Thursday, 31 May 2007

Do Animals Grieve for their Dead?

It was Tuesday. Jim and I were walking down Prince of Wales Road. He came to Norwich to have lunch with me. We were walking past an old building when I saw three grey pigeons sheltered under a window ledge at the side of the building. The one right in the middle was dying. Jim and I stopped walking and looked at them. It seemed that the two pigeons were protecting the weak pigeon – from the cold or from predators, I wouldn’t know. But they were there. Then Jim and I proceeded to have lunch. On the way back to where I work, we saw the weak pigeon on its own. Dead. One of the two pigeons were a few feet away and it looked like it was mourning. Eyes closed and head bowed to its chest. It looked grieving. It looked sad. The other was nowhere in sight. This made me wonder - do animals grieve for their dead? I think they do. A few days ago, I watched a film called ‘March of the Penguins.’ Amazingly, penguins behave like human beings when caring for their young. Due to the cold weather in the Antarctic, most of their young do not survive. When one passes away, the mother grieves for it. It cries and stays with the body as if still hoping it’ll come back to life. Not too long ago, I read something in the paper about a gold fish trying to comfort another gold fish that was dying. The writer described how it stayed until the dying gold fish was finally dead. Do they have feelings as well? Do they know how to get sad? I always observe how animals behave and when I was watching ‘March of the Penguins,’ I realized one thing – that animals do not go against their nature. They just do what they are here for – mothers care for their young and fathers provide for them. As with the Penguins, fathers and mothers are monogamous – at least for a year – until it is time for them to part ways again. The father cares for the chick penguin when the mother goes away to find food. I like how they seem to show love to each other when they reunite after a few months hunting for food in the sea. I was in awe how they protect each other and how they know that together - they survive, but divided - they all die. It’s amazing that even animals know how to love…and know the importance of family and togetherness. …and yes, I do believe they grieve for their dead. PS: I did not take a photograph of the pigeons as I know you wouldn’t like it...because it was such a pitiful sight.

Monday, 28 May 2007

I'm awestruck

There's really nothing to write about. I just want to post this lovely photograph of Big Ben. I really admire the intricate structural design of the building and this huge clock. When Jim and I went to London and I saw it for the first time, I just stood there, awestruck. I just want to look at it. It's beautiful.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

When my husband goes to the kitchen...

Jim is a loving husband. When he is on his night off, he makes it a point to do something special for me. He tries to take my mind off from homesickness and worrying. Last Wednesday, he took me to dinner in a nice restaurant, which is unusual because he had to go to work at 8 p.m. and we were still in Norwich at 6:30 p.m. I was thinking this came about because I wasn't feeling very well the previous night. It was only a simple backache and it was gone in the morning but Jim, because of his loving nature, always tries to make me feel better. He thinks that sometimes I have these aches and pains because I am fed up with the everyday routine or I miss home or I miss my family. Somehow, he correlates what I am physically feeling to homesickness.

On Friday night, he cooked something special for me. Cottage pie. I watched him as he prepared all the ingredients. Onions. Carrots. Tomatoes. Beef stock cubes. Seasonings. Lots of ground black pepper. He said the more the seasoning, the tastier. Instead of using minced beef, he opted to minced vegetable meat which I prefer as well. I helped him slice the carrots then left him in the kitchen. I was in front of my computer the whole time. Then he came and told me that the cottage pie is now in the oven. I didn't know exactly how much time we waited for it to cook but he asked me to take it out of the oven. So, I went back to the kitchen. Uhhhmmm, it smelled really tasty, really good...and then my eyes widened in horror! Oh my God! What happened to my kitchen??? It was in complete disarray! Everything all over the place! It looked like cookie monster came and opened all the cupboards and threw everything all over! Breathe in. Breathe out. Cottage pie. Cottage pie. Clean up later. Just enjoy the cottage pie. I took the cottage pie out. It smelled really good. It needed a little bit more time in the oven. After awhile, we were sat at the dining table, enjoying the sumptuous cottage pie. Hhhhhmmmm. Yummy. I momentarily forgot the whole world.

My kitchen just before the invasion

My kitchen after the chaos

After having dinner, I was sat there, quiet. I looked at Jim and uttered a prayer of thanks. Thank you, dear Lord. For a very loving husband like Jim. For my happy marriage. Oh yes, for the cottage pie. And for something to keep me busy tonight - cleaning up my kitchen. Amen.

Yes, I know, I should have called this entry, 'Jim and the Cottage Pie.'

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Lovely Spring!

I am really in awe at the wonders of nature. Although this is my second year in England, it's still such a beautiful experience witnessing the flowers blossoming, the trees growing back their leaves and how the colours are changing. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely amazing. With my mouth open in amazement, I marvel at nature's beauty.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Imaginary Friends

I don't know why, but for some reason, I tend to reminisce a lot about my childhood these days. Last week, it was Caroline (my doll) I was reminiscing about so I wrote about broken toys and then somehow found a way to connect it to broken dreams, etc. This time, though, it's all about this part of my childhood when I had imaginary friends. If you witnessed my childhood, you would probably think I was a looney. But think...children do have imaginary friends, don't they? Or was it only me? (Widens eyes and looks around) Embarrassed Oh, no!
Anyway, let me tell you about some of these 'friends' that people never saw...or some probably did but never knew that they were my friends. One of them was that reflection in the mirror. yes, oh, yes, call me a nutcase, but I did talk to myself in the mirror! I would really converse with the other 'self.' And she talked back to me! Only, it was also me talking, of course, who did you think it was? I used to do this very often that I overheard my Dad saying to my Mom, 'Don't you think we should take our daughter to a Psychiatrist? I am getting worried.' My Mom, who was so used to seeing me talking to my toys, said nonchalantly, 'Oh stop that. She's just playing. Children do that all the time.'
Yes, I said toys. I did talk to my toys (although I didn't have much, really) - I remember talking to Caroline while she was behind that glass. What a pity. I could only talk to my doll behind a glass! (will post her story soon) I also talked to my paper dolls which I made myself. They lived in an improvised dollhouse. I used matchboxes as furniture and my dollhouse was a corrugated box, sometimes I used a cigarette carton. Ahh, a child's innovativeness. I wonder where did it all go? I don't seem to have the same creativity now that I am older. But that's another narrative. I think I can only produce rubbish now...and perhaps children? Tongue Out
Hold it. That's not all. There is something far more special than that beautiful (oh ha!) reflection in the mirror that looked like me (Har! Har Har!) and my dolls. There were lizards as well. Yes! That's right, those tiny crawling creatures with moderately elongate body and tapering tail...some might have another name for it, though. They are sometimes called wall or house lizards. Other times they are called house geckos. But let me just call it that. Lizard. At night, I developed this routine to converse with them before I fell asleep. There was one time, if I remember it right, when my Dad came home late from work. Remember that in those days, there were no mobile phones...(and telegrams came after a week, not the promised next day if you'd send it, you'd arrive at your destination before your telegram). When Mom started to get worried, I would listen to the clicking sounds of the lizards. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I would close my eyes and converse with them. 'Is - my - fa - ther - safe?' One Tsk is equivalent to a syllable. Of course, I would interpret the Tsk-Tsk to what I wanted to hear, what did you expect? Funny, huh?
All these imaginary friends come to mind now that I am away from home. I have forgotten them a long, long time ago and never spoken to them for years - if I ever did that at my age, I would probably be in a mental institution.Frown
Isn't it a universal truth that from the day we were born, we already have the need to communciate? A baby's uttering of its first word is always a milestone, a breakthrough that all mothers rejoice in. I have read somewhere that there was an experiment done by experts where they formed two groups of babies. The first group was cleaned and fed but no one ever communicated with them - verbally or otherwise. The second group was cleaned and fed...and carers communicated with these babies. After a period of time, it was discovered that the second group of babies grew faster and were healthier than the first group. This experiment only proves that we do need to communicate. It is this uniqueness that sets us apart from other creatures.
This is most probably the reason why I am writing this piece. There is the internet now to communicate to practically everyone and anyone in the world. My friend, Rosemarie, was right in telling me that blogging helps. It would like to thank her for being an inspiration to create my own blogsite...(and to Makis for introducing Blogger to me). It sure eases boredom and makes me think. It fills my need to communicate.
So, this time, I don't have to stand in front of the mirror or listen to the clicking sound of the house lizards (there isn't any here, anyway) or get dolls. I only have to sit down and immerse myself in the world wide web. It does help.
PS: I will understand if you think that at an early age, I showed signs of a mental disorder - talking to lizards and all Roll - but don't worry, I don't bite. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!! Lol

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Shoes That Almost Killed My Feet

I swear to Pluto I really have not worn high-heeled shoes for quite a long time. The last time was on my wedding day in 2005. At work, I wear comfortable boyish shoes - those that look like school shoes - to make it easier for me to walk around. Tight-fitting shoes aren't very comfortable, no matter how loose they are. Probably because my toes are too big for sexy shoes. Too fat. Hindi pa naiimbento ang sapatos na para sa'kin, hehehe.

I knew, however, that there would come a time when it would require me to wear killer shoes again. I was right. Last month, I had to look for a pair of nice ladies' shoes to match my suit for a christening. So Jim and I went to a nice shoe shop in Norwich - the nearest city where we live - to find shoes. I found a pair of lovely black shoes and I fell in love with them. I tried them on and walked around in them. They are absolutely gorgeous! I couldn't leave the shop without them. So, I bought them. Smile

The next day: Christening Day. The beautiful shoes that I loved so much almost killed my feet. My toes were so sore I couldn't walk properly without holding on to my dear husband. The worst part was we couldn't find a parking space near the pub where the reception was held at. So we had to walk from the parking lot to the pub and back to the parking lot from the pub. It was complete tortue. My callouses and corns that quietly fell into deep slumber were awakened by the silent beasts. My two feet were in agony! Crying

It was a breather when I got into the car. What a relief to take the monstrous shoes off! Sick

Ahhh. The things you love the most will hurt you the most. Oh yes, that includes shoes! Mad
The photograph shows my beautiful monstrous shoes.
Yes, I will wear them again when the time comes.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

My Simple Luxury

I used to take it for granted. I used to just ignore it lying around. I never appreciated the joy it provided me when it was there with me. When I needed it, I'd just ask my father where it was and voila! It was there! So when I flew to England, I knew it would mean flying away from all the people I love but did not realise it would also mean flying away from the simple pleasures in life. I didn't realise it would be hard work to even look for anything to replace these things. This little thing I am now talking about - I could not find anything like it. I actually started rubbing my back on the wall...yes, I am telling you the truth. And yes, I am serious!

I have mentioned this to my mother many times. I asked her to get me a dozen. I have stopped hoping to get one here. Just when I have stopped looking, I chanced upon a shop that sells them in Blackpool last weekend!!! So, I'm sharing with you the one thing that puts me to ecstasy when my husband is not around - my back scratcher!!! Woo-Hoo!!!