Christmas Gifts from Friends and Relatives

There was a short drama last Christmas eve that disturbed the celebration, someone short-circuited after drinking too much, went emotional and flared up. Instead of feeling happy that time, we have been busy looking after my mother who had a panic attacked, I went too nervous and scared.

Anyway, as I looked back on Christmas day it wasn’t bad after all.  Contrary to other Christmases where I bought myself, my own gifts, I have received gifts from friends and relatives, not just one but three gifts.

It was on the 23rd when we are eating dinner when someone call out my name to buy ice pack, I was a bit disturbed because it was me who has to go outside when I am not near the door since it was me who is called, before I can even frown at  the person outside (lol), she handed me two packs of something into my surprise (a special barquiron and Ube Piaya) which is two of my favorite PH native delicacies, was told it was for me which made me too thankful.  It was an unexpected gift from a second cousin’s wife, because were really not too close.

On Christmas day, my sister’s bf came home with three Toblerone’s in hand after being outside.  One of them was given to me, it turns out, our youngest aunt gave it to him for us. I always feel happy and joyful every time I received Toblerone on Christmas day because it reminds me of the time where it was just a dream for the little me.  When I was a kid, I have wished to receive Toblerone too on Christmas day when another kid got it as a white gift from his relatives one Christmas night. During those times Toblerone had been just for rich kid/families and for a dirt poor like us, all we can afford is the cheap chocolates in the store (lol).

Anyway, it is not a secret that I love chocolates and cats, but only few people know that I love collecting pens and notebooks, most of my money in Korea were spent in Watsons and yep Daiso, that is why half of my junks in Korea where notebooks, booklets and art materials.  That is why I am so ecstatic when a friend and his little son handed me a notebook journal as a Christmas gift.

Honestly, I seldom received gifts from other people and I think it is the first time I received a Christmas gift from friends and with that thank you so much!

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Christmas Day: A Time for Celebration or A Time for Brokenness?

Christmas is a time of celebration, the time where people should be merry and happy.  On the 24th it was my late grandma’s birthday so I lit a candle for her while everyone is busy cooking for the Christmas food, I thought everything is going to be well, not until something happened. It was shocking, I don’t know if I should feel nervous first or should I cry first. It feels so bad that I want to escape the moment, I want to run and never come back. I am tired, I wanted rest.

We decided to sleep early and didn’t wait for 12 AM anymore, when I wake up it is already morning and the fear, the sadness is still there lingering. I hate drama, all I wanted is peaceful living that is why when something happened between my sis bf and other relatives, I decided to withdraw from their drama and be at peace.

Well, it is Christmas day today and it feels empty, I went to church in the early morning and the basis of the sermon was from Luke 2: 1-7, with the theme Jesus – The Reason for the Season, where Pastor E talks about the birth of Jesus Christ and what is Christmas all about, he said that Christmas is a time of Celebration, Proclamation and Demonstration. He also said, we cannot celebrate Christmas if there is no joy in our hearts, so I guess there isn’t joy in mine.

Pastor E then shared a short story and afterwards asked if how is our heart doing, if is there is also something hard in our heart that we cannot forgive, open our hearts and be good with our brothers and sisters.

Anyway, after church most of our relatives went to our house for Christmas food. As expected, it was a bit of chaos with little children playing around and adults talking to each other, and it was decided that the clan will have the annual New Year’s party.

Christmas Day is not red or green, it is blue. #ChristmasBlues

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A Simple Christmas Fellowship in Church

The celebration of Christmas fellowship in church was quite different from the previous years,  it wasn’t held in the evening of 23rd anymore nor the 24th.  It was held after Sunday service since 23rd day of December fell on Sunday, there was a fellowship lunch but I decided to went home and eat and returned when the Christmas program was about to start.

The Christmas program isn’t meticulous like the previous years where there was Christmas Cantata and presentations, the fellowship today was just simply made of few presentation  from auxiliary organizations (youth and women), games, exchange gifts and raffles and a simple snacks there after.

Honestly, I don’t know what is happening but it seems the old Christmas tradition in the church is slowly fading and changing.  When I am still a kid, I remember there was role playing in church and I have even joined a Christmas concert back then when I really don’t know how to sing, and it was the last time I have joined group singing because when I went to back into my chair feeling happy after performing with the other kids, an aunt blurted out that I sing too loud when I am out of tune (lol).

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A Celebration of Christmas To Remember

Christmas is the season of giving, the season  of sharing and love.  A few more days before Christmas and I finally decided to put up our Christmas tree, my mother has been bugging me to do it a few months ago, but I am just too lazy to do it because I have no gifts to put under the tree and I don’t feel like celebrating, but since my sister and I wrapped some gifts for our Godchildren, I have decided to take out the tree yesterday, my sister has more gifts in the tree than mine, because her Godchildren keeps on adding since she started working (lol).

Christmas Tree 2018

A few days ago, a very distant cousin took me as a Godmother for his child, it has been said it is unlucky to say no to this type of invitation so another child was added to the list of my Godchildren.  Another child, will search for me on Christmas day (haha).

“2018 will soon bid us goodbye. Not all our friends, relatives and family made it this year. Never take for granted the people you love. Be thankful for today, because in one moment our entire life could change.”

Honestly, I have come to realized that the month of December last year was so memorable and happier than this year, did some hiking, been to two weddings of my high school classmates, attended a Christening as Godparent, and the Christmas party at church is worth remembering because there was a good preparation unlike this year it is a bit blunt and dull because there will be no Christmas service at night, the church Christmas party will be celebrated on Sunday after the service, it will be a whole day activity, games and then exchange gift  which is not well planned, no Christmas decor at church as well.

Christmas Tree 2017

What I am loathing, last Christmas I have been able to make the kids at church happy and even the kids coming to our home by giving them toys, school supplies and candies. I also able to give gifts to my family, relatives, friends and frequent store customers, but when my business went down the spiral after trusting people that cannot be trusted when it comes to dealing, everything went to the drain included my plans to give gifts to children every Christmas as a mission, life didn’t allow me to do it this year, maybe I shall find sponsors for next year (lol).

There will be a get together this month for my high school and college alumni, but the thing is I am not attending. Yep, I know it will be my chance to see my fellow schoolmates and classmates again, one of them just came home from the US, but I just don’t feel like going and mingling. At the end of the month will be my older aunt and her husband’s  50th wedding anniversary, her kids planned a party for them so I guess December 2018 isn’t too dull when it comes to happenings and events.

On celebrating of Christmas, gifts, food and money matters isn’t too important as long as you are celebrating it with your family and love ones.

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Christmas Night Market in Town of Odiongan

Sunday, we have  a class in the afternoon, but I didn’t go to school because I am not really feeling well, so I asked my friend W to excuse me in class, with an excuse letter. It will be our first meeting after our teacher didn’t show up last Sunday to school, and as expected only a few students attended the class, good thing they didn’t do some lessons just some chit chats.

Now a day, Facebook is becoming a big help in spreading information and it was through Facebook that we have heard that the Christmas market in Odiongan opened last night. My mother, sister and I checked it out last night and it was bigger than the previous night markets in the town of Odiongan, there are many stalls and business owner who participated this year.

We walked through the stalls of clothes, toys, accessories and etc. before reaching the food stalls at the other end, it looks like they were the same food stall at first glance, but then at second look you will notice that there are some new stalls added and as expected the smoothie of fresh fruits was the most popular stalls.

We sat along the benches where many people were seated inside the Children’s park, there are some young people dancing, kids playing, older people chitchatting, people  taking pictures and etc., The park was adorned too with beautiful and big lanterns, as I have heard from a cousin there will be a  lantern contest but as the youth president in our barangay had said the judging will be on the 15th.

We just wander a bit among the Christmas lanterns and decided to go home while the opening program was just starting.

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A Traditional Filipino Dessert: Leche Plan

Organic eggs are being sold in the town market today and my sisters workplace (their coop farm) started to produce them, the other day she came home with two trays of organic eggs, she was asked by our mother to order and buy them. Organic eggs are a bit expensive compared to free-range eggs, but as it says they are healthier to eat because the chickens were fed with organic feeds and no antibiotics used in them.

organic eggs

Having too many eggs at home, my mother decided to cook leche plan, so she asked me to wash her large steamer and as she started cracking the eggs, I have noticed, she can’t separate the yolk and the whites properly, so I told her that I will do it. I have mastered separating the yolks and the egg whites because I have been doing that for almost five years in Korea, when preparing J’s meal after work.

Steamed Leche Plan

As my mother mixing the ingredients, she asked me to buy another can of condense milk in the store as well as cream, but since the latter isn’t available, when my BIL came home they went to town to buy it. Instead of using the gas range we used charcoal to steam the custards.

Leche Flan is a popular and easy-to-make Filipino custard dessert. It is made-up of eggs and milk with a caramelized sugar on top.

Ingredients:

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 3 cans of condense milk (306ml each)
  • 1 can of creamdensada (410ml)
  • 1 pack of Nestle All Purpose Cream (250ml)

leche plan, smooth leche plan recipe

Procedure:

  1. Create a mixture by mixing the egg yolks (with one egg whites), condense milks, creamdensada, a little bit of sugar and all purpose cream
  2. Add some brown sugar at the traditional oval llaneras and preheat them until the brown sugar burnt
  3. Add the mixture at the llanera and steam them until cook
  4. Let it cool and refrigerate

The leche plan we made was very sweet and smooth in texture, it was just a little bit hard to remove them upside down from llaneras that’s why they have cracks.

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End of Life Signs: Sensing Your Own Death

Older people often say, when someone is nearing to death, they can sense and feel it without knowing, maybe that is why sometimes there are people who is able to give their last words. Since my grandmother died, it has been frequently in my mind to choose the song I wanted the funeral car to play in my own burial, I am even thinking what would be my dress and coffin would be (but I have thought I can’t be choosy with it), I have already a few songs in my mind. I am telling myself to have them ready in my desktop, but I have been procrastinating and I have been bargaining again to Divine presence not right now, I am not ready yet, so no wonder I am not making a playlist for it. It reminds me the times when J and I were traveling, the thought of writing all my account passwords suddenly came to my mind every time we are on the plane thinking at least my family can access them when I am gone, I bargained as well that time to just let me create a document for it, well I have been writing them slowly today not because I am preparing but because I am being forgetful of my passwords (haha).

Crow, Raven, Bird, Black, Animal, Nature, Feather, Death

[Photo courtesy of Free-Photos/pixabay.com]

This morning, I woke up with a pain the in left side of my brain what I mean inside the head beyond my skull. What had happened? I was dreaming when suddenly I felt something crawl into my skin and it woke me up shocked and surprised that it runs in my head, maybe if I am older and have a high blood pressure problem I could end up getting a stroke. I don’t know if it is real or I was just dreaming too that something is crawling in my skin, anyway, it reminded me to pray.

Anyway, there is no class today because it is declared non-working holiday and it was a good thing because I am not feeling well.

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Decision Making and Your Personal Values

One of the hardest things to do in life is to decide, as Libra I am indecisive by nature. I could choose something and then regret it afterwards, but usually when I made a wrong choice, I either look at the bright side or live with it in misery (lol).

Our lesson last night was about morality and values. We are given a scenario to choose what we value the most or what is our values towards a certain situation. The example given by our teacher was, in the same night you have a church commitment and there will be a championship battle of the band where you happened to be the most important member of the band, the vocalist. Where you will go, to the church or to the band competition?

Through the topic, I remember some situations in my life that I have to choose what to prioritize first. It happens, one Sunday when I was already inside the church, then I was called to go out and was told that a Christening will be held that day (in a different church/religion) and as one of the Godparent of the child I have to be there. So what I did? I have decided to return inside the church and finished the service, I am already attending the church before I was told of the Christening, I have seen the mother the day before and she didn’t inform me about it.

Image result for decision making and personal values

[Photo courtesy of yvettelamidey.com]

The second time, I have to make a decision was, when the church celebrated Thanksgiving Sunday , and it was voted by many to have a Sunday service in the resort hall and celebrated it over there than making it inside the church. I really don’t skip Sunday service, but I did that day, because I am not comfortable with their decision and it doesn’t agree with my moral values. What I did, I went alone in the church and pray while everyone is in the resort celebrating.

Another time, I have to make the decision was quite different from the first two decisions I made. The mountaineering group I am affiliated with has a scheduled climb and that is Sunday, contrary to my first two decisions I went hiking, Pastor E wasn’t around that Sunday and the service was left to young people who doesn’t really prepare sermons prior to this, they are more into singing and interpretative dancing. And since the founder of the mountaineering attending the church during Sabbath most of the scheduled climb were Sundays, and I climbed with them with another two Sundays, but recently they scheduled another Sunday climb and I decided to go to church instead of going with them.

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Christmas Lights Display in Town of Odiongan

A few more weeks before Christmas and the park in town was adorned with so many lights, the grand lighting happened last Sunday with a short opening program. We went to town to check it, but we are way too early so we decided to go home and planned to return, but it hasn’t materialized because we have thought we can’t really enjoy and have a solo picture because of many people wanting the same.

Last Tuesday after class, instead of just my father fetching me and my friend W, the other members of the family tagged along to see how Children Paradise looks like at night. W and I is earning educational units together and we are on the same block, her brother usually picked her up after class but not that night.

There were only few people in the park when we arrived, wandering and taking pictures with their friends and family. The park didn’t meet my expectation; however, it was good enough with the presence of the well lit Christmas tree, dented Christmas ball and the tunnel of lights in the side facades. The trees last year were lighted better than today, we only spend ten minutes and left because there was nothing else to see, there was no Christmas market yet in the vicinity.

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Philosophy, You Are Who You Are and Debate

The other night in one of our subjects as Unit Earner, we talked about our Philosophy in life or our Philosophy as a teacher, we wrote an essay about it. I realized you can’t change who you are and what you believe in life just for the sake that other people do it or other people told you to do it because it is you, it is your own views and attitude. No wonder, my mother and sister can’t change my belief and have a millennial attitude towards life.

Dreamcatcher, Native American, Spider Web, Feather

[Photo courtesy of Free-Photo/pixabay.com]

Anyway, it is one more day before the debate and I am not fully prepared yet. Our teacher picked me as one of the speakers for the debate with a topic “Cross-dressing should be disallowed among students” with my classmates cheering and rooting for me (lmao).  Our teacher hid two chalks in his hands and asked me to pick one, I picked the shortest one which is the negative side which mean we are in favor of cross-dressing among students.  Dunno, how I am going to defend the negative side when I am not really fully aware with this topic  and I am not really fully favored with it.

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