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Commuter Chronicles: Taxi driver on love

Just some updates: I only teach one hour a day now, and I've moved to Libis. I'm looking for my own place, but for now, I stay with my cousin and get reacquainted with the city and its long commutes and its strange, and sometimes chatty, people.

Love, to a taxi driver

I could see his dimple from where I sat. He was tall, chinky-eyed, and chatty. He told me about how he had had a relationship with a former boss, which ended five years later, because her teenage son found out and threw a fit.

He confessed he had intended not to take the relationship seriously--as she was separated with kids, four years older, and not exactly a looker--but ended up making her his whole world.

In Caviteño Tagalog, he told me about how he would just stay in his dorm when she was away, because if he would go out, she would accuse him of having somebody else.

He told me about the time he asked her why she had gone for him, despite his being a driver, and she replied, "Well, you don't look like a driver anyway."

She had two children, a girl and a boy. Her husband had left her. She called him, "My driver, my lover, my bodyguard."

He told me how he had decided to stay away and quit his job when they broke up. "That's the problem with having a relationship with your boss," he said, "when it's over, you end up with nothing."

He told me, "When you fall in love, don't make it your everything or else you'll end up empty-handed when it ends."

Before I got off, he said, "Next time, I'll just fall in love with a maid."

"Why?" I asked, as I handed him my fare, hoping for more of his wisdom, a sign, something--

"Well, to begin with, at least I'm sure she takes a bath three times a day."

Um, okay.

32

If I could assign a song for yesterday's birthday, it would be, hands down, Jason Mraz's The Remedy. I know, I know, this blog is starting to look like one long love letter for J but can you blame me? ;-) There is simple wisdom in his lines and there's love in his words. I resonate with that, because that is what I aim for.

***

When I hit 30, life woke me up.

I became more aware of my weaknesses and my power. I faced the question, "What do you want?" and survived with an answer.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and found myself quivering in fear, went back, and stepped out again. I've been playing this game for some time now, but at least I'm stepping out! And the places I have been!

I opened my heart to strangers and realized there is no other reason to love but love itself. I closed my heart to people I thought I knew and understood that saying no to others is, indeed, saying yes to yourself.

When I hit 31, life shook me up.

I realized that even the most trusted people and situations can be risky. But that trust is not something you give to others; it is something you give to yourself so you can allow yourself to be others, no matter what that brings in your life, and still be whole.

I understood that people change, and that relationships are ever-shifting.

I put a face to attachment and I learned to say goodbye to things and people.

I learned that there is such a thing as too much when it comes to helping, but not when it comes to loving, and that the two are entirely different things.

I continued to learn to say no, but I also discovered there is always much hesitation in my yes.

Now, I am 32, and life is looking up.

I'm in a good space, with a blank page.

I'm up for new changes--a new job in the same company in a new place, which would mean new people and new experiences and, well, a new place of residence.

I wouldn't be me if I said some part of me isn't sad or scared. Those are my standard, predictable responses to change. And how do I deal with those feelings?

Which brings us back to J's The Remedy:

The remedy is the experience!

I trust.

Thought for the day

Has it been two years since LEAP 32? Our theme was "The Power of Now" and I still find myself having to pull myself back to the present from time to time. I always get clarity from thinking and rethinking the past, but the danger there is dwelling on it far too longer than necessary. As for the future, I've been battling so many fears for so long now, and that's a danger in itself. I have to remember that all I have and all I will always have is now.

"It is eternity now; I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine; I am in it, as the butterfly in the light-laden air. Nothing has to come; it is now. Now is eternity; now is immortal life." - Richard Jefferies

***

P.S.

Last night, I dreamt I was catching dragonflies in my bedroom and setting them free through the window. They didn't hesitate to fly away and I was grateful.

English Trainer Chronicles: Lost in pronunciation

Geek

Him: Do you prefer to work in open space or in your own office?
Me: I prefer to work in cubicles, because I can still see people. If I had my own office, I might not leave it at all. Imagine, I teach people from another continent and I don't see my officemates--
Him: That would make you a dick!
Me: That would make me a what?!
(Pause, laughter)
Him: ... And I was so proud of my word too.*

Shirt

We were talking about some A(H1N1) prevention tips.

Him: We were told to (makes coughing sound) on our sleeves. Do you understand?
Me: Yes. The word is cough.
Him: What?
Me: (Makes coughing sound) That's coughing. The verb is cough.
Him: So, it's better to cough on your sleeve. I coughed on the end of my skirt.
Me: A skirt is something women wear for the bottom part of their bodies.
Him: Oh.
Me: (CCQ** mode) Do you wear a skirt?
Him: (Pause) Oops. Now you know my secret. I didn't want to share it with you.


* For the record, this was the Urban Dictionary meaning that registered: "An adjective to describe a guy who is a jerk or does mean and stupid things." To be fair, it does make sense. ;-)
 ** Comprehension check question

I don't know how to explain you

Today, a learner said, "I don't know how to explain you."

Normally, I'd correct it and say, "It's better to say: I don't know how to explain it to you."

But today is more of a "It's okay, I don't know how to explain me either" day.

***

I have a lot of things to catch up on. Working on my writing has been difficult since some idiot named Althea spilled milk on my keyboard. I'm so busy, busy, busy.

But I'm planning my escape.

***

Three years ago, I went on a juice fast and I said I'd do it annually to rid my body of toxins. I haven't succeeded in doing it again. I'd like to try this year, before my birthday. I'm thinking of starting it on Sept. 29, a full month before I turn 32. Wish me luck!

I will

Colors of the week

This week, in words and images.

I broke out in angry red rashes in the middle of the week. From stress, maybe, or from something in my cubicle. I swear, some days I feel like some little thing's biting me or crawling all over my skin. Sometimes, I'd like to know exactly what; sometimes, I'd like to just keep on wondering. (What if I've suddenly developed allergies to working? Such a delicious, disturbing thought!)

***

Patrick Swayze died this week. Dirty Dancing was big among my childhood friends, and it became big with me through osmosis. We tried to perform the (not so dirty, IMO) Dirty Dancing dance for one of the neighborhood Christmas parties, working overtime to get the climactic lift right.

It was at that time that I discovered, beyond reasonable doubt, that I was not really a dancer, no matter the number of programs I'd "volunteered" to join as a child. I'd danced Silent Night in a Hawaiian costume. I'd pranced around in a little red skirt and red-and-white striped socks, carrying a big styropore candy cane, dancing to Winter Wonderland. I'd dressed as an angel, throwing bougainvilla flowers in my path to the tune of another Christmas song. But it was Dirty Dancing that showed me all those had come to naught.

Still, I can probably sing the words to The Time of My Life. Off-key, of course. But that's another story.

***

Mary Travers died this week. I liked the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. It was by osmosis too, as when I was a child, my parents had a record player the size of a typical chest freezer, and one of their records was Puff the Magic Dragon. If I learned to love The Beatles later on, it was because I loved Peter, Paul and Mary first.

I watched the Puff the Magic Dragon movie some time after that. It's about Jackie, a boy paralyzed by fear.

I looked up some quotes from Puff:
Jackie, the first step in not being afraid is to see things as they really are.
Jackie, believe in yourself! Have the courage to try! That's the second step to not being afraid.
Like all small-spirited and stupid beings, they believe that they can deny beauty by hiding it.
I want a copy of this film! I think I need to see it again. :-)

***

Little surprises:

Today, I found a baby dragonfly in our tiny lobby. I plucked it from the paper it was clinging on to and gently carried it outside. It flew away. It was the first baby dragonfly I've ever seen in my entire life.

Tonight, I came home with five balloons in different colors.

You can't plan these things. :-)

Promises to keep

When I read about other people's adventures, and I feel a twinge of jealousy, that's me, hearing a bell tolling for me in the distance: It's almost time, it's almost time.

And each day the ringing becomes louder, and the day will come when I will not be able to ignore it anymore for the very simple reason that it is drowning out everything else that used to matter.

This has happened before.

I've always navigated by the heartstrings, ever since I was a child. For someone who is often hard put to express her truest feelings without bursting into an ocean of words or a mass of contrasting emotions, I'm also the owner of one of the world's most succint heart. No. Yes. Go. Run. Stop. Leave.

***

Maybe it's the deaths of young writers, the young shapers of my world. I count three now, in a space of one month.

I am sad to admit that at 31, I haven't started saying what I know only I can say.

***

I'm off to Bohol again.

Thank you for the gift of travel.

Major lesson of my lifetime 129,384

Also, never forget, there's your job and there's your responsibility. Never confuse both.

Major lesson of my lifetime 129,383

Because I can see clearly now. And because I'm 31 and know better than you:

It's not love just because you think it is. There's what you know or what you want to believe, and there's what is true.

Based on experience, these are some of the signs that it's not true:

1. You have to lie about it to the people who love you.
2. Your friends don't like him.
3. It doesn't bring out the best in him, nor the best in you.


English Trainer Chronicles: Error

One of my favorite things is when a student uses technical vocabulary to talk about everyday things. It reminds me of what my thesis mentor told me about my writing: Pay attention to your language register. I had written that the sofa was perpendicular to the kitchen counter.

Today, one of my learners said his wife ordered curtains in a color that he found too bright.

Me: So, what did you do?
Him: It told her it was an error. She called the shop to modify the command.

Guess his field. :-)

English Trainer Chronicles: Blah, blah, blah

Our lesson was on using phrases for interrupting politely. He spoke English quite well, but he wasn't sure how to use the phrases.

Me: "Let's pretend I'm talking, and then you have to interrupt me. Okay?"
Him: "Okay."
Me: "So, blah, blah, blah, blah--interrupt!"
Him: "Excuse me, but I have a point to add."
Me: "Good!" (Pause, as I waited for him to make his point. Silence.) "And what is that point?"
Him: "Oh..." (Thinks.) "Blah, blah, blah, blah."

After I stopped laughing...

Me: "That's not really English, you know."
Him: "Yes, I'm not sure I'm improving, but I made you laugh!"

Yellow



Some days ago, on the cab to work, I noticed yellow banners hanging from the trees and lamp posts we passed. My thoughts immediately went to former Pres. Corazon Aquino, widow of martyred Benigno Aquino, opposition leader during the disgraced dictator Marcos' time.

Some days after that, on my way to work, I stopped by at the 7'11 outside our village. I bought MineShine (milk tea) and potato chips. On the counter, there was a plastic canister filled with free yellow ribbons, the kind you can pin on your shirt. I got one and taped it to my computer monitor at work.

Two days after that, I went online, and was met with the news that Cory had passed away, at 3.18 am of August 1.

August is a month of heroism in the Philippines. Benigno Aquino was shot, an airplane step away from setting foot on the land of his people, the Filipinos he was convinced were worth dying for, on August 21, 1983. It is an august month, even more so now.

I have to share this, as Cory was a devout Catholic and a Marian devotee, specifically of Our Lady of Fatima: She died in the Hour of Divine Mercy, on a First Saturday, while her children were praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. She was put in power by way of a peaceful revolution, with people holding flowers, rosaries and Marian images, empowered by prayer, overwhelming tanks and heavily armed soldiers. To commemorate this people power revolution, a giant statue of an Asian-looking Virgin Mary stands in the middle of the country's busiest highway.

I'm saddened, grateful, and filled with hope, seeing how my increasingly fragmented country can still be united, albeit in grief. The same heart beating yet again in all of us. Remembering.

"I'll wait for you"

More of Jason Mraz.

An earnest prayer

Dear God,

Help me stop interpreting coincidences as divine will and help me stop dismissing signs of divine will as random coincidences.

Thank you.

Your boggled child,
Althea

Farewell, MJ!

Michael Jackson's death came as a big surprise. The aftermath is still one big crazy circus. But I suppose that's how it really is with pop superstars. I myself was surprised to realize how much he and his songs were part of my childhood. His death dug up so many memories!


So, in his honor, let me just share a thread that started on Facebook and grew in Plurk. :-) I've translated the parts that were in Filipino, but you can read the original thread here.

A: He's dead, so it's a Thriller night.
B: Tonight you will see him as a Man in the Mirror
C: Oh no! That's Dangerous...
B: He shouldn't be Bad!
D: If you see him, You are Not Alone!!!
E: Hey, the guy's dead, Beat It.
B: Yeah, just Remember the Time when Michael Jackson was still alive!
F: If I find the people behind this series of jokes, there will be Blood on the Dance Floor.
E: Ooh, F, Smooth Criminal.
G: OMG! So much hate. Heal the World!
H: Are you kiddin'? We are the World!
F: You think We are the World, but we're not! We could be Strangers in Moscow!
H: Whether it's Black or White, remember to always think twice. (Don't think twice... don't think twice? Don't think twice!)
F: I will think twice! It's Human Nature to think twice! And don't tell me that it's human nature. Why? Why? Because we
I: I am sure they'd think again if they had a friend like Ben..
F: Who's Ben? Who's Ben? Come on! And the whole world has to answer right now just to tell me once again, who's Ben?
J: Ben is definitely not Billie Jean's lover.
H: But she's such a Pretty Young Thing...
F: Unlike Dirty Diana...
E: What about Little Susie? Or that Liberian Girl?
H: The Girl is Mine
F: The girl is yours? Keep it in the Closet!
H: I'm in a State of Shock!
F: You need some Jam.
H: If I do manage to find some, i'm sure it'll be Gone Too Soon.
F: Well, don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got ti;l it's gone? Will you be there? (Oooh, Janet & Michael combo!)
H: Yeah, Got to Be There...
F: Well, I'll Be There...
K: This thread makes me want to Scream with madness!
J: You know he's mad, he's mad, you know it, come on!
H: Doesn't it make you Happy? (la la la la... lah lah lah...)
L: Hahahaha! This thread has no end. If MJ can only get to read this, he'd say, "Why You Wanna Trip On Me?" Haha!

Fighting against God

Here's something my friend Jenny shared a few weeks ago, from her daily bible reader published by Claretian Communications Foundation. I'd been thinking about this, and I finally asked her to give me the text, word for word. It captures the reason why some of my misplaced fires died.
Today we meet Gamaliel, a Pharisee and celebrated scholar of the Mosaic Law. Citing past revolts, Gamaliel advised his fellow members of the Sanhedrin not to put Peter and the other apostles to death, simply for preaching the gospel. His logic was impeccable: if Christianity was of human origin, it would destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it came from God, they wouldn’t be able to destroy it; they might even find themselves fighting against God. Of course, he was right!
It's amazing how my faith--and what I knew of it as a child--is coming back to me and shaping me. I feel like a kid who suddenly grew up.  :-)

***

I also recently looked up the patron saint of writers, and I found out it's St. Francis de Sales, who also has an amazing story of faith. He wrote a lovely prayer:
Lord, I am yours, and I must belong to no one but you. My soul is yours, and must live only by you. My will is yours, and must love only for you. I must love you as my first cause, since I am from you. I must love you as my end and rest, since I am for you. I must love you more than my own being, since my being subsists by you. I must love you more than myself, since I am all yours and all in you.
***

These are on my mind now, as I go home in Signal No. 2 storm. :-) Good night, and I love you!

Edit: (1.08am) Not a single drop of rain. The night was eerily still. Weird. I'm home now.

Happy pictures

I realized I haven't been posting pictures in this blog anymore. I was kind of spoiled by my Multiply, which, incidentally, I'm getting to know all over again because of its new version.

But here are some catch-up photos of the pictures of recent happy days.


Despedida with Allan Popa, last June 13. Not all the guysguys made it, but we had fun.


That's me and Allan.
Allan's off to an amazing adventure. I hope I can do that one day.

***

Here's today's win, from a French learner, who took a lovely picture of her book. We're reading it at the same time. :-) I should take a picture of mine.


Book hunting

I said I would just pass by Book Sale, scan the shelves for pre-loved books, and run off to do my errands. It was already late--I had attended the 4pm mass, the one in Filipino, which I barely understand, as my first language was Visayan, and even if I am fluent in Filipino, I often find it hard to access its written form--but I ended up staying an hour and a half anyway, coming out with I don't know how many books--including a lovely purchase that, I can say, now that I have two copies, I will give as a surprise birthday gift to a dear, dear friend.

That book was actually a delightful find. I was just scanning the children's books--I have this fantasy of preparing a nice little library for my two future kids--when I found it. My heart actually leapt, as it had only been days since I came to know of its existence. It was Sunday's gift to me for being a good girl, waking up early to tidy up the garden (because our stay-out maid Jean, who we'd been calling Jane for years, because that's how she pronounces it, is sick), filling up the water tank, watering my herbs (not exactly a garden yet, but it's wonderful that they're still alive), and feeding the dogs.

I spent 45 minutes more, sitting on the floor next to random toddlers, alternately pulling up my dress' collar (low neckline, boo!) and digging through other children's books (including newer editions of the Disney books I read as a child, which I was so tempted to buy for my niece Keona), to see if they had another copy of the book waiting for a second chance to make a reader happy. Unfortunately, there was none.

So, officially obsessed, I headed off to the real bookstore (the National one, haha), braved the last-minute back-to-school crowd, and prayed to find another copy. Just because. And I did! I found the one and only copy--a second time! Of course, being brand new, it was more expensive, like five times more expensive, but who cares? Can you say meant to be? :-)

P.S. As usual, I bought things I don't need too--a turquoise-inked pen and a coral blue mechanical pencil. Cheap thrills. :-)

Good night and I love you! :-)

I'm still at work

I should have left a couple of hours ago, but I'm still here, surfing the Internet, chatting on Yahoo, updating my blog, but doing nothing, really.

There are days when I feel I've built a whole lot of nothing in my life. Fortunately, the days I feel otherwise are more numerous. Unfortunately, this isn't one of those days--and it hasn't been one of those days for a couple of days now.

I've been having strange dreams that blend some sort of ecstasy with a strange level of agony.

I dreamed of going to a really disgustingly crowded festival in Spain (and wondering if I should look up old friends and slap them on the face--kidding about the slapping part, maybe), and not really getting to the festival itself, but going up on a footbridge to escape the pulsing madness, where my friends and I and nobody else encounter beautiful flocks of birds that flutter around us, leaving gifts of balloons and books and colorful Coca-cola bottles. I want to shout to the festival crowd to look up, but I am too far above. A raven speaks to me, shows me a non-winning lottery ticket meant for some other sad and sick girl, and flies off with my red balloon to make her happy. I wave the raven a happy farewell and wish it does its job well.

I dreamed of heading for Japan, on a plane, with my grad school friend Jenny and PhilSTAR friend Jing's daughter Cen-cen. The plane had colorful bunk beds for seats. I walk the wide aisle, find the refrigerator bearing limitless foil packs of fruit juice and packs of cream and feta cheese. A passenger gets some cheese, and two flight attendants scold him because they were for flight attendants only. I smile at them conspiratorially, as if I hadn't been thinking of getting some cheese for myself, and politely ask for more fruit juice. Suddenly, the plane lurches forward, and for a minute, I convince myself that it has taken off, but when I look out the window, I realize it is driving all the way across my country, using it as one long runway.

And the view is spectacular, but it seems that I'm the only one really enjoying it: There's a pink dugong in the waters; a whale; a house carved between caves; a beautiful beach house on a tiny island with three statues of women leading the way to its door; a market made of bamboo featuring handmade furniture that made generous use of capiz and other shells; a festival; a church dedicated to St. Therese in the Muslim part of Mindanao. From Manila, the plane goes to Iloilo, then Davao, passing through many things in full color. Then it heads back to Manila to finally fly to Japan.

When it's finally flying, I remember I didn't bring money. I didn't have my ATM. But my mother was on the plane, and she had a flat in Nagoya where we could stay. I decide to be zen about it, and then suddenly, we're back home and Jenny is telling me what a nice trip we had.

REM sleep, but no rest, so I've been feeling tired.

English Trainer Chronicles: Arf!

Dogs bark in different languages too, methinks.

Learner: What means bark? Is it like the cry of a dog?
Me: Yes... (Then I bark to illustrate.)
Learner: I like it when you speak Dog. Can you do that again?
Me: I'm sorry, I'm not very fluent.

Love is a messy affair

And sometimes, it's messier with family and familiarity. But it's always nice to remember the little things.

Get your tissues out. :P



Watch the original and wider version here.

English Trainer Chronicles: Lost in translation

She was telling me to wait on the phone: "I will regulate the darkness."
She meant: "I need to adjust the light."

He was telling me why he had to see an ex-girlfriend again, after a bad break-up: "I have to see her because I left my clock at her apartment."
I actually replied: "Why not get a new one? It can't be that expensive!"
He meant: He had left his watch.

He was telling me about how he expressed his vacation preferences to his wife: "I told her to fly away."

Wazzup, Multiply?

My Blogspot posts are no longer showing.

Love, love, love

Did I say love?


English Trainer Chronicles: Lost in translation

She was telling me to wait on the phone: "I will regulate the darkness."
She meant: "I need to adjust the light."

He was telling me why he had to see an ex-girlfriend again, after a bad break-up: "I have to see her because I left my clock at her apartment."
I actually replied: "Why not get a new one? It can't be that expensive!"
He meant: He had left his watch.

He was telling me about how he expressed his vacation preferences to his wife: "I told her to fly away."

"The world will crush you," he said

Someone told me I was too sensitive; I let too many things affect me, or hurt me. It's funny, because it is both true and untrue. I am tough where it matters, I think, and soft where I allow myself to be.

If I am deceived, it is because I choose to trust. This choice is not easy to come by; it takes a long time and careful thought. I don't see why that is a weakness, because the easy way is just to doubt and see the more apparent worst in people. I choose to see the best in them, because I want to believe that no matter how horrid I get--and I have been really horrid--someone will choose to see the best in me as well.

If I have long spaces of sadness or hurt, say, out of a failed romance, it is because I do love deeply and it takes me a long time to heal. But when I do heal, and the person is worth loving, the love evolves, and it will always, always be there. I know no other way to love; I want no other way either, because I want to believe I will be loved in exactly the same way I can.

If I may not "have fun" like normal people, or if Saturday nights find me home, or I don't risk putting myself out there for the world to pluck, well. I have no answer, except that I have little patience for shallow relationships and other such inanities, and if I give you the time of day, you can bet that you can freely ask for my all (except money, criminal activities, immoral acts, LOL) because I'm just all or nothing that way. And I know for a fact, and from experience, you don't find real things in that great "out there." I know, because I've been there.

(So, okay, maybe I have to work on some other there. But here could work just as well, true?)

I get hurt, because I care. Believe me, it's better that way. And if the world will crush me, who really, really just wants to be a harmless burst of joy, then boo. I'm still not going to stop caring, and thus, I'm not going to stop risking hurting.

Stages of grief

According to some online tests, the validity of which remain in question, I am "center-brained," as opposed to left-brained or right-brained. If this means I can vacillate between feeling something deeply and intellectualizing it, I don't know. But I do have a tendency to do that.

If this is why I enjoy reading (smarter) self-improvement literature, I won't be surprised. I find it both fun and enlightening to observe my feelings and trace their psychological footprints.

And if this has anything to do with early this morning--when I couldn't sleep because I just had a thought about my stages of heartbreak--I don't have the patience to find out. It's my much-awaited Saturday, after all, and I want to watch a movie with a tub of buttery popcorn.

But these--in words and images of words--are what kept me up early this morning, after I came in from a night out with a friend.


The Kübler-Ross grief cycle and my checklist.
Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
The stages don't come in a linear manner; according to the site, it's "a roller-coaster ride of activity and passivity as the person wriggles and turns in their desperate efforts to avoid the change."

Funny how they use the term "roller-coaster."

What I know of my own grief cycle is thus:

1. Shock - Mostly at my own stupidity/gullibility/naivete.
2. Anger - Mostly at the other person and myself, for not delivering on the certainty. If there's one thing we should be able to count on, it's the promise of commitment. But this is where I also giggle at my own desire for a controlled environment--and idealism. You're so romantic, said one learner, you think you can fly at the touch of a loved one's hand--and that's why you cry..
3. Epic fails - Mostly at being the world's idea of mature, because I hate the notion of "maturity" when you feel your heart is shattered into tiny little pieces, and I think "managing your emotions" is only for people who think highly of themselves for never asking for a hug or for love. This can be restated as: "It's my party, damn it, and I'll cry if I want to. You should cry too if it happened to you."
4. Melancholy and sadness - Mostly for myself, because life could have been wonderful, and it didn't became the kind of wonderful I wanted it to be, but I know, because life is beautiful, that it will be some other kind of wonderful. And I am sad because it's so easy to forget that, and to be lost in Nos. 1 and 3, and why do people do that to themselves, why, why, in God's name, why? At this point, anything, from totally unrelated news headlines to TVCs can make me cry.
5. Surrender bordering on indifference. - Mostly because I need it to erase embarrassing stages like No. 3 and No. 4.
6. Acceptance, peace, love and little bunnies. - I'm a hippie at heart, what can I say? I can forgive.

But first, I forget. :-)

English Trainer Chronicles: Garlic

I know the French word for garlic: ail. I have Italian students too, but it never occurred to me to look it up. Now I know:

aglio aglio aglio

My learner wanted to know what "garlic" was, and I wanted her to come up with the meaning on her own. But it was a slow day--for me.

Me: (Thinks of how I cook spaghetti.) Do you know "onion"?
Learner: Yes, I know onion.
Me: Well... it's not an onion.
Learner: Okay, so it's not an onion. (Laughs out loud.)
Me: (What did I get myself into?) So, garlic is not an onion... (D'oh!) It's white and you have to peel off many layers of skin. And it comes in a bulb, so you have to take it apart, because you only use some of the parts. Then, sometimes, to use it in a dish, you have to crush it.
Learner: Crush?
Me: You know, you use a mortar and pestle fork to make it, er, flat?
Learner: Oh, I know! Vampires ate garlic!
Me: No... vampires don't like it!
Learner: Yes, vampires ate garlic!
Me: (Thinks back to my days playing Vampire: The Masquerade) No, they don't like garlic!

Then I realized we were pretty much saying the same thing. She just wasn't, like many of my learners, pronouncing the letter h.

P.S.

Proof I was a vampire--specifically, a Toreador--from Lorie's collection of college photos:

English Trainer Chronicles: Garlic

I know the French word for garlic: ail. I have Italian students too, but it never occurred to me to look it up. Now I know:

aglio aglio aglio

My learner wanted to know what "garlic" was, and I wanted her to come up with the meaning on her own. But it was a slow day--for me.

Me: (Thinks of how I cook spaghetti.) Do you know "onion"?
Learner: Yes, I know onion.
Me: Well... it's not an onion.
Learner: Okay, so it's not an onion. (Laughs out loud.)
Me: (What did I get myself into?) So, garlic is not an onion... (D'oh!) It's white and you have to peel off many layers of skin. And it comes in a bulb, so you have to take it apart, because you only use some of the parts. Then, sometimes, to use it in a dish, you have to crush it.
Learner: Crush?
Me: You know, you use a mortar and pestle fork to make it, er, flat?
Learner: Oh, I know! Vampires ate garlic!
Me: No... vampires don't like it!
Learner: Yes, vampires ate garlic!
Me: (Thinks back to my days playing Vampire: The Masquerade) No, they don't like garlic!

Then I realized we were pretty much saying the same thing. She just wasn't, like many of my learners, pronouncing the letter h.

P.S.

Proof I was a vampire--specifically, a Toreador--from Lorie's collection of college photos:

English Trainer Chronicles: Happy April Fools' Day!

I learned, from factmonster.com, that April Fool's day is April Fish Day in France. A learner told me that children put pictures of fish on the backs of people as a prank, so I spent all day telling my French learners to watch out for fish! :-)

One of my learners told me of her own experience as a child.

Learner: "When I was a young girl, my friend put a fish in my butt."
Me: ...
Learner: "Oh no, no! My back! Not my butt!"

When she walked away to print our lesson for the day, I could still hear her laughing.

P.S.

I tried to rickroll one of my students. But he hasn't replied. :P

No day but today!

The secret to enjoying life.

English Trainer Chronicles: A triple treat

Three stories, to make up for my lack of blogging.

Tomatoes

The "Monday question," as most of my learners have observed, is "What did you do last weekend?" So...

Me: What did you do last weekend?
Learner: I prepared the soil in the garden for the tomatoes I will plant.
Me: You plant tomatoes? That's great! What kind of tomatoes do you plant?
Learner: I plant two kinds, grape tomatos and the tomato we call Roma.
Me: What is the Roma tomato like?
Learner: It is coming from Italy...
Me: Wait... let's fix this sentence. When you say "It is coming from Italy," it means it is on its way right now.
Learner: Why, yes, Althea, it's coming on the train to jump in my garden. Don't you have tomatoes like that in your country?

Running on water

Same learner got me too. :P

We were talking about dolphins in the Philippines. I was telling him about how, when I was in Bohol, we followed dolpins around on a boat. I think I got a little overexcited, as usual.

Learner: Do you have dolphins in your country?
Me: Oh we do! They're really wonderful! Last summer, we went dolphin-watching near one of the islands here, and we had a boat and we ran after them--
Learner: You run on the water? Mamma mia! You're like Jesus!

Vineyard

His English was great. He was really serious. Like military serious. And I didn't know how to break the ice.

Me: So, maybe we can talk about your goals. What is your dream job?
Him: My dream job is to be... what do you call that place where you plant grapes for wine?
Me: Oh, a vineyard.
Him: My dream job is to be a vineyard.
Me: Um, that's not right.
Him: Yes, it is. My dream job is to be a vineyard.
Me: Um, that means grapes will be planted on you.
Him: Why, yes.
Me: Do you want grapes to be planted on you?
Him: Oh, NO! I don't want to BE a vineyard! I want to HAVE a vineyard. I don't want grapes to be planted on me! (Guffaws)

- Fin -

Love life

I was surfing about one of my dream gadgets, Kindle, and I found this webcomic: xkcd.com. I found funny comics that pretty much sums up my love life in the last 30 years.

1. Pre-teen era.

2. Teenage years.

3. Part of my twenties.

4. The other part of my twenties, I think, and a good part of my early 30s, but in a slightly different way.

5. My pet neurosis.

6. And, voila! My soul mate.

Yet another love

Sonnet 29

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.

Via: Marchie

A poem for a horoscope

Love, love, love!
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21), for the week of February 11: In creating this oracle, I've borrowed words from the artist and poet Wolff Bowden. Please steal them from me and use them in cryptic, affectionate communiqués that will deepen your connection with someone who makes your heart sing. Here's the first batch: "You belong to love as wheels belong to roads, as grapes belong to the blossoming of taste, as corn belongs to crows, as shadows belong to the ache of heat, as happiness belongs to the capricious pangs of the soul." Here's the second: "May the color blue behold your body while sun washes your shoulders near the window. May your lips refuse the kiss unless your heart is home. May euphoria find you in the place where you are lonely. May you light a billion candles with your mind."

English Trainer Chronicles: Stick and Shearing

A double feature for today, from two of my funniest students.

1. Sheared

Me: What did you do last weekend?
Him: I went to the... (checks translator) hairdresser.
Me: Oh, what did you have done?
Him: He... (checks translator) sheared me.
Me: ???
Him: He sheared me.
Me: Oh. That's usually used for sheep.
Him: O-ka-aa-aa-ay.

2. Stick

Him: I'm trying to cut down on meat.
Me: Oh, that's great. So what did you have for lunch?
Him: Pasta and (checks translator) cauliflower.
Me: Wow... that's interesting. So, are you really avoiding meat?
Him: Yes, but I eat stick.
Me: Stick?
Him: Yes, stick.
Me: Are you sure it's stick?
Him: Um, steak?
Me: Oh! (Laughs) Do you know what "stick" is?
Him: (Laughs) Wait, let me check, let me check... (Laughs out loud)

English Trainer Chronicles: Stick and Shearing

A double feature for today, from two of my funniest students.

1. Sheared

Me: What did you do last weekend?
Him: I went to the... (checks translator) hairdresser.
Me: Oh, what did you have done?
Him: He... (checks translator) sheared me.
Me: ???
Him: He sheared me.
Me: Oh. That's usually used for sheep.
Him: O-ka-aa-aa-ay.

2. Stick

Him: I'm trying to cut down on meat.
Me: Oh, that's great. So what did you have for lunch?
Him: Pasta and (checks translator) cauliflower.
Me: Wow... that's interesting. So, are you really avoiding meat?
Him: Yes, but I eat stick.
Me: Stick?
Him: Yes, stick.
Me: Are you sure it's stick?
Him: Um, steak?
Me: Oh! (Laughs) Do you know what "stick" is?
Him: (Laughs) Wait, let me check, let me check... (Laughs out loud)

New sim, old number

Hi! I finally had the time to replace my postpaid phoneline's SIM, which I lost last November.

My address book is empty. Please text me your name and numbers so we can resume contact!

+639178334846

English Trainer Chronicles: Counterfeit

We were discussing this article from www.iht.com: French court rules against eBay over luxury fakes sold on its site.

It's about how eBay was ordered to pay €38.6 million in damages to LVMH, the French luxury goods company.

He told me about how some of the counterfeit goods were made in countries in which authentic goods were also made, and how some makers just make similar products, like bags for example, with lesser quality materials, and they just change small details, like the name.

We were talking about this part:
When counterfeits appear on our site we take them down swiftly, and today's ruling is not about our fight against counterfeiting," eBay said from Paris. "It's about an attempt by LMVH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers every day. We will fight this ruling on their behalf."
Him: They made a mistake! It's LVMH, not LMVH. It's a counterfeit company!

1990s, for a night

I took half a day off yesterday to attend Aldus Santos' book launch for Repeat While Fading at SaGuijo. <3

Half day, for me, actually meant half the PM off, as my last lesson ended at 7.40pm. I met Jenny at Magallanes at 8:30pm and following tips from nice people over there at Plurk, we found our way.

(To those who want to know how to commute to SaGuijo, this is what we did: We met at the southbound side of Magallanes, walked to the corner, took a PRC jeep to Bagtikan, got off, asked the security guard where SaGuijo was walked to Guijo St., and followed the music.)

It was nice to be out on a weekday night again. It was also nice to be around people from college. I've been missing UP lately (finally!), or maybe I've been missing who I was back then.

Whatever--I went on a serious senti trip when I watched True Faith perform, and when, upon the urging of Paul and Lorie's friend Joy, we had three of the former Eheads (unfortunately, Buddy wasn't around) and Medwin Marfil sign Aldus' book.

At some point, I felt very much like my "uncool" 17-year-old-self again, but I went all out and asked Bobby Balingit and Repeat While Fading editor, dearest Paul Catiang, to sign my copy too. <3

On a semi-related note, I am seriously thinking about going back to UP for some writing classes.

But first, my DLSU thesis.

My beautiful mess

I've been working on my room since Christmas break. I've been painting walls and ceilings, and, being new at this, it's taking me so long. That, and the fact that I'm a weekend warrior. It's such a fulfilling task, though, and now I know I can DIY too!

I wish I knew how to make shelves and other furniture, but unfortunately, it's not one of the skills I've been blessed with. I'd really love to find a good flea market for such, though.

Last weekend, I finally decided to paint my work area. This was a daunting task, not because of the painting (I've improved immensely), but because I had to empty the big shelf my father made for me. My books are everywhere!




Dear Universe/God: #7

Okay, so I've been asking for some lovin' and, as always, you are quick to reply. I just have to learn that it's not always in the form I want it to come in.

But you know me, I'm a crazy, but recovering control freak.

Thank you for the following:

1. The singer Dulce's text message thanking me for my review of Hairspray last November. Not only did it send me into starstruck mode, it also pulled me back to that fateful November evening that left me scarred and affirmed that something beautiful can still grow from it. Time is all it takes.
2. Weng from Gospel Komiks asking me to write another comic strip and thanking me for sharing my gift. :-) I hope to do more of this sharing. As Jabez prays, keep enlarging my territory, pretty please.
3. Mamu's texts and phone calls.
4. Pizza and doggie ball from Ivan.
5. Last Thurday's Corn and cheese and tuna sandwiches (in whole wheat ciabatta) from my officemate Sheila.
6. And the orange from Donna!
7. The good (and not so expected, because I'm usually paranoid that way) performance appraisal. (As they say in American Idol, "I'm going to Hollywood!")
8. Keona's unexpected visit.
9. The beautiful read that is Eat, Pray, Love.
10. Pre-loved books from Yvette that I bought at the office garage sale.
11. Weekend at the Alabang Town Center with family, extended family, and friends. Mwah!

Okay, so I'm taking archiving seriously now

When I started my career as a writer, I promised myself I'd take note of everything I wrote. I did this fanatically, keeping even press releases I wrote for the many products I got acquainted with as a marketing writer for The Philippine STAR. Of course, I had no idea my "portfolio" would mutate into an unmanageable mess of articles on whatever, from banks to beauty products to burgers to, really, whatever.

When I left The Philippine STAR three wonderful years later, I made sure to keep copies of my files, apart from hard copies of the articles. But little did I know my writing would scatter itself into wherever, as I'd eventually try my hand at freelance writing. Sometimes, I google my name and find links to pieces I never even remember writing.

The only kind of archiving I practice is that I save all my sent files in my Yahoo and Gmail accounts. (Sifting through them gets interesting when I come across passionately-typed emails to boys I loved).

So now, I've decided to, once again, use a blog to keep the articles I write for Cebu's The Freeman's entertainment section, where I have a column that usually appears twice a week. Check it out (and ignore the typos; those are my column pieces before they passed through my editor's eyes):

Channel Surfing for Freeman

I'm still copy-pasting everything from June 2007, but it's up to date since 2009.

Now, I'll have to figure out how to archive the rest of my writing.

To all the boys I loved before--or, that McDo commercial

So I may be the last in the Philippines to see this ad, but better late than never! People weren't kidding when they said this brings back a lot of memories. It's so 1990s. Gen X has grown up, indeed.




That thing with the fries, I did that too. :-)

I am a Type 2

I took the Enneagram test here, after seeing other bloggers on my contact list take it too.

The Helper (the Two)

Helpers are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.

How to Get Along with Me

* Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.
* Share fun times with me.
* Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.
* Let me know that I am important and special to you.
* Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.

In Intimate Relationships
* Reassure me that I am intersting to you.
* Reassure me often that you love me.
* Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.

What I Like About Being a Two

* being able to relate easily to people and to make friends
* knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better
* being generous, caring, and warm
* being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings
* being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor

What's Hard About Being a Two

* not being able to say no
* having low self-esteem
* feeling drained from overdoing for others
* not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish
* criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should
* being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tume in to them
* working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings

Twos as Children Often

* are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism
* try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding
* are outwardly compliant
* are popular or try to be popular with other children
* act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention
* are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Twos), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Twos)

Twos as Parents

* are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)
* are often playful with their children
* wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"
* can become fiercely protective

First book of the year: Eat, Pray, Love--or first, I cry

I first heard about Eat, Pray, Love from the Oprah Show. I was hesitant about reading it, as I still have a pile of guaranteed feel-good reads to make a dent on, but when I found a copy for a little over a hundred bucks at Booksale, I quickly grabbed it. I picked it up after New Year, and I found it to be such a delicious, beautiful read.

Gilbert, thirty-something and recently divorced, travels from Italy to India to Indonesia in pursuit of pleasure, piety, and the balance between the two. In Italy she eats, in India she prays, and in Indonesia she finds love.

I'm still in the Italy part, but already I'm wondering where I am really in her book. I think I'm at where she was, before she found the guts to make her journey.

Bleh. But it's good to cry.

The New Year meme, for 2008

I don't think I've answered this before. I got this from Cherie's blog.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I went out of the country.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I stayed true to the theme for 2008.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. But many got preggers.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nobody, thank God.

5. What countries did you visit?
Thailand.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
TMTM (Too many to mention)
A sense of urgency. A master's degree. A million bucks. True love.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory?
Dates start getting muddled when you reach 30. LOL.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Self-love!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I never fail. Life just changes its course.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I just lost my sense of safety--but slowly getting it back!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane tickets

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Mine! LOL

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Ray's, but he's being a friend now

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food (always food) and travel

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Work, believe it or not

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2008?
Big Girls Don't Cry (LOL) and As the Deer

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? I'm always happier.
2. thinner or fatter? Fatter, unfortunately.
3. richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing and reading

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating and spending money on food

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
For 2008? Doing some last minute shopping, last minute cooking.
For 2009? I don't know. Cuddling with someone, hopefully. :P

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
I don't think I spent a lot of time on the phone this year.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I kept the status quo for the most part.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
Let me see... um, zero.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Dexter

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I don't believe in hate. Indifference is better.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
I didn't do a lot of reading in 2008. :-(

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Classical music, in general.

28. What did you want and get?
Extra jobs

29. What did you want and not get?
A master's degree

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
Mamma Mia!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was at work. Ordered pizza. I turned, as my German student said, "twenty-eleven."

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting my master's degree.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
sit-down-on-a-chair-all day-comfortable
Oh, and I did say I would start wearing dresses, and I did!

34. What kept you sane?
The question, "What would love do?"

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Still Pierce Brosnan

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
There were two, actually: PGMA's pardoning Erap; Cory's apology
To them, I say: You had no right!

37. Who did you miss?
Ray

38. Who was the best new person you met?
(Did I make new friends? Shucks, I can't remember.)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Love is your True North.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
And what a beautiful mess this is.

Happy 2009!

But first, my gosh, I have ignored this blog for far too long! Work took me away to pretty dark places.

Kidding.

My long vacation was well-spent, in terms of family bonding and, er, family bonding. I also did something I never did before: paint my (love) bedroom!

The colors are (not a picture of a thousand sunsets) G-144 and H-144. I forget the fancy-schmancy names Davies Paints had for them, but G-144 is a cross between pink and lavender, while H-144 is, well, a cross between dark pink and violet.

Being a total newbie and utterly obsessive-compulsive about this, I'm not yet done. I have yet to even touch my work area, which I will paint with the Sun & Roof shade of Nile Green.

I have some goals again for this year. I'm still thinking them over, but I'll be writing about them soon.

I also have a new baby girl: a black Labrador half-breed from Sherwil. I named her Midnight, because she arrived while we were watching Mamma Mia! on DVD the day after Christmas!

It's actually short for "Gimme, Gimme a Man after Midnight."

I want to write some more, but work beckons, so back to regular programming--Life of a Thirty-something Working Girl, Scene 139,837,933,827,344.