Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Freedom, Teflon, etc..

Posted on April 09, 2006 by jimparedes

Allow me some shamelessl plugging. Here’s the 2nd installment of the video that my daughter Ala made on us entitled P.O.F.W. Catch it
Been driving around, and yes, quite well and relaxed if I may say so myself. Friends have been so kind in giving me driving lessons. It helps to be present in the moment and to forget my ultra-defensive driving instincts honed over the years in Manila. No doubt, this skill which makes me keep an eye for tricycles that can come from behind or the side at any given notice is a useful one in the Philippines but not here. All one has to do is to follow the rules and use a little commonsense and one will get by. Been taking the test over the internet too and have been passing consistently. I will still go through a real instructor though before I take the test.

Two nights ago, we wanted some ice cream after dinner and I caught myself initially resisting going out. I knew that I was being dragged down by the inertia of just staying safely and comfortably at home and not driving. I was experiencing a low-level inytensity kind of fear because

a) it was night,
b) I don’t know the roads so well,
c) and all other reasons hiding behind the general fearful unknown.

But I forced my way out of the feeling. It was a declaration of independence of sorts and tiny as it was, it was still exhilarating!

I boldly reminded myself that we are far from being prisoners of the lonely and sprawling suburbs. WE HAVE A CAR. WE CAN DRIVE! Now all we had to do was look at the map. My wife promptly wrote the directions on a napkin and Mio became my navigator while Ala sat at the back and cheered on. We were laughing all the way to Hungry Jacks as we relished this spontaneous act of freedom. Ah, little joys and little victories. If we were babies, it seems our baby steps are getting bolder and we are even walking faster!

To speed up our knowledge of the geography, I got us a GPS car navigator yesterday and it’s wonderful. I have not used it for a really long drive yet but it seems to work pretty well. Lydia, who is very adept with maps still looks at the device with suspicion. I, on the other hand who is a complete klutz with anything in diagram form feel so secure using it.

Friends who recommended it say that it is a good investment in preserving relationships. Heh heh!

Close to ‘the Boss’

Love this music!

It seems most of the Filipinos I meet here are quite religious. I am not really surprised as I have seen this in many other countries where our kababayans are. I guess the fear factor of staking one’s claim in a new country makes one closer to one’s God. Doing something monumental such as moving to a new country and life must do that. One wants to be closer to The One Who Calls The Shots for assurance.

Been going to mass the past three Sundays. The church is nice and cozy but the music is too ‘English’ if you know what I mean. The songs sound so stale compared to the ‘Lauds’ music repertoire that is sung at the Gesu church at the Ateneo and in more and more churches back home.

This whole moving has made us extremely close as a family. People tend to naturally depend on each other in times of need. But even without this situation, we are already close to start with. I find it wonderful that we are all even more attentive and supportive of each other’s plans and needs now. It’s true what they say about how great family life here in OZ can be.

Quality Time

We have a small TV–one lent to us which we hardly turn on. Once in awhile, Ananda watches cartoons. In a few days though, we will shop for a bigger one since the kids like to watch DVDs. One of the things we will not be in a hurry to do is to subscribe to TFC. While I miss my friends, I do not miss being reminded of the overheated political situation back home and the entertainment scene. Not yet! I am enjoying the quiet and peace in the house. The absence of media paves the way for conversations and that makes everyone living under our roof more intimate with each other. In place of the drone of TV, we have quality time. For entertainment, we are quite happy with an i-pod and my little i-fusion speakers which I play we do chores.

They’re Here!

This should have been the first thing I should have written about: our furniture finally arrived last Wednesday! For the past two days, we have been moving things about, cleaning and re-storing many of the stuff we brought but now realize we do not need. Blame it on all that sentimentality about migrating! But it is so good to see parts of our former lives following us here–our dining table, our big kareton sofa, etc., to make our abode more homey. If the furniture could talk, I’m sure they would have thanked us for such a warm and appreciative welcome. Our accommodations here are much smaller than what we had in Manila but considering that we are the ones keeping it clean here, it is I guess, just right!

‘the new US’

We are expecting a lot of visitors this coming May. For one, Lydia’s brother Marty and his family are coming over for 6 days and staying with us! Then a sister of mine will be arriving. Also, relatives from Davao (numbering 20) will be coming by May 8. No, they are not staying with us!! It would be nice since we really enjoy their company but it would be disastrous!

A niece of mine here informed me that as of last count, there are 38 of our relatives settled here already. And I did not even know I had any when I moved! It seems like OZ is the new US as far as our family is concerned. Many of my siblings and cousins started to settle in the US as early the 60s. It seems that the new migration destination of choice is here down under!

Now I know the excitement my sisters and brother in the US feel when any family members visit.


I will be with Danny and Boboy by June. Yehey! We have 4 concerts scheduled in Guam, Saipan and two in OZ. More details later.

I’ve also been booked for my first photo assignment here! I am REALLY looking forward to that! Hopefully, I will be able to set up my small home photo studio soon and continue to do one of the things I loved doing back home.

Teflon Spirituality

I have on occasion received comments from people that have rubbed me the wrong way. Sometimes, I even answer back with hostility. At the moment when I am writing the response, I may seem angry, and sometimes I really am. If you have somehow been on the receiving end of my sarcasm or other people’s comments because of what you’ve written, I hope you don’t make too big a deal about it. It’s nothing. I just want you to know that I am not one to carry a grudge. I try to immediately drop it right after. Like teflon, I make it a point not to make anything stick. If we happen to find ourselves in the same room, don’t ever hold back talking to me.

So little time on earth, and I do not wish to spend needless energy protecting an ego because of what anyone has written. At least this is what I try to remind myself of, and I am getting better at it. This is another one of my crazy spiritual practices.

So peace, love and all that!

Lastly, if you want to visit a cool site, go to http://www.zaadz.com. You’ll meet a lot of people with even crazier spiritual practices.

0 to “Freedom, Teflon, etc..”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad you guys are settling down well. Our family also is in the process of migrating. Sa kiwi land naman kami, we will be moving by July this year. Reading your blog, I share in your sentiments—excitement, fear, anxiety, hope, and all other feelings. I also have the same worry like you on driving on the other side of the road. Unfortunately, walang practice driving site yung kiwiland. Can you give me the practice driving site for Oz? Maybe I can practice on that site too. Thanks. God bless you and your family.

  2. Julia says:

    Your happiness is palpable and I am just too happy for you my dear friend, Jim 🙂

  3. jingo says:

    I moved to the US 2 years ago and there is definitely one thing I wasn’t prepared for… CHORES! Being raised in the Philippines, I was used to the luxury of having household help. And like you, I crank up my iPod while vacuuming the floor and doing the laundry at the same time!

  4. jonjon barros says:

    It’s the same thing happening to every new immigrants. We had that kind of experience when we decided to settle here in Canada 3 years ago.

    It was all fear but in the end..after all the patience and perseverance, success comes in.

    Thanks for sharing Jim!

  5. Jim says:

    anonymous-http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/tests/driverknowledgetest/demonstrationdriverknowledgetest/index.html. Press ‘english’.

    Julia–halata ba? ha ha

    jingo–surprisngly I have adapted to chores quite well. I didn’t think I would.

    jon-Yup! The task is to make the unknown familiar!

  6. Anonymous says:

    ” … ultra-defensive driving instincts honed over the years in Manila . . .”

    My brother failed the test several times because he was always “giving way unnecessarily” whenever he approached an intersection. It frustrated him no end, but of course he eventually passed and has been a very confident driver ever since.

    I don’t have any “driving test” stories of my own because at the time, migrants who had a driver’s license from the mother country were only required to take the written test. Madaya ano?

  7. benign0 says:

    Great job with the driving!

    It took me three tries to pass the test. Cost of going through all that aside, it wasn’t half bad. Built character. Now I drive like a local cabbie.

    It also helps to have a good view of the TV from the kitchen sink (I didn’t have such a view in my first apartment so I got a small $60 portable).

    When you get the chance, a dishwasher is a great investment. If aircons are considered man’s greatest invention in the Philippines, the equivalent here is the dishwasher!

    Congrats on your foreign gigs. Looks like the Commonwealth Government’s investment in you will pay off soon! Do you already have an accountant to sort out your foreign earnings? 😉

  8. pepay says:

    pati dito sa US, pahirapan ang pag-pass sa driving test! haha…my dad took the test 3 times, “dangerous driving” daw kasi ang ginagawa sa Pilipinas. what the heck. kung alam lang nila, it’s a talent to be able to drive in Manila!

    kami din po, mas nagiging close ng family namin dito. this migration really strengthens the family. =)

    i enjoyed the long post! thank you po!

  9. thess says:

    GPS car navigator – a good investement in preserving relationships, naku Jim, totoo yan!! ito lang asawa ko ayaw maniwala he he. Nakakatuwa naman ang teamwork nyo’ng 3 sa kotse, imagine kung maliliit pa sila tapos nag iiyakan while you’re trying to find your way? yay!
    Wow, concerts in June. Solid talaga APO, hindi problema distance.
    Have fun with your relatives come May…and I really like the Teflon Spirituality part…hats off to you.

  10. isay says:

    no i know what’s behind that handsome smiling face-you are so cool! i like that teflon spirituality. it is a reminder for me. thanks.

    and congratulations for your first photo shoot. wow!

  11. jey says:

    i enjoyed reading this entry. and i’m happy that you and your family are enjoying your new home.=)

    God bless you, sir.

  12. BabyPink says:

    i enjoyed reading this. made me feel how excited and happy you, guys, are with bthe new life that you have now. i am very happy and excited for you.:)

  13. Anonymous says:

    im glad you’re enjoying australia. 🙂 is there any chance APO will come up here in the Great Land? Alaska, anyone? 🙂

  14. Jim says:

    anonymous–wow, you had it easy.

    hard to get a dishwasher cuz we are only renting. OK lang. All that solitary activity is good for character building!

    pepay–Glad to know you are experiencing the same thing!

    thess–thanks! I will enjoy the family visit for sure!

    isay, jey, baby pink–salamat!

    anonymous–we almost had alaska last year. Hang on. Who knows? baka biglang nandiyan na kami!

  15. snglguy says:

    Great post Jim, couldn’t get enough of you and your family’s adventure in the land of OZ. 🙂

  16. Kaye says:

    It’s good to hear that you guys are settling down well at such little time. Good job with the driving! It shouldn’t take you long to get the hang of driving aussie-style.

    Sayang, if only I lived in Sydney (i’m from Melbourne) I will get you po sana to photograph my wedding in May. 😉

    All the best to you and your family!

  17. wenk. says:

    hi sir jim! i’m a quasi-regular visitor of your blog, and i’d just like to congratulate you guys for taking such a bold step as a family, and it looks like everything’s working out perfectly! and congrats on the hungry jacks drive! haha! 🙂

  18. ghee says:

    Its so surprising to hear that you are enjoying the household chores(especially dishwashing?)

    and its nice to hear that you and your family are enjoying your days out there,you`ll be a great example for us people living in a foreign country..

    Imagine,nakakaya nyo pong makibaka sa lifestyle nyo ngayon na hindi nyo namn dinanas sa `Pinas!!without any complaints..so touching naman po.

    cheers to you and your family!!

  19. nikki says:

    Naku, pumuti yata yang kamay mo kahuhugas ng plato! Hah-ha.

    May you continue to be bless, Jim.

    Blessed be and be happy.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jim,

    I found this page today – the eulogy delivered by Ted Kennedy for his brother RFK and just wanted to share it.

    Robert F Kennedy

  21. Jim says:

    sngleguy, thess, wenk, ghee, n ikki, anonymous–salamat

    Kaye–If you pay the extra cost I’ll fly to Sydney and shoot your wedding!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Would Queensland be included in the APO tour? If not, how can I get APO to perform in our little town? Saw Ala’s video (part 2) – good one!

  23. KaDyo says:

    May you have a glorious and blessed celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, take care !

  24. ~C4Chaos says:

    hahaha. awesome analogy Jim. i love the Teflon metaphor. you rock!


  25. ~C4Chaos says:

    P.S. (pahabol saglit):

    the link you have for your video is broken due to some special characters.

    no big deal because i’m tagging your videos here 🙂


    good to know that the APO is well alive and kicking. congrats to your first photo gig in Oz.

    see you around Zaadz 😉

  26. mygaseous says:

    Aussie’s ice cream is the best! That is,as compared to what i have tasted before, and i’ll wait several more days before i’ll be able to taste NZ’s (after all they’re both milk and chocolate- producing countries).

    You sound very happy (and excited) with your family’s brand new life. =) and your fans (me included) are surely happy for you as well.

  27. Kaye says:

    Wow! I would be delighted! But the wedding is only a few weeks away and I have already booked a photographer! Sayang talaga!!! Huhuhu!

  28. Jim says:

    anonymous–check the APO website. We will announce Aussie shows soon which I know will include Sydney and Melbourne.


    mygaseous–love Bulla ice cream!!!!

    kaye–good luck on your new life ahead. May hyou be blessed with enduring love and children!

  29. Lin says:

    Hello there! Good luck sa inyo sa buong Family ninyo. Sana mag-concert din kayo sa states.

  30. Kat O+ says:

    Hey, Jim – This may be a bit late but welcome to Oz! 🙂 You mentioned music at Mass…just wondering if you’ve had a chance to attend some of the Filipino Masses around? There are quite a few of them. Also, churches with Filipino choirs and youth choirs often have really great music. But if you like classical, choral church music, try St Mary’s Cathedral or St Francis (Paddington). We go to St Francis every year on Ash Wednesday and the music is so deeply stirring.

    Anyway, hope you’re enjoying your new home!

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