Friday, December 31, 2010

The battlefield we called home

Hours before New Year's Eve, I'm at the computer shop. This is all too familiar for me. Once again, I'm escaping the place one is supposed to feel at home... HOME.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed at how broken we are and how difficult it is to live together. Sometimes I have come to the conclusion that we can't stand each other. Sometimes I change my mind, during the good times. But again, the wish that keep coming back, what I've been waiting to come true, is the time when I would finally live on my own. Somehow I have equated leaving home, becoming independent, with getting more hold with my life, to escape the hurts I don't deserve.

Backseat on a rainy night. The two older boys in front, one driving and the other, on the passenger seat, discussing the older's reunion with fraternity-military buddies. College stories of drunken old men, firing shots, eating on toilets, cursing and beating each other up filled the air. I had no earphones on. It was too dark to read a book. The lights passed by outside the window, I was hoping for an escape. I kept focusing on the faint sound of the radio, but their conversation rung in my ears. I tried asking the other a question, a question that is completely ignored, hung in the air, incapable of penetrating an invisible wall between me and these two men. I sat back, defeated and trying to go to sleep. Wishing I could open the door and commute someplace else.

"You're not coming home are you?" I was itching to text. I was lying in Dad's empty bed during midnight, reading. It was my parent's bed, the master's bedroom of my childhood, but not anymore. Now it was just Dad's bed. This has happened many times before, yet I could not bring myself to be numb about it. He's not coming home for the night when Mom's away. I remembered that one night when Mom ran away and Dad did not go home either. I remembered my brothers and I going to bed without eating dinner, without parents. Then high school, when everyone was asleep and Dad's not home yet. I was worried and avoidant of the fact that he's not coming home. I was waiting. I was in the bathroom when I dialed his number. Many times he didn't pick up. I don't know if I wanted him to pick up. I don't know if I wanted to hear a lie, but I am more afraid of hearing the truth of where he is. He finally answered. He seemed tired. I was silent but trying to speak, in a small voice trying to hide the sob in my voice and understand. Soon, I ended the call.

Until I heard the beep of an SUV outside that woke me up from reminiscing bad memories. I climbed out of Dad's bed and saw the headlights flashing on the windows. He did get home. A part of me smiled, a part still hurt with the fact that he's late. Where had he been? I climbed to my own bed afterwards and pretended to sleep when he woke us, saying there's Jollibee on the table. I pretended to sleep, but not for long. I came out and greeted him. Traffic, he says, long lines and a board meeting. I believed him. I smiled and was thankful. I could trust him...

Somehow it has been the tradition that the man in the house would get angry at someone and the rest of us will be sad as the fireworks cheerfully explode up in the air and the children blew their carton trumpets. Happy New Year.

Last year, there was no such victim. A year after, tonight, I sensed that someone might end up crying again. I hope it's not me. That's why I'm here. At the computer shop. Beside children playing DoTA. In hiding from hurts. Future hurts, maybe. But past hurts also came into place. God tells me to go back in the battlefield we called home. There is no use of escaping. What would it bring? I'm not afraid of the man. I can stand up to him, but afterwards I'll just be more broken than before, knowing that nothing has changed. I know that love would be the answer. I know. I just know it. But it was so hard. Incredibly hard to love knowing you'll put yourself in a vulnerable position before a man who might destroy your heart without minding it. Someone who will give you Jollibee the next day, and not a word of apology. Surprise, surprise, people are broken.

I have to go back, anyway.
Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Ral is sick with UTI. Oh no. I've been there before and I can relate to him a hundred percent. He's moody, always sighing, always wishing that he'll get better. It's New Year's Eve tomorrow and classes are around the corner. I dearly wish he'd get better, even if we'd have to spend the New Year at a hospital (he's not confined yet, but it's better if he would be)

Anyhoo. For the lack of post and the lack of NYR I could think of, let me just share that I'm wowed by these photos. Of myself. Yes. Haha. It's not vanity. I'm really just amazed at how I look with the gown + hair extensions combination. Bear with me. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas on the Streets

A miracle happened this Christmas. Thirty feet away was a middle aged man participating in a children's game. He holds in his hands a fragile chicken egg. On the other side of the intersection of the road was a teenaged girl without her glasses. Her "grade" is 325, meaning, anything five meters away is like a picture submerged in water. He throws the egg up in the air. Twelve other people had theirs smashed in their hands. With this in mind, the girl lunges! Prepares her hands, focused as much as she could to get a picture of the egg. Everyone gaped and dropped their jaws, not knowing what to expect: a cracked egg or... And she catches! After two games, they won! HAHAHA.

Our family is not rich, but it has been my Dad's tradition to hold street Christmas parties. The reason why we celebrate Christmas at home for the past eighteen years (in short, all my life!) is that not many children receive Christmas "aguinaldo", or money presents. Dad, in his over-told story of poverty, wanted to give something to these kids. So starting January, he has been accumulating coins and cash to have something to give. December 25 is the deadline. The neighbors participated, providing us with sound system and aid. Children and, I tell you, old people alike, participated. It's not the best Christmas party. The adults had the tendency to ask for more prize. Haha *sigh*, but the kids are happy. :)

I was just a spectator in these parties, helping Dad if he needs to fetch something, so that all the prizes would go to other people, but they insisted for me to join in the dangerous game and amusingly, I enjoyed myself. This is the picture of Christmas every year. And family, of course. My grandparents, my aunt's family and my inaanak visited on Christmas day, and I'm in Laguna right now, we've attended a family reunion two days ago. Building stronger relationships with my relatives, which is something new. On the contrary, I have not received ANY aguinaldo from my godparents!! Is this what happens when you turn eighteen? HAHAHA.

But my parents performed! Haha. Dad gave me slippers, a watch and some cash. Mom, a backpack and charm bracelet. Hindi ako nagpatalo. Haha. I gave my Dad a book, Mom a steel water jug and my two brothers a chess board. With cards. One of my New Year's Resolution is to buy more gifts. I'm a bit of a "manager" and not a "spender" when it comes to personal finances. Haha. But still, gifts are delightful. More of the resolutions next time.

Santa. I mean, Dad. This was last year. I realized he wore the same shirt. Haha.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Teammates for Four Years

Wesley's gift. I love how Aya is here :)

Hi everyone! After a long break from the Internet, I finally secured a place at the local computer shop here. Haha. I'll describe Christmas probably next year. But now, I was a bit overjoyed seeing pictures of our photoshoot for Flaired. At least, the behind the scenes. Haha. The promotional ones are being edited. December 23 was spent with my high school friends. We call ourselves 35plus now. 35 was our third year high school section, and there is a PLUS because there are three who are not from 3-35 but nevertheless became our close friends (some, just in college. Amazing. :)

Flaired received tremendous support from friends. Gelo took the photos, Wesley the outtake videos, Neil and Q coordinating the poses, etc. Kri make-up and CJ styling. Kri and I brought our own clothes and posed away. We were supposed to do 12 looks, but it was too much for the time. We still had a Christmas party that night! I am so grateful for their help. It was lots of fun, from setting the blankets, testing the colors, missing breakfast and lunch and eventually snapping away.

Flaired has stocks now! And it now comes in three colors: natural black, chocolate brown and bunny blonde, ALSO in a new white box.

The team

Afterwards, we shopped for kris kringle and headed to Neil's place for an overnight party. It was grand. We were almost complete, except of course for Aya. I missed her dearly. The past years of our annual Christmas party were held in their house. But we had fun, especially for that honesty game, and the fact that at night I was surprised and awoke to CJ telling things about Jesus. Haha. I was thankful. I really love them all. Every year we just get to know each other deeper.

Everyone, after the gifts were given
I know, this post is rushed. Haha. Will update more later. Happy New Year! And don't forget to visit Flaired!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just for "Someone Else"

Lately I've been wondering if it is possible to be happy for someone if the situation is... something like winning second place in a contest, wondering if you really "won". Like losing a game and then shaking hands with the other team. Or like watching the one you love get married to someone else. Could you truly be happy for someone knowing it could be you? I think it is possible to be happy for someone. But knowing the slightest possibility of you getting just as lucky, and that you want or need it just as bad---it can be devastating or even depressing. A huge amount of envy and regret could not be avoided in being torn between congratulating and sulking. I don't think anyone has the right to tell you to be happy for other people. It's something you're going to figure out for yourself and admitting that you're not is okay. In the end, focusing too much on what is lost could really be distracting, though. Maybe another game is going on where you will win.

One of the best things I learned this year is from a Hawaiian proverb: "Bless that which you want". It means that you bless someone who, like, won because that is also what you want. You bless someone who got promoted because that is also what you want. You bless someone in abundance because that is also what you want. In the end, when God gifts you with abundant things, you'll know that people will not hate or envy you for it. They will bless you, as well. And all of you would get moving to recognize other blessings to come each other's way. It's a really nice thought. A Christmas-y thought. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spruce up

I'm home alone for two days. Without provision for food. Do my parents think I am that old already? Haha. No food. :( But I have to stay here in Rizal until the 23rd!

The stocks are going to be picked up tomorrow and the little boxes we're going to use to package them are downstairs in piles of six. Another thing that's piled up are my clothes. In Mom's bed and in Mom's chair in Mom's room. That's why I'm glad nobody's home. Haha. She'd be horrified. But this is my natural order. This noon I wiped my room clean. It was amazing. Nothing on top of anything, everything in its right place, no wrinkle on the curtains or on the sheets, no disorderly books or papers. And then I come home and ruin things again because *tada* we have a photoshoot on Thursday, my friends and I. *Cheers!* We'll be doing looks and I have to scout for possible "props".

Made me realize that I've been playing dress up for as long as I can remember, which is usual for little girls. I would lock myself in a room, take out bathrobes and blankets and come out a geisha. I'd wrap my feet in a towel, place myself on a big basin and pretend to be a mermaid. I'd smile really wide during weddings in which I'm the flower girl, and play the role of scattering petals well. All this while denying that I'm not a girly girl. Haha. There's something comforting in knowing that you could "ruin" things up and emerge more creative than before.

Holly frame. And girl meets red lipstick. Really? This is almost embarrassing. :))

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Heart at Rest, Finally

Deadlines could really make me cry. Last week, despite an academic storm, writing five times more words than blockmates because of the combination of my classes, I did not shed a tear except when I was laughing. :)

Every night I'd come home extremely late because of traffic, celebrations, dinners, practices and service. The dinner at the Baron's were grand! Enjoyed. Haha. It was my first homemade turkey, pumpkin pie and apple cider. The home was filled with an air of the holidays and people gathered that it radiated with such Christmas kind of warmth.. :) The Thursday service the next day was disastrous, though. The program was jumbled, people were late, etc. that it prompted the leaders-in-training to sit down and talk, once and for all. There were so many concerns unspoken, and everybody had the chance to speak. Finally, we came down to our ultimate need which is to talk. Sure, we are good friends. But we don't see each other as leadership teammates yet.

Friday noon was spent at Zyra's place playing Bingo and stuffing ourselves with pasta and barbecue. Lunchtime was on the new Physics building, for Kuya Marvs' advance birthday celebration. Cake and pizza *tongue in cheek*. The Lantern Parade followed in the afternoon. :D The CFA's theme was a sort of under-the-sea, with jellyfishes, baby turtles and water-type Pokemons that as they passed, it seemed like an animated aquarium. Unfortunately, I have no camera to capture it all. And there were a lot of cameras during the event anyway. So much that they almost blocked the parade. Fortunately, though, it did not rain on the parade

Eleven ladies spent the night at Ate Flo and Kuya Melvs' abode, dancing through the night. Haha. Morning after, the leaders-in-training finally spent a time together. It almost felt forced because we don't really purposefully bond with each other. We didn't know what would happen. But we are united with the same goal. The betterment of relationships. By the way, Narnia 3 was really good. At least, now that I know the symbolism behind the characters and the lines. Makes me want to read more of CS Lewis' tales this Christmas break. =D

Finally, a break! I'm going to spend this vacation meaningfully, hopefully to get together with high school friends, to celebrate the holidays with the family (OVER FOOD AND GIFTS! I LOVE THIS SEASON), Dad's annual neighborhood kid's party, New Year at Lola's, et cetera. I'll also be adopting a Korean kid for 10 days! Haha. We'll keep him company and I'm glad my parents agreed to have a visitor. I can't wait. Most of all, the academics won't stop. Just pause. Haha. I got a report right after the break, with paper, and an exam. Praying for fruitful weeks. More pictures later, coz we like keeping memories. :)

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." -II Tim 4:7

Thank you God for being faithful to me!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas ECPAT!

I think I'm going to like my CWTS 2.

The one I enlisted is from the Population Institute. I wasn't really thinking of getting anything desirable, such as the College of Engineering's Military Science. I figured that not many people lined up at the Pop-I, as we call it, because the department is small and a little hidden. Surprisingly, lots of students are enrolled in this class. Students who were classmates the previous semester. I was new.
So our group will spend the semester with ECPAT (End Child Pornography, Child Prostitution and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), which is an international organization. Last Monday, despite the papers and problem sets, we celebrated our a Christmas party with them at their place. The preparation was hastily done. The meeting before that, we just separated to committees, then the next Monday, it's party time. Nevertheless we had decorations, food, gifts for the children and games. :D

Unfortunately! My Christmas break won't come until next week. Would you believe that aside from the 6000 words last weekend, another 3000 added! But that's better than staying with a dead-end topic. Truly hoping and praying that everything would fit right into schedule!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Home Early on a Friday

This was a beginning of a series of extremely wacky pictures when Mom came home with a huge heart-shaped pillow

The house was dark when I arrived tonight. Mom is gone to her Christmas party with friends, and for some reason I'm thankful to be home alone even for a few minutes and for the fact that my mother's Friday nights are spent having a good time. It gave me time to relax. With the rate that that things are going, there is a huge time to be spent filling in 6,000 words and a problem set.

The day at school was colder and more fun than usual, signifying that almost everyone is getting ready for vacation: Miss Engineering parade, frisbee, Carisse's birthday celebration, etc. Ate Faith and CJ fetched me from school and for the nth time I had a "surprise" dinner with their family. It was fairly embarrassing since I don't initiate the conversation with the adults. But more than the free dinner and ride home, I like their family. Family dinners are a mere monthly experience for us. And to see their parents so involved with their lives, at school, in church, with their endeavors, and the husband and wife staying to watch a movie on their own amazes me.

Right now, I'm terrified at the huge load on my doorstep. The message last Thursday hit the spot. "Be anxious of nothing, but in prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God". Well I'm definitely requesting that I finish everything, and excel in doing so! In the meantime, no more Fushigi Yuugi marathon. ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

If I would have a tattoo, it would say Beloved

This week has been hell and I didn't even know it to prepare for it. You would usually find me running to and fro the duties and demands and expectations, and I feel completely missing the mark. This is rare. I usually like busyness. It was about academics and music.

What really got me through were women. Last Wednesday, Lyka came over to UP to help me with my Economics problem set. What an effort of crossing from Ateneo to be of help someone. I do not usually like asking for favors, but the assurance that I have with our relationship made me feel like it's okay. She even initiated that we try to finish the whole set, though I only asked for her help on a few parts. In the end, we finished it together.

Then on Thursday after service, we had to practice for the praise and worship service of the Christmas party. But it seems that we can't practice together again. Agitation crept in. I have no gift yet, I have a graded recitation the next day, I haven't read the readings, I've been going home late for two days in a row, and most of all, I'll spend a whole lot of time waiting. I can't do it. I walked away right then and there, admittedly, bitterly, to do other things I had to do. So I was in front of Drew's when Trizia and Claudette caught up with me and put an arm on my shoulder and stopped me. It was fairly dramatic, I know. I didn't want it, but it's there. And for that, I was thankful.. Like someone leaving for another country, we cried and apologized. Normally someone would just let me walk out and come back when my head is cooler. But they just had to do the chase. Sigh. Breath-taking.

The day of the Christmas party set in. I'll be jumping to my biggest issue. I felt like a failure when I lead the music team. HAHAHA. I know it's probably not a big deal to anyone, or maybe it is. But it is, for me. I just don't know where everything was going. I can't reach the tune. I was so nervous. You get the picture. Haha. Well, after that, we were laughing. I was laughing and shaking, hoping to melt into a pool of goo. Then Les came over me and gave me a hug. Then, Mina. They were both freshmen and it was their first Christmas party and for all I know, they were shy, but somehow they became an "ate" to me when I felt small. Talk about reversal of roles. :)

So last night when I haven't processed it all, I felt the devastation. But when I woke up, I realize how thankful I am of these women, most of all, the new women in our church. Long before I have concluded that every relationship is two-way. As much as Mina, Julie, Carla, Jian and Ja were getting used to me leading their Bible studies (except Jian, they were all transitioned to me from Ate Sarj), I was also getting used to them. But it all came naturally. I love women. I love talking to them. I love spending time getting to know them despite being naturally afraid of initiating conversation. To be loved back is satisfying.

This is the gift I received BTW. I love it. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I actually had a Childhood

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I have a ton of stories about being a kid. These are things that you don't often get asked about, even though they're really interesting. A Facebook "trend" gave me free tickets to Memory Lane, so let me introduce you to Miaka, from Fushigi Yuugi, my childhood heroine. Haha. It's not the best kid-friendly anime. Anyone who's familiar with anime knows that they have plenty of adult contents in them. But I really loved Fushigi Yuugi, though the 2000 impeachment trial prevented GMA from airing the whole series.

I swear Miaka is responsible for me picking up a pencil and starting to draw. And to purposefully memorize song lyrics, which is I'm quite good at now. After school, way back third grade, I asked the driver of our school bus to stop by a store near a gasoline station, and with my own money (I only get P10 a day to buy nachos because I got recess cookies--I actually learned how to save) bought a poster of Miaka. I was so addicted to this that I'd go to school on a Miaka hairstyle, and the bullies would say it's pathetic [bullying is another story. I'd tell one sometime! :D], and I would pray with hands like Miaka and they'd still laugh at me, but my pretty friends divided the characters and I got to be Miaka, one was Nurico, the other was insisting that she's Miaka but I was more persuasive. HAHAHA. I laugh at those moments now. How cute am I? :))