4:15am on a Sunday at McDonald’s

I woke up at 3am to find my brother not in his bed.

Last night, he said he was going out with friends. This happens often enough so I didn’t really think about it and even as I lay awake, I wasn’t really worried. Either way, I texted him (Ei, asan k n?) asking him where he was. It didn’t take him long to reply. Apparently he had gone to the nearest 7-11 to get load for his cellphone. A few minutes later, he came back and all was well.

4am came around and I was still awake. My brother was too, I knew, so I called out to him, “Alam mo anong time nagsisimula breakfast ng McDo?” It seemed like a good enough idea to head off to McDonald’s for a very early breakfast. He answered that it should be available by now.

“Gusto mo pumuntang McDo?” Did he want to go to McDonald’s, I asked.

He said yes.

It didn’t take us long to get ready and soon we were stepping out into the cool early morning. My brother told me to wear a jacket before we got out and it was good advice. It was cool enough for a jacket certainly. It didn’t take long before he started talking, telling me about where he actually ended up last night and what he had been up to (at a hospital with a friend who dislocated his shoulder). As I walked through mostly empty roads toward our destination with him at my side, him doing most of the talking while I listened, I remembered how it had been forever since we’ve done something like this.

McDonald’s was not the quiet, mostly empty place we thought it would be at that time of the morning on a Sunday. There were people loudly talking and hanging out and we were both surprised. Nocturnal college kids from nearby dorms, chatty all center agents from their shifts, pumped club goers coming home from their gimmik–not the type of crowd we were expecting at all. We ordered and I paid for our breakfast then we headed to an empty table.The conversation continued on, him still mostly talking about all sorts of things about what has been happening in his life while I mostly just soaked it all in, his presence, his words. It really had been a while and I missed it, just being with him, just the two of us.

I hoped we can do that again sometime.

My brother is 22 with dreams of going abroad to find a life for himself and he’ll need around two years of working for it before he leaves. I know he can do it because I know how determined he is and it makes me proud that he’s doing his best to get there, planning and working all the time. It just still surprises me sometimes how much he’s grown up. It’s weird and great and also kind of sad all at the same time.

A Relevant Question Gets an Awesome Answer

Earlier this morning, I was asking myself,

“What could I actually do to help?”

The situation down in Tacloban has gotten really bad and I really, really just wanted to do something, to help out in any way that I can. Many avenues have opened up in the past days. There are so many ways to reach out and help and organizations have become more and more creative with how they plan to contribute in their own way. My favorite was how the local food community is going to support the Red Cross where you pretty much get to stuff your face for a cause, haha. I’ll probably find myself in at least one of the places involved in this this weekend but aside from that, I wanted to do more.

I don’t really have enough funds to give a sizable monetary donation though that is the easiest route and reposting information for donations and such just doesn’t seem enough. I really wanted to do donations the old fashioned way: gathering old clothes and other necessities and taking them somewhere they are being gathered to then be distributed to the people who need them. Doing this used to be easier since I only had to take my donations to school and the school would take care of everything else. I actually live very near my old schools so it would be easy enough to drop off donations. I was planning to head on off to one of them today to ask for information on how to go about it, but then I opened my Facebook earlier this morning and found a very interesting post in my high school batch’s group page.

It was a call for us to come together and do something for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

Twenty hours and some comments later and it looks like this is really going to happen. My high school batch is going to be uniting to help out and it just gives me the happiest feeling somehow.

It’s just somehow easier to do something like this as a group, especially with friends. You toss around ideas and get excited and start working together. I really do hope this pushes through because it’s just nice to do something helpful for others while doing it with other people who want to help out too.

I’ll keep you guys posted. 🙂

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to help the Typhoon Yolanda victims, lists of organizations you can contact can be found here and here

The State of the Nation

Wow, what a day it was for the Philippines.

The whole country was probably glued to TVs or radios as the Janet Napoles Senate Hearing progressed. You really couldn’t escape it and I doubt a lot of people wanted to. After all, the public wants justice for the crimes that Napoles had been accused of. I wasn’t able to listen or watch the whole thing but I kind of got the gist of it:

Basically, Napoles caused a whole lot of frustration because she wasn’t answering anything concretely.

It was just kind of nuts, really. She asked for the hearing to be postponed and she wasn’t granted that, but I do have to wonder, would things have gone differently had she been allowed more time? Would she have actual, workable answers beyond “Hindi ko po alam“. (“I don’t know.”) and “Hindi ko po alam sa kanila.” (“I don’t know with them.”)? It’s hard to tell. It all just seemed like a practice in futility. Oh, Philippine politics…

And all this in the wake of a super-typhoon. 

What are we to do?

Well, I don’t know about the Napoles Case. That’s kind of out of my hands. I just wish that things will turn out for the best though it’s hard to really put faith in such an idea, given how crazy it’s gotten. Meanwhile, I’ll prepare for the typhoon’s landfall tomorrow. ‘Got to prepare my boots and other things.

Stay safe, Philippines.

Here. Have a picture of a peaceful beach scenery at night time.

Here. Have a picture of a peaceful beach scenery at night time.

The Smallness

I was asked during my job interview,

“Why do you want this job?”

It was a job interview so of course I made sure to give a good, eloquent answer. I forgot what it was I said exactly but somewhere around admitting that I wanted a less stressful working environment, I also said,

“I want to do something that isn’t just about making money.”

Which I think I really managed to get in this job that I could not be more grateful for. Sure, the work can be often tedious and boring at the same time, and there are times when you get caught up in the monotony of it all that you can get kind of frustrated, but there are moments when you are reminded of how there is more to it than that.

How what little work I do within the confines of my little office actually contributes to a bigger picture, a movement that actually works toward a greater good.

And I shouldn’t forget that and get lost in the little mundane tasks that could distract me with their seeming smallness and insignificance.

I’m in a good place with good people and I am doing good for others, no matter how small, and I should never lose sight of that.

A Conscious Effort

This past weekend, I made the conscious decision to start eating healthier and exercising more. While I may not be as fat as I used to be when I was in college (which was the time that I was at my fattest), I still felt that I needed to get back to healthier habits. I have already discussed taking better care of myself in a past post, but I this weekend I really sat down and thought of a plan. As my mother says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

First and foremost, I made rules for myself concerning food and my eating habits:

  1. Make healthier food choices. I should do my best to eat more fruits and vegetables and focus on fish and chicken for protein. I should also avoid processed foods as much as possible.
  2. No eating out/sweets on weekdays. There’s a lot of temptation during the weekdays, especially since I pass the Taft/St.Scho/DLSU area once I get home. I really should stop checking out restaurants after work because I end up sitting down and buying things to eat. Weekends can be cheat days, but even then I shouldn’t go crazy and eat whatever I want.
  3. Stick to tea and hot drinks. I have gotten back into the habit of drinking coffee again and I should cut down, I think. ‘Need to go back to drinking my teas again. No softdrinks or juices either. Iced tea is also a no-no.
  4. Drink more water. Water makes everything better for the most part.
  5. Eat at home. Or at work, since we have free food at work, haha. This way, it’s easier to control what I eat and spend money on.
  6. Avoid fried and fatty food. Go back to eating roasted, grilled or steamed food for the most part. Food with soups are your friends.
  7. PORTION CONTROL. Mahirap mag half-rice pero ‘di ito nakamamatay. Wag maging madrama. Gusto mong pumayat at maging healthy, di ba?
  8. Enjoy eating out with family and friends. Food is best enjoyed with others. If there is an occasion, eat what you want, but otherwise, stick to the plan.
  9. Never go hungry. Hunger makes the “die” in “diet” true. When you’re hungry, eat, but not too much.

As for exercise, I have decided to try my hand at yoga since I’m advised not to undertake high impact exercises. For now, I am doing it at home. I started this morning and wow, I’m apparently not as flexible as I thought I was, haha. But it was good, very relaxing but also energizing. I’ll try to do it three times a week to start and then let’s see what happens from there.

When My Body Says STOOOOP!

This morning, I felt this suspicious twinge of pain over the left side of my chest, just about over where my heart was supposed to be. I was immediately thrown into paranoid mode and I told my Mom about it. It didn’t take me long to decide that I had to have my doctor’s appointment today and so I decided to text my boss to tell him about it. I also told him that I may not be able to make it to work today.

I didn’t get to come to work at all. Aside from the fact that it was raining very hard and the streets were flooded, my doctor advised me to take at least a week off from work to rest. Aside from that twinge of pain, I have been experiencing chest pains lately and it’s due to Tietze’s syndrome, which is arthritis of the breast bone to rib joint (as explained more thoroughly by my doctor in her blog here). I brought blood test results with me to my doctor’s appointment today and it was noted that my ESR level was up, meaning that my MCTD was active, which also explained the Tietze’s syndrome. So basically it meant that my body was rebelling and I should take the time to stop and take a breather.

Things have been stressful and busy lately when it comes to life in general. Work is hectic and my weekends were booked with activities. It was kind of a surprise to me back then too how busy I was during the weekdays but then still be enthusiastic for weekend outings when before I practically had to persuade myself to go out and get a life. I guess I got too much of a life and so my body pulled on the brakes and did this. Now I have to slow down and I am not too enthusiastic about that.

Spending time going out has become a break and a reward from the crazy stress of the work week. I have come to love spending time with my family and friends and actually interacting with them face to face and not just through Likes or comment spams on Facebook. And of course there’s the food and the movies and other things that I enjoy that require other people to make it more fun. It’s just sad that I must again learn to cut down on those in order to better take care of myself.

I’ve started to take more steps into slowing down. Before my doctor’s appointment, I have started sleeping earlier and trying to eat healthier. I’ve also tried managing my stress better, moving around more, trying not to worry or care too much about things that I shouldn’t be worrying or caring too much about. I’ve also started to fix the schedule for taking my medications because that’s also important and I haven’t always been a good at that before. But I’m trying and it’s hard and it can be rather boring and frustrating because who likes sleeping early and eating right and taking meds but I guess it must be done so I can have my chest stop hurting and for my med dosage to go down and so I can spend more time with my family and friends and to just have a better quality of life in general.

…It still kind of sucks, though.

Aside

Oi, Money (What a Problem)

By the start of next month, I would actually start contributing to the household expenses and this has forced me to consider the state of my finances. I’ve got some savings and the like, so that’s okay. I’m also looking to keep on saving more as, of course, we don’t know what might happen in the future. Better safe than sorry, right? I’ve also been thinking of investments and the like and I’ve got some ideas. Meanwhile, I’m also looking around for a possible part-time job that I can do during the weekends. I’ll just have to talk about these things later because this post actually has some other point to it.

Basically, I would need to be more careful about my money starting next month. Not that I’m not, but nowadays I’ve gotten quite comfortable with it and that’s not quite a good thing. So I guess in a way, this is good. This is going to force me to actually do accounting for my money so I know what goes where. So yes, that’s quite responsible and all that. And thus it brings me to this: WHAT ABOUT FUN?

You know, what about my expensive fandom tshirts? Other cute, random stuff like office materials? And what about my food trips and outings with friends? WHAT DO I DO?

My last cute notebook???

My last cute notebook???

Well, looks like there won’t be expensive shirts for a while before I figure things out. As for office materials, I’ve actually got a lot of stuff at home so I will also have to abstain from that. And the food trips and outings? I guess I’ll just have to allot money for them. Those are just things that are important and it can work. Somehow. I don’t know how yet, but they would. Ahaha…

I guess we can go low budget on meeting up with friends. No need to go anywhere too expensive unless it’s a really special occasion. Maybe we can also get that Game of Thrones themed (not-) sleepover to actually happen. Get together in a house, bring snacks/dinner and then Game of Thrones marathon. Sleep optional, though I’d probably turn into a zombie if I ever attempted not to sleep at all…

So anyway, here’s to future budget planning. May it work out well for me who likes to eat out and spend money somewhat vicariously.

(And thus a rambling post about money and spending was done.)