All you have to do is ask

Written on the Q27 Ltd on the way to work today.

I live in a mostly Asian community, and even along the commute, the usual ratio of passengers is around 8 Asians to 1 non-Asian (Caucasian or African-American).  This morning’s bus was running late so I got on a bus where there were standing passengers already.  I got on (because I didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the next one) and I noticed that there was a vacant seat next to a rather big African-American young man.  He was not big in the sense of being heavy, but he gave you the sense that he wasn’t someone who would relinquish the vacant seat where half his legs were resting.

There were at least 4 other adults who could’ve asked for the seat but non were making a go for it, so I siddled up to where he was, said “Excuse me,” and pointed to the seat to signify I intended to take it.

He moaned in complaint and mumbled “Aw, Shit!” but he moved and allowed me to sit.  It was only after we were seated knee to knee (his knee encroached on my space) that I realized he couldn’t sit straight because his legs were too long.  He didn’t push or complain — he gave me my space.

So I’m here wondering why the four other ladies didn’t bother to ask him to move so they can sit.  If they did, they’d be sitting where I am now in this otherwise packed bus.  Was it because his girth and demeanor intimidated them?  Was it that plus the fact that he was African-American?  All they had to do was ask, just as I did.

For a country that now embraces the most number of ethnicities in its huge immigrant population, the racial lines are still very distinctive and clearly drawn.  With the determination of Corporate America to abide by their Diversity goals, you’d think that Americans, in general, would be more accepting of the cultural mix.

New York is one state which you can call the melting pot of the world indeed as far as immigration is concerned.  One of its ads in its failed bid to host the 2012 Olympics proudly proclaimed: “Every country will have a home court advantage.” — and it would’ve been true.  And yet here where you can name a country and chances are you will find someone who traces his or her roots to there, everyone is stained by racism — Caucasian, African American, and Asians like us Filipinos.  And as part of the minority, we always fall on the short end of the scale. 

Discrimination will always be a fact of life here in the US, but instead of griping against it, we would do better putting our best foot forward and asserting ourselves.  Let it not be a boastful assertion, though — otherwise, it will fall flat on its face.  But being part of the minority should never make us feel small — we are only as weak as we think we are — and we can be as strong as we dare to be.  So when the opportunity presents itself and we have the chance to ask for something rightfully ours like a seat on the bus after we paid our $2.00 fare, then we should ask.  The worst that could happen is that we be refused, and at best, we get what we want, like I got my seat.

Choices

We often find ourselves choosing between things we would rather both have, rather than take one and give up the other.  I have had to make that choice a few times in my life but I am glad that it seems making such decisions hasn’t been necessary in a long while — maybe because I’ve come to be more accepting of what comes my way, or of being more certain of what it is I want. 

The former (being accepting) has made me happier and content — because I have been to the other side of the fence where the grass is supposedly greener, only to realize it’s the same grass I eat on my side of the fence.  I may look with envy on others who may seem to have more or have something better than I do, but I no longer despair over the fact that she has it and I don’t.  I have been truly blessed in the last few years and I have embraced that with a grateful heart.

The latter (knowing what I want) has helped me to define that which makes me happy, and without compromising or settling for less, I’m able to picture in my mind and nurture in my heart a definition of what I want. 

I am reminded of that anecdote from one of the survivors of the tsunami that devastated parts of Asia last year wherein a mother was forced to make a choice between her two children as she had to free up one hand to cling to some form of life support.  She was lucky that she later found the child she let go of, alive and well.  I would not want to have to make a choice like that.  It is like the proverbial chalice that you wish God would take away from you.

A friend is currently in dire straits trying to figure out what choice she will make now that what she had once wanted is competing with what she has.  Either way, someone gets hurt.  I know what her choice will be but I want her to figure that out for herself so that when she makes the choice, she will make it knowing it was what she wanted, not necessarily just what was forced upon her.

Decisions, decisions.. we just can’t wave them away, they will have to be made ultimately.

Vacillating after a long Monday

I know it has been a long day when I end an otherwise easy morning with a throbbing pain in my head.  It’s quarter to six and I’m still trying to find out where an important document which was reportedly delivered to us by messenger is (boss needs it for an 8:30 AM meeting tomorrow!) — I’ve just about wrapped up the things I need to have her bring home with her, and I’m hoping that tomorrow will be a “lighter” if not “easier”day.  Alan is waiting for a call to confirm he can get me here and while I was all agog about doing the grocery tonight, I am having second thoughts about it because I don’t feel like I have the energy to process a meal plan for the week ahead in my head as I usually do when we do the grocery.

But we have to do what we have to do.  I can always postpone it but then might as well do it today because Alan is fetching me and we have the car.. I don’t want to have to pick up odds and ends from the grocery during the week.  (Let me make up my mind once I’m in the car.)

Time to sign off and get my stuff ready to leave.  Dinner, thankfully, is a replay of the meatloaf this noon from Boston Market.. at least I don’t have to worry about that at all.  Just have a dozen other things to do.  It never ends, but that’s life in New York for you!

 

Feedback: On returning to the web from Lani

On July 3, Lani wrote:

I’m so happy to see your blogsite again. And thank you din sa pagpopost ng reply sa iyo, ngayon alam ko na ang bandwidth exceeded ek-ek na iyan.

As usual, life here is really miserable. With all the pa-awa effect of GMA, lalo lang gumugulo and at the same time the implementation of the E-VAT (fortunately, may TRO kaya last Friday night nasuspend). Ang VAT kasi ay pass-on tax so iyong mga consumers ang talagang tatamaan. Kasama sa E-VAT ngayon ang electricity, fuel, processed goods, professional services, and toll fees. Kainis nga itong isang padunong effect na politician dito na hindi naman daw kasali sa E-VAT ang fresh produce like veggies and fruits and pati na rin poultry, fish, pork, etc. so hindi naman daw tataas ang prices ng mga said products. Parang hindi nag-iisip iyon, siempre once na tumaas ang cost sa electricity and transportation lahat iyan afectado. OO nga pala, alam mo ba na taas na rin ng pamasahe dito P7.50 na yung dating P5.50, that’s for the first 4 kilometers, every additional kilometer dagdag ng P1.25.

Actually, dilemma kami dito ngayon. If ever maalis si GMA, sino ang papalit si Noli (oh my gosh). Ang gulo talaga, parang ang hirap mag-isip. Alam mo naman tayong mga pinoy, very flexible at sabi nga sa isang study na ginawa isa daw sa mga masasayang tao sa earth (lol) ang mga pinoy. Kaya lahat tiis, tanggap na lang ng tanggap wala kasing mga alternatives.

I don’t want to burden you with my sentiments, kwento lang ito from your loving kababayan. Although, bad news hindi good.

Keep smiling and always take care. I’ll pray for your sister. Don’t worry too much. Remember that God is always there for us.

My response:  I am so tempted to react to what’s happening back home but things are moving much too fast that I’m afraid to speak out of turn.

We are trying to book my sister and it is almost sure that she will be home in time for our niece’s 5th birthday on the 22nd.  It’s just a question of when exactly.  It saddening and yet quite a relief that she is going home because then she will be able to address her health issues firsthand.  That is the most important thing for me right now.  So far, her stomach has not been acting up.  She’s held up very well. 

Alan and I are both trying to keep tabs with what’s happening there where you are — and we can only shake our head in disbelief.  It seems to be gathering momentum but like you, we are afraid to think of where it might lead.  Well, the Filipino people have always prevailed.  No matter how tough things have gotten, we have always managed to survive as a people.

I refuse to bash the Filipino as others are wont to blame our plight as a people on all these things that we have done, failed to do or continue to do.  It’s a very trying time for all, and the last thing we need is someone to ride the bandwagon and start pointing fingers.  Someone has to start doing something.

 

Greeting a new week ahead

Monday again in a few minutes.. I’m heading off for work in a few hours.  Angel is asleep next to me and Alan and I are both on our laptops.  I have at least five topics I want to write about but at this point, I don’t have the energy nor the inspiration to go beyond thinking about writing them sometime in the coming days.

I feel like I had gone to so many places and done a hundred and one things this past couple of days.  A lot of them made me feel good — little deeds that were not exactly out of character but which made me feel like some sort of Santa.

I always like to think if it doesn’t hurt me and if it doesn’t cost me a thing, a good deed is worth giving it the effort.  Not that I expect to be personally blessed, but that I hope that should any of my loved ones ever need help at some point and since they are 10,000 miles from where I am, that they, too, be blessed with their own Santa.

Yesterday, on the way home, we caught a glimpse of a beautiful rainbow just as we entered our community.  God’s promise of hope and his covenant with his people. To me it was a thing of beauty, a simple reminder that He is there with us.  So I go into another week with that in mind..

Awake late Saturday night

It’s been a long day and I finally got the chance to post here just half past midnight. My boys are both sound asleep beside me in bed.. I have no e-mails to answer.. just bits of news to catch up on on all the hoopla back home about the mass clamor for the incumbent President’s resignation.  Meanwhile, I just checked, after just 10 days from the beginning of the month, I’ve hit half my bandwidth quota, so don’t be alarmed if you suddenly find me “out of circulation” again.  (So should I just start a blog on my domain?  Hmmm.. maybe… )

I have another long day ahead tomorrow so I don’t really have the luxury of time to post and post here.  But today was a lot of fun.. I know Angel had a lot of fun, and father and son were just inseparable all day.  The boy knows who loves him so much. 

We spent the afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History and then back to Southstreet Seaport.  Tomorrow it’s a day with the family, but hopefully, not after spending a few hours at our favorite strip mall back in the neighborhood where Alan and I first started out as husband and wife.

Meanwhile, my pillow is calling out to me.. have to sign out now..

Rainy Friday again

It’s been raining all night and now all day.  Finally the weekend!  it’s just sad that it’s a tad bit drab out there and so I ventured out in my fall coat.  Just when you started thinking the only outerwear you’d be taking out are the denim jackets or a blazer when you feel like dressing up.

Manhattan is still overcast.  I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be too wet a weekend because I’m looking forward to going out with Angel again.

By Special Request from Demi

I normally wouldn’t do this but it’s by special request from a very dear friend of mine..

Cut and paste

 

THREE NAMES YOU GO BY:
1. Dinna
2. Pinay New Yorker
3. Joonie

THREE SCREEN NAMES YOU HAVE HAD:
1. aries66
2. dinnagon
3. postcards

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. My smile
2. My eyes
3. the color of my skin

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. The faaaaaaaat
2. dark circles under the eyes
3. the current state of my nails (They’ve definitely seen better days!)

THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE:
1. Bulacan
2. Bicol
3. Pinoy na pinoy

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
1. The prospect of an explosion in the subway

2. “War of the Worlds” happening for real (where will we hide?)
3. Snakes

THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
1. Diet Coke
2. Moisturizer/Lotion
3. Lipstick

THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW:
1. My $5 Payless Shoes brown mary janes (Pangharabas for the rain)
2. Banana Republic dark heather grey mock turtleneck
3. Crease resistant brown/mocca colored slacks

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE BANDS OR MUSICAL ARTISTS:
1. Todd Rundgren*
2. Hall & Oates*
3. ZsaZsa Padilla

*They actually have a joint concert this August that the King and I are watching!  Yipee!!!!

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONGS:
1. Don’t Give Up On Us, Baby (David Soul) – used to be my final song the few times I was allowed to board as DJ on RJFM in a preview life

2. Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren) 
3. A Promise Ain’t Enough (Hall & Oates)
THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP:
1. Trust
2. Commitment
3. A sense of humor

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1. I love my honey.
2. I love my baby.
3. I lost 5 lbs today. (HA!)

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS ABOUT THE PREFERRED SEX THAT APPEAL TO YOU:
1. His Butt
2. His hands
3. His Smile

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES:
1. Crafts (crochet, knit, paper crafts)
2. Reading, reading and more reading
3. Collecting postcards and pencils

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO HAVE REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW:
1. money
2. money
3. money (I have everything else I need)

THREE CAREERS YOU’RE CONSIDERING/YOU’VE CONSIDERED:
1. Childcare Facility Proprietor — as in a daycare center of my own

2. Writer
3. Nursing (seriously!)

THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION:
1. Paris (again and again and again.. can’t help it!)
2. Rome
3. Manila (I want to have Max Fried Chicken, Via Mare’s bibingka and of course, pastillas)

THREE KID’S NAMES YOU LIKE:
1. Salvador Angelo
2. Angelica Dawn
3. Angelica Faith

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
1. See Angel graduate from college
2. See my grandchildren
3. See my honey go before me so I can take care of him before he goes

THREE PEOPLE THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE TAKE THIS QUIZ NOW:
ummmm. can’t even think of one who would take the time.. hahaha!

Bomb Blasts in London

I had diverted Angel’s morning TV viewing from PBS to Fox 5 news only because the weather seemed off and I just wanted to be aware of any more storms hitting us — and I heard the first wave of broadcasts on the deadly bombings in London.

While London is a quarter of a world away, the terrorist attack was a rude awakening on an otherwise quiet wet morning.  It’s a stark reminder of how vulnerable anyone is.  For someone living in a place like New York City which seems to be a favorite and distinguished target for those wanting to catch the world’s attention, terror is something we have learned to take in stride.  Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to take.

I was fortunate that Alan was working from home this morning and had driven me to work.  I don’t know how taking the subway this morning would’ve been.  We thank God that there seems to be no similar threat on our side of the world.

I remember when I was still back home in Manila, there were pocket bombings of public transportation and other public places that is why it became customary for people to have their bags checked as they entered the malls or theatres or such other places.  Then while already here in New York, the spate of bombing resumed and I couldn’t help but fear for my family who took public transportation, specially Nikky who commuted to and from school as he does today. 

I have gone beyond wondering what brings people to bring harm to others — all for ideals.  I do not possess that kind of zeal to inflict harm on other people just to fight for my cause.  I pray that I will not have to.. ever.

First hour feels like half a day

I’ve been typing away sending e-mails, making copies, orderd books from Barnes and now I finally found the time to breathe, an hour after I started working officially.  Wow.. that’s serious business considering I usually tend to do my own thing before anything else.  Maybe it’s because I’d like to get out of the office earlier than normal today.  Would it be too ambitious to shoot for 3PM?  (Heaving a sigh and looking up to the heavens.)

Our house guest arrives this evening and I have to whip up a decent dinner of baby back ribs.  (I actually bought 2 full racks!)  I also need to pick up a thing or two from the grocery.. Alan will be home after 7PM, hopefully, so that should give me enough time if I can get out of here early enough.  Maybe even 2PM?  (I WISH!!)

Our visitor is coming from Manila — and unlike others who would cook or serve Filipino food, I make it a point to cooke something special that’s more or less “American” so I’m opting for the baby back ribs.. or the steaks.. which aren’t necessarily the porterhouse or t-bones.. you won’t believe how good chuck steak can be depending on the marinade or the way it is broiled in the oven.

Enough food talk.. time to get back to work.. !