Post-Vacation

My May birthday vacation made me open my FB and IG again to upload some photos. I didn’t upload much like before. I’ve just uploaded, maybe, 4-5 pictures per day, mainly from IG shared to FB. After the vacation, I deleted the apps. I haven’t opened them since. And it’s been almost a month!

Do I think of checking on them and see what’s going on? Sure! I’ve tried once,  but I got too overwhelmed! So many things has been going on I couldn’t keep up. So I shut it down and deleted it.

The only thing is that, I don’t know what’s going on with my friends, relatives and co-workers. I go to work, find out a co-worker is missing, only to learn that he already resigned. Everybody knew except me. Then one of my co-worker’s Mom died and I’ve come to know about it 4 days later when someone was passing a card to sign. I mean, when it comes to actual gossips at work, I was always the last one to know. And now that I’m not active in FB and IG anymore, it feels like I don’t know anything about anyone anymore, which is great! I keep up by actual conversation. I don’t keep up with gossips, mind you. I just like having actual conversations rather than small talks.

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I have this photo on my phone to remind me to enjoy the moment as it unfolds right before your eyes. You can keep a memory frozen in a photo or video, but the best memories are always kept in our minds. I even got my husband to quit FB too. Now before we go to bed, we have amazing conversations that we ended up sleeping late. The feeling of connection is so strong, I feel like we’re getting to know each other a little bit more everyday even if we’ve already known each other for 20 years.

It feels so liberating to be able to escape from the shackles of social media. When I was in Yosemite, staring at the wonderful creation of God, I felt one with nature. I felt at peace. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I’d like to preserve that feeling. Being free from social media made me come back to the present moment.

I am presently trying to practice minimalism, and my husband agrees with it. Less stuff, less clutter, more room, more space. I am trying to get rid of some of our stuff that we hardly use. You know what, it feels amazing. I feel lighter, like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder. We don’t just buy stuff that we wanted. We think first if we really need it. And we ended up not buying anything.

Enjoy the moment!

 

 

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Don’t Call Me on the Phone

 

 

I don’t like talking to people on the phone. I just dread it when I see my phone ringing. I can text. I can type really fast. But I just can’t talk on the phone.

I can answer phone calls when the person calling is somebody close to me like my family or my closest friends. Sometimes, I even hesitate answering phone calls from friends. Texting to me is more convenient. You can answer anytime you want and you can choose to ignore them anytime you want.

I don’t know why I don’t like talking to people on the phone. It gives me an anxiety whenever I hear the phone ringing. I don’t answer numbers that aren’t listed on my phone book. Even if they are, it takes me a while to decide if I should even answer it or not.

I would rather talk to the person in person rather than on the phone. Video calling is not even acceptable to me. Maybe I’m shy, or maybe I’m just too introverted. But I just can’t.

Distractions: Social Media & Smart Phone

I got inspired reading someone else’s blog, so let me try to rekindle my long lost love affair with writing.

I used to love writing. I would write just about anything. I would write in a journal, a piece of paper, a notebook, this blog. I would have thoughts about writing. And I would have been itching to write down my thoughts. It would be nonstop once I started writing. The thoughts will just start pouring and I would just be contented writing and thinking about writing the next day.

And reading. I mean, I still read. I still hoard books even if I still have a pile high of other unread books collecting dust in my book shelf waiting to be read. I get comfort in buying books knowing that I would eventually read them all someday. I miss that feeling when I sleep late because of reading, and then wake up grabbing my book first thing in the morning before I get up from bed and start my day. And then I would make some coffee. That feeling when you sip your bittersweet coffee, not taking your eyes away from the book that you’re reading, because you don’t want to miss any event that’s happening in a different world contained in the pages you’re holding at the very moment. And then you just suddenly snap out of that world and realize that you have to deal with the present moment. You have to prepare for work. Grabbing your book with your bookmark in place, carefully placing them in your bag because you know you’d be reading it inside the bus on the way to work.

Whatever happened?

Social media happened. Smart phones happened.

It has a lot to offer. Suddenly, you have this smart phone that contain e-books, blogs, online diaries, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. It took away my precious time. It has been my constant companion. I am aware that I’m hooked but I couldn’t let go. I’ve invested a lot in it: memories, photos, keeping track of my friends, acquaintances, family, co-workers. I can talk to anyone by just sending them messages over the phone. I can search anything in it. I can access my email, my bank account, pay my bills, shop etc. It’s one heck of everything in one smart phone.

I admit I have thoughts about deleting everything and just buy myself a flip phone where I can call people in my phone book or send them text messages. But that would mean not being able to see what my friends are up to or chat with my family anytime on messenger. Not to mention all of the photos I’ve uploaded. J even challenged me to delete our Facebook account. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up to that challenge. I’m just thinking about all of our photos on Facebook. It has been like my virtual photo album.

I do have constant thoughts on how to avoid checking my phone. But once boredom kicks in or lack of things to do, I find myself checking my cellphone.

The first step to cure addiction is acceptance. Accept and let go. Find other (useful) things to do. Things that you used to love doing. Those things considered old fashioned or old school. Stay away from your phone. Start using your laptop. It’s really useful. In fact, I’m using it right now. I will try to document, as much as possible, the steps I will undertake to get rid of this smartphone/social media addiction.

Aja, fighting!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, I have a Blog

I’ve been very distracted with a lot of things. I neglected reading and I lost my interest in writing. I’m not saying that I’m a writer. I’m just the type of person who loves to write her thoughts with not a care in this world. I love reading my thoughts. It’s like trying to communicate with my inner self without an audience.

Let me tell you the things I’m distracted of. First of all, it’s this damn thing called social media. I admit, I’m hooked. It’s like a part of my body. I wake up and I grab my phone. The last thing I tinker before I sleep? My phone. When I’m bored at work or I have idle time, I look at my phone. When I’m alone, I seek comfort with my phone. I feel a certain connection with people I know. It feels like watching people and entertaining yourself at the same time. Which is a bad thing.

I’m aware that I’m losing connection with the present moment. I know that I’m present, but my mind is away. Spending time with my husband at home is just in its physical form. I’m there but my mind is busy looking at my phone. I admit that it often creates a problem between us. I know that I should stop doing it. But I still find myself staring at my phone even when I’m not aware.

Second, work. Work feels something like a lifesaver. You have to do it in order to survive. If you don’t work, you can’t afford to live, unless you have a multi-billionaire for a husband. Work is always exhausting. It burns me out. I always count on my day off. I always dread going to work.

And then after work, number three, I feel like I deserve to be lazy. I’ve worked my ass off literally and I deserve to rest. And to rest means I don’t have to do anything. I eat, sleep, watch TV, tinker on my phone, chat with my husband, sleep and either be ready for work the next day, or be ready to get lazy on my days off.

Fourth, I’m so obsessed with my own thoughts. I always feel the need to improve myself. And I get so frustrated when I fail or I don’t have the drive to do something to achieve my goals. I always look at how I was in the past. How thin I was, how active I was, how determined and discipline I was.

Fifth, I’m obsessed about de-stressing. I seek out zen practices. I listen to Headspace and Calm apps for meditation. I buy stuff that would bring peace and calm in our apartment. But with the littlest stress, I crumble. And I’m back to square one.

Then I remember, oh, I have a blog. Let me write something.These are the things that keep my mind busy. I just hope that I can develop that meditation technique to help me get rid of the unnecessary distractions that’s taking a toll in my life right now.

Life After Thyroidectomy

It’s been a whirlwind since the start of 2017. 

2016 was promising. New life. New place. New friends. New job.

But 2017 took me by surprise.

It all started when a colleague noticed a lump in my neck while giving her a report. At first I was like, what? I was trying to feel my neck but I couldn’t feel any lump. Then she guided my hands to the lump and there it was. 

I went to the restroom to check my neck on the mirror. It wasn’t that obvious. But I admit I was kind of bothered. What if it grew? It would look ugly, like I have a goiter or something. So I showed it to my close friend in ER. And she called one of our doctors to take a look at it. So he examined me and said I should try to monitor it. It might be nothing. So I just shrugged it off thinking, hey, maybe it would go away.

I also told this casually to my former preceptor and she was all like, “hey, get it checked. You know Pat? She had the exact same thing. Then for all you know, it turned out to be cancer and she had it removed. If I were you I would go see a doctor right away.”

But the thing here in the US, you can’t just walk in to a clinic to see a doctor. You have to establish a Primary Care Provider before you are seen. I asked one of our Physician Assistant to refer me a PCP. I called the office and I was scheduled for an appointment after 2 months. So the PA referred me to an ENT specialist and I was scheduled to be seen right away.

I went just to put my mind at ease. I know it was nothing. The doctor did an ultrasound and told me that the lump on my left thyroid is bigger than normal. He suggested doing a biopsy to see whether it’s cancerous or not. He made an appointment and I left.

I was afraid of the procedure. It means they would put a long needle on my neck to get some samples. I was so afraid that I cancelled the appointment. I thought to myself this would go away.

But then the PA and my other colleagues urged me to do it. Just so I can have a peace of mind.

So I called the clinic and rescheduled. The procedure was uncomfortable but it wasn’t that bad. The doctor told me he’d call me for the result after 1 week.

I was at work when the doctor called. He started saying that it was cancer. Then he started telling me the next steps and that someone will call me to arrangefor  the schedule of my surgery. They had to remove my whole thyroid.

I was trying to absorb what the doctor just said. The word cancer sounds like a farfetched idea. It seems like he’s talking about another person not me. It feels like I’m watching everything in slow motion. I have to tell J. I went to the breakroom and saw my close friend. So I dragged her inside and told her what the doctor told me. I just found myself crying and hysterical. She called our Charge Nurse so I can go home. I couldn’t talk. I just cried uncontrollably. They tried to pacify me and some of them are also crying with me. The Charge Nurse let me go home. So I called J. 

I didn’t tell J right away. When I told him he was quiet. He just let me cry. When we reached home, he hugged me tight. I just cried and cried. When I felt better, I decided to tell my family about it. My Mom wants to come here immediately. I told her I’ll be fine. 

Before I went home, my Charge Nurse let me talk to Pat, the Nurse who had the same fate as me. She told me everything there is to know about thyroid cancer. She said it’s the most treatable cancer so I don’t have to worry about it.

I just needed some time to absorb the news. I called my agency and they arranged for my short term disability and sick leave. J and I spent the rest of the day at home, with me sulking in bed. The next day, I avoided everybody who is calling. Some friends dropped by the apartment but I told J to tell them I don’t feel like talking or seeing anybody right now.

On my 3rd day, I asked J if we can spend time at the lake. It was freezing outside. We took our thick  jackets, brought some food and went to the lake. It was beautiful and peaceful. We fed the ducks and just sat there admiring the view. We went home and I was feeling much, much better.

The date of the surgery came. It all felt like a movie scene. My colleagues were very supportive of me. The sent me flowers and cards. My friends were there to pay me a visit, gave me flowers and stuffed toy and some food. Everyone was really wonderful.

I had 9 days to stay at home and rest. After that I went back to work like nothing happened. My colleagues were really nice and helpful. I find the first few weeks at work exhausting. But I think my body finally adjusted to the Synthroid I’m taking every morning before breakfast.

I’m doing okay so to speak. I have learned to appreciate life and the people around me more. I am truly blessed for everything despite of. 

Who would’ve thought I’d be able to survive this? I’m amazed myself. I feel like I’m stronger than before. After all, I am a survivor.

My Life in the US

It’s been more than a year since I came here. It was a mixture of excitement and fear. I was excited to be in a new place, meet new friends and start a new life with J. Fear of what will happen and what my new job in another ER will be.

J and I finally lived in an apartment of our own and driving our own car. Since I’m the only one working for now, J became a house husband taking care of all our needs, all the cooking and cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, ironing etc. We finally got used to the arrangement. My salary is just right for us. Living in this part of Texas is cheap. So we were able to get by and save some. 

My work place is huge. I was overwhelmed at first. This is the real deal. My new colleagues gave me a warm welcome. They were really nice and supportive. There was no hostility around. There was no negative energy. Everyone is helping one another. Even the Doctors are nice. No one is superior. No one yells at you. The Charge Nurse, the Nurse Supervisors are all great. The only stress we have is the workload. There are a lot of sick patients. I tell you, even the patients here are nice. You might encounter one or two rude patients but they’re usually on drugs or they have psychiatric problems.

The people here will smile at you and greet you. They will open doors for you. The place is simple. No tall buildings around. Just a small town with trees and greeneries.

I’m loving this place.I cannot tell how much. It’s been more than a year now and I couldn’t complain. 

Starting a New Life in a 46kg Luggage

 

photo credits from Pinterest
 
As I stare at the mess in our room, the travel bags, mountainful of clothes, unkempt laundry, documents and other trinkets, I feel so overwhelmed that I can’t help but to reminisce.

More than 5 years ago, I started my life in Abu Dhabi, UAE with a 30kg luggage on hand. I had $1000 and a pocketful of hope. I eventually found a job, rented a 900dhs bed space in a cramped bedroom and started living independently. I met new friends and built new memories away from home.

I married a year after (to my boyfriend of 12 years) and moved out. We accumulated a lot of stuffs and memories together.

Now onto the next chapter, we’re finally heading another path. In 12 days, we’ll be moving out to another country.

I started by emptying out our drawers and found a lot of sentimental stuff that may not mean so much to other people, but it means a whole lot to us. How can I throw away the small love notes that we leave everytime we don’t see each other? And how about the things we bought that we love so much but can’t bring it with us? I guess we have been too attached to things and memories that it makes it hard for us to let go.

Then I remembered the 30kg luggage when I started my life here. It may look so easy but before I came down to 30kg, I had a hard time parting with the things I love. But I was able to go through it without any regret.

Now that I’m gonna start a brand new life in another country with my husband, trying to fit our lives in a 46kg luggage each is also a big challenge. But as we try to sort out again and again the things we need to bring from the things we need to let go whole heartedly, we finally learn that starting all over again and leaving the old stuff behind is the only way to do it. 

Now, as I stare into the pile of accumulated things and memories, I think I’m ready to start a whole new life with my husband.