30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 28: A SCAR YOU HAVE AND ITS STORY
When I checked the topic for today’s challenge, I couldn’t help but sing a line or two from Papa Roach’s Scars:
But the scars remind us that the past is real
I tear my heart open just to feel
Okay, I know it’s disgustingly cheesy, so I won’t go any further on that note. I’m just annoying myself. Anyway, seriously, I’ve had minor scars—wounds I got from falling off a bicycle or from playing strenuous sports during my childhood years. Most of them can no longer be seen nor traced today. There is, however, one particular scar in my body that remains visible [at least to me] to this day. I will try to recount that day on this post the best way I can.
It was a fine, Sunday noon in June 2002 when it all began. We were having our usual Sunday lunch at home when I complained about my aching tummy. Mom thought I was just hungry or I ate something the other night that cost me an upset stomach; however, I didn’t finish my plate. It’s very unusual of me to not consume my meal, since my parents don’t approve of leftover food, so they thought there could be something else. In effect, my father ordered me to go to my room and lay down to rest.
Perhaps because of fatigue brought about by lack of food, I fell asleep in an instant. Later in the day, however, I woke up screaming to unbearable pain in my abdomen. One of my brothers who came to my aid, instructed me to lift my leg and bend it as if to try to bring my knee to my chest. I tried to do as told and failed. My mother, who saw this, came to the theory that I may be suffering from appendicitis. On this note, they tried to lift me from bed, and rushed me to the hospital.
Every single movement I made was an effort. If I were asked the intensity of pain between the scale of one to ten, I’d give it a 15. The trip to Makati Medical Center was agonizing. I had to lay down in the backseat and endure the pain induced by a moving vehicle. Not to mention that we’re having an emergency. It took us less than 30 minutes to get to the hospital, and I was immediately accommodated in the emergency room by the staff. My mother was asked to fill up a form with my personal details including medical family history. There were several nurses and resident physicians who attended to my care, all of which came to the conclusion that it was, indeed, appendicitis.
I was given oral analgesics to somehow relieve the pain, and eventually put an IV on me. A few hours later, I woke up already in my private room. A medical technologist was there, about to extract blood samples from me for monitoring. Mom was asking me how I feel when the doctor and two of his practitioners walked in. Apparently, the big guy was my surgeon. He was there to check up on me, and explain to my mother what’s about to happen next. I wasn’t hallucinating nor exaggerating when I thought he was Hagrid from the Harry Potter series.
The entire procedure took hours. I even woke up in the middle of the operation! I saw the clock, it was two in the afternoon, and they were listening to A Horse With No Name by America. Groggily, I tried to lift my fingers. I couldn’t feel anything. I was numb to the core. Oh, my God, I thought to myself. Then I got knocked out again. The next thing I know, I was already in the recovery room. It was about five o’clock. My initially reaction was to look for my Mom. For some reason, I felt emotional and I needed to find comfort in the arms of my mother.
Today, ten years later, the scar remains visible. It’s an inch and a half long, but it doesn’t really bother me. I don’t even find it ugly at all. It’s a constant reminder of something I never imagined of experiencing. It’s now a memory from a not-so-distant past. So, this is the story of my scar. I wonder what’s yours.
I woke up on Sunday morning a little groggy from the late-night conversation with my parents. It was almost noon when I decided to get out of bed and find myself something to eat. Apparently, my brother and I were the only ones still asleep while everyone else were having breakfast. I was still at the top of our stairs when my youngest brother called out. He instructed me to wake my other brother up because we’re going to the cemetery that afternoon.
The commemoration of our dearly departed in the Philippines is called Undas. It is the time of the year when everyone go home to their families in order to visit relatives who have died. It is usually more of a family reunion approach, a gesture wherein the living pay respect and offer prayers for all souls in purgatory. This applies for most people whose departed loved ones were laid to rest in their hometown that they need to travel by air or sea in order to get there.
As for my family, we usually visit our grandparents two to three times a year: on their birthdays, death anniversaries, and All Souls Day. Since we are fully aware that there are going to be a lot of people in the cemetery and traffic will be worse, we visit a week before or after everyone else does. Both my grandparents from Mom’s side were buried at Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Caloocan City. Before heading there, we bought mini baskets of flowers at Dangwa Flower Market where most suppliers of flowers are.
It was almost five in the afternoon when we got to the cemetery. It’s unusual for us to see a lot of families gathered around their departed loved ones’ graves. Some even had a tent set up for them to have a mini-picnic. As always, we pray the rosary led by Mom.
Since we left late, we weren’t able to hear Sunday mass before going to the cemetery. On our way back to the South, Mom thought we’d hear mass at the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Malacañang. Incidentally, last Sunday was St. Jude Thaddeus’ feast day. He is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases.
It was a concelebrated mass presided by the parish priests and Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. His homily was beautiful. It was about how specifically asking God for our personal intentions; however, in order for Him to provide this, we must be willing to surrender all our worldly possessions.
Did I mention that it was my first time to hear mass there? It was, and it meant I am entitled to three wishes. Whatever those petitions are, I’d rather keep them to myself.
I don’t know why, but this day kind of gave me the breather I needed the most.
Added on 04 Nov 2012: Because I’m too lazy to write a separate post on our visit to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City yesterday, I’m just going to post a few photos here:
I heard you lost in your game today. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up because it wasn’t your fault. You know how it is in any competition—there can never be two winners. Well, in a basketball game, that is. No, your father won’t take it against you. He will understand. How do I know? I just do.
Practice. Practice some more. You know what they say about practicing.
Need a break? Go ahead. Take a breather. I know it’s crazy.
So what if you got the lowest score in your Mathematics test the other day? Did you not excel in your extemporaneous speech on Friday? Tell you what—I failed one too many times in college. Not convinced? Believe it. I spent six years in Engineering when I should have graduated in five. It’s tough, but I earned my diploma eventually. It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
It’s okay. You can’t be the master of everything, anyway.
I found out that your girlfriend dumped you. Well, what do I say? Would you have done it yourself? I don’t think so. I know what it’s like to be left hanging.
It was ugly. Hurtful, even.
You’re still young. You have all the time in the world. Who knows, you will bump into your soul mate when you least expect it. When you do, cherish her. Treat her the way you want your mother or sister to be treated. For now, relax. Don’t find love for it will find you.
Why am I telling you these? Because I care. I’ve been there, done that. I want you to know that these failures don’t mean the end of the road. They are detours that lead you to something more beautiful. You just have to wait.
Don’t dwell on these negative thoughts because they will consume you before you even know it. Feed only on the good things that are happening around you. Smile often, laugh more.
Change the way you think.
Appreciate. Be grateful.
No one expects you to be the best. It’s enough that you become the best version of yourself.
When all else fails, pray.
Most importantly, I wish you better days.
—JRJM © 2012
30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 27: A PHYSICAL FEATURE YOU LOVE
The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter—often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter—in the eye.
“And then he gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.”
30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 26: A CHILDHOOD MEMORY
Where we lived 20 years ago, the area wasn’t conducive for playing outdoors, thus I grew up playing in the premises of our home. In effect, I didn’t have childhood friends from the neighborhood. Maybe I had one or two playmates, but I don’t really remember them much today. I was never allowed to play outside with the fear that I might get kidnapped or something else much worse.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I grew up with cousins from my father’s side of the family. We are 12 cousins in the family, the eldest of which will be 30 years old by November. There are only three girls; two of them are sisters, thus making me their only girl cousin! Since most of my cousins are boys, I grew up to their kind of toys, too. Instead of playing Barbie dolls with the girls, I’d rather join my male cousins in shooting toy soldiers or assembling their G.I. Joe‘s or Transformers. I even watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bucky O’Hare because of them. I was definitely one of the boys when I was younger, hence my abhorrence with floral, puff-sleeved dresses. I didn’t mind messing around with them in physical activities, although my father highly disapproved of this. My cousins are my childhood friends, so most of my childhood memories are connected to them.
There was a time when we lit a bonfire across one of my cousins’ house (an open lawn; with adult supervision and assistance, of course). We just gathered together, sitting in large rocks, laughing while grilling hotdogs and marshmallows like we were camping out. And as Halloween comes closer, I am reminded by the nights when we’d talk about ghost stories we heard from our classmates or make up some of them just for kicks (oh, you know how kids are).
It wasn’t always fun. We also had misunderstandings and petty fights back in the day. When these things happen, we would take sides and avoid speaking with the other party or his followers at all cost until they’ve settled their differences. Now that we’re grown-ups, we’d just laugh at the ridiculous thought of our childish ways.
The cousin closest to me is my Kuya Bab. He’s second eldest among cousins and a year older than I am. My parents are his godparents, so we consider ourselves not only cousins, but siblings-from-another-father-and-mother. I look up to him like my older brother because he does act like one. Actually, everyone else does. Since his family moved to Canada in July 2007, we no longer saw our cousins that often; perhaps only twice or thrice a year.
When he came home for a vacation in April 2009, he gathered all of us cousins, and spent an entire day at Enchanted Kingdom. Here are some of the photos from our magical trip:
It was a noble gesture to take an initiative to make up for the lost times. That was only three years ago, but you can tell that we enjoyed a once-in-a-blue-moon day spent with our cousins. Nowadays, though we haven’t seen each other for months, we still get in touch via Facebook and Twitter. Oh, did I mention that all of us except for one (still in high school) went to the same university in college? Yes, we did! I guess that’s how solid of a family we are. :)
30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 25: A RECIPE
Just because I’m getting married, doesn’t mean I know how to cook. True story. Of all the things I could have acquired from my mother, the talent or skill in cooking I did not get. Not that I don’t know how to cook at all, but you get what I mean. I can boil an egg, cook rice (on gas stove or rice cooker), fry a few things, but not as good as my mother does. Perhaps the most decent meal I can cook without anyone’s assistance is spaghetti in tomato sauce. For us, my Mom makes mean pasta. In fact, one of her specialties is her famous baked macaroni. For today, I will share with you one of Mom’s basic recipe for spaghetti in tomato sauce. I have only cooked this once or twice in my entire life, so please bear with me.
For this recipe, you will need:
- spaghetti noodles
- tomato sauce
- tomato paste
- ground meat (beef or pork)
- laurel leaf
- cooking oil
You may be wondering why I didn’t add the measurement for each ingredient. That is because I am not sure myself on the ratio and proportion of these, on how much one cooking will yield. So anyway, here’s how we make our Filipino-style spaghetti:
- Cook spaghetti noodles according to package instructions.
- Sauté garlic and onions in a sauce pan.
- Add ground meat for about ten minutes until it’s rendering fat. At this point, we take out the juice excreted from the meat so it’s less oily. Add the pre-cooked hotdogs.
- We then add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Add laurel leaf, salt, and pepper to taste. Let it simmer for about ten minutes.
- Place cooked spaghetti sauce over noodles, top with lots of cheese, and serve.
That’s basically it. I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me how much of a terrible cook I am. I am well aware of that, my friend. I also know that I bored you with this post, thus I’ll leave you with this recipe I found from my old blog:
Totally narcissistic, eh? I’m kidding! At least I made you all laugh in the end. ;)
30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 24: A MOVIE NO ONE WOULD EXPECT YOU TO LOVE
It didn’t take me two seconds to figure out what I’m going to write about today. This post may also be considered a revelation of some sort because I will be sharing with you something I’ve never told anyone. Not that it’s big deal, but just thinking about it makes me giggle. Well, who wouldn’t with Johnny Depp in mind?
I think I was in sixth grade when I first saw the movie, Cry-Baby, starring Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake, and Amy Locane. This movie is a parody of Grease, a musical film, starred by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Johnny Depp plays Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, while Amy Locane takes the role of Allison Vernon-Williams. The film centers on a group of delinquents that refer to themselves as “drapes” and their interaction with the rest of the town and its other subculture, the “squares”, in 1950s Baltimore, Maryland. “Cry-Baby” Walker, a drape, and Allison, a square, create upheaval and turmoil in their little town of Baltimore by breaking the subculture taboos and falling in love. The film shows what the young couple have to overcome to be together and how their actions affect the rest of the town.
Here’s the official trailer of the movie from way back 1990:
Apart from the reason that I had a huge crush on Johnny Depp when I saw this movie on HBO, I loved it because I found the plot interesting. Wade Walker had a bad-boy image in the movie who wins the heart of Allison, whose boyfriend sets out for revenge. He was called “Cry-Baby” for his ability to shed a single tear; he even had a teardrop tattooed in his face, just below his left eye.
That’s right, Allison. My father was the ‘Alphabet Bomber.’ He may have been crazy, but he was my pop. Only one I ever had.
[to Mrs. Vernon-Williams] I may be a drape, but I love your granddaughter. And if that’s a crime, I’ll stand convicted, ma’am.
—Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, Cry-Baby (1990)
Some people who’ve seen this movie may find it corny, but not the thirteen-year old version of me. I know that if I watch again, I will still gush like a teenager. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about crying men that melts my heart. :)
“I hate how coffee turns into an addiction and how it keeps you up all night. How it burns and makes your heart beat fast.
Especially how it makes you crave for its rich and sweet promises of grains, milk, and sugar. Moments later, it puts you into a melancholic mood of coldness. Before you realize, it has consumed you before you have consumed it.
Empty. Hollow. Bitter.
Then again, you crave for another cup…
…just like love.”
30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE
DAY 23: A WAY IN WHICH YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED
No, honey, this isn’t about that theme song from the Casper movie, but I won’t deny the fact that I kind of sang a line or two in my head. Kidding aside, I do find the subject for today challenging. You know, if I were to give myself a eulogy in my interment, I would say nothing but all good things about myself; however, it defeats its purpose, so I will entrust this to the family and friends whom I will eventually leave behind.
This is one of the reasons why investing on relationships is important. What you sow today, you will reap tomorrow. Sounds easy, but not really. I can’t just feed the people the things I want others to hear about the life I had lived at my funeral. I mean, who even does that? Simply put, I just want to be remembered as these five roles:
A [future] wife
A [future] mother
Aren’t these enough reasons to remain in the hearts and minds of my loved-ones?