Friday, August 1, 2014

36 things to be grateful for

The day is about to end and so here is my quick reflection in the last few hours of my birthday.  Wow, three zodiac cycles. I list down the things I am grateful for during the lifetime that I had.

1.    Alon.  We have been truly blessed to have a son with so much spirit and energy.  He is as any two-year old can be which is always good.  He is healthy, which is what a parent always wants for his/her child.  I sense a good heart and a wise mind and pray that we can nourish that as we raise him.

2.    Jan.  For many things. For enjoying household chores. For being a good father. For being the husband that I did not expect which makes for a challenging and exciting partnership and therefor helps keep our marriage stronger. I love you.
3.    Our coming soon.  For being a surprise and for bringing hope and for adding more excitement to our growing family.  I look forward to finally holding his hands and seeing his smile.  I pray that he is as healthy and happy and smart as his Kuya Alon but I also pray that he be the person that he chooses to be.

4.    My family.  Dad, Mom, Kuya, Ate.  I grew up believing the world is good because I grew up with them. They all raised me well.  I learned discipline and I learned love because of them.

5.    The Dela Calzada kids.  My surrogate children.  They tested my maternal instincts before Alon did.  It was fun raising them especially since I did not have to deal much with their poop or pee.

6.    My extended family. Mama, Papa, Caryl, Arvin.  Thanks to them for the receiving me.  They have been so generous since I became part of the family.

7.    LHC. It’s been a while since we saw each other but our time in college paved the way for the wonder I continue to keep.  For the nights we lay on Bel field or the days sat on the Lib steps.  For drunken nights that I realized were not as wild as it could have been (maybe because I never drank).  For youthful idealism and recklessness.  My adulthood started exciting because of them guys.

8.    JVP, especially my Framily and JVP partners and Batch 19-20. For the most reflective, most passionate, most spiritual years of my life.  I continue to hope because of what I have learned in those two years.  I continue to believe because of the love that I received and the love I was able to give during those volunteer years.

9.    For past loves. I have only one official ex but my I fell in love several times. Unrequited love taught me to let myself love without return.  Reciprocated love showed me the world with rose-colored lenses.  Complicated love taught me patience to wait for the right person.  Severed love taught me to love myself and rediscover the love that comes from friendship.  None of the love I have given was ever wasted because I learned much from it.  

10.    Ateneo, the school.  I’ve always wanted to go to UP but that one talk I heard during university shopping sessions in high school and that awfully hard ACET made me change my mind and want to go to Ateneo.  I have never regretted it.  I feel that I lived the most of my college life there, with good friends, good education and good environment.

11.    Ateneo, Batch ’98. I love my batch.  Thanks to FB, I get a chance to see how far we have come from the crazy college kids that we were.  And this is not just about the success defined by work, but the lives we live.

12.    SSC 4A ’94.  Special mention to Francis T. who made the initial effort to bring the class together again.  Those small reunions mean a lot to me. 

13.    Mindoro. My first JVP area.  The best, most wonderful time of my life.  It was just a natural high.  I do not have the words to explain what you mean to me.

14. My seminarian students. None of which became a priest. What have I done? Haha! Those guys really stretched my patience but also taught me how much I loved teaching. 

15.    Pangantucan. My second JVP area.  Life started knocking he hard during this year, and yet I still nourished every moment of it.

16. My Pangantucan students.  I learned that I did love teaching but I was not ready for the responsibility at 21.

17.    That one year in advertising.  It made me realize that it is not my passion.  I think I could have been good at it, but I would not have been happy.  I continue to remain in awe of friends who stayed in the business but remain thankful before it could change my spirit.

18.    Those two years as JVP staff.  It was a pleasure seeing volunteers journey and discover themselves. It also made me realize that I'd rather let people discover their own paths than guide them through it. Hahaha!

19.  Assisi. The job and organization I was the most happy with.  I loved going to the field, climbing up the mountains via walking, horse, carabao, raft, habal-habal or jeep just to see the IP children benefitting our program.  I could have stayed longer if not for a new opportunity that came.  This is also where I found my life partner at the least expected time. 

20. ISS. My experience of the world! I met people from different countries and learned to be more open and expanded my world perspective. And those weekly parties, can’t beat those!

21.  NFP Scholarship.  Which allowed me to go to ISS.  Plus I got to travel like crazy because of my allowance.

22. My dear Pinoy mafia.  Being away from home was never lonely because they became my home in Netherlands.

23. My Dutch foster parents, Peter and Anky.  For welcoming me to their home and giving me the experience of a 36 mile bike ride without breaking a sweat.

24. Netherlands. Such a beautiful country. I wish you would adopt me as I have adopted you. The museums, the biking, H&M, Queen’s Day, legal pot… such a wonderful, exciting place you are.

25. Davao. My birth city. Food and nature and family.

26. Avida. Our little humble home the size of a room.  So little space, so much love.:)  Thank you for a roof on my head.

27. ICRC. A good organization that continues to challenge me.  Thank you for a steady income.

28. Food to eat anytime I want to. Thank you for constant nourishment.

29. Good health. So far, so good.  I used to not mind the idea of dying by 40 but now that I have two children I keep on praying for longer life so I can make sure they are taken cared of until they can manage 

30. Travel.  I am not able to do it as much as I used to or as much as I want to but I get to do it enough to know that I stay blessed. 

31. Social media. It killed my writing itch but It did give me a window to the people I care for.  I get to stay in touch with friends that I have known throughout my lifetime.

32. Internet. All that information!

33. Books. All that imagination!

34. Movies and television. Always my refuge for times I just want to be passive or escape.

35. Manila. I never loved you, but you remain welcoming.

36. God. As He remains constant even when I can’t.


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