Manual Labor


Our printer had gone to printer heaven months ago but we haven’t replaced it yet.  We seldom print anything at home so it wasn’t really an issue.

Yesterday, though, Jari had an assignment for school that he needs to type and print out.  Good thing my mom has a typewriter that we can borrow.

It was the first time my kids had seen and used a typewriter.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad since it was an electric typewriter and you didn’t have to pound on the keys, unlike the manual typewriters I’ve used when I was younger.

So after Jari wrote what he had to type, Jon taught him how to use the typewriter.  He liked the experience of typing but of course kept on making mistakes.  After an hour and lots of paper wasted, Jon finally did it for him.  I know, I know, we shouldn’t do our children’s homework.  But he did write it himself and he did try.  It was getting late though and he needs his sleep and we also have to save the trees. 🙂

I remember back in high school, I had to type several papers using a manual typewriter.  In fact, now that I look back, I also used a typewriter for papers in college (I just dated myself).  I literally went through reams of bond paper to make reports.  And I hated having to put in footnotes because I had to manually adjust the roller to put in the footnote numbers.  And you had to be mindful of the margins, etc, etc.

Young people don’t know how easy they have it now.  They can research online instantly instead of poring through card catalogs in the library, finding the books, borrowing them, writing down notes in index cards, and returning the books.  They can edit several times without having to waste paper.  They can copy and paste without actually copying and pasting.

Sometimes I think the convenience that technology brings makes people lazy.  They want things instantly and expect instant gratification.  However, life doesn’t work that way.  I think we appreciate things more when we have put a lot of thought and sweat in it.  For me, home-made gifts are always better because you know that the person has put time and effort in making you something.  This is probably also the reason why we are never satisfied with stuff we buy.  We buy something that we think will make us happy but after a few months, we’re looking for the next thing to buy.

It’s nice to expose our children to the old-fashioned way of doing things.  Cook and bake together, instead of take-out.  Do projects around the house.  Play real games, instead of virtual ones.  Use the phone and have conversations and not just chat or text messages.  Have them write, draw, compute and type manually.  This will help all of us to appreciate the benefits that technology has given us but at the same time keep us grounded and realize that we are not slaves to technology.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  We can save time, money and effort by using it properly.  Manual labor may not be as efficient but if it is a labor of love, then it becomes a beautiful thing.


Big Construction Job


A couple of days ago, classes were suspended due to a typhoon.  The weather was really bad with strong rains and winds.  That left me with two bored kids at home.  I don’t want them watching the TV or playing on the computer the whole day and they can’t go out to play.

Good thing they remembered that they had this kit.  It was a Christmas gift for Jari but they never got around to opening it.

They love watching Handy Mandy and this is a good activity for them to somehow build something.  They decided to make a birdhouse.  They said they feel sorry for the birds who don’t have shelter and are wet due to the rains.  I took some pictures of them working on the project but for some reason, it got lost so I had to settle for pictures of the finished products instead.

After working the whole afternoon, they completed making the birdhouse and a table.  They still have to finish the painting job though.












The kids were pretty happy with the result.  I’d have preferred it if the material was real wood and the product could actually be used.  But I guess it’s still good practice and a great way to engage children and get them interested in doing something outside their realm.  I hope that they will graduate to making actual useful stuff as I think carpentry skills are pretty useful to have.

3 Idiots

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As mentioned yesterday, Jon and I watched 3 Idiots last Sunday.  All I knew about the movie prior to watching was that it was an Indian movie about 3 college guys.  The movie gave me a different perspective of India.  Based on movies I’ve seen, I always pictured India as this overcrowded, dirty city, much like our slums here in Manila.  But the movie showed a different India.  The college was very nice and the countryside was very clean and picturesque.

The movie talked a lot about how we all treat life as a race, where only the first will succeed.  It attacks the educational system that gives more importance to passing exams rather than actual learning.

As a student, I always felt pressured to pass if not ace all my exams.  My parents expected a lot from us and they’re disappointed when  we come home with a line of 7.  So, if you come home with a grade of 90 in Math and 76 in Filipino, they will notice your Filipino grade and not even notice your Math grade.

Now, as a parent, I sometimes see myself as falling into the same trap.  What I would really like to see in my kids is their trying to do their best and striving for excellence in their work.  If I know they tried their best, I’ll be happy.  That’s easy to say but hard to do as sometimes I focus on the mistakes too.  I consciously have tell them what a great job they did before moving on to how we could correct the mistakes and make it better next time.

The movie says that as long as you do your passion, success will follow.  I guess that is true but it still takes a lot of work, but since you’re doing what you love, I guess it won’t feel so much like work.  Success is different for each individual and we should only be concerned with our definition and not with other’s.  I think that getting to do what you love is already a big sign of success.  It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams though.  You might encounter people who will put you down and tell you to be more responsible and go for what is achievable.  It’s easy to make a living but if you’re miserable, what’s the point?

My problem is finding my passion.  I’m 36 years old and I still don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life.  At least I know what I don’t want to do and I’m not doing that.  I’m lucky that I have the luxury to stay home and try to figure out what I really want to do.  What I have discovered in one year of not working full time is that I really like working in the kitchen.  I also found out that I still like teaching, but only if the student is willing to learn.  I also like learning new things and reading stuff I would never read before.  I also learned what is not important to me and what I can let go without even missing it.  And what I love most about this time of my life is that I get to spend everyday with the people who are most important to me.

That said, I want to end with these words, “Aal is well.”

Singing in the Rain

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And playing soccer too.

School was suspended today due to heavy rains last night.  So the kids were bored with nothing to do again.  And it started raining again.  They asked if they could go out and play and we allowed them to.

I don’t remember being allowed to play in the rain as a kid.  My mom was always afraid that we’d get sick.  But I figured a little rain never hurt anyone.  Who knows, exposure might even increase your resistance to sickness.  So I let my kids play in the rain, even for just half an hour or so.    They have fun, they enjoy the physical activity and they would have nice memories to remember when they have their own kids.

But the rain just got harder and I think our street will be flooded soon.  So I have to go and get my kids now.  Leptospirosis is a different matter…

Cooking Mama


I can’t believe I’ve been sucked by another FB game.

Hi, I’m Cherie and I’m a Facebook games addict.  I used to be addicted to Mafia Wars.  I even became part of a clan and joined discussion groups and such.  Worse, I added total strangers as friends just to add to my Mafia family.  In fact, the reason I joined FB in the first place was because of Mafia Wars.

After a few months, I started Cafe World.  This time, I had to time my internet usage to the time my dishes would be ready for serving.  I even developed strategies with my sisters to meet special goals.

I had a brief flirtation with Farmville but it was very short-lived.  It always took too long to load and I got tired of it.  It made me want to have farm though.

After a while, I quit Mafia Wars (as I’m inherently a peaceful person) and just concentrated on Cafe World.  I was very competitive and my main goal was to be number one among my neighbors.  It was devastating when my sister got my spot because I didn’t have internet access for a couple of weeks when our laptop getting broken.

Eventually, I realized that I was wasting so much time on a game that doesn’t really give me much pleasure anymore.  And just like that, I quit, cold-turkey.  And I never looked back ever since.

Until today.  My kids asked to use my account to play Cooking Mama which they see their friends playing.  I agreed and of course I had to see what they did.  And I had to give it a try.  And before I knew it, I spent an hour playing already.

I really need to get help…

First day


Today was Yumi’s first day in Grade 1.  She’s been waiting for school to start and she’s very excited to see her old friends and meet new ones.  She’s also getting bored at home since she’s been on vacation for almost three months.

I remember that when I was a student, I’ve always had mixed emotions with first days.  I feel both excitement and trepidation.  It’s a fresh start and I know that whatever I did last year won’t matter and won’t affect how I’ll perform this year.   But I’m also afraid of the challenges to be faced.  I don’t know if the teachers would be reasonable or terrifying.  I don’t know if I’ll like my classmates and my adviser.

Most of the time though, first days give me hope.  Hope that this will be the best year ever.  I always make promises to myself to make it so.  Unfortunately, just like new year’s resolutions, after a month or two, I’ve forgotten these promises and have reverted back to the old me.  After all, there’s always next year.

Now, it’s my children’s turn.  And I still make promises.  Like, stop nagging, let them make mistakes, let go.  And just like before, I’m hopeful that this will be the best year ever.  If not, there’s always next year. 🙂



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Last night, Skype unexpectedly stopped working so I couldn’t conduct my lessons.  I suppose it would have worked after a couple of hours but I didn’t really want to keep on trouble shooting and waiting so I decided to cancel the rest of my lessons after 8 pm.

My children rejoiced with the decision.  We seldom have time time together at night since I work weeknights so last night was a treat.  We played UNO and scrabble while listening/watching to their favorite songs on You Tube.  They would have wanted to play Monopoly but I know one night is not enough for that.

I should really start treasuring these moments.  My kids are growing up and pretty soon, they’d have their own lives and wouldn’t have time to spend with us anymore.  Even now, they spend most of the day with the neighborhood kids and making plans with them.  I’m happy that currently, they’d rather play games with us than with friends but I know it won’t last.  Eventually, I guess we’ll be happy if they have dinner at home everyday.  But until that day comes, I’d continue to spend my downtime with the kids the best way I know how. 🙂

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