought over, and found this gem from one of Mom’s old letters to me

Rise above the emotionalism and use your innate common sense and faith to clarify your goal and path to go towards it. Discern the precious from the waste. Sharpen your inner strength and discipline. Accept your specialness amongst the ordinary with serenity. Share your blessings and experiences silently. And trust that when the path seems foggy and He doesn’t seem to be there, someone will be sent to guide you

Will definitely keep these words close to heart….



I’ve been back in the Philippines for about 2 weeks, and still don’t think I’ve fully adjusted to life and things here.  Not only is this a lifestyle change, but I’m also re-adapting to 3rd world habits and coming to terms with Mom’s illness. I’m sure it will feel “normal” eventually, but so far it still feels like an awkward vacation.

Here are a few anecdotes of my experience thus far

  • It’s been funny retraining myself to constantly think and speak in Tagalog again. I’ve always been fluent, but this time it feels like I’m always stumbling  for words.
  • Getting used to taking a bath with a bucket of water and “tabo” (scoop) again. I got so used to instant hot showers, it was a little frustrating to wait for for water to be heated.  Some days I just gave in and took a minute bath by splashing cold water on myself.
  • Fruits galore! So happy to be around so many choices of tropical fruits again. We eat papaya and Guyabano for breakfast; then lansones and rambutan for snack; and mango for dinner.
  • Driving here is a guaranteed test of focus and patience.  There are no 4 way stops, no specified lanes, and worst of all, no yielding for pedestrians. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to be just as aggressive and less courteous on the road for a safe drive home.
  • Since the parents are retired, I sort of feel like I am too.  But don’t worry, I’m committed to taking on projects or classes to keep me busy.
  • It’s also pretty evident that Mom and Dad need help around the house.  With Mom resting most of the time, dad does everything from shopping for food, cooking, cleaning, running medical errands and caring for mom. I admire Dad for hanging on and never complaining through it all.
  • It’s been great reconnecting with my childhood best friends. I’m grateful that we can easily catch up and relate after 16 years of a disconnect in between.

Quite a mouthful, huh?  Will add more later.