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Back Home in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs gets about 360 days of sunshine a year. It's not unusual to experience the four seasons in one day. Winter just doesn't want to leave. It's now mid April and we still get snow, although it doesn't stay on the ground long.

I love looking out to see the snowy peaks, or driving home towards the mountain range. And who would tire seeing this view?

A restless soul in a quest to find self

I travel to soak up the culture, meet people, savor exotic foods, and enjoy sights. But most of all, I travel, in a quest to find myself. My husband says I just have the "restless feet" syndrome. But don't you pay him any mind. He came upon the German word that he says describes my affliction-- wanderlust.

I grew up in the Philippines, and migrated to the United States of America in my mid-twenties. Although, I am very proud of my Philippine heritage, I can't somehow completely identify with it. Growing up, I always had the feeling that I did not belong there and so felt out of place for the most part. And this has me baffled to no end.

Is it possible that I was born in the wrong culture or country? Am I maybe from a different place in my first life? That is if we truly reincarnate after death. Was I a peasant? A warrior's wife? or . . . . . a leper on the side of the road (eooww!). I fancy this one: Maybe I was a royalty. I have the makings of one; just ask my husband. He sometimes refers to me as "your highness". :)

In the course of our travels, I found out I genuinely enjoy my interactions with people from different places, learning about and from them. People are not so different from each other. Our outside appearances may vary, but within, we're almost the same. We have the same needs, emotions, aspirations, struggles, etc.

Traveling makes life so much more interesting. What is life without setting foot outside your comfort zone? Boring with a capital B!

After having visited several countries, I still haven't come close to finding that place that will embrace me and vice versa. And so the quest continues . . . . . .

New Year in the City of lights

We greeted the New Year in Paris. It was cold but a great experience. Earlier during the day (new Year's Eve), we went to admire the Notre Dame. There was a long line and since we had been inside once before, we decided not to go in. Before dinner, we took a river cruise. This I recommend doing in the summer. It was cold up on the top deck, where one can truly admire the historic sights. The bottom deck is enclosed in glass, but one can hardly see what was out there. We then went to a rstaurant where we partook in a New Year's eve feast. Unfortunately, I was still feeling sick from a viral cold that we decided not to join the crowd in Champs Elysees in the midnight revelry.

Ava would have been four years old on 11/27/10

The baby in the picture is our beloved and precious granddaughter, Ava Jacquelyn, whom we lost to a tragic accident in May of 2007. We miss her so much. It seems the pain never goes away. It's been three and a half years since, but the memory still burns in our consciousness and our hearts like it was just yesterday.

She is now with the angels looking at us. God has better plans for her.

I think of her often, imagining her running up to me and giving me hugs and wet kisses.

We miss her a lot!

On 28 May 2009, I happened to be in Sofia, Bulgaria and had the opportunity to light a candle in remembrance of her in the largest cathedral in the country, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

On 27 Nov 2009, we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia and so lit a candle in remembrance of Ava's 3rd birthday in a cathedral inside the wall.

28 May 2010: Lit a candle for her in Munich. She was in our hearts and thoughts. I love you, Ava.

27 Nov 2010, Ava would have been 4 years old. I think of her often. In her memory, I lit a candle in San Antonio de Padova in the Beyoglu district in Istanbul.

Dr. Jose Rizal, my hero

Dr. Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines. The pictured statue was erected in his honor in Wilhelmsfeld, Germany in Baden-Württemberg, a small village 11 km NE of Heidelberg. Dr. Rizal attended the University of Heidelberg (1886-1887) during which time met Pastor Ullmer and later went to live with him and his family in Wilhelmsfeld in order to learn more of the German culture and the language.

There is another statue of him in Madrid by, I believe, the same sculptor. (next photo).

Dr. Rizal traveled extensively in Europe. He attended classes at the universities of Paris, Madrid, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Berlin, & Vienna. He was a master of 22 languages. Besides Tagalog, Malayan and Spanish, his linguistic proficiency encompassed seven European languages, plus Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic. A versatile genius, he achieved recognition as a novelist, anthropologist, linguist, biologist, zoologist, sculptor, painter, jounalist, illustrator and physician.

He became a hero to the Filipino people through his fearless exposure of the injustices of the civil and clerical officials mainly through his writings, especifically his novels "Noli me Tangere" & "El Filibusterismo", provoking the animosity of those in power (Spaniards). He sought social and political reforms through peaceful means, however, the authorities accused him of plotting and leading the armed revolt. After a mock trial, with "bought" witnesses, he was convicted of rebellion, sedition and of forming illegal association. In the morning of December 30, 1896, Dr. Rizal, 35 years old, was executed at Bagumbayan Field, now known as Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. This was a man, who proved he could equal or surpassed the capacity/ability of those in power (Spaniards). The Philippines haven't had an individual of Dr. Jose Rizal's genius. What a waste of talent.

When we visited his monument in Madrid, I couldn't help but get emotional. There it was, in Spain (sort of our motherland), a statue honoring him. It's hypocritical; the Spaniards were the ones who had him executed!

Update: 20 June 2009, Wilhemsfeld, Germany

Mike and I attended Dr. Jose Rizal Fest sponsored by the Order of Knights of Rizal and the Ladies of Rizal, Wilhemsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter. There were speeches (of course), wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a program of knighting of a new member, cultural dances, and a one person-act of the significant women in Dr. Jose Rizal's first novel, "Noli Me Tangere". As with all Filipino gatherings/celebrations, there is eating. Yum-yum. Ethnic Philippine foods were offered. (Photos of the fest in my Personal Albums titled Dr. Jose Rizal 2009 Fest).

A very happy Kiyoko!

Dec 2010. This year, snow came early - the last week in November. The snow melted but soon after, we got fresh snow. Frrigid temperature is not specific to our area. There are news of freezing temperatures and record snowfalls in many places.

Kiyoko was in heaven; she loves playing on the snow!

My little best friend

I am a 'dog' person. There were only a few years in my whole lifetime when I did not have a dog and that was when I lived in a dormitory, then later when we lived in a small apartment.

I found that my dog is the only friend I have when we move to a new place, and move we do a lot. She's the equivalent of a cheap psychiatrist. My dog had saved my sanity many a times. I talked to it a lot, especially when the kids were in school and my hubby at work. And even after I start meeting new friends, my dog remains my best friend. And now that our kids are out of the house, my dog fills that void in my life, as well.

Kiyoko came into our lives in June of 2005 when she was only eight weeks old. She was an itty bitty puppy, whom I found in a young woman's arms in a pet shop. I went there to buy a Shi tzu that I had seen the week before, but it was already sold when I got there. I was dead set on going home with a puppy. And there she was, the one for me! I couldn't get my eyes off of her. She had a very dark face, but very cute and she has big beautiful eyes. The young lady noticed how I was staring at it and asked if I wanted to hold it. Once I took it in my hands, I did not let go. It was love at first sight.

After she and I got home, I went to fill her water bowl in the kitchen sink. She followed me and stopped close to my feet, looked up and made a sound telling me something. I couldn't forget that incident- this tiny puppy looking up at me. I didn't know what she was trying to say, but I picked her up and put her against my chest, soothing her and talking to her at the same time. She could possibly be saying, "Thank you for rescuing me from the hullabaloo of the petshop". Ever since, she has been communicating to us in her own way, a different whine for different whims. She is a very special dog, and very smart; she had us trained to do her bidding. :) My husband and I just love indulging her. She is so awesome!

We still had Mr. Max, our 14-year old Golden Retriever, when she joined our family. And the strangest thing happened. Kiyoko adopted Mr. Max as her mom! Mr. Max had a skin overgrowth below his neck (wart-like), and Kiyoko sucked on it like she was nursing. Mr. Max welcomed her like his own and most times they snuggled up together. Sometimes Kiyoko became too much for the aging Mr. Max and he would let her know. We since lost him; a sad memory for us. Kiyoko seemed lost and did not eat for almost a week.

Kiyoko has since turned a lighter color. She had her 5th birthday on 08 April 2010. She's a puppy no more, but cute regardless!

Once in a decade retelling of Jesus's last days

Oberammergau was struck by the black plague and when villagers continue to die with each passing day, the villagers made a vow to retell Jesus Christ's story if the village would be spared. After the promise was made, it seemed the purging stopped. From then on, for the last 376 years with few exceptions, the villagers put on the Passion Play every ten years to fulfill the promise. The actors must be born or have lived in the village at least 20 years.

The play is told in 11 acts and is 5 1/2 hours long with a 3-hour intermission. It is in Deutsch, but an English translation is available in a book. The play runs all through the summer until early October.

More pictures in an album down at the bottom of the page.

  • Intro Updated Apr 19, 2013
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