the way I am according to them

It’s been raining all week. How I love the rainy season with its mild cold weather.

Since I’ve become fond of Tumbler, jotting down writer quotes has been fun and I’ve kept a few which I fancy describe the person that I am. Perhaps. 🙂

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I have punished myself by telling everyone about my life.

Vaslav Nijinsky, The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky.

The head is too wise. The heart is all fire.

Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

I don’t profess to be different from my kind. I’m consumed by the same wants and the same longings.

Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I have no talent. I write poems for myself, to think things through, that’s all.

Anna Kamieńska, A Nest of Quiet

Thank God for books and music and things I can think about.

Daniel Keyes, Flowers For Algernon

I do not think I have it in me anymore to struggle and fight and suffer; I want to be quiet and happy.

Martha Gellhorn,  Selected Letters

She liked to disappear, even when she was in the same room as other people. It was a talent, as it was a curse.

Alice Hoffman, The Red Garden

I approach most things in life with a dangerous level of confidence to balance my generally low self-esteem.

Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist 

I love like a leaky faucet or I love like a dam breaking. There is nothing in between.

Shinji Moon

I was shy, withdrawn, and read obsessionally. But I never wanted to be anyone else other than me.

Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anais Nin

That’s my problem: I think too much, and I feel too deeply. What a dangerous combination.

— Tumbler (via dryyoureyes-startbelieving)

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I was a romantic and sentimental creature, with a tendency towards solitude.

Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits

Have you ever fallen into yourself and gotten lost? I’m so far from people, yet at times I wish for them. I wish I could understand them and deal with them without all the pain and bitterness that comes with contact.

Henry Rollins, ‘Black Coffee Blues’

I’m almost never serious, and I’m always too serious. Too deep, too shallow. Too sensitive, too cold hearted. I’m like a collection of paradoxes.

Ferdinand de Saussure

I am still so naïve; I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am. A passionate, fragmentary woman, maybe?

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I will never be a morning person, for the moon and I, are too much in love.

Testy McTesterson

You have so many layers, that you can peel away a few, and everyone’s so shocked or impressed that you’re baring your soul, while to you it’s nothing, because you know you’ve twenty more layers to go.

Craig Thompson, Carnet de Voyage
breakfast-in-bed
love the photo. I forgot where I got it, sorry. 🙂

Money Style of Mine

I don’t have heaps of it. You’re reading the blog of a practically poor female blogger, to be frank with you. Still I can talk about the topic above because money is a necessary evil in people’s lives (including mine). Besides, I used to be an accountant. Yes money can buy some comfort but definitely not (my) happiness (I’d always choose love over bucks although there’s invariably room to change my mind 🙂 ). Don’t you think I like not having it in spite of the fact I’m more of a saver than a spender.

A credit card isn’t something I want to get used to carrying around. Many years in the past, some plastic money occupied a space in my wallet until it got discarded by me as I figured I could get by without one. The continuous slight temptation to purchase inessential items must be done away with.

The other day, though, I applied for a credit card again. Because I plan to indulge in occasional journeys and have been anticipating a situation when I might need it in case of an emergency far away from home. The last time I gallivanted to a few sites in Central Europe, my sister who was my travel companion, used her rectangular cards for the two of us. I simply reimbursed her in cash. It would be foolish, however, of me to depend on her like that repeatedly. Plus, maybe solo traveling will be included in my agenda someday soon.

I’ve never bought anything on the internet. You need a credit card for that, right? Accordingly, I don’t know the procedure on how peeps do business online. Yeah, you must be thinking I just stepped down here from the remotest mountains… A few of my former blog pals, in addition, weren’t happy with the Luddite in me who couldn’t buy the books they’d promote on their blogs.

No assets whatsoever are attached to my name or considered my possession; I’ve got none. I have no liabilities either and detest borrowing and loaning dough to anyone (Such transactions damage all kinds of relationships). The (almost rent-free) roof over my head has been attributable to my sister’s generosity. Our father bequeathed the family house to her and simply handed my younger brother and me some money a couple of decades ago. Real estate market boomed and property prices skyrocketed; while the value of peso dramatically plummeted. Hence, my brother and I got much poorer; our elder sister got so much richer.

Not being chained to both substantial and trivial belongings has been liberating anyway. I used to have a car yet I gave it away (to my sister) and never missed maintaining that (problematic) vehicle made in Korea (ugh). There’ll come a time in one’s life when proprietary rights to material stuff veers to become an encumbrance. Or perhaps that’s just the free spirit or the staunch bohemian in me speaking.

Another thing: Weeks ago, when I was suffering from the unexpected activation of my stomach acidity due to my irregular sleep patterns (and milk tea, Coke, spicy and sour edibles, etc.), it dawned on me there’s such a thing as fatal ulcer(?) and I might suddenly die from it(?). All I could think of was “I should have at least enjoyed the li’l money I saved from teaching English to moronic ‘Ks’.” I’ve always felt insecure financially and have tried to perpetually beat the corrupt economic system by being thrifty and a wise spender – and all for what?

But I had also splurged on particular instances. Like when I flew business class to London, or when I bought three small computers (why the hell did I do that!?) within a year, or when I ate at a costly buffet restaurant (even though I’m not a big eater) every weekend for two straight months. Basically, I get nervous at the thought of losing everything, every penny, and go starving, ending up begging for coins along the streets to feed myself in the future. In contrast, sometimes I wish I weren’t as disciplined and prudent regarding monetary matters.

There’s a growing hunch in me I’m gonna die totally penniless… and, to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t sound so bad.

By the way, this September, I am going to Norway. Yehey!

 

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Autumn in Bergen, Norway.  Photography by cittyhopper2, Tumbler

Mildly Unconventional Highschooler

Never an early morning person, I’d force myself to wake up at 4:30 in order to prepare and be on my way to hear mass by 5:30 – the liturgical ritual, nevertheless, gradually ended up as ancillary to the celestial pleasure of listening to the angelic voices of the nuns singing beautiful hymns inside the small elevated church of our school convent.

At 6:00 I’d go down, drop my bag inside the classroom, and proceed to get some fresh morning air around the quiet grounds of Sienna College, before my schoolmates start packing the area for the flag ceremony at 7:00 a.m.

Spending four years of highschool in an all-girl school wasn’t absolutely fun because in elementary, I had a blast running or biking with the boys; catching dragonflies, climbing trees, and just plain hanging out with them. Although grouping and bonding with some funny queer girls in my secondary years were interesting, too.

Because of the torturous three-hour Chem or Physics laboratory periods not to mention our countless bible studies with the nuns, I decided on learning the “fine art” of cutting classes sporadically.

The air-conditioned library was one location I sometimes escaped to. Colorful, hard bound books on geography with breathtaking photos of the sky and natural scenery engrossed me. Women’s magazines that had been bookbinded also consumed my reading time. Unfortunately, there was lack of pocketbooks – as one day it dawned on me I’d already read the entire collection on the shelf so I ‘d no other alternative but to read them again. And there were instances when the librarian would tap me on the shoulder to remind me I had to go and not stay during class hours.

I began considering another escape destination —> Oh yes, the huge Glori Supermart which was a mere three-minute walk from the school.

But I would first have to trick my way past the security guard of our main gate. I thought of a simple one which often turned out successful: I’d tell him I was hungry and would request to be allowed a few minutes to buy banana-cue from a nearby sidewalk vendor. As soon as he let me out, I’d wait for him to get distracted by other matters and ensuingly sprint away from his sight.

My more effective tactic, however, was this: “My Dad is in there waiting for me,” while pointing to one of the many distant cars within our view. “He has to give me my pocket allowance for today.” Without miss, my (budding) talent for acting would triumph.

How would I be able to get inside the school again later? By entering the other gate which was situated in the front. Easy.

Miraculously, I somehow avoided getting reprimanded by the nuns. Or maybe they simply let my tiny misdemeanors slip by as they kept eye more on the noisy notorious girls who were suspected of secretly instigating forbidden meet-ups with the boys from our brother school. After all, I was basically low-key, looked wholesome, and passed all my academic subjects.

One day I bumped into a classmate along the corridors while on my way back to our classroom. “Where have you been?” she asked. I saw no need not to be honest so I replied, “Just outside.”

You’re such a ‘now you see her, now you don’t’ kind of rebel” was her concluding remark which made me wonder if it was a casual one or not.

 

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Foremost Goal

Filing my income tax return consumed my time and attention for the past two weeks. Although our Bureau of Internal Revenue made it more arduous for me because of an unexpected glitch on my tax identification number. In spite of the complication, I went ahead and completed the task with crossed fingers that it has been settled, more or less (sshhh…). A crucial necessity more than ever as it’s a prerequisite to my goal of traveling I intend to do by the end of this year.

Last night, I was busy scanning the tour packages being offered by various travel agencies. My sister who’s going to New York in November earlier asked me if I wanted to tag along. “Well, okay…” was my reply. But as I mentioned before, U.S.A. doesn’t excite me so much knowing its urban areas abound with Asians and Latinos. We’ve got a lot of them here, too. Besides, its tall buildings and malls and infrastructure aren’t dissimilar to what we have here. Not to mention the chances of someone like me being granted a U.S. visa for travel purposes are quite nil. My sis has obtained 10-year approval from the embassy. Of course, she’s a consistent member of the jet set club. What about me, you ask? I’ll be forever part of the jet sam squad. (Stop asking)

My point is, if I have to choose between the U.S. and Europe, I’d still go for the continent which has also become a most favorite destination of the Syrian immigrants. So far, I’ve been setting my sights on going back to Switzerland and visiting Italy for the first time.

In 2014, while we were in Interlaken, I skipped having latte with my sister in a posh coffee shop to go outside and proceed to a lovely wide park where I could watch more than a dozen paragliders up high embellishing the beautiful afternoon sky. I wished I had participated – but our time there was very limited. So maybe, maybe next time…

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The professional paragliders after landing smoothly were packing up ready to call it a day.

 

Whereas last night too, I chanced upon a travel agency that offers a trip to see the Northern Lights of Iceland. I went “Wow!” and started considering changing my original plan. Iceland. Cooool… There’s glacier there — it’s cold cold cold for sure. I remember the temperature at top of the Swiss Alps made me freezing stiff and numb I thought I’d die. No kidding. Iceland no doubt will instantly turn me into an ice cube.

 

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Boy, was I glad to have taken this photo of a man and his dog strolling along the station while we were on our way up to the icy mountain.

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Is there anything as uninteresting as working on your tax return? I nearly procrastinated for eternity and alternately kept on going out for walks and daydreaming about future posts to write, at the same time turning to YouTube searching for my favorite tunes from the past. This original version is still a highly favorite love song of mine.

The Teacher That I Was – 2

Upon my acceptance as an instructor for a certain Asian nation, my interest in the English language both as a teacher and a learner had germinated. It also helped me in gaining fortitude not to mention the discipline to get up early and show up for work regularly, in spite of my being a lifelong night owl.

Although not a remarkable English student in school, I was a heavy short-novel reader in my juvenile and early adult years. But never had I bothered with familiarization of standard grammatical terms. Having no previous training in teaching and purely armed with average English fluency, I started polishing my skills.

Below were my exact sentiments before I began my preparations as an ESL instructor:

Gerund, Infinitives, Participial phrase– What are they?

Present Perfect tense – Excuse me?

Past Perfect – Oh no no.

Future Perfect Progressive – Now I’m gonna go insane.

As I make headway at my profession, my initial question to every new student on the first day of class would be “Do you like reading?” If the answer was yes, I’d presume there would be not much of a problem. If the answer was no, well…

I pushed more for the comprehension of the reading materials and didn’t impose memorization of vocabulary. Homework was something I expected to be done. By that, I gained the reputation inside the academy (among students) of being strict, quite competent 😉 , smart, “kind but hard.”

The small number of industrious and attentive students sparked my diligence as a teacher thereby inspiring me to toil harder for the refinement of their English proficiency. With the right students, my occupation could provide worth and gratification. With the the lazy ones, it was a mere waste of time. In most cases, I had to endure (the torment of) “free talking” especially during man-to-man sessions even though I had little concern for their mundane lives and no enthusiasm to get chummy with them.

Money became secondary motivation what with the minimum pay I received throughout the years with zero job perks to boot.

On the whole, I’ll be honest in saying that I secretly don’t hold those kind of people in good regard. Why? They come from a nation where it’s perfectly normal to eat dogs; they look down on us Filipinos for belonging to a poorer country; and a big majority of the attendees in our academy for so long had been indolent, insolent, bratty, and cold. But I’ll be honest as well here in saying I stayed because I needed the job despite such assertions of disgruntlement.

I was determined to make it my finishing role as an employee. Procuring employment after the age of 35 is nearly impossible in our state, except for high-level positions. My teaching job stretched to a decade, and the end was due to incremental changes in the academy and the numerous inconveniences they brought. It was ten long years of my precious life, nevertheless.

Transitions

I feel relieved and happier these days. Into a new phase in my life I am slowly moving.

A measure of guilt, however, trickles in whenever I find myself getting down to a chosen pursuit that would swallow up my entire day. That it’s no longer equivalent to monetary gain like before is an enormous adjustment. But the alternative of going back to my former occupation has turned into a painful thought. It’s become incomprehensible how I was able to survive my last year in the academy handling either my bosses’ children or the slothful students who couldn’t be motivated toward self-improvement.

To be frank, yes, I functioned largely in virtue of the extra money I’d be earning – although working side by side with the English language was a pleasure I had hung on, too.

A feeling of descent into a spiral of paralyzing, fruitless time consumption may hit me soon. But I’m past my 20s and 30s now – way past the periods of multitasking and ending up as some version of Wonderwoman.

The idea of being able to refine my mind through reading, studying, writing is enthusing as compared to spending my time with people at work whose irremediable cases I no longer give a hoot about.

I also look forward to trivial goals such as losing the 3 pounds I might have put on during my buffet restaurant dine-outs on weekends late last year. Cooking has never occupied a soft spot in me yet I have been doing it lately to be able to save and eat healthily. 

Ample times ahead will provide me the opportunity to read the dozens of books I bought through the years. And the moon…with the evening sky is something I hope to espy as often as not.

Taking my time. Free and easy; peace, rest and sleep. Write and read. Life is sweet.

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vac41

 

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Another Favorite Love Song of Mine from Way Back

Mommy, Run!

It happened a few years ago when I decided to take time off from work so I could spend some special traveling period with my son, visiting a few places around here; an opportunity that would serve in strengthening our bond as parent and child as well.

Baguio City, from the Pearl of the Orient: a tourist spot in our country known for its much elevated land and cooler climate. I had never been there; I put it on top of our target list in spite of the 16-hour excruciating bus ride (for me) back and forth.

The day after we arrived and settled at a reasonably-priced hotel, my son and I, with our backpacks, strolled along the popular metropolis’s green parks. Much of the pretty scenery available for free, we tried to explore on foot.

On our way to a specific destination one day, a house with a spacious open green yard enticed me to get closer so I could have a better look at its surroundings. “The view looks lovelier over there. Let’s go!” I prodded my son.

But as soon as we got nearer, we caught sight of a dog sitting in the porch — which, upon seeing us, started woofing furiously. It looked large when it threateningly stood up. Then we heard another dog barking from somewhere. Trouble was no doubt flashing on the horizon. Before we were able to pull back, the first dog we saw started heading toward our way – at the same time that another equally scary one turned up to chase us.

Both my son and I got shaken by the sight of the approaching danger. And it was him who made the decision there and then what to do next as I heard him cry out, “Mommy, run!”

Lacking of a chance to think more clearly, we bolted and found ourselves fleeing from the scene as fast as we could. We were running for our lives. The hapless circumstance of the grassy terrain slanting upward plus the back pack I was carrying ended up becoming obstacles to a speedier escape. Taller and younger, my boy was instantly able to advance ahead by three yards.

In my struggle to catch up, something caught the front edge of my foot and down I fell hard. I couldn’t get up.

My heart might have stopped beating at that moment: I knew the dogs would be all over me in a matter of seconds.

The loud barks soon sounded considerably nearer; I froze in terror. . .

To my amazement, no physical attack was happening . . . I turned my head to look at the dogs behind me. They were just standing there, fiercely barking, a couple of feet away from where I was lying. It seemed as if a fine glass was fencing them off from me. The barks continued piercing like hell, yet they weren’t charging any further. Someone from inside the house began yelling to make the burly animals come back. Still stunned, I managed to rise to my feet and trudged in the direction where my son — who had been standing far away and probably stupefied by it all — was waiting. The dogs persisted on barking wildly while I took more steps for distance. They were, however, letting me go.

That very night at our hotel, I checked my lower legs for any bites or scratches. There were none, of course, because no mauling had taken place. I just couldn’t believe my luck.

I’ve thought about that incident many times. I have since held to the quixotic notion all the pets I had loved and cared for – all of whom had long gone to dog heaven – were looking after me. They saved me that day. How I owe them dearly – every one of my beloved pets that came and went.

All of whom will remain as among the greatest loves of my life.

Pool_of_Pines2, Baguio City
Pool of Pines, a charming area in one of the several attractions of Baguio City