What to do

So… The electricity had been flickering on and off in Paseo since around 4pm when Jody and I arrived. It was alarming, but not scary. When we finally went to Amore La Cucina (near Payless at the back. GREAT PIZZA, guys) to celebrate a number of things, the lights went out for good. When we checked our messages, a number of our colleagues from villages in Cavite to Calamba to Sta. Rosa had reported that they lost their electricity already.

Everyone around me was still chill, but I was already beginning to panic internally. It was good that my friends were still relaxed; it kept ME calm… Or at least enough not to freak out. I just tried to remember how it was back in the 90s when blackouts were pretty much routine. We grew up entertaining ourselves with shadow puppets and stories and riddles and games, and it was honestly an amazing time to be a kid (maybe not as an adult haha).

The last few weeks have been full of uncertainty and fear, definitely, because Taal Volcano erupted and still hasn’t stopped emitting plumes of steam and ash. The memory of the ground tremors that night Taal erupted still unsettles me. It made me doubt how safe we are even if we were 30km away from the volcano.

At work today we all talked about what we’d do if we DID finally have classes on Monday. I honestly thought we weren’t ready to guarantee everyone’s safety, especially the young ones’. And now I realize we never really talked about what we’d do if we STILL didn’t have classes next week. What do we do?

Tonight’s blackout in some areas near Taal is making me worry. Is this a sign of more things to come? If they are, I hope it’s a harbinger of good rather than bad things.

New year chorva

[Chorva is a made up word that means something. I can’t explain right now.]

So it’s the new year and a new decade, and I’m still procrastinating and melodramaticizing everything. Might as well accept that’s who I am after 30 something years and just focus on just being a better person in other ways instead of fixing these.

The decade was crazy. Got sick at the start of the decade. Started a new-ish job in a new-ish place. Went on dates. Fell in love. Got my heart broken. Got disillusioned with work. Got disappointed in my country, friends, and colleagues. Travelled outside the country for the first time. Acted as a second mom to 11 teens for a month (it was both a crazy and a beautifully memorable experience). Tried new stuff. Failed at same stuff. Fought with a colleague in front of other colleagues (I don’t regret giving him a piece of my mind, but I regret the manner in which I did so). Taught computer classes even though I knew zilch. Had to learn computer stuff. Checked tons of papers. Learned how to drive. Learned how to drink beer. Gained weight. Finally started yoga, although very irregularly. Got into Kpop and Kdrama. Fantasized about living overseas. Fought with a cousin over politics. Got scared because we thought we’d lose papa.

All these are mild compared to what others may have gone through in their decade, but these experiences are mine, and well, that’s it. I just wanted to remember all these things that made me this jaded but still hopeful person I am today.

May this new year be full of clarity, action, and love. Happy new year, everyone!

3 dozen years

Once upon a time I told my college roommates that I didn’t want to have my debut (turning 18 in my country is a big thing; it’s called a debut /deh-boo/) because it meant turning one year closer to 20 which meant graduating and turning older.

I say that every year: I don’t want to get older. It takes me one year closer to the grave. It sounds like a very pessimistic point of view, and I don’t really know where I got that thought, but it’s there. Every single year I am greeted with birthday songs and I just stand (or sit) there smiling awkwardly and maybe clapping my hands along to the tune. Last year I actually shushed my students when they started singing.

I’d like to think that I’m beginning to change that point of view. I mean, I still do think birthdays take me an inch closer to my grave, but I’m going to try and see it not as a negative thing anymore. It’s taken me 36 years, but better late than never, right?

This year has been messy again. I’ve been doing gratitude posts more to try and remind me of the good in my life, and it’s been going swimmingly. There are still low points that I am ashamed of, but I’m taking those as learning experiences.

At the start of the year I decided that I’d be celebrating my birthday with a bang. I decided to travel. Except for last year’s work-related travel, I’ve never been outside the country. I wanted to change that. My friend and I have always wanted to travel to Europe–just the two of us–before we hit 35, but life and work and finances got in the way, so we didn’t. In January this year, we decided to finally go to Japan–a good compromise for us. It was perfect for me because anyone who’s known me knows that there are two places I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit: Greece and Japan.

As a kid who grew up with anime, I became fascinated with Japan. When we finally got cable TV, I couldn’t get enough of that strange Filipino woman interviewing Japanese people on the street about what they were doing (Eleanor Nishiumi, I love you) on the WINS channel. In college, I used up all my free electives on the Japanese language courses. I joined a Japanese language speech contest sponsored by an org in UP TWICE! And I won the second time! I even took the basic Japanese proficiency test and PASSED! I was THAT crazy for Japan. Really. I’ve wanted to come visit since Sailormoon came to my life.

15 years after graduating from college, and I FINALLY made my dream a reality. My family has been very supportive, and I LOVE them. My boss was disapproving (because I’d be taking a week off work) but understood my need to go (well, I hope she did haha).

I’m typing this entry in our hotel room in Kyoto, and well, I feel like crying. 🙂

Thank you, God. Thank you, universe. Thank you, family. Thank you, boss. Thank you, friends. Thank you, Irish my friend who’s with me on this trip.

Firsts

I realized something today as I sat in my car at the gas station near my village waiting for my dad to come with jumper cables because my car wouldn’t start.

I sat there thinking of posting about this on my social media (after I had finished panicking) when I suddenly got to thinking: why would people care? What makes me even want to share my life with people I’m not particularly close to? And then I realized… I just wanted to document this FIRST in my life. It was my first time to have my car die on me. It was my first time to have a car emergency and have no one near to help. It was just the gas station attendant there, and he didn’t have tools to help. It was my first time to have my credit card rejected (not because I had no funds, just to be clear, but because they suddenly only accepted Visa and Mastercard CC and mine wasn’t even though I had used that card in that station before multiple times). It was the first time (in a long time) to be laughed at and not be annoyed at being laughed at. Kuya attendant was amused, I guess, mainly because I wasn’t mad at the whole situation. I was too busy being pathetic and a stereotypical woman who had to call her dad for help.

You never run out of FIRSTS no matter how old you get, and I guess that is another thing that keeps mankind going–that sense of wonder, awe, surprise, love, hate, fear, and grief. All these FIRST time experiences keep life interesting and meaningful.

A dream

Last Sunday, my friend and I submitted our visa application documents to a Japan embassy-accredited agency because we plan on going this coming semestral break. The agency told us they’d submit Tuesday (which, as of this writing, is yesterday), and now I am feeling alternating feelings of dread and excitement.

I dread rejection because that means money down the drain. We already paid for our flight and hotels. On the flipside, I feel excitement if we get our visas because this will mean I get to live out one of my dreams which is to go to Japan and just… BE THERE.

My friend and I purposefully didn’t list down any theme parks because not so much because we didn’t have money for Harry Potter, but more because we both wanted to experience the culture and history of the land. I actually spent a LOT of time just watching various vlogs about Japan hidden tourist spots and street food and konbini food and Donki souvenir items so that I could prepare the itinerary. That itinerary had over 20 revisions because I had to find the right schedule to minimize costs. I’m glad my friend and I have the same desires for our trip, so she easily approved the itinerary I made.

I’m also back to brushing up on my Nihongo. The only things I remember from college Nihongo classes are the greetings, how to ask where the toilet/bus stop/train station is, and how to ask how much something is haha. We’ll survive, right? 😂

But yeah. In order to survive THERE, we’d need our visas first, so I ask you, dear God and universe, to please help make this dream of mine a reality. 🙏🏼

Half of the half day

Is essentially a fourth of a day, right?

I’m feeling peetty random today. My last class (due to the shortened periods we had) ended earlier than usual, so I thought I’d be able to get work done. However, things don’t usually go the way we want to.

I ended up doing work that were NOT my priority mainly because they could be accomplished in just a short time. Finishing checking, which was the priority, takes forever, and I didn’t have the focus nor temperament to give meaningful and fair feedback, so I skipped it for now.

Tomorrow I drive to the city. Not excited for the drive, but I AM excited to see friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Random bouts

I get random bouts of different emotions at random parts of the day or week. Today, for example, I was partly happy, anxious, lazy, annoyed, infuriated, and sad.

The one thing that has remained constant, though, and the one thing that has stayed with me every single day is sadness.

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t find myself sad. Sure, I’d probably feel a spike of joy maybe after a fun class, but then it peters out to sadness.

My friends asked me if I were depressed, and I told them I didn’t think so since I was still a functioning adult, but I’m just annoyed I’m sad every day. I don’t even know why I’m sad sometimes. Well, okay, maybe this one is triggered by period concerns, but I also think the period just amplifies my sadness. Why can’t it amplify my joy instead?

WHY?