life lately

Life Lately

And just like that, it is already February of 2022. I think January was challenging for many of us. I was hopeful since I was already fully vaccinated for COVID last September, got the flu vaccine in October and got my COVID booster by January 5.

Then I saw many people in my Facebook feed getting sick. I hope February is a better month for everyone – a restart of the New Year since it was also Chinese New Year last February 1.

I recently chatted with friends and I remarked that I felt that my 20s just passed me by like a blur and before I knew it, I am already in my mid-40s. This is the reason why I keep a blog. I wanted to remember moments, people in my life and make them count. So, let me recall the past four months.

I joined exhibits. I joined the Mindanao Art Fair and the SketchPod online exhibit.

Thank you to my friends who supported and visited the exhibits. I am honored you took time off your busy schedule to see my paintings.

After we got fully vaccinated, my cousin, aunt and I went out to visit a mountain park in the next town.

I also started to attend mass.

And then I found out that some of my shoes have cracked in the storage, I have not used them in more than a year. What I did what was use a different pair every time I attend mass so I know if they were still okay. I photographed them every time I wear them.

So far, only two pairs were victims of the pandemic.

It was nearing November so we visited our loved ones who were long gone.

Some friends visited and I met up with some of them. Even for a short moment, I got to catch up with them. I was really happy to see them in person.

I also got to bond with my nephew and niece.

I also went out to support my friend’s new venture. She has this fermented concoction that boosts the immune system. In case you’re interested, check out Sower’s Pick Facebook Page.

After so many missed chances (schedule or weather woes), we finally went out to walk and we ended up having breakfast in my friend’s super beautiful pad. I get to play with her pets, too.

Christmas is in the air when you see our house (my titas’ and mine) with Christmas trees. We put up our tree before November 30 because, in 1983, my grandmother passed away that day and she already had her tree up before she died. We kept that tradition.

Oh, we went swimming! I was with my cousins.

I also went to the beach with my cousin, nephew and niece. They swam. I did not.

Towards the end of the year, I had beach time with friends, too! I also did not swim. It was too cold for me. But I was happy to spend time with them especially Shirly because we used to vacation together to a beach destination but pandemic happened.

I was also able to attend my high school’s virtual homecoming. I got to join the final game and our batch won! Woohoo! Grand champions! ( ‘Kala mo naman may ambag ako. Hahaha) I only joined to form a group of 3 to avoid disqualification. See my worried face? No other face looked as worried as I was. Ha! I did not answer a single thing. My super smart friends took care of the answers.

In December also, while we were looking forward to Christmas, Super Typhoon Odette happened. Our neighboring provinces (Surigao and Dinagat) were severely affected. I hope they recover soon. We were spared. Our street was flooded but it dried up a few hours after. Our major problem then (which some areas are still experiencing until now) was scarce water supply. The city’s water source was damaged by the typhoon so for almost a week we were buying water from areas with supply and collecting water from the rain. I am also thankful to a good friend for sending us water.

We were still able to celebrate Christmas.

This is my family. I am blessed to have them in my life.

We also had Christmas lunch with relatives.

I was able to attend different get-together with friends.

How are we able to do this? Our COVID-19 stats were very much manageable then. I was hopeful.

We were able to spend a wonderful New Year with family and relatives, too!

Even on the day I took my booster shot, the stats were okay

A week after, numbers started to rise.

I remember this day because this was the day I felt like I was a superwoman who could do all these productive things in one day. I was out the whole day doing some errands. I went to 2 banks, 2 government offices, 2 malls, 3 stand alone stores and 1 pharmacy. The weather was fickle. It rained without warning and was sunny again a few moments after. I walked to most of the destinations and only rode the public transportation twice (jeep and tricycle).

The following day, I started coughing. It was mild. I had certain triggers. I coughed when talk long periods like leading the family prayer which I had to beg off. Then 2 days after, the coughing was already bothersome. I started to distance myself from the people in the house. I did not go out. I ate alone in my room. At one point, I got paranoid. Many friends in my Facebook feed got sick. I told my aunt that I might need to get swabbed. She referred my condition to my cousin. I really did not have the other symptoms and my aunts did not get sick. If this was omicron, everyone around me could have gotten sick. If this was delta, I should have trouble breathing and feeling worse. If this was alpha, I should have lost my sense of taste and smell. I was not a close contact of someone who tested positive. We did not want to risk going to the swabbing centers and get the virus there. They decided that we just observe my condition and continue my quarantine. Coughing eased up a week later. I take lozenges now to relieve my scratchy throat.

I rested another week after that. So two weeks after, my aunt told me, “You know what? Quarantine and isolation protocols for vaccinated COVID close contact were reduced to 7 days. You were not even a close contact. You only had a cough. You’ve been quarantining for too long.” hahaha I was enjoying my do-not-send-me-to-errands-need-to-isolate card way too much. I finished two k-dramas, guys! I was able to watch ‘Encanto’, too! Yes, I know why we do not talk about Bruno! hehehe

I thank friends who checked on me. Mitzi sent me her Oriental Herbal Nutrient which was great for my throat.

One friend was alarmed when I did not answer the multiple calls. I just wanted to rest then and did not want to be bothered by a phone call.

I had to send proof of life updates.

I am okay, guys. A bit crazy but no COVID.

It has been 4 weeks since then. I am now up and about with tiny specks of cautious optimism, if there is such a thing. I only do one errand a day in one area now. No need to be a superwoman. Being a woman is super already, right?

Hello, February!

PS. Most of my life updates were based on images (by me or by my friends) that were taken over a certain period of time. There were many moments that I cherished that I did not have a photo to show. I do have a written journal to help me remember. I hope someday I will be able to share my thoughts about them. I am thriving in this pandemic through videocalls and conversations with family, chats and phone calls with friends, creative outlets I indulge in, podcasts I listen to, series I watch and pets I hug. I thank family, friends and furry friends for being there for me.  I am praying we all get though this pandemic as better people.

My COVID Stories: Life Goes On

How’s your 2021 so far? It is my 14th month into this pandemic and I thank God for His graces. I wish I can be a prolific blogger and write as often as my neurons transmit information to other cells in my body but the middle-aged woman in me just wanted to feed my brain with lots of sleep, carbohydrates and k-drama. When it comes to art and this blog, I follow no deadline. So here I am going through my photos and trying to tell a story of what happened in the last 108 days.

My anxiety meter comes from the Butuan City PIO Facebook Page. This is where my city posts its COVID statistics. I am a numbers person so I am hyper-aware when I see figures.

Mid-January statistics was okay.

So I found myself making up for lost time. We went to visit my family’s ‘mausoleum’. I have not visited my parents’ tomb in more than a year.

I went to see my nephew and niece. My niece was sweet that day. She was giving hugs and I needed lots of it.

I went to another niece’s birthday after.

The week after, I met my cousins for a trip to the mountain to feel some cool breeze.

Then, COVID hits the family.  Two of my cousins tested positive for COVID-19.

This was my scared face as I was on videocall while Azenith was inside the ambulance en route to the hospital. She spent most of her February in quarantine.

Looking at my anxiety meter, there were lots of cases in February.

So I stayed home and pretended I was vacationing somewhere and this was the hotel lobby. Ha!

In reality, this is my aunt’s garage floor.

Feeling helpless over what was happening, I found a way to make meaningful contribution with just a little effort. There was this call for donations and I qualified since my hair was untreated and long.

I cut my hair short and donated it to Makati Med.

I only went out to buy essentials. Yes, potato chips are essential.

And even in my house clothes, color coordination is essential. Kidding!

Valentine’s came and it was a surprising one for me. My friend, Teram, sent three of us, her single friends, this cake. The english translation of the message on the cake is ” No boyfriend but loved by many”. It was a ribbing to my singlehood and I love it! Who does not love a free cake?

I spent most of my February painting.

By March, the number of cases dropped and my anxiety waned also.

We went to the beach to celebrate the healing of my cousins. Thank you, God, for their lives.

I pray for the people who lost their lives and I personally knew quite a few and it was heartbreaking.

There is something about being in an open space that calms my nerves.

I also went to see my teacher friends.  Three are getting married, two bought new cars and two moved to their new home.  What an impressive bunch!

My couple friends live in this awesome tiny house. I am so proud of them for building their first house.

I also found the part of the fence that my father donated when he still taught in this school. I think it was more than 50 years ago- way before I was born.

For the first time in my 43 years, I attended a debut. Finally, my friends’ daughter was able to celebrate her debut which was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

Congrats to my friend, Cez, for successfully organizing the event.

It has been awhile since I last used my DSLR and my skills are a little bit rusty. My rusty skills are better than not having any photos taken so I said yes to shoot my friend’s sister’s wedding.

Holy week was fast approaching and cases in Metro Manila were rising and so was my anxiety. I stayed home for the Holy Week and did some spring cleaning (which I think needs a separate blog entry).

I celebrated Easter with a few of my relatives.

Oh, I went to my friend’s house blessing.  Bam built a pad for her and her mother in her brother’s compound so that they can have their own space. We visited this space in November but I was not able to take pictures with me in it because we came from walking. My sweaty self was not camera-ready. I took pictures of our breakfast then and the cozy space.  Look at that! You’d think I downloaded the photos from a magazine. So beautiful! I am so happy for Bam and Nanay.

Fast forward to 5 months after, I was able to finally pose for pictures in this awesome space.

I spent much of the first week of April cleaning.  I still am not done but there are silver linings. My room is clean and organized. I got myself a new bed.

I finally renovated my toilet.  I will write about the renovation soon.

The cases are rising in my city.  It looks scary.

I got my new bed and new toilet. I will stay at home. With fervent prayers, I will be okay.  Life goes on.

Sending you love,