Lessons in Feminism, From my Father.

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I remember one time, my parents and I were travelling in the car on the way home from somewhere. I remember travelling in the car with them a lot, when I was young. We lived on a farm, so even going to the local town meant a good 45 minutes in the car. So obviously, to pass the time, we often talked together. One of the interesting things about my memories of these conversations is how many of them were about ideas. We didn’t really talk about what was happening on the farm or at school. We talked about more abstract concepts.

On this particular occasion, Dad was talking about church, and mentioned something he’d said in a sermon. ‘Could I give sermons when I grow up?’ I asked him. ‘Could I be a priest?’

It was the mid-80s. We were Anglican Church-goers, and the idea of women in the…

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HELP! Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Watching the news has always been a chore for me. But these days, I’ve been watching it intently because of the super typhoon that recently hit my country. It’s hard to just sit down and wait for things to get better. So I thought the best I could do to help is inspire other people to help too in the best way I know how – writing. This is my first Indiegogo campaign. Together, we can make a difference.

SHORT SUMMARY

Typhoon Haiyan – the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history – hit the Philippines a few days ago. News reporters say that this typhoon makes hurricanes Sandy and Katrina look weak. With that being said, the aftermath is devastating. The death toll is a scary statistics for it increases day by day. However much we try, there is nothing we can do to take back the lives that have been lost. But there is something we can do to protect and preserve those that have been spared.

When I watch the news, I see survivors. They have demonstrated an unparalleled level of strength and resiliency. Yet they remain weary for they know fully well that their battle against disaster is far from over. They are hungry, thirsty and sick. These physical needs coupled with emotional struggles over trauma, loss, and grief seem unbearable. Unless…

“Unless someone like you cared a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ Dr. Seuss

My name is Rio Cornell Dy Golo. I was born and raised in the Philippines. My hometown, Maasin City, is a mere 3-hour drive south from Tacloban City. Under different circumstances, the survivors – or worse, the corpses – on TV could have included me or my family. Tragedy, in all honesty, could happen to anybody. But we’ve been blessed. Let us be a blessing to others too.

WHAT WE NEED & WHAT YOU GET

The typhoon victims need our help. They need food and water the most. This campaign is focused on their most immediate needs. Full recovery from the storm is a long and continuous process. But right now, I just want to help survivors thrive. I would be devastated if the survivors got away with Haiyan but gave in to starvation. Because this is preventable. And we can all help.

The money I get from this campaign will be used to buy relief goods – primarily, food and water – which will be personally distributed through the help of people I know and trust back home.

Every penny counts. As little as 7.50 USD can feed a family of four in one day – that’s three full meals.

THE IMPACT

Your spare change is somebody’s bread and butter. Your contribution can literally save people’s lives. It will help quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger. And I believe that there is no better feeling than in knowing you have given somebody somewhere a reason to smile once more.

Aside from the satisfaction that comes with giving, you will also get my perpetual gratitude for your kindness and compassion. In behalf of my fellow Filipinos, thank you! May God bless you a thousandfold.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP

It’s a hard life and money is a big issue for a lot of us. If you can’t make a contribution right now, I understand. But there are other ways to help. Spread the word. Maybe someone you know will be willing to make a contribution. Or simply put your palms together, close your eyes, and say a little prayer.

And that’s all there is to it. Thank you! Click here to help.

The Law-Abiding Citizen

It’s all over the news. Hearing of the event for the first time was a surreal moment for me. I must be dreaming, I thought. 911 is a call for help – literally and figuratively. Why would you dial the number if help is something you refuse to give? Such irony is too big it’s contained me for days. And there’s no way out. So I must rant about it. The one thing I do best.

For those who haven’t heard, here’s a brief summary of what happened. One day in an independent living facility, a resident had a heart attack. Pulseless, breathless, and unconscious – three prerequisites to CPR. Seeing this, a nurse called 911. Expectedly, the dispatcher instructed to begin CPR immediately. But the nurse insisted on following protocol: “We don’t do CPR.” The resident died.

As a nurse, I felt insulted by the nurse’s response to the situation. How could you refuse to attempt to revive anyone on full code? The nurse followed the rules. That was their only premise. Legally, she did the right thing. But ethically and morally, she disgraced herself and the nursing community. She chose to protect a license over a life. Unfortunately, she forgot what she was licensed for – to save and protect life at all cost.

This true story reminded me of my favorite black shirt in high school. In all caps, in white and pink, it read: LIFE IS SHORT, BREAK SOME RULES. What happened in the facility gave a different light to these words. It’s not just a statement of teenage rebellion, like I always interpreted it to be. It’s about the long standing fact that rules sometimes strangulate us. Too tightly on both carotid arteries. We should know when to stop obeying without asking. Recognize a matter of life and death. And choose wisely – although that’s not necessary. It’s not at all a dilemma. Life or death – what would you choose? Yes, rhetorical.

I could go on and on forever about my personal perspective on this issue. I’m a girl. I don’t easily run out of things to say. But even if I fracture a finger or two over excessive typing, I couldn’t bring back the life that’s been lost and the opportunity to resuscitate an elderly back to life. So I won’t dwell on it. Instead, I’ll learn from it and hope I could encourage you to do the same thing.

The world holds a vast ocean of knowledge and skills right now. Acquisition of those new breakthroughs is pretty simple. Anyone can do it. But only a true person can deliver something from theory to a real emergency.

Now there’s just one thing left to ask, Are you a true person?

No, not rhetorical.

Map My Love

It all started with a commercial. That big romantic gesture thing that made my heart melt. It was inspiring and worth-copying. So with a mobile app handy, I decided to get out there and map my run with a route of love. Just like on TV – except my workout wouldn’t be Cycling, for a rather painful truth.

The first time I gave it a shot, I was clueless. I’m not very good with reading maps, thank God for technology and technology for interactive maps that figures me out instead of the other way around. All I had in mind was the goal of coming up with a heart-shaped route around the neighborhood. I didn’t know how or where to begin. I just kept running and decided I’d find the right turns to make along the way. Then I ended up with some sort of shape – obviously not a heart. And only I can tell what it was supposed to be. The second time around, I journeyed on again around the neighborhood to have a better version of my first map. Still, epic disaster.

I learned a few lessons from my spontaneous workouts. One standout note to self was to never forget to put on sunscreen. Another one was to have a snack thirty minutes before jogging. I once starved halfway through my run. It slowed me down – which was not at all helpful, considering that I still needed to pass 2 miles to finish where I started and get something to eat. And most importantly, I learned not to venture without a concrete plan. Shame on me if I make these mistakes the third time. So I mapped my perfectly heart-shaped route online. Valentine’s Day came and I decided it was time to actualize my plan. I had crackers at 2:30 and put on a generous amount of sunscreen before leaving the house at 3:00 to jog – again – equipped for the first time.

It should have made a significant impact. But did it? You be the judge of that.

mapPlans don’t always work out the way we want them to. We all know that. But I was silly to expect that this plan would be one of those that actually materialize perfectly. Clearly, I was wrong. But I’m not ashamed to admit that because more than a reminder for a sunscreen and a snack, I realized a great deal about love by the collage I made myself from scratch – without a camera, just a mobile app and a pair of tired legs.

We are constantly searching for love, consciously or unconsciously. Some of us just go with the tides of the world and the circumstances that surround it. Just like my first run, we just put ourselves out there without a predetermined method of execution of this endless scavenger hunt for love. The results would vary. Like my failed attempt to draw a heart, some of you may find yourself in a disastrous love affair. The response would also vary. We could either give up, try it again the same way, or be smarter and plan ahead.

It is the latter that gave birth to the idea of The Perfect Man or My Ideal Guy or just a mental or printed checklist of qualifications – as if the position of boyfriend/girlfriend was no more than a job opening on Craigslist. We do it. And I tried to do it with my ideal map. But reality took its toll and I still ended up unable to make ends meet – literally. The truth is, there are just too many obstacles we don’t account for when we plan. I, for instance, did not think about passing by one dead end after another or the fact that I had to go in and out of somebody’s house to follow the course I prepared. Yes, I stepped on people’s lawns and even tried to get the closest possible to somebody’s front door even if it made their dog growl even more – which is a big deal for me who’d been bitten by one before. But there are only so many things we can do for a perfect map. For the perfect guy.

Love is a route easier plotted than trotted. But despite the imperfect picturesque of my reality, I ended my run happy and contented. And proud for having tried in the first place. If like my run, you find yourself in a relationship that’s a little less ideal than the happy ever after you see on TV, ask yourself why you chose to be and stay in it. If it’s because you’re happy and contented with it – even when you’re not with Prince Charming or you don’t have the luxury to live in a mansion with a ranch – you’re where you’re supposed to be.

One of the biggest mistakes of my first two runs was striving to finish where I started although I knew it would disfigure the heart I was aiming for. We don’t have to take unnecessary detours to get back where we came from. A journey towards finding love has an indefinite finish line. The best we could do is to know when to stop.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pamper Myself

I was in high school when I got an unsolicited advice from an unlikely person to “pamper myself”. I didn’t know why I would be told to do that. I was healthy and eating too well to be mistaken for someone sickly. Plus, I had a family who wouldn’t let me skip breakfast even if meant being late for my first class in the morning. In short, I was perfectly fine. And I thought I didn’t need the advice. I was grateful for it nonetheless.

After many academic years, I look back at the suggestion. And finally, I am able to make some sense out of it. I was always driven to keep my grades up and my extra curricular activities loaded. I joined every contest I qualify for. I signed up for various clubs and organizations in and out of school. And I loved being a part of every school activity. I was a very busy high school girl. I kept a low profile in college – but mainly because my subjects were enough to keep me preoccupied without compromising a weekly day or night out.

“Pamper yourself”, he said. With an unwanted vacation, I stay at home all day and week long. I have nothing and no one to worry about but myself. And that’s how I realized what it really meant. I needed to relax. I was so uptight and I had to loosen up. And that’s what I’m doing right now. I make sure I get enough sleep every night, exercise regularly, and eat right. 

While I take a break from the busy life I got used to, I’m giving myself a chance to make up for the lost “me time” in the past. I do find it boring – too boring – to sit home and do nothing. I was too trained too well for stress and pressure that I can’t seem to deal with life at their absence. But I’m trying. And I hope I’m doing correctly this pampering.

And to father, wherever the circumstances of life and your vocation have taken you into, thank you. I am proud to say, I heed your advice. And I guess it’s never too late. And I’m double-guessing you agree.

Dad’s Send-Off

I always knew that a one-way ticket to LAX was no vacation. Beside me on about 20hours of flying and a 9hour stopover, there was dad. He would make sure I am all set and ready to face the world. When he leaves, I would be settled – licensed USRN with a job. Or so we planned.

There were rumors. The BRN had new rules for which foreign applicants, especially those sharing my ethnicity, could not qualify. I’ve been warned. And I warned dad. He played brave, saying we had to gamble. I applied, despite the circumstances. And we hoped for a miracle.

It took a lot of effort and some patience to get a response. And it took all of me to bear the news I had on hand when the mail finally came. I read and re-read, hoping the words would be different the second, third, or fourth time. But it wasn’t. With all certainty, I declared I was disqualified. I had a “deficiency” which I had to make up for by taking 2 more courses. Nonsense, I’m a nurse in my country already.

The letter put my career on hold. I had a chance at making things happen. But it would take time – something my dad didn’t have much of. He had to go back home where his job is and where my younger siblings need him more than I do. He always asked me if I’d be okay on my own, living with my aunt and her family, to settle my career. I answered a courageous YES all the time.

The drive to the airport took forever. It didn’t, really. It just felt like it for me. At the airport, I remained calm. I hugged him goodbye as he lined up for the terminal, promising I’ll go home soon. But we both knew that would take some time to achieve. I didn’t cry, at least not where anyone can see. I know I’ll be alright. Still, I cried myself to sleep, missing my family secretly. Because the last thing I want is for them to worry of me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Once a year, we celebrate two words we come across with every single day: Thank You! Thanksgiving is more of an alien to me though it is a long-standing tradition for many. And even in my first participation in such occasion, I feel inclined towards next year’s celebration. In this crazy world, we can’t seem to let a day pass without complaint. But in this once-a-year moment, we recollect the good things that go unnoticed and account the blessings often unappreciated.

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We have so much to be thankful for. Life, love, family, friends – simply put, the world and all that comes with it. Whatever makes today extra special to you – day off for hard workers, cooking opportunity for kitchen amateurs such as myself, cheat day for the most honest weight-watchers, or just a chance to enjoy a hearty meal with the people that matter most – savor every second of it. If you don’t, I’m sorry but you’re gonna have to wait 565,600 minutes for this day to come around again.

Happy Thanksgiving! From our dining table to yours! 🙂

Now, who’s ready for some Black Friday shopping?

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