Celebrity for a Week

Betsy.jpg

Photo of the week

Hey there blogverse (blog + universe… is there such word?!). 

A lot of things have been happening and I don’t get to blog as often as my heart wanted to… But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing.

So, two special things happened this week…

First, I was interviewed by Bookbed.org and was featured on their website. We basically talked about my book, Twenty Years in Between. They asked how the book came about and I also shared about my writing practices and processes. I also shared some pieces of advise for aspiring writers.

I am truly grateful that there are there are groups like Bookbed that appreciate and support Filipino authors. It inspires us — me — to write some more. 

You may read about the whole interview here —  Writing, Feeling, Believing: And Interview with Author Betsy G. Ochosa. 

If you guys have been following my blog, you would know that I am a happy mother to a now-19 year old son. I am sure you know, as well, that I take motherhood seriously. 

I have written about my experiences as a (very) hands-on mom, and I have shared tons of pictures of my son — sometimes to his embarrassment. Well, what can I say? I am a proud mom… 

Here is an essay that I wrote for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Brew Your Best Year online magazine. This is for all the mothers out there who, like me, are just delighted (pleased, satisfied, content…) to be called Mom.  Because truly, it IS the best job in the world! 

Mothers, remember you can be anything and to the family, you are everything… and you are never Just a Mom. 

So, go and check out those links! Told you I have been busy… 😉

Catch you all later!

 

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Selfie photo via my iPhone

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Some Major Throwback

girl-writing

Old style writing

Oh my… It has been a while. No, let me rephrase that — It has been a long while. It makes me wonder, What the *%$@ had happened to me?  How could I leave my blog (again) like an orphan just like that?! 

Actually, it was pretty easy, really. I got myself busy doing other things — sometimes relevant and exciting, most times mundane.  And then I tell myself I don’t have the inspiration to write… and then I look at my computer and feel insecure and I start asking myself, Can I still produce something worth reading? 

And then because I’m unsure of myself, I end up not writing. No attempt even. What a coward. Yes, I’m psycho like that… 

Then this morning I received an email from a book group I am part of, asking me if they can feature me and my book (yes, that lovely book I wrote a couple of years ago) on their site.  They are featuring Filipino authors and they asked if I would be willing to answer some questions.

I was over the moon, so, Of course, yes!!!  My first thought was, I will gladly answer a hundred questions if need be! 

Thank you, God, for nudging me and waking me up from my stupor.

Thank you for reminding me that I am a writer and writers are supposed to, uhm, write. 

This year has breezed by quite fast somehow. It’s now September and we are beginning to hear Christmas carols being played in malls (Really?! So soon?! But yes, really!). 

What could be a better way of making the most of your days than by spending them with the people you love?  And I was fortunate enough to travel several times this year with loved ones…

So for my Hello-I’m-back-blog, I thought of sharing pictures of our family trip to Singapore last April.  

Yeah, yeah, it’s such a late post, but good memories never fade…  (like I can get any mushier than this!!😉

Hello Singapore… we meet again.

You have to pardon the eye bags. My dad, mom and I took the flight departing at such an ungodly hour!

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My customary plane selfie

After depositing our bags at the hotel, our first stop was Marina Bay Sands for an afternoon of (window) shopping…

 

 

My mom, ever the fashionista. 🙂

My dad having his own photo shoot while my mom was shopping somewhere…

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Oh, hello there!

And then we were joined by the star of Singapore… (with his equally dashing brother father)!!!

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My two Miguels 

 

First dinner in Singapore.

Family is love, indeed.

Day 2 was all about serious shopping in the morning…

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Walked ’til my sandals broke…

… and then some serious partying at night!

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Same pose, different attire.

At the Roar of Singapore 4 boxing event, in full support for Filipino boxers and boxing commentator and analyst…

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… as well as foreign talents — who might get rich and famous in the future, one will never know! 😉

Day 3 was about waking up early and hearing the voice of your dear friend Victoria calling your name...

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Coolness! 

And still more walking…

… and hiding from the sun.

When afternoon came, it was time for — 

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Yale-NUS visit!!

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So, who do you think is the boss?! 🙂

Tired but never weary…

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Papa enjoying the stage at the Performance Hall 

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The neighboring NUS buildings at the back

Yale NUS College tours are always, always an awesome experience. 

On Sunday morning, we went on a Chinatown adventure…

 No caption needed 😉

Then we finally got ourselves some yummy Hainanese Chicken meal that Singapore is known for…

Lunch.

Miguel was not feeling too well that day so we just decided to meet up with him in the evening.

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Dinner and after dinner…

Goodbyes are always difficult… But we are thankful for the memories. 

And it’s always nice to look forward to the next hello.

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Brunch before flying back home

The trip was short but we made a lot of memories along the way.

I am glad I was able to spend time with my parents. I am grateful that they both are still strong enough to travel and we still get to experience and enjoy things together.

At the same time, I am joyful that I got to visit my son. My son was able to show his grandparents his school, his home away from home.  I know my parents couldn’t be any more proud that Miguel is where he is right now.

Truly, we do have a lot to be thankful for. 

As we waited for our flight back home, I couldn’t help but ponder… 

Yes, time flies… So very fast. Our kids grow up fast. Our parents grow old. We get old(er). And so we make good use of our time. We spend our hours with the people important to us… we make time for the people we love. 

We make memories… happy ones that will forever warm our hearts. 

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… and we take selfies. A gazillion, if that would make you happy. 

 

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Photo credits: Girl writing cartoon via google images; Singapore trip photos courtesy of author’s ever reliable iPhone 😉 

 

 

A Not-so-Happy Monthsary

Hello November! 

Tomorrow marks the first month since my unico’s accident at the dorm. To those who still haven’t heard — or read– about it, please see previous (trending) blog

I promised I’ll share with you how our weeklong, extended stay in Singapore went. So here goes (and with photos, too!)…

Okay, so my husband and I took an early morning flight that arrived in Singapore at 9:00am. From the airport, we checked in at the hotel really fast, just dropped our bags in the room, then rushed straight to National University Hospital. 

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First selfie for this trip… How sad is that?? 😦 

Patient B32 was taking a shower when we arrived. Don’t ask me how, I’ll probably just answer, “With great difficulty…” 😦 

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Tadah! 

We were told that the hospital is ready to discharge the unico. We waited for about half an hour for everything to be settled, and for the instructions regarding his medication. 

And then we were off… (to the Campus)…

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Goodbye photo-op with one of the nurses

Pushing unico’s wheelchair is Toto, one of his awesome roommates, who was there to pick him up and bring him back to the dorm in case we didn’t arrive. How sweet was that??? ❤ 

In the previous blog, I mentioned that my husband and I were really scheduled to go to Singapore to attend the Parents’ Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, because of the accident, it became quite a challenge to join the activities.

For the most part of that Friday afternoon, we were just at my son’s dorm (which they call a suite), helping him settle back in, fixing his room (which looked exactly the way he left it when he was rushed to the hospital… meaning, there was still a pillow with blood on the floor, books strewn all over, etc.). Besides, we didn’t have an elevator pass, so we can’t just go in and out the residential college. We were pretty much stuck in the suite. 

At some point, the Residential College Vice Rector came to meet with me and my husband so we can discuss how the school can help my son in the coming days as he goes back to his classes. Can’t help but be truly grateful that my son is in a very supportive college

🙂 

Back to the Orientation Weekend… The activity for that evening was Performance Night. Students (and some parents) were invited to perform for the visiting parents. My unico, was supposed to be part of said activity. But because of the accident, they were not sure if he can (or will) still perform. 

Being the true performer that he is, well, of course he couldn’t pass up the chance… And so sans practice, the show had to go on… While in a wheelchair, too!

Song choice: Vienna, by Billy Joel

“Slow down, you crazy child…” as the song goes. How apt. 

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Success!

The Performance Night ended around 9:30pm. We brought him back up to his suite and planned for the following day before going back to our hotel. We decided to leave him at the dorm so he could already rest. My husband and I told him we’ll be back early enough so we can have brunch together.

The bus ride to the hotel took about forty minutes. I was craving for coffee but the nearby Starbucks was already closed. I was already getting lightheaded because of exhaustion and lack of sleep (been awake since early morning for our flight). It was a long day.

And I expected the following day to be another long one. 

Saturday…

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We got back to the campus in time for brunch! Yey! 🙂 

We spent Saturday planning how the unico will do his day to day activities while in crutches or wheelchair.

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The adventure begins…

We looked for easy routes going to his classrooms. We went to the laundry room so he can do his laundry. We walked with him to the dining hall. 

And so we walked and walked until we have covered practically most of the campus (some of his classrooms were like two buildings away). My husband pushed the wheelchair, while I walked behind, lugging the crutches, and a water bottle, with me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. And to think I had feet to walk with. 

It wasn’t easy, believe me. It made me realize how blessed we are that we have functioning legs and feet. We really should never take any part of our body for granted.

At some point during our “campus tour,” I told my husband I believed it would be better if both of us would stay for a week — or at least, up to the unico’s first post-surgery consult with his doctor.

My son had shown nothing but courage all through out, but I wanted to be there to provide whatever support I can while he was recuperating. His friends and dormmates were the best and the school had been very helpful and supportive, yet I wanted to do my job as a parent.  

Sometime late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were able and attend one sample class (it was still Parents’ Orientation Weekend, after all, and there were several sessions going on).

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Filipino parents, represent! 

Afterwards, we brought the unico to the hotel with us so he can rest on a bigger bed, at least for most of Sunday.

Couldn’t really do anything much at the hotel… 

And so school week came…

My son started attending his classes (crutches and all)… we would check on him whenever possible… treated him to Japanese dinner outside school so he can get a breath of non-campus air…

My husband and I spent the week not necessarily in school the whole time, but just close enough to be there anytime our son needed us. 

Traveled to school by Grab, bus, MRT… enjoyed the non-polluted walks, too.

 

 

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Yale-NUS at night… Or at least the view from Clementi overpass 🙂

At last it was Friday… day of the post-surgery consult. We were able to talk to the doctor who explained to us how they fixed the broken bone.

He checked the wire, checked the wound, had it dressed, told us that it’s healing beautifully and as long as my son takes care of it — make sure that it doesn’t get wet and infected, and that the wire inside doesn’t break — then they can remove the wire come November 10 (even earlier than original November 24 schedule). Doctor even added, “Nah, you don’t have to be here when I remove the wire. I’ll just tell him to look away as I pull it out.” Yes, he said he’ll pull it out. *Gulp.*

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That’s one tough guy you’re looking at!

So after meeting with the doctor and knowing that everything is well, hubby and I were ready to go back home. 

And so we did, the following day.

 Saturday, bye bye day… Can I just stay??

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This was the hardest part 😦 

So tomorrow –the tenth of November –the first monthsary of his accident, he is going back to NUH to hopefully have the wire removed. 

It was quite an experience. For all of us, actually, but of course, most especially for my son. It was a freak accident. He had a bad fall. Who would have thought that he would break his toe so badly? 

Accidents do happen. But then despite the accident, God’s grace shone through… and we felt it in more ways than one. We were surrounded by good, helpful people. People who assisted in different ways, people who reached out and who prayed with us. My son was blessed with caring, loving friends who still help him up to now.  

We were given strength, comfort and peace even when we were tired. My son was given the courage he needed while we were still away… and the yes, he still had the same courage after we left. 

And yeah, as bad as the original reason was, well, we were able to spend longer time with him because we decided to extend our stay. 

Though I am not really celebrating the monthsary — it was still an accident, after all, I guess I cannot say that I am not happy. Because I am. I am happy because he is now okay.

More than that, I am thankful. Things could have been much, much worse. 

But God is good. He is always good. 🙂 

WARNING!! The following is not for the faint-hearted… So stop here if you are not ready… You don’t have to look…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

🙂

 Those who are intrigued about the “wire” that I kept talking about, let me give you an idea how it looks like…

My, what big foot you have! 😉

And the good doctor is scheduled to pull that wire out tomorrow.

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photos were mostly mine…except for the foot which was unico’s (Don’t worry, i asked permission before i posted)

Precious Moments

The moment I found out that their College had a quarter break in September and my son had five days to spare, I immediately got him a plane ticket home. (And because he is favored, I was able to get the ticket at a really good price!)

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My son’s home!!! 

We didn’t tell anyone that he was coming home, only my husband and I knew about it… but I scheduled a family dinner (with my parents, mother in law, siblings, brother-in-law, and nephews) at my sister’s house the day my unico was supposed to arrive. My sister thought I was getting depressed that’s why I was insistent on having dinner with the family.   Little did they know…

We told my son not to enter with us and to wait a few minutes outside the house so it will surprise them more when he enters. 

And so we were all mostly at the living room… my mom was saying it would have been nice if my son was around so we were complete, my dad kept asking me for updates on college activities… my nephews were just there hanging out with the adults, trying not to act bored…

On cue, my son knocked on the door — didn’t wait for anyone to open it — then entered and said, “Hi!” 

My older nephew let out a low, shocked, “HUH!!!” Followed by a high-pitched “What?!” from the younger one. My mom stared at his eldest grandchild for a good three minutes, not recognizing him, thinking we had another guest. Eventually she realized who she was staring at, stood up and hugged him tight. My dad asked me if I knew he was arriving — uhm, yes, father, I bought his ticket! 🙂  My sister who was slowly coming down from the stairs saw him and stared hard before realizing she wasn’t dreaming. 

It was a good surprise. It was nice night for a family reunion. 

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Act surprised, Leandro!

Family is 

The days passed in a blur. 

My son had homework to do, papers to write and submit, so it was somewhat a working vacation for him. Yet whenever possible, we took the time to go out and do things together. 

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Malling

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Hanging out with my dad 

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Buying groceries

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Eating some more… 😉 

He also spent a day at his old high school, visited his teachers and friends.

When at home, he would spend his hours reading or writing. We didn’t always have good, meaningful conversations because he had “stuff to do,” and there were plenty moments like this…

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Spongebob, how cute are you??!

I didn’t really mind much. He was home… that’s all that mattered! 

Besides, I can always pester him like this… 

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Me: Smile for mommy! Him: Why??! Me: Because I said so… 😉

It was a short break. Before we knew it, he had to fly back to Singapore. 

But then one thing I know for sure is that the moments spent together, no matter how fast — or how short — will always be precious.

Sooner or later he will be busier. He will be more settled in school or swamped with more activities, that staying at the dorm would seem like a better option than coming home. 

As our children grow older, they begin to need us less and less. And so we make the most of the moments when we can still hold them near. 

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Off to the airport. Again.

We make the most of the moments we share and spend with our loved ones because ultimately these are the moments that matter, right? 

Hello and goodbye…

These are the moments that put a smile in our hearts and give meaning to our lives. 

 

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This, to me, is the loneliest place on earth… 😦

 

photos are all mine

 

 

Dream a little dream

It was 12:30am and I couldn’t sleep.

I was tired of watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones reruns… so I thought of reading a bit ’til I fall asleep. I decided to reach out for the book nearest my bed side… 

Lo and behold, I got hold of MY book. 

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my 12:30am companion

I didn’t start reading right away, though. Instead, I think I stared at the cover for a good ten minutes. I looked at the front, then the back… I took a couple of photos then posted them on Instagram.

I marveled at the thought that this book I had in my hands bore my name on it. I was the author. It was my creation. My thoughts, my ideas, my words, on paper. My childhood dream realized. 

So this was what my bestie-cousin meant when she said, “It is different when you have the actual book in your hand. Something you can reread and bring with you everywhere you go.” And to emphasize further, “Your work. In your hands.”

She told me that at the time I needed encouragement… at the time when I was full of self-doubt and a voice in my head kept asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

It has been a year since the book first came out — though it wasn’t until the latter part of last year when well-known local bookstores started carrying it. 

Looking back, it was quite an experience, really.  From the first rejection of my manuscript, to the time I met the special people who worked with me to improve the outcome of the book… And then there was the challenge of how to distribute the books once published  (thought balloon: I might run out of family members and friends to sell to)… And all throughout, I had to deal with internal struggles — basically self-doubt and fear of being unworthy and being criticized. 

The whole process was a journey with moments of highs, and not exactly devoid of lows.

I have had good reviews and I have had so-so ones. I have readers clamoring for a second book — and yes, I have had one reader telling me that the book’s “not for her.” Short of telling me that she found it so juvenile.

It was a form of rejection, but I have long learned to take everything in stride.  

No, I didn’t turn into an instant celebrity author. I’m quite far from it, really. But I consider myself blessed for having those people who read and appreciated my work.

You see, all I really wanted was to tell stories and to entertain the readers in the process. I wanted to make them feel something. I thought of all the novels I read that somehow stayed with me long after I have placed the book down. I wanted to share that same feeling with my readers. If I can make even just one reader smile and feel good while reading my work, I knew I’ll be happy enough.

Truly if we allow our fears to take control, we will never be able to do anything. If we allow one rejection to get the better of us, then our goals — our dreams — will forever be out of reach.  

The other day I received a sales report from one of the bookstore chains distributing the book. So far they have sold about half of their inventory (based on total sales from various branches). Not bad… At least this time I know people other than my relatives bought the book!  Not bad for a newbie nobody like me. 🙂  

I started feeling sleepy even before reaching Chapter Two… But I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Leaving you with this excerpt…

excerpts20yrs

Together they waited for the night to end.

❤ ❤

Fellow writers, artists, dreamers, I read this article on ‘rejection‘ online and it really struck me to the core. If you have been rejected or are afraid of rejection, this article is for you!! Sharing it with hopes that it can enlighten you the way it enlightened me: Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year, by Kim Liao, Literary Hub.

Twenty Years in Between, available at select National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked branches. Also available online at Bookbed.org.

To God be the glory always. Photos are mine 🙂 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10 NKJV