Thursday, November 10, 2011

The moon was lovely last night

My best friend called me up in the middle of the night to tell me that her former "nanny," who is actually the same age as we are, was giving birth prematurely at a hospital near the apartment.

On our way to the hospital, Jen and I we were greeted by the nearly full moon. Shining brightly beside it was Jupiter.

I took pictures with my Nokia E5, but I don't think they were very good ones. I'll post them later. For now, here's a picture of it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cultivate whimsy

When I was younger, in my teens, the way I wanted to live my life was clear: I wanted to be always creating beauty, free from the opinions of other people. I was blessed to have known what my passions were early: I was a writer, I wanted to make beautiful things with words. I filled my head with nuggets I held as beautiful, and it didn't matter that nobody else cared.

And then I grew up, and suddenly, there were important things to be done. Like make money, pay bills, meet deadlines, make other people happy. I wasn't living in my own bubble anymore.

I don't mind living in a bigger bubble and sharing it with many other people. What I do mind is that somehow I've allowed myself to water down my dreams as well.

Last weekend, I was part of the staff for the 151st team of OCCI's Foundations of Leadership Excellence seminar. With me were my sister Kai, who was the chief of staff; her husband Sean; Sean's brother Sam; my brother Ivan; Ivan's girlfriend Dayen; and my younger brother's girlfriend Rechelle. The 60 students we had were mostly young, like in their late teens and early 20s.

What an experience!

I handled three teens, all 17. All artists. Two were into fashion design, one was a magician. As many of the younger artists, they sounded clear about how they wanted to live their lives. They wanted to be always creating beauty.

In one module, I had to share with them my shadow, and they had to share with me their fears for me. One girl said, "My fear for you is that you will lose many more opportunities in your life." It hit me right where I needed to be hit, mainly because it had been said by someone who was 17.

At 17, the opportunities had yet to come my way. At 34, I've definitely missed many, mostly in the name of practicality and my many irrational fears.

I'm on the road to fixing that now, thanks to the weekend. I'm grateful for the gift of teachers.

A few weeks ago, I read Mona Simpson's eulogy for her brother Steve Jobs. One of the lines that struck me was: "Steve cultivated whimsy. What other C.E.O. knows the history of English and Chinese tea roses and has a favorite David Austin rose?"

Steve seemed to have an artist's heart. You can see it in the lovely results he created.

Perhaps cultivating whimsy will wake up the artist in my heart.

As a start, I have a new project: A DIY blackboard!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November rain

A rainy street at the Latin Quarter in Paris
I'm in my friend Jen's room, crashing until the repairs in Room F, my room, are done. This room is on the second floor, and the wireless broadband signal is so much better. Because I'm nearer to the roof, I can hear the rain.

I love the rain. I love how it drenches everything and cleanses the air. I love walking in the rain. I envy people who don't seem to be afraid of a little water, even when they're on their way to some place important.

When I walk without an umbrella, people worry about me. You'll get sick, they say. I often explain that it's not really the rain that makes one sick, it's the virus you catch, especially when you stay indoors with a lot of other people.

Some of the simplest unforgettable pleasures I've had is walking in the rain with a friend. I remember two moments from when I was in college, and one from when I was on a short work trip in Paris.

1. Walking with Mack one night in UP. First, we shared an umbrella. Then we ditched the umbrella and decided to enjoy getting drenched.

2. Walking along EspaƱa with Jimple. The whole stretch from Welcome Rotonda to the University of Sto. Tomas was flooded, and I was afraid of whatever was hiding in the waters (garbage and excrement, open manholes, electrical wires, leptospirosis and the occasional snake), but all I really remember now is us holding hands and his poems in my bag.

3. Walking around Paris in the rain with my former student Dominique, his wife Olivia and their daughter Sara. I loved Paris in the rain.

Now, Jen and I are going out -- yes, in the rain -- to get some midnight nourishment.

Happiness.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back to writing

I'm writing again.

It's been a while since I last really wrote, and I mean from the heart, approaching it as a well-loved craft.

This is me rediscovering writing again, from a full year that saw me flirting with a different path. I could actually feel it, the gift slipping away as my passions shifted, pointed elsewhere.

Then I spent two consecutive days with my colleagues attempting to sing videoke. It reminded me of two things: first, my father, who loved to sing, but also couldn't; second, what I am actually good at, which was definitely not singing.

I already have an art: writing. I can be good at something else and still be good at that.

Writing projects
  • I will write about my Jesus year one day, when everything that needs to settle does. Some of the things I want to write about -- the life lessons I dare to share, if I may -- still need to be digested and absorbed.
  • I still have a thesis to polish, to submit. 
  • And then there's that book of love stories.

My netbook and my mouse pad.