Sun, surf, and calligraphy



THE year 2016 will mark the 11th year since I graduated from high school. In my mind, it has only been a few years but realizing that it has been that long makes me cringe a little knowing that the days of my youth are literally a decade behind me. Along the way of transition, we eventually lose touch with friends we’d keep forever, but life or Facebook always finds a way to bring us back to old friends to reconnect on life.

One of those friends is Jen Miguel, a kindred soul that I have been close with since my sophomore year in high school. Jen and I have always been closely linked with each other because of our love for books, corny jokes, and yes, even stories of unrequited young love.

At 27, Jen and I recently connected again and we enjoyed going through who were and what the last decade has done to our lives. Jen was quick to reflect, “High school taught us a lot. It was the time we were most awkward, ugly, and oblivious selves but it was a great time for forming friendships that would last. Now that it has blossomed, it’s a deeper kind of connection. We still remember high school fondly but more than the superficialities, we recognize our journey and we understand the whys now. We acknowledge our growth and our progress.”

She also notes the importance of encouraging each other, “We use this foundation to build each other up for the future and while the awkward teenage girls are still there somewhere, we both know that. But we’ve matured now and the focus now is to nourish the friendship by supporting each other on what we love while reminiscing the good old days.”

Getting to know each other again entails getting to know where we are in life right now.
Jen has been raising her daughter Zoe on her own for quite awhile now while also working at a 9-6 corporate job. However she has also recently taken interest in calligraphy and her works are taking the Instagram world by a storm, even gaining attention from popular poet Lang Leav.

Jen has always been on the artistic side but calligraphy was one she only took seriously when she attended several workshops three years ago. Her talent for it grew through practice and in a way, calligraphy served as a therapy for her, “I love writing. I love everything handwritten. Calligraphy also helps me a lot to relax. I’m actually easily stressed so writing calligraphy – hearing the nib smoothly glide over paper is one of the best things I love to hear after a long day.”

Jen then moved on to teaching, which was something that just happened naturally for her, “Teaching calligraphy actually just fell on my lap. It really wasn’t planned at all. I’ve been doing calligraphy then for a year already and someone at work approached me and asked me if I could talk about calligraphy at a seminar they were holding. A couple of days before the seminar, I found out that most of the people who were attending thought that I’d be teaching. So I took the opportunity and held a class for them outside of work. Afterwards it just bloomed from there.”

The fulfillment she has received from teaching has encouraged her to give a new twist to learning calligraphy by combining another passion of hers, surfing. The event called Sunstoked and Ink Stained will be running from January 30 to 31 in the beautiful San Juan, La Union. It includes accommodation, transportation, several workshops, and of course, an hour free surf lesson.

When asked about this event, Jen is quick to say, “I’ve always been advocate of art by the beach because there’s so much inspiration in nature that we can never get here in the city. So I thought of this event to be able to bring two of my passions together. I believe it’s a great combination – art and the ocean.”

Getting to know Jen in a new way was refreshing and is proof that life is all about seasons and while there are seasons where you are apart from each other, the time also comes when you reconnect and get to know each other all over again.

To know more about the workshop, follow Freckles and Ink on Facebook and Instagram.

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