December 31, 2008

What I Learned in 2008, What I Want to Learn in 2009 (Christmas List 11 and 12/12)

As 2008 comes to a close, I decided to sit and take pause as I reflect back on lessons learned in the past year, as well as to look forward to things I want to learn, relearn, unlearn or master for 2009 as a way to top of my 12 lists of 12's for Christmas.

So, here it goes:

January taught me COURAGE to face up to new challenges. Perhaps this may be cliché, as the start of any year would bring about that to anyone. For me, however, working through a lot of my personal demons (which started a few months earlier) was really a major challenge.

In February I learned the fine art of SELF-ACCEPTANCE. To be fair, this is still a lesson I continue to learn on a day to day basis, but it was in February when I think I really began to appreciate appreciating myself, faults and all.

March brought about the lesson of HOPE. For the first time in almost an entire year, March 2008 brought back to me the notion that the sun does rise and that there is a rainbow after the rain. After a tumultuous few months, it was becoming difficult to be able to hope that things would get better, but come March, the rising of the sun started.

I learned in April the value of PERSEVERANCE. I learned that persevering is not limited to physical tasks, nor just mental ones, but even to emotions and feelings. I learned to persevere my way through my thesis and through the difficult task of soul work.

For May my important lesson was FAITH. I always used to think I knew what faith was…wasn’t it just the ability to believe in things unseen? I realized, however, that many times I take it for granted. It hit me that faith was not just believing the way I was believing, you know, in my head. It had to come from the heart.

The real meaning of JOY came to me in June. Through my return to teaching preschool, I was reminded of what it really means to have joy. It is not in the material things I have around me, nor is it bought by money, but it is finding pleasure in the simplest things.

In July I figured out what it means to have PASSION. Not only did I rediscover teaching, but I rekindled my love for writing. I’ve always dabbled in it every now and then, but through a blogger event in July, I remembered what it was like to blog, thus, my blog was reborn. Passion indeed.

One of my biggest secrets (and one that people don’t believe when the find out) is that I am super shy. While it can’t be seen by others, on the inside, I am quivering inside. In August, this truth was challenged to its greatest level. I had to present a study in a conference where the top brass of my department as well as my fellow junior faculty were in attendance. It’s one thing to teach a class where you can wing your way through things and act like you really know what you’re talking about, but there?!? OMG. The lesson I learned, however, is to believe I can do it. The gift of SELF-CONFIDENCE is what I take from August of 2008.

In September I got to practice the art of TRUSTING MY GUT. Oprah says this is our internal life-saving device. I suppose she’s right, as you just know in your gut when things are right. Anyway, I say practice because I still have to really learn this virtue. In September this was challenged in me as I had to stick to my guns and trust my instincts that what I had done was right. I had to hold back a couple of students from graduating due to very valid reasons, but it was difficult to hold firm to that decision. I almost wavered a couple of times, especially since that was the easy thing to do, but in the end, I’m glad I stuck to my gut.

In October I learned what I really means to LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. I always thought I’d learn this from my kids, but this was taught to me by Bubba. He continues to show me what “unconditional” really means, and how it feels on the inside too.

What did I learn for November? I think more than anything it was PATIENCE. I always say patience is a virtue I can often live with out, but I was reminded that I have to take things one day at a time and I can’t hurry others to keep pace with me.

The most fun lesson came this December, starting from my hosting gig at the PsychConsult 7th anniversary party, to the busyness of Baby Cakes baking, all the way to the psychology department Christmas party and to the JRAP (absent kasi si T and S!!!) food trip: SPONTANEITY. I don’t like surprises, not knowing what comes next is anxiety-provoking, and lack of structure is often frustrating, but I learned this month that on occasion, spontaneity is fun.

Those are the twelve important lessons I’ve learned for the past year. For 2009 what I’d like to learn, relearn, unlearn or master include the following:

First and foremost I NEED to learn SELF-RESTRAINT and IMPULSE CONTROL, especially when it comes to spending money. Of course don’t hold me to this if I buy an iMac in 2009 hehehe.

I think I also need to learn the art of LISTENING better in 2009. As a teacher and psychologist, this is definitely and important skill. I’d also like to learn is EMPATHY without getting over-involved, TOLERANCE without being apathetic, and WORKING WITH OTHERS without losing my identity nor over-imposing mine.

Perhaps one very important life skill I want to master in 2009 is PATIENCE. As mentioned earlier, it’s something I’ve always needed to work on. I also have to learn DETERMINATION to grit my teeth through icky tasks.

If there is one thing I need to unlearn it’s INDECISION or QUESTIONING MY ABILITY. But most of all what I want to learn this 2009 is to LIVE to the FULLEST and LOVE without fear *wink, wink*. to continue reading...

December 25, 2008

12 Things I Am Grateful for this Christmas (Christmas List 10/12

As Christmas day descends on us, I am taking the moment to reflect on the things I am grateful for this Christmas. It has been a pretty interesting year, so to speak. It didn't start out great, but it definitely is ending at a more positive note.

With no further ado, here is my list of 12 things I'm grateful for this Christmas:

1. Going back to Playschool. Getting back in the preschool mode, no matter how stressful and difficult it can get, has been like coming home after a long vacation.
2. Bubba. Having him in my life has truly made it so much better. He is the joy of my life and no matter how sad I am or how bad things are, he always makes it better.
3. My successful thesis proposal defense last April.
4. The Davao adventure. I am grateful that I got to explore such a beautiful island and to hang out with friends, but more than anything I am grateful not only for the trip (and the photo ops hehe) but because it heralded the birth of JTRAPS :-)
5. Introduction to Jung class and Ms. Seann. I am grateful that I had these, as these were very essential contributors to my present well-being. Through this I have become more authentic and honest, not just towards others, but towards myself.
6. My digicam. I am grateful for this wonderful piece of technology as it allows me to capture great moments with friends and family.
7. Bubba's and my trip to Laiya last October. I am grateful for the opportunity to go on a retreat with the most special figure in my life, as it gave me the chance to just sit and be still.
8. Discovering my artistic skills. I am grateful that this year I was able to hone my artistic and creative abilities, be it in graphic arts, drawing, as well as in verbal abilities (aka hosting hehe)
9. My job in DLSU. Despite my dislike for research, I love being a lecturer in the University and I hope I can have it for a long time.
10. Pretty good finances. While I still wish I could afford to buy things I wanted without having to save for it, or to think of it for that matter, I am grateful I can afford most of the comforts I want at anytime.
11. Being happy. I am grateful this year for the fact that I am happy despite and in spite of everything that may be happening around.
12. PsychConsult. I am grateful that I am part of this organization and for the friends I've made in it. to continue reading...

December 24, 2008

12 Places to Eat for the Holidays...or any day! (Christmas Lists 8 and 9)

With less than 24 hours to Christmas, I have to admit I won't make my goal of 12-lists-of-12's for Christmas. Nonetheless, since the Christmas season does not officially end until the celebration of Three Kings, I will attempt to complete the last few. For today, I'm making a double feature. For lists 8 and 9, here's 12 food places to go to and what to order when there for your Christmas get togethers.

1. Cyma. I discovered this greek tavern first in my favorite island, Boracay. It's tucked away in a little corner of D'mall and from the first go, it has become a favorite of mine. I love the osso bucco pasta and their house blend iced tea is yummy. The vongole or baby clam pasta and the roka salad are also must-try's. Do leave room for dessert, as their skolatina is something else! Other than Bora, Cyma is located in Greenbelt 2, Shangrila, and Trimoma.

2. Secret Recipe. This place is more for dessert and coffee, although they do serve meals. I've only tried their version of Tom yang goong. It was only average but their cheesecakes are fantastic! My personal favorite is the espresso cheesecake. The marble cheesecake is also super yummy. Secret Recipe is located in many leading malls, such as Robinson's Place Manila and Shangrila edsa.

3. Conti's. Conti's started out as a little shop called Dates and Nuts way back when, or at least that's how I know their story. It was located in BF Homes Paranaque. As a little girl, my mom and dad would take me there on special occasions. At that time it was also the only nearby place to get good cakes and pastries. Now Conti's is a big hit, with branches in BF, Trinoma and Serendra. My favorite dishes are the Chicken Cordon Bleu and Beef Salpicao. With desserts, the Mango Mambo, Strawberry Shortcake and Buco Pandan top my list.

4. TGI Fridays. Yes, it may be a wee bit overrated and way overpriced, but it sure is a fun place to be in especially with friends. The food is good too, especially the Shanghai Chicken Salad. The classic Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard sauce is also one of my personal favorites. Fridays is located in just about any mall, but my favorite is still the one in Glorietta.

5. Chocolate Kiss. Chocolate Kiss is a sweet spot inside the enormous UP Campus. A little bit on the high-end (given that it's inside the University which is surrounded by student-friendly priced restos), it is a great date place for students at any time of the week. The downside to this resto though is it's small area, which often gets full no matter what time you go. One of my favorite dishes in Chocolate Kiss is the eggplant parmigiana. The Kahlua cake is also uber yummy.

6. A Veneto. A Veneto seemed to start out as my friends and my "secret place" as nobody seemed to know where it was when I'd talk about it (especially since I live in the South and the first branch we knew about was way back in Visayas Ave, QC). The great thing about A Veneto is its really affordable prices for its really great and yummy food. They truly are poster-children for "who says good food has to be expensive"! Can't choose a personal favorite here...everything I've tried has been yummy!

7. Dairy Queen. Okay, while this is not a resto, it still is one of the best ice cream parlors ever. How can anything top a blizzard? Although it seems the flavors and toppings are not as bountiful as before.

8. Omasake. This is a new one I've tried, just this holiday season. My best friend Cookie and her fiance, Ryanne, took me there for our Christmas get-together. Located in a hidden corner in Casa Susana building beside Alabang Town Center, it's a bit out of the way if you were coming from the mall. As such, you might not really know about it unless you look for it. Surprisingly affordable for a good Japanese restaurant, Omasake is sure to not disappoint. Try the American Dream and the tofu steak. Yum.

9. Gumbo. Very much like Friday's, Gumbo is one of those restos with really big servings bright, shiny, happy servers. The jambalaya is yummy, and so is the fish and chips. I love their little coupons that give you a free dish for a minimum purchase!

10. Volare. According to a friend of mine, the chef in Volare used to be the chef in Amici. Whatever the real story is, the food is super yummy...although to be honest, not all my friends agree. I happen to enjoy it! At least the two times I went there.

11. Starbucks. Any food list of mine will definitely have a cameo of Starbucks :-) Ok,'s overrated coffee, but as my friend Che says, Starbucks adds a social dimension to studying (or whatever it is you're doing)! As such, any get together in Starbucks is sure to be a social experience. It's an excellent first date venue, safe and non-committal :-) Personal favorite, Peppermint Mocha Frap. Unfortunately this is not on the menu this season!

12. Balducci's. This is way, way on the upper end....but way, way worth it!!! Located in Serendra, Balducci's serves great steaks and other Spanish specialties. Bordering on fine dining, this is a fabulous date place, especially if you are celebrating a special occasion.

Where are you eating this season? to continue reading...

December 23, 2008

12 things not many know about me (Christmas List 7/12)

Over the past few days, I've gone to different Christmas parties...there was the one in my preschool class, where we had a Christmas Nativity play, then there was our psychological clinics anniversary party followed by a Christmas dinner and last but not the least, there was the DLSU Psychology Department's Christmas party. By far, the DLSU one was my favorite. Why, you may ask? Well, for one, celebrating the good times (no matter how darned exhausted you are) is always a great way to enjoy the holidays. One of the highlights of the party was our fun Kris Kringle or exchange gift. Veering away from the typical draw-a-name-from-the-hat style, we decided to play a game out of it. We wrote down little facts about ourselves that not many know about and the one who drew it had to guess who it was.

For the activity, my little-known-fact was "if I were to think of a career change, I think I'd like to be a TV show host, or a party clown". To be honest, that was not the one I initially thought of...but because I lacked sleep and was beyond tired, I forgot. This is what I wanted to say:

In my past life I think I was a ditzy blonde...hehehe.

thanks Janine for my ditzy blonde pic!!!

So I got to thinking...what are some other things not too many people know about me. So that lead to this 7th Christmas list.

1. I used to have a pet frog named Chinky. Yes, you read that right: frog. Well, to be more succinct I think it was a toad or a bullfrog. These were the ugly kinds...the ones that the adults would say give you warts. I used to have her on a leash and my cousins and I would play frog races all the time.

2. I am painfully shy. PROMISE!!! I may not look it, but it takes extreme effort and self-talk to get myself to engage with other people. I also don't enjoy going out and partying that much, unless it's with really good friends.

3. I have really ugly toes. My mom says I got it from my dad. They're short and stubby, and no matter what I do, they don't look pretty. I just shut my eyes and pretend I don't care about it when I wear my Crocs or Havianas.

4. I would gladly give up a full steak-and-potatoes meal for dessert. I swear. Meals are yummy and great, no doubt, but for me, nothing tops dessert.

5. My mom is cooler than me. Seriously. My mom is not the typical mom...and often times, I have to remember that she is the mom and not the other way around! She's just more free-flowing and spontaneous than I am.

6. I'm a tequila girl. Remember those scenes in Grey's Anatomy where Mer downs all those shots of tequila? That's like me. I don't drink beer, I hate scotch, but tequila....oooh tequila.

7. I hate cold weather. Every time the weather gets cold and damp, I feel sad and icky all over. I hate the feeling of being chilly and the rain makes me miserable. It's like I'm literally getting cold on the inside.

8. I despise driving. However, to be practical, I do it.

9. I'm quite good at video and arcade games. Growing up I always had a Nintendo or a Sega on hand, and I would always be able to master the games rather quickly. Except for Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter hehe.

10. My greatest dream is to be a stay-at-home mom and housewife. In fact, I used to want to have six kids!!! Now I'd settle for one. Or two :-)

11. I want to have a photocopy machine in my house. Not the printers with copiers, but an honest to goodness photocopier.

12. I'm a really good cook. I may not be gourmet, but I make yummy food :-)

What about you? What's a fact not many know about you?!? to continue reading...

December 14, 2008

12 Things I wanna see under my tree (Christmas List 6/12)

While my ultimate Christmas wish is to see a bright, shiny new iMac under my tree this year, it may not be something anyone short of Santa can bring me. With this said, I got to thinking: what is my real Christmas wishlist? Something that's actually doable for my family, friends, and even myself...hehe. So while I searched the net and other blogs for other wishlists, I found a link to this Christmas Wishlist Online Contest
in Manila Freelancer's blog and I figured since I'm on Christmas list number 6 already anyway, I should give this a try :-)

So, here is my Real Christmas Wishlist for 2008:

1. The new Starbucks Phillipines and Manila City Mugs to add to my existing collection. I've been collecting these city mugs and tumblers for the past three and a half years and at present I have about 30 of them already.
2. A Nokia E71. I know I just got a Nokia 6500c last August, but I broke it!!! Oops :-( I've been eying the E71 because of the Microsoft features. Although I'm a bit hesitant about the QWERTY key pad.
3. Any of the books from my 12 Books for 2009 list, or any of the gadgets in my gadget wishlist
4. A 1000 or 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle? Isn't it just the most relaxing and entertaining thing ever?!? It really is a great past-time for me.
5. A pair of silver or grey Havianas High. I have to admit, even though I first had qualms about buying these exorbitantly expensive luxury, it has been one of my favorite things for 2008 hehehe.

6.GC's to Kamiseta or Bayo. These two stores are among my favorite clothing places ever :-) A GC would be much better than the clothing because it's hard to get the size right sometimes!
7. Scrapbooking stuff. I've been meaning to sit down and make a great scrapbook of my dog Bubba but I haven't really had the time. Maybe during the Christmas break I can get something done. Lately I've been seeing really cute stickers and stuff for scrapbooking, and I wish I could afford them all!!!
8. A plane ticket to Bora. Just the ticket...I can take care of the rest :-)
9. A DVD of ER season 13...somehow I can't find this!!! I have season 1-12, as well as 14, but 13 is so elusive to me!!!
10. A fluffy, white, hotel-type bathrobe. I don't often use bathrobes, but for some reason, I love those bathrobes you see on TV...the ones in scenes from hotels, like that scene from Grey's Anatomy where Addison is wrapped in a robe, Derek comes to apologize, and Mark comes out of the steamy shower :-)
11. A white DLSU Adidas jacket. When the Adidas sale went on in DLSU, they didn't have a single one of, so sad.
12. My thesis finally done, papers passed, all wrapped neatly in a big red bow. Yeah right. Hehe. to continue reading...

December 9, 2008

12 Signs of Christmas (Christmas List 5/12)

It's hard to believe Christmas is just about three weeks away. With the economic crunch, the weird weather and all the stress around, it can get hard to really feel the Christmas spirit...

But I got to thinking, what are the 12 signs that really tell us Christmas is on it's way? For me, when these things come about, I start to feel the excitement slowly building up :-)

1. The Christmas Parol. Whatever street corner you're in, you're bound to see them. From paper lanterns to the famous Pampanga parols, this truly signals the start of Christmas time.
2. Order, order!!! Haha. As a partner of BABY CAKES pastries and goodies when orders roll in, this marks the start of sleepless nights, burns in my fingers and the gloriously yummy smells of date walnut bars, banana muffins and all that yumminess...
3. Christmas carols. Endlessly. Enough said.
4. Caroling. I don't know if caroling is different here and abroad, but Christmas Caroling here, especially by the street kids in my cousin's neighborhood, is something else. The banging of the tin drum, the jolly, out-of-tune yelling of "Merry Christmas Po!!!" and the asking for coins is something that I secretly enjoy. At least for the first three days.
5. Christmas bazaars every weekend. And weekdays too haha. I just started it off with a trip to the Worldbex 8th World Bazaar last Friday. The bazaars in Cuenca (Alabang) is also off to a good start...although I have yet to make my mark in it hehehe.
6. TRAFFIC!!! There is no denying the increase in traffic during the holidays. I don't get it, but it does exist.
7. The chill in the air. Even with the weird weather and the crazy hot-cold changes (moody weather as I'd like to think hehe), there is still that crisp chill in the air that tells me it's Christmas.
8. The Christmas tree, stars and all that jazz. :-) Merry Christmas!!!
9. Kris Kringle (aka Exchange gift). I never got the concept of it, but it's a fun tradition.
10. Ensaymada and queso de bola with hamon. What is a noche buena table without it?!? :-)
11. Simbang Gabi. 9 nights of mass at dawn...even if I am not Catholic and I don't observe this, hearing the church bells ring at 4 in the morning reminds me of what Christmas really is.
12. Putobumbung (did I spell that right???) and tsokolate eh. Yum...Christmas tradition to it's fullest. What is Simbang Gabi without it.

What about you...what are your signs of Christmas? to continue reading...

December 3, 2008

Kids really do say the darndest things!!!

One of the perks of being a preschool teacher is being witness to the innocence and charm of the young ones. They really can make you crack up with the things they have to say.

Here are some snippets of things they've said lately to brighten up my day:

Robbi: Teacher, kita ko yung moon noong isang night. Parang happy face! Nakita mo? (Teacher, I saw the moon the other night. It looked like a happy face! Did you see it?)
Teacher: Yes, I saw it.
Robbi: Mukhang happy face, diba? (It looked like a happy face right?)
Teacher: Yes!
Anton: Eh, Teacher, kagabi kita mo? Sad face na siya!!! (What about last night, Teacher? It was a sad face already!!!!)

Teacher Jam, long hair! (strokes teachers hair)
T. Jam: Yes, long hair. What about Cara?
Cara: Cara short hair.
T. Jam: Yes! Very good! What about Teacher Grace?
Cara: Teacher Grace long hair!
T. Jam: Yes! What about Teacher Ria?
Cara: (pauses, crinkles eyebrows for a minute) Teacher Ria....cutie!!! (mwahahahah!!! go girl!!!!)


After observing the life cycle of a butterfly (which apparently was a moth not a butterfly)
Teacher Ria: See the pictures? Where's the caterpillar?
Bebe: It's a butterfillar!!!

Ang saya!!! (So fun!!!) to continue reading...

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