February 24, 2020

I am grateful for

Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2020

Ten things I am grateful for:

  • Kuya Mel and Ate Aking for celebrating Valentine's day with me.
  • Kuya Mel for giving me a rose on Valentine's day - twice in a row for the last two years!
  • Kuya Mel and Ate Aking for being so thoughtful and bought me two boxes of facial masks since there are no available masks from any pharmacy near me (and workplace).
  • My teammates for a job well done at work last week. Teamwork makes the dream work!
  • The internet for holding so much content to drive creativity. I just prepared my meal for next week based on the recipes I found online. So for the upcoming week's lunch will be a fruity shrimp salad and dinner will be roasted chicken with vegetables. If not for the internet, I would probably just resort to instant noodles or online food and definitely laziness 😂
  • For the free digital garage course from Google. I am currently going through the modules and hopefully get a certification once I am able to finish soon.
  • The guy at Carrefour for helping me pack the things I bought.
  • My boss for sharing words of appreciation in the last weeks.
  • Grateful for awesome music that is easily available on the internet and of course to the person who compiled all of them in one playlist. I listened to it for the whole week at work. Something that kept me alive and kicking, figuratively, at work is AC / DC 🙌
  • Aurelien for visiting me couple of weeks ago. And for meeting my family as well. And also for just being there, always 💕

February 23, 2020

Ice breaker #16: when you think of your lonely times, what scared you about the experience?

Sunset at The Louvre, Abu Dhabi

Looking back to my late teenage years/the early twenties, I had so much time to linger with my emotions. In retrospect, most of them were unnecessary. I guess I have also put so much content about it in this blog which makes me cringe every time I read them although, at that time, I knew that writing how I felt was the best channel I had to pour out those negative thoughts and emotions on.

Although I wouldn't want to be on that road again. those years were not too scary to the point that I would actually want to end everything. What scares me is the strong pull of negative forces around you. It just makes you think of the world as a bad place that there is no good left in every little thing. This is not true and that is what scares me the most for myself and for everyone.

I'm thankful that I did not go through that tunnel completely because I never really cut myself out from the people who surrounded me and, most especially, who were there for me (not intentionally being there just because but just being there for no reason). It helps to forgive and forget and to always be the bigger person and see the bigger picture. That thought really helped a lot through the years.

I guess every one of us has to go through that kind of phase in life where we question every little thing and it gets overwhelming and then we find ourselves spiraling down the rabbit hole. For me, it was helpful to read a lot of books, personal blogs, get creative, collaborate, spend time with family and close friends, talk to strangers, and go out - just go out of the house and see the reality that not everything is all about you.

Those years actually pushed me to get out of my comfort zone - I had so many great life experiences that I couldn't even imagine doing had I just let myself down all the time. Feeling down is pretty normal. Lingering on it for too long is poisonous.

February 22, 2020

A musing: sunsets

Dubai sunset, January 2020

I always wonder 
how many sunsets can we witness together
and how will it be 
if it were the last?

February 8, 2020

Life Lately | 7

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

To continue on an update of this almost-forgotten space, let me try to recall what happened since September. The only thing I remember was that a lot has changed in my work since that month which probably explains why I did not have the time to update my blog since then. September of twenty-nineteen was very challenging but I was all up for it! It was not definitely very easy but everything went well.

October and November were amazing months since I went to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia after a year and then Hanoi, Vietnam for the first time. The trip was extra special as I had with me Aurelien who has never been to Asia and seeing him enjoy the experience throughout the trip added more awesomeness to it. Additionally, in November, my brother came to visit Dubai for the first time. It was amazing how he travelled to three different countries: Singapore, Dubai, and Georgia. It was such a great time for him because he never really had the chance to have a proper break from work as he is super hands-on with his company. We are so happy that he finally decided to leave work for a while and enjoy the luxury and great, life-changing experience of travel.

December was a rough one as I got a very bad flu towards Christmas. Just for the record, I took antibiotics for the very first time without knowing what it does to the body. I obviously was super sick and even though countless medicines were taken three times a day for a week, my body's reaction to all of those was something I've never experienced before. It felt as if my body was beaten up rather than getting healed. The holidays were perfect then as I was able to take a good rest until New Year's! 

2020 came and it started with a nice view of the fireworks at Burj Khalifa with my family. This was particularly different from the past new year's since I left home. I did not think about any resolutions nor written anything down on goals and stuff to get rid of in terms of habits. I figured that I would just let life roll through the year and listen more to what my instincts, feelings, thoughts, and even just doing what is right to every situation is enough. 

I know that I am a crazy to-do list person and I still am but I think this year is just all about letting life do its own thing for me. This year though I really hope that I get to experience something more and different. I do have particular hopes and dreams for this year. I know that I need to focus on it nevertheless, but it is really something that I cannot just control by myself. So I shall see how life evolves through the upcoming weeks.

I hope life treats you well as you are reading this. And as a reminder: appreciate what you have even the littlest things. X

September 22, 2019

11/22/63 by Stephen King

This is my second attempt to read a Stephen King book. First was The Dark Tower which I stopped reading a few years ago and decided that it's not my genre though I want to give it a second chance! 

11/22/63 is about time travel, love story, mystery, suspense, and conspiracy story on JFK assassination. The protagonist is Jake Epping who is a high school English teacher and is good friends with Al Templeton who owns a diner. Al has found a wormhole in his diner and has gone through a couple of times already. The wormhole goes back to 1958. Al's mission was to stop the JFK assassination that happened on 22nd November of 1963. So he had lived from 1958 through 1962 but could not live one more year to stop the assassination since he got sick with cancer. So he goes back to the present year (2014).

Let's discuss how time travel is in this book. Basically, when Al enters the wormhole and spends 4 years (from 1958 to 1962), and comes back through the wormhole, he is only gone for two minutes. This would reset everything else in the present time. However, any changes that he has made in the past would have an effect in the future.

Jake has met up with Al one evening and was shocked when he learned that Al has cancer. Later on, Al has told his secret that he has been keeping for several years. Now that he is too sick to finish his mission, he had passed this on to Jake.

Jake was skeptical about Al's request to go on an extraordinary journey in the past to prevent the JFK assassination from happening since Al thinks that the world would have been a better place to live in if that had not happened. However, he accepted his mission that would change his life forever,

I may not know much about American history and what social topics were discussed but I think that Stephen King did a lot of research about the late 50s to early 60s with the intent to take the reader back to that era. The references from that time period made me recall how it was like as if I was there.

This book has 4 stars out of 5. It was a great read and definitely something that's unique to the genre. I mean, history references, sci-fi, and romance all in one? That's awesome! One of the major learnings I got from the book is that time is fleeting. Jake has spent five years in the past and even though he is gone for a few minutes in the present time, he becomes five years older. Let's savor all our time now and cherish the moments because time is precious.

The ending of the story made me tear up - it's one of the best stories I have read so far!

September 21, 2019

Wrapping up my 20s

Magpupungko, Siargao, July 2019

I'm staring at this blank space trying to figure out what to write, or how to start writing about being 29. This is my last year of being in my 20s. It sure felt like I need to do certain things that I don't know about. As someone who writes lists every day, I wonder if there is a list of things to do before becoming 30.

I used to be so excited about becoming a year older. When I was in grade school, I remember that I would stay awake until the clock strikes 12 to see if any magic happens. I guess that's because I have watched too many Cartoon Network and Disney shows back then. There is usually none, but then looking back, in retrospect, things have changed the way they should be. When I was in high school, as a teenager, I always get excited about being a year older because that means I am closer to becoming a college student. Funny how I look back and divide my life into educational stages. College was more than half a decade ago and now I'm almost done with my 20s.

I remember the day before my birthdays, I don't usually plan anything big. Most of the time, ever since I moved away from home, it's almost always an intimate celebration with family and friends. Except when I'm back home in the Philippines, then there would always be a big party with everyone else (my brother's friends and clients, mostly) since I am sharing the same birthday with my brother --  and it is always fun! So, to end my last hours of being 28, I spent it with my sister and her husband talking about anything over a cup of chai and chips outside my building. And I loved it.

Of course, just like how it was back then, I stayed up until the clock strikes 12. But this time, I did not wait for any magic nor thought of lists to do (I did 23 things to do before 23, and stuff like that over the course of the decade). In the wee hours of the morning, I spent time looking back on how it was for me... what happened in my 20s... what did I achieve... what did I create... what mistakes and learnings that have moulded me to who I am now... I sure am a bit freaking out about moving away from this precious decade... And there sure were a lot of happy and sad memories to look back too and I found myself smiling because I felt contentment and that those years felt right (even with the sad ones).

I am still reflective of how it was when I first started this decade. And I am also aware of how much there is to learn and I'm excited about how it will be!

And also, I'm the adult now. I'm taking this year slow but making sure to wrap it up as nicely and simply as how this precious decade started. Bring it on, life! I'm ready.

PS. I do not usually buy myself a gift for my birthday but I spent a few hours at a cafe-slash-bookshop to end my birthday and while walking through each aisle, I stopped and stood way longer than I usually do at the poetry section. I found the book that I have always been wanting to buy (this was back in the early 2010s) - it was I Wrote This For You by Iain Thomas. I sat on the floor and read a few poems and stared at the photographs. I bought it to remind me to be reflective and to write more. And also, what a great way to wrap this year with one of the things that somehow affected my early 20s. 

Thank you, Iain, for publishing this book. And thank you for your words, each of your poems felt like it was written personally for me. Thank you, and I'm glad I found your book. 

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.
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