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After You. Not A Book Review.

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I just finished reading Jojo Moyes’ novel After You the sequel of the best selling book turned movie Me Before You.

I got the book as a gift from my brother 2 years ago and I decided to finally give it a go early this year. This isn’t really a review but I’d like to share how I appreciate the book because I was able to relate to it. The book revolved around how Louisa Clark is dealing with the loss of Will Traynor. It showed her journey of finding new love, learning her purpose, basically moving forward with her life. I wasn’t really jumping up and down with the book. I found some of the characters annoying like Lou & Lily but the book spoke to me in a way because it talked about grief, dealing with it, and moving on.

Here’s one excerpt I loved:

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People would think you’re okay after a certain period of time. I guess that is true to some extent. But you can’t really put a deadline on grieving. When my father died, I thought I could get over it quickly given that he was sick for a long time. But after half a year, there are still days I feel like crying.

The book reminded me that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s alright to feel sad about it. You’ll be able to truly accept and live with it.  We just have to keep moving forward. Continue to live and realize that we should be glad to have been a part of each other’s lives may it be a short or long time. Stay positive because it gets better.

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Train Monologues

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Int. MRT. Day.

Before I turn 30 this year, I decided to make a change. I want to declutter my life. Rid myself of negative things and people. Limit my stress to work. Live a zen life. I owe it to myself. I’m done fixing people, controlling situations. (I know, I’ve said this before so please stop rolling your eyes.)

Love thyself. Cliche. Overused. But have you really done it? Love your self? Put your self first?

Do you still hope and pray for someone to come along and fix you? Fill the emptiness you feel once in a while? I still sometimes do. And like me, you should stop too.

Why is it so bad to be happy with your self? Why do people think it’s pathetic? Single shaming, I call it. I just realized that it’s not something to be sad about. I’m not saying that I don’t need romantic love in my life. I’m just saying that it is not the end all and be all. SO PLEASE CALM YOUR TITTIES. I’m not saying I don’t need my friends. I’m just saying that I need friends who are real. Friends who’ll understand. Friends who’ll reciprocate the friendship. Because I don’t expect unconditional love from people other than my mother. And that’s the reality. Stop romanticizing relationships. Whether romantic or platonic, we all need to be reciprocated. Only hypocrites would say that it’s ok cause when you love you just give. If that’s the case, one day you’ll wake up and realize that you have nothing else to give and you are left with nothing.

Piece your self back together. Love your family. Choose your friends. Quality over quantity. Do what makes you happy. Who cares what they think. Live for your self.

In The Mourning

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I’m not really a morning person. These days, I find it more difficult than usual. It has been nine days since my father passed and everyday when I wake up I am reminded of my loss. A gaping hole in my chest that I only knew of from reading novels and watching movies is now very real to me. I knew losing someone was hard, I didn’t know it would be this hard. As i’ve told many of my friends who sympathized during the wake, losing a parent was like losing a limb. I can feel I am incomplete. I am fatherless.

At 62, he has lost his battle with Parkinsonism. Sparing you from all the hospital horrors we’ve been through for the past 4 months, i’d like to share how he was in real life.

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He was a pain in the ass – short tempered, impatient, strict, thinks he’s right most of the time, and a stickler for rules. I wouldn’t blame him really, he did have a difficult childhood. Growing up, he got beaten up, spent his early teenage years away from his family, and in order to go to school he had to work at a sugarcane farm. He would tell me and my brother this story when we whine about “our difficult life”. Eventually, he entered the military, got married, had two kids.

He was a hands-on dad. He’d be the one to send me to school on his bike and during my bad clingy pre-school days he would bring a stick and threaten me with a spanking if I don’t get inside the classroom. Yes, I was that kid. I outgrew that thankfully and became this school-loving achiever. I would beam with pride when my father would attend school functions in his blue Philippine Air Force uniform.

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When the angsty teenage years happened, I wanted to trade in my curfew-loving father for a way cooler dad who would let me attend parties and go out till late on school nights. But he was not like that. He knew the importance of teaching responsibility and the value of hard work. There was no sleeping in on weekends and chores were a must. I thought I could cry my way out of it but the water works do not apply. At all.

My father thought that we should learn things the way he did. The hard way. When i was younger, I hated him for it but now looking back sometimes the best lessons we learn are the lessons we learn the hard way.

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In the last 10 years, he was a retiree who enjoyed drinking his morning coffee or tea, answered crossword puzzles, did some gardening, baby sat the dogs, and even drove me around if I needed it. The scary soldier we all knew became this cool lolo who was more chill and easy to talk to. He constantly took care of my meals (like he always does coz my mom’s cooking is very limited to spaghetti & eggs) and other handy man things around the house.

We were never really the affectionate type but he had his ways of showing his love. Whatever he lacked in words he made up for in action. When he was around, there were no busted lightbulbs, leaking sinks, clogged toilets, untrimmed plants, hot meals were at the table, and everything he could do for us… he did. That was the kind of man and father he was.

He was a pain in the ass, MY ass. He was not a perfect person or a perfect father but he was mine. He was my father. I am who I am because of him and my mom. Now that he’s gone, I’m sad, heartbroken even, that he will not be around to see me walk down the isle or meet his grand kids. But I am happy that he is in a much better place now.

I don’t know how to move on from this really. Or if I ever will. But one thing is for sure, I am happy that he was my dad. I hope he is proud of me as I am of him. He has served the country, he was a family man, and he lived a full life. I’d like to think that I was able to show him and make him feel my love especially during the latter days of his life.

He will forever be in my heart and his memory will live on. But for now, as I try to continue my life without him, I will feel the loss of my father in the mourning.

I Got My Eyes On You

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Earlier this year, I started reading Shonda Rhimes’ book “Year of Yes”. I haven’t finished it yet because, you know, my job always gets in the way of me doing the things I actually like which includes sitting around, watching TV, and reading a book. But anyway, its got quotes from Grey’s Anatomy and here’s one that really got me:

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If you have been following this blog, you might have noticed that I have a history of being a push over and a metaphorical punching bag for people. But. I have since tried my hardest to not be that person anymore. Thus, making myself scarce to people who, I think, have used me as a door mat, back up plan, fixer upper, pick me upper, or whatever it is that they needed to make themselves feel better.

Although I have improved in the “loving thy self first” department, I sometimes feel like old habits die hard and I subconsciously fall back into situations with people who tend to abuse and use my kindness.

They think they can just get away with doing crappy things to me. And I admit guilt. Maybe I let them do it to me. Before. Okay, maybe still. Sometimes. Subconsciously. Or maybe I’m just too friendly. Too trusting. Too… whatever.

But the thing is, unlike before that I’m clueless, now I actually know it. I got my eyes on you. Now I actually know what they’re doing but I choose to let it go. Not because I’m a push over. But because I know that “fighting” it is a losing battle. I will not stoop down to that level because I’m better. Not giving a flying f*ck is probably the best way to handle difficult people.

What these mean individuals do or say to me says a lot about them and not me. I almost felt bad for myself there but then I realized that they give me crap about myself but it doesn’t mean that I’m a crappy person. It means that THEY ARE. And that my friends, is just sad.

I feel like I’m too old for this kind of shitty things but I guess shitty people don’t get old. They exist still. Everywhere. But it’s okay, the universe has its way. A balance. It’s called Karma.

 

 

 

 

#SG2016: Stop SingLishing Me, I Panic Lah.

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So I just got back from my trip to Singapore and i’m having a little bit of separation anxiety (read: hangover) from my short-lived but nevertheless fun vacation.

My childhood friends and I have always wanted to travel together but since they all have gone to different countries for work there are only three of us left here in the Philippines, one is in California, one is in Dubai, while the other two are in Singapore. Due to life happening to all of us, Dale and Faith can’t just go and fly halfway across the world, Lorainne can’t just leave work and the kids and come with us so Pam and I decided to push through and visit Ejay and Byron in Singapore!

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Changi Airport

It was Pam’s first out of the country trip so she was a little bit praning in immigration while i’m a little bit praning about the Zika virus outbreak in Singapore so I brought a bottle of insect repellent and a box of mosquito patch good for four people.

 

Anyway, to say that their airport was beautiful would be an understatement, I mean, they have an MRT station inside the airport! Giving you easy access to anywhere in the city. How freaking cool is that?

We stayed at the J8 Hotel in the corner of Townshend Road and Maude Road, Lavender, Jalan Besar.

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J8 Hotel

For our first night, our friends took us to Chinatown for dinner. There were a lot of people, tourists mostly, enjoying different kinds of food available in that stretch of food stalls. Varied choices from stir-fried stuff, authentic Singaporean laksa, Satay, Indian Prata, and Ramen among other tasty stuff (i’m not really good with the food description, i figured! haha)

Day 2 – we had the whole day to ourselves. So while our friends went to work, we roamed around the city and the best thing we did was to buy that expensive local sim card! (Thanks to our sponsor/ ninong Ejay) Hahaha! It was 15SGD (Php 525) with 100gb (Whoa?!) of data and enough credits for call and text valid for the rest of our stay so it was worth it because you know what, we did get lost! It took us 30 minutes to find that freaking taxi stand and in one of our taxi rides the driver even dropped us off at the wrong place so thank goodness for their organized trains we we’re able to go to the River Safari, The Orchard Road, and the Ion Orchard Tower (which was closed unfortunately).

That night, after a hearty meal at Astons we went to the Gardens by the Bay to see the lights and sounds show which was A-MAH-ZING to say the least. We then went to the Marina Bay Sands for more must-have travel photos and that building just blows my mind. The architecture was genius. I can’t wrap my head around how they made that beautiful building. So after, we went to the bay front to go see that famous Merlion. The Grand Prix was in full swing so some of the roads were closed we had the walk all the way around and I tell you, it was faaaaaaar! I have never walked that much in my life! But, it was the best way to see and experience the city. Walk the streets with the locals and the other tourists. It was a new and exciting place with everything waiting to be seen and explored. It was so much painful for my feet but it was so good for my heart and soul. 🙂

The third day was meant for buying pasalubong so we went to Bugis Center. It was one of my favorite places. The boutiques in Orchard Road was too expensive for me so Bugis was right up our alley. We also went to Madame Tussaud’s and The Universal Studios later that day and it was like when we were kids and we would go on field trips together. It was also like all of us going to Star City but only with better rides, longer queues (with remarkable smell), and a whole lot of people we don’t understand.

 

With all the fun things we got to do, new places i got see, the precious time spent with people who are very dear to me, i’m finding it hard to go back to that “work mode” just yet. I am truly thankful for having life long friends who were so accommodating. I can’t thank you guys enough for making time for us and making us libre. You guys are the best!!!

This Singapore adventure made me realize how friendships really stand the test of time and even distance. I am amazed how we still don’t know some things about each other (Pam wants to sleep with a little bit of light on, who knew Ejay & Byron could be so patient and accommodating with us lost girls haha!) despite the fact that we’ve known each other almost all our lives. Coming from the same place and being together in a completely new and different one together and sharing this adventure was truly awesome. I wish we could all do it again together with the whole barkada.

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The trip was a good reminder of how there’s more to life, you know. There’s so much of the world we have to see and explore. I’m so excited to go out of the country and meet new people and experience different cultures. It was such a great trip and I’m stoked to travel more in the coming years!

 

 

Ces Reads: Sharp Objects

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Voila! My blog is alive!

For today’s post, there will be no quarter life crisis topics, real life workplace angst, or growing pains just a simple book review from a nerd like myself. Let’s begin!

Last year, I bought a copy of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I have read her previous books (Gone Girl & Dark Places) and being a fan of crime and mystery stories I loved her disturbingly awesome plot twists.

Anyway, I just finished reading Sharp Objects and I just had to tell someone (or blog) about how great the book is. I give it 5 stars for its well written characters, its amazing plot, and how it kept me guessing until the very last page.

The book is about Camille Preaker. A damaged girl with deep, scarring issues who happens to be a reporter from Chicago’s 4th best newspaper. Desparate for readership, Curry – her editor-in-chief – asked her to cover a murder story of two little girls found dead, strangled, with all their teeth out in a small town in Missouri called Wind Gap where she happens to be from. Confronted by demons from her past and family issues, she goes back home to the memory of her dead sister, her cold mother Adora, a manipulative bratty half sister Amma, and a weird step father Alan. As she investigates, she meets this handsome detective – Richard Willis. They work together in tracing the town’s history of violence to find leads in the murder cases. But then, she uncovers dark truths that involve people close to her.

I don’t want to give away to much so I’m stopping right here.

It’s an interesting read that keeps you guessing. The book makes you think like you know who the killer is but really… you have no idea. It also tackles a topic that is common to teenagers these days – cutting. A nasty habit that needs to be stopped. It also deals with peer pressure and shows you a picture of how mean kids can be. It’s disturbing (I can’t find another word!) because you know that these kinds of things can really happen in real life. I have seen too many CSI episodes to have a good mental image while reading the book. Ultimately, it was a great read that it made me write this review (of sorts).

It’s interesting. Exciting. Basically, awesome. Go and read it.

CHOOSY

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DECISIONS.

We are faced with dozens of decisions from the mundane to the life changing ones every single day.

Where do we eat? Should I go out tonight? What clothes should I wear today? Should I stay? Should I go?

Often times, we find ourselves in situations where we feel like we have no choice making us dread the fact that we have to decide on something.

But then, we are never out of a choice. We always have a choice. It’s the result of that decision that we are truly afraid of. It’s the consequence that we’re scared of.

Seeing that making a decision is not something that we can avoid, I guess, in the end, you’ll have to decide and stand by that decision.

Because at the end of the day, not knowing and living with endless questions of “what-ifs” and “what-could-have-beens” is worse than the fear of making a choice. May it be good or bad, right or wrong. Either way, it’s the risk you have to take.

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