HOME

dsc_0230

So far I have only written about the big moments: my travels, euphoric moments, and moments of defeat and sadness. However, it paints an incomplete picture of the life I want to document and preserve. The plateaus and days where nothing remarkable happens also deserve to be written about, for big moments emerge from the little ones that melt together. One should never neglect the little things.

Today I want to preserve a portrait of our home and everything that is lovely about it.

I moved out for two months in 2016 to be closer to work. If you live in Manila, you’d know how deadly the traffic could be and spending a minimum of four hours everyday traveling to and from work becomes physically and mentally exhausting at some point.

So I moved out, but I had to move back home for family (in the Philippines it’s completely normal for adults to continue living at home until they get married) which was devastating at first but it ended up being for the best. Though I enjoyed the freedom and independence associated with living on my own, I definitely missed being able to decorate as I pleased (I had roommates in the apartment I lived in), our dogs barking and playing, my nana and her lush garden, my little aromatherapy corner, the way the sun enters my room in the morning, and the home cooked meals.

I did not appreciate our home this much before I moved out. Indeed some distance allows us to realize what is truly important and how the things we take for granted end up being the things we cannot live without.

dsc_0507dsc_1238dsc_5606-horzdsc_5615dsc_5623dsc_5625

 

Advertisements

The family we choose

dsc_4045

It turns out I only had to wait two weeks.

I found a new family mid-May in the form of a non-profit organization. After the fiasco that was the 8-month stint at a BPO, I am more than grateful to have earned a place at an organization whose work has national ramifications.

Fast forward 6 months, we’ve arrived to November. I’m still here and still very happy. Life is currently a paradox as I’ve grown so much in the past months yet I still feel so young, naive, and unknowledgeable. Every new thing I learn adds to me as a person, yet at the same time, it reinforces how much more I have to learn and how open I need to be.

Work itself is amazing, I’ve fallen in love with this field of study despite never being interested in it before. I’ve become more grateful to have been able to attend UP and be ingrained with resilience and flexibility. I’ve also decided to take up Law, not only for its usefulness at work, but also because I’ve come to witness that knowledge of the law, and learning how lawyers think has benefits that transcend the courtroom (people’s lawyering perhaps?) and that law doesn’t automatically translate to Annalise Keating type work.

One of the more important lessons I’ve learned relates to diversity. Prior to joining the organization, I have yet to meet people who completely challenged my understanding and patience. However, moments with them taught me the true meaning of grace. There are times when I witnessed grace abounding to people who do not deserve it, and I felt upset. Yet eventually I learned that I myself am not deserving, yet the same kind of grace applies to me when I am most unlovable. I’ve learned to recognize the subtle ways we become unkind, and I’ve learned to accept that ‘colleague’ does not immediately ‘translate’ to friend, which is good sometimes, for our own protection.

Most importantly, I’ve come to love the people. Yes, even the ones that are difficult to love and understand. There is an inexplicable feeling of belongingness, of being appreciated exactly for who you are, quirks and all. There’s a benefit to being part of a small-ish organization where everyone knows about everyone, and majority of the people are kind. My boss is a big sister after hours and during the weekends, I have two new best friends, and our legal services guy just set the standard on the type of man one ought to be entertaining.

I see no expiration date at this point. Every opportunity must be maximized and respected, everything, everyone is a gift. There is joy to be found in always performing one’s best, and being recognized for it. Uncomfortable situations help one grow exponentially. Respect begets respect. Recognition takes time, and is a reward that is earned.

Featured are photographs from our company trip last May at Casa Amara, Laiya, Batangas.

dsc_4082dsc_4044dsc_4209dsc_4046dsc_4053dsc_4198dsc_4177

(photos taken using a Nikon D200) 

A reminder

SAM_1424

Hello older Daniella,

Littler you was at the peak of frustration when she was writing this, toeing the line between depressed and deranged. You’ve got 10+ pending job applications and have yet to receive a response. Given you’ve only been unemployed for a week and a half but for some reason your stress-level is that of someone whose thesis defense is tomorrow but hasn’t finished writing the actual paper yet.

I want to remind you of how you felt at the time that this was being written. You were demotivated and demoralized, tired, sad, scared, jealous, perpetually hungry, and somewhat angry. You faced much rejection, and the people you love doubted you. You were starting to think about compromising your goals again.

Right now I want you to think about where you came from and where you’re headed. Don’t fall in love with smelling the flowers that you forget you’re headed for the mountains. I want to remind you of what you love. Photography is often the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and that means something. Never forget how blessed you are to have found something you’re incredibly passionate for and have the resources to pursue. To give it up is an act of ingratitude.

Yes, you need a regular job to sustain yourself, but living in pursuit of just that is not really living, but merely existing. Life is too grand a gift for one to be contented with mere existence. Remember what you consider as a life well-lived: a life devoted in pursuit of one’s passion, and a life that is in service of others.

Remember what you live for, where your heart truly lies. Every decision from here on out should be in service of that. Keep creating, keep sharing, and never lose the spark that genuinely optimistic people have. One day it will all fall into place, and the pain you felt will be useful to you.

And one last thing:

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.” – Imam Ash-Shafi’i

Love,

Littler Daniella

 

leaving to live

12932999_1180189045325606_949584870504713989_n

Today was the first day of my last ten days in the CBD. The feelings I have are quite new to me: a mixture of both relief and sadness. There were times when I wanted time to move a little bit slower so the end would be delayed, but there are also times when I just want everything to be over and done with, so I need not feel confusion anymore.

12928378_1180188968658947_8258469210040728975_n

I am leaving because I no longer feel alive. I allowed myself to be turned into a cog that fits perfectly in a machine I knew I did not want to be part of. I have always had a soft spot for development work as I witnessed my mother dedicate decades to an INGO while I was growing up. This desire has transformed into a passion when I entered college and was nurtured by volunteering in an organization for street children. There is a more permanent sense of joy in doing work that transcends one’s own needs and helps advance a cause that is otherwise ignored: work that saves lives.

It was lovely while it lasted though. I met people, good ones as well as Regina George-types whom I thought only existed in movies. I learned that professionalism goes beyond politeness and diligence, and that it’s actually more about delivering beyond what is expected. I learned that performing well and liking what you do are not mutually exclusive, and there are more important things to take into consideration aside from how and what one feels.

However, I know it’s time to go, because I’ve been changed into someone I know I am not. And when we let ourselves be changed, we lose not only our distinctiveness, but also the little things that make us, who we are. For me that was photography, exploration, appreciation of the little things, being one with nature, spending time with my nanay, and being mindful of my health. For a while life revolved around chasing numbers, being relentless in the chase, winning the chase, needing to chase them again, and again. But for what purpose that has long-term implications?

12932987_1180189018658942_5538129519329106818_n

I had to leave because I was unhappy, and I could die any minute, and I cannot die unhappy. We are young, and driven, and full of energy. If our sense of self tells us that our success is different from what the world deems as successful, it’s okay. If our heart tells us that our success will not be found in the birthplace of wordly success, it really is okay.

The most noteworthy people are those who are stayed true to themselves despite opposition, judgement, and ridicule. The most noteworthy people are those who were relentless in their pursuit of an authentic life, despite all the difficulties that came their way. If we let ourselves become just cogs, cogs that look like every other cog, and can do what every other cog does, we become easily replaceable, for another cog of the same appearance and of the same abilities lay readily available at the next hardware store.

Ensure that you are happy, for at the end, you only have who you are. In my last ten days, I am both excited and scared, for the world is once again an unclear haze of possibility. But I know greater things will soon come, because it always does for those who chase greatness, and those who trust in His promises.

Photos taken using by BlackBerry Q10 (which broke, btw).