5 Gold Rings: 5 Things I am Grateful for

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 5 gold rings!!!

The Mayans had us duped. It’s already the 21st of December but the world is still spinning, the sun is still shining, and — as far as I’ve observed — zombies have not yet taken over the world.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful for that.

And really, I am just so grateful for these five gold rings:

  • I am grateful for my family. It’s hard being away from them on December. My parents will celebrate their wedding anniversary this month. My brother will celebrate his birthday a few days after that, too. And don’t forget the Noche Buenas and the Media Noches by the open fire — can someone Skype me up when the Christmas program starts? Okay? I am grateful because I shall be seeing my family again soon and I’ll get to drive them around and I’ll probably be filling their bellies up with lots of teh tarik and nasi lemak. And durian cendol. Mom won’t rest unless she’ll get a taste of that durian cendol.
  • I am grateful for my adoptive family in Malaysia. So what if we’re scattered around different parts of Asia and North America and wherever right now. Let’s watch ICE Age 4 and sing out the “We are family!” theme song together! Movie + food trip marathon starts on Sunday. Bring a crazy hat.
  • I am grateful because I have a stable job. I can pay my bills (which are currently at a minimum), I can pay my monthly rent (which, oops, isn’t really at a minimum), and I can have some good laughs with my officemates while I’m at it. I am learning the ropes of independent living. (Define independent. I don’t even have a decent jar of sugar at my house. Which reminds me. I’ll have to stock up on that. Soon.)
  • I am grateful for the Internet. All hail the Internet! Thank You, Lord, for gTalk, for YM, for FB Chats, and for Pidgin which links all my accounts together, letting me connect with everyone using just one desktop application. Thank You, Lord, for email, for social media, and for just letting us all have the means to keep in touch. Thank You for Skype, thank You for IDD calls, for — gosh. I can only imagine how it must have been like living during the time when the only means of connection between loved ones were telegrams and postal mails.  I’m not sure if I could have survived back then. I would have probably died. Or I’d have stayed at home and not made friends with anyone who was likely to go far, far away.
  • And finally, I am grateful — as previously mentioned — for the fact that the world is still spinning. Some good friends have yet to tie the knot. Some good friends have yet to give birth and cuddle their little bundles of joy. And the gospel has yet to be preached to the end of the earth. Methinks we still need a little bit of time for that.

Well, here’s to everything that we are all grateful for. Christmas is just around the corner. Enjoy your time with your loved ones. And — like a good friend told me once (or maybe a couple of times) — enjoy life. :)

Life without the Internet...

Overseas letters. I’d like to receive some, but still… e-mail is so much easier.

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6 Geese-a-Laying: 6 Photos that Made Mari Smile

On the 6th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 6 geese-a-laying!

Six pictures that leave me smiling! Six pics that keep me grinning! Six — Uhh, whatever. The phrasing’s a bit off whichever way you try to sing it so never mind.

I didn’t realize it would be so hard to pick just six pictures from 2012. Browsing through my FB albums made me wish I could put all the photos posted there here.

But I must pick only six (did that phrase leave your tongue in a twist???) so here are the ones that made it to the list:

Mari, phone home.

Mari, phone home.

From the sad and lonely girl sitting next to (behind) me

From the sad and lonely girl sitting next to (behind) me.

"Oooh, what's this?" --> Photo by Xious.

Oooh, what’s this?  (Photo by Xious)

Kame hame wave!

Kame hame wave!

"We are family!" --> Photo from Arvin

We are family!  (Photo from Arvin)

"Pasko na Sinta Ko" --> Photo from the Phil Embassy in KL

Pasko na Sinta Ko. (Photo from the Phil Embassy in KL)

My family makes me smile. My friends at work make me smile. Getting surprises wrapped in shimmery wrapping paper (which I am likely to transform into tiny paper stars sooner or later) also makes me smile.

Fun jump shots with fun and passionate friends make me smile. Celebration of life  and singing my heart out at church and in choirs make me smile as well.

Did these pictures make you smile, too? :)

9 Ladies Dancing: 9 Women of 2012

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 9 ladies dancing!

Time to let the ladies take centre stage. Go ahead and give it a twirl, beautiful women of the world. ^_^

  1. Mom! Let’s give it up to the woman who has the same initials as I have (for now) — Mrs. MABL. She and Dad are my biggest fans. Really. Her Facebook timeline is beginning to look like a fan page for me — she shares my pictures and links back to my latest blog entries. Oha. San ka pa?
  2. Ms. PAU — soon to be Mrs. PAUP? Hihi. You are a treasure to me. Though you are far, far away (wait, Cambodia isn’t that far), I know I can always turn to someone for prayers and support. And coffee. Though I’m not really supposed to drink coffee right now.
  3. Mrs. MPHB — MPH Bookstore??? Haha!  Technically it’s MSHPHB, right? These initials are so funny. I super miss you, te. I want to see your baby soon. Like, SOON. VERY SOON. And I must, must, must talk to you. Like, SOON. VERY SOON.
  4. Ms. MABN — I can still feel your support even though you are several time zones and Centigrades away. How are you enjoying your first White Christmas? Thank you for transitioning us well. Have a happy, happy, happy holiday!
  5. Ms. YDP, let’s do the pre-marriage course, now na! I salute you for your passion. I salute you for your endurance. Lezdothis!
  6. Mrs. LLU, I so love your bilo-bilo! Next year is going to be so exciting. Thank you for your family’s warmth and hospitality. You are priceless treasures.
  7. Ms. PAO (Siopao?) — bunso! Yehez! You are precious. ;) Thanks for coming over. Thanks for your love and childlike nature. We have sooo many adventures up ahead of us next year (and in the years to come) — game?
  8. Ms. OD Ate!!! I am super grateful for your friendship, partnership, and support. We’re in this together. I have Yes Wifi na, you can access the net in my house anytime na. :D
  9. Ptr. AY — I’m going to cry rivers of tears right now. Thank you, Ate.  Here’s a big, big, hug for you. *HUUUUGGGGG*

You women deserve much honour. Group hug?

With much love,

This little woman right here

This little lady right here

10 Lords-a-Leaping: 10 Men of 2012

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 10 lords-a-leaping!

And so the song continues. I was supposed to post an entry yesterday (Monday, because I wanted to maintain an MWF consistency) but the day’s busy-ness didn’t permit me to do so. Plus, I still hadn’t recovered from Sunday because — wait for it —

We sang as the front act for Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts” concert in Kuala Lumpur!!!!! Owemgee, owemgee, owemgee, owemgee!

Okay, I still have a hangover from the event. So, before this entry becomes a blog post about that, let me get started with honouring and thanking those 10 men who have made a significant impact on life this year. And because this blog is becoming very public (here’s a cheery shout out to all those OFWs who keep on stumbling upon my How to get an OEC from NAIA 3 entry! ^_^) I’ll be using (mostly) initials instead of full names, lest this blog causes you guys to rise to too much stardom. So here goes. 10 lords-a-leaping.

  1. Jose Mari Chan!!! Permit me to break the Initials Rule for this item because it’s THE Jose Mari Chan. As previously stated, we got to sing as the front act for his concert at KL Live. God has a funny way of opening doors up. I was just browsing through my Facebook feeds when I saw an announcement posted by the Philippine Embassy at Kuala Lumpur — they were looking for people interested in joining a choir which would sing during the legend’s December 9 concert. At first, I thought it was just a joke. And I didn’t know if I could commit to the practices. But something inside me told me to go, go, go. And so the rest was history. Throughout most of November and through the first week of December, I and a good friend frequented the Embassy to practice “Negaraku”, “Lupang Hinirang”, “Joy to the World”, “Pasko na Sinta Ko”, and “Kumukutikutitap”. Well, though it cost me a lot in terms of gas money and parking tickets, like another good friend stated — the experience was priceless. I got to meet Mr. Chan. I got to exchange a few words with him (he told us that he was looking forward to hearing us sing!!!!) and I got to have my picture taken with him as well. And of course, I got to watch him perform live — his voice is still timeless. And yes — after eight years — I also got to sing on stage as part of a choir (like, a real choir with all the four voices) again. I really, really, thank God for that awesome opportunity.
  2. Okay, that’s all for Mr. JMC. Now it’s time to give Mr. JVL honour. Dad. You have always been a supportive follower of my blog. And a supportive supporter of my life, too. Thank you. See you on the 29th! :)
  3. Ptr. PY. Our senior pastor. I know you have always loved this land. I know your prayers and support are always with us throughout each and every season. I thank God for the time that we were able to spend time with you and Ate AY this year. Salamat po. :)
  4. Ptr. LO, I have always looked up to you ever since you handled the student ministry in Los Banos. Being under your leadership again is amazing. Cheers to next year and the years to come!
  5. Mr. PS, I am transitioning slowly! Hahaha. Yes, I’m often quiet, but more often than not, I’m just — weird and crazy. So thank you so much for your timeless support. We’ll keep in touch!
  6. Mr. TCB — kuya!!!! Let me say that again — kuya!!!!! Haha. You already know how valuable you and your wife are in my life.
  7. Mr. ADG — I wanna watch The Amazing Spiderman again, kuya. Hehe. Come back and I’ll let you drive Caleb again.
  8. Mr. VPC — Ako si Sailormoon! Though you are somewhere else, your support (drama moment much?) and offer to keep us laughing is much appreciated.
  9. Mr. WU, I am so thankful for you and your family. You guys are such an inspiration to me. And I am super grateful for your generous hearts. Thank you for letting God use you in making my life (and others’ included) much, much, much easier.
  10. Mr. ASC — I wanna go to Tsoko Nut Batirol again! Hehe. I will be forever thankful for your friendship. Cheers! Merry Christmas! Gift ko! :D

I just noticed that my last two entries ended with the phrase, “So there you go.” I was about to type in the very same words, but thank goodness I checked first.

Well… So there you go! Haha. 10 lords-a-leaping. And here’s my pic with Mr. Chan so that you will all know that I’m not bluffing. ;)

Weeee.

Weeee.

Heroes

(Day 29 — Who is your hero? Can I change this to “Who are your heroes?”)

Some called them pioneers. Some called them forefathers. Some called them dinosaurs. But she called them heroes.

Their exploits were recorded in chronicles which she kept inside two clear books — one bright green, one bright purple. She looked up to them, marvelled at their sacrifices, and really just saluted them for their passion and perseverance. “Abraham, Abraham. Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family and go to the land which I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3) To get up and leave family and friends behind to fulfil a higher call was no joke and she honoured them for doing that.

One day, she found herself dwelling among those giants. She felt small in comparison to them — like a grasshopper, like what the 10 spies felt when they stepped into Canaan. But soon she realized that she too was a giant — nay — a giant slayer like them. And soon, she realized that those pioneers were not just pioneers. They were friends — family she could always run to and turn to.

But as fate would have it, destiny brought those heroes to shores distant — elsewhere — and the grasshopper — nay, the giant slayer — found herself alone.

Or so she thought.

Soon, she found herself in the company of a new breed of heroes. She saw a new breed of giant slayers rising up, getting ready to take over the piece of land that was given to them, preparing to fight the battles and conquests which were at hand. These heroes — new, hand in hand with the old — gave her hope. Hope that all things were possible, that the almost forgotten dreams and promises would soon — yes, very soon — come true.

And because the Hero of heroes was with them, she knew. Those dreams and promises would soon come true.

Are you there Jane? It’s me, Anjeli

(Day 9 – A favourite story of your best friend)

It was our freshman year in UPLB. The rain was falling lightly, but because the dorm cafeteria was overflowing with people, my best friend Marian and I decided to eat our dinner in one of the covered areas near what was known as the pink hall then. We lingered on even after we finished our food. I had lots of stories to share and was eager to babble the night away. She’d be all ears — and that was one thing that I found remarkable about her.

I consider Jane Marian to be my best friend. She’ll protest at this point because there were instances when we kinda lost track of one another’s lives. But we’re communicating again, though she’s miles, miles, miles away. I’m glad the communication’s back. You can trace our friendship back to elementary, you see. I like her because she keeps my secrets. I also like her because she listens. And even if we won’t talk for months, it’ll be as if nothing has changed when we somehow get together to catch up. Plus, she has the best reactions when I rant about things related to love love love. She’s full of a quirky kind of wisdom and I give her credit for that.

I mentioned how I like Marian because of her powers to sit still long enough and be attentive whenever I turn into a babble machine. When I get stressed, I either clam up or spill over. When I’m with Marian, I mostly spill over. Don’t get me wrong. I let her talk too. One of the turning points in our friendship was during the 10-day fieldwork before high school, when she told me stories of how Tamahome met Miaka. Haha.

Anyway. It was my turn to tell stories that night. I’m not sure what got the conversation rolling. I think we were talking about Christianity and spirituality when I suddenly began my discourse about Judy Blume’s “Are You there God? It’s me, Margaret.” 

The main reason I brought the story up was because of the protagonist’s conflicting emotions about religion and spirituality. Margaret’s mother was a Christian, her father was a Jew. And then one day, Margaret suddenly found herself stammering on the other side of a Catholic confessional. It was somehow related to our season then, thus it was therapeutic to talk about it. The book tackled other things too. Which is why our discussion lengthened, causing us to relocate to the staircase at the dormitory’s Unit 3 where we continued. And then we talked about Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth” and Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”. Okay, I talked. And the books weren’t even connected to one another. I guess, in a way, I just wanted to mule over with her the things that I loved – books, stories, imagined and real places. 

I think Marian was my guinea pig – because of her ability to listen, I now feel comfortable enough to get into “book discussion modes” with other people as well. Ask my friends who’ve heard versions of “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” from me. Or whom I have bombarded with thoughts and insights concerning “Peter Pan” and “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Or whom I have been pestering about the social and spiritual implications of “The Hunger Games” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.” 

I guess we’re good friends if you can let me talk literature over with you.

And if I babble too much – well, we have Jane Marian to blame. ; )

Huy Marian, Miss na kita!

To Love or Not To Love?


To love or not to love? To give or not to give? To receive or not to receive? Who to love, how to love, when to love and – why on earth even bother with the word itself?

heart

Why am I even typing away about this strange, strange, strange thing called love? Mengapa, mengapa, mengapa? Bakit, bakit, bakit? Why, oh why, oh why?

Sigh. I feel as if my heart’s about to burst because of all the love that it wants to give and because of all the love that it wishes to receive and contain.

Do I sound like some lovesick girl in dire need of a love doctor? Haha. Fooled you. I’m not talking about that kind of love here. I’m talking about a different kind of love – a love that I get to experience every moment of every day, a love that I know that I will cherish forever and ever.

I’m talking about “love from all over”.

I wish I could call up Mr. Webster and tell him to include that phrase in the dictionary. I wish I could phone the guys at Google as well, telling them to regard the entire thing as a single noun-slash-verb (instead of treating it as that weird phrase enclosed in those two strange double quotes). But since I can do neither, I’ll just have to make do with a semi-make-believe “word” for a while.

Yes, the “word” is semi-make-believe. But the emotions, the heart, and the truth behind that “word” are anything but. Because this “love from all over” thing is just so, so real to me right now. And because of that realness, today, on my 22nd birthday, I would just like to thank all of you for giving truth to that “word”. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone for giving meaning to this “love from all over”.

I am so tempted to keep this entry short because I’m afraid that I might bore and eventually lose you. But you know what? I’m chucking the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) principle for a while (kelan ko ba sinunod yon? Lol) and let my fingers dance on this keyboard for as long as they want to, letting my heart and emotions go as far as they wish to. I shall thank and appreciate all whom I can thank and appreciate, without bounds and without limits. (Haha. I think I can hear a few “uh-oh’s” from the other side of the computer screen).

But hey. It’s my day, okay? So allow me to start things off with my beloved family.

My Beloved Family. Ma, Pa, Quantum – you have no idea how precious you all are to me. I have a feeling that everyone around me already knows about you all as well. Who hasn’t heard of my corny, intellectual, yet oh-so-loving parents? Who hasn’t come across the name of my odd, melancholic, yet quirkily sweet brother? I am just so, so blessed to have you all. God knows how deeply your simple (and crazy) calls, messages, and comments touch me – how they encourage me and how they lift me up during some of the lowest points of my stay here. I am proud, honoured, and blessed to be called “daughter” and to be called “sister” as well. I miss you. From the kid whom you fondly call Anggolik.

The Entire Lubrica Clan. Yey. Here’s to my cousins who I grew up playing house, skul-skulan, tagu-taguan, and yes – baril-barilan with. Here’s to the households downstairs with the awesome collection of books, references, hand-me-down-school-uniforms, VCDs, Sony Playstation games and PS cheatsheets. Here’s to the kiddos whose sunburns are proofs of our family outings at the beach and Asin resorts. Here’s to my all star aunts and uncles whose borders and influence now reach different parts of the globe. Here’s to our family at the States whose FB, blog comments, and posts are all great encouragements to that girl called “Madi.” And here’s to my Lola who is still as active – and of course – as loving as ever. “Madishu” sends out her love.

Balberan Peeps. The Pacific and some other seas and oceans may separate us all, but your love has never failed to reach our humble abode. As a kid, I would always go gaga over the balikbayan boxes that you faithfully post to Betag. Thank you for the unending supply of clothes, toys, chocolates, gadgets, and of course – love, love, love, love. I wish I could visit you all again someday. Anjeli says thank you to you all. : )

Highschool Friends. “As we go on, we remember all the times we’ve spent together” (Graduation by Vitamin C). How is everyone? I’m sorry for being so out of touch these past seasons – but know that you all are still in my very heart of hearts. Congratulations to all the wedded ones, to the employed ones and to all those in-between – haha, what was I saying? We’ve grown a lot from those kids who bagged those jingle awards, from those guys and girls who made the student teachers cry. I miss our turon and toknene days. I miss rolling my eyes at the befine boys as well. I hope that we can all catch up with one another soon. But my deepest gratitude goes out to you all who made high school life the best for me. : )

ICS Dudes and Dudettes. We can change the world! Yey! “Turn off your monitors. Bring out one fourth sheet of paper.” I so miss saying those words out loud. I so miss my room at C-117, going to Tita Flor and Tita Au’s room to get my printouts, going up the PCLABS, and manoeuvring  through the often crowded ICS hallways. To my ex-teachers-turned-ex-co-teachers, to my classmates, to my students, to the ICS staff, to my adviser and to the heads of the departments – much thanks for all the lessons that I got from you both as a student and as a teacher. Thank you for making my UP stay truly worthwhile.

Destiny Family. Whenever I talk about home, I would always have to explain that I have my hometown but that I have a place which I consider as my second home in the Philippines. All because of you people. SOD, Professionals, Teens and Kids – can I just mention all the sectors here? Can I mention all the names of the people who fill up the seats of the MaGym centre and upload all the pictures of every precious, precious “kapamilya”? You have all played a big, big, big part of my life. You still do. You have helped me in my growth as a person, as a princess of the King. It’s funny how I can truly call people whom I am not related to by blood “family”. Thank you for leading me, for guiding me, for supporting me, for releasing me, for believing in me. Thank you for inspiring me, for pushing me, for encouraging me, and for simply loving me. My heart goes out to all of you. : )

The Original Cell. It does sound like a buko pie! Cell’s and The Original combined. : D But you all know who you are. Gosh. Time flies so fast! And yey! It’s a joy to see how we are all flying to wherever God is taking us. Ate Jez, I’m going to give you a special mention here – I know God is preparing you for something great, great, and great. I owe you my most heartfelt gratitude, because if you had not “chased” after Marian and me (oh-so-discreetly, yes) – who knows where I might be right now? Baka nasa kabundukan na ako. Or something. Thank you. And to the cell, especially to Nanay Patty – I love you all. : )

My Girls. God knows how seeing each one of you grow in Him brings such joy and encouragement to my heart. Ask my batchmates what made me cry at the Baguio-Anda outing and they’ll tell you that it was the mere thought of leaving you girls behind. I’m so proud of each one of you, at your “accomplishments” whether big or small, demonstrated on stage or done in secret. I wish I could have been there in your productions, in your SP defences, in your project presentations, during those times that you simply needed a hug or a shoulder to cry on – but I hope you know that I’m still here. A chat or a letter away. I miss you, dearests. I thank God for bringing you girls to me. : )

Mentors, Leaders, and Friends. Those three words do go together. Mentors-leaders-and-friends.

No words could express how much I honour each one of you – every leader, every mentor who has pushed, prodded, and inspired me to grow up, to be released, and to simply fly.

And I thank God because I have also found friends in each one of you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for raising your ceiling so high so that our – my floor – is sky-high as well. I honour you all. Thank you so, so much.

Covenant Peeps. Gusto ko man kayong isa-isahin dito, pero kumusta naman tayo diba? I’ll end up with an entry that’s at least 10 pages long. But I believe you’ve already had enough blog stardom in my “Ode[s] to Friendship”, in my “Granny Moments a.ka. Memorable Moments with my Batchmates”, and in that “Growing up” thing – so this small section will have to do for now. : ) You already get enough of me from those letters that I send you guys every now and again, anyway.

But that just goes to show how special you all are and how truly special you all make me feel. Yeah, all of you – in your own crazy and unique ways – do have that effect on me. Let’s do something fun shall we? Say this to yourself: “I, *insert name here*, am special in my own crazy and unique way to Miss Mari Anjeli B. Lubrica.” *Muse on a memorable moment with me while you say this aloud. ;D*

Full force parin, right? I love you all. : )

My Home away from Home. I think I’m just going to cry a bucketful of tears at this point. No, not because of sadness, but because of extreme gratitude. What can I say? Thank you. Terima kasih banyak-banyak. Maraming maraming salamat. I am grateful for the people who spent the night at the Sungai Buloh hospital waiting for the arrival of a person who was actually already there, for the folks who supported an “illegal” girl through her passport and visa episodes, for the bunch who laughed through the lost gal’s bus ride escapades, for the crazy peeps who continually tease the bunso to death. I am grateful, grateful, grateful to be part of this family. I look forward to sharing more memories with you. I do. : )

Kawan-kawan saya. Kepada kawan-kawan saya sini Malaysia – that’s about as far as my BM can take me and I’m not even sure if my sentence construction is right. Tapi, saya nak cakap that I am just so grateful that your hearts are wide enough to let this strange Filipino girl in. Terima kasih for the makan-makan sessions around the campus or wherever. I hope to be able to spend more time with you and that I’d be able to see more of this country through your eyes. Boleh? ‘Ma Kasih. : )

Him who is my Everything. How can I not thank the One who is the greatest source of Love?  My greatest source of Love? Lord… God… Father… Here I am. Just your daughter. Just your child. Ready to receive more of Your love. And ready to just simply overflow. I simply live for You. From You, through You, and for You. I love You.

* * *

Thus ends this long discourse. Thank you, if you have gotten this far. I know that I am sometimes limited in my loving – I used to have intimacy issues, sidestepping away at the slightest hint of true nearness – but I know God is changing me. I extend my deepest apologies to all those whom I have hurt intentionally or unintentionally along the way. Minta maafkan.

And so, once again, from the deepest, deepest, deepest part of my heart – Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Thank you for giving me this “love from all over”. Thank you for making my 22 years in planet earth oh-so-worthwhile.

Blessings,

Staring at a Not so Blank Wall

It’s been a long, sorta tiring, but fulfilling day. Attended the Service Science Meeting, went around UKM to post some fliers, and spent time with Kim, Iris and Siew Chen after being rained on. Got an exhausted brain, tired feet, wet hair, weary eyes, but happy heart.

In all honesty, I just want to wash the dirt and grime from my face and plop on my bed, but it’s still a good-one-and-a-half hour before my bedtime. I do have some slides to review for my midterms next week, but I just want to give my brain a rest for the night – it’s been overworked for the entire week. (Naalala ko tuloy ang comment nina Georjinah when we crossed paths at the bakery – “Wow. You look like you’re about to pass out!” LOL. I did look like a zombie that time. A zombie in search for coffee. :D)

I want to watch the live stream but all I’m getting is a statue of Kuya Nick (he’s been stuck in the same position for, like, forever).

So here I am, typing away, contemplating at staring at my not-so-blank wall for the rest of the night.

not so blank wall

Staring at my wall is actually not so bad. My wall is one of my greatest sources of comfort this season. I’ve put in a lot of effort into making my wall look the way it does now. And I’m glad I put in that effort. Because during nights when I’m just stuck on doing acads, I’d look at my wall and press in. During mealtimes when I’m eating alone, I’ll just take a glance and not feel so lonesome anymore. And during mornings when I’ve done pouring out everything to God, He’ll tell me to lift my eyes up to my wall and then I’d be smiling for the rest of the day.

I love my wall because all the odds and ends posted up there are all sources of encouragement to me.

Family Pictures and Nanny’s Card. When I went home last December, Mom, Dad, Quantum and I went to Kayeson for our annual Christmas Photo. The year before last, I forced them into wearing pink for our pictorials. Thankfully, this time, Mom already had a theme in mind. And so we posed in royal blue and deep red. I have the photos blu-tacked to my wall. And we look so, so, sophisticated. Ang funny parin ng pose ng kapatid ko. Hehe. I’m starting to miss them again. Sigh.

Nanny’s card is also up there. It’s the one Lola gave me on my graduation last, last April. The one with the long love letter inside. Hehe. “This will come whether you like it or not.”

Levites. “Call forth the Levites.” That collage containing the pictures of my cellmates as well as the worship team has been with me since my ICS days. This yellow cardboard has been with me since late 2007. On the cardboard I’ve stuck pictures of the “original cell” (parang buko pie lang) with Ate Patty, portraits of my son (hehe) and daughters at the DL Umali hall and LB Square, and snapshots of the wacky worship team having a blast at the Olivarez Cinema 3 (yes it was still Cinema 3 at that time).

I’ve had the most growth with the people in those photos. Yeah. With all the stretching, the discipline, and all the blood and tears. Hehe.

Fullforce 04. I’ve got two sets of 04 pictures up on my wall. One’s a collage of EK and IRRI pics (the bench and the teleserye ads, haha). The other contains pictures that had made their way from my wallet to the wall – 08 Graduate pics, the formal 04 pic, and the wacky pic with the infamous Jona Pose. Sigh. I miss those people. Been a long time since I’ve talked to anyone of them. I mean, really talked.

Doc’s Letter. Doc gave our (their, hehe) G-12 presents last Christmas. Aww. So she wrote a letter for each one of us and I stuck mine to my wall. Like, you can read what’s written on the picture. Hehe. Thanks, Doc.

Azzah’s Bear. Before we left for the Philippines last October 2008, Azzah gave me this bear. Bear hasn’t got a formal name though. But I’m sure that, nameless as the bear is, it’s pretty happy that he/she (goodness, I don’t know if it’s a he or she!) is back in his/her home country. Haha. I’m happy that I’m back here in Malaysia as well.

My Awesome (yes, awesome) Schedule. Yes, that’s my schedule. It doesn’t look too jampacked, but if you include all the papers that I have to do at night – you could understand why my brain is sometimes reduced to computer-gibberish mush. But I love my academics. If for Ate Odie, “my work is my ministry”, then for Mari, “my academics (and a whole lot of other things) is my ministry”. The purple blocks in my schedule are the best times though. J Diba, Daddy God?

Faber Castell Colour Pencils and a Sketchpad. Faber Castell Colour Pencils have a soft spot in my heart. For one thing, my brother and I used to colour with those back in my primary school days. We’d colour in Crimson Rosellas and Cockatoos with them and just simply let loose the artists in us. Now, I’m just using those pencils to let loose the child in me.

So why are they stuck on my wall? Well, simply because the child in me needs to jot down encouraging wall posts in colour – and having the colour pencils up on my wall is simply, well… convenient.

SOD-SFC Alumni Homecoming Souvenir. “Change the World and Make History.” Nuff said, right?

Empty Spaces. There’s still whole bunch of empty spaces on my wall. Spaces for more pictures, more people, more letters. (But not more schedules. Please. Not more schedules. ) I’ve just realized I haven’t got a picture of my Malaysian family up on my wall yet. Will have to print out a photo of us all soon. But anyway, that’s why the empty spaces are there. Because those spaces will soon be filled up with more. J

One last thing. Haha. I just realized that my mirror is up on my wall as well. Yeah, the mirror encourages me, because through it, I get to see the most glorious human being in the room, pimply and bug-eyed as she may currently be.

Well, I’m done staring at my not-so-blank wall. Bed time’s already fifteen minutes away.

Be doing some serious slide reviewing tomorrow morning.