I woke up from a nightmare almost an hour ago and I don't want to go back to sleep even though I'm so tired. I only slept for a few hours the night before and I was looking forward to making up for that last night. Looks like it'll be another 4-hour-nighter for me...
It's dumb, I know. But the sun hasn't risen yet (it's only 5:30 AM here... even though we're a bit closer to the Equator, it's mid-winter... Damnit, where are you sun..?), so I'm still fearful and I actually don't feel silly at all.
All I can say is: I've seen too many zombie movies in the past year.
Too many meaning like, three. Or four.
This is why I don't watch scary movies at all-- let alone a specific genre of scary movies over and over again-- because when the lights go off, the antagonist of horror movie X instantly hides under my bed. Typical. Admittedly, antagonist Y has never managed to snatch my ankle. Or my arm. It has never managed to drag me to hell, eat me, or ask me to play medium and contact a still-living human with whom he/she wishes to settle some unfinished business. But still. It's... *shudders*... there.
Anyway, this time it's a zombie. I phoned Lendl. It's 7 AM PST after all, who over there isn't awake right now, right? Anyway. He picked up, thank God. I heard the line connect, a bit of rustling which told me that he was still in bed and he was fumbling around for his phone (which he probably fell asleep with after we hung up last night), a pause, and then "Good morning, baby!" in his usual I'm-a-morning-person-and-what-a-good-day-it-is voice. No, seriously. I don't know how he does it. It usually takes me about two cups of coffee just to get to the point where I can make eye contact with anyone and say "'sup".)
Anyway. He picked up the phone, that's the important part. All plans of faking through a casual conversation ("Hey! What's up? Had breakfast yet? What's on the agenda for today? OK well... have a good day, talk to you in a couple of hours!" ...yes, we are that kind of couple. And maybe we also tell each other what we ate for each meal. Hey. I'm not ashamed.) went out the window.
Which reminds me, my bed here is right up against a wall which has a window. As in, a zombie could easily break into the window and get me. Well, I guess I live on the second floor, so I don't know how a zombie would do that. I should keep that in mind next time.
So, back to the conversation. I managed to squeak out "I had a nightmare......." and trailed off with out saying much more. See, the thing is, this happens to me a lot, and Len always has the job of making me feel better. Always. He's never failed, although I think that's more out of his persistence than anything. My need for comfort can get pretty long-winded sometimes.
Silence at the other end of the line. Obviously he fell asleep. Obviously. I tried telling myself that he was really sleepy, that the silence was only a testament to this and that he was, in fact, sleeping. Despite such sensible arguments to myself, I kept thinking about how easily a zombie could break into his room with his flimsy, accordion-(albeit, fancy)style doors. And how Len was probably so sleepy that if a zombie were to come and get him, he'd probably get bitten and/or eaten without making a sound. I'd come back to the mainland and not even know that Len had become a zombie. Until it was too late, that is.
And then I heard it. Oh, God. One really loud snore right into the receiver of the phone.
Len has hit some pretty impressive decibels with his snoring. It doesn't uuuuuusually bother me too badly. I guess. I stayed on the line and tried to ground myself by the familiarity of his snoring. This is reality, I thought. Sleeping. Len's snoring. Reality. Zombies don't exist in Reality.
At this point, the snoring was starting to remind me of a sound a zombie might make. A really scary zombie. One just waiting to strike. So I hung up the phone (sorry, Len) and this time attempted to fall back asleep solo voce. I tried convincing myself that, scientifically, zombies aren't possible. They aren't. They aren't they aren't they aren't. Right?
Anyway, the zombie continued living (being dead?) under my bed, so I hopped out of bed with a distance further than a zombie's arm length and followed the light downstairs, where I figured my dad would be getting ready for work. The bright light in the living room didn't even bother me, despite the fact that my eyes had to adjust from-- I don't know -- the dead of night. Complete darkness. The type of darkness that zombies probably love.
Zombies can walk in the light, though, too, you know. At least, the ones in my nightmare can. So can the ones in Dawn of the Dead. I can't remember about the ones in 28 Days/Weeks/Months. I suppose the ones in I am Legend can only exist in darkness. OK, I'll try to remember that next time. Also, I'll have to go to sleep with the light on.
So the thing about Hawai'i is it's hot here. Damn. I wake up every morning absolutely parched. This morning, I felt particularly thirsty after all the screaming and running I had been doing. You know. In my dream. So I picked up a used glass that was already on the counter (I have a terrible habit of drinking a glass of water and then leaving the glass right next to the sink, not in it. I think it's because I always intend on drinking another glass of water before too long. In this case, "before too long" was 6 hours later), filled it with ice cubes and water from our nifty, new refrigerator that came with the house (we've never had a fridge that can do that before), and chugged. Refreshing. Then I put the empty glass next to the sink and loudly walked over to the living room, letting my slippers flop against the tile floor (we've never had a tile floor before either) because I figured that my dad didn't know that I was up and about and I didn't want to scare him and have him thinking that I was a zombie. Then I started thinking about the gun that he has registered to his name and wondered where he keeps that thing. You know, just in case I ever need to blast a zombie's head off (probably not possible with a handgun) or just in case he were were react and think I were a zombie. Yipes.
I let my slippers slap the tile floor and plopped onto the couch. I scrolled through my phone book and idly wondered if any PST folks are awake right now. And then I mentally scrolled through the list of folks in other time zones and weighed the odds of their being awake. Finally, I had the brilliant idea of going onto Gchat and praying for a soul to save me.
At this point, you've definitely been reading for a long while. I'd like to take this short intermission to warn you that this story isn't actually going anywhere. Or rather, you know how this story ends -- I get on the computer and log onto my blog to write an epic about how dark, creepy, and lonely the past couple of hours have been.
Anyway, David was online. Fiiiiinally. This time I try out the casual-conversation thing.
...I wanted to leave him alone at that point. Really, I did. And then I broke down.
..at this point, I had a flashback from my dream. George Clooney played my father. Not the George Clooney from Ocean's Eleven (I wish), but the George Clooney from O Brother, Where Art Thou?. In my dream, my dad (George) went searching for a zombie which I claimed to break free from. This zombie had escaped the quarantine zombie zone and was now looking for fresh human flesh. George disappeared, but I could hear him from where I stood. Suddenly, he was bitten by little, tiny, adorable kitten-zombie. He started squeaking and giggling because he thought it was cute how the kitten-zombie left two pinprick-sized bites on his arm. It all would have been pretty funny, if it weren't for the fact that my dad had just gotten bit by a living dead creature. A long while passed, and then he became a zombie. Typical.
Anyway, I decided to leave that part of my dream out of my conversation with David.
Granted, I don't trust a lot of psycho-analytical stuff (sorry cog-sci majors. Sorry psych majors. I'm a pompous, egotistical, over-confident chemist at heart. That is, if I had a heart. Which I don't, because I'm a chemist. I dig the neuro-chemical type of explanations and models though. So, don't worry. Ya'll are cool.). I need slightly more compelling proof that zombies aren't possible. So I thought up this list right now:
Zombies Probably Aren't Real
- They live in the dark, but they're the living dead, and why would the living dead have night vision?
- Zombies don't need to eat because they are already dead, so why do they eat people?
- They probably wouldn't be able to catch a person by running because zombies can't bend their knees.
- The Frankenstein monster starter-zombies in my dream wouldn't be able to create zombies out of more people by biting people. Frankenstein monsters are human-made. By guys named Frankenstein. Haha.
- If zombies were wandering about, I probably wouldn't go to the Commissary (the Navy version of Safeway.... or Vons (holler back, SoCal)) with my roommate and one of my high school best friends, like I did in my dream. And the Commissary probably wouldn't be guarded by men in haz-mat suits (like the ones in Breakout) because zombies are freakishly strong or... somehow otherwise unaffected by haz-mat suits.
- I still don't understand the difference between zombies eating people and zombies biting people to turn them into zombies.
- Why isn't a single zombie a "zomby"? That would help me to think of a singular zombie as something really cute and playful.
Well, I can't think of anything more to add to the list, so there you have it. We've reached the end, where I bid thanks and farewell to David seeing as how he has something real to do today, unlike the rest of us who could stay awake or go back to sleep without it making much difference in the world, and I choose to stay awake and blog about this to shake off my nightmare nerves. My nightcreeper creeps. My ghost-in-the-room goosebumps. And well. It worked.
So, good night.
If you said "Man, I'm so tired from finals..." I probably said "Yeah, me too." -- just like that, quick to agree, no questions asked. The conversation probably even ended there.
I'm sorry, I feel like an anti-social prick for hating small-talk so much. I am by no means, however anti-social. If anything, I'm anti-loneliness. I'm just slow to think of an engaging conversation topic, self-conscious, unsure of your genuine interest in big-talk, and, well,
= = =
The topic of nerdiness/nerdom/nerdophilia is stuck in my head for some reason. You know, like the way that a song can get stuck in your head sometimes? Well, anyway. This is the first image that Google gave me when I google-imaged "nerd":
And this is what Wikipedia has to say about the word "nerd":
"...a nerd is often excluded from physical activity and considered a loner by peers, or will tend to associate with like-minded people.
The first documented appearance of the word "nerd" is as the name of a creature in Dr. Seuss's book If I Ran the Zoo (1950), in which the narrator Gerald McGrew claims that he would collect "a Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too" for his imaginary zoo. The slang meaning of the term dates back to 1951, when Newsweek magazine reported on its popular use as a synonym for "drip;" or "square" in Detroit, Michigan. By the early 1960s, usage of the term had spread throughout the United States and even as far as Scotland. At some point, the word took on connotations of bookishness and social ineptitude.An alternate spelling, as nurd, also began to appear in the mid-1960s or early '70s. Author Philip K. Dick claimed to have coined this spelling in 1973, but its first recorded use appeared in a 1965 student publication at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Oral tradition there holds that the word is derived from "knurd" ("drunk" spelled backwards), which was used to describe people who studied rather than partied...
...Stereotypical nerd qualities have evolved in recent years, from awkwardness and social ostracism to a more widespread acceptance and sometimes even celebration of their abilities."
= = =
No one said a word to me all morning. Seriously. It wasn't sad or remotely abnormal -- it wasn't even noticeable.
Then suddenly, five people in the past 40 seconds walked past me from all different directions; they flashed really big smiles and uttered some combination of "Hi! Hello! How are you today? That's wonderful! You have a nice day, now!" in boisterous, jubilant voices.
0_0 Cue "Twilight Zone" theme music.
Hello, nice people! I'm slightly creeped out but for the most part am appreciative of your friendliness and unsolicited concern for my well-being!
Do you feel "special"?
It probably won't change your life,
I'm a "have". I am.
So what am I complaining about?
OK, not complaining, more-so analyzing. Is this crazy, endless schedule of tasks, activities, and homework life? In times that I'm not happy, does it point to the fact that this isn't life, or that I'm living too much?
Stress, physiologically speaking, is supposed to be a good thing. Granted, as with anything else in life, too much of it is harmful. I've said nothing profound.
But when is it too much? It was too much freshman year, when I was sad, frustrated, and anxious seemingly all the time. Right now.. it's less frequent, but it's cyclic. Talk about maximizing resources, I seem to be working with the belief that it's never enough until I'm breaking down.
And in between those times of mild breakdowns, I'm working. Is there much to be said about finding joy in working? Because I do, sometimes. My dad always said that if I find a job that I enjoy, then I'll never have to work a day in my life. Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever we decide to call these activities that fill my time, it still leaves me exhausted and depleted of... I don't know. Everything.
Is there much to be said about finding ways to work during what would-have-been down times? That I choose not to eat lunch and dinner with friends many times because I find it too necessary to finish some work while I take my meals?
Me: "I want to quit."
Him: "Quit what?"
Me: "Everything. I want to run away tomorrow morning, withdraw from school and drop out of every organization, and go somewhere where no one will rely on me for anything. I'm done."
Him: "You're work is appreciated. People are counting on you because they know that they can. If you need help, that's what I'm here for. That's why we're here for each other."
So, with that... He wiped away my tears, I took a shower, brushed my teeth... and got back to work... slept for 3.5 hours and, again, got back to work.
It never ends. And, I guess, if this is me living life to its fullest, it never will.
On the other hand, I also feel like there's another meteor shower/solar/lunar/something comet to see every month.
Anyone else feel me on this?
This blog, however, would be as empty of emotion as possible.
My reasoning was that folks don't want to read about your happiness or sadness -- not that that's a bad thing. They do care about your well-being. They're happy for you when you're happy. They hope that you feel better when you're sad.
But they don't want to read about it. Ultimately, how you feel will not affect how they go about their day. They don't want to read your heart, they want to read your mind.
I figured: I want people to read my writing. So I wrote my mind. I abandoned poetry. I abandoned style. I remember that I showed him a piece of my writing from my past, and he said that it sounded so maarte. I was crushed. I stopped writing with the aesthetic that I was once so proud of.
And then, the emotional girl disappeared. The girl who used to sink and and then soar in a matter of seconds is... gone? Grown up? Stifled? ...Waiting?
I'm using only one operating system right now. My feet are heavy, but they're planted firmly in the ground.
This is an emo post.
This is an emo list.
Funny how it's called heartache, because it really does.
I feel like I'm walking in a fog. Or in some kind of messed up dream. Or maybe it was a dream, and this is the waking up part.
I was never much of a morning person.
Part of me wants everyone to know and to know that he did it. But mostly I just want there to be nothing to know.
At first, I thought it was really cool that I was contacted and offered a one-on-one meeting about TFA from an outreach person. It told me that they care an individual's needs and concerns.
I met with the lady and I was very put off by the way that the meeting went. I understand that she's very busy, but she didn't greet me very warmly when I arrived and she barely made eye contact with me because she was reading text messages and sorting through papers while I asked her questions. She didn't smile even once during our 15-minute meeting.
I felt like I might as well had search the answers to my questions online because her answers were so impersonal and memorized. She is an outreach liaison person for the organization because she actually has experience with TFA, and yet she offered absolutely no personal insight or opinion -- good or bad. I didn't get the vibe that she was even trying to sell the organization at all; rather, I felt like I had been handed a thick information brochure of answers. And not like one of those pretty, colorful packets with pictures and anecdotes and graphs, but more like a big, fat, black & white, soft bound reader.
Points off for impersonal welcoming, TFA.
Secondly, I'm looking at this preliminary application thing, and it kind of sucks. Why? Because as I fill out each little detail about my college experience (not much else is asked about), I find that on paper, I suck as a teacher.
But you know what? I don't. OK, that was high and mighty of me to say, but really. No drop-down menu form or GPA breakdown by year and coursework will express my experience, willingness, and excitement in teaching. It's as if they just don't care about these things.
So far, my impression from the application and meeting that lady is that TFA is all about looking for the cream of the crop. The leaders and visionaries. Then, they want to take them in and give them a crash course on teaching just before sending them off into the real world.
You should hire me because I understand the meaning of struggling in academics. You should hire me because I have experience in the classroom. You should hire me because I'm good at what I do, even though there's nowhere in your application where I can prove that. You should hire me because even if you come across the most successful group of applicants in the entire country, you will not find a single person [woman] [person of color] harder working and more passionate about social justice than me.
That being said... I hope that I haven't lost your interest and that you keep reading anyway!
Her real name is Elizabeth, but when she was 4, she told her
parents to start calling her Lilian because she felt that that really should be
Lilian hates when things match. She has three piercings in one ear
but only two in the other; earrings don't come in fives and Lilian's earring
never match. Neither do her socks, for that matter. Her rule against
matching extends far but falls short of her shoes; she tried wearing a
different shoe on each foot once, and found it to be a very uncomfortable
ordeal. Her clothes never match.
Lilian always wears black clothes - skirts, turtlenecks, flood pants...
the list goes on. But Lilian loves colors; her body is a blank canvas for the
bright splashes of color she applies every morning in the form of baubles and
Lilian is an artist, but she doesn't know it yet.
Two days ago, I learned that when I type in something like "History of Education Google Timeline", you give me a timeline. Like, a real timeline. You broke down your search results in chronological order, organizable by decade, for me.
Yesterday, you reminded me of an assignment due date which I typed into my Google calendar by sending me a reminder text message.
Today, you made me smile while I was reading my Google reader, and I came across your sort options:
Sort by newestI love you, don't ever change.
Sort by oldest
Sort by magic
Ang rosas ay pula
Ang four-leaf clover ay berde
Ikaw ay mas maganda
At ako ay mas suerte
Para sa iyo itong halamanan
Nais ko'y iyong malaman
Na mamahalin kita, kaibigan,
Roses are red
Four-leaf clovers are green
But you are more beautiful
And I am luckier
This garden is for you
To remind you
That I love you, friend,
And I always will
What seemed like his mistake 6 years ago now seems fitting. I didn't understand then and never thought I would, but... never say never. If six years from now, this all makes sense, then I'll be content.
Dear classmates in my Ed195C class,
I swear to you, I'm not in love with the sound of my own voice... but I do feel uncomfortable in long, drawn out silences. I'm tired of stepping up! I want to step back! Step UP, people!
I want my faux back.
I want to be famous one day.
I really enjoy singing with the choir at church.
I really, really miss my family.
By the way, I know that I'm emotional right now, but this made me laugh and cry at the same time:
1. http://maps.google.com/Do it!
2. >Get directions
3. >Berkeley, CA
4. >Honolulu, Hawaii
= = =
NTS: Learn how to kayak.
And you, as a living and breathing human, hold a great amount of power.
= = =
How to affect me as efficiently as possible:
One man berates strangers; for a long time, I ignored him. I promised to myself that he would not break me. After several weeks and several hours, he finally did.
Then, one girl took 15 seconds to tap me on the shoulder, ask me about my day, smile, and wish for me that my day would get better.
Sweet girl FTW.
I say this because I've been making careless mistakes here and there... and I hope that the folks who I have wronged or inconvenienced understand that I don't commit these errors in malice. I'm trying my very best and my very hardest.
I hope they know this.
OK, to be honest, I was locked out of my house without my Cal ID, so I was forced to roam the streets of Berkeley with no clear intention.
I begged the librarian at the public library to let me check out some cheap-o fiction novel (because of course, my library card is attached to my apartment key), bought a too-expensive but extremely delicious iced vanilla latte, and promptly fell into a deep sleep in the comfiest couch in the middle of a public cafe for a good 30 minutes.
On the one hand, I'm so lucky to have a family like mine at all -- 16 of us first cousins and 1,093,84,012,931,209,348 extended cousins, titas, titos, lolas, lolos, cats, dogs, chickens, & baboy.
Also on that hand, I'm so lucky to be blessed with so much in the States, to have such hardworking parents, and a loving non-biological family (aka best friends).
On the other hand, if I had to give up all of my Stateside blessings my blessings here in the Philippines, I wouldn't mind so much.
I've written similar posts to this time after time because I'm overtaken with the same feeling of awe every time that my family comes home here.
As soon as the plane lands from Japan, China, Hawaii, or wherever the stopover is that time, and we step into the terminal the heat hits us. My sisters and I always groan, even though we all know that we don't mind it that much. Our bodies are built for the heat, anyway. Only a couple of days before departure, we cannot contain our excitement for our return to the Philippines. My sisters and I daydream out loud with each other about turon, banana-Q, taho, Boracay, haunted hotels in Baguio. I pack without too much thought because clothes, makeup, and accessories don't matter when I'm in the Philippines. Basta, all I need is a pair of tsinelas, a toothbrush, and enough shorts and t-shirts to last a few days. We'll do laundry there.
For now, as we step off of the plane, none of these daydreams meet the forefronts of our minds because we know instead the obstacles the await us in our nearest future: a long line off of the plane from Economy seating, turning in our health forms, Customs, baggage claim, and finally the sea of people that crowd the front of the airport, all waiting for their own loved ones.
This time, it is night when we arrive. It's raining. This is my first time in the Philippines during the rainy season. My Tita Ollie was supposed to "fetch" us from the airport, but instead it is my Tita Cynthia (pronounced 'Seen-cha') who picks us up because there is a flood. Also, my Ninong Itoy and cousin, Monic (known as everyone's sidecar for his tendency to follow everyone everywhere) come to pick us up in a private jeepney in order to carry our luggage.
There is traffic, of course. On the radio, there is an announcement that former Philippine president Cory Aquino has just died. My sisters and I catch up with my dad, who has met us here from Germany, and whom we haven't seen in several months. We pull over on the way to Lola's house to buy hot pan de sal.
When we finally arrive at Lola's house, my parents go straight to her room. I can see her from my seat in the living room, despite the fact that I'm not allowed to go near her. I barely recognize her. She's so thin. What little hair she has is uncombed and standing straight up. Her head looks too large for her body. My dad helps her sit up, and I wonder at how she can move at all -- it's impossible that a body so frail and skeleton-like can have any muscles at all. I search for the bukol on her head that my parents described to me last week when she was found unconscious on the floor, but to no avail.
We kids are not permitted to visit Lola because her medication contains radiation that is unsafe to anyone under 40. At 21, I’m still considered a kid in my family. Instead, my sisters and I wait in the living room where we've sat since before each of us can recall. This is the same living room where we played with our cousins who lived down the street, the same living room where I watched educational childrens' shows in Tagalog, the same living room where Nikki's 3rd birthday party was held, and the same living room where the viewing was held for my Lolo when he died from complications of the heart.
My cousins are awake, despite how late in the evening it is. We greet each other awkwardly in each others' languages, but mostly hug and kiss and smile and tickle each other. This was fitting when we were all younger, but I wonder to myself if this is how we will always greet each other in order to avoid embarrassing accents and grammatical errors even in our old age.
The cousins are getting older. My sisters and I are now all the same height. Ten-ten no longer giggles as much as she used to, but she is still always smiling. Monic doesn't climb onto my lap the moment that I sit down, cling to my arm when we walk, or fall asleep on my shoulder in the middle of the day anymore, but he still follows me from room to room and is my escort all about the neighborhood. Joma is a man now, even if he is only 16. He's an old 16. Despite our separation by thousands of miles and his closer age to Tin-tin, we are kindred souls.
After a couple of servings of pancit canton, it's time to say good night and make our way to the hotel. We used to spend nights at Lola's house during our visits to Sta. Mesa, but the five of us no longer fit on one bed the way we used to.
In the car, I look out the window at the familiar sight. The neighborhood hasn't changed much, if at all, since my first memories of V. Mapa street. There are still skinny middle-aged men with potbellies standing in the middle of the street, either shirtless or with their white t-shirts drawn to reveal their protruding stomachs. They stand around each other and stare at our car as we drive by -- I wonder what they do for hours of the day, just standing with each other. There are still kids outside playing in the dirty rain puddles. There are still flea-bitten cats and dogs sniffing at the ground, perhaps in search of food, judging by the looks of their skin so tightly stretched across their rib cages. Everyone greets my dad, as usual. This is the neighborhood where he grew up, surrounded by not only friends and neighbors, but cousins, titas, and titos. My eyes are two years older than the last time I was here. My older eyes takes more notice of the shabbiness of the homes; what I once took for houses side by side (dikit-dikit) are actually scraps of sheet metal, cement blocks, and planks of wood. Funny how as a kid, none of this matters. Things just are; they exist without a reason or a past. And now… well, I supposed I haven’t had enough time yet to process how it all makes me feel, but suffice to say, my cousins and sisters aren’t the only ones who are older and has changed.
Anyway, that’s all for now, papanik na ko. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to update again soon.
For now, and for always, God bless you the way He’s blessed me.
I write to you from Quezon City, a city where a week ago, I never though I'd be. First, I'm in Berkeley, where i leave my best friends with a sense if regret for not being able to spend the rest of our summers together. Then, then i'm in San Diego, consoling my sisters and making light-hearted jokes through invisible tears about the sudden move to Hawaii..
Next, I'm confronted with my past. I'm scared, nervous, hesitant... 'do i really want to do this?' ..but we did it. Suddenly, I'm reminded of who I was -- or rather, who I am at my very core and who I always will be. Will I ever be right here again?
Wake up call. "April, we need your passport, we're leaving for the Philippines tomorrow."
So many entanglements. My dad calls in a favor -- he knows someone at the top who is Filipino and can help us out. Goodbye red tape, hello brown brotherhood. We're off to the Pinas in the morning.
Another phone call. Hawaii is out. North Carolina instead. We're going to keep pushing for Hawaii though... Even if I'm ever in San Diego again, it will never be the same.
Now, here I am. Manila, Philippines. I've stolen a moment away from my family. I'm sitting in a very public place, fighting away the tears of sadness, gratitude, and love.
My lola is strong. The strongest woman you'll ever come across. Right now, she's thin. Right now, she doesn't recognize her own son. Right now, we aren't allowed to see her. She doesn't know she's dying. But she's strong, and I love her so much.
My family loves. Without rhyme or reason, they love. They don't have as much as we do in the states, but God is good and has never forsaken this family. Right now, we're together, and the love we share makes miracles happen.
It's a yearning. Performers, painters, poets - they sit before their audience so that both may share in this insatiable longing.
I listened to the music rise and fall, swell and throb not with a demanding pulse, but rather with a beat seeking for permission from what felt like my wide open chest.
I wanted to die from its beauty. I wanted to pass this world filled with boundaries, realities, and limitations to instead enter a world where I could open myself and take in this beauty in floods.
To say that such a feeling is ethereal and orgasmic would rob the music of its purity, adulterate the art, and turn the experience into a lowly, humanistic, "tangible" feeling.
My heart is beating so deeply now. I do not know if it is working any faster or slower than before I lowered myself into my place before the performers, the music, the poetry, but I am suddenly made aware of my heart's existence.
Perhaps, for my heart, art and love are intertwined in this way. One must exist for the other, to give the other meaning. One also is the other; the two become interchangeable and limitless. Each takes being only with the permission of the other.
And suddenly, before I know it, I'm breathless yet full of life; motionless yet throbbing with desire; completely enraptured by the love of art.
Love exists, but it's like a good jump shot: it begins with the follow-through.
Is that too much to want?
I browsed Craigslist to see if anyone was looking for a pen pal. Oh, also, I would prefer snail mail. Somehow, "email correspondence" doesn't have as nice of a ring to it. With all the psychos and ax murderers in the world, I understand the danger of sending a stranger my mailing (home) address... I would like to think that my perfect pen pal is none of these, though, nor anything equally dangerous.
I happened across a letter-writing website a couple of years ago. An English-speaking/writing man had one simple message on the site: that if you email him your mailing address, he will write you a letter. His reasoning was that folks nowadays are in too much a of a hurry to appreciate the beauty behind a personal letter and that many people in the world are lonely and only looking the simplest human connection.
That was so beautiful to me. I teared up when I read that. I went back to the website not too long ago. It was either moved or taken down; for whatever reason, it wasn't there anymore.
I want to do something like that. When I saw his website, I didn't feel the need to be written to (although that would have been interesting as well), but I wanted to partake in this project with him.
His message continued, saying that he writes about things that anyone would write in a letter - his day, a poem that he found, an interesting lyric or quote. He doesn't tell the recipient when they should expect the letter because that takes away from the fun of waiting.
If I started my own letter-writing project, I imagine that it would be a bit like blogging, but with one audience member. One real, live reader. When I write here, I write to anyone and no one. I write to me of the future about me of the present and past. If I started by own letter-writing project, I'd write about the important things; I'd bare my soul and include no return address.
This brings me back to my pen pal dilemma. A pen pal needs a return address. I suppose that's what P.O. boxes are for (or I can just get with the times and use a regular ol' good-for-nothing email address). But that's fine, a pen pal needs a reader, too. Someone who cares.
I'll care. Just write to me. I'll save every letter.
Stella is a very optimistic person. She knows that any bout of bad luck is only the rising action, or maybe the climax, and that some ounce of good will inevitably follow.
Stella searches for meaning in her life because what's a good story without a moral? Consequentially, Stella reflects on every moment of her life and makes connections with the places she visits and the people she meets.
At that, Stella is always meeting people. A good story has a collection of complex characters and your more basic archetypes. She is close with her friends and family because she needs good supporting actors. Wherever she goes, Stella befriends the least likely of people in the hopes of finding noteworthy cameos.
= = =
OK, real talk. Lenny and I have an ongoing joke that my life is a movie (MLIAM). Others would probably look at the events of my life and call it nothing but a series of coincidences and consequences, but hey, I like to have my fun.
Sometimes I feel like my world is becoming so small. It's like, I know that there are 6 billion people in the world, and counting, but my life starts feeling moviesque when it seems like I know all the characters in this story. Everyone I meet, I meet for a reason. Many characters appear and reappear. Nothing is random.
-During my last day in San Diego, I ran into/spoke with every boy I have ever dated. None of us had seen or heard from each other in years, and yet there he was in the parking lot of Rubio's. Or there he was, working the kitchen at L&L. Or there he was, somewhere out there, texting me for the first time in months. It felt like all the spaced out moments in my life time were smushed together so closely that I was able to really see where I've come from and what I went through to get me here, at this very moment. I used to be a quiet, little 8th grader. I became a friendly, wide-eyed 9th grader. I grew into a critical, do-good teenager. And now? I don't know, but I'm with Lenny now. OK, I'll reflect on neo-me later.
-After hearing about Navid, Lenny's roommate, I spent much time reflecting on the purpose of life, the legacies that we leave, and what our loved ones do without us once we are gone. Later, I attended the math graduation of a good friend of mine, and Navid was recognized there. Turns out he was about to graduate in that department. His brother wore his gown for him and accepted his diploma. What were the odds that of all the commencements I'd attend, Navid would be recognized at that one? Why do coincidences like these happen? Of all the graduates, faculty, and family members here, there were probably only a select few that knew who the speaker was talking about when he recognize Navid, but I was one of them. Me. Why me? I was moved in this moment, touched to be able to share in this sacred moment with his family whom I've never met.
-Yesterday, I missed the train by a split second. Not literally, but almost literally. I missed it with just enough time for me to wonder if I was meant to miss that train. I wondered if I was meant to have to return home to retrieve a forgotten item, or meant to hesitate before descending the stairwell to the BART station, or meant to pause to listen to the new street performer at the base of the station escalator. Thirteen minutes until the next train was to arrive. What an odd number. I can't decide if I like that number or if I hate it. It comes up in my life more than you would think. At that moment, I couldn't decide if it was good or bad that I just missed that train, but if my life were a movie, it'd be a good thing. Sure enough, as I sat on the cement bench (tweeting about my life, of course), some guy appeared before me - without looking up, I knew that whoever he was, he wanted to sit down next to me. I picked up my bag from next to me in haste, not wanting to appear rude. He sat down. "Whoa, hey! What are you doing here?" It turned out that it was a guy that I had met just earlier this week. We forgot each others' names, but we weren't too embarrassed to admit it. We re-introduced ourselves. John. April. April. John. OK, I think we've got it. By chance (or fate), he was waiting for the same train, traveling to the stop just before mine. We talked and talked for the entire 30 minutes. And you know what? It was just what I needed. Earlier that day, I had looked for a friend, any friend, to make this trip down with me because I didn't want to be lonely and couldn't find one. Yet somehow, I was provided with company.
= = =
As always, this story is To Be Continued.
= = =
Based on a conversation with David K.
And then... you're you. Just you. It's simple, yet also new. You're the you that you always knew you were, but no one else did.
Who is the wiser? Not me.
"If history repeats itself, why do we have to study it? It's going to happen again, anyway."
You pose quite an existential question, kid. Your question no longer becomes the whiny "why do we have to learn this?" but rather, "is time but a repeating circle? to what extent do we as mere mortals control our destinies, and is that a paradoxical question in it of itself?"
And my favorite,
"In Alaska, when the sun doesn't go down, how do they tell time?"
= = =
Alright, kid, my turn to speak: Clocks and history books are humanmade objects, does that make time and history humanmade concepts?
No, I argue that time, history, and our ability to keep track of both is what makes us human. We learn, we progress, we make connections, we remember. Our histories and our time are what make our lives so valuable to us. If loved ones, simple joys, and monumental successes define living, then it is our acknowledgment of our limited amount of time to spend with those people that allows us to separate the loved ones from the insignificant. It is in our hours of happiness bordered by mundane and melancholic moments in such a way that the former becomes defined by the two latter (and perhaps vice versa) that we reach peaks of self-actualization. It is in our moments of most refined glory that we realize the importance of patience and endurance throughout the inevitable passing of time.
It's my history with you that lets me know that you are important to me. It's my yesterday with you that intimates to my tomorrow with you. It's my history, my forefathers' and foremothers' histories, and your history that tells me that our lives is an unfolding journey, well worth the walk.
Hey, kid, let's work out a trade -- my time for your story and my story for your time. We can learn a lot from each other.
and perhaps do some laundry, but you know, it's summer,
and my hours of productivity range anywhere from
6 in the morning to 3 in the morning because
there's more sunlight and because
your friends are happier and available at more hours of the day and
that's just the way that it is sometimes,
so I didn't get up right away and
instead lay in bed for a while but
I had breakfast with Lenny, and
he helped me clean the apartment a bit and
Sometimes your best memories come out of those late mornings when
it's just you and your S.O. in an empty apartment
that's just the way that it is sometimes.
And then we left for work and school and
we thought we were going to be late and
I did not want to inconvenience a colleague eager to end their shift and
It was my first day working the front desk and
I was a little anxious but
I wasn't late, my colleague was not inconvenienced, and my anxieties were calmed
That's just the way it is sometimes.
My shift came to an end, and then my colleague was late but
I didn't mind and
I stuck around for a bit while he showed me his bead work and
Told me about his family and
His plans for the summer;
I was hungry and eager to get to the rest of my day but
I learned about him and
He asked me if I was busy later and
I think it was worth it to get to know him because
I made a new friend and he made a new friend and
I was too busy to hang out tonight but
We have all summer and
That's just the way it is sometimes.
So I started to walk home in my feaux hawk and work polo
I got a few stares but
Not too many
Funny how that works - I dress to stand out, in all the right ways, yet
In Berkeley it doesn't matter all that much because we all stand out in all different ways and
That's just the way it is sometimes.
I walked down Shattuck and saw a candy wrapper on the floor
Bright yellow paper, crumpled and torn and
Right away I thought of my childhood
In those days, I'd be torn myself between
A bright yellow wrapper holding a delicious Butterfinger and
A papery blue wrapper holding a less delicious Crunch bar which
I always thought was Shaq's favorite bar
After all, he was in those commercials and
I wanted to be just like Shaq - my man -
But the bright yellow was always so inviting and
After all, Shaq wore yellow and I'd even get the Butterfinger in King Size
Just like my man
Because when you're a kid, everything makes sense like that, even if it really doesn't and
That's just the way it is sometimes.
So I went to the store, now craving some candy and
They didn't have the regular sized bar that I was looking for but
I bought a King Size bar anyway and it didn't used to cost so much but
I guess that's just the way it is in these times
I told myself I'd only eat half the bar anyway and save the rest for later
I paid for my candy to the lady cashier
I said "salamat po" and she smiled in surprise
She reminded me of my Lola and maybe I remind her of someone too.
I left the store, and saw the 9 bus coming,
I ran to catch it and it stopped but
Just as I approached it, the bus driver drove away and
I'm not sure why but
I guess he didn't see me and
I guess no one on the bus said anything to him and
I started to curse the driver in my head and
Continued on home but
Then I remembered that candy in my pocket and
Then I was happy again.
Sometimes you think bad of people, even after meeting nice people and
You might forget the nice people that you just met and I guess that
That's just the way it is sometimes, but
It doesn't have to be.
And sometimes you'll find a remedy to your small problems and
Sometimes you provided that remedy to yourself and
Helped yourself before you even knew you'd need it but
That's just the way it is sometimes, like
When you wake up and decide to do something else good for yourself instead of a different thing good for yourself or
When you kick yourself for almost being late but know that there wasn't anything you could do about it and you
End up not being late but are understanding to the guy after you that was late or
When you stick around even when you have other things to do and
Listen to someone about their family and their life and
Realize you made a friend in the process, or
When you're drawn to the beautiful yellow even on the side of a dirty street gutter and
You're reminded of your childhood and
You spend a little extra on something you don't need and
You can't wait to tell a certain person what a wonderful average day you've just had
Even though you just saw them that morning and, well,
I guess that's just the way it is sometimes
so little time,
much to do,
and me being only 1/6billionth of the population,
the only thing there is to do is say to myself,
"you know what? ..it is what it is."
Not that there is any shame in being one.
But just me... just for me. Sometimes I feel that way because I know that I don't fit the assumptions that others have made for Filipinas.
Usually I feel that way because my Filipino friends are not as inclusive to my non-Filipino friends as they are to me.
I imagine that if I were not Filipina, then I could stop being not-Filipina-enough.
I could stop being too light-skinned and then too dark-skinned,
because I imagine that if I were not Filipina then my skin would just be
I wouldn't be told that my hair should be long because it's pretty like that,
that I should try more to be a Filipina beauty.
I wouldn't be told that I have "Filipino legs", and I wouldn't have to know that that is an insult... my legs would just be mine.
I could invite my friends to parties and not have to explain why they are the only non-Filipinos there.
I could bring a guy home without the first question out of my parents' mouth being "Is he Filipino?" Maybe they'd think to first ask "Is he a good boy, does he treat you well?"
And maybe a Filipino or Filipina employee that I meet at the store would be nice to me, but nice to my friend, too, and offer that extra cup of soup with their order of rice and chicken.
I know what you're thinking,
I need to stop with this self-pity,
but I know that in the end, I'll shoulder whatever sack of assumptions and expectations you have for Filipinas,
I'll be nice to you, hospitable to Filipinos,
Respect my lolos and my lolas, teach the Filipino children the values that my
Filipino parents taught their Filipina children
Yes, I'll do all this, but I'll do you one better,
I'll be nice to you, hospitable to my neighbors
Respect my elders, regardless their nation, their community,
I'll teach children the values that my
Parents taught their children
with my same smile, even, I'll do it in stride
After back and forth and back forth, I now wonder,
Am I as alone as I feel?
Am I beside myself
Talking to myself
Hearing only myself
Or are you out there, someone else, and will you share yourself with me?
"They say that you cannot live by bread alone, but I can live on compliments."This made me smile:
"April - You co-president you. You do have the executive air about you! Highly dynamic and impressive womyn...but on a lighter note, I think you always look so cute! With your outfits, style and hair, I always think whoa april is so cool! sometimes you remind me of a sprite. Tee! Anyway, I'm so glad you're around and can't wait for what's to come... luv elise!"
posted with permission
Beautiful day out.
Church was lovely.
"God knows what is in your heart." my first thought: 'Len, God knows you're in there, say hi!' ...cheesy, I know, I know..
I didn't follow the grape vine analogy too well. but MAD PROPS to the male Catholic feminists out there. Is it inappropriate to throw up snaps in church?
Special K & Coffee for lunch. Hella thrown from my morning routine.
Watched YouTube videos on the phone with my mom and talked about Twitter. I think that she wants to get one.
I owned every hour of my day -- not a minute was wasted. OK, that's not to say that each minute was spent writing, but it's better than two hours passing and thinking, "did I just look at photos on facebook for two hours?!"
...and OK, i went on twitter quite a bit. I'll try to stop.
I am also confident that I will own each of the next 18 hours. If I want to have a productive 4:00a.m., I will! If I want to sleep for only 30min, then so be it!
I think my legs are undergoing muscle atrophy. and I'm bored-hungry again.
I'm averaging 2.2 new followers on Twitter per day... in reality though, I've received 6 in the past 24 hours. People -> Twitter : Moths -> flame : Me -> distractions
Paper frustrations have found their way to poor me. in the refined words of my man shaq: AAGGGHHH
Shower & grub to get refocused. Maybe coffee. Definitely not tea.
I thought I was going to get away this finals season without any of my dramatic changes (remodeling room, new piercing...) but, I lose. While taking my shower, I decided that I am getting a new hairstyle. Just like that. And so it will be. After this paper.
OK, this log is getting ridiculous. but "blog mobile" ?!?! Basically REAL twitter-blogging... even twitpic-blogging. forget you, facebook.4:14 a.m.:
12 hours to go. Why do I insist on stretching this assignment? Also, I'm an idiot. We played "Lost Without You" for PCN last year.8:30 a.m.:
I think I'm going to meet @gabebondoc one day. Like, I'm pretty sure I will. Also, finally ironing out the finer details of essay #3. A+, f'sho!
Forget you, Pandora. You were supposed to serenade me with at least one million songs of similar rhythm, style, or genre -- if I wanted to hear periodic intervals of the same songs on 3-peat, I would have listened to KyXy (aka KOIT, for you Bay Area speakers. pun intended.)12:01 p.m. :
DONE. Save. Print.
...contemplated skipping 1 or 2 engagements throughout the day (a.k.a. class), realized that my Ed140 section is hosting 15 Oasis High School students for a day trip, and got ready for school in a 20 min.
...spent 1 hour chaperoning 3 h.s. boys of grades 9, 10, and 11. We watched 1 silent interpretive dance on the steps of the Campanile, snuck into Wheeler auditorium and learned how to crip walk on a stage in front of 700 empty seats, and visited 5th floor Eshleman to tag "Go Bears" and "Cal" on the wall.
...attended my last 3 classes of the year, thanked and said goodbye to 6 amazing teachers, and sat down in Eshleman library to begin 5 papers.
= = =
1 awesome last day of year 3 as an undergraduate student.
I remember Lenny telling me about him "retiring" his music because he wanted to make right with everyone. When Lenny told me that he passed away, this was the first thing that came to my mind. Car accident? So sudden? I don't know if this is disrespectful for me to say, but it's as if he knew...
My heart breaks for Lenny. They were roommates their freshman year... they made music together... Lenny even has a framed picture of him in his room.
They hung out once, recently. I could tell that Lenny was really looking forward to it. I met him -- such a sweet, friendly guy. he invited me to come hang out with them, but I declined. He promised that we'd hang out sometime. When Lenny came back, he talked so much about what a great guy he is... I couldn't wait to meet him again, as promised.
Lenny invited him to his birthday dinner at the marina, but he couldn't make it. He passed away three days later on April 17th, 2009.
In a rush, I remembered Jorge and Daniel. We all graduated together. They passed away within a year of each other.
Sometimes, I believe that the people that leave this earth at a young age do so because God decided that they've fulfilled their destiny and that it's time to come home. It's the only way I can explain how tremendous people that impact the lives of so many can be taken away from us like that.
These thoughts are sporadic and underdeveloped. Maybe I'll come back to it someday. My heart hurts too much to write.
This is an unpublished post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago:
= = =
I didn’t get it at first, but now I do. It’s a combination of nervousness, stress, and fatigue. Anxiety, I guess you can call it.
“I feel normal,” I said naïvely.
A more accurate response would have been, “I feel this way all the time.”
I started blaming it on not getting enough sleep, but in all honesty, that’s not my biggest problem.
I’m a control freak. There, I said it. How is it that I’ve known this term for so long, have heard it tossed around from occasion to occasion, and yet never put two and two together?
I’m always organizing, calendaring, taking over meetings, discussing, “running late” (not necessarily being tardy, but rushing from one meeting/class to the next), and worst of all, getting frustrated at people when they mess up my efforts at all of this.
I need to take one big, fat, chill pill.
Better yet, I need to find something that works for me… something calming, relaxing, fun, and just good for me.
= = =
= = =
Do you ever play and replay love stories in your head of times that happened, that will never happen, that you wish never happened, and that just may still have a chance of happening?
I have... I still do. In those instances, I'm sometimes met by nostalgia, longing, confusion, guilt, and even butterflies.
It's fun to play with the what-if(s) and reply the what-did(s); for me, I'm able to learn more about myself, how I've changed, and what I'm looking for in a SO.
Also, it fills me with the satisfaction that everything happens for a reason, the gratification that comes from knowing that once in a while, the stars do align in my favor, and the faith that sounds like: 'hey, if things have worked out this well so far, why not have a happily-ever-after?'
Yes, I am convinced that my life is one epic love story.
A: "...smiling makes me really happy..."
L: "Your smile makes me happy."
I don't understand this strategy of making friends by searching for the Filipino community on campus, and then automatically assuming that y'all are cool.
To be quite honest, it breaks my heart a little that you would do that. It makes me pretty damn uncomfortable.
To each their own, I guess. To me, it just seems so cliquey... immature... exclusive... racist.. presumptuous... unfortunate...
...Is that why you're friends with me? Because I'm Filipina? Or maybe you see something more in me. But were I not Filipina, would you not have given me the time of day?
Within my own family, I am proud to be a Filipina. Among my Filipino peers, it makes me uneasy. Talk about stereotypes - it's in these groups that I feel categorized the most. Outside of that circle, I'm just me -- I get to choose. I'm a Berkeley student. Catholic. Peace & Conflict Studies Major. Sister. Friend. Roommate.
It's alright, I suppose. Just one more year of pretending that I feel like I belong to this Filipino-American community. Until then, you like me. I'll even pretend that it's for more reasons than the color of my skin.