i just can’t put my finger on it.
There are things that come back to me, quick and unannounced, like jump cuts. Or perhaps I am the one thrown back. The scene cuts and I am thrown into the past, or into the world I’d rather be in. The gun gets shot prematurely. But as if in perfect, deliberate delay, I ricochet between these worlds. This right now, that right one. I am walking and there is a breeze. I know I am embraced by the acacia, I feel the unpaved road beneath my feet but now I am walking on cobblestone, and it is cool and the sun feels too gentle on my face. And chattering, in a language so foreign it is familiar, cocoons me. I am walking down this road and it leads to the wrong museum. The painting at the end is too dark, too dim. It is not that vibrant blue, the ocean that engulfed me, the white zipping through like that the hitch, that one beat resting in my throat right on the second you smiled at me for the first time. There, every curve was to a song I sang in my head, hummed with closed lips, the one that rested on my hips. but here–they are the last 100 meters in a kilometer I am always running.
And here the leaves rustle and branches shake when the wind blows. There it is clear blue, or clear grey, or just a pale sunlight. Where have I run off to now?
Flying over Dubai. I cannot believe time has flown by this quickly. It felt as if I was just on this same flight route but backwards only yesterday, but also I feel as if I’ve left a big part of myself already, somewhere in the canals of Amsterdam, the streets of Budapest, the far stretches of beyond in Switzerland. I have seen and felt it all and they have all been true. They have all been a part of me. I look out the window and the engines whir in whispers, as if to accompany me in some quiet sense that I have changed, that I am changing still; the world beneath my feet and in the palm of my hand. And I feel both distraught and relieved to be going back home–because what if you feel like home is already both Manila and in the company of some other? In a country that doesn’t speak your language, in a place where people will stare but forget who you are?
I want to yet again face the world with certainty. Oh God, let me find the courage and the strength to do so.
I have been so blessed and that is enough. Chili, may you remember that, always. You are blessed and that alone is enough to get you out there.
Forward, forward, forward. Onto other stories…
i’ll be real right now, i really don’t want to be writing at this moment. it’s just that it’s a horribly awkward time to go to bed, and i need to keep my laptop on while i illegally download anthony bourdain travel shows. so here i am, 11:50PM in my room in utrecht, the netherlands; my roommate fast asleep and a dim incandescent light keeping me company. so much has happened since i got here, and honestly everything is just moving at a crazy pace and often i even find it difficult to keep up with daily happenings. i blinked and 2 months have passed.
anyway, let’s keep this light. here’s a list of little things i love about my experience here so far:
- cooking your first decent, socially acceptable meal from scratch
- sipping on cold belgian beer
- peeking at the results of your first roll of film
- random dancing with a sweet swede, aussie and swiss miss
- introducing vanille vla to a vla virgin
- biking with the wind on a rare sunny saturday afternoon
- meeting strangers baking in your own kitchen
- fitting perfectly into an impulse-buy leather jacket
- standing in front of a barnett newman
- getting hit on quite unpredictably by a odd irish fellow on st. paddy’s day
- hitching on the back of someone’s bike
- watching pink tulips bloom on your windowsill
- surviving the worst aka getting your entire bag stolen on your first day
- talking about andrei tarkovsky with your 6’5″ tall, dutch-italian twin brother
- drinking a cappuccino in a cozy cafe along the canal
- finding aesthetic sisters among your flatmates
- confronting the cutest pizza delivery boy in the planet
- winning a bowl of chips (w mayo) in a pub quiz
- shoveling down a kaassouffle in a dodgy snackbar at 4AM
- sharing bottles of wine with a table of people from all over the world on taco night
- booking your flight ticket for your first solo backpacking adventure
- indulging in warm and free stroopwafels
- slaying at yogalates
- saying dank u wel and alstublieft right for the first time
- feeling utterly at home in a country on the other side of the world
it just keeps piling up. i love where i am right now. bless.
2015 went by fast! I seriously cannot believe we’re almost through with another year. I’ll just jump straight into updates because LOL I just needed to write some shit down over here. And shoutout to Fatemeh, apparently someone actually reads the shit I post here, amazing. And so it all goes under the cut–
- I survived! HELL! aka my latest semester! Fuck yeah! And my grades aren’t half bad! I’d like to thank God, Jesus and all the saints and people I prayed to multiple times over the course of this hellish 19-unit [war flashbacks] semester. Still not feeling that fulfilled about the courses I’m taking (lbr it’s hard to be so ecstatic about theoretical statistics), but who knows, maybe I’ll get another class that I actually find interesting and relevant.
- It’s actually the day after Christmas and the day before we fly out to Tokyo, Japan. In 24 hours I’ll be heading to the airport with my family for our first self-planned trip abroad (courtesy of my fantastic itinerary-making skills lol) to visit my sister who is currently studying there. I’m really excited! It was really a last-minute decision, and while that did lead to some drawbacks (in the form of a not-so-bargain airbnb pad) I’m over the moon about it. Y’all know about my endless fascination and personal attachment to that country, so a trip to Japan is really worth the hype, price tag and hard work. I just hope that my family can keep up with my plans (ha-ha) because spending the holidays in Tokyo is no joke…
- Current flail-inducing Tokyo dreams: (a) Takashi Murakami’s 500 Arhats exhibition in Roppongi– it’s his first exhibition in his own country in ages and I am absolutely determined to see this in person (also because I feel a strange and inexplicable connection to TOP aka my Dream Guy through TM); (b) SHOPPING– specifically for a decent winter coat, some sturdy white sneakers, and of course Japanese makeup/skincare products. I’ll reserve a number for skincare hehe; (c) FOOD– although I bloated up because of all of the Bacchanalian Feasts of Filipino Christmas (lol k), I am prepared to go all out pretentious foodie in Tokyo. Relying on my research on backalley izakayas and Blade Runner-esque yokochos in what I consider to be the culinary mecca of the world.
- ASIAN SKINCARE. The gift that keeps on giving, or the deep abyss that I have fallen into. Either way, this really warrants its own new blog post (I’ll get around to this, I promise?) This new obsession is making me regret a LOT of stupid things like (a) not researching the pH level of my cleansers BEFORE I emptied them and BEFORE I fucked up my acid mantle and (b) not taking my Chemistry classes seriously (but in my defense who would’ve known that I would be hearing “hydrophilic” again after high school right?). But despite all of that I am learning a shitload of things and also burning a ton of cash in the process… but only because the results. are. really. fucking. THERE. ON MY FACE! There are improvements! and they are REAL!!! (ok flailing now). Like I know my skin is really far from perfect but I love the idea of being able to steer my personal care into a direction that will actually give me good results unlike some capitalist myths (*cough* western beauty bullshit *cough*). I’m still building my routine but at least now I’m starting to be aware of the shit I put on my face or ingest, and I think this is really worth it given the stress relief, added knowledge, self-awareness and results that I get out of this whole shebang. I even got my best friend Livi hooked on it too LOL. The learning curve is steep and intimidating but the climb is sooo fun. P.S. I have dry-combination skin.
- ASIAN SKINCARE II: MY WISHLIST (this is really more of a note to myself so skip if you want): Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin toner (yes, I’m a sucker for snail goop), Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule (apparently the greatest SkII dupe in history), Innisfree Jeju Bija Anti-Trouble Spot Gel Cleanser (one of the very few affordable low pH (<5.5) cleansers in the market), Hadalabo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (moisturizer from Japan, rave reviews like. everywhere.), Skinfood Strawberry Black Sugar Mask (less intense sister of their black sugar mask), Clinique take the day off remover for lids, lashes and lips OR Lancome Bi-Facil double action eye makeup remover (interestingly enough I used both before when I was a skincare noob, how sad), Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick (the HOLY GRAIL OF ALL CLEANSERS, sold out eveeerywhere), Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser (cheapish pH 5-5.5 cleanser I think), Cosrx Acne Master Pimple Patch (miracle worker, apparently), Ciracle Pure Vitamin C20 Serum (Vitamin C is great for PHI problems), and lastly Innisfree’s Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay mask. Some things I would consider purchasing too: Banila Co’s Clean It oil-based cleanser, Cosrx’s BHA blackhead active (some swear by it) and maaaybe Innisfree’s green tea line when my face normalizes. And some discoveries of Shit to Avoid/Be Wary Of: coconut oil (comedogenic for a sad minority), alcohol in anything thin (this is why I’m still not sold on Etude House’s Wonder Pore Freshner even though I sooo badly want it to work for me), charcoal anything (no scientific evidence that actually lathering this shit on your skin does anything significant to it), aaaand literally basic cleansers (meaning high pH, HUHUHU I’m still a victim and my chin breakouts speak for themselves).
- I AM LEAVING FOR THE NETHERLANDS IN A MONTH. I am not ready?!?!?!?! Idk man. I’ve never done anything remotely close to this kind of insane before…. but I’m always up for an adventure. Again, Chili, why must you be so bored so easily…
- I finally got around to writing back to my penpals after n months. I feel kinda bad, but shit got waaaay outta hand. Now, to actually mailing the letters is the next hurdle.
- I downloaded this app called Headspace on my phone and basically it’s a intro to meditation. My new age lola was super overjoyed to hear that I started meditating, and although I’m not completely sold on the idea of starting Raja Yoga anytime soon, I feel as if this will really become an integral part of my mental health. I find the exercises quite difficult though 😦
- I really have to start budgeting. PSA for all you uni students slugging it out with an empty wallet or with red flags in your back account, I suggest you email the kind folks over at You Need A Budget to send you a free activation pass while you’re studying! I direly need to fix my life financially because I’m tired of being such a predictable college student by being broke all the fuckin time. 😦 LOL.
- Thinking if I have the time to beta since exordium is posting beta sign-ups… I haven’t actually done this so this miiight be a first for me if I ever decide to do it. But who knows! Maybe I should just write some Meanie or Jinson/hyungline fic instead LOOLOLOLOLOL
Anyway that’s it for now?? I have to go to the gym before our annual family christmas lunch and it’s 3:30 AM FML!!! I only intended to stay up until 3 LOL………. Then again, my body clock is already screwed to begin with. Guess my body is already trying to prepare me for the European life. Hehe. Wish me luck guys! I really tried with the positive outlook on life thing here.
Holy cow. I haven’t posted a life update in ages! Is this a sign of me finally getting a life lol, just kidding. I feel the same–except now, less prone to troughs compared to when I started this thing. And for some reason, writing this particular post feels like I’m crossing a landmark in my life. I started this blog because I needed the introspection, and perhaps the reason why I stopped posting so often this year was because I was starting to get consumed by this exact need for clarity, for self-awareness. For the first time in my life I felt as if saying something (i.e. verbally manifesting my thoughts) would make it real–too real, enough for my worries and fears to crawl out and resurface. I just could not deal with that again. So I stopped. Thus this is sort of like a confession more than an update, but in reality this should’ve been an update but now I’m too tired to structure it as so, so yeah, take it or leave it hahaha anyway
So much has happened this past few months, and I’ve also got big things going for me, and well, I’m here, trying to articulate things to avoid doing the actual work I really should be doing hahahah (like you know, attempt to pass my fucking classes). So just really quick rundown:
- I’ve worked on something really big with a great team and in an environment I’ve never been in before. I guess you could say that tend to place myself in uncomfortable (in a good way) situations.
- I’ve started getting used to being alone. I prefer being with a small group of people though (like, people I like). This is actually the universe preparing me for the craziest thing I will ever do yet–going on exchange alone to the Netherlands next semester. Ohmygauze. I’ll reserve my thoughts on this for a later post.
- There is no shame in being true to yourself in front of others. In other words, more people are now privy to my shame and indecency loljk. People are a lot more accepting (tolerant) than I imagined though.
- Friends… people… relationships… still a vague blob for me. I’ll never fully get it. Thanks though, @universe, you’re really giving my ass a whopping. I’m really, really learning a lot.
- Tip to future self: swallow your fucking pride and drop the fucking class if you don’t understand shit! 19 units is basically signing up to drown in your tears.
- Also: do NOT binge-watch We Got Married. You’ll sink into a void of feelings and confusion with the cute injustice of it all. Song Jae Rim and Kim So Eun, you broke my shipper heart. #goals!
- Man, you should’ve slept earlier. Insomnia, you really are the only constant in my life. Fuck.
- Is it so jaded of me to be afraid of good things as they come my way? I feel like I’m living in constant anxiety because I’m suddenly so lucky and #blessed (semi-ironically used) and all I can think of is that acknowledging any of it will make it disappear or worse, somehow turn against me to destroy my life. HELP.
This semester is one whirlwind of a semester. I’ve never been so comfortable and at peace with myself and this little reality since I entered university until this year. But I’ve also never felt more stressed out and thoroughly whipped by the passage of time and events. Time really does speed up as you get older. So many things are happening in such a condensed amount of time, and everything and anything can change in an instant. Honestly beautiful and terrifying, but it is what it is. I’m just trying to take it all in–is this life as it happens?
Lastly, I remember one conversation with an upperclassman back in freshman year. She told me that I shouldn’t be afraid to put myself out there, and that it’ll be worth it. I never really understood it then, but now–I think I do. So thank you, kind senior, for your words. They have given me much courage.
Yeah, so that was me and my messy post. Maybe I’ll make a better one in the future. In the meantime, please pray for my sanity as I try to pass all my fucking classes l a w d. ‘Til then, [Shia LaBeouf voice] just! do! it!
Got an additional 4GB of RAM for my laptop today!! So to celebrate this wonderful occasion (yes! this is monumental!) I finally got to export some of my Japan travel photos from last spring. Experimented again (lol) since I’m still trying to get a grip on my ~post-processing look~. Can’t wait to upload more shit lol. Life update soon maybe? Photo heavy under the cut!