Happy Thanksgiving!

I may not be an American, I didn't grow up in the US, but today I'd like to join them in celebrating what I think is the second-most important day to Christmas- Thanksgiving day. It sounds off that they have only a day for Thanksgiving, when we all can give thanks everyday. But they make this day extra special by going home to their families and celebrating it together over a hearty dinner comprising of turkey and gravy.

There are so many things, and people who I have to be truly thankful for. And for all those things, all those names, I keep them in my heart and remember them in prayers. It has been a relatively silent year for me, despite all the quiet struggles I have. Still, thank You for giving me this life to live and for inspiring me to love everyone in my life. Thank You too for those challenges, for sometimes breaking me apart, then making me whole again by helping me stand up with my feet on the ground.

Thank you too to my family, my brothers, especially the eldest who has been very supportive all throughout (he visited last week by the way!); To my job that sustains me; To my colleagues who are very awesome; My friends here, back home, and those who are scattered all over the globe, you are my constant cheer-me-uppers; My church friends who taught me to grow in my faith; My favorite priests who give such inspiring homilies to reflect on, particularly one who has personally taught me to enjoy and live in His presence.

So with this, I greet you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Walk in the Park

It was a bright and balmy Saturday in Taipei. I woke up from my afternoon nap suddenly feeling the urge to go out for a walk. I didn't want to waste such a beautiful weather by just curling up like a ball in bed finishing a book. It was starting to cool down so I changed into a pair of comfy pants and grabbed a sweater. I thought it would be nice to take a late afternoon stroll at the nearest park. Not. A decision I regretted for the rest of the weekend.

The air was chilly, the sun began to set. I saw people everywhere- people together, couples together, children together, angkongs together, everyone together. And there I was, right smack in the middle of one of the city's biggest parks- alone. Ninety nine percent of the strangers who walked past me stared, the why-are-you-alone-kind-of-stare. I stared back, the mind-your-own-business-kind-of-stare. My throat clenched. The whole feeling of aloneness intensified. God I never felt so alone. Not until I saw a sea of faces, of smiles, of laughter.

That day I made a pact with the world. Thou shall not take a walk in the park alone, lest your middle name is masochist.

So I walked back home. I bought a bag of double cheese Cheetos, lemon iced tea, and Skyped the night away with a friend. Swear it felt better than walking in the park, alone.

Peace and Quiet

There is an overwhelming amount of thoughts in my head lately. I had difficulty quieting down, but on days I feel awfully tired, I sleep a dreamless sleep, and it feels so good. I love how sleep can be a form of escape. Eight hours of escaping reality is so wonderful that sometimes I refuse to press that snooze button and continue my escape for a couple more hours.

Two weekends ago, I escaped my life's troubles and went on a silent recollection organized by our church group. I was surrounded by lush greens and beautiful flowers. I can't recall the last time I looked up the sky and sigh in admiration of the stars twinkling at night. I was reminded of those laid back nights in the province where the parents would walk around our backyard after dinner, while I gaze at the sky and breathe fresh air.

I woke up the next day right at the break of dawn, with the chirping of the birds as my alarm clock. No snooze button. I walked around basking in the early autumn sunshine. In silence, I marveled at how beautiful my surrounding was. I was lost in conversation with our Creator and with myself. I didn't know what to say, what to pray for. I enjoyed that simple moment of peace and quiet, feeling His presence.

I forgot about the thoughts that have been residing in my brain- the plans, the to-do's. It was refreshing to keep still and think of nothing. Those moments I felt at peace, with myself and with the world.