My long overdue birthday post

Two weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday. Funny, I don’t feel any different from my previous age or the ages prior. I said it to my friend, who said back, “It’ll be different when you’re thirty.”

I still can’t believe I’m a year away from that, considering that I’m not really conscious about my age like some people are.

My new boss said that “Thirty is the new twenty.” Frankly, I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. I think it means something like, thirty is when you should start getting serious with your life, while when you’re at your twenties, you’re still allowed to go gallivanting or something.

Anyway, I’ve got one year to be footloose and fancy-free, so to speak. However, I do think I ought to use that year to really get my life in order. Then again, do I want to get it in order for me, or I want it to be in order based on other people’s standards? Ah, such are the questions of life.

My birthday week was nothing out of the ordinary. I didn’t really do anything outside of my usual work-home routine. However, I couldn’t help feeling really good about a lot of things that week. Maybe it had something to do with how the planets are aligned or something (another friend mentioned that it was a good week for that), or maybe one does just feel a little bit better on their birthdays.

That week, I got a new boss. I also got into a really intense conversation with an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time (if it weren’t complicated, that conversation would be taken further but I believe in karma, so I backed off). Generally, I think I was such a nice person that week, and I felt that nothing could go wrong.

Saturday, I got together with my family for a belated birthday celebration. It was the first time that I organized it. My tita and I did all the marketing and the grocery. I didn’t get to cook much because my uncle had everything under control, so I was more or less the sous chef of the entire thing.

The party (though I really wouldn’t call it that) was great. The food was plentiful, the company was, as usual, awesome. One of my tita’s (mom’s older sister, also my ninang) showed us her pictures of their visit to Egypt. She then gave us her pasalubongs and my gift (which was already an extra since she gave me my Neil Gaiman books last March).


*still waiting for Miel to develop her pictures*

So here’s to another year. I’m very grateful that I’ve gotten this far. Maybe it’s not what I envisioned for myself when I was younger but I can’t complain really. I have my wonderful family, really amazing friends, I have a good job, I’m healthy (even though my lifestyle isn’t so much) and best of all, I’m not stupid. Ignorant and naive sometimes, but not stupid.

Thank you for all the blessings, the gifts, the greetings and the love. 🙂

P.S. I finally got to finish a bottle of San Mig Light. I never liked alcohol, but this was consumed thanks to the help of ice, orange slices and Krispy Kreme. 😛

What I am thankful for this year

Every time the new year rolls in, there are moments where I become pensive about the things that happened. There are times when I cringe and say “What the heck did I do?” but more often than not, I just laugh and shrug it off and think “It’s done, and I’m here, so I’m thankful.”

Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed by the things around us, that we keep saying “If only things were better,” or something to that effect. I do that too, but after a while, I realize that things are better. It’s just a matter of your attitude and perspective. It isn’t easy, but it can happen.

This year, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a little slideshow of those.

I long ago realized that when I say thank you for any thing, it falls back to people. Either they’ve helped me do things, or were there to stand by me for support. There’s my friend Ching who helped me finally get my application for the scholarship submitted, my sister who says encouraging little things, my dad and mom who continuously encourage me to do what I want to do, my friends who listen to me when I need someone to talk to.

This year, I’m also thankful that my family is safe and of good health. My grandfather, at 84, is often mistaken for someone 10 years younger. His memory may not be as sharp as before, but believe me, it’s far better than most people decades younger than him. Recently, his doctor said his health is really good, and I’m glad for that. My uncle and aunt survived Ondoy after 8 hours on their neighbor’s roof. I’ve seen friends get married and have babies, and it’s such a wonderful thing to see life go on.

One of the things I’m thankful for is the time I can think and let my ideas roam. Often these times are in between my daily routine, like when I’m on the train to and fro work. Sometimes, I jot down these ideas (this is where having a Moleskine comes in handy), and it’s pretty interesting to go back and look at them, then realize that, “Hey, I did this already!”

The end of the year isn’t a time for bemoaning about what could have been. Believe me, I’ve passed up a few opportunities, and though I feel a twinge of regret, the possibility of having another shot at it makes me smile and hopeful. So smile, be happy that you are alive and remember you are blessed.

This post is my entry to the contest “Win a Moleskine Colour a Month Daily Planner 2010” from Avalon.ph.

Weekend post

It’s one of those weekends where everything seemed to just fall into place. Despite the hectic-ness of it all, the oh-so-close and nearly missed times, things worked out that you couldn’t just help go “wow, thanks,” after everything.

Evecar & JP’s wedding
The day finally arrived. My best friend’s older sister, whom I consider my older sister too, got married yesterday. It was truly long event-in-the-making, most of the details which I didn’t really know except for a few bits and pieces, courtesy of Nez and her cousin, Manuel.

I was supposed to be at the family’s condo in Manila at 8:00 AM, but since I wanted to pass by The T-shirt Project’s sale, I arrived there around 10. I was immediately set upon by the make-up artist, who had no idea I wasn’t part of the entourage until the last minute of my, er, making up. Nez wanted me to have a hairpiece like the bridesmaids but I thought that was overkill. Besides, the color didn’t fit my dress.

Things were running great, from my point of view. I thought we were right on schedule, especially as the bride’s family was notorious for being late. Carlo, one of their brothers, told me that we were actually still late, based on their original time table, but I pointed out that at least we started the ceremony with everyone complete.

The wedding was at the Manila Cathedral, but we went by Sofitel for a pictorial with the bride. I gave in to my best friend’s request and wore 4.5″ Christian Loubotin patent pumps. I walked from the parking lot, through the side entrance to the elevator and up to the room where the bride and groom were preparing. I barely sat to rest my aching feet when we were ushered out again to the lobby/Le Bar for another set of photos. To which I whispered to one of the titas, “Why am I here again?”

I really cannot see the point of high hells, er, heels. Sorry ladies. I’m more Danny Choo’s fan than Jimmy’s. I tried to really, really, make it work, but where I’m normally the fastest walker in my group, I ended up being the slowest. It was an experience, all right… one I’d rather not repeat. Thank God for back-up shoes.

I did manage to get into the pictures. I was sitting in one of the couches when one by one, the bridesmaids sat down beside be as the bride was taking a picture with her mom. Afterwards she joined us and the photographer started to take photos. Most of the time, I just stood there (or sat haha).

We were at the Cathedral around 4 PM. I thought we were going to start immediately but it turns out that there was a previous wedding going on so we had to wait. It was a military wedding, complete with cadets and sabers to salute the bride and groom as they exited the church. It was rather interesting, even the wedding after us, where the male half of the entourage we all Caucasian men wearing Barong Tagalog. It was definitely an interesting sight and too bad I didn’t have a picture.

The wedding was beautiful. I couldn’t help but tear up as Evecar walked down the aisle. There were a lot of happy tears around but it was the groom’s dad who stole the show. He really cried as he was walking with his wife and JP and it was so touching.

The reception was at Intramuros and wow. I can’t find enough words to describe it. It was elegant, classy and just awesome (sorry for the so over used word). We were all thankful that it didn’t rain. Not a cloud in the sky to mar the beautiful evening.


Photo by Nelwin Uy

I got roped into the bouquet toss, but it was my best friend who got picked in the end. The guy who got the garter was a classmate of the groom.

Afterwards, I went with Caryl (one of the bride’s sisters), Manuel and his friend for pictures around the grounds. What I’d give for a professional photographer (or at least, a tripod), but I think we made great use of our point and shoot cameras. Hey, it’s only once in a while that we’d be all dressed up and in such a fabulous location.

It was late when we left Intramuros. I ended up sleeping at their house, because I thought my bag was at the condo so I had to wait for it in the morning. Turns out it was in the car all along, so I could’ve gone home. Oh well, it was nice to be able to just relax after such a hectic day.

Everything was just beautiful that day. The church, the dresses, the make up, the location… I could go on. Even the little glitches were things that you could overlook because of the way everything just fell through.

Did I mention that the bride wore two gowns? For the church ceremony she wore a Vera Wang wedding dress, then for the reception, it was a St. Pucci one (or I got it the other way around?). The maid of honor, my ever fashionista best friend, wore Oscar de la Renta. I get my fashion education from them haha.

Congratulations and best wishes to JP and Evecar-Cruz Ferrer!

Toy Story
Supposedly, I was going to watch “A Christmas Carol” with Drew. However, I was late… and it was 3D. Kuripot the two us were, we ended up doing a small food trip (well, it was mostly me who was eating/drinking) while walking around.

Legos are love, love, love. They cost an arm and a leg though, so I’ll end up doing some wishful thinking. Ah, but it’s nice to dream, and who knows, maybe I’ll end up buying something one day.

On the way home, I managed to buy some gifts for the office Kris Kringle. Got a few items that I needed as well, so I ended up spending a bit more than I expected. Oh well.

Tired, but in a good way. Here’s to another work week!

Emo post

How come bad things always overshadow the good things? Or is it because we let them?

Today, I received some news that had me shaking. I wasn’t really sure what emotion had me doing that, but among that myriad of feelings, I knew I was angry and hurt, a little scared and just so damn disappointed in some people. I suppose in some ways, I am still naive, and am always ready to believe that every person is a nice one, though sometimes, you get a slap in the face and you realize that no, not everyone is nice. They may look nice, act nice but deep down they have a mean streak that comes out when you least expect it.

So this morning, I wasn’t feeling well. Not just physically unwell, but also emotionally. I felt drained, like I was fighting a losing battle. I was ready to rant and curse and throw profanities all over.

Somewhere between that and now, I calmed down. It didn’t make my worries go away, but I realized that I should be more aware of my blessings.

I got to spend time with one of my best friends, Den. We didn’t do anything special: had lunch, walked around, bought books then did some grocery for her mom. It was only for an hour or two, but it was a balm to my turbulent mind.

When I got home, my brothers and I watched “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” and though it was far from the original series than I remembered, it took my mind of things. It was, on the whole, an amusing movie. Not special or spectacular, not even “Wow!” but just entertainment. Plus, my brothers never fail to make me laugh, so they cheered me up tremendously.

I started this blog entry by listing down things that I am thankful for. I wrote down my parents, my siblings, my friends… there were a lot! Even within the day, there were so much to be happy about.

So even if I’m still worried, well, it’s not so much now. I’m not saying that I don’t know what I’ll be doing about it, but at least I know that I won’t be floundering.

Discoveries

I had often said that reunions should occur on happy moments, not on times when there is a loss. However, it is not often the case. My trip to Dumagete was just that. Though I was excited to visit my relatives and see the place, I wish that I had better reasons to be there.

I barely remember my great aunt, Lola Auring. I think I met her only once, when she was in Candelaria for my Lola Lilay’s funeral. I remember her children more, my aunt Marilyn and my uncle Melvin (who had also passed away not long after Lola Lilay) and I haven’t met any of my cousins from that side of the family.

So I was both excited and apprehensive.

The first cousins I met were my aunt Marilyn’s sons, Jun Jun and Biboy. When Tita texted me about who will pick us up from the airport, I was worried because I don’t know them from Adam. When we went out of the arrival area, Lolo immediately walked towards two young men I didn’t know, whereas I was trying to hold him back. Thank God he knew them.

At the funeral parlor, I greeted my aunts and another great aunt, Lolo’s youngest sister Juliet. I talked a bit with my aunts and uncles, who introduced me to more cousins.

What hit me the most was that these cousins of mine had strong similarities to my brothers. That’s when it dawned on to me that my lifelong belief that we got our looks either from the Banares side or the De La Llana side was shattered. A good chunk of it came from the Sales side, and it was rather amusing to note.

I must have stared at them for a long time. Jude looked uncannily like Dion, while several aunts said Carl and I share similarities around the eyes and cheekbones (though I think he looks like Nunik). Finally, I know where my cousin Jordan got his most distinct feature, because my cousin Neil has it too.

Amidst the sadness of the loss, I made discoveries. Perhaps this is the silver lining in the cloud.

Write stuff

I’ve started two part time writing jobs over the last few weeks. The first one is at oDesk, where I post comments in a gardening forum. It’s fairly easy and pretty fun work. I’m no gardener or farmer but I’ve got my fair share of that from my elementary and high school days in our agriculture class (yeah, we mucked about in “gardens” and studied plants/horticulture and stuff). Plus, there’s the knowledge handed down from my grandparents and parents about farming, not to mention the years of reading Better Homes and Gardens.

Besides, there’s the Internet if I need anything else.

My other writing job is for a local children’s magazine. I write several short articles on various topics that kids are into (cartoons, movies, video games, books, etc.). I like it because the topics are something I’m really interested in and it feels like I’m writing for myself and not for someone else. I started on it last night and will continue on it today until I finish all the topics for this week.

I’m still looking for other writing jobs. Who knows, maybe I can make it my permanent source of income?

P.S. I just realized I have no category for “writing” until now!

Thank you

A few years ago, I started doing a weekly “Thank You” list. Every end of the week, I list down the top five to ten things that I was thankful for.

I did that for a few months, then I stopped. Mostly out of laziness, and the fact that I lost interest in blogging around that time. Back then, it was no big deal.

Recently my cousin started a blog that listed in detail the things she was thankful for. It was, by all means, an account of her everyday but she wrote it in a way that was nothing but positivity and praise and thankfulness. Every little thing about that day that made her realize what a great life she had, she wrote down, and every sentence began with a “salamat.”

In most Filipino languages, “salamat” translates to “thank you,” and you pretty much use it the same way as you would in English or in any other language. I find that using it instead of thanks, thank you  or even ty feels so much more genuine and heartfelt.

Reading my cousin’s blog makes me realize again that there are so many things in our life that we take for granted. Things we wouldn’t normally notice until it’s been taken from us, and usually in a very abrupt manner. It makes you think that the problems we encounter are so few as opposed to the blessings we receive. It’s just a matter of how we look at it and how we react to it.

I am going to try to be more attentive to these things, and start doing my own thank you entries. I know I can’t start on it full blast at once, but I’m going to take it slow. I have been inspired and humbled by my cousin (who seemed to have inherited our grandfather’s serene disposition), and I hope that I’ll never forget the things in this world that I am thankful for.

Thank you for the good night’s rest. Thank you for being able to check my email and other online stuff early in the morning. Thank you for the safe trip from home to the LRT station via tricycle. Thank you for the walk that serves as my daily exercise. Thank you for letting me get my favorite spot on the train and for the music that kept me entertained the whole trip. Thank you for getting me to the office and not be late. Thank you for letting my computer restart fast after it unexpectedly shut down. Thank you for the breakfast of siomai and coffee. Thank you for letting me finish me work quickly and noticing the mistakes that I was able to correct ASAP.

Thank you for the good lunch and Ate Tess’ looking out for us. Thank you for the occasional entertainment in between work. Thank you for the help in making the team’s work faster. Thank you for my teammates especially Marc and Maya for being so diligent. Thank you for merienda. Thank you for being able to finish my tasks. Thank you for the walk with Winston and the safe trip home. Thank you for the seat on the LRT and the little reminder that technology, albeit convenient, is far from perfect. Thank you for the entertaining shows on TV. Thank you for the ates at the eatery downstairs and for the family who owns the store below. Thank you for letting Nuks get to Candelaria safe & Miks home safely. Thank you for the chat with my friends online and relieving me of any doubts that I had. Thank you for the books I read. Thank you for today.

A letter of thanks

A few months ago, my classmate Kat (yep, same nick as mine) and I were talking about the nearly lost art of traditional letter writing. Nowadays, just about the only thing you get via snail mail are bills, notices and things that don’t really make you happy.

In the last three years, I probably have received about less than ten mail (discounting bills): a couple of postcards that I asked for from friends who went abroad, notices for packages I need to pick up at the post office and a letter or two (from Google Adsense that isn’t worth anything now since my account’s closed off; my SSS ID after 145 years of waiting; my Civil Service exam permit… heck nothing interesting at all).

I used to have penpals from the United States via Animerica magazine, and we’d write to each other on a nearly weekly basis. During vacation, I’d write letters to my roommate, my best friend or my former boyfriend, sometimes to this guy I had a crush on. The boys didn’t really write back much, maybe one letter for every five I sent. Still, it was nice to get something from the mail.

Anyway, we decided it would be nice to send each other something via good old fashioned mail. So we (Kat, myself and some other of our classmates from college) exchanged addresses and vowed to send each other something ASAP.

I have yet to do something about this, but recently, Kat posted a meme on her LJ that I decided to do as well.

She hit two birds with one stone here: making something and writing me a letter. Nice! It was also interesting to see her handwriting. I feel that I don’t know how the handwriting of most people I know (at least the ones I met after college anyway) looks like.

I wouldn’t actually call today a bad day, but I was feeling a bit sad earlier on due to some realizations about life and relationships. I felt a bit better when Den reminded me that today was our anniversary (we, along with our friends Allan and Ching celebrate our friendship every 25th of February) and that we’ve been friends for nine years now. I had dinner with my brother, had some ice cream and watched Time Warp, went online and talked to my friends, and I thought, life’s good. Why was I moping earlier?

Then Kat’s letter came and it just made my day.

So I realized that today is a good day after all, and I’m thankful. 🙂

PS. If you want to receive something from me, read this then leave a comment here.

Globelines woes: finally!

Got home and was pleasantly surprised to see that my DSL was performing very well. The pages load quickly, I could go to any site I wanted to with no difficulty. On a whim, I decided to test it on Speedtest.net.

First test results:

I was so amazed. I haven’t seen that speed since last year, probably sometime before the Christmas season. At first I was really skeptical, and I figured that in a few hours I’d be back to having a really slow connection again.

About a few minutes later, I did the test again.

Wow. I didn’t expect that, but I figured I should just enjoy it while it lasts.

When my brother Miks arrived from school, he asked if the Internet was working fine and he said that a technician came over to fix it. Like, really fix it, not just to do a cursory check and say “It’s fine.”

Imagine, I had to call Globelines’ tech support several times in the last two days and get nothing, while my brother Nunik called once and got it fixed. I’m just glad it’s fixed.

To Globe Telecom/Innove (though I doubt if you’ll be reading this): Thank you for giving me back my DSL, but fix your service please. I know you guys are confident that you’ll always have customers since there’s only a handful of ISPs currently here in the country, and you all offer just about the same thing, but that doesn’t justify crappy DSL connection and slow tech support response time. Not to mention a couple of lousy tech support agents who insist “There’s no problem naman po.”

Yeah, yeah. Your records show no problem but myself as the person who uses the service has problems.

So, I’m back online, and hopefully, the service will continue to work well. I don’t like badmouthing anything, but I won’t hesitate to tell others not to get Globelines DSL if they have other options.