July 15, 2015

Love Never Fails

It has only been weeks since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the right to marry to everyone in their country, regardless of gender. Many people celebrated this remarkable event by flooding the streets with rainbow flags, and even the social media overflowed with rainbows too, with people across the world showing their support to the LGBTQI community.

It was heartening when I saw some gay friends changed their profile photos into rainbow themes, especially those who I knew were out for a long time and were in relationships. It's like seeing that they are hopeful that marriage equality could happen in the Philippines. I bet, it would be a long fight. On the other hand, I could also spot people using the rainbow themes not knowing the reasons why, or not understanding what 'Celebrate Pride' meant. So much for going with the flow.

I understood that the marriage equality ruling allowed same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits that heterosexual couples were granted upon marriage. This legalization does not force the religious communities that do have a strong belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. These events had me thought about my personal stand about marriage, about same-sex relationships, about sexuality, with the teachings I have learned from the church and the society.

Yes, I have friends who are openly gay and who are in a relationship with their same sex. I don't tell them that homosexuality is a sin, and I try as much not to judge people according to their gender, or according to anything at all for that matter. Judging others entirely, based on some criteria is another sin. We are not living in a time when homosexuality was considered a disorder. We are in a society where we accepted that people's gender is not only categorized as male or female. There were a lot of categories in fact. You can check this out.

I read some articles tackling some questions and answers about this same-sex marriage that helped me understand some confusions that I had. I will list down the links below. The legal definition of marriage was modified upon the ruling in the U.S. and took effect in all its states. Same-sex marriages have been happening in different parts of the world even before the June 26th event, and these have been termed as civil unions, life partnership to name a few. You can look out for the timeline of same-sex marriage to be familiar with the history. So why was it a big deal then when U.S. approved this marriage equality? There a lot of issues in fact, but one was that this event gave hope and encouragement to gay communities in other countries to also fight more for their right to marry. After all, many countries look up to the U.S. just like the Philippines, which largely based the legal setup on the U.S. system.

But how does this event affect someone who lives not in the U.S.? I, for one, rethink about what marriage means to me. Some say we marry for love. Some say we marry for stability. Some marry for the benefits that they will be granted. Yes, it is a union - a sacred and exclusive union between my husband and I; blessed with God so we can grow in faith and love as we build a family. That's what I believe marriage is - so that people can procreate and contribute to the betterment of family life and society. I believe that we all wanted to keep our society safe, secure, and developing. That could be our common ground. I hope that this milestone will bring progress and not chaos to the majority. I hope that this will bring improvement to the family life, and not just to individuals.

Amidst the hashtags (#LoveWins), I hope that love really wins among us. Beyond the fighting back, hatred, shaming and deeming this same-sex marriage act sinful, we can still choose to love. After all, we are sinners but we are capable of kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. These are the things that the church have taught me through the years - to be kind and to love in the face of indifference. Because,

Interesting articles to read on (Retrieved on July 15, 2015):
My Answers to Questions About Gay Marriage by Leila Miller
~ 3 Ways Catholics Can Respond to the Same-sex Marriage Ruling by Christopher J. Hale
~ Love Did Not Win, But It Will by Strahlen Smith
~ The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

June 18, 2015

Read, cook, eat

I love eating. I like trying out new and familiar dishes with my husband. Sometimes, I would prepare food for meals back in PH. Most of the time, I was the one assigned to prepare the ingredients for certain dishes - preparations such as chopping, mincing and washing the vegetables and meat to be used. My mom or brother do the cooking most of the time.

I haven't thought that cooking dishes on a daily basis would be such a challenge. Thinking of meals to prepare is a lot harder since I have a limited knowledge on food preparation. Oh, I remember a requisite course about food nutrition I took in the university and I had the same role in our group works, which is measuring the ingredients needed. I never led our group in following cooking and/or baking steps. Thus, preparing meals can be a tough task of a housewife. Who else thinks that being a housewife is underrated?

Anyway, I have tried cooking some dishes for two weeks that I've been here. I would look at what's available in the fridge and what I can prepare with it. Sometimes, we go to the grocery to buy what we need for something that I'd like to try to prepare and eat. The internet (oh, yes) is such a big help in food preparation. Thanks to all the recipes that are budget-friendly and easy to understand. Haha. I can just search keywords and voila - I can scan and choose the recipe that fits.

I'm sharing the photos of some foods that I prepared. Most often than not, the dishes turned out good.

Fish fillet
Chicken with lemon sauce (looks can be deceiving) This turned out sour.

June 10, 2015

On fitting in

It is almost a week since I have been here in Saudi Arabia. And it is almost a week of being a housewife.

I still find adjusting to life in Saudi Arabia easy and manageable. There were lots of changes to live by here suggested by tradition, culture, and religion, that is Islam. First, I am not allowed to go out of our house unless I am with my sponsor, who is my husband. We do our groceries together almost everyday so I can go out every afternoon, after my husband's office work - which is actually a good thing. My husband doesn't care if it's quite inefficient to go out and buy every afternoon because gasoline is cheap, here. Whenever we eat out, we are entitled to some privacy. There is a separate section for families so that families like us do not mix up with groups of bachelor men. Not so bad, right?

Another adjustment that I find practicable is wearing abaya whenever in public. An abaya is a long loose black dress with long sleeves that is worn by women over ordinary dress. It basically covers your skin from your neck down to your ankles. Whenever I go out, I put on my abaya (I have three as of the moment) and bring a shawl to cover up my head when needed. It does not matter what you wear under your abaya. I can go out with outfits that I use at home because my body will be covered anyways. I can wear a dress, or a sleeveless blouse or a pair of shorts; it doesn't matter because people won't see it with my abaya on. Well, hello to a new version of fashion! I have shawls of different colors anyways!:) (I'm sharing photos of us below.)
On Wednes--, errrr, every day, I wear black.
The weather in this part of the world is a new experience to me. When I arrived here from the Philippines, it was quite hazy because of sandstorm. From where I came from, the weather ranges from too hot to rainy. But here in Saudi Arabia, it can be too hot and sandy. I don't know when winter comes. For safety reasons, we don't go out when the wind is howling with sands.

All in all, I find this country that I'm in likeable plus, I would like to go to new places, whether it's a mall, a small restaurant in some street, a grocery store, or a desert! It's just a matter of perspective and I'm claiming this 'moving in' will take me to places and learnings.

June 6, 2015


May had some good things coming that were worth talking about but sadly, I was not able to share it here. Since I have some free time (A LOT) for now, I am glad to get back in writing here!

Last month, I was preparing some documents that I will be using for my travel to Saudi Arabia. I got some documents that needed to be authenticated, I underwent a medical check-up and processed visa stamping before we finally purchased a one-way ticket to the KSA. Aside from these, I was trying to make the most of my time with my family, friends and churchmates. 

I only told a few friends that I will be leaving soon and some kept on asking until when will I be staying in KSA. And when I finally told our school head that I might be leaving probably on the first week of June, she told me to apply for resignation so I would be cleared quickly. I had my clearance signed and resignation letter filed.

Now, I am finally here in KSA with my husband! I kind of lost track of time because of time difference and the distance I had to travel. I'm still adjusting to the culture which I bet will take a lot of time.

Anyway, even though I'm really far from my hometown, from my family, from the place and people I grew up with, I have this feeling of security. I feel at home. My husband and I have been away from each other for long before our marriage and it feels like we've finally overcome the distance. We've gone the distance to be together and chose to face this life with each other. It's a great feeling.

I am claiming the greater things that will come for both us and for the people we love. Things are going to be more exciting! Oh, grateful.

April 16, 2015

Our story (in photographs and poetry)

If I had known everything I know about who you are back when I didn't know a thing about you, I would’ve pulled you aside sooner & said Thank You for being one of the most incredible people I will ever know.
In that moment, our eyes met & I remember thinking This is what it is like to be struck by lightning, knowing I would never be untouched by you again.

Tied together by stuff too difficult to explain to someone new.

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