I've been writing in English to redeem something that I've lost over the past ten years.
During the last year of my college years, hubby and I were writing for the university publication. For our internship, we became news correspondents for a national newspaper. I used to write poems and love letters. All in English. I'd say I was pretty good at it.
After 10 years of being in the corporate world, I lost everything. I stopped being yummy.
This blog is supposed to help me find my way back to whatever or wherever I was in my writing life. To date, every post has been a humbling experience. I always feel the need to check proper usage for words/idioms, style and grammar rules. Every sentence is a tentative construction. I've got a long way to go and I am challenged.
However, I have not forgotten that writing in Filipino is my first love. When I'm writing in English, I write with my heart and mind. When I write in Filipino, it's all heart. I love me better when I'm all heart.
And so from now on, Filipino entries are no longer banned in this blog.
Someone I respect and admire (from a distance) figured in a sad bus accident in Cambodia. She lost her right leg in this tragedy. It's a sad story that gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life. When I read about it online, I just couldn't understand why these things could-should happen.
Nina's a gigantic brilliant mind with a big heart (and a power J-Lo butt). At work, she makes things - miracles - happen. Over a few smoking breaks and a couple of encounters at Starbucks, I became a fan (SUPER LIKE!) because of her humility, sincerity, humor and wits. And she loves life. When we still worked in the same office, I'd imagine Julie Andrews singing "I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so baaddddd" whenever I'd see her.
Less than a couple of weeks after the accident, she posted this "note" FB. Even in tragedy, Nina continues to inspire everyone with lessons in healing, courage and hope.
The last day of my old life by Nina Kristine Abad on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 8:32pm
~Posted with writer's permission
It started out beautifully. I woke up at 7am, had a leisurely breakfast of (our favorite) stir-fried noodles with heavenly Cambodian coffee with a Pinay traveller, whom I met on my way to Siem Reap. She is on her way to Bangkok, which leaves me, for the first time. alone in my 5-day "solo" trip. I made plans with the hotel tuktuk driver, Vey, to take me back to the Angkor complex at 8:00am, with a rented bicycle in tow.
I don't remember feeling so calm in my entire life, the crisp wind on my face, both my feet up in the tuktuk, the promise of a whole day revisiting my favorite temples at my own pace left me feeling giddy. Ah, La Vie Boheme. My demanding yet so alluring mistress.
Vey dropped me off near the complex (cheater) so I can pedal my way to the Wat proper. I stopped for pictures, waved to foreigners and locals alike. When I arrived at Angkor Wat, I deposited my bike with Vey and braced myself for my first step towards my beloved Angkor.
I am not a spiritual person, still am not, but there's something about temples that moves me to tears. I decided to connect with the Wat not just emotionally but physically. I'm barefootin' my way today.
I picked up my trusted Havs and shoved it in my bag and took my first step on the bridge that spans the moat. I didn't care about the stares from some tourists. I'm not the one wearing a long-sleeved shirt over a Tshirt and a stupid hat. Or kitten heels for that matter.
It took me an hour and a half inside the Angkor Wat. The top part was closed since it was a Buddhist holiday, so less tourists today, yay! I tried to sit down and read a book or write somehting, until I realized my stupidity. Why bother, when you have the most beautiful thing around you. I had no concept of time, of space, of social conventions. I didn't care if people saw me cry nor did I care if they thought I was a lunatic everytime I touched the walls and sighed. I didn't take pictures either. Again,why bother? No camera or words are up to task.
Next stop, Angkor Thom to see my beloved elephants. Vey dropped me off at the entrance (majestic) so I can pedal my way inside. It was too late to ride an elephant as they already made their way up to the hill. To my surprise and utter delight, I caught glimpse of a couple of late-riser pachyderms on their way to the entrance. Kandarapa ako sa pagbaba to get a clear shot. I was in heaven. Elephants charging their way towards me, in their full glory, no ugly tourists on board. I admired their grace, their majesty, their utter indifference to those who are disgusted by their bulk or smell. Until I felt a hand grab me out of the way. A couple of Cambodian policemen looked at me sternly, mad that they have to rescue a stupid girl from being trampled to death by elephants (how will they file the paperwork). I smiled guilelessly and pretended to be an airhead idiot (it totally pays!)
Next stop, Bayon, with the numerous faces of Buddha. Lord, ang dame. I lost count when a cute-ish Amboy asked if I want my picture taken, probably noticing my one-armed shots. I obliged, then felt the crushing disappointment when people fail to guess that I don't want my distended stomach in my shots. Cute ka pa naman, nagtiwala ako dahil may SLR ka. He asked why I'm barefoot, I replied I don't need shoes. He just said "cool" then walked away. Cool mo mukha mo :-)
All kinds of things went through my mind as I explored Bayon - kailangan masama ko si Bebe dito, I wonder if they allow overnight camping here, if I got lost here, will people think my bones are part of the display, if the Decepticons came back to destroy this place, I'm gonna go postal on their junk ass. But as I've said in a previous status, there are things so majestic, so overwhelming that it only demands utter silence. You just have to take it in, with an open heart, and just be thankful you are there, alive, to see it.
A lot more things happened for the rest of the day. I found the stall of the Cambodian girl I met on the bus in the old market and got schooled on real silk vs polyester blend. She got mad at the wackjobs who ripped me off by selling me polyester blends, I said it's okay, my friends won't know the difference too.
Another highlight, I tired to walk my way back from Pub street as the map looks pretty simple. Just my luck, as I was about to turn on my last street, it poured hard. My handy-dandy HC red umbrella crumpled after a few minutes. I decided to wait inside a mobile shop for a few minutes but since the rain shows no signs of stopping, I thought screw it. I secured my phone and my camera (may they rest in peace) inside a plastic bag, and walked in the rain. It felt good, a fitting counterpoint to a perfect day. I had an "aw" moment when I reached the guesthouse and found out that my tuktuk driver,Vey, tried to look for me in the Pub street vicinity when it started to rain.
While waiting for my pickup for the night bus (cue music of doom), I had the privilege of having dinner with a new arrival, Wesley from New Yahk. He is a veteran of the banana pancake trail but was retracing his steps as an adult and a student chef. He talked to me about going to market in Pnom Penh for a cooking class and finding himself the only white boy in the whole market, people sizing him up if he has a camera crew in hand or he is just what he actually is, a lunatic with balls. He said he was deeply enraged why, when he is in the greatest city in the world, with the highest per capita income, and they have the worst food in the world. I shared my sentiment that the poorest places has the best food because they have no choice. They have to extract flavors from the meager resources they have.
Well, it must have been love but Wesley doesn't believe in facebook. We'll have always have Siem Reap, char.
To those who may ask, I didn't feel any foreboding before I left. I just felt peace, joy and was incredibly grateful that I experienced everything I set out to do that day. And no, I didn't have any regrets either. As my new motto, life is short, eat pork. And chocolates, and amok, and chicharon bulaklak and broccoli and yes, even hair if that's what floats your boat.
"ATLANTA - Occurring just once every one hundred years, a perfect calendar reading of 11.11.11 is considered one of the luckiest days of the century and a wedding held on 11.11.11 promises love, good fortune and luck1. IHG's Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts is celebrating the dreamy date by hosting 11 weddings for 11 couples, with VH1 star and master matchmaker Steve Ward presiding over the ceremony. The hotel brand is asking altar-bound couples across the U.S. why they are lucky in love through the Crowne Plaza "Marry Me 11.11.11" giveaway. Those who are selected as having the most dedicated relationship and intriguing love story will be whisked away to a once in a lifetime New York City wedding at the Crowne Plaza Times Square- Manhattan." ~ Complete Article here
Our story kicks ass (I think, feel, believe) but I can't see myself getting married thousands of miles away from friends and family. So, that's ok. But maybe I can write about why we have an "intriguing love story" soon... Or maybe the Hubby can?
For more details about 11.11.11, access these links:
Two Saturdays ago, I learned the sad truth about gift registries. All this time, I thought this was how it worked: to avoid duplicates, all invited guests will register the gifts they purchased from the shop/mall. The compiled list will be used by all guests as reference.
Then I found out that the celebrant (enough arguing about usage of "celebrator" vs. "celebrant") actually chooses the things he/she likes and the mall/shop compiles the list for the guests. The guests will then need to pick their gifts from the list.
I love giving and/or receiving gifts, especially hand-made ones. This concept of setting up a gift registry for any special event makes me very very very sad for three reasons.
First, it makes a business out of the art of gift-giving. Yes, people have materialistic needs that they need to fulfill. Yes, there are talented (born) lousy gift-givers. But these truths makes the act of buying/receiving a gift special. Having a registry makes a glorified shopping day out of a special occasion. It also kills the creativity and passion of those (like me) who love to personalize or make, not purchase, gifts.
Second, it eliminates the element of surprise. Gifts won't be traditionally wrapped if the purpose of giving them is to have an inventory of gifts listed against gifts received at the end of a day of celebration. The premise of predictability, in this regard, is just not right.
Third, and I have children in mind, it teaches the wrong life lesson. Every day in life is like a gift. When you open your eyes, you don't know yet how the day will be like. You can plan all you want, which is great, but there are things, people and circumstances which will always be bigger than you. If I raise my kid in a world where every birthday means a gift registry, I am indirectly teaching her that she can always get what she wants... just make a perfect list, hate those that don't follow the list, don't invite them in future birthdays, etc. I cringe at the remote possibility.
I dunno. I don't even know how to end this entry.
It's just so sad.
P.S. Blog entries, for me, are gifts for me (and sometimes for the imaginary reader). If I edit, I feel that I'm giving a gift I chose from the registry list. So most, if not all, my entries are un-edited. :)
I don't like it when I get too emotionally attached to the story line or characters of any book, movie or TV show. I tend to forget that the characters are NOT REAL PEOPLE. I tend to forget that their lives are only real on reel.
In "The One With All The Haste," an episode from Season 4 of "Friends" Ross falls in love with Emily, a woman he's only known for six weeks. He asks her to marry him because, among other things, she inspires him to become a better person - someone who learns how to play rugby football, gets his ear pierced, etc.
Ross tells Emily: "Oh, I know. Y’know what, I never would’ve gotten this if it weren’t for you. No really, when I’m with you I’m-I’m like this whole other guy, I love that guy! I mean, I love you too, a lot, but that guy! I-I love that guy!"
And his friends: "Yeah, I know, so what? I mean, who’s-who’s to say? Does that me we-we can’t do it? Look, huh, I was with Carol for four years before we got married and I wound up divorced from a pregnant lesbian. I mean, this, this makes sense for us. Come on! I mean, on our first date we ended up spending the whole weekend in Vermont! I mean, last night I got my ear pierced! Me! This feels right. Doesn’t it?"
The events and the lines got me wondering... When was the last time I inspired my husband to do something out of the ordinary? Came out as... how come I don't inspire you to do things?
And the response was a booming "of course you do."
And that's how I learned that I am supposedly the inspiration of the man for not quitting his job. He inspires me/challenges me to continue to be beautiful and interesting - physically, intellectually, emotionally, artistically, etc. I inspire him to report for work.
He's not the romantic one. We don't really celebrate months or whatevers...
He works days while I work mostly in the afternoon/nights.
Then, last 08/17/11, a few minutes before 6PM, he asks me to meet him for dinner (my lunch) somewhere in the building where I work. And he asks me to look for a knife. No questions allowed, bring a knife.
Turns out, Hubby got us a Turtle Cake (yum!) because it's supposed to be our 30th month as a married couple. And Doc, from his favorite movie of all time, said that 30 is a "nice round number."
But have you done the Math? Haha.... beautiful miscalculation right there. My love, it's 138 months of couplehood and 31 months of married life. Thank you, nonetheless.
Bigger thanks goes to to Doc Brown for moving my man to act on the the "nice round number." Do you also have quotes about other things that men should be doing for their wives?