One Step At A Time…

We all have dreams. I don’t think we’d be able to go about our daily routines without them. Personally, I have about 10  different scenes constantly playing and re-arranging themselves in my head. There’s one where I’m a lawyer, one where I’m a surgeon (but I’m terrified of blood), there’s a scene wherein I’m a teacher (because I absolutely LOVE kids), one where I live and work in Disneyland (because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to work in the happiest place on earth) AND… there’s even a moment when I see myself as an astronaut (zero gravity, space suit and all)

The world is filled with options. The question is… Which one is right? Which one reveals the real you?

I’ve gone around the block of panning out my future more often than most people. Some are lucky enough to have everything fall into place at the exact moment they need it to. I on the other hand, have had so many roads branching out into so many different side streets that it’s become a little difficult to figure out where it is I’m really suppose to be. As I get older, I become more knowledgeable. Not so much in an academic sort of way but more of actually knowing that when I screw something up, I should take every measure to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I guess in a way, I’m lucky to have been given a chance to get so many do-overs. Not everybody gets a 2nd chance to right a wrong.

“Mistakes are a part of life. They are a part of who we are and as such should not be thrown away or put aside just because they’re not as pretty as the other stuff”

-CVLS

 

At present, I am trudging through life looking for that place where I truly belong. I’ve always had an idea of where I wanted to end up; I just need a little more drive to actually get there. 🙂 Here enters my secret dream. One which I’m not fully inclined to divulge just yet but, give me a couple more days to think it out and I’ll tell you. 😀 This is a dream I can’t seem to shake no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I find myself thinking… maybe I can’t shake it off because it’s the path I’m really suppose to take… but then again… WHO KNOWS??!!

Now, we shall just have to wait and see where life will lead a vagabond like me. C’est la vie mes amis!!! 😀

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FLOOD WARS

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my site and for that, I would like to apologize. My blog was blocked for over a month and when it finally decided to stop going bonkers, I was way too busy and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what I wanted to write about. In the end, I ended up doing what all the Greats (Shakespeare, Austen, and Poe, to name a few) have probably done before me. I twiddled my fingers and counted invisible sheep in my head. Thus begins the inevitable cycle of a frustrated writer suffering from writer’s block.

A lot has happened in the last 3 and a half months. There have been life changing experiences, cheap thrills, heart-breaking losses and crazy adventures in between. Having said that, I know most of you understand my dilemma over choosing the “perfect” story to share. It often feels like the best moments can’t be put into words and the rest of your anecdotes have become too run of the mill for other people to care. When you think about it, it’s a wonder how any of us can get a good word out when there are so many hitches that get in the way… Sometimes though, something larger-than-life happens and in that moment, the story seems to write itself.

I guess the only question that’s left to ask is… Why now? Why this story? Well… It all starts with WATER. Lots and LOTS of water…

The rain started around Friday last week (August 3rd) but it wasn’t until Monday evening (August 6th) that the droplets of water from the sky started pounding on the pavement with a vengeance.  By Tuesday morning, classes were suspended and the flood wars began.

Students balancing on top of chairs to avoid the flood…

The University of Santo Tomas. FYI, that pond/lake in the middle isn’t usually there. On a normal day, that’s the field…

 

Storms are never a welcome sight but this one in particular was an unabashed traitor. It came like a thief in the night, unexpected and DEADLY. As I rushed home from the University on Monday afternoon, I was told I left just in the nick of time. It wasn’t long before the downpour started lashing out at the train I was in; almost as if it had something to prove.  As the train swayed a little more violently than usual, I found myself praying that I’d make it to my stop before the weather got any worse. Every gruelling inch that train took was one step closer to me getting home and for that… I was grateful. Unfortunately, my other friends weren’t so lucky. Most of them were forced to set up camp in other people’s houses because it was getting impossible to travel. At that moment, my only goal was to get home. Thankfully, I did. The next morning, I watched in horror as the floods quickly engulfed the streets of Manila.

The streets of Metro Manila completely submerged in flood water

Search and rescue teams trying to get everyone to safety.

 

It was an incredible blessing to be safe at home but I couldn’t help but think about all of those people who weren’t as lucky as me. I was worried about my friends who were stuck in their houses and dormitories with limited food supply. I was glad they kept updating me on what was happening but aside from actually knowing how they were, I could do nothing more but sit at home and pray for their safety.

Tuesday evening (August 7th) was probably the worst day. I kept receiving text messages from my friends saying that water was invading the inside of their houses and that they needed to carry as much of their belongings up to the 2nd floor. Some possessions that were too big or too heavy to carry had to be sacrificed. One of my friends’ who is currently a piano major, watched helplessly as the flood began to lick the bottom of her piano. After a few hours, she knew that those beautiful piano keys were tarnished and the piano itself now belonged to the water.  Despite having to go through all of that, she sent me a text message later that night telling me that she was grateful that she and her family were dry and safe up in the 2nd floor of their home.

To add insult to injury, SOS tweets started coming in at a rapid pace. News of people stuck on the roof of their homes needing rescue were rampant. Relief centers tweeted about needing more supplies and reinforcements. Anyone who was willing and able to help was welcome. Then came the tweets about hospitals being flooded, patients running out of provisions and hospital generators slowly dying and needing diesel. Somewhere, someone out there needed help. People were hungry, tired and sick but still, the rescue operations continued and volunteers kept packing relief goods non-stop until the wee hours. At that point, everyone knew… It was definitely going to be a long night…

UST Hospital Emergency room. FLOODED!

UERM Hospital SUBMERGED!

 

By Wednesday morning (August 8th) the clouds were still dark and trickles of rain still fell, but the weather lightened considerably. Floods dropped and more roads opened for cars to pass through. There was still water in some areas but canoes, rubber boats and “submarine” like vehicles were no longer needed to get from point A to point B in most parts. Volunteers started flooding into relief centers in droves.  Everyone wanted to help in whatever little way they could. These people are the unsung heroes of this calamity. These are the people who were willing to give of themselves to help others. 🙂

Packing relief goods for the flood victims

At around 2pm on Wednesday, the clouds shifted, darkened and the flood wars continued. Though the rains weren’t as strong as the previous days, new water mixed with the flood equals even more flood. Water started to rise AGAIN but thankfully, the rains were not continuous. 😦 Night came, the rains were in and out and there was nothing left to do but pray.

Today is a Thursday (August 9th) and it looks as if this day marks THE END of the flood wars. Not a drop has fallen from the sky, Mr. Sun has come out to play and I couldn’t be more thankful. The battle is far from over. There are still people who need our help. A lot of people have suffered valuable losses and this should be the time when they’re allowed to lick their wounds and feel sorry for themselves. However, instead of catching people wallowing in self-pity, I see folks desperately striving and utterly willing to help their fellowmen. The beauty about being a Filipino is knowing that when push comes to shove, you are never alone. At the end of the day, we’ve got each others backs. 🙂

I salute the Prisoners of Muntinlupa Jail!!!

 

When tragedy strikes, picking yourself up and trudging on is always a choice. Amidst all the hardships my country had to go through these last few days, I am proud to say that I saw determination, sincerity and HEART. We may not know each other from Adam but we’re always there to lend a hand. We may not be a perfect people but we know when to put aside our differences and work towards a cause so much greater than any of us.

We are Filipinos. BANGON PINOY! (Rise!)

We Really Should… Such is Life…

Life is love and love is life…

One cannot truly exist without the other. In truth, we live each day of our lives hoping for the chance to share a part of ourselves, not just to those who know us best but also to some random stranger we happen to come across on the street. A smile, given with the most unabashed intentions, touches the deepest crevices of one’s heart and life, becomes that much more meaningful.

We must accept our faults. Man may be a well-oiled machine but, like everything in this life, we are flawed. We have to remember that it’s okay to go through life with a couple of glitches. These mistakes are often the best teachers. Through them we learn.

 

Amidst the many treasures that this world holds, it is usually the simplest things that draw out the most sincere emotions and the fondest memories.

Time goes on and beauty fades but the immortality of love lives on. At the end of the line, boxes of riches won’t compare to a flower that has been carefully pressed between pages of a worn book hiding a long forgotten story of yesterday.

We must grab every opportunity to further our minds with the realities of the world as well as the nonsensical know-how of the imagination. It is only when we are able to create a balance that we are truly fulfilled.

Every person we meet in life has a purpose. Don’t take ANYONE for granted. Take every moment you are given with someone and live it as if it were your last together. You never know when your goodnight turns into your final goodbye.

We should jump at every chance to open our hearts to love. Whether it be the rock solid love for a friend, the incomparable love of family or the passionate and enthralling love for a long awaited lover, love encompasses everything and everyone. Love is who we are and who we choose to be. It is in filling our hearts with a feeling of utmost surrender that we are able to see ourselves for what we truly are.

We should grab every possible moment to be courageous. We are all given a chance to be warriors in our own little way. There are many battles that we have yet to overcome. Life is full of trials. What separates the strong from everyone else is their acceptance and willingness to act and change the course of their life.

Time is a flighty thing. It’s here one minute and gone the next. Every breath is fleeting, every glimpse of a smile, a moment you can no longer get back. Life is beautiful in all its imperfections. Such is the irony we must accept.

There is magic in every small thing we do. We are so caught up in striving to be perfect that we forget how amazing and blessed we are to be human. Every day can be an adventure. All we have to do is allow ourselves to make that journey.

 

 

 

It’s the Little Things

As a kid, I distinctly remember saying that I couldn’t wait to grow up (I said it more than once actually). I saw all of these amazing things around me and I met so many fascinating people along the way that I thought this world held nothing but wonders. I looked at life from a different perspective back then. I can even say that, as a child, I looked at the world through rose-tinted glasses. All I saw were the beautiful things this world had to offer me. There was only that, and nothing else. I remember thinking, “One day, I’ll end up doing everything and so much more.”

At 23, I find myself gazing back at the little girl who thought she held the world in the palm of her hand. I still get amazed at the things that catch my fancy and I still meet so many riveting and beautiful people every day. The only difference is my perspectives have changed. I have changed.

We may not want to see it for what it is but in the back of our minds, the thought is there. Life is never easy and it doesn’t always play fair.

There are a million things to appreciate but there are an equal number of things that leave your heart broken into several little pieces.

The glasses are off and reality rears its ugly head.

 

Yes there are happy people, but there are also those that literally live their lives one day at a time. There are kids who play with mountains of toys, but there are also kids who are forced to wander the streets begging for food. There are people who jet set all over the world yet, there are those who are content to live their lives cooped up within the 4 walls of their home, not realizing how ginormous this world truly is. Then there are the little girls who dream of conquering the world and holding it in her hands. They dream of controlling time and moulding life into a Utopia that’s been built on fantastical stories of happily ever afters. Somehow, they grow up and realize that princesses are for stories and worlds could never fit into teeny tiny hands. With this in mind you can’t help but think, “If there are so many things wrong with this world, what is there to live for?”

 

 

I always pass by Recto on my way to the train station. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s a fairly rough neighbourhood in Manila, Philippines. It has a reputation for housing some of the most badass people in the country who mug you blind if you’re not careful.

As I was walking, I came across two street urchins running up the sidewalk and pointing at the train that was passing above them. One of the little boys stared in awe and said, “One day, I’ll be able to ride that train too” the other little boy looked at him and said, “One day, I’ll make a bigger train that can take us to the moon.” As the train disappeared from their sight, they smiled, picked up 2 discarded sticks from the ground, and ran along the side of the street without a care in the world. I went home that day with renewed spirits and a brighter outlook on life.

Here’s the thing. Kids may be little but their hearts are always so full, their words almost always hold true, and their minds are constantly conjuring up dreams of a better and more exciting future.  If those two street kids, who may or may not have 20 pesos  to their name, dream about one day claiming the world as theirs, who’s to say their dreams won’t come true? That’s the problem with the real world, a lot of the time, when things don’t turn out the way we plan them to, we sulk in a corner and give up.

If you want to be happy, you have to remember that you can’t be good at something if you don’t work at it. It’s a basic lesson but it’s always shoved aside for the more highfaluting morals that are basically just a more flowery version of the original.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you have to want to excel. If you refuse to rise above and beyond what you think you’re capable of, you’ll forever be mediocre. I know a lady who used to work as a household helper. 10 years later, she’s opened her own restaurant and owns a franchise of a popular Filipino fast food joint.

 

To answer the question, what is worth living for? My answer would be LIFE!

Amidst all the chaos and “horrors”, there is still hope and a chance to turn dreams into reality. Sure there are bad stuff, but there are also instances when your heart is on the verge of exploding from so much joy and love.

 

“Such is the way of the world. Balance is in the greater scheme of things.”

 

One thing is certain, years pass and we all grow but that doesn’t mean that we have to completely let go of the kid in us. We can still dream for a better tomorrow and leap towards a brighter future. All it takes is hard work, faith, trust and a little fairy dust. 😀


 

Another List for 30 More Days…

I saw this challenge on a couple of blogs that I visited.  It’s a challenge where you have a list of things to do in 30 days.  You don’t have to do them all, but it would be pretty cool if you could give it a shot. 🙂

I know I haven’t exactly been the poster girl for these things as I have yet to re-start my 30 days of Truth blog project but this seems fairly easier than that so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m not exactly sure what the rules are but I think you’re allowed to do more than one thing on this list per day.

  1. Send a surprise, I think you’re fabulous card to someone
  2. Unplug for a whole day
  3. Get a massage
  4. Flirt with a stranger *brief eye contact, smile and look away*
  5. Go for a stroll after dinner
  6. Have champagne for no reason other than to celebrate life
  7. Set a timer and write down something you’re grateful for every hour for a day
  8. Remove 5 things from your environment that doesn’t make you feel beautiful
  9. Do something completely out of character
  10. Invite someone you want to get to know for lunch
  11. Kiss someone
  12. Read a poem to someone you love
  13. Watch a foreign film
  14. Throw a slumber party
  15. Send your worst enemy flowers anonymously
  16. Donate $10 to charity or in my case, 400 pesos.
  17. Put something beautiful on a blank wall you see everyday
  18. Spend an afternoon reading
  19. Have a fancy midday luncheon complete with cloth napkins and wine
  20. Spend an afternoon taking care of pesky issues then treat yourself to a steaming mug of coffee or tea
  21. Donate 5 items out of your closet that don’t make you feel stunningly beautiful
  22. Buy an utterly frivolous piece of lingerie
  23. Get rid of 5 items in your home that don’t bring you pleasure
  24. Hold a baby
  25. Read a biography of your favorite screen star or the bravest most badass chick
  26. Write down your wildest dreams
  27. Create an occasion to wear your most outrageous shoes (maybe throw in a wig too)
  28. Make lemonade
  29. Jump into a body of water
  30. Give someone a hug and wait for them to let go first
  31. Research something that sparks your curiosity.  If you are still curious after 15 minutes delve deeper
  32. Forgive yourself
  33. Forgive someone else
  34. Spend an hour in silent reflection
  35. Select a part of your home and organize it.
  36. Upgrade your sleepwear for a night or go Marilyn Style
  37. Pretend for a day you are as amazing as you want to be.
  38. Do ONE thing you’ve always wanted to do.
  39. Go to a playground and swing on the swing set.
  40. Bake a cake.

Sounds easy enough… We’ll see how far I’ll get this time! 🙂

And The Hunt Begins!

After one has been able to enjoy the life of a student, most are forced to face “the real world” (so to speak.) Ironically, reality seldom involves Algebra, Trigonometry or the ability to hit the volleyball over the net with a perfectly executed serve. One cannot truly be labelled an adult until they are exposed to the gruelling adventure that is JOB HUNTING.

Graduation marks the end of an era. Once you walk up that stage and get that diploma, you’re on your own. Naturally, those that graduate with top marks get the most job offers. They are the gods of the hunt. As they busy themselves with shopping for the proper attire, the mere mortals step off that platform and type up their resumes with a flair that would put Jane Austen to shame. Despite what people might say, first impressions do last. Thus begins the tedious task of highlighting possible career options as well as the mental calculation of efficient employment hunting routes.

Here in the Philippines, more than half the population rely on public transport.  The lucky ones with cars show up for an interview with a dazzling smile, a perfectly put together outfit and impeccable personal hygiene. The ones that struggle for a seat in the jeepney at six in the morning to make it in time for an interview at eight tend to develop unnecessary sweat stains and rumpled clothing. Not a pleasant sight but sometimes unavoidable.

Regardless of your personal circumstances, you start the day with hope in your heart and a spring in your step. By 6:00pm, you hear the echo of the pounding of your feet, the growling of your empty tummy as well as the slumped position of your shoulders. Day 1, no luck. You go home, tuck yourself in for the night, wake up in the morning and the cycle begins again.

The direction of your hunt should seem pretty clear. ALL nurses end up working in hospitals, ALL tourism graduates land jobs in airlines or travel agencies, ALL engineers and architects join or start their own firms, ALL teachers get to share their hard earned knowledge with the next generation and every single cow in this world can fly to the moon and back. Impossible? Well so is that ridiculous notion of everyone landing their dream job.

A friend of mine studied nursing for 6 years. That’s 6 years of sleepless nights and hard hitting exams. At present, she works as a call centre agent for a multi-national company. Another friend took up Culinary and Hospitality Management in college. She is currently waiting tables at a restaurant in Singapore. I seriously doubt if these were the careers they had in mind when they worked their butts off to graduate. Unfortunately, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

We should all be so lucky to get a job that we like much less a job that we actually love. We’re never really certain where life will take us. One day you’re ready to tackle the world with a vengeance but the minute you don’t get your way, all is lost and everything is dreary once again.

This world holds so many brilliant minds. The sad part is, only a few will be given the chance to actually shine. Whether we want to admit it or not, there aren’t enough positions in this world to accommodate everyone’s wants and dreams.

Job hunting is a battle against hundreds, sometimes, thousands of people vying for the same spot. You think you stand out? Well, other people in that same line you’re in think the exact same thing about themselves. Will you be the lucky one? You’ll just have to wait and see.

It’s OK to Crash and Burn But Don’t Stop Living

Dear Shay,

This entry is for you and your broken heart.

You’ve been with him 2 years and 15 days. That’s 745 days of your life you will never get back. I’m not saying you should regret it though. I’m just stating a fact.

I refuse to say “I told you so.” Aside from the fact that I don’t see the point of rubbing your mistake in your face, I’m pretty sure your other friends have already overused that statement so I won’t even bother.

I’d like to say I understand but sadly, I don’t. As much as I would like to spare your feelings, I don’t want to sugar coat any detail or any thought. Instead of adding another lie to that mound that’s already starting to pile up, I’ve decided to lay it all out there and be completely honest with you. It’ll be a refreshing change after all the other stuff you’ve had to go through.

Those fiercely loyal to you have probably already told you what a horrible person HE was and how HE never deserved your love. First thing you have to remember is, love changes you. Before you go flying off the handle, allow me to explain. Love is a beautiful thing, it takes a hold of your senses until there’s nothing left but that feeling that rises and falls with each memory that you build together. Love is beautiful BUT it can turn ugly at any second without warning. You don’t mean for it to happen, it just does.

 

HE was a good guy Shay. The first time I met him, you said what you loved most about him was his goodness and the way he made you feel. Once upon a time, you saw him as your Prince Charming come to life. Now, he’s nothing more than a nightmare that haunts your every step. Still, there was a time when you loved him.

I know for a fact that a friend of yours said that HE never loved you. I know this because I was there when those words were said and I have to say, that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. HE loved you Shay. HE must have loved you. At the end of your relationship, when you thought you were the only one fighting, he was fighting off his own demons to get back to you. I guess in some bizarre way, he loved you the only way he knew how to at the time. I know this because while I was holding your hand, I was also holding his from a distance. You were never fighting alone. The only problem was that you were fighting two separate battles. It was when he won his that you decided to surrender to your own demons.

I don’t blame you. So much has happened and so many people have made it their life’s mission to be your sentinel that it was hard to see past all of that. You told me that allowing yourself to wallow in that pool of sympathy that people have made for you was your own way of coping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,

“Breaking your heart doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life.”

 

It’s hard to start peeling all the other layers of your relationship to find that one small, vital piece. You both were so busy trying to be perfect lovers that you forgot how to be friends. I’m not an expert and I’ve had ZERO experience so don’t take my word for it. I’m just calling it like I see it. The rest of the world saw it, I’m just not sure the two of you saw it too.

Truth is Shay; nobody’s immune to the power of love. Love is unpredictable and it works in the craziest ways. You mope and whine over 2 years and 15 days. My parents were married 16 years before they decided to call it quits.  That’s a lifetime compared to 745 days. I’m not saying it’s any less important but it is a hell of a lot longer. I asked my Mom about it and I believe Shakespeare couldn’t have said it any better. She said:

“Love is a give and take relationship. The problem is, you can’t give something you don’t have. How can you give all of you when you’re not even whole to begin with?”

-M. Lerias

 

This entry right here is my ultimatum. Either you sit down and work things out OR you find closure and separate as two full-grown, free thinking adults. I hate to be the one to break it to you but you’re driving your friends crazy (myself included.) It’s been almost 3 months and no matter how hard we try to help, we can only do so much. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to face the hard hitting questions and make the toughest decisions on your own. We can all see that HE’s starting to mend, why can’t you?

 

You have to start living again Shay. Life is a wonderful thing and you’re letting so many opportunities pass you by. Lingering won’t do you any good so why do it?! You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and allow that beautiful you to shine through 🙂