June 17, 2019

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

"For you, a thousand times over"

It's from a second-hand bookstore-slash-library where I got this book. I knew this book is well-known based from the author's name and even though I did not know much about it, knowing that a lot of people liked it, I quickly grabbed it out of the box lying near the bookstore's swinging door! It took a while for me to read the book as I was in a reading slump (ah, the dreaded reading slump~) but I finally managed to read the book and I love and hate it.

There is so much to feel about the book. It was a wonderful journey all throughout in a sense that the story is written in such a way that the reader is able to understand the characters and are actually get attached to them from beginning to the end. There were love, loss, and betrayal for the most parts of the story and I think that's what makes it an incredible book as it brought me to so many different experiences... and also, what an eye-opener. This is the first book I read that deals with a setting in Afghanistan (which is one of the countries I know so little about but have the curiosity to learn more). I think it deals in such a way that I would see a naturally painful reality. I was brokenhearted for Hassan at the beginning of the story but have developed this emotion for both Amir and Hassan (and everyone else) near the end. It's an enlightening read!

Two of the quotes that I like from this book:

”When you kill a man, you steal a life. 
You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. 
When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. 
When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. 
There is no act more wretched than stealing.”

“One time, when I was very little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum, it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I'd just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn't have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples.”

pursue what is meaningful

A store in Lille, France 2019

Haaaaaaaaaaaaa- feelings. I've had a roller coaster ride these past weeks and for an introvert, it's kind of overwhelming. I think I am at the point of my journey where I find myself at the end of the road that splits into two directions. Do I need to choose between the two or take a U-turn? This is the question that keeps going on and on and on... it never ends!

As I am randomly browsing on the internet, I come across a page showing a full text of a "number 1 bestseller" book about life rules in a chaotic world. It's interesting that I might just have to add it to my to-read list. Anyway, one of the points there is this: Pursue what is meaningful. And I think it also correlates with another point highlighted in the book which is: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. In this day and age, we often see a grandiose facade of everyone's lives and as much as we are happy to see that everyone is happy, we are sometimes unconsciously comparing ourselves to everyone else. This is a bad emotion to have and as much as possible I don't want it to overcome me, especially after a challenging day. I've come to the conclusion that I cannot consume social media if I know that I can't set my mind on the positive side of things first. This is why I only use social media on weekends, when necessary. Friends would question me why am I still posting photos of my trip two years ago? Or, "are you back there again?!" It's probably because I have never been using this medium for a long time and I'm too OC to post everything in order online. And I think it's okay; no one really cares.

I do not really know much about what the book wants to imply about the first point which is to pursue what is meaningful. All I know is that it brings me back to the days when I've had so much to be thankful for things I don't know much about. Additionally, I think it is a breath of fresh air to stumble upon this so-called rule. I've always had goals in mind and sure there are several things that I want to pursue in the following weeks, months, years but what I did not realize is that I keep going at high speed without asking myself -- how am I doing and what does this mean to meHeck, I don't even know what is the meaning of having pursued those. But isn't life supposed to be like this? That you can do whatever you can and pursue whatever you want. Because wanting some things, whatever these are, and have pursued them would give satisfaction. Isn't that what's it all about - satisfaction?

Satisfaction is the key to keep me going. However, that's not always the case. I think what I am missing out on is that I forget to attach a meaning to something that I want to pursue because it will give me satisfaction. Or sometimes I must have found meaning to it but it must have been too shallow that I could not remember exactly why.

There's so much to improve on and I'm glad to have time to sit and realize these things...

Hope you're doing well.

June 15, 2019

Pesto Chicken & Veggies

So I had the chance to cook pesto chicken and veggies in the weekend and I wanted to share this recipe to the internet because (1) it's yummy, (2) perfect for preparing lunch at work for the whole week, (3) and for future purposes! So here it goes!

  • Asparagus
  • Basil pesto
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chicken breast
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive oil

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat
  2. Add olive oil, chicken breast, and cherry tomatoes. Cook on for 5 to 10 minutes. Once chicken breast and cherry tomatoes are cooked, set them aside.
  3. In the same skillet, cook the mushrooms for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Add in asparagus and celery until cooked through.
  5. Add the chicken breast and cherry tomatoes back into the skillet.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of basil pesto. This varies if you are cooking a large amount of ingredients. So you can season upon your liking. You can add pepper and basil leaves if you want as well.

May 17, 2019

I am grateful for

Brugges, Belgium 2019

Ten things I am grateful for:

  • The time to break a sweat in the gym in order to enhance my mood, drain some fats (!!) and be assertive.
  • The free will to live my life the way how I want it every single day. 
  • Easy access to listen to podcasts. I am binging on 'The Linya Linya Show' and 'Wake Up With Jim & Saab'.
  • Great books - I just had finished reading 'The Kite Runner' and loved it! I'm planning to watch the movie later in the day.
  • My connection to the internet in order to feel my family's presence although I am miles away from home.
  • A safe place to live in.
  • The people I've met for the last 4 years that I have lived in Dubai.
  • Knowing that I will come home soon to be with family.
  • A job that gives me satisfaction.
  • Food on the table.

May 5, 2019

Life Lately | 6

Apart from trying to lose some extra weight (simply because I cannot afford to buy new clothes if those won't fit anymore), I have been challenging myself to have a work-and-life balance. 

For quite a few months earlier (or should I say the past year?!), I have been always thinking about work. It has been 24/7 in my mind. I think I am just too passionate about what I do which is a good thing. However, I also wasn't able to do more fun stuff or more me time. So in order to change that, I slowly reset myself to balance these two things. So far, I think I am back on track. These past few weeks, I was able to leave work behind at 6 pm on weekdays and proceed with my personal things after that. Although I want to prepare my to-do list before I start my week again but that is fine because I want to prepare everything ahead. That's my way to stay organized :)

Let me have a rundown of some highlights in the past three months:
  1. New Year 2019 - I spent my New Year's back home in Davao with my family and friends. I am forever grateful to finally celebrate it with the people dear to my heart. 
  2. Traveled to France, Belgium, and a bit of Netherlands - I had a lovely time during this whole trip! It's such a meaningful trip as well as I met new people and someone dear to me.
  3. My first business meeting in Oman, Muscat. I am very grateful for this opportunity to have learned more about the company and met great people from different luxury hotel brands. 
  4. Got promoted - can't say more about this. I am just forever grateful!
Today, I just booked a staycation with my family in two weeks! How exciting to pretend like tourists in this city! I am so excited about that! And I'm planning to go back home in July. Hopefully, that will push through. xx

May 4, 2019

ice breaker #15: what are the advantages and disadvantages of your age and career?

Living on your own is quite liberating. I think being in your 20s is the most interesting part of life since this is the age where you can do whatever you want in order to "find yourself" and "know yourself" more.

Having a career in the travel industry really helped me get inspired more on what I like best. I never thought  I would land a job that somehow relates to things close to me - blogging, travel, and techy stuff. Although it's not blogging per se. It's more on managing content for a travel website and as a graduate of Computer Engineering, I guess what I have now is a perfect combo that I can ever land into. I'm forever grateful.

One of the challenging parts is not knowing until when you are able to stay. There is no way for me to stay longer where I am now due to visa restrictions and even though it is mostly based on my employer - as long as I have the contract then I can stay. One of the challenges would be a career path. It's normal human behavior to always strive for the best possible opportunities. Although I have no concrete plans yet, I know that for as long as I feel satisfaction on what I do, I can stay. 

I am two years more until I say goodbye to 20s - I wonder what my 30s would bring me.

March 29, 2019

yearning for something more

Right at this moment, I am yearning for more words. I am yearning to gather my thoughts from within that I can write down here because this is what this space is all about -- words. Life has been interesting as it goes... looking back to the last 28 years, it has been a share of good and bad memories. And no matter how much you try to move the fulcrum to make Happy things go higher than the rest, life will always put an amount on the other end to keep it balanced. "You can never be too happy in this life", a reference to Eraserhead's Fruitcake.

You can be content with what you have and when you are, then I guess you should be fine. Am I content with what I have right now? Yes, I guess except I am missing family and friends with me. Four years and I still haven't really gotten used to living here although I manage to survive every day with the same routine, at some point, I find myself yearning for the good old days.

I feel lucky for having the chance to travel less than two hours to visit my sister and her husband over the weekend and go home at least once a year for at least two weeks to see everyone back home. I have never really felt homesick although I do not really know how it should feel exactly.

But being here gave me the chance to live on my own and, honestly, I feel having more freedom to travel everywhere. I have been to different countries and that has changed how I see everything as time goes by. It's such a great gift to be able to travel - I guess I suppose that's the best part of living here.

Even though it feels like life here is stable, I still feel that I need to get out of here somehow. I am not yearning precisely to what I used to have but for something new, that's going to change my life forever. I want to give it a try. Someday.

January 12, 2019

an intro for twenty nineteen

I think I forgot how to write. Worse, I let myself abandon the idea of writing. Some days, mostly when I am under the weather, I would tell myself that I am going to write something. But ever since I let myself bask into microblogging tools, I instantly think it would take too much time for me to write. So I go on my phone and constantly tap, tap, scroll, scroll. It never ends.

Here I am, sitting and listening to jazz on a January afternoon. So what's the agenda for today's blog? No idea. I think I will just go on and on just like the old days. There is something in letting the words come out of your head. It calms me down. And this is exactly what I miss.

There are several reasons why I have been blogging for quite a while now: I want to have something to write down my thoughts by which I think I have written mostly about my day; just like what you write in a diary. At some point, I used blogging to connect with other people and brands. I was part of a blogging community back in Davao. It was great to be part of a community, know bloggers whose very passionate about writing, and work with brands, as well. Also, I think I have made my blog more interesting with my book reviews. I loved receiving books from authors and in return, I would review them here (and on Goodreads). Ever since I wrote about my adventures and this will never change. Speaking of adventure, I guess I have traveled everywhere but never really had the chance to write them down. And I will forever be proud of the recipes, mixtapes, arts, and crafts that are in this space. I was everywhere, and I think that's what being in your late teens and early twenties is all about.

I want to make something out of this blog. No, I am not making this a commercial space. But, I want to make something more of how it used to be. I hope my 2019 will have more time for writing down my thoughts, travels, and everything else.

This year, I will be twenty-nine. Not sure how to feel about this. Should it suppose to make me feel pressured since this will be my last year of being in my twenties? Being thirty scares me but I think it should be fine if twenty-nine isn't too intimidating. This morning I stumbled upon a phrase that says "Life is not a race." This is true. Sometimes my mind says to take it easy but also, it constantly asks me, "what's next for you?"

But then we should just let life unfold. Just like this cliche: it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. I guess this year will be more of always taking the high road and just enjoy the ride.

More thoughts to come. xx
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