A Writing Exercise

The other day I was supposed to wait somewhere for my Mom as she went to a funeral. She left me at a Red Ribbon branch after we had lunch there and she was supposed to be away for an hour. Now, normally this wouldn’t really be a problem. I was always equipped with things to keep me busy while I wait. Entertainment has become more portable nowadays and I had my Kindle and my iPod to keep my occupied usually. That day was one of those days when I completely forgot to bring my Kindle and I didn’t feel like sticking in my earphones to listen to music. For all of technologies advances, it still falls to people themselves to remind themselves, one way or another, of things that they should not leave the house without. If only my Kindle has a way of reminding me not to leave it whenever I step out. It doesn’t though, so I was left Kindle-less for that trip and I worried about what I would do for an hour left to myself.

While I was really worrying about that, I couldn’t help but feel kind of strange. Has my dependency on technology robbed me of finding enjoyment in the simple things? Possibly. I mean, my laptop is my constant companion. If I go on long trips, it comes with me. It has everything in it to keep me occupied for days on end, given that I don’t feel like socializing. Barring that and on shorter trips, I always had my Kindle and my iPod to keep me occupied. So what do I do when I don’t have my laptop or my Kindle and I didn’t feel like listening to music?

Thank goodness I had a new notebook in my bag and some pens. I had to fall back on the old traditional way of occupying myself: writing. So I did. I had no topic in mind, no actual direction. I just wrote and wrote and somehow it all just came together. It was just a stream of consciousness for the most part. I wrote about writing, starting from when I was just nine years old and had no idea what I was doing when I was actually writing Sailor Moon fanfiction. I wrote about getting my writing groove on while I was at school and losing it after starting work and getting swallowed by it. I wrote about my attempt at perfectionism that soon killed all will to write because it had just gotten so hard, like a chore. Then I wrote about writing again, about letting go of pretensions and just writing, about finding the joy in it again. I sat there hunched over my notebook and a pen, hardly pausing, as I took bites here and there of my chicken empanada.

It’s a small notebook and my handwriting is small and cramped and I didn’t care for following the lines. After Mama came back 30 minutes earlier than she should have, I was done writing–my little stream of consciousness actually had a point– and I filled up one and a half pages of my notebook. For me, it was an achievement, much like each blog entry I finish and publish online. Actually being able to write with pen and paper and finishing it was something that I hadn’t really done in a long time and it gave me a sense of nostalgia, of how it felt like to be young while you’re doing something you love with no reservations. It was a good feeling and I was glad I was able to revisit that moment, especially when I felt old and uncertain.

From that exercise, I guess I could say that I’m not a total lost case when it comes to being dependent on my gadgets. At the same time, I can also say that I can still manage the effort to physically write something out, which is a really big improvement given how I was just a few months ago, when I was lazy and didn’t even deign to try.

There’s hope for me yet.


Luisiana in Review

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This past week has been super busy. I’ve been running around finishing up things for work and I’ll be happy when this week is over as I have more work to do tomorrow. Also last Tuesday to Wednesday, I was on a business trip of sorts. I had to go and assist my boss over at Luisiana, Laguna. For those who don’t know, Luisiana is up in the mountains, thus giving it a cooler climate compared with a lot of other municipalities in Laguna. It’s actually called the Little Baguio of Laguna because of all this. Since it’s been so hot recently, it was a great relief for me to experience the weather up there. We didn’t need for an AC to be turned on, especially at night. It’s that cool. True, it’s still sunny, but it’s really so much cooler and that’s just one of the reasons why I enjoyed my stay there.

It’s just a simple, unassuming town. How simple? No Starbucks, hahaha. It’s developing, certainly, but it’s still a far cry from a bustling city. The nearest Jollibee is 30 minutes away and you have to get down from the mountain to access it. It’s very quiet and the only real disturbance you get is whenever they have something going on in the plaza and boy, do they know how to party until dawn. Aside from that, it’s a peaceful town, with quiet, smiling, unassuming people. The town itself is very simple and compact. Most everything surrounds a park and when you see the church, you can be sure that the municipal hall is right beside it, right across the plaza. You see remnants of Spanish colonization in that traditional arrangement of architechture and also in some of the houses and buildings. It’s a sign of the town still being quite old-fashioned, but progress is also seen. The town has access to the Internet and telephones, so it’s not as backward as it can be in other places in the Philippines. The melding of the new and the old is very comforting for me as I was still able to feel relaxed in the new and peaceful surroundings even as I was able to keep in touch with my family and friends easily as only modern technology can allow.

I was also amazed at how clean the whole place was. I don’t think I’ve seen a single piece of trash anywhere. You really have to hand it to the people who are governing Luisiana. They’re doing their best to make their town a wonderful place to be. It’s not really an exciting location if there’s no fiesta happening, but it’s a good place to get away from it all, if you’re only looking for a quiet, cool venue to rest or in our case, to get some work done. And we were pretty productive while we were there. We’ll most probably end up going back up there again for work and I am looking forward to those trips in the future. Especially given that pancit habhab is just so delicious. I could eat it all day.

So, who wants to come with me to Luisiana next time? 😀

Books for Sale

I have resolved some time ago to sell my books that I didn’t really see myself going back to reading any time soon. It took a while between one thing and another, but I finally got off my butt earlier today to compile a list and to post it online. The book list can be accessed here, if you have a Facebook account. I was actually surprised at how many books I was willing to part with. It wasn’t news to me that I had a lot of books, they’re practically everywhere in my house, but to actually have an exact count of books that I was willing to sell? Mind-boggling. And I’ve only just started sorting through my books. I have a bunch more in another big box and who knows how many more I’ll find in there.

Once I started earning money, I was pretty enthusiastic about buying books. I mean, how can you go wrong with books? They entertain you and also teach you things. You’re able to travel to distant lands and universes without having to pay much (usually), meet new people, learn some new vocabulary, history, facts or life lessons along the way. I frequented book sales and bookstores every week. It wasn’t surprising when I came home with a bag of books after a trip to the mall. When I felt down, I splurged in a book sale or got myself that book that I really, really wanted, but was a bit pricey for the usual book shopping trip. A big chunk of my money the past few years were invested in books. I knew this, but it was still surprising to find how many I’ve hoarded through the years.

A lot of my books are (embarrassingly?) romance novels. You know, the ones with the buff half-naked guy holding this swooning half-naked girl in his arms on the cover? Yeah, those. A lot of them are based in another time and another place with the protagonists falling in love at the end no matter how they started out. How can I not be happy with these books? Perfect escapist material, I say. Nowadays, I still love romance novels, though I’m much pickier now. I don’t get the ones with the embarrassing covers as often anymore and I prefer Regency and Paranormal Romances by specific authors. Rule of thumb with buying romance novels is that the cover must not be embarrassing to bring out in public, though romance novels still kind of are embarrassing to read out in the open where anyone can see. Thank goodness for my Kindle. Now I can read all the romance novels I want in public and no one will be the wiser!

My Kindle is another reason why I’m letting a lot of my books go. The Kindle has made my life as a bookworm better in a lot of ways. It makes bringing books around a lot easier as all the books are just in this handheld device. I have about 200+ books in my Kindle right now and I still have a lot of space to fill in. It doesn’t strain my eyes as the screen isn’t backlit like a computer screen is. It’s light and easy to hold. I love my Kindle and I’ve always been grateful that my uncle gave it to me. However, I do still miss actual books. Nothing quite beats the way you actually hold a book in your hand and take the time to turn the pages. And then there’s that old book smell. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to dig into a pile of books when you’re trying to look for that special one you wanted to read at the time. Much as I love the Kindle, it’s also not very huggable, which I always found books to be. No matter what, it’s still a machine and machines are kind of hard to love (though some machines are exceptions).

There are still a couple of books that I don’t think I could ever let go of for different reasons. Like, I can’t let go of my paperback copy of Gone With the Wind and its sequel Scarlett, because I love the movie and I love the books just as much. Same goes for Rhett Butler’s People, which is another Gone With the Wind sequel and a book that I really, really wanted to get after it came out. My Tita Kim got me a copy and sent it from the States. I was that hardcore about it. There are other books, other stories and I can’t remember them all right now. Maybe later again this week when I dive into the next pile of books to weed out the ones that I can get new homes for. Hopefully, they will be loved more by their new owners.

First the Internet, then the World

Is anyone else freaked out by how Facebook just seems to be everywhere on the Internet now? You click on a site and when you’re asked to log in you see something like this:

Did you click it?

How easy.

How convenient.

How scary.

It’s probably just me letting my mind wander into craziness unknown after a day spent sorting through repetitive legal files that I could hardly understand, but seriously. Facebook is everywhere on the ‘Net and it lets you access all sorts of things that would usually take you a while to do. Now, all you have to do is have a Facebook account, hardly ever sign out from it and just use it to get into sites that you want to access. It’s that simple, even more simple than pouring hot water into instant noodles. Were if only we could cook instant noodles with just one click of a button. Who knows. Maybe in the future, Facebook can just do EVERYTHING for you, practically take over and control your life in a more physical way. What kind of physical way? I don’t know. I have no idea. I’m not that creative right now to think of something beyond my instant noodles example up there. Or some kind of itty-bitty computer chip thing that is then put into your brain and… I don’t know, but there you go.

Facebook. Sooner or later, it can literally control your life.

Hey, it could happen. It’s already starting by hooking people in for hours (DAYS) and allowing people to use it if for easy logging into sites that they use everyday. Who knows what else Facebook would be capable of after a few years or so?

Another thing to hate this summer for

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The slideshow up there shows scenes from what could possibly be a post-apocalyptic-themed movie, but no, this is real life. This is the backdrop of Summer 2012 for me when the government decided to dig up and destroy the road in front of our house. You’ll find similar scenes all across Manila. This probably happens every summer as politicians take advantage of less traffic due to the schools being out to make their “improvements” on the roads and whatever else, but we’ve never really had our whole road dug up like this.

It’s annoying! I walk back and forth over this rough, holed up road and it’s made worse by the awful heat. It also feels like I went back a few centuries. I couldn’t help thinking, as I stepped and climbed over uneven debris, cement and gravel, little bits of it getting into my walking shoes, “My goodness, this must be what my grandparents felt like when their roads still sucked.” It’s not fun, not fun at all. And they say it’d be months before the road is back to normal. MONTHS. You can just imagine how much worse this would get once it starts to rain. They better finish all that before typhoon season starts or it’s just going to suck even worse and a lot of people will be pissed.

To Blog Again

I already have a personal blog over at Livejournal, but it has been forever since I last updated it. So much has happened since I last posted there and somehow I’ve lost touch with it. Somehow, the person who put most everything about herself in those digital pages just didn’t seem like me anymore. Things have changed and perhaps it’s just time to move on to another place and start anew.

I already have a food blog here at WordPress and it’s going well, despite writer’s blocks and real life. I’m writing again after a long drought and I feel relieved, alive. Perhaps this really is the new place to be and so this blog is now here.

Don’t expect a lot of seriousness despite how it sounds like I’ve grown up. I like to think that I have in some ways, but not in all ways. I still like to watch anime and read YA books. Right now, I swoon with other fangirls of all ages over Chris Evans aka Captain America. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life aside from writing about how I love food. There are still so many uncertainties and at times I feel as if I’m wasting so much time. I could be doing so much more and yet here I am. Just me. Still me, but I’m starting to work my way into thinking that that’s really not so bad after all. I still have time. Just take each day as it comes.

Recently, I’ve realized how important writing and creating really are for me. I’ve never felt this alive in months. Maybe even years. It’s different when you’re just letting yourself type away most of whatever comes to mind and something uniquely you comes out of your efforts. I’ve missed that feeling and hopefully I’m able to sustain it.

So just give me this space to be self indulgent. This blog may probably just contain a lot of my usual angst and silliness, but it’s my space, my time. Kaya nga Me Time ang title, di ba? Haha.

Just give me a chance.