If I’m going to be honest, these past few weeks have been quite uncertain for me, and for almost everyone else living in the Philippines as well. Last week, and the week before that, parts of the country were hit by two consecutive typhoons. The most recent one was particularly named Ulysses—possibly one of the strongest typhoons I’ve ever seen. And not to mention the irony of its literary name, what were the odds…
Now, I have to say that the previous week was honestly just the worst possible time for another natural disaster to strike. What with the global pandemic already ongoing as we speak, two consecutive typhoons had to come into the picture, too. I mean, as human beings, there’s only so much we can take and just enough coping mechanisms for us to deal with all of this.
Because of the aftermath of the typhoon, the University of the Philippines had to set a week-long recovery period for those in the affected areas and also so that the rest of the UP community could help in raising funds and soliciting/collecting donations for those who are in need. That means both synchronous and asynchronous classes were suspended for the rest of the week as well. It’s strange and uncertain enough to be studying in times of the pandemic, and having to witness the effects of the typhoon makes things even feel more diluted.
So, I am now sitting at my desk trying to reflect on the week that has been. For some reason, it’s given me a stronger sense of self-awareness. Like a normal person, I try to get on with my life and keep moving forward amidst everything that’s happening around me; forcing myself to maintain an overall positive outlook, it’s all going to be over soon—but it’s just way too hard to do so when you know that millions and billions of people are suffering around the world.
Yet somehow, it makes me hyperaware of the things I’m extremely grateful for: the food on my plate, roof over my head (albeit not literally, since I currently live in a high-rise building), access to quality education, books that keep me company both literally and figuratively, and having a small business that keeps me even busier. These are the things we often take for granted, myself included, because we’ve grown familiar to them and they seem normal, very normal, to us. But looking at it from an outside perspective, not everyone has the economic privilege to have access to all of these resources. This is something that has truly been keeping me up all night these days. And that maybe I should be doing more, reaching out more, extending my arm to those in need even more. And before I know it, I’ve already pulled an all-nighter thinking about it.
In other news, I haven’t been reading much lately—I expected more from myself, really. But then again, it’s a weird time for everyone, everything seems to be put on hold, as if things just got abruptly suspended in March, literally to a halt. So, it’s probably not the best time for great expectations and being too hard on ourselves.
So far in 2020, I’ve read 51 books, surpassing my original goal of 30 books. Still, I feel like I haven’t read enough for the year. In the early months of quarantine, I admit to having read books way too quickly. My reading speed hasn’t changed at all (I think) but it just seemed to me like I have been reading quicker than usual. While that is a good thing, I’ve recently decided that from now on, I’d like to really savor the books I’m reading—and I mean, actually take my time with each of them. This is exactly how I want my reading situation to be. Every year I’ve always felt like I was in a book race with myself, now I’m craving a little change when it comes to my reading habits.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. It’s Friday and I’ve got two more days left for the rest of the weekend before classes resume again. Technically, three, since I don’t have anything on Mondays but studying in advance is always good. For the rest of the day, I just want to relax with my book—I’d talk about my current reads but I plan to save that for another blog post soon. That’s all I have to say for today’s post, I hope everyone’s safe! Any plans this weekend? x
Photo credit: Katsia Jazwinska