Keep Out

I don’t keep my blog site a secret. Though, I don’t overly publicize it as well.
But looking at the visitor and viewer stats, I figured that readers of my blog are very few… and mostly from countries other than mine.

So I was a little shocked to know that my mother has known of my blog, as per my sister. And I immediately told her to NOT read my blog (with a “please” of course).

Not that I have something to hide from her or that I’m feeling like a bratty/rebel teen asking for her privacy (because let’s face it, what’s the point of blogging about something if you don’t want others to read it, right?). But because of two reasons:

1. She will think I’m losing my mind.

I hoped that my blog would be an outlet to rant and release all stresses and unnecessary complaints of everyday reality. So I’m afraid my mother will think I’m starting to lose my sanity and will ask me to move back home or let me see a shrink or something. I just don’t want her to worry.
I once posted a very emo Facebook status and guess what? She called me up and told me not to be so negative. blah blah blah. And I told her, “Ma, relax. I’m fine. Uso lang ang emo sa social networking sites. (Being emo on social networking sites is a thing.)”. After that incident, I created a Twitter account.

2. It’s EMBARRASSING!

Okay. Not only will my mother get to know all my mind grimes, she also gets to check my writing and grammar! I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world (She’s not either. HA!) but still… I can’t forget the day she read a draft essay I wrote back in college. And I got only two words from her: “So elementary!”. Talking about crushing the confidence of your child. HAHA. But she was right. Still… I may have cared 6 or 7 years ago… Now? Eh. So what!

Unfortunately, she’s already seen and read my posts. So, ma, if you’re reading this: “Peace! I miss you and I love you. Thanks for dropping by! Kisses. ;)”

 

**This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Keep Out.

The Transporter

Nothing transports me back to my past better than smelling something familiar.

A whiff of a former love/crush’s cologne.
A barbecue aroma in the center of my college quad.
A smoker’s breath after finishing a stick.

My memory is always strongly guided by my sense of smell, which in turn also heightens my sense of taste. This has been the culprit for me craving food occasionally from a certain fast food chain.

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Getting to smell Jollibee’s Chickenjoy (a meal consisting of fried chicken with rice and gravy) instantly transports me back to my childhood. And getting to finally taste it again will flood me with different stories to tell involving the family, major childhood events, and chickenjoy.

So, no matter how I seem to think I’m fed up of eating it, one smell and I’m already coming back for more. I know I’m not the only one alone in this. Ask Filipinos who were raised in the Philippines, girl or boy, rich or poor, we all have our own Jollibee and chickenjoy stories. And even kids today, they still continue to create their stories with the store and food.

**This post is not a paid ad or anything. This is in response to Daily Prompt: The Transporter.

Escape!

In my time and age, there seems to be only one thing I always (I mean ALWAYS) escape from.
And this is WORK.

Well, not directly.
More of like: the “corporate world” and “IT services”.
The demand of always needing to be able to deliver with speed and quality.
High quality products, speedy delivery… but all with a low-cost.
Now, how the hell do you do that without ending up being like a zombie and feeling like a slave?

Anyway, I am lucky with the company I’m now in because the demand for the three things I mentioned above is still not that highly realized and asked for. The culture and environment are still humane and not that stressful. Just the right kind and amount of stress. Good stress.

Good or bad stress, I have found myself a few escape routes from these harsh realities of globalization and capitalism. Some have no planning needed at all to execute, has immediate effects, but wears off easily. While some require added patience and careful strategies but are instant uppers and have effects of escape that lasts longer.

1. Travel

Yup! Nothing beats literally escaping from the physical place where you feel stressed and worn out. This makes you feel like entering a new kind of reality. Also, getting to experience, eat, see and learn new things from travelling is like a breather for the brain, the eyes, tummies and taste buds. The experience will leave you with days and weeks of something new to talk about and a lifetime of memories to treasure.

2. Theater

Aah, yes. Getting to see theater plays is like a safe haven for me. A new dimension and a new sense of learning. In every show I see (even though some shows I’ve seen many times or already memorized the soundtrack), I get to discover a whole different perspective and awakening. Awakening, not only of the mind, but also of the emotions. Perfect escape from the same-old cycle of emotions that working for a corporation has to offer. Watching theater shows (especially musicals) will leave me smiling, dazed, and on a high for at least a week after seeing it. Though, the thought of getting to see a show already gets me distracted and hyper all the same.

3. Movies and TV shows

Just like theater, movies and TV shows are major forms of escape for me. A movie can leave me all cried up or laughing or whatever. Even seeing trailers of films will make me forget momentarily the pains of getting up to work the next day. TV shows, however, are like different mini realities for me. Especially now, with so many good shows to watch out for… I have become overwhelmed. But grateful all the same for their existence.

An actual (sad?) story of Escape:
I remember this one time when I was still with my previous company, I was so low and worn out that I plunged into a mild depression (I guess it was only mild. haha). I didn’t go to work for a week. I didn’t change my clothes for a week (and yes, didn’t take a bath for a week!). I ate only once a day for seven days. I did not speak to anyone. And all this time, I was in front of the tube and saw all six seasons of Entourage.

4. Blogging, online courses, and reading

Getting to learn new things is one big escape for me. Especially when the subject are totally different from each other. I love getting to learn these things from self-studying, signing up at online courses, reading blogs and books… I even enrolled and got credits for a Master’s degree (Don’t ask! haha). Also, sharing my thoughts, curiosity and realizations from these learnings are equal escapes for me. So blogging, tweeting, and researching more and more are temporary breaks from the twilight zone that is work.

5. MUSIC

There is not an escape more fast and effective for me than listening to music. It has long been proven. One negative vibe or cluttered mind? I pop earphones in both my ears, have the volume on full blast, then fire the beat, worries and stress away!

This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Escape!.

INTJ

As a friend of mine once said about me:

She goes to night outs, drinks while she still can see straight and dances like there’s no tomorrow, but she is not a party girl.

Yep. If in a party, I party.
There’s no use sulking around and hiding in one corner.
Well, unless I’m not in the mood.

As I’ve said in my About page, I’m extreme.

If I’m in the mood to party, my energy just shots up. I could go all night drinking and dancing in high-heeled shoes and still you won’t hear a complaint out of me. My endless love for music and carbonated (okay, alcoholic!) drinks are to blame for this tireless and sleepless acrobatics.

Try to catch me in a foul mood… and you cannot even bring me to a party in the first place. My introvert mode turns on and no one can really convince me to be with people by that time. (But I’ll still be drinking, alright! LOL)

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However, foul mood or not: if I decide to go to a party, I party.
I mean, you’re already there. Might as well, enjoy yourself. No use acting up.
If my reclusive side is active, I just don’t go to the party. No need to infect other people with your bad vibes, right?

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There are just moments when I need the exhilaration and excitement that a party brings. But also there are times when I need to get away from crowds and happy people. I don’t know. I think I’m bipolar that way.

**This is in response to Daily Prompt: INTJ.

Menagerie

I don’t like animals.
Please don’t hate me because of this.
My dislike for animals is not because I hate them or anything.
It’s just that I’m scared of them.

Actually, this fear is not of animals alone. I’m scared of anything I don’t understand, really.
So this goes with unpredictable situations, people, and well… Animals.

Yes. I know some animals are totally predictable because you can actually train or tame them using these predictabilities. But I don’t understand them still. It’s like I’m constantly trying to decipher what goes on an animal’s head. What makes them bark or purr or attack or react however it is they react.

I am in awe of them. If anything, I have such deep respect for animals that only shows as fear on my side. Plus, an animal’s life is LIFE. Like your life and mine… it is LIFE. So, I am scared of the responsibility that an animal comes with. How can one that don’t understand something be responsible for this something’s life? You know what I mean?

Anyway, our family did have one pet dog.
Probably the one and only animal I will ever have in my life.

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Jigger the couch potato! (Taken using my old Nokia smart phone)

 

The family got Jigger when I was already away for college. So I never really knew him or took care of him. And every time I went home to visit, I spent half the time avoiding him because I was too scared of him.

We lost him two years ago.
I felt sad and a little regret of not having to know him better.
But I am forever grateful and proud to say that I’ve met him.
He’s the only animal I’ve lived with… And probably, the closest thing to a pet I would ever have.

**This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Menagerie.

Erasure

Daily Prompt: Erasure

You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?

Wow. This is a tough one.
I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now.
And I can’t really think of anything from my past that I would want to erase.

I don’t know if it’s because I have grown to live up to my “Forget Regret” mantra or because I have made it a habit to see even the thinnest silver lining or reason as to why everything happened to me.

As for the choices I have made (especially the wrong ones), I may have felt a tiny guilt or regret but in the end, I have learned to live with every single one. And every time I have come to learn or get something out of it.

My emotional outbursts.
My misfortunes.
My bad choices.

Each and every one, I am grateful for.
I’m scared to delete even the most insignificant one, for I fear I may not be who I am and where I am today if it weren’t for it. And I like who and where I am now. Sure, I would like to be better (if not, the best version of my self), but erasing an event in my past is no guarantee I would be. So instead of erasures, I would prefer creations — creating for the future.

Ghostwriter

Daily Prompt: Ghostwriter

If you could have any author –living or dead – write your biography, who would you choose?

Oh my gosh!
This is a toss-up between Phillipa Gregory and Julian Fellowes.

Phillipa Gregory

From the first lines of “The Other Boleyn Girl”, I was already hooked. So this got me to read her other works. I love how in each novel, Gregory marries historical facts with fiction. And how she tells a scene so vividly that even for a person with slow imagination (like me) can clearly see the details of the story.

I would like that in the telling of my life story. Factual but with imaginative back story details. Truth but with the needed drama.

Julian Fellowes

Fellowes, on the other hand, I became a fan after seeing Downton Abbey. I just loved the show’s concept, the witty lines, and unforced humor. I admire how he is able to share the British history and culture through the show without being to preach-y and boring. I loved the show so much that I started researching for Fellowes’ other works, like his novels. And every time, he showed the same accurate cultural and historical details wrapped with the same witty and fun dialog.

So that won’t be too bad a theme for a biography, right? Accurate minute details with fun retelling of it all.

 

Playlist of the Week

It has been quite a week for our family.

Our grandpa-uncle just passed away.
Although he is the brother of my father’s mother, we called him “uncle” all our lives.
We never met my grandmother, but he filled that role to us.

More than that, he was like the godfather of the entire family.
Our very own Don Vito Corleone.

He was many things to each member of the family.
But what I will remember most about him is how he ALWAYS seem to bring the family together.
Even as we said our final goodbyes to him, I realized that he brought the family back together again.

Uncle was a man full of passions.
One of this passion is music. He sure had taste in music.
So this week, not only did the family got together with overflowing prayers and sympathies for him, but also with overflowing musical dedications.

The top 5 songs playing in this week of mourning were:

  • Moon River by Frank Sinatra
  • What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder
  • After All by Peter Cetera
  • Bye Bye by Mariah Carey

The first three were some of uncle’s favorites.
After All was sung in the interment.
And Bye Bye was a song performed by my sisters and cousins in dedication to him in one of the nights of prayer for him.

Every thing about this week was a mixture of…
… sadness and gratefulness,
… mourning and rejoicing,
… tears and laughter.

But as with all our family gatherings, it was filled with drama, love and music.

Till we meet again, Lolo Uncle!

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This is in response to Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week.

VIP

Daily Prompt: VIP

Who’s the most important person in your life — and how would your day-to-day existence be different without them?

I have to admit I have grown to be independent.
So much so that I hate it when I have to depend on someone.
I hate the feeling of being indebted to anyone. Even my own family.

So knowing this, one might think that my day-to-day would not be any different with or without anybody in my life right now. But for me to say that is being super arrogant and dumb.
Because every important person in my life right now I consider important for a reason.

The reason may not be because I need them physically, financially, or anything.
I need them because they’re the ones that keep me sane.
My family. My friends. Even my frenemies.

Every one of the people surrounding me right now makes me feel alive.
They make me feel like there is more to this life than just waking up and eating and sleeping.
They’re the ones who make me feel.

This actually is a very hard question to answer– who’s the most important person in my life?
Because it is not a “person” but they are “people”.
And I cannot imagine losing even one of them.

Fantasy

Daily Prompt: Fantasy

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

Definitely a harmless fiction.
Well, in the Philippines, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are not popular fiction told to kids. So most kids in our country don’t know them, actually. All except for Santa Claus.

I will never ever forget the feeling I had as a kid during Christmas mornings. Having to wake up to presents that magically appeared overnight under the tree, all with the card saying it’s from Santa Claus. And previously empty stockings, now filled with candies to the brim. Also, days before Christmas, we would write him a letter asking for what we want and we would leave it by the window.

There was one Christmas that trumps all my memories of Santa. On Christmas Eve, my cousin got a present from her godfather. It was a complete set of cool pens and stationery. I was so jealous that I wanted one for myself. And I knew that it was too late to ask one from Santa because he would not have the time to buy or create one for me since its already Christmas eve. Plus, how will he get my letter on time? So all I did was cry that night. Christmas morning came, and there was a gift for me from Santa. I opened it and saw the exact gift set my cousin got the night before. I was so happy that I wanted to scream my thank you to Santa. Right then, I’ve always been so grateful to him and as an eternal thank you, I vowed to never be a naughty kid again.

After that everything was a blur.

I never knew how I got to know the truth about him not being real.
My parents never told me.
No friend of mine blew the whistle.
Maybe it was because of watching movies or reading stuff that I got to know.
But it was never clear.
I just got to understand that whatever my mama and papa did during Christmas was a part of a tradition that they did not want to break.

I do not even remember the first Christmas I stopped receiving gifts with the card written “From Santa Claus” on it. I never remember being heartbroken about it. May be because the other two Santas in my life– mom and dad– never stopped giving me their love and gifts. And those are the best Santa Clauses a child can ever have.

So maybe, it is a good idea to let children have a few good memories to keep with them. It’s the memory of having that feeling at least once in your life that is worth all the lies. Of course, you have to couple this with never-ending love, support, and proper candor (in time) from loved ones. Always.

All Grown Up

Daily Prompt: All Grown Up

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

Honestly, I still don’t feel grown up. This is a general feeling I get whenever I get to see friends my age and how they’re already leading lives full of responsibility and security (or at least trying to achieve security). I’m not jealous or anything. But sometimes I do feel guilty and hesitant that maybe the life I’m leading now will bite me in the future. No regrets, though.

I did, however, feel grown up the first time I ever received my first credit card statement.
I thought to my self: “So this is when it all begins.”
The small freedom you get to acquire what you want but needing to be responsible enough to control yourself to not go overboard.

I failed. Big time.

No, Thanks!

Daily Prompt: No, Thanks

Is there a place in the world you never want to visit? Where, and why not?

Of course!
Here are my Top 5, in no particular order…
1. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – too anti-feminist
2. Afghanistan – too scary
3. North Korea – too communist
4. Antarctica – too cold
5. Middle of the Pacific Ocean – too vast

Need I say more?

Places

I figured most posts regarding the topic “Places”, people will be talking of places they have been to and/or want to go to. But prior to arriving to these places, we suffer the arduous process of getting in line and waiting at the airport or bus terminal.

As someone who has to take flights at least twice a year, I have had my fair share of waiting.20130303-001451.jpg

Waiting to check-in.
Waiting to board.
Waiting for the “fasten seat belts” sign to go off.
Waiting to be greeted by a loved one or a new adventure.

Then going back from these trips,
I wait again.
Waiting to check-in again.
Waiting to board again.
Waiting for the “fasten seat belts” sign to go off again.
Waiting to go back to reality.

I’m used to it, though.
One can’t help but find ways of making the waiting times bearable and even fun.

You have no choice but to do so.

You learn to endure all the waiting because what’s at the other end is and will be totally worth it.

This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Places.

Back to the Future

Daily Prompt: Back to the Future

A service has been invented through which you can send messages to people in the future. To whom would you send something, and what would you write?

Wow. This is a tough one.

It is always a scary thought for me: to be haunted by the past.
I know how easy it is for us to be reminded of it and and how we really cannot help but be tied up to it– good or bad memories. So to be able to reach out to someone’s future self really would be spooky.

That’s one way of looking at it, though. The other can be a blessing and an advantage.
But just to avoid others being spooked, I would probably just send a message to my future self.

It would include a list of all the things that made me happy, so far.
All the little accomplishments.
All the things that I never thought I could do but have.
All the fears I have learned to face and survive.

All to remind my future self that whatever troubles I may be facing that time, I can and will get through them. And that my future self, when sad, may also be reminded of all the happiness I see even in little and insignificant things.

Lastly, I would include all people and experiences I am so much grateful for.
So that whatever happens in the future, I will be reminded of how these people and events have helped me to become a better version of myself. And so that whatever state or level of relationship our future selves have with each other, I may learn to protect, mend, and strengthen them always.

First Light: Ocean

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought about was the super weird dream I had.
It was of the ocean.

The dream began with me in the middle of the ocean.
I wasn’t in the water. It’s either I was flying over it or I was in a floating vessel with no clear visible edge and was not rocked by the ocean’s waves.

I felt the hot sun on my skin.
I was fast approaching the shore of a beautiful island with a white sand beach.
Just before I hit the sand, I see two adult sea turtles making their way to the water. They got to the water and started to swim to the deep end. They swam and paddled their hardest but the strong waves of the ocean kept pulling them back to shore.

I left the struggling creatures and went inside a very modern man made shelter.
Inside the building was like a public ocean park with a large aquarium.
The aquarium being the ocean itself.

I just stood there mesmerized and scared of all the vast blue emptiness.
Then all of a sudden, a big whale swam vertically beside the glass that separates air from the water. The whale had a see through bottom. I can see all the little fish and corals inside its mouth. And just like in the movie, Life of Pi, everything was luminous.

It was a gorgeous sight to see.
I took out my phone and took a picture.

Then I woke up.
Weird, huh?

This post was in response to Daily Prompt: First Light.