Yesterday, after a very toxic day at work, I ran somewhere. I met up with a friend and we had a bowl of ramen for dinner. Because I was pretty much not myself anymore, I managed to spill a lot of sesame seeds in my ramen. Imagine what my tonkotsu ramen tasted like! It wasn’t very bad but it was definitely crunchy. Afterwards, we each bought a scoop of ice cream and walked around the streets talking about random things.

I told my friend, “This is possible, huh? Take a break in the middle  of the week and let some steam out?”. She nodded and replied with a smile.

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Losing Sight

I frequent a massage shop called “Vibes” in a mall near my apartment. I usually go there twice a month to relieve myself from stress due to work and life, in general. One interesting aspect of Vibes is the massage therapists are blind. Unlike other regular customers though, I don’t favor a specific masseuse. I am fine with being assigned with the available masseuse because (1) I am generally impatient, and (2) it enables me to differentiate the massaging styles of the masseuses.

In the past three years of frequenting Vibes, I’ve observed a lot of things about their staff which often amazes me more than not. The massage therapists have very keen sense of touch and hearing. Even without saying a word and just by touching my back, they can tell if it’s me, if I lost or gained weight and if I am more stressed than usual. They also know my voice very well. They would say, “Oh! It’s Ma’am Melissa.” even if I just uttered, “Good evening”.

When they are in a light mood, some masseuse also share their  interests. There is one instance when I had to wait for the masseuse for a while. When she arrived, she apologized profusely. She mentioned she was just replaying the episode of a drama she missed the previous night. I asked her how she replayed it. She replied she listened through the YouTube application in her smartphone. She further shared that sometimes she replays TV shows on her Acer laptop. I was simply dumbfounded.

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Finding my Footing

I was browsing thorugh my drafts and I found this unfinished post. I wrote this in May 2013. I wondered why I never got to post this. So here’s a sort of flash back Friday post:

Last night my brother told me, “Should I go out of the country next year?”. He then followed up with, “What should I do about the promotion offered by the company?”

I just replied, “Do what you think will be best for you. If you feel you like doing something, then try it.”

There was a time when I have also been bothered so much by such questions. I was very envious of my peers who are already leaving the country to get their PhDs. I felt bad seeing pictures of people who  were able to travel to different places. I was jealous of people who already know what are the things they are good at. I was too consumed by the so called “quarter life crisis”.

I don’t know how  but thankfully I am slowing easing out of the stage already. These days, I am less bothered by how far my peers has achieved, how many places they went too and whether they are now rich by mastering their craft. Instead, I have diverted my energies on trying out different things such as finally booking a ticket to go the place that I want to and enrolling in a course even if  I am not yet sure if it’s the track I want to pursue. I now don’t feel so bad that I haven’t achieved yet the things that I want to do when I was 23. I have now appreciated the investments I have made to secure not only mine but my brothers’ future are as well. In short, I have finally found my footing and I am now in betters terms of myself as far as capacities and experiences are concerned.

The path towards this state was not easy and I am not even sure how I came to such kind of peace and understanding. However, one thing I have always acknowledged is that every one of us is unique but at the same time share certain universal traits. By understanding individual differences, I realized that is no point in competing with anybody. When we strive to improve, it should not be because you want to beat someone but because you know you are lacking in certain areas. And by acknowledging that we share certain universal traits, I realized that despite status differences, people still seek the same thing… happiness, acceptance, contentment.

Whoa. I was thinking  of these things when I was 23. But I feel happy that I still feel the same way I felt two years ago. You  don’t compete with anybody but yourself. 🙂

(Seoul Diaries) Discipline is a Way of LIfe

Upon arrival in Seoul last October, the first places/things my friend Me-an and I agreed to look for was food and money changer. So upon depositing our luggage in hour hotel in Jong-no, we went straight to Myeong-dong. Upon getting off the subway station, the first restaurant we saw was McDonalds. We agreed to just eat there because we were already so hungry.

Thankfully, ordering was a breeze. The staff at the counter understood basic English and I was still decent enough to understand that “in-here” means “dine-in”. Ha! I was also amazed at the presentation of the cheeseburger. It was a far cry from the way cheeseburgers are served here in in the Philippines!

After I was done eating, I immediately stood and about to head to the door when Me-an stopped me. She said I have to pick-up the wrapper of the burger and the glass where I drank from and throw it on the garbage. I looked around and realized there was a “self-service garbage disposal counter” and people were indeed throwing their own garbage. I thought what a neat practice it was, something I was not used to seeing in the Philippines.

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(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap

You might find that there’s a disconnect in the title of this post. It’s related to my travel to Seoul but talks about the Thai way of saying “hello”. You see, I had very interesting tales associated with this greeting when I was in Seoul last October.

Upon arrival in Seoul, I and my friend Me-an immediately braved the cold streets of Myeong-dong to look for food, the best dollar to won exchange rates, and cardigans to augment our cold weaponry. I was in  awe  not just of  the number of people in the area but the variety of things that can be bought. Myeong-dong truly lives up to its name of being one of Seoul’s premiere shopping destination!

Myeong-dong for you!

Myeong-dong for you!

After happily walking out of a small stall, my spirit was blown out of my body when a man selling bags greeted us  a with a very loud, “Sawa dee Krap!”. We just laughed  so the man smiled back. Perhaps he was thinking “I got this in the bag”. Too bad just we laughed out of shock and the hilariousness of being mistaken as Thais.

On our 2nd night, we ventured to the more artsy street of Insadong where I found out street performances and magic shows are just ordinary happenings.

Yeah. Figure it out.

Yeah. Figure it out.

Paintings for sale at Insadong.

Paintings for sale at Insadong.

While quietly checking out the stalls, we were surprised again when someone shouted at us, “Sawa dee Krap!”. By that time I figure out I really probably looked like a Thai.

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Learning and Living

Yesterday, I heard someone (a lady) tell another person (a middle-aged man), “Why do you even bother paying for her matriculation fees? She is not even your child. You should stop doing that.”

There could be several explanations why the lady said those words to that man. The man could be paying the matriculation fees of an ungrateful child. He could be borrowing money in her behalf. Or…it could even be as simple as he wishes to a help a person who is not even his own child.

I don’t know the whole story so I am not in position to judge. However,  if the lady’s statement is related to the third scenario I mentioned, it’s so sad that she harbors such kind of beliefs. Since when there was a rule that we should only send  someone to school if she/he is our child? It violates every value I know about education, and what does this make me, my siblings and every person out there who was   able to study through the graciousness of other people?

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2013: I am not a Superhuman

I usually scourge my folders for the pics that best represent my year. I decided to skip my  habit this year because: (1 ) I was sick for the past three days, (2) I have another exam due by the end of the week, and (3) I have mixed feelings about how my year went by.

2013 was still  a decent year for me but full of toxicity. I finally enrolled in graduate school and I am now my second semester. Work is also getting more hectic more than ever. The higher-ups seems to be happy with what we are doing so our budget and workload has almost doubled lately! I think the load from school and work is finally taking its toll on me. I am sick more than usual and I often suffer from tensional migraine.

I ask myself now whether I was ready for this kind of pressure when I started grad school. Looking back at how I handled things, I guess I was not. I tried to do everything at once…school, work, traveling, my other interests. I failed to prioritize. By the end of the year, I was pretty much dissatisfied with everything I did. My school performance were okay but so so. I had lot of backlogs at work. My travel posts are so delayed, etc. etc.

I will end 2013 with a note to myself that I am not superhuman. I cannot do everything I want to do just because I want to. I made certain choices, therefore, I should face them with better conviction and sense of responsibility even it means letting go of certain things. And finally, I now literally feel what ‘aging’ means, so I guess health is now an unavoidable priority.

2014 will be here in a few hours.  I am still so uncertain how to proceed. But as they say, BRING IT ON!

Straight Out of a Can

This morning, my aunt’s househelp prepared corned beef and dried fish for breakfast. I ignored the plate of corned beef and proceeded to savor the dried fish. I was never a fan of corned beef nor of any canned meat or fish food, expect perhaps the Spam luncheon meat. I wondered then how many people out there consumed such food straight out the can when I can barely eat them even after they are already heated.

 I remember the first time I was forced to eat tuna out of a can. It was in February 2003 during a high school trip to the coastal town of Prieto Diaz in Sorsogon. Before we left, we were advised to bring canned goods and cooked rice because the place had no facility for cooking nor there were nearby small restaurants. So when the night came, my groupmates opened the group’s stock of canned goods which consisted of tuna in various flavors—mechado, adobo, menudo, etc. One of my groupmates even mixed two or three flavors! I can hardly forget my reaction when I tasted the food. I said to myself, “So… this is how it tastes like.”

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SON (of) A

I rarely talk about political issues simply because I am not well-versed in that field but one event that I never miss out is President Aquino’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the biopolar responses that it never fails to elicit.

 Yesterday, he delivered his 4th SONA and for most Filipinos, it serves as a gauge as to how far the Philippines have gone since he was elected as president. To us government employees, it also one way of knowing whether the outputs we delivered for the year are among those the president considers as high-impact. Last year, the response of the people in our office were overwhelming because he talked about dengue, the monorail project, Project NOAH, the SEI scholars and many other DOST projects. This year, the response was neutral to non-existent as he only mentioned about NOAH, the Advanced Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) and the screening for suppliers project which we hardly know about.

Personally, I was also disappointed because he left out many important S&T projects and issues. He could have discussed the interagency collaboration of DILG, DepED, DOH and DOST for dengue surveillance. I was also waiting for him to mention something about S&T human resources but sadly there were none. It was evident from his speech that from the get go, Aquino has mainly viewed S&T as a support system for the other sectors and not as a key driver and indicator of a country’s productivity on its own.

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Road Trips

I’d choose an eight-hour trip to Bicol anytime over a one-hour plane ride. Aside from the fact that there’s too much hassle in checking-in at airports, the scenery on the way to Bicol is just too good to miss. In general I love long rides, may be it be on boats, on a motorcycle, in the open sea or even in rough roads. My eyes simply crave for sceneries and time to absorb them.

My love for road trips was greatly influenced by my late father. When I was around five or six, we just had a motorcycle but he would take me and my brothers as far as Buhi Lake, home to the smallest  freshwater fish. There, we would make quick stops on the resorts around the lake. We never paid entrance fees because we barely stayed on each resort for an hour. My dad would simply talk to the owner that we were just visiting and off we go jumping from one resort to another.

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24 at 24

Life is not perfect. However, it is the imperfections that make me love it more. There is always something to discover and learn. I have always tried to live that way—always in pursuit of higher but life-changing lessons. I do no want to stop because I know the moment I do that I would stop growing as a person. I would choose the uncertain anytime over a boring, repetitive life

I am blessed for being to able to realize this goal in my 23 years of existence. Life has not always been kind but it has certainly  been rewarding. I look forward to more years of fruitful existence.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

I’m kinda bummed out that I don’t have new pictures and there’s hardly anything inspiring in my immediate environment. So, for this week’s challenge, I’m pulling a pic from my stable…another of my oh so many sun pictures. Hope you like it!


Unofficial Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

As there was no official weekly photo challenge this week, Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? has posted a challenge and would love you all to join in. See here:: http://wheresmybackpack.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/reflections/

As for my entry, it’s rather uninspiring this week as I can seem to find a proper picture for the word “reflection” I just took a picture of my shoes mirroring each other. But come to think it, the left and right side of our body are perfect reflections of each other. =) Body parts, especially the external ones, often come in pairs. If not, they are perfectly symmetrical. Interesting. 😉