There Was a Boy

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Many years ago (how many? Try B.C.  As in Before Consciousness), think High School (definitely B.C.), I was this girl with a headband neatly fixed on her hair. My uniform was this finely pressed blue jumper over a long-sleeved white shirt with a little blue ribbon on the collar. Match the ensemble with white knee-high socks, shiny black shoes, and a white hanky on the pocket, and I was good to go.

That was me everyday for four years way back in High School. Well, save for those first Fridays of every month when we had to wear the all white gala dress.

Anyway, back to my reminiscing. Since I was a nerd (oops, still am!) and loved going to school (I think it was the routine that appealed to me back then), I was always punctual. More than punctual, truth be told. There were days when I would stand in front of the school gate, waiting for the guards to welcome the early birds, I mean, early bird (it was usually just me) at 545 am. Imagine that.

Now being an early bird had its perks. For one, I could go straight to the classroom, turn all the lights on, open all the windows to let the fresh air in, and basically just settle in while I have the room all to myself. I could sing and talk to myself out loud and I wouldn’t be bothered.

For two, I always got first dibs on being first in line during flag ceremony. I knoooooow. Nerd alert, right? But hear me out. Being first in line was actually quite nice. While that spot was usually reserved for the littlest girls in class (and I was pretty much average in height compared to my other classmates), I valued that prime piece of asphalt, yes (sorry, dear Hobbit classmates). You see, I didn’t really like it that much when I had to stand behind somebody else while something, anything, was going on in front, even if it was just a bunch of tweens and teens singing the Lupang Hinirang, or swearing the Panatang Makabayan, or heck, praying the entire rosary.  And I’ve always hated standing in line amidst giggling classmates I could see right in front of me, so the front spot (where my view was limited to the flag pole, the prayer leader, and the nuns) was always my first choice. And I’ve always liked having a good, clear view of anything.  . .

And that view included this boy who belonged to the other section.

He was in my year (3rd) and I remember how he would also be the first in line during the morning ceremonies. He also wasn’t the smallest in his class; I remember he was at least 5 or 6 inches taller than I was (and that’s just my guesstimate, from those daily, err. . . observations. I told you, being first had its perks).  And like all the boys in my school, he had on a white shirt with the nametag sewn on the upper left breast pocket, black trousers, white socks, and black shoes. Typical.  But what I discerned during those morning reflections was how he made the uniform look really good.  He looked, well, very nice in them.  You know how a guy, any guy, looks good in a navy Full Dress White?  Looking all starchy and proper and every bit a gentleman? Yep. That’s how he looked like to me back in the day.

He looked very. . . neat.

What can I say? The high school version of me had very limited vocabulary when it came to the opposite sex. To say that some boy was “neat” was like the ultimate word I could use without going overboard, and later on feel guilty about having contaminated thoughts, heaven forbid!

Anyway, back to the neat boy.

I remember enjoying those morning ceremonies, simply because he was there, to my left (the lines were girls and boys, alternately, per section), looking all, well. . . .you guessed it—neat. His pants were always well pressed. I don’t remember seeing any wrinkle in ‘em. His shirt was always spotless white. No Ovaltine stains. No Colgate marks. No Rexona telltale signs anywhere.  His hair was always well combed, with a hint of gel perhaps to keep it in its ideal form. He had his Trapper Keeper on his right arm, no loose leaf or any annoying scrap of paper peeking out. He was just . . . .perfect.

The thing was, despite those many days, and weeks, and months of standing practically side by side with Mr. Neat, I never really got to talk to him. No surprises there. Come on. This is me we’re talking about. I was practically a champion when it came to the sport of not talking, under the special category, Most Tight-Lipped Student Ever to Walk the Hallowed Halls of my high school.  Even up to now, my sisters would make fun of those Olympic years of Frankie; they’d imitate me and regale other people with stories about how I would often be seen alone at the library steps (if not inside the actual library), or just killing time in some forsaken corner of the campus, or how I wouldn’t even acknowledge them, my very own sisters, every time we pass each other along the school corridors. Yep. I was that weird. I lived in my own world.

But that neat boy, though. He took my mind off of my world for 15 minutes every morning, every day.

But like I said, nothing came out of it. We never talked. He never even glanced my way. I mean, who would? But I remember me stealing glances at him from the corner of my eye. That was all I could do.

That was all.

Fast forward to many decades later. Here I am, a recovering wallflower (or maybe a closet wallflower, I can’t really say for sure), suddenly attacked by a memory from ages ago. A memory that involved some well-groomed guy who stood in line next to me every morning of our junior year. The tragedy is, I can’t even remember his name.

His face I can still recall, though. But what of that? There’s no face recognition app on Facebook (is there?). And even if there was, would I have an iota of courage to look him up, this time after many, many years of nothing?  All we really had was that 3 feet of space between us. That and just air. Nothing more.

Besides, would I risk the memory for a possible disappointment?  I recall the famous last line from Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez, “So all these years—since when?—he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens.”

Would I really want to be disillusioned upon realizing that the memory, my memory, could just be a blown-up version of a dreary reality? That it was all just a product of my hyperactive imagination (hormones)? That perhaps everything was just the result of not having too much sleep (imagine waking up at 5 am every freaking day), or a hurried breakfast, or a stiff white collar choking my neck on a daily basis, or heck, a very strict Catholic school? All of the above?

None of the above?

What if the memory was genuine? What if it was real as the headband I used to wear on my noggin, carefully pulling my hair back from my face, allowing me to see my daily subject of scrutiny so much better than without it?

What if reality catches up with the memory?

Ah, here we go again. I don’t like playing this game.  I don’t even know what triggered this trip down ancient times. I have full consciousness now (A.C. as in After Consciousness), I think. I’m way over high school. I swear those years were my own version of hell and I’d really rather not linger on those adolescent recollections.

I just wonder why oh why I’m suddenly reminded, tonight of all nights, the most ordinary of nights, of the boy I used to stand in line with.

Belated Birthday Bulaga, Blossom!

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I’ve broken tradition for a very good reason. For the past few years, I’ve always written a birthday entry for Frankie on her birthday, February 27. Last Thursday, this page was quiet. I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.

A day before her birthday, I asked Frankie over at Plurk if she had any classes on her special day and if she had any breaks in between so that I could call her. Hey, I did call her! What I failed to mention was that I was going to call her from outside the La Salle Taft gate. :p

I hope you were pleasantly surprised, Blossom!

February girls. (Photo by Frankie)

February girls. (Photo by Frankie)

Miracle and Magic

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So I woke up this morning, sleepy and all, after spending the evening and the early hours of the morning watching the Sochi Olympics. Why must I wake up so early when there’s no school on a Friday, today of all Fridays? Well, all faculty must attend the meeting/assembly organized by the University to address some of the legal issues concerning the K-12 program. So go I must to the 9 am meeting.

I left the house a little after 730 pm, a tad worried that I might be late. I arrived at the van terminal around 740-ish, and the line was already quite long. But no worries; there were several vans on standby, simply waiting for the current vehicle to move. I got on the 2nd van in line, yes, and not only that, I even got to sit in front, right by the door, my favorite spot. I mean, who wants to sit in the farthest end of a van especially when you know you’re getting off at the very first stop, ahead of the other passengers? So that was a nice start to this Friday.

And then, the LRT station. The worry intensified a bit. It was a few minutes after 8 am, still within the rush hour, still within the dreaded 630-930 am crowd control window being implemented by the LRTA management. So I hurried up to the terminal, and yes, there were lines. But wait, only 4 lines? And it’s not even 20 passengers per line? You know what happened?

Strike two, for Luck.

Would you believe I didn’t even have to wait for 15 minutes before I was able to go up the actual platform and board the train? I was even right in front of the door when it opened for us passengers. Amazing! Long story short, I got to school 10 minutes before the start of the assembly, giving me plenty of time to powder my nose and check some stuff at the faculty office.

And then the meeting. I thought, I really thought it was going to be boring. Yes, I know that the meeting is important for it addresses the concerns of all faculty members, but still, on a Friday? At 9 am? Thankfully, the speakers for the day, both lawyers, were not your typical stuffy attorneys out to bore the living daylights out of any human being. They were, in fact, very engaging. And funny, too! I must say I learned a lot this morning, thanks to those speakers.

After about 2 hours, I started having hunger pangs. And if you know me, you know that those pangs shouldn’t be ignored lest 3rd World War happens as a consequence. So I left the auditorium to grab something to eat, but then I passed by some stalls (it is University Week after all, so with all the stalls and booths selling all imaginable things, not to mention the people starting to mill about,  not to mention the moolah that would be spent on senseless things, I wasn’t too keen on really buying anything) and saw this shirt:

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The game is on!

Good purchase, don’t you think? Irene Adler would be so envious.

And then I decided to go to the mall to have a decent lunch. None of the cafeteria food, no, not for me, not today.

What to eat? Where to eat? Ah. Arya’s. Persian food on a Friday sounds fabulous.

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The waiter asked, “table for one, ma’am?” To which I simply replied with, “oh yes.”

I had the spicy beef biryani, with a huge plate of biryani rice, and Turkish coffee.

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Would you believe I actually finished that entire plate of rice? All of it! Not a grain was left on the plate. Not one! I’m the rice monster I tell ya.

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Hello, Sultan! Nice hat.

After that lovely lunch, I decided to walk around and do some shopping (walk those carbs, yeah!). I bought some BluRay discs, some organic meds, and did more window shopping as a form of exercise (I think it was my wallet that got thinner in the process, not me).

After my exercise of choice, I went to the spa to get a much-needed massage. Sorry, no photos (well of course, duh).

Now what to do after the massage?, I asked myself. Thing was, I had to go back to the University because I decided to return to that one booth that was selling perfumes. Almost everything was on sale. And my sister wanted a bottle of Lancome’s Miracle so, okay. That seals it. Back to the University, I must go. A bit agitated, truth be told, because the guy told me earlier there was only 1 box of Miracle left.

So then, there I was, at the same stall, asking for the bottle of Miracle. It’s still there. 2,500 pesos. Not for one bottle, no. For that amount I get 2 -100 ml bottles, one Miracle, and the other So Magic!, also by Lancome.

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Smells Riddikulus to me.

2,500 pesos for 2 100 ml bottles. That’s not a pocket-sized bottle, folks. That’s not a travel size perfume. That’s a huge-ass bottle. And that’s a steal!

Happy with my purchase, I left immediately, not wanting to cause further damage to my already anorexic wallet.

Almost 4 pm, LRT station. It’s going to be the start of rush hour once again. Brace yourself, Frankie.

You know what happened as I waited for the train to arrive?

This.

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Miracle? So magic, hahahaha!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. This was my ride this afternoon.

Aaaaahmazing.

And because there were only a few people onboard the train by the time I got to my stop, I didn’t even have to queue at the turnstile. First in line, baby!

So I went to the jeepney terminal, my last ride for home. Bought my fare, and went straight to the barker to give my chip for my ride. The barker told me upon receiving my token, “isa na lang” (one more passenger).

Normally I wouldn’t go for it; I knew that being the last passenger meant having to squeeze your way between two already-seated passengers, all acrobatic moves known to man mandatory. But then I decided to go for it. I didn’t want to wait for more passengers to fill the next jeepney so Nadia Comăneci my way I went for it.

But then the barker told me belatedly, “dun po sa harapan” (the vacant seat is in front).

Wow.

Again, my favorite spot. It’s not even the seat between the driver and another passenger. I got the one next to the door with the sliding windows.

Again, say it with me.

Aaaaahmazing.

I tell you, the day’s been filled with so many amazing things I’ve practically lost count of ‘em all. What’s with all these lovely, splendid things? I felt like singing, “but somewhere in my youth, or childhood. I must have done something good.”

What is the universe trying to tell me?

Perhaps it’s trying to tell me that blessings are all over the place, if one knows how to recognize them.

Sure, I do get off days, like any other person. But that’s part of the deal, yeah? But good days do happen too, and when they do, I make sure to grab it by the proverbial horns and never let go until I’m fully satisfied.

Thing is, I’ve always known it, that I’m one lucky lady. So all these things that have happened today, come to think of it, didn’t really surprise me at all. In a way, I sort of expected it. Why?

Just because.

I am glad that I get to do things, and buy stuff, and enjoy myself, and learn new ideas, and do honest work, and meet new people, and just have fun along the way. But in the end it’s not so much all of that, but the realization that I am truly blessed that makes me feel luckier. I’m sure many others are also equally, if not more blessed than I am, but they don’t know it. That’s a tragedy if you ask me.

That I recognize my own brand of luck, feel my own brand of blessings, realize my own brand of miracle and magic in so many forms and shapes—-for all these I am truly, wonderfully grateful.

Thank you.

And with that, here’s me throwing a bit more magic and miracle to come your way. For without a doubt, magic shared is magic multiplied.

Blessed be.

Giselle’s Special Day!

While I have been out of the loop for quite sometime now (I’m blaming my day job for everything), I must show myself again because I’m not one to break tradition. I’ve greeted her on this page consistently since the first year of this Fatespensieve , and I won’t stop now.

Happy birthday, dear Giselle!

Birthday girl

Birthday girl

I’m sure you’ve planned something great and truly memorable for this day, your special day. But even if you haven’t, even if it’s just a quiet alone time in your crib, or some library, or at the grocery, or the spa, I’m sure you will find ways to make it special. After all, it’s not really what you do but how you do it, right? And the meanings we get from all the things we love to do.

Me and Gissy at the Sherlock Holmes Museum

Me and Gissy at the Sherlock Holmes Museum

To the woman who continues to inspire me to enjoy life to the darn fullest (you should see her celebrate life, I tell you. Nakaka inggit!); the woman who always sees the goodness in people (even if she can eat you alive for breakfast if you cross her, so don’t even think about doing it); the one true Lady Galadriel and Gryffindor who exhibit courage and elegance every day.  Happy, happy birthday, G! Let’s continue laughing (at life and at people, hahahaha!)! Cheers!!!

Funny girl

Funny girl

The pursuit of the perfect tan and my lost swimmers

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I love summer.

I <3 summer!

I like summer no matter what but I especially love it when  I’m on field break. Who wants to be out on a drill rig in 30 to 40 degrees (Celcius) weather anyway? Sydney’s had absolutely fabulous beach weather this summer and I’m taking every opportunity to get my tan on. Yep, a morena like me still needs to even out my colour. And boy, do I love my brown skin. A cute British boy once told me, “You’re the only Filipina I know who loves her skin colour. Everyone in the Philippines wants to be whiter. I love that you love your colour because your colour is beautiful.”

[Excuse me while I  search for my panties.]

Panties away!

Panties away!

So anyway, today I went to Long Reef Beach for a bit of me-time and baking. As usual, I took some photos and a few videos. Sometimes I wonder why I do shit stuff like this. Maybe I’m just bored.

On my way to the beach!

On my way to the beach!

Panoramic view!

View from the top.

And here be my two videos.

Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?

And we gonna let it burn, burn, burn, burn.

On my way home, I changed clothes next to my car and I placed my wet swimmers and my blue sarong on top of my car and drove off. It must have been a full 7 minutes of driving before I saw something in my rearview mirror fly out onto Pittwater Road. Gasp! My sarong and bathing suit! I debated for a long time whether to turn around and get it back but Pittwater Road is a pretty busy main road and I thought that maybe by the time I got back they won’t even be there anymore. However, after about 10 minutes of internal deliberation, I turned back. It took another 10 minutes to get to the exact spot where I left my articles of clothing.


Check out that tiny thing in the green box.

When there came a gap in the flow of traffic, I casually walked across the road, picked up my belongings and sauntered back to my car. I swear, the hilarious situations I get myself into! Did I ever tell you about that time I disembarked from a plane and walked across the Sydney domestic airport barefoot because my flip flops broke? That was only last January 9.

Ooh, I discovered a cool feature on my HTC One. I can do sequence shots! This morning, I got Marissa to take my photo/s and I combined them to make this:

Jump - Walk - Wheee!

Jump – Walk – Wheee!

You might be seeing more sequence shots in future blog posts. ;)

The first few weeks of 2014

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A bit late, but whatever. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s another year for new adventures and since 2013 was my rest year from traveling, I think I need to do a major trip this year. There are so many places to see and my head is just spinning! But before I can narrow down my choices, lemme regale you with how I spent the first few days of 2014.

As most of you might have known, I was working all through the Christmas break. It’s not as bad as you think, actually. What made working over the break awesome was that I got to work with my best bud, Kelly. Finally, we were on shift together! And boy, did we have a lot of fun! If you’re one of my Instagram followers, then you’d know exactly what we were getting up to. ;)

Here’s a quick recap in – you guessed it – pictures!

Ringing in the New Year at work with Kelly.

Ringing in the New Year at work with Kelly.

We even had sparklers!

We even had sparklers!

We went to the gym almost every day. ;-)

We went to the gym almost every day. ;-)

I drew silly stuff on our white board.

I drew silly stuff on our white board.

But clearly, Kelly is the better artist.

But clearly, Kelly is the better artist.

One time, we hung out in the back of our work ute and watched the sunrise.

One time, we hung out in the back of our work ute and watched the sunrise.

Then I had to go home. I took leave so that I could...

Best crew ever! There’s Mac, Elih, me, and Kelly. This is the take two photo because Elih said I had shaky hands! –> #shakyphoto. I took this photo the day before Elih and I got swapped out. I took leave so that I could…

...watch Paramore with Adria. I could say she's my best-kept secret. Meet my teenage daughter, Adria! I'm joking. She's not mine. She belongs to Jogin and Ferdie. But if I had a daughter, I'd like her to be like Adria.

…watch Paramore with Adria. I could say she’s my best-kept secret. Meet my teenage daughter! I’m kidding. She’s not mine. She belongs to Jogin and Ferdie. But if I had a daughter, I’d like her to be like Adria.

Farewell dinner for Diana who's relocating to Melbourne. It's the Dionisios and "cousins" Giselle Amanda and Oliver James.

Farewell dinner for Diana who’s relocating to Melbourne. It’s the Dionisios and “cousins” Giselle Amanda and Oliver James.

Last Sunday, I bumped ito these two lovely ladies. They're my choir mates, Carol and Rhea. :)

Last Sunday, I bumped ito these two lovely ladies. They’re my choir mates, Carol and Rhea. :)

Choir came over last night and we had an impromptu movie date. We watched "Frozen".

Choir came over last night and we had an impromptu movie date. We watched “Frozen”.

And before I knew it, half of January is over. Wow. Come on, 2014, be awesome!

2013 in review

Because the Fates are too busy living their lives, we’ll let our friends here at WordPress to do the summarizing of 2013 for us.

Much gratitude to you, our dear readers, for making 2013 one for the books. Lots of memories were made, and you were there with us as we attempted to put words along with the memories.

Happy New Year!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Introverted Christmas Celebration

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This year, two of my three Christmas wishes came true. My first one was to get the opportunity to work with my friend, Kelly. Long story short, we were supposed to work together and then we weren’t and as of midnight last night, we are going to work together. I’m excited and I hope there aren’t any more changes, otherwise, it’ll be one out of three Christmas wishes this year.

My second one, I don’t really want to talk about it. It might still be an unfolding story or it could be one of those TV shows that never goes beyond the pilot episode. Who knows?

My third and final wish was to spend a quiet Christmas Eve on my own. Yes, completely on my own.

As destiny would have it, I have to work over the holiday period, starting on Christmas Day. This meant that our highly anticipated Melbourne and Tasmania trip would be out of the question for me. I was meant to go with Gerald (flatmate), Erin (BFF), and John (Erin’s hubby and flatmate’s brother). I was kinda disappointed that I’m missing out on this but on the bright side – yes, there is always a positive to everything! – that meant an opportunity to have the house to myself on Christmas Eve! Not that I don’t want to be around my friends or anything, but there are just those days when I want time alone. Plus, you know how everything gets so frenetic at Christmas with all that shopping and partying. It gets a bit too noisy inside my head sometimes and I just want a time out. Besides, those things aren’t what Christmas is really all about.

About two years ago, this had been my grand master plan – to travel on my own on Christmas Day and not tell anyone where I was headed. It didn’t happen because at the last minute, I agreed to cook Noche Buena and celebrate with friends right at this very apartment where I now live. (Little did I know then I’d end up living here but that’s a whole different story).

I didn’t have any deep and meaningful introspection today. All I did was wake up in the morning, have tinapa for breakfast and then head to the shops to buy some vegetables and fruit. By 10:30AM I was just lying on the sofa doing absolutely nothing. I loved it! The rest of the day was spent preparing my Noche Buena for one. Just because I was on my own didn’t mean I was lonely. I had texts, calls, emails, Facebook and Viber messages to keep me company.

Okay, so some of you might be feeling sad for me. Don’t. I wanted to do it. Feel sad for people who have to spend Christmas alone but don’t really want to. I feel sad for them. I can’t explain it but it’s not about trying to be different or being papansin. I have never been about that and I never will. I do have my introverted moments and this is one of them.

If there is anything I’ve learned tonight, it’s that when you strip down this holiday to its barest, you finally see its real meaning and what significance it should hold in your life. Why are we celebrating Christmas anyway? We are celebrating the birth of Jesus – the dude who’ll grow up only to die young so that our sins will be forgiven. So far, this is the Christmas that I’ve felt closest to the birthday boy and I wouldn’t change that for the world. :)

Brave

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“I wish I were pretty. I wish I were brave. If I owned this city, I’d make it behave.”

Wise words, Ms. Sara Bareilles. More than wishing to be pretty, I wish I were brave. Although, I was feeling rather insecure and ugly the other day. Kelly said that I’m the bravest person she’s known. I love you, Kell! You are very brave too, and kind and smart and pretty, and I’m very fortunate to call you my very good friend. :)

Earlier this week, I did something “brave”. I told a guy that I liked him. That’s a first for me. Granted that it was not face-to-face, I still felt sick to my stomach after I’d hit the send button. What was it that I wanted to achieve by exposing myself like that, you ask? Well, the objective of the exercise was to get out of my comfort zone. You know, seize the moment and just do it. Life is much too short for regrets and what ifs. (Yes, Frankie, let’s stay away from what ifs). I was not after a reciprocal response nor for a hook up. No. I don’t believe in hook ups because it’s just not me. I just wanted to put it out there and get it off my chest.

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My friend, Net, said that she still thinks that there is no guy worthy of me. That is indeed a double-edged sword, if it were true. That means that I must be resigned to my fate of growing old alone. Actually, that’s fine by me. This is another form of brave. I’ve already made peace with this. In fact, I’m planning on building that retirement mansion for my single ladies out there. You know who you are. ;)

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I have never been good at handling emotions, particularly my own. A few too many friends have told me to “watch my heart” or “stay away from heartbreak” and I appreciate their concern, but really, I’m fine. Strange as this may sound, I’m almost welcoming the little pain of heartache just to know that I’m still alive.

But to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve is a fairly certain way to have it broken, you know.” (Dear Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon)

Golly! I’m making this sound so serious and profound, but it’s not. Even typing this now is making me giggle a little. Yep, I am indeed alive and well and feeling a roller coaster of emotions day by day. That is a good sign.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s time for more important things and no entry by me would be complete without photos. Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days. Enjoy!

Female geos rock! Hanging out at Kelly's and Trin's place, having ice cream at 2am.

Female geos rock! Hanging out at Kelly’s and Trin’s place, having ice cream at 2am.

Coffee with Belle at QVB

Coffee with Belle at QVB

Merry Christmas! (Photo by Mark)

Merry Christmas! (Photo by Mark)

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Cheers! Here’s to singing our hearts out!

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I <3 my choir mates!

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