Sunday, January 31, 2010

Uncle Anks

I have an uncle, from my mother’s side, living in Cuyapo, Philippines, my hometown. His name is Nemesio; he goes by the nickname Mesiong, which is just a shorter version of his official name. He has another nickname, but I will not get into that. His nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces, including myself, call him Uncle Mesiong. The Filipinos have the propensity to shorten names, as nicknames and for ease. So instead of calling him “Uncle Mesiong” many have shortened it to “Uncs” or in the local vernacular and spelling “Anks”, still pronounced the same. Well, Filipinos, in this case his nephews and nieces, respectful as they are, do not want others to think they are being disrespectful when they hear them refer to him as Anks. It may sound impolite because they may think that they are just calling him by a nickname without the respectful designation of “uncle.”

In the Filipino culture, you can’t just call a person by his name unless he is a colleague of about the same age. There are designations or titles for every one (whether it’s a relative, someone older or younger, etc.). I have had personal issues with older Filipino co-workers in previous jobs because I would have to address them with the proper designation in front of their name because if you don't, it may be wrongly perceived as being disrespectful. Anyway, back to my uncle --- so what do all his nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces, including myself, call him instead – Uncle Anks. Even acquaintances not related to him call him by this name.

I relate this story because during my visit to Cuyapo this past December, Uncle Anks turned 78 years old. He is spritely, and he is still in decent health even thru all the hardship he has endured living in the Philippines. I was honored to give him a party to celebrate his birthday while I was there in Cuyapo.

My older siblings and my cousins recount many stories in the past about my uncle being a strict disciplinarian and all of them being fearful of him. My older siblings and cousins on my mother’s side stayed at my maternal grandparents’ house while going to middle and high school in Cuyapo because their house was in town. My uncle was living in the same household. Our house, as well as our cousins’ house, were outside of town. They say he has changed. I don’t have any memory of him being a mean uncle. He is easy going; everyone jokes around him and he jokes back.

The following are few pictures from his birthday party:

His birthday cake.

My Uncle by his birthday cake.

With his wife and son.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 2010 Update

Yes, it has been a month since my last update. It has been "crazy" busy both with work and preparation for my move out of Germany. I have about three weeks left here in Wiesbaden and one of those weeks I will be in UK for a week (7-12 Feb) for work. I was in Aviano, Italy from 11-14 Jan and in Ankara, Turkey from 20-23 Jan --- both for work. In between, I have been going to various one day site visits/meetings for my projects in Germany. My time in the office have been spent trying to get my projects caught up so whoever takes over these projects will not have problems. Along with that are all the paperwork and processing still requiring to be completed to leave my current position and start my new job in Abu Dhabi. I still spend a fair amount of time at work during the weekends.

Movers will be coming in this coming Friday to pack and pick up all my household goods bound for Seattle. I will not turn in my car for shipping until my last week in Germany. I have also been packing a few things that I will be mailing to Abu Dhabi --- clothes, books, paperwork, stereo, and a few minor household goods. I move out of my apartment 15 Feb. My last week will be at a hotel.

Weather in Wiesbaden has been miserable since I got back 4 January. I don't think the temperature has exceeded 35 degrees F; most days have been below freezing. We've had a lot of snow. See my flickr page for Wiesbaden winter wonderland pictures.

As I stated earlier, I was in Aviano for work. I got to see some of the sights around the area during the afternoons and evenings while I was there. I also had a chance to see the sights of Venice again for a day before flying back to Germany. Pictures from Aviano and Venice are posted on my flickr page. I was in Ankara a little more than a week ago. I got to see some of the sights with fellow Corps employees, including one who is familiar with the city who took us around. Ankara pictures are also posted on my flickr page.

So what else have I been up to? I found a massage therapist who has helped me out quite a bit with my neck and back discomfort. My neck issue scared the living sh*t out of me while I was in the Philippines and Seattle. It caused me great distress and anxiety because I would have episodes of dizziness. I went to see various doctors in the Philippines and Seattle. All they could tell me was that it was due to lack of rest and sleep, stress, and neck muscle strain. The doctors prescribed medication to help with the discomfort, but it would only offer temporary relief. The massage therapist was able to find muscles around my neck that were "balled up" and affecting other muscles nearby, such as my throat, which were causing the discomfort and dizzy spells. The massage has also eased the back pain I have been feeling. I have been to the massage therapist four times already. I have at least two more sessions. It has been convenient because the massage therapist is located in the building that I work in.

I was also told by the doctors that I saw in the Philippines and Seattle that I had elevated blood pressure level. The Seattle doctor even recommended low dosage blood pressure medication and to monitor my bp level regularly. I purchased a bp monitor. I have been monitoring my bp level for the last month and the readings consistently have been normal. The elevated bp results during my doctor visits, I believe, were due to my anxiety and worry about my neck discomfort during my doctor visits.

I requested a complete physical from my Seattle doctor while I was there during the Christmas holiday. Except for the issues described above, all was fine. I got the standard "you need to lose some weight" advice. This time, I am taking this guidance a bit more seriously. I have started the year with a bit more physical activity by walking to work at least twice a week and walking in the evening when I don't walk to work. I have also cut back on the meal portion size, as well as eating more healthily. I have lost 5kg. or about 11 lbs. We shall see how well I can keep this up.

I still have a ton of things to do, lots of items to pack and separate, and many items I no longer need or have the use for to throw out before my move out of Germany. Most should be done by this Friday, packing day. Or at least, they better be. I should be flying back to Seattle on Sunday, 21 Feb. I have about a week in Seattle. Then I will be reporting to DC for about two weeks, maybe longer if UAE visa paper takes longer to get processed. Then off to Abu Dhabi I shall go.

My nephew who works for Boeing in Seattle area is headed to Tel Aviv for aircraft certification. He is planning on doing a 2-3 days layover in Frankfurt on 18 or 19 Feb. I probably will not have that much time to spend with him since those days are my last few days at work. But I can spend after-work hours with him and possibly take the same flight back to Seattle from Frankfurt.

I will post pictures from the Philiipines, and Christmas & New Year in Seattle soon. Until the next update...