Thursday, August 01, 2013

It's August

Today’s the first of August. We are now into the eight month of 2013! Amazing how time flies, seasons change, children grow, and, well, how some things remain unchanged. Here in the Philippines, August is just a month that brings us closer to the “ber” months of the Christmas season. There is practically no hype that comes with August, except for the celebration of the Linggo ng Wika in schools, and one public holiday to commemorate the National Heroes’ Day. 

On the contrary, August is said to be the month when hardship with finances strikes. The elderly used to say in local lingo, “Na-Agostohan na naman kami.” This is one of many Filipino phrases that have no exact translation/equivalent in other languages. It associates bad luck with money with this time of the year.

I double checked if August might have exciting events in other parts of the world, and here are some answers that our go-to Wikipedia provided:
  •  6 August is Independence Day in Jamaica since 1962
  • 9 August is the National Day of Singapore.
  • 15 August is Indian Independence Day since 1947.
  • 14 August is Pakistan's Independence Day since 1947.
  •  In many European countries, August is the holiday month for most workers
  • The Philippines celebrates August as the "Month of Philippine Languages"
  • In the United States, August is National Back to School month.
From the site, I got this: “A whole lot of nothing happens in August, there are no major holidays or events, and besides the heat and blazing August sun, a big bowl of NOTHING happens!! (except most kids start school in late august) but no one cares about that!!!”

So August is not really a favorite month for many. Except for a few countries marking their independence, it seems it is just another month to go past until we get to December.

I would however disagree to that wiki answer. August heralds two special events in my family. It is the birth month of my eldest sister (Ate) and my paternal grandfather (Lolo). They used to celebrate their birthdays a week apart, Ate on the 1st and Lolo on the 8th. Lolo passed away 12 days after his 80th birthday back in 2000.

I am convinced that the alignment of cosmic or celestial bodies at the time of one’s birth does affect the traits and characteristics that become inherent in that individual. Why? Well, Lolo and Ate are a case in point. They both share the positive Leo traits: magnanimousness, self-awareness, dignity, exhibiting majesty or grand, optimism, romantic, dedicated.

Lolo was so loved by all his grandchildren (or apos). There was something about him that naturally drew us to him. He always had a little something (pasalubong) for his apos. I would stay for a few weeks in Los Banos during summer vacation, and Lolo would be the one most excited. He would go to the market everyday to buy our favorite ulam, go out of his way to cook popcorn the crude way, and give us money to buy halo-halo and merienda (snacks). When my youngest sister, Diane, came over for a vacation while I was already staying with Lolo during college, she, too, was treated to Lolo’s brand of hospitality. He brought Diane in one of his daily trips to the market, and introduced her to his favored market vendors (suki), proud of his apo. When we were older, Lolo would give each of us money as Christmas gift to buy new clothes.

Lolo’s memories almost always bring me to tears. How wonderful it would have been had he lived longer and seen my own children. I could imagine how crazy he’d be over buying stuff from the market for Garrett and Gabee. He would have spoiled them as he had spoiled us.

Thinking more about Lolo, it was not only Lolo’s generosity that made him loved by people around him. More than that, I think, is the way he deals with people. He, like Ate, had a knack at social skills. They could easily converse, mingle, and get along with anyone at any place. It’s like they have no hang-ups, they are sure of themselves, and they’ve got no insecurities. Most importantly, they don’t think negatively of the people they meet. They take a positive perspective, hence, they easily get along with just about anyone.

Lolo thought he could always go back to his friends for help, maybe because that was one tenet he lived by. He would have no second thoughts helping you (whoever you are), but when the time comes that he also needs your help, he may come to you and ask a favor. It’s as simple as that.

Once, Lolo decided he would seek out Mayor Alfredo Lim to ask for help with his papers pertaining to his pension. He and Mayor Lim used to be classmates (not sure how they came to be related, but it had something to do with army training). Lolo retired as Master Sergeant. He taught ROTC at UP Los Banos. Indeed, he would go to his friends for help, and help he usually got. My last name afforded me some level of favor from some of my college professors who recalled Sgt. Omana as their kind-hearted ROTC instructor.

Ate reminds me a lot of Lolo. She has his legacy of generosity and integrity, and she is very much a people person like Lolo. Oh, and I almost forgot, both are maporma. They dress to impress, I think. Lolo was very particular over how his pants were iron-pressed and how shiny his shoes were. Ate buys way too many clothes, bags, and shoes than her closets can accommodate. But that’s good in a way as my sisters and I get lots of hand-me-downs. :-)

On this first day of August, we fondly remember Lolo, and give thanks to God for Ate Arlene’s birthday.

Below is a bit more information about what the stars tell of Ate and Lolo, which might interest you more if you were born under the sign Leo.

If your star sign is Leo, you are a proud person, with a strong sense of integrity 
and the importance of being true to yourself. It's the major sun sign, 
where the sun is said to be the ruler, so it's natural for you to shine.

If you were born in the beginning of August, the sun is in the middle of Leo. 
That means you don't need a very prominent position,
 but you want to be respected for what you are, 
and you tend to remain there as securely as if you were a statue. 
You don't bend. This is the fixed part of the sign, 
and since Leo's quality is fixed, people with their sun here are the most typical Leo, 
their traits easily recognizable, not to say blatantly obvious.

P.S.: We are awaiting any time now the arrival of Kirsten Dylan, my niece. She will make August even more special. 

Warmest birthday greets from Gabee, Garrett, Bash, and Kirsten to Aunt Arlene.

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