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25 November 2013

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!


Tacloban. It's where I spent two months of great adventure with college buddies at about the same age as the young adult artists in this video

 We Are The World for Philippines (Cover by Filipino Artsts)

This is the church where I served as piano accompanist for the 1990 summer student choir, and some of the services. According to reports it was filled with dead bodies when this shot was taken.

Photo Courtesy: AUP Network on FB

On Saturday, November 24th, Central World management (the former WTC Bangkok) lent space for a Haiyan fundraiser without charge. I'd like to commemorate the highlights:

 

One Voice: Help Haiyan Victims was a serendipity. Organizing events is something I had to pay money to study in grad school. But it was live learning right there that night and observing the process was free.

Skywatch: Mission Tacloban

The Bangkok Charity Orchestra  reflected tranquility in their music. Poor typhoon victims would benefit from melodies that are tender and soothing to the soul.

 Reflections: hope in a new day

Updates from friends about relief efforts on their side of the pond were heart-warming. Owner of Thailand's top plastic surgery hospital (friend's boss), without anyone asking him, set up a station where people can drop off things they want to give away. He then made arrangements for an airplane to transport the goods to Tacloban.

Joy is joining beautiful friends in supporting a cause

Helping helped us take a step forward in nurturing love for fellow human beings. It was terrific. I learned so much including empathy or at least a shadow of it. Thinking how hard it must be for victims to go without proper meals, I avoided restaurants and tried to keep mine simple


Seeing the world pitch in is beyond touching. Witnessing acts of generosity, cooperation, and kindness in many different ways has rendered me speechless and reduced me to tears (though very rarely do I cry).


THANK YOU WORLD FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!

This post is shared with Mellow Yellows / Friday's Faves / Picture Clusters / Share the Joy / Water World / ABC Wednesday / Our World / Ruby Tuesday Too / Monday Blues / Monday's Music Moves Me

19 November 2013

Flowers rule

Wherever they are, flowers are flowers. Pretty - on a branch, a watering can, a vase or even on a cage;


lovely on a bike or on a girl's head. They're a joy to behold.

~ niece ~

15 November 2013

Learning from tragedy

Super typhoon Haiyan teaches me a few things. They make up the highlights of my week -

Realization that it could happen to anyone. Not that I welcome something terrible, but it's better to be prepared for an eventuality the best way possible.

A keener sense of gratitude for the fact that my family is all right and no one I know is hurt. Two years ago we went to this island for a reunion. I cherish the memories now more than ever.


Appreciation for things usually taken for granted. I barely noticed these skies above our rental resort until I had to watch the Haiyan destruction -

Skywatch: the family reunion sky

Urgency to help. It's probably due to awareness of issues around donations or charity work that I tend to find out a few details first before I get involved. This time I extend whatever I can without question. I'll give give give - just spare my loved ones.

Giving up some comfort for a time; deliberately not hanging out in places like this -

Mellow Yellows: TWG tea can

I love my high teas. But in the wake of Haiyan, sitting in posh chairs sipping from china is a weekend routine I decide to refrain from doing for now. A little weaning won't kill.  I'm thankful for the lessons.

Monday Blues: the blue swan cup

12 November 2013

Resilience

In the context of the devastation brought by Haiyan, different sources call the Filipinos resilient. The Daily Mail, UK quotes US President Obama:
"I know the incredible resiliency of the Filipino people, and I am confident that the spirit of Bayanihan will see you through this tragedy."
Bayanihan, a word I never heard, used nor thought of in quite awhile, more or less two decades. It's nice to be reminded of a reference to 'communal unity and cooperation.' Honestly I don't remember being ever seriously sure what resilience really means until I gaped in horror at the TV this weekend. Let me reflect a bit:

"Resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties"

I have great memories of adventure in Tacloban, an island city hit the worst by Haiyan. Happy to be out of boarding school for the summer, Tacloban was the perfect place for an 18 year-old to explore. But now aside from not having any photos of my own, I don't think anyone needs more scenes resembling the end of the world. Instead I'm posting something reflective of the hope that my poor country is put to right again soon.

Samal is one of those areas under Signal 1 after tropical depression Zoraida moves closer to Mindanao.  Oh no... not Mindanao! Haven't we enough bombings and kidnappings there already? :(


Trucks and buses roll into ferries that transport them to Samal Island -


People usually pass here after alighting from the ferries -


A dirt road drive to the resorts


Late afternoon in the island -

08 November 2013

Sit on a story and rub shoulders with tea

Anyone who needs a blue-sky holiday, please raise your hand.

There goes mine.

Holidays spoil us, don't they? At least that's one thing they do with me. Wasn't it only weeks since that quick romp in the Lion City? And now I'm planning the next one -

 Skywatch: Far Far Away

- over tea. It started when an FB friend in Salzburg suggested, 'Sis, how about a literary tour in five years? Europe? Fatten up the piggy.' Automatically I said why not.

So I just gave myself a lot to keep boredom at bay. Stock investing and PhD were prominent as I alternately gaze out the garden and on its reflection on my sunglasses. They should be worth engaging in while the five years roll.

Weekend Reflections: garden on shade

'Our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty,' says James Norwood Pratt. I like the idea.

Meanwhile I can't believe my dean approved another leave - the third one this year, flight is confirmed which means >


I'll be home for Christmas!

My heart just leaped to my throat. This will be only my third time in sixteen years to be home for Christmas. It goes without saying a celebration should be in order.  And since I'm fond of dining out, this time I tried a

Korean buffet though I went to this restaurant mainly for the shiitake and salmon -

 Full!

So these were my highlights for the week. I'm thankful.

04 November 2013

Qrookshanqs joins a quorum of witches

Prologue: Thailand's Supreme Patriarch is dead.  The whole kingdom is in mourning mode. And that also means Khaosan Road, a usual party venue, is shut down. Parties go on though but behind closed doors and kept as private and quiet as possible. And that's how -

Qrookshanqs ignores Ermione and wanders into Medusa's cave...
 xxx
xxx

She comes as Grumpy Cat,

tries not to forget who she is.

Qrookshanqs is convinced that those are Nagini's ancestors on Medusa's head, and thinks what a waste of cauldron time taking photos is

A smiling one joins them and the quorum is complete. Soon they chant eye of newt, toe of frog... lizard's leg and howlet's wing. Qrookshanks, ever the grief sucker, grumbles how do witches "boil and bake" fillet of a fenney snake or wool of bat at the same time? Anyone?

No one huh? Alright, grumpy mood intensifying nicely...

Until the party is peaking and she starts smiling, ruining her stance. Now she's gone queer.

Qrookshanqs learns that it's difficult not to grin when surrounded with crazy, goofing friends

and reckons she may well abandon her grumpy look
 
xxx
xxx

Epilogue: Qrookshanqs transfigured into the Cheshire Cat before midnight. Thailand continues to wear black until further notice.

01 November 2013

Ladybugs and choirs

It's another day to count faves and highlights. Here are mine this week -

A ladybug visited me. What a cute surprise! It's the first time I saw one that was not on a leaf or flower but on my very pillow so I cherished the moment. It hopped on some books (I read in bed) before flying out the porch. As a kid I loved watching ladybugs in our little garden. They're some of my favorite creatures.


Ma leads her group (all widows except one) to win first place in a provincial level choir competition. I found out on Facebook, thanks to a friend. So that's why she seemed unable to talk long when I rang last week. They were practising. Sometimes I get a bit annoyed that I find out first from other people, but okay, I get it - it's her way of teasing and she's fun like that.
 

Grandparents' Day celebration in church. It felt nostalgic looking at photos and reading comments of their children who I went to church with. How time flies! Yesterday they were us. I am particularly thankful to Ma for taking care of CJ while I am overseas. How did she find the time for choirs and all that?

Last night's party was great, despite an improvised venue. The original huge street party was canceled as Thailand mourns the death of the Supreme Patriarch (head monk). I have never been that keen on Halloween parties but this year I thought I should experience one once and for all. I came as Grumpy Cat which I shouldn't have done because I can't stop grinning, but yes, it was fun :D

 Dr Sunee's spooky dessert

Brunch by Pizza Company: garden salad, cheese bread and sour cream, chicken sticks, and milk chocolate smoothie. I never eat pizza in Pizza Company, just like I never drink coffee in Starbucks, but these places are the answer when I'm hungry and lazy to cook.


Linking with Fave Five * Picture Clusters
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