Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sealed and delivered.

I sent a Balikbayan box to my family last Sunday. Yehey!

But that's not the real cause of my jubilation. No no.

It's the sight of seeing Ken's puzzled face on how I was able to fit so many things inside a single box. He could not believe that those items he saw scattered on the floor in my room could be crammed inside the box.

Oh, unless you are a Filipino you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about when I mention about a balikbayan box.

Okay, the word "balikbayan" is actually a combination word coined in the 1970s. "Balik" means to go back and "bayan" means home town or home country. So "balikbayan" is someone going back to their home country, but it only pertains to people going back to the Philippines.

Therefore the term "balikbayan box" refers to boxes shipped by Filipino overseas via cargo containers to there loved ones back home.

Mind you, it is a box that Filipinos eagerly awaits from family members, relatives or friends living overseas. The box contains from canned goods to clothes to shoes or any items requested from a Filipino recipient that can fit inside a Balikbayan box.

It is a good thing though that shipping boxes to the Philippines is much more economical than one might expect because there is no weight limit. I simply need to pack all I can get into a Balikbayan Box without ripping it off and ship it for one price! No extra cost.

You see the Balikbayan box has its social role and significance. Tied to it is the pride, joy, love, anticipation and hope of each balikbayan. I admit I want to put so much stuff inside because I want my boys and relatives to experience all that I saw, tasted, touched, smelled and felt in this country. And nothing would give me more joy than the excited ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ of those who will be present when they open the box.

Ken put his stamp on the box by carefully and meticulously tying it up so it will get there in good condition. Aside of course from sending all eleven pairs of his running shoes he had bought but never use inside the box.

Yes, the Balikbayan box is not an ordinary thing. It’s where you can find love, pride and joy – where else in the world can you find that in a box?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Being a Christian.

I guess it is safe to say that the national religion in this country is sports, not Christianity.

I say this because sadly when I enter the beautiful churches here I see just a few people along the pews during a service. But if I sit through an NFL games on a Sunday, I see the stadium packed to the rafters.

Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country. I know.

That's why I noticed the difference of how Lent is celebrated here in the US. If I am back in my country I will be among those women who go around the subdivision reciting the passion of the cross. My house will be among one of the 14 stations, hence there will be table outside my gate with candles and crucifix. I will abstain from eating meat starting on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. I will ask my children to give up something during the observance of the Holy week, like not using their cellphones as an important part of repentance and renewal.

Also this is the time of solemn reflections.

And my thoughts tell me that what was true in the days when Jesus actually walked the earth is still true today. Men and women still hurt one another. I still ask the huge "why" questions and demand answers. Life continues to be a mystery to me and I want answers that science can't find. I still need to know that there is something greater than myself and I know for a fact that it's not the Internet. I need to be assured that I go somewhere when I die. I need to know that someone cares for me when it seems no human does.

I'm old enough to have suffered some very reals pains in life and I have felt and known the comfort that can only come from God. I've had some very extremely lonely moments in life and have experienced the presence of someone greater who carried me through those dark moments.

I don't go to church very often becoz here I need to drive to go there and I can't drive just yet. But my faith and belief in God grow stronger.

I am a Christian. And for me, it is strong and vibrant and alive.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pray it won't happen to movies as well.

If your life is a Reality TV, would you watch it?

I know I have talked about this subject in my previous post. But the trend toward reality shows is disturbing to me.

At first it was fascinating. Throw together a few regular people and watch them interact.

But it's grown into something else entirely!

Singers and dancers aren't real anymore. They're the results of television polls. I see half naked club kids in hot tubs. Person pitted against person for money and not an honest game of trivia. Now it's backstabbing and arguing that make the big bucks. There's a show about rich brats having birthday parties. Of families swapping wives so the world can watch them traumatize the children.

These shows basically promote the worst behavior in people. Lie, cheat & steal for money. Where does it end?

Do viewers watch tv now to see people in public mental collapse? Or do networks programmed us to descend into this state?

When did we as a society decide that filming a group of people arguing, hooking up, and throwing fits was a good substitute for a television series with a script, a plot, and some substance?

I agree that sometimes it's fun to just kick back and laugh at something stupid someone said or did. Besides, real people were so much more interesting to watch. We could identify with them. They looked like us! No glamour or make up, just real people.

That was then...

Now, instead of these 'real" people we could identify with, it's buff men and women in bikini or tight shirts strutting there butts and tits in our living room screen.

Even Reality TV has become Hollywood...


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