In Memory of 911

Sept. 11, 2001. I was in my office in Minnesota when I received a message from a friend in Italy about a horrible thing happening near us.

“Oh my God, did you see what’s happening in New York???” his message read.

I browsed the CNN website and was shocked to see the Twin Towers, the World Trade Center, on fire. Two planes smashed through the tall buildings. We couldn’t believe our eyes, that such a massive structure can break into pieces. By afternoon, everyone in the office already knew of the tragedy. It was official: New York was under a terrorist attack.

13 years. 3,000 souls.

3,000 souls who went to work early in the morning just like how they did it everyday. 3,000 people who were just preparing to face a day hoping they will be productive, or be less stressful, or at least get by for the day. But they will never see the end of that day.

13 years. Never forget.

Sept. 11, 2001 Blogspot

AND THEN WE DIE… (love you Maria Celina Chua) You made a major impact on me more than the world made on you.

I got a shocking news about the sudden passing of a student of mine. She always had that gentle and quiet spirit. May you rest in God’s hands my dear Celina. ♥

The Grounded Dreamer's Blog

Maria Celina Chua Before the accident Before the accident

Maria Celina Chua  When we met (2nd yr college) Maria Celina Chua When we met (2nd yr college)

Maria Celina Chua And the rest is history Maria Celina Chua And the rest is history

Maria Celina Chua. and the rest is history Maria Celina Chua. and the rest is history

Maria Celina Chua. And the rest is history Maria Celina Chua. And the rest is history

Maria Celina Chua. and the rest is history Maria Celina Chua. and the rest is history

My best friend passed away a few days ago, Maria Celina Chua. She’s 33. She battled with a blood complication…among other things she battled with. And I don’t mean to put this lightly, but she took it lightly and wanted  your friendship, not your pity.

We met In my 2nd year at college in the Philippines. I was immediately drawn to her strength and patience and sheer stubborn determination to live. And my weird inclination to be superwoman for underdogs. *GRAWR* ……..YES!!! She was made fun of a lot in college, cuz they were foolish, ignorant, insecure idiots. I’m sure some are wiser now. Lolz


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Michael Christian Martinez Embraces Winter Olympic Spirit, Favorite Athlete Due To Character

It takes a lot of sacrifices to go to the Olympics. It takes a lot more sacrifices to go to the Olympics ALONE, with minimal government support. God bless you Michael. May you be able to reach your Olympic dream someday.


Michael Christian Martinez after men's free skating program at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Like homes all over the world James and I have watched countless hours as the 2014 Winter Olympics play out from Sochi, Russia.  We have been thrilled with downhill skiing, short track, cross country, snow boarding, speed skating, and last but not least figure skating.  We have clapped for athletes from a wide variety of countries, been pleased with American success, but also mindful that grand sportsmanship has no national label.

Such is the case with Michael Christian Martinez.

I have had no greater concern about an athlete moving forward during the games than when Martinez performed the short skate and needed to be one of the top 24 contenders to advance to the free skate.  When he prevailed I clapped, and not because of anyone else he was skating against but simply because Martinez contains all the spirit and true energy of the Olympic spirit.  In the end he placed 19th in the…

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Mijn Held (My Hero)

This is my text about our Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. The reason why I wrote about him is because he stayed in Brussels and Gent, where he also published El Filibusterismo.

Just a note though, my personal hero is St. John Baptist de La Salle, the saint which bears the name of our university. But more about him in a separate post.


Jose Rizal werd geboren op 19 juni 1861 in Calamba, Laguna. Toen hij 8 jaar was, schreef hij zijn eerste gedicht. Hij behaalde zijn diploma in Bachelor of Arts toen hij 16 jaar werd. In 1878 schreef hij zich in in de geneeskunde maar omdat hij voelde dat Filipijnse studenten gediscrimineerd werden in school, moest hij stoppen. Hij vervolgde zijn studie aan de Centrale Universiteit van Madrid in 1882 en voltooide die in 1884.

Toen hij in Europa was, werd hij onderdeel van de propagandabeweging, een groep die verandering in de regering wilden. In 1887 publiceerde hij zijn eerste boek met de titel “Raak Me Niet Aan” in Berlijn. Het verhaalt over de corruptie en onbeschoftheid van Spaanse priesters in de Filipijnen. Daarom werd het boek verboden en kon Rizal niet terugkomen.


Commemorative plaque of Rizal in Brussels, Belgium

In 1891 schreef hij zijn tweede boek, “Het Bestuur van Hebzucht” dat in Gent werd uitgegeven. Het verhaal was radicaler en baanbrekend, zodat zijn familie en vrienden worden lastig gevallen. Toen hij in 1892 terugkwamen, werd hij verbannen naar Dapitan tot 1896. Toen de Filipijnse Revolutie in 1896 begon, werd hij gearresteerd en naar een gevangenis gebracht. Op 30 december 1896 werd Rizal op Bagumbayan geëxecuteerd door een vuurpeloton.

English translation:

Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 in Calamba, Laguna. When he was 8 years old, he wrote his first poem. He received his diploma in Bachelor of Arts when he was 16 years old. In 1878, he enrolled in medicine but had to stop because felt that Filipino students were discriminated. He continued his studies in the University of Central Madrid in 1882 and completed it in 1884.

When he was in Europe, he joined the propaganda movement, a group of people who wanted reform in the government.


Rizal's statue in Wilhelmsfeld, Germany

In 1887, he published his first novel entitled “Noli Me Tangere“ (Touch Me Not) in Berlin. It is a story about the corruption and brutalities of the Spanish friars in the Philippines. The book was banned and Rizal was forbidden to go back to the Philippines. In 1891, he wrote his second novel, “El Filibusterismo“ (The Reign of Terror) in Ghent. The story is more radical and revolutionary which caused his family and friends to be harassed. When he came back in 1892, he was exiled in Dapitan until 1896. When the Philippine Revolution began in 1896, he was arrested and imprisoned. On December 30, 1896, Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan by a firing squad.

Rizal’s years in Brussels

Rizal in Wikipedia

Onze Avonturen in Dusseldorf (Our Adventures in Dusseldorf)

This is another post of an essay that I made for our Dutch class. This is about our weekend visit to the beautiful city of Dusseldorf.

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We gingen vorig weekend naar Dusseldorf in Duitsland. We kwamen met de auto van Oudenaarde naar Dusseldorf. Dan kwamen we met de trein naar het centrum. Toen we in de stad aankwamen, zagen we de oude gebouwen met Griekse architectuur. Dan wandelden we langs een levendige straat met veel bars en cafés. Toen we op straat liepen, zagen we gezellige kanalen en bruggen. We bezochten ook het standbeeld van Otto von Bismarck en veel mooie kerken. In the namiddag, bezochten we de Rijntoren en dan wandelden we langs de Rijn. Het was geweldig want we zagen veel toeristen zich ontspannen en speelen langs de kust. We genoten van de mooie plekjes en het zacht weer. Ten slotte aten we op restaurant en proefden we Duitse gerechten. Het was een nieuwe ervaring met veel avonturen!

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English translation:

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We went to Dusseldorf in Germany last weekend. We rode the car from Oudenaarde to Dusseldorf. Then, we went to the center of the city by train. When we arrived in the city, we saw old buildings of Greek architecture. Then, we walked along a busy street full of bars and cafés. As we walked, we also saw beautiful canals and bridges. We also visited the statue of Otto von Bismarck and a lot of beautiful churches. In the afternoon, we visited the Rhine Tower and walked along the Rhine river. It was wonderful because we saw a lot of tourists relaxing and playing along the coastline. We enjoyed the beautiful sites and the nice weather. Lastly, we ate in a restaurant and we tried out some German delicacies. It was a new experience full of adventures!

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