Lengthy

Man, where will I even start… My last blog post was 2 years ago and sooo much has happened since.

2020 – COVID-19 did what nobody ever imagined possible: stop the entire world in its track. New York became silent. The Eiffel tower became empty. Airplanes were banned to fly. The virus “came” from Wuhan, China, from there, it spread like wildfire. You contract it from an infected person via droplets; you can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptoms were flu-like, but progressed faster. Those that got infected on the first wave were unfortunate in the sense that the world was still in shock of how the virus worked. Others only get the cough, others just body-malaise, most people had it worse: difficulty in breathing and high fever. Once you get intubated, there’s no coming back for you. Millions died all over the world. Masks and face shields became a neccessity. Even the mightiest countries were brought to their knees. People had mandated to stay home. Cebu City was placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on the last week of February 2020. Thousands lost their jobs as local businesses were forced to shut down. I never imagined that it was possible for malls to close down. For the earlier weeks, the people relied on the government for food. This pandemic brought out the best and worst in everyone. The Cebuano-Chinese community, made mostly of rich, business-people, stepped up. They donated money to the government, food to the poorest communities, without asking for anything in return. In fact,Cebu City, at a time, topped the survey with the most number of cases; this was due to the fact that we were the only city and province that was able to acquire its own supply of test kits. More test kits, more logged cases.

Where were we through all of this chaos? We sought reprieve at the mountains of Ga-as, Balamban. We spent 2 months of the ECQ safe and comfortable in the private mountain of my in-laws. Theo grew so fond of the mountain that he treated it as his playground. What about our jobs? Well, Yong and myself weighed the choices. We agreed that he just give up his training since he was still new to that company. I sought consent from my training supervisor and operations manager to use up all of my remaining SILs. I was luckier. My company went above and beyond to try and support its employees during the pandemic. Those that consumed their paid leaves (like myself) were still getting paid. However, the pandemic went on longer than expected. Time came when we had to go back to the city and go back to work. We agreed to leave Theo with my in-laws in the mountain because he was so much safer there.

2021 – Vaccines are starting to roll out. Other people are against it because they find it impossible to believe that it took such a short time for scientists to come up with one. So yes, people are still wearing masks and face shields. There is still fear. Time came when COVID-19 hit home — my home. My father got tested first since he presented with cough and fever — he turned out positive. Since we were all together the weekend before he got tested, all of us quickly submitted ourselves to testing. My mother and youngest sister turned out to be positive, too. Nothing could ever amount to the fear I felt when I received a message form my youngest sister at 3AM that she woke up because she had trouble breathing. The fact that I could not inform my mother in the fear of giving her a heart attack, just made everything more difficult. It was the hardest, most painful experience. I was just thankful that they have recovered.

That aside, my marriage was also put to the test. I must admit that I have never been as hurt or as strong as that moment. I am proud of myself. Instead of crumbling down, I fought for what I knew was right. I took everything that was left of me as a mother, a wife and as a human being, and tried to keep the family together.All of these happened a week before my 31st birthday.

We are still not out of the woods yet. Everyone is still healing. It is a painful and long process, but there is nothing one cannot do for family. If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught humankind, it is to realize who are the people that actually matter most. COVID-19 may have taken so much from humankind, but if you look closer, it actually just stripped us off the extravagance and left us with what was supposed to be our core — humanity.

I like to believe that the reason why we are still here despite everything is because majority of us chose to be humane; help each other when we needed it most. Kept everyone we loved safe by staying away from each other. It made us realize what we can and cannot live without.

This was such a long read. I know I am all over the place. I have not written in such a long time. I am here now. This is my comeback piece. I am alive, tired but grateful.

Stay safe and stay home, Juri.

Quick Breather

The 26th was Medellin’s Katubhan Festival. It has been a long time since I last took part of it, and so, when my Mama asked me to go with them, I quickly dropped everything and lied my way out of work last Friday, “I had the stomach flu”, I told my superior, “I might need the weekend to rest, too”. Please do not judge, a drained spirit gotta do, what a drained spirit gotta do.

I had to leave my son with my husband since he could not be absent for work. I missed them all the time, so we had video calls in the mornings, afternoons and nights that I was away.

And so I found that the familiar salty breeze, fine, white sand, my relatives’ undying hospitality and the fresh seafood, were all and more that my poisoned city-girl-soul needed.

There was no rushing around here, except during meals because tradition mandated everyone to eat together. I slept when I want, and went down to the beach for the best sunsets ever.

I cannot say this has been the best vacation since my husband and son are not with me, but it was close to that. I healed, I breathed, and that was important.

So if you’re still debating whether or not you should take that day off to catch that must needed work detox, let me share these incredible sunsets, that are totally unedited:

It started with this burst of orange and yellow, and quickly changed to a hundred shades of pink and purple.

Go ahead! Get on that next bus ride to your healing destination!

Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise

Have you heard of the phrase “Empty vessels make the most noise”? It’s a proverb that means that those with the least talent and knowledge usually speak the most, speak the loudest, and create the most fuss — whatever makes their presence felt the most.

Why Do Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise?

Empty vessels are used in the analogy because in physics, empty containers create louder noises than filled ones. If you take two empty glasses, fill one up with water, and then blow into both glasses, you’ll find that the empty glass creates a louder noise than the filled one.

That’s because the air column (i.e. the empty space) allows sound waves to pass through and bounce off the sides of the glass, which creates an amplified vibration.

In physics, empty vessels make the most noise. Apparently, this is the case in real life too.
I find this proverb very true in real life. Often times, people with the most negative and loudest responses may not know more than others. They are loud only because there is an emptiness in them echoing these noises, such as:

An emptiness in their mind,
An emptiness in their heart,
An emptiness in their life,
An emptiness in their spirit, or
An emptiness in their self-worth,
— hence creating the loud noises that we hear.

A Firsthand Experience

The whole month of February, I have been working the hardest, as I was having the most stressful time in the office. Luckily, our Oracle, the computer system our company is using, can back up my claim.

The current manpower of CHSI Cebu branch is made up mostly of newly hired employees, and my senior, is on maternity leave – keep that picture in mind. Now, in a week, my department, the Availment a.k.a the frontliners of the company, expects to serve at least 200 to 300 clients; and I assist more than half of that census.

Now, I have asked advice and assistance from my immediate heads, but I only got the replies: “Things will get better.” etc. Yay for me!

Today, I found out through a source, that a complaint has been filed against me: for being sarcastic towards one of the newbies. This particular person, is less than 3 months old in the office. Despite a junior status in the office, he/she would BLAST (and I am not even exaggerating) music from a mobile phone. I have repeatedly asked this colleague to turn it down and sometimes to just shut it off. Afterall, we are in a corporate environment. He/she has also been the subject of talks in the office amongst more senior employees, for being a little too comfortable already. He/she also refuses corrections and or advices from us seniors. Spell subordination, right?

Imagine, after everything I have been taking for the team DAILY, they chose to file a petty complaint against ME. On the grounds of feeling insulted for being asked not to play loud music during office hours? Really?!

I am taking a sick leave tomorrow, in the spirit of self-love and respect, also to make the point of you, barking at the wrong tree. 👌

Still Grateful

2018 really dragged its last few days with us…

Last week, was (to date) the most agonizing time for me as a mother. Theo had 4 new teeth erupting at the same time. He was feverish, with cough & runny nose. He was passing watery stool almost every hour, that led to his skin ulcers. He flenches everytime we would wash his behind. I could see he wanted to crawl, run around and play, but he was in pain, and a mother can see any form clear as day. He would mask his agony and would rather snuggle up to me for comfort & kisses. I died every single time…

But I’m still GRATEFUL, despite everything that went down last week, for so many, many things: I witnessed how strong the son I was blessed with; I once again saw how selfless the family I was born & married into are; and a husband that gives up his own sleep to be able to comfort & still provide for his wife & son; I had considerate colleagues at work for letting me go out of the office to have Theo checked by his Tita Doc, who also never hesitated to reply to my medical queries, even during the holidays.

Theo is now showing positive signs of recovery, his appetite is back (boy, oh boy!), skin ulcers are healing nicely, no more diarrhea… I hurried home to him today. As soon as the harsh sun started to surrender, I took him out for a walk. Together we enjoyed the cool breeze & the promise of him finally getting better. I am humbled, Lord, for this beautiful life You gave!

“You silenced the boast, of sin and grave. You have no rival, You have no equal. What a powerful name it is! Yours is the name above all names!”

This was taken on his 5th sick day, but he was still so sweet; always found a way to snuggle to the smallest spaces of the day.

Heart Strong

It’s 24 hours since I landed here in Makati. Though I can’t really say that I’m 100% okay as of the moment, I admit I feel a little better than yesterday. I can now swallow my tears whenever I feel like bawling because I miss home very much.

By home, I meant Jerome Manuel, whose presence in my life I have learned to appreciate every minute. I don’t want to sound so biased or mushy, but it’s true. He has helped me become a more independent woman. For example, I would never have accepted this opportunity had he not taught me to always trust myself and to at least try harder before complaining and or quitting.

In my previous entitled life, I was a princess. I had everything that I need within the grasp of my fingers. With him, I realized that even the tiniest things feel more fulfilling to own if it came from hardwork and commitment. Doing my own laundry has got to be my biggest achievement because I used to just leave mine in the hamper at home, wait for the househelp to do it for me. Lo and behold, I can now do my laundry and iron a little. He opened my heart to dogs. I used to run away or freeze whenever I’m around one, no matter how friendly. He gave me the first dog I gave my heart to, Teddy. The first dog I petted, fed, hugged, bathed, and cried for when he got sick – and I miss Teddy so very bad, too. These are just a dime of the important things he warmed me up to.

As with all the best and greatest things/people in life, he is very easily missed. Everything reminds me of him. I can’t even go to the mall (or anywhere else for that matter), because the mere thought of not being there with him suffocates me. What kills me most is not being able to kiss him good morning and goodnight for now. No technology can remedy the personal touch of the person who is so special that he became an intangible part of your soul.

He has done so much for me to get to where I am now. Despite the overwhelming nostalgia, I have to focus on what I am here for, and that is to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can. I signed up to stay here for 6 months for my training, but if all goes well, I might just be able to go home earlier. The thought of boarding a plane home, is reason enough for me to work my ass like I never have before.

I don’t want to set expectations, but 3-4 months is my target. I have to have a goal, right? Meanwhile, it’s just me fighting every lonely and negative thought. I’m going to get through this. One day at a time, with every strength my heart can muster.

I love you, babe. I will be home soon.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Have you ever been to a point in your life where nothing excites you anymore? For a couple of months that was how I felt. Then I decided to apply for a job at the top dental company in the country. It was a prestigious opportunity, but there was a catch. If accepted, I have to train with them for 6 months in Makati City. Yes, I have to pack up and move to Manila. A place where I have only seen when we took a flight home in NAIA from Baguio City in 2015.

It is a good offer. The company provides the accommodations and uniforms, and a 2 way airplane ticket. I also get paid even as a trainee. After 4 grueling interviews, they finally emailed me and told me I passed all of the interviews. I initially applied for the position of Staff Nurse, but after my interview with the Vice President for Operations, I got recommended to also take the post as a Front Desk Officer. That means, I will have 2 responsibilities, so they offered me a higher salary.

For me, it’s a win-win situation; I get to go somewhere new and really try being independent, on top of that, a work experience that will add an extra shine to my resume. I have visited the branch here in SM Seaside, Cebu, where I will be deployed once I complete my training. Everyone seemed really nice, and the clinic was AMAZING. The branch here in Cebu will be their biggest in the country. I am excited to show to you the pictures soon. I promise.

30a7c7736c0587700806cadd2fbdb551

As for living alone, it is nerve racking, but I have to believe that I have learned enough from living away from my family. My boyfriend has had a great role to play in me growing into a matured woman now. He has been so patient in opening me up to these responsibilities, and teaching me life-hacks along the way. I know for a fact that if I felt that I wasn’t ready, I would never even sent that application form in Mynimo.com, but I did, and I have to give credit to myself for that.

I leave in less than 2 weeks, and I haven’t even started packing yet. I don’t know why I torture myself this way. Being unprepared only makes my anxiety level skyrocket, yet I am not doing anything to help that. In denial or hard headed? Either way, does not change the fact of me leaving my comfort zone of 27 years.

Just Aesthetics

One of the most important things I’ve learned in life is to ignore most of what people say. I watch what they do instead. And that is how I’ve come to a conclusion that not everyone is gracious enough to own up to a mistake. Instead, some go about repeating the blunders (humiliating oneself in the attempt of twisting the truth nth times), and fails ultimately in life by MISplacing the HATE and BLAME on others. Goes to prove how glutha and contour tricks can only go so far. In the end, your CHARACTER will speak volumes and no amount of concealer will earn you back the respect and trust you broke.

Don’t Ever

When I turned 27 last February 26th, I had no job and I am down to my last savings. No, I did not get laid off, I quit. It was a comfortable job. Good hours (lunch break was for 3 hours daily, with lunch money), with fixed off on weekends and half-days on holidays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Though I was hired on the spot, keeping the part was not easy. My employer was a veteran ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) Specialist. He was a perfectionist, the most meticulous doctor with the worst case of anger management that I have ever met. There was no room for mistake in his clinic – even for himself. Do not get me wrong, he is an exemplary physician. However, as time passed by, I observed how abusive he was getting. Petty and innocent faux pas is equivalent to public humiliation, by that I mean, getting shouted at with degrading insults and or have something thrown at you (He once threw a remote control and a phone at me, good thing it had a cord). The worst part was, my 2 colleagues were tolerating his ignominy. I know I was not supposed to take things personally in the workplace, but I was never one who stood by while someone disgraces me.

ec46ea568f92738dded836e16bf00eae

If there is one thing I am very proud to have learned in my upbringing, it is to always stand up for myself. I cannot turn a blind eye on being emotionally abused, because it is I who suffers from anxiety attacks and night terrors, not him! So, I left, because as cliche as it might sound, I know I deserve so much better.

19d1e1a66a287e4e6f561e476be2c432

It might have only been a short 4 months, but I realized how utterly exhausting and draining it was to live in a near constant state of fight-or-flight. Choosing to not settle for that kind of comfort, was the best birthday gift to myself.

If you are in the company of people who rule you through fear, making you feel belittled & unappreciated, it’s time to exit their life. Don’t let your loyalty become slavery. If they don’t appreciate what you bring to the table, let them eat alone.

I can’t control someone’s behavior, nor do I want that burden, but I will not apologize for refusing to continue being disrespected & mistreated. Superiority in profession cannot account for anybody’s rudeness. Abuse is abuse.

BSN RN Cliche

Nursing/Nurses.

It tickles my temper whenever I think about how mediocre the government/healthcare institutions are treating this career.

I was in the hotel industry before and we were receiving what we call “Service Charge” on top of our salary. And i just wondered how come nurses don’t, i mean, doctors have their “professional fee” as well, but why the distinction on salary? I can’t even assume for non medical individuals to understand the scope of a nurse’s responsibility. Point is, being an FO wasn’t always easy, but i admit it was a glamorous job, so how come those who handle the lives of our loved ones in the hospital, don’t get that privilege?

Then when a nurse decides to go work abroad, they judge em as materialistic. Wait, what!? Try just one day 8 hour shift that could extend for 10 hours or if the census needs it, a whole next shift, & on payday, your ATM won’t even seem as rewarding as it should. Nurses selflessly take care of any stranger’s family, but their salary makes it so difficult to even spoil their own.

Also, it annoys me how people from other walks of life tend to look down on us. They judge us by the number. Hey homo sapien, just by outnumbering the other professionals shouldn’t be a direct implication that we are “useless” beings. Lemme just remind you how many licensed nurses have infiltrated jobs that doesn’t even have anything to do with what we studied for 4 treacherous years. Effective communicators, therapists, time managers, and innovators, heck we can kick your gluteal muscles any time.

I have heard so many pleas of my colleagues that were brave enough to take on the challenge of actually pursuing this career.. It takes me aback everytime i consider joining in the “martyrdom”.. One day i will muster enough will and don that white uniform and cap.. In the meantime, I’ll be on the sidelines, silently gunning down those “righteous” people who dare belittle our titles.

And hey? Remember, sa hospital din ang bagsak mo. So careful.

To Love A Sad Soul

The phrase ‘love yourself before someone can love you’, doesn’t apply to people who have depression. Because more than anything they are learning how to love and accept themselves. But sometimes, it takes following someone else’s lead to get there.

cc143ed2f8d4aa65be995327bf546ddf

What people fail to address is the concept of truly being loved by another person is what will diminish depression. It might not go away but the closest someone can get to beating depression is learning to love another person and learning to let someone love you.

So how do you love someone like this? How do you overcome the battles you might never understand?

1. Through acceptance.
Understand that this might be something you will never understand. Internal battles within one’s self, can really only be understood to the core if you’ve lived through it. So you’ll have to accept this without fully understanding it. And yes, you’ll see the impact it might have on the person you love and that might impact you but just know it’s not something you’ll get. But you don’t have to understand this to love them.

2. You’re going to see a side to them they hate.
There’s a reason they hide it. There’s a reason a lot of people haven’t seen it. But you’re bound to when you love someone. That person who is positive and upbeat and lights up every room they walk into is only that way because they’ve lived through what’s on the other side of it. It’s going to be hard at first.

0f35d129f799616eefffc61dc7537528

3. Understand who they are at their worst isn’t them.
When they choose to let you in that close, what you’ll realize is how opposite this person in front of you on one of their bad days is compared to the one you fell in love with. You’ll notice a change in even their tone of voice. You’ll notice a glazed over look in their eyes. Everything about them will be different. Understand the negative thoughts and the words coming out of their mouth, you’ve never heard before aren’t them. It’s this disease. Depression is a disease.

4. They are going to push you away.
On their bad days, the thoughts will consume them that they aren’t capable of being loved. Love them anyway. Even when they don’t believe it. They will convince themselves they are a burden. Love them anyway. They will think you are better off without them and deserve someone healthy. Choose them anyway. They will tell you to leave more than once. Choose to stay.

616c09172bf6e98d3fc661a864ed2b5c

5. The bad days will pass.
There will be days they won’t want to get out of bed or be productive. There will be days where you look at them and you feel helpless, wishing you could fix it. There will be days you blame yourself as their partner for not making them happier. Don’t think like that. This isn’t your fault and it isn’t their fault. There will days where they break down in tears and can’t even articulate why they are feeling this way. In those moments, hold them. Be their strength. The best thing you can do is stand beside them on the bad days because like all things, depression is a feeling that will pass. It’s a storm that will end. Believe that.

5. You’ll learn to appreciate the good days.
More than anything loving someone with depression will teach you an appreciation for things you’ve never thought about before. You’ll appreciate the good days as much as they do and that’s what will make it worth it. Just like those good days give them strength on their bad days, it too will give you strength. Because trust me when I say this, the good days outweigh the bad ones.

4bc5ed000d6066ccc225bb10c9d1b850

6. It will be an emotional rollercoaster.
This will test you in a way, you’ve never been challenged before. But there won’t be a better ride in your life. Because people with depression might know such negativity. They might take you to dark places you’d never choose. But along with knowing all of that, people with depression have an ability to love so deeply. They have a compassion for others that will teach you to be better. They have eyes that see beyond what is on the surface and their ability to understand and relate to people will be the reason you fell in love with them.

7. But it will be the ride of your life and totally worth it.People who live with depression also know how to love deeper than anyone in the world. And if you’re lucky to be on the receiving end of that, their love will fill you in a way those bad days won’t even matter. Their love will make you a version of yourself you never thought you would be, in the best way. And it will be through love, you both can continue to beat this together.