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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Born again in '07

The year went by so swiftly, I didn’t realize that it will be over soon. It was just yesterday that I struggled and agonized over my Intro to Algebra classes as a budding teacher in the American educational system. Now, I couldn’t believe that I went through summer school, taught the same course, and I’m doing the same crap all over again this schoolyear. I guess I have matured, made a few friends and learned the ropes of the trade that I’m not easily intimidated anymore.

I found inspiration to write about 2007 as it is a year of crossroads, firsts and a lot of trials for me. It was a baptism of fire, that a lot of times I found myself shocked, disoriented, or simply saddened by the fact that things/people are simply DIFFERENT. Sometimes, I would re-examine my motives for coming here, try to find some inner quiet and think in hindsight, am I strong enough to face all these? Is this worth all the pain that I’m trying to endure, the pain of being away from my loved ones?

One day, a friend said, “if you think you’re not strong enough to hack this, I suggest you go home…” That was my turning point. Like I said, it’s a dog eat dog world, one has to develop a strong defense mechanism to be able to survive. Whether you swim with or against the tide, you still got to swim and stay afloat.

On the flipside, while I have been trying to “stay afloat,” a lot of pleasant things happened to me too. I’m going to summarize and share with you some of the nicest things worth remembering, give you a visual of my “happy thoughts” . Boring as they may seem, please bear with my inanity :) Here goes…


January:


I have always been skeptic about online dating, but for some reason, I couldn't refuse an invite from this surfing paramedic for a dinner at Outback. It was on the 4th of January and that being a Thursday, it was a long day for me because aside from the fact that it's a regular school day, we had PTC that night until 8. At the back of my mind, beat as I was, I honestly felt there's something in this guy that must be worth all the trouble. He looked cute and fairly decent albeit the inappropriate attire (well, I thought, this is america and he can wear board shorts to a dinner date!) and the african roses was a pleasant surprise. We seem to have found each other interesting, so finally, we hit it off and started seeing each other almost everyday since.

The surfing paramedic took me to NY to see
Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden, we strutted the streets of Manhattan, took the ferry to Liberty Island and back, he watched The Devil Wears Prada while I slept (and snored horrendously) halfway through, sang Eraserheads songs together…January was awesome, beautiful and sweet because of the surfer dude.


February:

For the first time in 22 years, I received a valentine gift. Artificial roses (so it’ll last a lifetime) with a teddy bear the size of my hand hugging the stem, a card and some chocolates…I always dreaded the advent of February because the past years’ experiences were too unkind, let alone painful. This year, the wheel of fate has turned…February is now worth looking forward to.

March:

I got an 88% passing rate (which later on became 94%) for my regular Algebra class state exam. Looking back, I thought I did shabbily. I know my students should have done better. When you’re a new teacher, everyone’s eyes are on you. A couple of parents belittled me, thinking that a brown skinned teacher with ridiculous accent can’t teach their kids. So, I traced my performance against everyone else's...and guess what? I faired pretty much like them! So I guess I've done pretty well...well enough to show that I fit in!

April:

Nothing really significant and noteworthy for this month...but as if bitten by the love bug, Will (the surfer dude) and I delighted in each other's company even more :)

May:

I had to trade in my 4runner and got myself a truck. I felt bad at first because I really loved the SUV, but my co-owner wanted to bail out for some personal reasons. Inasmuch as I liked the 4runner, I settled for something more practical, reliable and convenient to use. I’ve always been a truck lover, and the blue Tacoma is it for me :)

June:

June 2 was move-in day. Will and I found a nice apartment complex 3 miles away from the beach. We signed up for a single bedroom apartment with a nice view of a manmade pond at the front yard. The place is very cozy and quiet, except for the occasional jet noise that we already got accustomed to. Moving in with someone is a new experience for me that some people frowned at because they say it is unFilipino and not right. Well, my philosophy is “you can’t win them all!” and I’m simply trying to survive. June was adjustment month, but I’ve never been so happy since.

July:

Will’s one and only (11-yr old) daughter, Lauren, spent 3 weeks with us. Before we met, I was anxious and thought of how I should act around her, but reason told me that I should just be myself. It was a tad awkward at first, but after a couple of days since she arrived, the little girl warmed up to me and we enjoyed being together :) July was interesting, and so is Lauren.



August:

I received a commendation from my principal saying that 100% of my special education students passed the summer state exams. And perhaps because of this, the principal granted my request for a higher level class. Perseverance paid off in August.

September and October:

Nothing really significant has happened as of yet, but life with my partner seems to get more and more interesting every single day. I have never felt so good about going home in this little haven where I can do just about anything. Don't get me wrong though...there had been tough times too, but we all know there's nothing that two people who honestly care for each other cannot resolve.


2007 is about to come to a close and there’s a lot of things I’ve been thanking my Maker for. A good friend of mine who passed on two years ago found this prayer of thanks that I’d like to share with you.

"My Lord:I am thankful that I don't have everything I desire.
If I did, what would there be to look forward to?

I am thankful when I don't know something,
for it gives me the opportunity to learn.

I am thankful for the difficult times.
During those times I truly grow.

I am thankful for my limitations,
because they give me opportunities for improvement.

I am thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build my strength and character.

I am thankful for my mistakes.
They will teach me very valuable lessons.

I am thankful when I’m tired and weary,
because it means I've made a difference.

Lord, it is easy to be thankful for the good things,
But I also know that a life of rich fulfillment comes
to those who are also thankful for the setbacks,
for the trials, and for the tribulations..."

Good things happen to those who work hard and believe.
Here’s to a great and fruitful year! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

blooper of the year


let it speak for itself...
don't get me wrong though. i admire the hardwork and the intense enthusiasm that these kids put into what they do. the stunts are difficult (boy, no math equation can make me jump and make flips like that) and the routine altogether is awesome! but it's just that...
whoever fixed those cards probably wished he/she could hide into oblivion for the rest of his/her stay at the university. tsk, tsk, tsk...poor fellow...was probably having a bad day and decided not to give his/her 100%
but just the same, La Salle is La Salle! and the reason why people know it's mispelled is because La Salle IS tradition.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the pancit that never was

i set the alarm clock at 4 this morning so i can prepare the pancit canton that i'm contributing for today's FFF (fun food friday). thanks to the Sassy Lawyer's (aka ate Connie) food blog Pinoycook.net , i used her recipe for pancit canton, a simple gastronomic treat for the otherwise picky taste of my american colleagues. since this was my first time to cook canton, i knew i shouldn't settle for any recipe available online but ate Connie's. and yes, i was right ;)


fortunately, i have all the ingredients she mentioned except for the Philippine lemon and i don't have a dependable huge wok. i used to have an aluminum wok, but i had to give it up to the dumpster as it oxidized and i'm putting the blame on the hard water in the area. so i used my teflon pan and somehow managed to fit all the ingredients in. it was difficult to mix everything without ruining the vegetables' texture, so i figured the taste should make up for it. besides, i thought, the hint of sesame oil should give it that exotic flavor the americans don't usually find in their everyday food. and although it would have been nicer if i had Philippine lemon on the side, i settled for lemon wedges instead. i garnished the finished product with the lemon pieces on top, crossed my fingers and prayed that my friends would like it. *photo courtesy of "The Tasty Island: Honolulu Food Blog"

so when i got in this morning, i sat the aluminum pan full of pancit (the americans pronounce it as PUN'set)on top of the microwave oven inside the math office and wound up doing my usual preps for my first block class. i was preoccupied from the 1st down to the 3rd block. when i came back 4th block to see how much more was left, all the noodles were gone! kaput! what was left were the lemon wedges (just as when i remembered to tell them to use the lemon for extra flavor) and the pan.

i know i'm not a very good cook, but to put some extra effort into the food that i take to school for FFF (i.e. staying up late to prepare the ingredients and waking up extra early to cook them) is something that i'd do over and over for friends who appreciate food, good company and a lot of laughter. if and when i should leave Kempsville, i hope to be remembered not only for my teaching, but also for the nice little memories that i make with the people whose company i enjoy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

a place i can call home


it's august and now i'm on my second month here at our apartment (our, i.e. Will and myself). and even if we're only renting this place, i've been looking forward to coming home everyday. it's a bit strange because i've always regarded my parents' house as my home. in fact, while i was still married and lived independently (well, quite) with my ex and my daughter, i always thought that my homing device still sought for mom and dad.

marriage, i supposed to have given me my independence because my parents had let me deal with life's "complexities" on my own. they didn't encroach in my affairs nor question my decisions. i was on my own, felt alone and even thought they abandoned me. so it seemed that my only choice was to toughen up, be reponsible for my choices, accept what my ex and his parents planned to build...and regard it as my new home.

i thought i stepped in with the right foot. needless to say, i found out later that i treaded the wrong path. i tried to fit in a place that someone else created for me. however, as i have always said, i was a square peg in a round hole. it took me a while before i realized the oddity, but as God is my ally, He led me to find my place. here, in this little apartment, in this beautiful city, is where i feel it is.

approximately 3 miles away from the beach, the apartment is our little haven. it has an awesome view (the man-made lake at our frontyard has a calming effect), recreation areas and albeit the jet noise, the whole complex is nice and quiet most of the time. the unit itself is big enough for both of us. we try to make it clean and cozy, and with a lot of help from our friends and Will's family, pretty much we have all the stuff that we need. here are a few pictures that i took (with my aged motorola V3x) on our move in day:

the view from the living room



our fire place




the kitchen



our frontyard, by the dining area

the pool


after a day of hard work, the best thing about going home is enjoying the relaxing company of a loved one. and since we moved in, i've been looking forward to that every single day :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

post hoc

i have this compelling urge to re-post this entry that i made two years ago. maybe because i'm forgetting something...and i need to be reminded so i'd value myself more.

this is one of the most appreciated entries i've made.



“I don’t know how it is possible to love two people at the same time...” said the deep, reassuring voice...twelve years ago, I was totally skeptic as I pictured love to be singular, pure and devoted. He told me that I had a special place in his heart, when all the while, at the back of my mind, I didn’t think that I was even worthy of occupying a certain void in a man’s heart. Lust maybe? Could be...but love?

At 23, I wasn’t exactly pretty, but I had quite a following...plain looking, yet robust in appeal...didn’t know much about the world, so the world came to me... I hugged it back...the silent, unassuming aura was a challenge to behold, like a rock smothered and smoothened at the edges by each passing wave...weathered, yet essentially strong.

I never dared ask him, but I thought a choice among the qualities I mentioned could be the reason why he and I stayed on for a couple of years...our love was nothing fancy, nothing formal...a special relationship that celebrated unsaid words like “I need you, stay for even just a while...”, or “I love you, I set you free..." and “I desire you, I understand your needs...” Unconventional, uncommitted...yet there was longing to hold on to each other, and be special friends for the rest of our lives.

At 29, the compelling presence of that 6-ft tall, dark and handsome frame was quite a handful...I used to stare in awe at that steady gait, seamless composure...picture perfect smile =) he was young and intelligent, that at times, it became imperative for people to talk behind him. Why? Because he was a prime mover, a hard-assed young executive who made things happen...

However, beyond the unique mixture of elegance and grunge, there lay a precocious, sensitive and romantic man... my jap-eyed lover who could have been my bridegroom...

I was contented that he was just there, someone whose wisdom inspired me to do better and reach far beyond my limits...someone whose love cannot be solely mine, yet that reality didn't stop me from loving him more...his love was like, inanely put, chocolate...chocolate that’s coating my tongue slowly...distinctly sweet at the tip, and as it runs through the sides, bitter yet, addicting...it was a lovely, carefree feeling...but I knew that it was fleeting, I had to douse myself with cold reality before someone else does it...

I had a perfect excuse, in fact, it was most convenient (that excuse made such an impact in my life, that until now, I find it hard to get up and undo the serious damage it has done, not only to myself, but also to most people I love...I deem not to mention it here as I’d digress sharply). Reckoning day came and I had to tell him...

We were inside his car and just like the heavy downpour outside, my heart welled-up in tears as I told him that I had to go...I thought I was the only one who’d weep...to my surprise, the gorgeous man beside me wallowed in tears! I didn’t think I was worthy, but then again, I took it that he really loved me too...someone actually loved me!

It’s been 10 years or so...I heard how he’s doing well in both his work and his family...I’m sincerely happy that I did what I had to do then...I couldn’t bear the thought that I could have caused him some inconvenience if I continued to cultivate what we had going on years ago. I may not be totally happy with what I have now, but then, happiness comes to those who can totally accept the things one couldn’t change...and make the most out of ugly situations...

I learned from that love of mine that life can’t be all too sweet, right? Just like chocolate, the best ones, for me, are those with a tinge of bitterness...short of...perfect!


To my soulmate:

Honestly, I didn’t know you loved me too...

I had very fond memories of you...

Thank you so much.

the Chairman

i have seen Memoirs of a Geisha twice just recently. ofcourse, i've seen this movie before, read the novel to boot, but for some funny reason, i feel like a fan gasping in awe each time the Chairman made an appearance. i am an avid movie goer, but not so much of a fan, unlike my mom who can be ridiculously enthusiastic at times.

so what's with the Chairman? his masculine stance, his handsome gait, his gentle ways, so sure, so elegant...and yes, i must admit, he looks so much like someone who used to love me. i won't go into details, but it was a beautiful experience, much like being with the Chairman himself!

the video recaptures that lovely feeling.

to my Chairman, i wish you well. i am so different now, but i'm sure you'd be proud of what i've become. thank you for letting me go...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

celebrity look alike???

my sister found out about this interesting site that gives you your celebrity look alikes (daw hahahaha) based on computer selected matches. it includes percentages of resemblance, and the results are pretty amusing :)

so all one has to do is upload a nice photo, and in seconds, you will get at least 4 matches depending on the type of output you want! it's that simple!

here's an example of what i got:

http://www.myheritage.com


and here's another:



and another...



the site can also morph your picture, and see your face change to the celebrity with the highest percentage of similarity to you!

one of those playthings that will amuse you and put a little smile on your pouty face :) try it!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Desperado

i had an interesting conversation with my daughter last weekend, with her ending up crying as she expressed her sadness over the fact that her dad has introduced to her his new "friend". she didn't have any intentions of telling me this had i not broached the idea that her dad needs someone to be with. this didn't surprise me, but i was grief stricken that i can't be with my daughter during these woeful times. i understand how she feels, but i know that i, too, can hurt her in the same way.

i'm sorry baby that you have to grow up faster than you should. adults can be very selfish, don't you think? your coming to understand this will make you wiser and more careful with your decisions in life. i know that you know that i love you so much...the woeful times shall pass, so hang in there!

i've pictured you singing this song to your dad. you gotta let someone to love him and let go. he used to sing this, sang it beautifully (though i never liked his voice) and hence i learned to like it. i'm not sure if you remember the song, but here goes...

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses
You've been out ridin' fences,
for so long - now.
Ohh you're a hard one.
I know that you've got your reasons.
These things that are pleasin'you
Can hurt you somehow.

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy
She'll beat you if she's able.
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table.
But you only want the ones
That you can't get.

Desperado,
Ohhhh you aint getting no younger.
Your pain and your hunger,
They're driving you home.
And freedom, ohh freedom.
Well that's just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone.

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine.
It's hard to tell the night time from the day.
And you're losing all your highs and lows
aint it funny how the feeling goes
away...

Desperado,
Why don't you come to your senses?
come down from your fences, open the gate.
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you.
You better let somebody love you.
(let sombody love you)
You better let somebody love you...ohhh..hooo
before it's too..oooo.. late.



Sarah Bolger in ''In America''
- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

ikaw lamang

minsan, di ko na alam kung ang utak ko na lang ang dapat paganahin. dito sa amerika, isinasaksak ko sa isip ko, na dapat matutunan kong wag magmahal ng lubos lubos. sa kakaunting panahon na inilagi ko dito, napansin ko, ang pagsasama ng ilang tao (na maaring di rin lang iilan) ay dahil sa dikta ng pamumuhay at mga pangangailangan. hindi ko nakagisnan ang ganitong sistema. kaya pala napakadaling makipaghiwalay.

minsan, gusto ko nang sabihing "mahal na mahal kita...", pero di ko masabi. nabanggit ko na ito minsan, pero mali pala ito. sabi mo, di posibleng mahalin ang isang taong kahapon mo lang nakilala. marahil ito ay tama...

sa ngayon, eto na lang muna ang nasa isip ko, nasa dibdib ko. di mo man naiintindihan, damhin mo ang nakikita't naririnig.

para sa iyo.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

In memory of the Virginia Tech victims

We, at the blog community, offer this day of silence for the victims of the senseless act of taking lives that happened in Virginia Tech. This horrendous event should bind everyone in prayer for the eternal rest of the souls of the victims. May they rest in peace.

One Day Blog Silence

Thursday, February 15, 2007

of chocolates, flowers and teddy bears...

it is funny that on valentine's day morning, i was having flashbacks of my most memorable valentine which dates back to 1985...yup, that long ago. anything that came in between yesterday and valentine's day that year are either insipidly tasteless, or simply not worth remembering.

so what happened in 1985? i had a rather eloquent suitor who wrote me poems and letters on intermediate school pad paper and on valentine's, he sent me a huggable white teddy bear with red paws and eyes and bow...ofcourse, it went with a bundle of the familiar triangular prism cartons of Toblerones, my favorite chocolate then :) every girl in my batch envied me...the newcomer from San Diego CA looked very much like Martin Nievera, was a towering 5'9", intelligent and suave... typical crush ng bayan i should say. but what made that occasion memorable?

hmmm if he was every girl's dream in my batch, well I, didn't find him awesome. to me, he was just like any other handsome boy who'd go for drop dead gorgeous girls. i wasn't that. he went to the same org i was affiliated with, and i found him too fresh and audacious...that made him unattractive to me. besides, my friends were all gaga over him, and that didn't impress me at all! i had this attitude towards boys...i won't look at you, you look at me, and i don't care if you won't because i don't need you. well, he did look at me, and i didn't know it. he cared to listen to my debates, and i didn't know it. he followed me to the jeepney stop, and i was too oblivious i didn't know it. he called me incessantly over the phone to ask about physics and other innane stuff, he was trying to catch my attention, and i didn't know it. but the boy was resourceful, he knew how to get to me. finally, he decided to write me letters and poems...and that, caught my attention. the valentine gifts came after that i said "yes" :)

however, it came like some sort of bad luck because nothing really worth remembering happened after that year, and there were years when i even dreaded the advent of february...but again, not until yesterday :)

it was almost 7:30 in the evening and i haven't had a call from my surfer dude. i was thinking, he probably is the type who finds valentine's day as cheesy and unimportant, and so i conditioned myself not to expect anything. after all, i was sort of used to not expecting anything at all.

but Will, sweet as he really is, phoned me and said we're going out to dinner with his brother and sister-in-law. he picked me up 10 minutes after he called...and guess what? he has flowers for me with a little teddy bear hugging the stems, a box of chocolates that had a card on it, and a flashlight keychain so i wouldn't have to fumble with the door locks when i open the front door at night :) isn't that awesome? no? right, it's downright sweet, i was ecstatic! i simply loved the gesture and boy, was i surprised! it had been 21 YEARS...and i never thought the magic will ever happen again :)

thanks Will...it could have been anybody, but it's you that really made the day very memorable and special. yes, i'm looking forward to spending more valentine's with you :)

here's a video that my friend Polo shared with me. it is characteristic of the occasion, but i'm sharing it with you...let's dance to it.

like a star - Corinne Bailey Rae





Tuesday, February 13, 2007

happy hearts day!

coincidental that we both like this song...flashbacks of good memories...everything now leads to you.

let's celebrate, shall we? :)


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mamma Mia and the surfer dude

the first time i went to NYC was when my best friend Abbey arrived from manila in September last year. ofcourse, my friends from Zobel were gracious enough to tour me around broadway. we visited a record store and found Leovie inspecting the Mamma Mia cd for her hubby Froi. she bought it eventually and bought myself a copy too. i thought it's a great cd, having all ABBA songs compiled and used ingeniously in a play!

weeks passed and i felt a very strong desire to go back to NY and see this play. i've read reviews about it and critics raved about how enjoyable and funny it was.

This show is extremely tacky and anyone who completely detests ABBA
should stay well away! However, fans of ABBA will be blown away and taken on
a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a breathtaking rollercoaster ride of their
favourite ABBA songs. This is held together with
a sugary story that makes the evening exactly what it is, a lot of fun, fun, fun! This is not
attempting to be a Sondheim musical, or anything of the sort, it is just a vehicle in which to
celebrate all those superb ABBA songs and in this the musical
works perfectly. - Darren Dalgish, Prince Edward Theatre

''Mamma Mia!'' manipulates you, for sure, but it creates the feeling that
you're somehow a part of the manipulative process. And while it may be widely
described as a hoot by theatergoers embarrassed at having enjoyed it,
it gives off a moist-eyed sincerity that is beyond camp. - New York Times


sure, i also found ABBA corny while i was growing up...but hearing Dancing Queen play over the years, needless to say, accounts for its popularity through a cross-section of varied generations. its upbeat melody and swing rhythm makes it an all-time favorite!

december came and i found myself going to the west coast to meet a friend and spend Christmas time with family. to two of my aunts whom i last saw 22 years ago, it was obviously a tearful reunion! long story short, i loved my vacation there, but at the back of my mind, Dancing Queen and Honey, Honey kept playing... i hummed along.

now, to digress a bit...i got back from Hayward on the 30th of december and sometime between going back to the beach and my vacation, this cute surfer dude finally decided to talk to me and asked me out on a date. although we agreed to see each other on a thursday evening, january 4 after my PTC, knowing that i'd be struggling due to inadequate sleep (just as when i was back, my sleep pattern changed to west coast mode...haaay), i still agreed to meet up with him. why? because he said he's asian, seemed very intelligent and respectful...and yes, his smile is irresistible :)

and so we dated, he was wearing quiksilver shirt and shorts (i thought it was cool albeit the... inappropriateness hahaha sorry honey!). i knew he was teenee weenee bit edgy, but he remained calm and looking cute. he talked a lot, which i really appreciated because i was so drained after long hours spent in school. he surprised me with a bouquet of pink roses and stargazers, i was flattered and totally amazed that a guy brought up here would do that in this day and age! he talked about himself, what he does, albert einstein and the theory of relativity...hmmm without meaning to impress him, having gone through all that brain stuff in college and grad school, i was able to relate and must have amused him a bit that, to me, the twin paradox is as mundane and as matter-of-factly as the falling leaves in autumn :) long story short, we clicked, chemical bond was obviously there, and found ourselves wanting to see each other more and almost everyday thereafter.

that same weekend, we decided to see Mamma Mia! and lo and behold, we were on our way to NYC after a few days! since Will Solock (yeah, the surfer dude's name) volunteered to drive, it was pretty convenient for us to go anywhere we wanted and finally, i had a much awaited blissful reunion with my cousin Edwin and his wife and kids as we drove through Springfield.

words can't describe how thrilled i was having been able to hug Edwin (after 12 long years) and my nieces. to top it all, i also took pleasure in that long drive to NY, watched and enjoyed a much coveted musical, had fun at the Liberty Island with my best friend Abbey and her fiance then Dennis (and ofcourse, the surfer dude), strutted the chilly streets of broadway and held hands under the misty skies with this gentle surfer dude, luxuriated in deep and not-so-deep conversations with the surfer dude over cups of mocha cafe and cafe americano (thank God, there was Starbucks in almost every street in Broadway), hugged and posed endlessly to Dennis' cam (Dennis' request), laughed gratingly at myself as i tried vainly to translate Magasin to the surfer dude...



awesome? it was a blast! the trip, the musical, the repartee, the company...the emotions...it was the best birthday gift i ever had in years!

to my surfer dude, thank you so much! driving to NYC is no joke, but you made things happen for me...Mamma Mia was delightfully sweet...and so are you :)