When “One” is Greater Than “a Thousand”

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My husband and I were watching TV in their family house in the center of Japan when we came across to a news related to Japanese New Year’s culture.  It talked about banging a giant bell 108 times in a temple.  Each ringing of the bell means extinguishing each bad trait that a person has.

According to the news which happened a few years ago, a staff of that temple was in the midst of ringing the bell when they received phone call from a resident of the place saying “ulsai!!!”  which means “that’s too noisy!” .  As soon as they got the call, the temple immediately stopped the ritual.

As a Filipino, I got so confused why did they have to stop following their own culture just because it is uncomfortable to one person.  I am not into or against following something we grew up doing, but in my personal point of view, if a practice is neither good nor bad, why not keep it?  Besides, Japanese have been doing it since forever.

This kind of thing happens a lot here in Japan.  I love this country, don’t get me wrong.  Though there are also lots of things that I don’t really understand despite living here four years now.  I asked my husband his opinion about it and he said “Yeah, that’s we, Japanese.  We don’t like when “1” is uncomfortable even if there are “1000” supporting the act.

How about you guys, would you mind sharing about a culture you’ve just learned recently?  I’d love to hear them here;)

Have a happy 2019 ahead everyone!

 

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What is a Happy Marriage? (Part II)

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Reasons why my ex broke up with me….

My husband and I started to collaborate on our blogs.  He usually writes articles about love and culture.  I decided to add this article here as a follow-up on “What is a Happy Marriage?”  part I.

Have a happy reading everyone.  We would love to hearing your suggestions, comments or personal experiences as well.  We treat this article as a way in connecting to others who may teach us more about marriage.

 

Why do many long-term relationships fail? Part1

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My boyfriend, oopppssss! My husband has just started his blog recently.  His main topics are usually about international marriages and the differences between the Philippines and Japan.  I am linking his blog here because I find it really interesting and I want to support his writing as well.

Please check the link below.  It’ll be a good read most especially to those who are in international marriage.

https://bebeandmotoke.hatenablog.com/entry/2018/12/18/201121

You Become What You Choose to Feel

“He’s cheating on you, why give more?”

“You can’t do that, you are inexperienced.”

“What are those silly things on your face? Can’t you even conceal them?”

“You are dreaming, wake up!  How can you succeed over them?”

 

Wow!!!

I have been hearing a lot when I was younger that words are powerful.  They can make or break you.  But only in my recent years have I proven that right.  I used to be a teenager who did not care about our society.  I followed rules to be called a good citizen, but I did not bother myself to listen to words of people who don’t actually have a direct connection in my life.  But after turning to 20’s,  I noticed how changed I am.  I don’t know when it started.  But it has to stop now.

The more I put my mind on someone (life partner), the more access it gives me to think about his mistakes and the more I doubt him.

The more I think that I will fail, the bigger my self-esteem dies.

The more I imagine my relatives hate me, the more I become cold to them.

The more I look at my mistakes, the more I lose confidence in believing in second chances.

The more I put my mind to negative thoughts, the more my life gets darker.

Before this year ends, I want to practice GRATEFULNESS over everything. If I am going to look at my life into microscope,  I am sure mine is not bad at all.

I have a family.

I have a job.

I am now pregnant despite my infertility problems these past months.

I am healthy.

I can have vacation.

I can breathe.

I wake up everyday.

I can move my fingers as I write this blog…

 

If negative thoughts are born in our mind, so do positive ones:)

I am now excited to count more of my blessings the moment I wake up tomorrow…

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To all the women I wanna be….

 

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I gave a lecture with a theme about DREAMS today to Japanese retired professionals.  there were 17 participants and 15 of them can understand and speak english pretty well. I admit that giving such lecture  to them is not comfortable at all.  They are people who have already reached most of their dreams and have already proven something to themselves.  And here I am, as a 28 year old young professional preaching them about a topic that they already know.

What made me do that?  Well, honestly, my purpose was not really to preach about dreams.  Instead, I was really interested to know their opinions about dreams, how to dream, how to achieve things, what is  a dream, what is a purpose, is purpose the same with dream?

Upon listening to them, I learned that most of them have not reached their personal dreams yet.  Most of their plans in life are always changing because of natural life circumstances like having a family.  So instead of pursuing their personal goals, they just simply set them aside and focused on how to be better parents and spouse. And  I respect and admire them for that.

But there is a part of me that is now so confused.  I have personal dreams for my professional growth.  I am three months pregnant.  Week by week, I am more convinced to limit myself in doing some stressful activities that are actually connected to my personal dreams.  I know that soon, I will have to give up more, and more and more….  I am happy for the life that I am carrying now.  I am excited to take care of my family.

But listening to my lecture’s attendees today for not being able to grow professionally and in other aspects of life made me think,

“Will I be able to reach my dreams?”

“Will I just be a full-time mom and wife whose life is to feed and take care of her family?”

(Don’t get me wrong, please.  Being a loving wife and a mom is a great purpose in life.

“Will I just be a supporter of my husband and children’s dreams?”

Am I being selfish now for thinking this way?

 

I wanna be many kinds of a woman.  With my little experience in life and as an expecting mom whose marriage has just started a year ago, I don’t know if I am just being idealistic that there really is a potential to be the “Many kinds of woman” I want to be.

 

  • I wanna be a wife who’s husband is excited to hug her after a long day.
  • I wanna be a cool supportive mom who can be strict too when needed.
  • I wanna be a sister who’s also a bestfriend of her brother.
  • I wanna be an aunt who’s loved by her nieces and nephews.
  • I wanna be a daughter who gives to her parents what they deserve.
  • I wanna be a sister-in-law who’s also a real sister already for her brother’s wife.
  • I wanna be a businesswoman who enjoys improving and doing what she loves.
  • I wanna be a teacher whose students can’t wait to learn from her.
  • I wanna be a youtuber that can help lots of viewers.
  • I wanna be a maker of something. (I don’t know what that is yet because I have never been good at making something out of my hands.)
  • I wanna be a daughter of God whose faith is undying.
  • I wanna be an active blogger whose articles are inspiring and fun to read.
  • I wanna be a good friend to everyone most especially the ones who need love, respect and listening ears.
  • I wanna be a good woman. I wanna be a successful woman. I wanna be a happy woman.

It is not that I am unhappy for what I am now.  But having to face a new stage of life as a woman who only stays inside a house makes me think much if I can ever be those women.  I know that my baby in my womb now should be my inspiration to be better in all aspects of life.  I know that very well.  So I hope, I can really put this thinking into action.

To those who can read this article, most especially to moms already, I am hoping to hearing from you…

Is it today Little Bird?

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“Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person i want to be? Is today the day I die?”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

tuesdays with morrie book“Tuesdays with Morrie” is one of the ×books I got really fond of.  It’s a book that really got into my soud. Every word means like it’s either a realization or a goal. The above quote is also one of my favorite parts of it. It is not that I am being morbid, I know I am only 28 and seems like I still lots of years coming ahead of me.  But the reality is, we don’t know.  Nobody knows until when we can enjoy in this world.  This book is teaching me how to see my every day as if it is the last.  Though I admit that I don’t always remember it.

I am hoping that this blog post of mine this time can actually make me ask myself  “Is it today Little Bird?” every day. 

But why do I really wanna do that?  Well, maybe I am one of those many who live with lots of procrastinations and possible regrets.

Instead of doing things NOW, I rely on LATER.

Instead of trying to improve my skills SOONER, I rely on NEXT chances.

Instead of FORGIVING, I RAGE more.

Instead of LOVING, I sometimes choose RESENTMENT.

Instead of SHARING, I somehow consider my own SURVIVAL.

I know it is not only me who think this way.  But what really if  it is time for me to go?  I can only imagine how heavy my baggage will be.  I don’t wanna leave this world yet.  I still have tons of things I wanna fulfill.  I hope and I pray that when it’s my time, I can also tell myself “I am now ready Little Bird”, with a smile of satisfaction and gratefulness.

My PCOS Journey

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Lots of people don’t know a thing about PCOS.  I, included.  Did not even know something like this exist.  I don’t know how I am gonna pull this topic off but maybe I better share what I have experienced as a sufferer.

March 2018

I woke up one day with multiple zits on my face.  I am not a chick who has an immaculate complexion.  But atleast, I knew then that my face was already clear from my previous acne flare up.  It has been  a normal thing for me to touch my face when I wake up in the morning. And there it went that very moment when my fingers have once again said hello to numbers of giant acne.  I did not know where they came from.  And very same month, I missed my period for the first time since I was in high school.  I am now 28 by the way.  Because of the sudden “hello-zits” and absence of period, I decided to go to a hospital with my husband.to check my hormones.  I had to go with him because I am not that fluent yet in Japanese most especially about words used for health.

Same day, my OB-gyne gave me a blood test and intravaginal ultrasound.  There, we found out that I have PCOS and OHSS.  Both acronyms were new to me.  I was just lucky enough that my OB-gyne could somehow explain in English.

  1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.   Some other symptoms of PCOS are…
  • Irregular periods or no periods at all
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Absence of menstrual cycle or prolonged cycle
  • difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
  • excessive hair  – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
  • weight gain
  • thinning hair and hair loss from the head
  • infertility
  • unusual weight gain and weight loss

But as a woman who has PCOS, we always say that no two women are alike.  Some may have most of the symptoms, and some may only have one or two.  In my case, it was the sudden acne flare up  and unusual absence of period.

2.  Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a medical condition that can occur in some women who take fertility medication to stimulate egg growth, and in other women in very rare cases. Most cases are mild, but rarely the condition is severe and can lead to serious illness or death.

I was really in shock then because my husband and I were not trying to conceive yet at that time so I have never had any fertility medication yet.  But then, I couldn’t dare to think much anymore at that time because I was just wired to just accept whatever my doctor has seen in me.  And hearing from my OB that my OHSS may be gone as soon as I finish my next cycle, that somehow made me shake that off immediately.

My OB gave me a 10-day pill that will induce my menstruation. And was advised to go back after my next cycle for the next step.  I wish I remember the name of the medicine.

Result;  had my period back 3 days after my last pill

April 2018

Went back to the clinic while on period and was refered to a new OB/fertility especialist for a more aggressive treatment.  My husband and I decided then to conceive as soon as possible after knowing more about PCOS.

  • Talked to my new OB
  • Was prescribed with CLOMID 50mg to be taken from cycle days 3-7 to induce ovulation.
  • Was advised to come back after my period for intravaginal ultrasound to check if I really had my ovulation.

Result *Big Fat Negative;  ovulated but did not conceive*   This somehow hit on me.

May 2018

Same thing as April.

Result *Big Fat Negative; ovulated again but did not conceive AGAIN* This month started making me feel how serious PCOS is.

  • Scheduled my husband for semen analysis.  Got the result immediately and knew that he is totally fine.  He was so happy then.  So was I.  Though there was a part of me that realized it was just me to be blamed for this infertility.

June 2018

Same thing as April and May

Result *Big Fatter Negative; ovulated but no baby soon*  This month was so real.  Twas my firt time to cry and started blaming myself.

  • Plus, my OB saw that there was a 0.3cm polyp  in my uterine lining.  It was not something to be removed yet via invasive procedure but bet yeah, it was a roaring thunder in my ears knowing that I have another problem.  It started making me feel hopeless. I knew then it was not that long yet since we started this journey but having the pain and the agony grow inside you make you feel like it’s been forever.

July 2018

Same thing as April, May and June

Result * Bigger Fatter Negative; ovulated but no miracle baby*  More tears, more self-pity, more self-blame, more of negative emotions.  I have not cried that much in a long time.

  • I asked my OB that I wanted to do HSG procedure.  He told me it is painful but I didn’t care anymore.  I was just so willing to do whatever it takes to get pregnant.  Then, I was scheduled for it after my next cycle.

August 2018

Same thing as April, May, June and July

  • Had my HSG. The procedure took 5 minutes only.  It was not really painful, maybe the 750mg pain killer I took an hour before HSG really helped a lot.  Same day we learned that my left fallopian tube was totally blocked and my right was fine.  My OB was still showing positivity in my case though my heart was once again freshly broken.  Because of these past heavy months,  my husband and I decided to go far away and try climbng Mount Fuji.  Yeah, we climbed right after my HSG procedure.  I then felt I may be a half-ruined woman, but at the same time I am also a badass in trekking.  I don’t know if I was just physically strong, or my sadness just made my body numb.

Result *Giant Obese Negative; *  Losing hope; in the verge of making a decision to divorce my husband; I did not want him to stay with me if I can’t make him a father.  He was saying he is happy with me even if we don’t have a child.  But I was filled with guilt, self-pity and probably depression was starting to sink in.

September 2018

Same thing as April, May, June, July and  August

Result*So Negative; and so was I, was trying hard to keep going and be positive but before I close my eyes at night, I realize how much trouble I have because of this.  It affects my confidence and my vision about the future.  I did not even want to talk about babies anymore despite the fact that I like kids.

I had to start clomid again, 50mg for 5 days but this time I took it from fifth day of my cycle to ninth.

October 2018

Started checking using the cheap HSG strips  I got from Amazon on cycle day 9.  NEGATIVE

Checked again on CD10 knowing CD9.  Another NEGATIVE.

Checked again on CD 11 just to use my newly bought set of HSG strips, they are cheap anyway, so I just played with it. NEGATIVE. I was already convinced then that this is just another month just like the others.

CD 13, my intuition asked me to have another strip and oh yeah, i saw very faint lines.   I could not believe my eyes so I tested again and the line is almost the same as the first one.

CD 14, I took another strip early in the morning and the lines were a bit more visible.  I waited for two more hours for the nearest pharmacy to open by 10am to buy a digital checker.  And Oh Boi!!! My eyes were not lying.  TWO CLEAR LINES;)

I was over the moon then.  I did not tell my husband yet.  I had to wait for a few more hours thinking how I should tell him.  I just used a guessing game then by the river.  I felt like it was such a perfect day for us.

I felt like I got myself back;)

 

Other things I did to help me conceive

  1. supplements (MACA for 2 months and INOSITOL for a month )
  2. Physical activities (snorkeling on weekends from July to August, gym, swimming in a public pool, biking and walking to work atleast 30 minutes, walking-lots of walking including weekends, basketball shooting)
  3. Avoided all sweets
  4. Vegetables only for lunch from August to October
  5. Avoided dairy products to avoid acne
  6. No caffeine at all
  7. More fruits
  8. Used honey instead of sugar for my insulin level
  9. Limited carbohydrates intake

 

 

 

 

 

Is He an Angel?

One ordinary morning, woke up at 6 am to prepare for school. Waited for my 7:17 bus near my apartment. It takes 10 minutes from the bus station to my assigned school on tha day. But I don’t know why I am so fond of getting of the bus 3 minutes before I reach my school. At first, I thought I just wanted to have a silent moment while eating my bread as I walk. But time passed by and realized that it was just actually an excuse.

The truth is, I was hoping to walk with the little first grader kid who walked with me before. And yes! On that day, I saw him again. I was glad he remembered me and greeted me with the innocent smile on his lovely face as he uttered the words “ohayou gozaimasu”. I answered him in English “Good morning;)” He was carrying his school bag with a light green cover as a sign that he is in the first grade, it is for safety reason as well especially when students have to cross the street. He had four empty cerial boxes in a plastic.

“What’s that for?” I asked while pointing at the boxes.

I was not sure if he understood me but he seemed to me that he did. He talked about his school while raising the boxes each time he wants to emphasize something about them. Because of my insufficient Japanese skill, I honestly did not understand him at all. I just nodded to show him that I was listening. Each time we saw a car, he would always talk about them with so much delight as if it was his first time to see cars. He even asked me “Nissan no maker nandeska? (Who makes Nissan cars?) Pertaining about the company. I was surprised because I was caught in the middle. I don’t know anything about cars… I only know what color is good. hahaha. So I said “Toyota?” with a very skeptical face. I asked him why he likes cars so much using my little knowledge in Japanese language. This time, I was sure I understood his Japanese well because I am already familiar with the words that he used. But I will just write here in English coz I can’t really discuss it in Japanese.

“No. I only like tires. They are so cool for me. They are incredible. I like watching them especially when the someone is about to park or about to speed up. I am fond of staring how the tires move from to slow to a faster motion.”

I was totally amazed with his answer. Well, yeah. Maybe that is how kids observe things.

We were just a few minute-walk away from the school when he saw a dead flower on the pathwalk we were walking at. By the loook of it, I was sure many people have stepped on it as it was so flattened and almost sticking on the ground. Its pink flower was still attached to its long green stalk though. He picked it up and gave to me while saying in Japanese ” Wow… it is very beautiful. I wanna give it to you” He handed it to me with a full smile. I took it, stared at it for a while but immediately put it to the pile of plants we passed by. That flower didn’t really amaze me. But his reaction does.

I felt like he could only see the beauty of things. I know that kids really have a very keen observation in every thing. But the way he looked and treated the flower is extra-ordinary. I have been teaching kids for a couple of years now and I know that they will just see that flower as a dead one and of no value. But not him. He looked and picked it up as if it is so fresh from a beautiful garden.

His words and way of thinking make me think if he really exists. Kids make me happy and excited. But him, he makes me feel so relaxed. I felt like I was talking to a good old man who already had learned a lot about life. I have never seen him with other kids despite his good characteristics. I even thought if he was an angel.

Well, it is not important anymore. I know in my heart that when I go to my school, eating in a silent moment while walking is not really the reason why I like to get off the bus sooner than I am supposed to do. The truth is, i found an angel in that little boy….

Smile in Despair

Being a teacher is something that I once cursed.  My lines when I was young still linger in my head  ” I will never be a teacher”.  And now, booom!!!! Here I am… with my pens, books and nursery rhyme CDs for my little kids, my students.  Can’t help but smile… I even thought that life played games on me.  I, who once hated to be a teacher, is now an educator and having a fun time at school.  No regrets though.  It may have never been my dream, but it is now the reason why I am here in the land of the rising sun.

I started teaching at public schools in Japan last year, March 2015.  As an ALT, I have to go to different schools almost everyday.  I had 5 last year; two elementary and 3 junior high schools.  And for this year, luckily, I only have three; two elementary and one junior high school.  Each school has each unique story to tell… each student has a distinct way of learning and enjoying each day.  I may be new in the world of teaching kids, but one thing is for sure.  My life is affected by my every single day of being with them.  I have already met almost a thousands of students in less than two years.  I admit I have never successfully memorized all their names.  But I can confidently say that I know most of them by heart.

This year, in one of my elementary school, there’s this one Filipina grade five student who excels in almost all of the subjects.  Most especially, in English.  As she is considered as the best English speaker of her school.  Not only is she smart, she is also very talented and a promising gymnast.  She is very active.  Everyone can notice her smile as it is the brightest and literally, the widest.  She’s always the first one to raise her hand to answer my questions.  Most of the time, she just tells the answer without having me finish speaking.  Being able to study in the Philippines is playing an active role in her life I guess.  I can see how the Philippine style differ her as a normal student here in Japan.

Until recently, I noticed that she is no longer the bright student I got used to notice every single time I was in their class.  Rather, she became a thin little girl with a short curly hair who stays at the back corner of the class hoping to be invisible to everybody.  Her changes and silence agonized me so much that I asked for a little time from her so we could talk.  It is a good thing that she opened up immediately.  I then found the reason.

” I don’t want to stay here anymore.  They don’t like me.  They tell me to go back to the Philippines because they don’t like me”.

My heart felt a raw anger that got worse when I learned that the master mind of the bullying she experiences is a half Filipino- half Japanese kid.  I know he is just a kid.  But I can’t help to think how do his parents bring him up.  He is also a Filipino.  How could he condemn his fellow Filipino classmate knowing that their are only very few Pinoys in that school.  I, as their teacher and as their fellow Filipino got so hurt.

Last week,  she came up to me for a short talk.  Again, we talked about her life.  I could feel her sadness through her smiles in despair.  Before our talk ended, she gave me a high touch and there I saw a light slashes she made in her skinny left wrist.  My heart immediately got crumpled.  I had a friend back in the university who used to do that.  But this case seems so different for me.  She is too young too innocent to do such thing. I was teary-eyed and the only thing I could do was to give her a tight hug with a prayer.  After the hug, she told me not to tell anyone about what I saw.

That was the last time I saw her before the summer vacation comes.  Everyday, I think of her, hoping that she won’t do anything stupid to herself.  She is just a grade five student.  Too young to get that disturbed.  If there is something that I am looking forward to before the classes starts in two months, that is me meeting her again with her brightest smile.  All I can do for now is to keep praying for her.  That her emotional wounds would heal during their vacation.