Her Hands

We held hands since the the moment I was born, sometime with anger, others with frustration, but always with love. Her hands were the ones that taught me how to play, eat, cook, explore, and fight back. It was her hands I always sought whenever I woke up from all the reconstructive surgeries I underwent in my life. They were always there to comfort me, reassure my soul that all would be well. I miss those hands in mine, telling me some outrageous story or what program she fell asleep on, or even just holding on to me while walking….

“Stop, Look, Go” – Gratitude

Stop, Look, Go is the golden. rule for crossing the street, playing tennis, running, photography, and as I learned today, gratitude. The US-based Austrian monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast has written wonderful books on finding inner peace and happiness by addressing individual topics in depth. Available in both German and English, Brother David’s language is clear, simple, digestible, and carries a profound insight that leaves you wondering why you have not been doing this before. Have a look at his TED Talk on gratitude and happiness (1993): Brother David reminds us that we often make the mistake of being grateful only…

The Travelling Pearls

There is an unwritten golden rule that no self-respecting Filipina should ever be without pearls. My mother never observed this rule for herself, but was very adamant that I do, and have worn pearls ever since my Middle School days, almost without fail. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I obtained my first strand, and I wore them with great pride. After I got married and left the Philippines, I made sure that pearls were part of my signature look that marked me as a proud Filipina, hailing from the Pearl of the Orient. Over the years, with all the…

Unexpected Blessings

I missed mass this morning so I went to work feeling a bit out of sorts, knowing that there was something essential missing in my ritual. Nevertheless, as the morning wore on, I realised that there was more to the day that met the eye. I know I grumbled yesterday about being a bit impatient about the way things were going in my life. Half a year is gone, it is behind me now, and there is nothing I can do about it. Look forward. Look ahead. Aim for new heights! That is my mantra for this month. It is…

The Dignity of the Dress

Summer is here and so is the season for wearing dresses again. In an age and culture where pants have become the norm in business communities, the classic dress has been relegated to being considered something more frivolous and unserious, an affirmation of the weak and flirty feminine side that cannot be taken seriously. I love wearing dresses and don’t care whether they shout feminine or frivolous – they are comfortable, much better for the current weather, and always a timely reminder that Berlin is not all doom and gloom weather of clunky shoes and formless jackets. I belong to…

Banana Homesickness

There are things in Asia that one simply cannot find here in Germany, and one of them is decent bananas. Before you go into a tirade about European banana pride, let me remind everyone that bananas are not native to Europe, are all imported from Asia, Latin America or Africa, and the imported bananas must comply with the EU standards and guidelines. Ironically, many of the banana exporting countries are also referred to as banana republics, a derogatory term to describe a developing country with continuous political instability and limited resources to export. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do…

Hard Lessons of Frugality

Aside from building a brand new life alone after the divorce, one of the most difficult lessons (rather, on-going challenges) is frugality. This is such an alien concept to me because I grew up as a privileged expat child who never had to worry about the cost of things. I learned to indulge in the finer things in life from an early age, as most expat children do, because Daddy could always afford it or the company paid for it. Saving up for something was never in my cards, because if my parents wouldn’t get it for me, grandmother would,…