I wasn’t able to post my monthly updates for the past quarter. Being busy might be an overused excuse, but it’s more than just that. There’s a lot on my plate lately that I was not too motivated to do the things I regularly do before. My heart was not really in a good shape. My mind was cluttered with a lot of ideas and worries all together. I stepped back unintentionally to think things through and take a break. Everything around me is already a pressure — the fear of the virus, responsibilities at home and work, etc. that the least thing I wanted to do is put a pressure on myself.

While allowing myself to take things slowly and gradually day by day, at the back of my head, I still wanted to pursue writing and keep this blog updated. This platform helped me unleash those inner thoughts and breathe my emotions through words. So here am I, trying to catch up with my pending writings.

Bear with me as I try to provide a compacted, summarized update of my life happenings in the past three months. I’ll just share a rundown of my highlights and the things I have learned from them.

I stayed for a month in Cavite.

I’ve been working from home for more than a year now since the pandemic. While I enjoyed the first few months of working remotely, it became dragging when I woke up to the same routine for a couple of months. Blended work and home responsibilities seemed simple at first, but it’s complicated in reality. You would hardly differentiate the border between life at work and life at home, with a very thin line that defines your personal space.

With a strong desire to change my environment even for just a short time, I decided to try living in our new home in Cavite from May to June to get a quick escape from the city.

What I like about this place is that it’s quiet. Everyday, I would walk around the subdivision with our dogs to get some fresh air. It’s nice to appreciate the sunset or stare at the stars at night. I would have my daily quiet time at our garage while I enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning. Lesser interactions with my other family members gave me time to focus on myself and my work.

Well, of course, you can’t have everything. Public transportation is not advisable. Commuting makes you wait too long. Malls and supermarkets are not easily accessible. The prices of basic commodities are expensive. It’s far from our church so I had to switch to virtual livestream services in the meantime. These are the small things I had to sacrifice in exchange for a change of environment.

My one-month stay gave me time to think of my plans, my goals, and my current progress. I was also prompted to draft new goals for our home improvements in Cavite.

I stopped taking my hormonal pills.

After taking hormonal pills for my endometriosis for almost a year, I decided to stop it and shift to organic supplement. I forget taking them religiously despite daily calendar reminders, as if my body was telling me it was tired from taking in too much synthetic meds. In replacement of pills, I took four glasses of Sante Barley juice everyday. After two months, I felt that my menstrual cramps were not as painful as before. Surprisingly last month, I also did not feel any pain. When I was taking my pills, my period cramps would last for four days to two weeks. This improvement makes me feel better and gave me hope that my condition can be manageable, although not curable.

Achievements in my career

I was assigned among a group of project owners to present their project update to our Senior Regional Director, together with other senior leaders in the office. I rehearsed several times in front of the camera and studied my slides. I was very nervous but I am happy I pulled it off!

The audience seemed pleased with the outcome of my presentation, specially our Director. Although my project is still in its rough phases, I carried on with the mastery of my subject and confidence in my presentation.

In addition to that, I also celebrated my 8th year anniversary in our company Last July 29. Looking back at my humble beginnings and struggles when I started working in our company, I am always grateful for the opportunities for learning and growth.

I closed my two credit cards.

I’ve shared before in my blog post that I aim to be debt free in two years to pursue a road to financial freedom. Thankfully, there is a bank program that enabled me to cancel my two credit cards that left me to maintaining just one credit card now. At first, I never thought it would be possible as it is a long term goal on my list. I was also reluctant closing the credit card that came from my first job due to sentimental value. However, I’ve realized how much money I’ve wasted paying on accumulated interests. Also, I don’t regret it that much because I did not spend it carelessly on luxuries; I used it to help my family in times of need or emergencies.

There’s no use dwelling on past mistakes, it won’t change anything. What is important is you correct those unwise decisions and move forward to start anew. At the present, I am trying to keep a simple lifestyle. I rarely go out these days to eat or travel. Before spending, I carefully think first if I really need it. I don’t use my credit card anymore except for essential purchases like insurance or bills payment.

My dog, Basti was brought to the hospital.

Last July, my dog Basti was confined in Vets in Practice Mandaluyong because of low blood and chronic kidney disease. He lost weight and didn’t have appetite for food. He was very weak and pale. I got depressed because I was worried about his health and my finances.

Thankfully, his condition has now improved but he has to maintain a no-salt diet and drink meds and supplements for his kidney. We are inserting subcutaneous fluid in his skin daily through IV. This helps his hydration and flush out the toxins in his kidney.

I got hooked to Rurouni Kenshin.

When I watched Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, I got curious with the storyline that I also watched the earlier movies by order: The Origin, Tokyo Inferno, The Legend Ends, and the latest – The Beginning. And surprisingly, this girl who used to avoid action/violence movies and prefers romance, instantly fell in love with the character of Himura Kenshin!

I love the action-packed scenes and the transitioning of Kenshin from a murderer to a wanderer and a protector of the oppressed. As a newbie fan, I’ve watched all of the movies and don’t mind rewatching them during my spare time.

I celebrated my ECQ birthday at home.

Last August 16, I celebrated my 34th birthday at home with the family. Dining out is still prohibited so we had no choice but to do a simple celebration at home. We ordered food online and my mom cooked some dishes.

I was overwhelmed with the birthday greetings I received from social media. At this state, I was just simply contented and happy with what we have : food on the table and love from family and friends. I did not expect anything grand. I am just happy that people remembered my birthday and all of my loved ones are safe and healthy.

The time and effort people have shown on my birthday is really priceless that I was not looking for anything anymore. As you mature and age, you’re at that state that you are grateful for being able to pay your bills, buy food, and that none of your family members is infected with COVID-19 virus.

I got vaccinated.

After several months from my first online registration, I finally received a confirmation slot from Makati for my first dose of vaccine. I was thankful that I did not have adverse effects from the Sinovac shot except for the heavy arm and light-headedness. I was also relieved that I did not wait too long in the line and the process is very organized compared to what I see or hear from the news and experiences of friends.

I don’t believe in the 100% efficacy of vaccines, but I think it’s better if we do something for the solution than not act at all. Also, I’m not doing it just for myself, but for my loved ones as well.

I became active with my support group at church.

We have this women’s group at church comprising of young married women and professionals. Every week, we meet online for bible studies, prayers, and sharings. I am thankful for this support group that helps us stay grounded with God’s commandments and promises in the midst of uncertainties at these challenging times. We share our reflections on God’s words, blessings, and even burdens.

Through these sessions, I am reminded that our problems are just temporal; there is a bigger God whom we can trust and depend on. You are not alone in your burdens. Each one has her own journey of blessings and pains.

I joined a writing contest for bloggers and was awarded 18th place nationwide.

I joined Comco Southeast Asia’s contest for blogger’s with a theme on sharing your experiences this pandemic by writing a letter to yourself. I had second thoughts joining this contest because I was not too comfortable sharing my journey this pandemic. I felt that my life was going to be an open book for the public to read. However, I just grabbed the opportunity and thought that I might regret it later if I missed it.

It took a while before I finished my piece as I took time to deeply reflect on those baggages I carried and the lessons or wisdom I gained from them. I mustered the courage and just became honest on the things I would like to say to myself, being a survivor of this challenging time.

I was praying for a favorable result, but I was also aware that 108 contenders from the whole country joined so I was not expecting too much.

I was happy to be part of the Top 40 Storytellers during the first announcement of winners. Then, I was proclaimed as the 18th place among all 108 storytellers. It was really overwhelming. It was an honor to share my story together with all the writers/bloggers all over the Philippines. We might not have bagged the 1st place, but being included in the Top 20 is truly an amazing feat!!!

Here is my official entry: https://diamondintheroughblog.com/2021/07/10/a-message-to-a-diamond-in-the-rough/

A Poem to Close

Like the morning sun, a dew on the leaf, the flower buds in spring —

Seasons change yet life has just begun.

The road may be strewn with unknown signs,

Unfamiliar faces you will meet, all rushing against time.

Words will create new meaning, some left undefined,

We pen new stories, seeing our lives intertwined.

Yesterday would ache today, inevitably.

But tomorrow is a gift, unwrapped shabbily.

No race to finish, no clock to beat,

Take your time, to find your perfect seat.

Throw the thorns of the past in your heart,

And appreciate the rose that blooms at the start.

The complex art in the simplest of things,

Is yet to be discovered, whatever life brings.