Archive for January, 2019

27 January 2019

Waddling in Winter Wonderland

by misslampa

I tried cross-country skiing for the first time last Wednesday. And by that, what I mean is I managed to waddle back and forth on the school playground in my skis without falling…while kids up to thirty years my junior had a terrific time taking on the short and long groomed trails around me.

It was more my overly judicious use of ski poles than my good sense of balance that kept me upright, truth be told. But I was more on my butt than on my feet the one time I tried downhill skiing, so I’m still going to say this is a clear win for me.

Winter play

Prior to “ski-waddling,” this was my idea of winter fun.

We only had a little over two hours and I wanted to let the kids go first so as to stay out of their way, so all I’ve really done is go from walking with the help of ski poles to waddling without. Which isn’t really much, if you think about it. But whatever little progress I made sent me over the moon.

A slight spring in every small, slippery step – quite literally.

And when the bell rang to signal the end of PE class, the doors to the school entrance couldn’t look any less inviting.

I felt my sun-kissed spirit detach from the rest of me so it could do a double take. Am I warming up to winter, finally?

Maybe. Or maybe any day now, the world will go Bazinga! on me.

Until then, I’ll tell myself to just keep waddling.

13 January 2019

A Pet Name for Me

by misslampa

My nephew Coco now has a pet name for me.

He’s been calling my Mama “Lola” (grandma), my Papa “Lolo” (grandpa), and my older sister “Ninang” (godmother), but for the longest time, he didn’t have a term for me. The few times we interacted via Skype, he danced with delight while I sang “Baby Shark” and learned how to stick his tongue out by mimicking me, but he never got around to calling me anything. He probably thought he was just watching another YouTube video.


You’ll really end up second-guessing yourself when even face-tracking filter apps refuse to acknowledge you.

I got to play with him a lot when I went home last Christmas, though, so I guess something finally stuck after hearing everyone repeatedly refer to me as “Auntie” in the hope that he’d say it, too.

He found me washing dishes in the kitchen one Sunday afternoon and wanted to play tag, I think, so he stood a couple of feet away from me, said “Auntie-ya” loud and clear, and held my gaze for three seconds before running back into the living room giggling, fully expecting me to run after him.

I did just as expected and rushed to where he was, of course. I shouted “Coco” repeatedly and captured him in a big bear-hug, like I had every other time we played this game.

But my heart knew that that time was unlike all those other times, too, because it was when my darling little Coco finally decided to pluck me from anonymity.

Later on, while appreciating how the name is actually an amalgamation of “auntie” and “tiya,” I realize that he uses the same term to refer to black ants, too. “Oh no, oh no! Ant-ya!” he quips while pointing at them with his forefinger.

But no matter. I’m still going to mark this Christmas as the Christmas an angel settled on a nickname for me.

11 January 2019

Questions the World Asks You

by misslampa

The thing about being a teacher by profession, everyone thinks you have all the answers.

And most days, thankfully, I do do have them.  Because the questions are easy: How old are you? Are you married? Are you Muslim? Can you speak Japanese? What’s your favorite food/animal/drink/whatever? Do you make your bed every morning? Would you rather be a boy or a girl if you were to be born again?


Just between you and me, though, I think it’s really Kyun Chan (the mascot of Hokkaido) who has the answers to all of life’s questions.

Occasionally, I’m caught by surprise, not because the queries leave me dumbfounded but more so because I never imagined I’d be answering them in this lifetime: What’s your favorite police car? Are you rich? What are the dimensions of a patintero court? How many bananas can you eat in one sitting? Do you poop? Do you like killer whales? What’s your favorite insect?

Ah, the perks of teaching! Kids are pre-programmed to come to you for answers to even the strangest of conundrums.

Some inquiries also come with the precarious territory of being straight and single and all of five-and-thirty, foremost of which are 1)if I’ve found the one and 2)when I plan to get married. What’s funny is, even if I answer the former in the negative, people still follow up with the latter. So to cut the interrogation short, I kid them about helping me find a wedding package that’s inclusive of the groom already.

Once, a divorcée asked me what I now think is the kinder question: Do you want to get married? I found it refreshing then and find in refreshing still, how someone who gave marriage a try only to discover it’s really not for her acknowledges that hey, it’s totally up to me if I want to walk down that path, too.

This other time, someone asked if I’ve ever considered adoption. I haven’t, really, so that’s what I said in reply. But I also said his question was making me think about whether I’d marry someone with kids, be they adopted or from a previous relationship.

I was also stunned into silence for a while when a colleague asked me to name one thing I absolutely believe in. We were mindlessly working on last year’s Halloween party when he sprung that on me as if he were only asking me to tell him the time.

For these queries, the answers don’t come easy. But I hope they find their way to me, eventually.


This one’s for non-millenials (!) Dat and Eric, who just won’t let me give up on blogging.❤️