A little about Zim

Lemme tell you a little about my best friend... (OK, so just one of my best friends ... cuz I'm one of those greedy folks who's got a few besties... but I feel like telling you about this one in particular...) For anonymity's sake, I'll call him/her Zim. I'm overcome with the desire to write about Zim because I miss Zim so much. Zim and I are in the current state that all best friends go through every now and then: we're wrapped up in our own love interests too much to remember to make time for each other. Regardless, Zim are still one of the bests. Here's a little about Zim.

These aren't necessarily what I like about Zim or even Zim's best qualities. This is just a general description of Zim.

Zim and I met on a fortuitously on an August afternoon and were inseparable in the years that followed. Zim is the kind of person that everyone gets a long with -- everyone's got a claim on Zim as their best friend. I cannot harbor any sort of jealousy though, because Zim always has a way to make me feel like I'm the only one that matters when I'm with Zim. I'm sure that's how Zim makes everyone feel, actually. Zim always picks up the phone when I call and not with a "hey, what's up?" in an expectant way that translates to mean "hey, why are you calling?". Instead, Zim answers the phone with "April, how are you?!"

Zim is a daredevil, which makes me wonder why Zim wants to have anything to do with squirmish me. Zim stays up until 6 or 7 a.m. on a regular basis, sometimes chatting with friends, staying up with me, but many times playing video games. Zim makes me laugh 'til I stop breathing. While many see me as a serious girl, Zim brings out the funny in me.

Zim and I love the Backstreet Boys.

Zim and I have gotten into fights. One time, Zim gave me a note of apology. I didn't read it until after I had already gotten over the argument 10 minutes later, but it still meant a lot to me. I still have it after three years.

Zim is sincere. When Zim gives me hugs, Zim stands with arms wide open, brings me close, and doesn't let go for a long time. This is true for when we meet and when we part. Zim and I are not afraid to tell each other that we love each other or that we're best friends.

How did I ever get so lucky?


New Decade Resolutions

For those of you keeping track at home...

-Start a personal library (in the process... check)
-Work on a new wardrobe (always an on-going process... check)
-Get better at singing (ditto)
-Become an avid writer (need to keep working on this one)
-Win an award (check)
-Be able to understand a little bit of another language
-Be married. Maybe. I don't know, never mind.
-Travel a lot... even if that includes not leaving the country much.
-Make sure that my sisters graduate from a respectable college and each have good jobs (one sister officially enrolled in a university, one to go)


I still wake up (and fall asleep) every now and then a bit anxious, but for the most part, I'm happy. I'm content. I'm finally settling into something that I've been waiting for. I'm in my twenties.

Until now, I waited impatiently for an unspecified lifestyle. I was a walking time machine. I watched as my past, my childhood, played before my eyes day to day. I held my tongue while others around me treated me like a 14-year-old, a 17-year-old, a 19-year-old, when I knew that it didn't feel right.

I'm finally living in the present. I am who I always meant to be; I am now who I knew I would eventually become, completely; I look in the mirror and I know the person staring back at me.

If my twenty-somethings is the age that I was always meant to be -- if my twenty-somethings remains to be the age that I was meant to flourish and never waste -- then I'm glad that I've made every day count so far. Gotta keep going.

Make every day count.



I’m now six months out of college. Only. Only?! College was an entire lifetime away. One my favorite lessons learned since then has to do with all the interesting people I’ve met since then, all of whom have one thing in common… keep reading.

The way I see it, there are those who are unable to work, perhaps some who are not compelled to work, those who hate their work, some who are so-so about their work, and finally, we have those who love their work. They love what they do. They didn’t necessarily imagine themselves doing this job at the ripe age of 3, 15 or 22, but they fell into it, the stars aligned, and bada-bing, bada-boom – a happy match between occupation and human being. This could result from a variety of combinations of factors such as sociable coworkers, bomb-ass bosses, paid vacation days, meaningful duties, and a six-figure salary. Or something.

And then… there are those who do what they love. These are the interesting people whom I’ve found myself running into on a weekly basis. Cynthia loves making music. Ann loves inspiring and helping people in their careers. Tomas loves teaching. Suzanne loves getting dressed up and loves bringing people together. Len loves performing and teaching music. Joy loves acting and script-writing.

I want to add them to my treasure chest of remarkable people. Granted, their successes in their fields of favor are irrelevant to me; their tricks of trade are useless in my trade of choice.
I admire them for the tireless energy they put into their craft. There aren’t enough hours for these people! Their motivation is genuine; while their audience appreciates their product, each masterpiece is loved most by its creator.

I look up to these people because they are constantly creating opportunities for themselves. Unfortunately, another feature which these people share is that riches are not guaranteed for musicians, actors, or teaching. Rather than focus on making money, then, they focus on making connections. You can’t always get what you need with money, but you can find people to help you in a variety of ways. These people trade. These people barter. These people have helped me recognize my own skills and my own resources and have inspired me to find ways to use these to help them. I think it’s safe to assume that they continue to do the same with everyone else they meet. Spend a few minutes with these people, and you’ll find yourself connected to someone who can get you free food, connect you with a record label, provide a venue for an open mic night, lend you a car, help you move into your new apartment, teach you how to cook a new dish… the list goes on. My treasure chest people are always connected with others because they have to be in order to keep doing what they do.

They are also always connected because their happiness is infectious. I submit that they are such happy people because they get to do what they love. I admire them not only because they are so happy, and not only because their joy is contagious, but because they all have developed an extensive fan base of supporters who are excited to watch them achieve their dreams.

I’m still carving away at an unknown path before me. I can honestly say that I’m not doing what I love – yet (besides writing, which I do love). My impatience with myself is overwhelming at the moment, but I hope that’s only because I’m very close to getting to where I need to be. Just gotta keep at it…
= = =
Word Count: 607
Soft Total: 1,319



I spent a bit of time yesterday thinking about the date. The date. Catch that? It's hard to emphasize capital "The" when it is at the beginning of the sentence. Let's try this: The date. As in, calendar date.

I'm not the only one that does this from time to time, date to date. People count down the days to and celebrate days like 08.09.10 (kudos to those who caught the 08.09.10 11:12:13 moment in time); my senior ditch day in high school was 06.06.06; less than one year after my birth, we had such a date as 6.7.89. Needless to say, I was unable to fully appreciate the charm of said date the day of, but surely others in the world were ahh-ing and ooh-ing (while I was babbling and cooing).

Anyway, when these funny calendar days arrive, I spend a second thinking about it, and then spend all the rest of the seconds in the day not thinking about it. Because... you know, whatever. Dun' matter.

But 364 days from now, nearly to the minute, it will be 11.11.11 11:11:11. That's kind of cool. Almost noteworthy. In fact, about 5 years ago, a good childhood friend of mine announced to us that she and her then-boyfriend were going to get married on this date. I don't think that this wedding is going to happen anymore, but that's not the point. The point is...

The point is...

It's fun to count, and count down, and set landmarks for yourself, and count on yourself -- and others -- to meet goals on said landmarks.

So, back to what I was saying about yesterday and thinking about the date. To be more precise, I was doing my own planning for something amazing to happen one year from now. More amazing than 11.11.11 11:11:11, even though that is when it will take place. The amazing thing, that is.

Should I visit somewhere unimagined? Take a "next big step" in my life (whatever that may be)? Tattoo? Sky dive? Nov. 11th is Veterans Day and we'll have a 3-day holiday (Fri-Sun) that weekend in November. That gives me a bit of leeway. But who would I do this amazing thing with... who will I still be close enough to one year from now that we can have the foresight to plan something so big together?

I came up with a lot of dead ends. Boring logistics started getting in the way of my planning, taking away all my momentum. Stupid logistics.

Then I realized that my problem is that my thinking was too abrupt. I was looking for an amazing something that would give me immediate and even short-lived gratification. In fact, everything that made my list was a bit outside of my character (I love my body too much to get a tattoo). I want something that I can work towards little by little for a year and then celebrate on November 11th, 2011. I'll work on it by myself if I have to.

So, here it is, the amazing thing that I will do in celebration of Nov. 11th, 2011. Or rather, the amazing thing that I will do and celebrate for doing on Nov. 11th, 2011.

I, April Isabel, will write 111,111 words-worth of blog/journal entries by the 11th of November in the year 2011.

OK, OK, sorry if you're disappointed and sorry that I'm so dreadfully boring, but really, this is important to me.

Everyone talks about how oh-so-busy they are and how they're too busy to scratch a few meaningful words down on paper, even if those words are sparse and meaningful only to the writer. No offense, busy people. Truth is, I'm not one of those people. I've got the time. I've even got the words. What I don't have is the discipline. And hey, while I'm at it, confessing my faults and all to you, anonymous reader, I don't have the courage either (courage, on the other hand, is an entirely different subject, not one for here or now).

OK, it's time for one year of discipline and one year of writing. Hopefully, this will lead to one year of reflecting, one year of practicing writing, one year of trying out new words and ideas, and one year of self-given alone time.

Who knows, maybe this one year will lead to many years of writing.

= = =

Word Count: 712.



I'm sitting in an empty living room (that is, empty of people... besides myself, obviously.), chowing down on homemade avocado shake (whatever it's called), in my school-work clothes (whatever it is that student-teachers wear), exhausted after a day of high school classes, college classes, and talking on the phone with my mom about her college and high school daughters.


Last night, I walked into the living room to find David laying on the couch watching the Giants game on T.V. I'm trying to find a place to include one particular detail in that sentence, but I can't find room for it, so I'll just add it on here: David is in a sleeping bag.

Me: (Laughing) "Why are you in a sleeping bag?"
David: "[something something something] ... I just bought a sleeping bag, ice cream, and beer. It's like I'm preparing for the best sleepover ever."
Me: "Did you really have sleepovers as a kid?"
David: "Yeah."
Me: "What do dudes even do at sleepovers?"
David: [without missing a beat] "Have pillow fights in our underwear."
Me: "Oh, ok, so just like us girls."

Womp womp.


More on perfection... I'm agirl who loves music, but fears picking up the guitar because I know the chords won't come out perfectly. I loved (emphasis on past tense) playing basketball, but stopped because I wasn't as good as I wanted to be. In fact, I loved being active, but don't take up sports because I can't hang with the best, can't compete with the best, and can't be the best. I dropped math and science when I got to college because it was my first time not being a straight-A student. I won't open my mouth to speak unless I'm sufficiently sure that the words I'm about to speak are precise and accurate.

Now, I'm learning to teach in a way that will encourage my students to struggle and make mistakes. I'm learning how to get students to acknowledge areas of struggle and be O.K. with the fact that they aren't getting it right the first time around. I'm learning how to encourage students to take risks, how to pick themselves up when they fall, how to help them learn from their falls, and -- most importantly -- I'm learning to let go.

I guess it's like teaching a kid how to ride a bike. Say your goal is to make sure that they stay on the bike: you can either hold onto the handlebars and run along side them for the rest of their life because after all, for as long as you hold on, by God, they will not fall; or you can just let go. Let 'em try. Let 'em fall, they'll get back up. Let 'em fall multiple times. Eventually, they'll learn... and they won't need you anymore.

It's like I've gotten used to this idea that a truth is more important than finding that truth. That the objective is more important than the learning process that takes place to meet the objective. My tendency is I'm quick to correct someone... including myself. See that sentence right there -- the one that came right before this one. That one. I went back and deleted what I had typed, thought for a second for a better way to say it (you know, in a way that makes sense on paper even though it makes sense if I were saying it out loud), and then I stopped myself from correcting myself. "My tendency is I'm quick to correct someone... including myself". Does that phrase make any sense grammatically? No, not really... It's not perfect. But it's what I want to say. Maybe I'll get better one day at phrasing my words. Or maybe I'll just get better at getting out what is in my brain because I let myself make grammatical mistakes.


This blog is my laboratory, in a sense. I get to combine words in ways that I'm too self-conscious to do in person, in real life. I can spell words however I want. I can even make up words.

Damn, this blog-as-a-lab thing is kinda cool.

Most importantly, I can say the things that I'm too afraid to say in real life because I'm not sure if I've got things perfectly correct.

Why would you be afraid to say things in real life? you may ask.

Well, I just never want to be wrong. I never want to make mistakes. I won't open my mouth to speak unless I'm sufficiently sure that the words I'm about to speak are precise and accurate.

So what are some of the things that I want to say?

I want to say... that it's very strange being at Mills College and Albany High. I'm surrounded my more White folks than I've ever seen at one place at one time in my life. I don't say this because I don't want to sound racist/trite/oversensitive/"brown and angry". But for reals, I've just literally never been in this situation before, and I'm trying to find ways to navigate about this new terrain. I thiiiiiiink that there's this one other Filipino in our program of 60+ students. I'm not sure how she identifies. In these new places, I'm very aware of the fact that I confuse people because I look Asian-ish-sorta-kinda. I'm reminded that in a large group where there aren't too many black-haired folks to begin with, it's very easy to quickly classify me as "Asian" because there aren't many black-haired non-Filipino students to contrast me with. I get so self-conscious that my home English starts peeping out, and because my home English peeps out, I get self-conscious, so I try to accommodate to all these feelings by not letting myself speak at all. That way, I figure, I won't make any mistakes.

Which keeps me from learning.

But at least I won't make any mistakes.

It's just that... I don't want my feelings to be wrong. I don't want to be wrong by feeling different about something than the rest of the class. But I've got to realize that of course I'll feel differently, I'm the only Filipino there!

Lastly, and most importantly... I need to get out there and make some mistakes. I've been very hands-off in my student teaching placement because I want the first thing -- and the second, third, and down to the very last thing -- I do to be perfect. It's like I keep creeping up to the end of the diving board and staring at the water, the distance I have to go, calculate the angle and speed that I want to carry out this dive, wait for the wind to blow just right -- but I have to just do it and not be perfect and take the leap, take the plunge, take the fall...

I need to let go.


One Order of Mental Stimulation, Please.

One of the hardest things about being a perfectionist is... despite the fact that perfection can never be achieved, a perfectionist never stops trying anyway.

= = =

My mind is in need of some stimulation. I've been getting an adequate amount of sleep every night -- to the point where I wake up before my alarm -- I sit in a high school classroom anywhere from 2-4 hours a day, perhaps grade for a few more hours, sit in a college classroom for another 4 hours, sit at home and do homework...

I'm bored!!!!

I'm used to getting almost no sleep, ruminating over my day, perfecting this, tweaking that, juggling schedules, interacting with students, hiding my smile when they unknowingly do something adorable, comparing notes with teachers, and just overall feeling like I was getting somewhere in life.

Patience has never been my strongest point.

On the upside, I've had a lot of free time to do things like attend jazz shows, go to the movies, visit museums, go to a couple of baseball games, follow football, go for bike rides, have dinner with friends, practice instruments..

Whatever, I'm bored.

I really want to leave town and go somewhere for a bit. Anywhere, really. Anywhere with different weather than Berkeley, with a different backdrop, perhaps populated with peoples of a different accent or jargon than Berkeley/Oakland/Albany. I want to go somewhere so far away (in culture? in climate? in... anything!) from Berkeley, that I'll actually miss my home, my room, my apartment, and... Berkeley. I want to want to be here. I'm anxious. And... I'm bored.


Why Teach?

"The thing about teaching is... you can't go in trying to be a hero. You can't see yourself as this great savior, trying to save the kids and all that. You just come in and teach. You do your best. Whatever happens after that, happens."


= = =

The past several months has been such a humbling experience. From getting rejected from my top two post-college choices, to teaching my own class for the first time, to meeting 60+ social-justice-savvy teacher credential candidates, I can't help but feel no better than Joe Shmoe just trying to make it in this world.

When I left high school, I felt like a big fish in small pond. When I arrived at Cal, I was an anchovy in the Pacific. Now, I feel so-so in something medium sized.

There are 26.1 million high school teachers in the United States alone. A student who graduates from high school will have had about 40 teachers; if they graduate from college, they may have another 30 or so teachers.

I'm only one person, and soon, I'll only be one teacher. I'm not going to change the world.

But I can try to be good at teaching. Really good. I can try to share my knowledge with my students, and I can let my students teach me the things they want to teach me. I can wake up every morning wanting to be good. In fact, I can wake up every morning wanting to be better than the day before. I can give it my all... give my students my all.

In the end, I will teach not because I know I can be good at it or because I plan to save the world. I teach because it's something that I just want to keep working on no matter how bad I am when I start or how good I get later. I just want to keep working at it.

After all, what is teaching without learning?


Making Room

A: "It's natural to feel embarrassed. But you shouldn't feel embarrassed about feeling embarrassed, because, well, it's natural."
I: "Yeah, you've gotta make room for it."

= = =

I'm making room for the other feelings. The other, "non-happy" feelings. I spend so much time trying to be fair and even-tempered; it's time to give all of my other emotions their time to breathe so that they may exhale from my body and leave me in peace. I don't want to combust.

I'd like to think that human emotion is more complex and meaningful than something that can be controlled, forced, or altered.

Just let me be. Let me be the way I am right now for now. I'll be happy tomorrow.
A little more about me... I'm a very emotional person. I don't want to say "over-emotional", because then it sounds like something's wrong with me when there's not. I just experience a lot of emotions. Also, they come at me full force. Yes, it's a little stressful at times (another emotion I feel when I'm feeling other emotions). But there you have it.

I write this disclaimer because I find that I've been hiding from writing -- something that has taken more effort to do than writing itself. I hide from writing because it is (insert valley girl tone here) so not cool to be, like, totally emo.

But if it's uncool to be emotional, then I guess I'll come off my high horse and do what it takes to just be me so that I can start writing again. My writing is emotional and personal; it leaves me naked and vulnerable to critique for its style and content. For my style and content.

There you have it, now you know, now let the writing commence. I want to clock in my 10,000 hours of writing practice.


A picked flower
is delicate
is desirable
cannot stand on its own
no longer grows.



delirious and kind of moody.
my profs are giving us all a hard time...
but i'm beginning to not care.
i'm stuck in a mentality where they are the ones in the wrong.
we are trying our best.
not sure how i'm supposed to
and still be expected to get a good grade and have perfect attendance in their classes.
just sayin'.



Currently at work, debating with folks about what a hipster is. After several contradicting descriptions, one of which described me, one girl quickly and excitedly pointed at me and yelled "hipster!"

I said, "Oh, ok."


"Never mind, hipsters don't admit to being hipsters. If you think you are one, you aren't."


I'm changed.

...and it's been causing blogger's block. At least in this blog. I can't relate to the girl that used to write here.

I feel angry. and hurt. and ready for a revolution.



Alright, well... I submit to the fact that there is always room for work. In my case, as a young, overzealous yuppie who has spent too much time in an impenetrable bubble of privilege, similar opinions, and overall inexperience... I humbly acknowledge that I have plenty of room for improvement.
Dear Self,

You are smart, outspoken, creative, quick-thinking, extremely organized, and a damn hard worker (perhaps even to a fault).

Still-hopeful-and-confident half of self

= = =

I s'pose I should start working on my interview skills. I do wish that my ghost of academic past will stop haunting me.

I also would like for people to stop giving me the ol' once over when I tell them that I want to be a teacher and saying things like "You? Are you sure they're going to take you seriously, I mean... You're kinda short. No offense." Coupled with looks that say "aw, isn't that cute". For that matter, I don't particularly like the "sweet, you'd make a hot teacher" comments either.

I will be a good teacher. Really good. All y'all are just standing in my way.


Currently having that odd sensation of realizing that life is very strange yet also having the faith that this is all leading up to something wonderful.

So strange.


I re-read and proof read
I re-write and edit
Scrap, chuck, add,
Replace, redo,
Re-write, and re-write, and re-write;
But it never ends!!!!

I always cringe when re-reading old stuff I've turned in to professors.



I'm trying really hard to pay attention to my work and class readings and all that... but my thoughts keep invading my mind.

I was trying to read some article or another for an Ethnic Studies class. I started thinking about life... OK, my life, to be more exact... past, present, and future. I started wondering about purpose, fate, luck, the process of maturity...

I wondered, "am I becoming someone more like me, or will I always be me? ..."

*Focus on reading.. focus on reading*...

"...was I always me, or did I become me?" ...

*focus on reading, focus on reading*...

Then, suddenly, a line from the reading: "we have always thought of ourselves as getting more like ourselves everyday."

Great. I couldn't read my readings, so my readings read my mind.


giving up

I was really excited to take a graduate class this semester. I got the syllabus, got the first week's worth of reading... stayed up all night doing thisnthat, but still very very very motivated to complete the 200-some pages of reading for week 1 alone.

But I can't do it. I'm so tired. It was a rough weekend.

I have a lot on my plate.

I think I'm going to throw in the towel before the first round.

This makes me sad.
late night antsy-ness calls for a stroll down memory lane... and, in this digital age of lame social networks on which everyone and their mom congregates... strolls down such lanes only entails click, click, clicking through "Photos Tagged of Me". Woo.

if i were a stranger to me and i to were click, click, clicking through my photos, i would think that i am a very happy and very silly person.

and i would be right about me, incidentally.

so i want to be happy and silly tomorrow. which is today.

so it shall be.


Talk to Me

"Are you new here?"
"Sort of, I've been working here for one semester."
"I'm in here a lot, and I try to introduce myself to the folks that work here."
"Well, in that case, I'm April."

Every now and then, I produce another blog post about my feeling hopelessly awkward in everyday instances of meeting new people. I want to try harder, though... I'll still be awkward for a while, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice. I introduced myself to a friend of a friend last week on two separate occasions. I still remember their names. I'm proud of myself.

Oddly enough, I feel less talkative lately than I usually am. Phone conversations and car rides are becoming more silent more frequently. What's more surprising is my feeling OK with this. I like to think of it as a sign of maturity. Not everything is "omg this is so totally amazing, lemme tell you about it"; contrary to what I used to think, I don't know it all; more than likely, not everyone cares about my every opinion about everything.

I want to take this time in my life to receive, listen, feel, experience, and inhale. I was young before, but I'm a different kind of young now. I'm ready to learn.

So, talk to me.


Just another list

-Stuffy nose
-Runny nose
-Sore body
-Phlegm-y cough
-Dry cough
-Watery eyes
-Itchy throat
-Sinus pains

Ugh, gross. What a waste of a week. Also, odd to think that the beginning of the week was marked by a skipped beach trip because of [list], yet the end of the week will be marked by relaxing at the beach because there is nothing else to do because of [list].

Gotta shake this off before heading back to The Bay. Then, I alone shall do the damage. You have met your match, Semester Two of Senior Year!



Currently binging on books. Pulled a 6-hour session yesterday. Terrrrrible. Muscle Atrophy.
I'll be sure to include a short book report of each read before school starts up again.


The Universe Continues to Consipire (against me).

I was the only one in the family that cared about seeing Mr. Obama while here on the islands. The ONE time that I decide to stay home instead of going out shopping with them, GUESS who they run into.

Go on. Guess.

And to think, I was the only one in this family that voted for him.

Hang Loose, Brah.

Picture this:

You're sitting on the front porch. The air is still. There's only a slight cool breeze that whispers past every now and then, as though to refresh your skin from the heat of the setting sun to your right. The humidity in the air only reminds you of how alive, lush, and green everything is here.

You're reading a good book. Fourth one in two weeks... something like that, you've lost track. You brought out a small table to set your laptop and your afternoon cup of coffee. The laptop is there to keep your S.O. on video chat. The house is silent, everyone is out.

Life doesn't get any slower paced than this.

Growing Pains/Love Pangs

I'm getting bigger, the world is getting smaller,
friend and family networks expand beyond the roof of my home and the borders of my school, friends are learning new languages, family members build new families of their own.
In the meantime, my Facebook page will always be covered with "I miss you!"'s from all over the world.

Thank you for being in my life, everyone. I miss you, too. Even if you aren't physically present today, you are ever present in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.