Archive for September 2009

women who succeed in scotland

September 15, 2009

today i am thinking of j.k. rowling, winifred, sue and women whom i met succeeded in life. first, success is defined in various levels but at the core is a woman’s confidence and respect for oneself. j.k. rowling used to write in a cafe where she could only afford one coffee. she had a baby  and was jobless. edinburgh is a beautiful place but has its share of homeless and jobless citizens. i didnt know  how she started until ed and i was told by deborah, our host ,where she wrote harry potter. so we requested deborah for bragging rights, to show us the elephant house and we went there on our last day in edinburgh. in front, the signage in elephant house said ” harry potter was born here ” and as you enter the  cafe, it is a lovely and friendly place, you queue up for your food and drinks, pay the cashier and then sit where you have a view of  the edinburgh castle and a part of  its gardens. ed and i orderd a squash soup with stromboli dish and tap water which a filipino waiter brought. then we imagined jk rowling giving birth to the first harry potter adventure  “harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone.”

many children started to read harry potter when it came out and success reared its lovely head, so to speak. rowling was no longer poor and she could now afford to write in balmoral hotel, the poshiest place in edinburgh where ed and i imagined we could afford to dine but didnt since we figured our pockets were not full.

but back to the main theme, jk rowling  not only encouraged children to read but also adults who were learning-challenged . a new friend, winifred from birmingham told us ” i learned to read when i was 36 years old.” I asked why did it take so long?” Because i discovered myself and what i could do.  i  was not able to read since childhood . it was difficult and i didnt know it was not my fault then. now,it has a name, dyslexia.” winifred narrates ” I had to find a way to get a job and earn a living . ” How did you manage the application forms?” i queried. ” I asked my sister to fill it up and i memorized what she wrote.” when i got a job as a waitress, people would ask about the menu and what i recommend,” she continued,” i had my script ready and would tell them what to order. ” “there were many occasions I tried very hard to read but could only guess which words i could use in a whole paragraph. I couldnt see the lines in p or in b or in capital A. ” “How did you do it ? ” “I went to school when I found out they could correct what I dont see, and a whole horizon opened up. That is the gift of adult learning. I could now read as many books I want and be confident I learn.”   Winifred is one of the learning partners in Scotland’s Learning Partnership and she is active in  consulting with learners and providers to make adult learning a  succesfull program in communities all over UK.

when ed and i were invited  by fiona boucher of scotland’s learning partnership for the adult learning week, i imagined there would be booths where learners would demonstrate what they learned from life, for life. i didnt know it would be a grand dinner party in a five star hotel in glasgow and then a series of learning events all over scotland and UK. i was inspired by the learners and what crises they overcame as adults. there were the dyslexic senior citizens who first read when they were in their golden and diamond years, and returned to their homes literate in the fine sense of the word. i couldnt imagine being unread , as in homeless, for fifty and more years, in a nation so rich with literature, where people are famous for their poetry and prose like  robert burns and walter scott. but there is the paradox, you have both the literate and the illiterate.

so who were the women who succeeded because adult learning is part of governance? many women, from women who have been abused to women who were born with dyslexia and down syndrome. i particularly was touched by one woman who had various challenges , she had down syndrome, a lazy eye and had difficulty speaking but she went to college and stood before us with her self confidence blossoming. i remember families whose children were kept away from school because they had down syndrome, called “mongoloid” children. if only we had what scotland has –  a  policy of providing learning services for adults in the working and lower classes. i told fiona ,deborah ,tracy and her  program partners – julie simmons, john gates, cris, sue and winifred  that we should organize learning journeys with them all over the world. their success is one testimony to what  happens with empowering women and men by adult learning .

i know  now why harry potter was born in scotland. because women can raise  the bar for meeting life’ challenges in scotland. thanks to  the scottish for giving birth to many opportunities to children and adults to read across the world. thanks to fiona, sue, deborah and winifred for devoting time and passion  to adult education . the world is better when women learn to succeed in their journeys.

life is about  learning all throughout life. adult learning is discovering a world full of worthy people who grow inside and around us. these are the poets, artists, writers,essayists,scientists, the knowledge bearers from all walks of life.

Dining in Edinburgh

September 10, 2009

When one gets hungry in Edinburgh, one has  a festival of food to choose from. i discovered a daily  feast  on the first morning ed and i arrived. bed and breakfast, i think, started in england ,but when you ask for a full english breakfast in edinburgh, the chefs will gently correct you that a full scottish breakfast is what they offer. there are all sorts of meat dishes, from haggis to sausages, bacon and ham. i saw proscuitto but i was told they are a scottish ham.  then there are all the cereals and fruits for the morning fix. one can smell a variety of fresh bread, from rye , oats , croissants and scones on the table. even when you walk the street ,the aroma of coffee,tea and chocolate  embrace you early in the morning. i told Ed “Ayen will love the breakfast buffet here,its like what we had in Lo Skole in Elsinore,Denmark.” to eat or not to eat five times a day, that should be Hamlet’s plea if he were here in Edinburgh. my own delicious dilemna was ” to drink and not to drink” so there are so many whisky, wine and beer. in the Rosslyn Chapel, we read on what pillar the words  ” Forte est vinu, Fortior est rex . Fortiores  sunt mulieres: sup om vincit verita meaning “Wine is strong. The king is stronger. Women are stronger still: but truth conquers all.”  These were the words during the trial of wisdom of the three bodyguards of King Darius – I think this story is part of  the search for the holy grail and will blog in another sequel, my version of the medieval adventures of the knights of templar .

Ed has been sipping  wine well, even gurgling wine, if the phrase is correct and getting stronger, even when we are lacking in sleep.

so for people who love food, come and dine in Edinburgh. the dining places have its own attractive personalities, enticing you with a wide range of cuisine , from the french to the asian fusion. i read that  Gordon Ramsay, the incendiary famous chef on tv, is from scotland and he is going to hold a 5000 pound per table dinner celebration in october. that dinner will really be at the top of the festival agenda in october.  imagine all the flavors of game, the sea and the highlands. imagine biting into all the fresh catch of the day  or slicing juicy,crispy  game. the eyes are fed even by the scottish designs of the places, bringing the textures and colours of the dining place to an artistic experience. the floors and ceilings  are asymmetrical  like those of the mustard seed place in invernes, which was a former chapel by the river but now a posh place for dining.

oh to be born a rich scot and eat like you never have. mind you, am saying “Rich” not royal because after visiting the Holyroodhouse palace, the residence of the royal queens, from Mary of Scots to Elizabeth, i dont want their karma of wars and murders staining my dining table. the story of the stewarts, from their rise to their demise will be for another storyblog.

for now, i am happy with dining in the various restaurants our hosts have organized for Ed and I.

The Modern Code of Scottish Start-ups

September 9, 2009

an early nudge got me to rise up at a time when most people would be in dreamtime. i looked at the window and edinburgh was deep in sleep. i looked down royal street,got our book gift and opened the pages of the rough guide to scotland. let me walk you through the street where we are now. ed is still in deep slumber and so will do distance walking.

here in the womb of edinburgh, i feel most alive. so many crossings with stories. there is a palette of reds,burgundy,old rose,maroons – the colours of the tartan and scottish wishkeys as contrasted to whisky. why wish keys? because when you are here, you want to explore and experience everything!

scotland is famous for its whisky but i have declared to all that my drinking days are over, except for the sparkling water of Scotland. you can drink tap water and feel alive, i have refrained from drinking whisky, wine and the spirits. ed drinks his wine like water even in midday meals.

oogling men for my friends, the gels june r,susan t, deng t,marivic, princess,mercy f,aida s,liddy,niva, lets imagine having the higlanders and kilt wearing pals for breakfast. i know i missed our chats but this week, i offer you the sexy, knicker- ripping humour of the scottish men who wear kilts and nothing else. i read that in the medieval time, highlanders would run naked waist high. guess what they had inside those kilts?

the code for 21st century. for minette and yeyi, and all the twins’ fans, inverness has a warehouse of knowledge where start-ups are created and crated for deliveries. ed and i were surprised that people get their babies ready to read by four months. we were brought by julie simmons to her library and we were shown all the reading packs for babies, one year olds, three year olds and so we asked to be given a whole chest of books for kids’ start ups.  the woman in charge, elisabeth,kindly repared a whole reading pack for us. Why did we not hear about this program? asked Ed. “We started in the early 90s and these reading start-ups grew until we could afford to help all the babies and toddlers read early.”  What do you do if a family has more than one child? or many children? Elisabeth replied ” We give each child a reading pack.” Imagine if all our Filipino babies can be enticed to read at four months old? 

Julie Simmons told us ” Rowling deserves every penny she got from writing Harry Potter because she got young children all over Scotland, UK and even in the world to love reading.”

Wouldn’t we all want to be Rowling and earn the love of children ? plus the sound of laughter on the way to the banks? So for my clans ( clan is a scottish word for children), do read up and get all the children opening books and spending their playtime imagining future adventures. to the villariba clans, rey,ceres,lisa,melo ,maebel, mina,atoy, deeda,jason,heidi,jojie,yoyong, corcor,obi,sonny,lynette, mara and all, scotland is worth every sterling if you come here to learn. we hope laraine and her cousins can study and experience harry potter and all his joys in this splendid land. 

i can hear ed waking up and walking in our bedroom. yes we have a suite in the heart of the city called high street, near the edinburgh castle.


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