Weekly Wrap-up + My reading mojo is back!!! | August 9, 2020

Exams are over, yay!!! I’m so glad I can FINALLY move on with my life. I didn’t realize how much headspace the exams were taking up until I crashed and slept for the rest of the day, right after I submitted my last exam. It felt soooo luxurious to do that, especially since I’ve been waking up at odd hours over the past few weeks due to anxiety.

In other news, MY READING MOJO IS BACK!!! Just this weekend, I finished two of the books I’ve been struggling to get through for the entire July, plus I picked up Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica on a whim (which I first learned about through Callum’s review) and finished that, too. For some reason, I’ve been in a dystopian mood—fitting given my country’s political climate, lol.

Books Read This Week

Books I’m Currently Reading

Today, I’ll be starting the second book in Butler’s Earthseed series, Parable of the Talents. Melanie @ Grab the Lapels is saying this is much darker than the first book, so I can’t wait to see what Butler has in store.

Parable of the Talents

Books Added to My TBR

So I added a bunch of books to my TBR this weekend, inspired by Fatma’s post on Books Translated from the Japanese, Callum’s post on Women in Translation, and Emily’s post on the Booker Prize 2020 Longlist. Check out their posts for more recs!

Other Life Updates

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that our country’s political situation has been extremely depressing, and it’s getting even worse. Not only do we not have plans for the pandemic (aside from begging China to give us the vaccine 🙃), but it looks like the President is also taking steps to turn the country into an oligarchy at best, or a dictatorship at worst. The Anti-Terror Bill has been signed into law; a major news network that criticized his regime has been shut down; and COVID-19 cases have also been on the rise again, so much so that our frontliners had to beg the President to declare another lockdown for Manila.

Whenever I think about all this, I feel trapped and helpless. BUT, in the midst of all this, I’ve found that I had to be more proactive in finding ways to cope. For one, I’ve started keeping a mood diary with the Daylio app (this is not sponsored in any way—I just genuinely find it helpful), which helps me keep track of what activities make me happy and which stress me out, and I cannot even begin to describe how much more mindful this app has made me. It’s helped me realize that feeling both pleasant and unpleasant emotions are both okay, and that no matter how much I want to avoid my negative feelings and cling to my positive feelings, they both inevitably come and go. I know this advice has been reiterated ad nauseum, but I feel there’s a moment for everyone when something like this FINALLY sinks in, and for me it finally sunk in this month.

Second, this week, a friend reached out to me about an initiative to help provide material and psychosocial support to activists in various sectors, and I volunteered to help facilitate a mental health check for the activists. That session was eye-opening. It made me feel less alone in my feelings of anger and helplessness, and seeing how the activists held on fiercely to the belief that collectively we can do something about our political situation made me feel hopeful, as well. While I have supported causes before through mostly material ways, this was the first time I’d truly tried to join and engage with a community, and I’m so glad I did.

On a more personal note, my stomach has finally begun to settle—I haven’t had an attack in a week! YAY! So apparently I have something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which means my stomach is extra sensitive to what I’m eating and could overreact even when the food is harmless. To manage the symptoms, I’ve been following something called a low-FODMAP diet. I’m deeply allergic to the phrase ‘go on a diet’, even if it’s for legitimate medical reasons, and on top of that I have to cut out dairy, coffee, and processed foods, and even things like garlic and onions (which I have at practically every other meal), so you can imagine how miserable this is making me. But the one good thing that came out of this was that I’ve become more mindful of including more whole foods and fruits and vegetables in my meals now, so my breakfasts and snacks look something like this:

Screen Shot 2020-08-09 at 6.49.56 PM
The base is chia pudding, but I got a biiiit carried away with the fruits…
Screen Shot 2020-08-09 at 6.50.53 PM
My red dragonfruit and mango oatmeal, with almond milk and nut butter. It doesn’t look appetizing because I suck at taking pics, but trust me, it tastes a LOT better than it looks!

I even find myself looking forward to meals because I’m excited for the fruits, and this never used to happen. I used to be content with SkyFlakes, coffee, and cup noodles when I got hungry and was lazy. Now I’m never going back to that (at least, not as often, lol).

And finally, a Cat update: Cat has been rather clingy lately. It worried me at first because I thought he might be sick—he was sneezing a lot for a week—but now the sneezing has stopped and he’s still clingy. I’m hoping now that he’s just genuinely being affectionate.



Cat prefers my brother’s lap to mine. I’m still a little salty about it.

Anyway, that’s all for now—this update has been rather rambly and I have to force myself to stop or I could just go on and on. Thanks for dropping by, and hope you all have a great week ahead! ✨


22 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap-up + My reading mojo is back!!! | August 9, 2020

  1. I’m so glad things are looking up for you, Gil! 😊 I’m sure you did brilliantly in your exams, and it’s great that the reading slump is over. I suffer from IBS too, and have had to cut things from my diet in the last year. It caused me a lot of problems last year, but gradually I’ve been able to manage it better. I’m sorry the political situation is so bad where you are.
    Great wrap-up 😊

    1. Ah, I’m sorry to hear that it caused a lot of problems for you—IBS really sucks!! But I’m also glad to know I’m not alone and that it’s possible to manage it eventually. I was really apprehensive when I was told it’s chronic but now that I’ve begun to take steps to address it, it’s not as bad as I thought. Thank you, Stephen! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad your post was rambly, because it means you’re engaging with a lot of things that make you feel talkative. I know that when things feel too big and scary for me, I get veeeeery quiet. The more I read of Parable of the Talents, the more fearful I become of how quickly a government can change for the worse and abuse people. It makes me wonder how people have survived such upheavals before. And who stops them? Who has the courage and resources to stop them? I admit that for me Talents is not a great book to be reading right now, but I’m also fully engaged with it.

    I wonder if Cat is being more clingy because you’re home more often now that your exams are done? Kitty gets that way; if we leave for 48 hours, she acts like we rose from the grave just to love her.

    1. I know what you mean—when I’m in the thick of something difficult I often need to sit and stew awhile to process things by myself first before reaching out to tell others about it. I’ve only just started it, and I’m struck by how 2020 it really is. I’m wondering if eventually we’ll see answers to your questions in the novel.

      Oooh, that’s true—I’ve been able to play with Cat for longer periods of time after my exams. Lately my brother’s workload has lightened considerably, too, so maybe Cat did feel deprived of attention!

      1. Here’s another fun fact: meowing doesn’t come naturally to adult cats. Kittens meow to find their mothers when they are still blind, but adult cats have no reason to do so. They’ve learned that when they meow, we pay attention. So, my husband likes to do thing where he meows back at Kitty, and I end up saying, “Alright, you two. Neither of you is speaking a language you understand, so cut it out.”

      2. Sorry, I didn’t realize I haven’t replied to this one! HAHA, that’s hilarious! 🤣 I’ve heard of that fun fact before, but I still talk to Cat anyway. It’s vaguely reinforcing when he meows back in response to my questions.

  3. i cant wait to hear more of your thoughts on Tender is the Flesh! i just finished it the other day too and really enjoyed it 😊 and im so glad your reading mojo is back!!! hopefully youll find plenty more books that you love in the coming weeks

  4. I’m so glad that you’re reading mojo is back and that you’re feeling better (both physically and emotionally)!!!! And congrats on finishing your exams!! I’m curious to see your thoughts on Tender is The Flesh (I added that to my TBR from Callum’s review too lol)!!

  5. Literary Elephant

    Yay for the end of exams (congrats on getting through!!) and yay for the return of your reading mojo! 🙂 I just started Tender is the Flesh and am looking forward to your thoughts on it! A lot of the books you’ve added to your TBR recently are on mine as well, so of course (as always) I’m eager to see what you’ll pick up and what you’ll think of everything. Thanks for the link too, btw!

    I’m also very sorry to hear that things are still so shaky politically, but glad that you’re finding ways to cope with the emotions from it and ways to help others as well. Both are so necessary.

    1. Sorry, I missed replying to this! Thank you!! 💕 I really enjoyed Tender is the Flesh—it pulled me in right away, and I hope you’ll get on with it too! You’re welcome 🙂

      Yes, it’s only now that I’ve really put conscious thought and effort into doing both and it’s been very helpful!

  6. Oh gosh, I thought I had IBS a while ago, but it turned out to be just anxiety (yay?), and was quite relieved as I have NO idea how I’d live without coffee, garlic etc. I reallyyyy hope you find out which foods upset your stomach and can slowly go back to eating some of the others. Hope you feel well soon!

    It’s so inspiring to read about you writing down your feelings, I might start doing that. I’m so sorry about the political state of the Philippines (and so many other places), feeling helpless sounds VERY understandable.

    Your reading taste is *chef’s kiss* and I look forward to your thoughts on all of these, especially Liar, The Shadow King and This Mournable Body.

    1. Thanks, Naty! 🙂 And yikes, sorry to hear about your anxiety triggering stomach problems—that doesn’t sound much better either. I hope you’re feeling better!

      Yes, it’s really a difficult time for many parts of the world right now, and it really helped me to actively search for ways to cope! Otherwise the helplessness can be so overwhelming.

      Thank you! 💕 I look forward to what you think of them as well when you do pick it up 🙂

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