My Appreciation for Food

This entry is inspired by Caroline Crosson Gilpin’s article in The Learning Network titled Have You Ever Experienced Food Insecurity? This entry is a part of my daily writing challenge; the mechanics of which you can read here.

After reading Gilpin’s essay on poor students’ struggles on getting food during spring break, it reminded me of how my father changed my attitude towards the food I was eating.

We all had that spiel that our parents told us about finishing our food. My parents would always guilt-trip me into finishing my food which of course was a terrible way of appreciating food. But when my father did some bad decisionmaking on investments, we were immediately in a tight spot. I remember one day when I was eating lunch with my mother, and I cleaned my plate of everything. No grain of rice, no sauce, nothing was left on my plate. I realised what I did, and that brought me back to a time when I would just leave food on my plate.

Times were really hard back then that I only ate once-a-day. During a term in my undergrad, I only had 100Php ($2) in my pocket each day. I could only spend 20Php ($0.40) for food because I had to use the rest for my commute. The only thing I could eat was siopao (Chinese pork bun) that I bought in a stall at the train station each day. That was a rough four months for me.

Now, I truly appreciate food and never complain about the kind of food I eat. Well, except for coffee. I’m willing to pay a premium for that.

My Customised Writing Challenge

I purchased a Personal Plan from WordPress yesterday, and one of my concerns for this website is that I would be wasting my money if I didn’t update this more often. So what I thought to do was to challenge myself to post every day. The problem I saw was that most of the “everyday writing challenge prompt” had very uninteresting writing prompts until I came across The Learning Network by The New York Times.

The Learning Network has a page called Writing Prompt, and all the essays and their prompts are very interesting. (I was thinking of using SAT essay prompts. Maybe I can consider that as well.) The Writing Prompt page has three subsections: Student Opinion page, Picture Prompt page, and the Current Events Conversation page. Each essay posted on these pages answers one question, so what I would do is answer the same question that the featured essay is answering.

If the essay and its prompt posted on that day is not up to my liking, I always have Plan B. The Learning Network has 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing, and all I need to do is generate a random number between 1-500 and write on!

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be writing prompted posts each day. I’m treating the prompts as a way to write something when I don’t feel like blogging about myself since it’s rarely about myself anyways. I used to have a weekly blog challenge, and it was extremely difficult to keep up since I was just a kid and didn’t think that my life was that much interesting although I’m not saying that I’ve become interesting through time.

What gets you writing? Inspiration rarely comes to me, but I hope that The Learning Network can assist me to get over this writer’s hump. See you tomorrow!

Being Sober

Around two weeks ago, I decided that I should quit smoking. Many have their own reasons; mine was for healthier living. I noticed I was getting shorter breaths during my runs. I used to run 4km without a sweat (metaphorically) and still had enough energy to run 2km more. However, it was getting so bad that I was struggling to complete 3km, and that’s when I decided to quit smoking.

I’ve tried quitting it in the past, but I did it without thinking and went back to smoking as a consequence of that. This time around, I’ve had some help from an app, so hopefully, I can see this through the end.

I started smoking because of family issues. It affected me so much that I thought that smoking was a way to help deal with the stress. It obviously made my life a bit worse with weaker lungs. So here’s me trying to improve myself.

It’s been three days since I’ve quit smoking. Wish me luck!

In other news, I finished my TEFL certification course! I’m totally excited to get my certificate and add this to my resume. Why? A TEFL certificate and some years of teaching experience should give me a better chance at finding a teaching job overseas.

Here’s to me trying to make it in life 🍻 🍻 🍻

(PS I don’t drink. I just thought that the beers looked festive lol)

Earning Your Place

I just came from this talk at THE Ateneo on the political landscape of Filipino journalism. It was a good talk and extremely informative. I was supposed to meet my two Atenean friends and watch it together, but I had chores to do in the morning. I was around 20 minutes late, but I caught the majority it.

Let me digress a bit. Followers of my blog know that I really love Ateneo even though I’m from La Salle. I love both universities. I just love Ateneo more. I love the chill culture, its environment, the people, and of course the location. So coming in to Ateneo today for a talk was exciting for me. Why? I get to feel what it’s like being an Atenean even if it was just a little bit.

I gave up my La Salle ID for a visitor’s pass and walked right in heading to Escaler Hall.

Sitting in an auditorium filled with Ateneans was exhilarating. It sounds weird, but I felt at home for once even more so when Ressa addressed the entire room as Ateneans. These small things like being perceived as a part of a whole is what makes me feel good. To be a part of something you always wanted to be a part of is great!

I met up with my friends and their friends. We chatted and walked to the parking lot where we had to part ways since they had other things to do. Then that’s when it sunk in. I’m not a part of this community. I’m not an Atenean. All I am is an outsider with a visitor’s pass. Although I do love Ateneo, it doesn’t love me back since I’m not one of them.

As I walked back to the gate, a familiar feeling came over me. I always tell my friends that I don’t feel like I’m a Filipino because I just don’t have the same values and ideas that Filipinos have. And I think this experience in Ateneo is a good analogy of that feeling. Have you ever visited another school for a fair? Did you feel like you weren’t a part of that school even though you had all the benefits of the fair? When La Salle has its UnivWeek celebration, students from other universities come and visit. They love La Salle and its culture, but they stick out because they aren’t a part of it.

That’s how I feel about this country. I feel like I’m in another school, but the problem is that I don’t have a school to go back to. I have to find another school to call home.

The only way I can find a place in Ateneo is to earn it (through passing the ACET). But earning your place in a university is easier than earning your place in a country, a country that I don’t even know exists for me.

For now, I’m just a visitor looking for that place I can call home.