I’m Counting…

… from five to one as I hold you tight in my heart and in my mind, one last time because…

Five. I want to stop thinking I’m worthless because you left me hanging just like that. I refuse to be seen just the way you see or think of me because you never really bothered to know me.

Four. I wish to say your name again without feeling sad, without feeling hurt. I want to say your name again like it never meant anything at all.

Three. I have to stop replaying the day we first met. The night we first kissed. I want to stop thinking what could’ve been if I just left it at hello. I want to learn to accept everything that happened and why it was too easy for you to just end it that way.

Two. I want to stop avoiding my life because of the past. I want to go spend time in a cafe, restaurant or anywhere without the fear of running into you.

One. I need to accept that it’s my fault all of these happened. Trust has failed me many times in the past but I still chose to trust you then. And I will still continue to trust that someday, I will meet someone who will choose to stay.

And now, I’m letting go…

Quote of the Week

Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other.

~David Levithan

Quote of the Week

Silence is a true friend who never betrays.

~Confucius

A Visit to the Qatar National Library

My brothers and I read stuff totally different from each other but it’s clear we share a passion in reading. And so going to the library every Saturday morning was one of the few things we don’t quibble about when we were still attending school.

It’s been a long while since I’ve last visited a library. Then came the news about the Qatar National Library (QNL). It had its soft opening some time in November last year, I think, and was officially opened to the public last April where HH the Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was said to have shelved the one-millionth book of the Qatar National Library. The library is a part of the Education City, which is also home to prestigious universities and research centers in Doha.

Last month, I had the opportunity to go to Qatar and so I’ve made plans to visit the library regardless of the very little time I had there.

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The library is awesome. World-class. Heaven on earth. Phenomenal architecture both in and out.

My favorite part was the heritage collection which is a permanent exhibition housed in QNL. It includes valuable documents, books, maps and manuscripts to name a few.

The Trumbull map of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and the Gulf.
Quran Manuscript
This is a pilgrimage certificate scroll which certifies the owner’s visits to various holy sites.

I leave you with more pictures of this impressive library which is worth a visit when in Qatar.

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Silence by Shūsaku Endō

downloadSilence is set during the early years of Christianity in Japan and the story revolves around Father Sebastian Rodrigues who sets off with two other fellow priests after hearing news that his mentor Father Ferreira apostatized. No one knew for sure whether Father Ferreira is still alive and no one can confirm if the news/rumors about him renouncing his faith were true. Rodrigues embarks on a journey that may cost him his life. Sounds like an adventure given that as a gist of the story, right? However, it takes a different scenario focusing on Rodrigues’ faith, feelings and conscience.

The story started too slow for my taste, to be honest, I wouldn’t have continued reading if I had another book with me at the time. It’s a novel about faith and one’s personal view of God and leans heavily on Catholic theology specially for the first part of the book.

The main issue is, as the title suggests, silence. We see very terrible things happening around us and if you believe there’s a God, at some point, it makes you ask why doesn’t He intervene, why doesn’t He do something, why does He allow evil things to happen? Does God see us in our breaking points? God himself said, “pray and I will hear you and that I will love you and comfort you.” But then, silence is all there is. The first words in Silence were the first words I’ve read from Shusaku Endo, I have never read anything by him before. But it kinda felt a bit odd though to find out that he is a Catholic, thus, he ought to understand the nature of their faith. I mean, it would make faith meaningless if God is a vocal God. Isn’t that what’s powerful about faith? That it exists without a conclusive proof of God’s existence?

Anyway, God was silent to the end of the book. Rodrigues has to choose between renouncing his faith and save the Christians from being tortured or refuse to apostatize and see more Christians die from torture. I have mixed feelings about the ending maybe because I was expecting the story to end in martyrdom which is actually one of the main issues raised in the book about Christian missions and yet, Father Rodrigues apostatized. Be that as it may, Shusaku Endo was somehow able to reflect man’s thoughts in the face of adversity.

A character who matters a great deal though is Kichijiro who represents Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas. A Japanese “Gollum.” A weakling. He comes and goes throughout the book but in his character is something we can find uncomfortably real. The relationship between Kichijiro and Father Rodrigues makes us understand about the latter’s torment.

I’ve read reviews a few minutes before purchasing this book but I’m left slightly disappointed. I felt I’ve read a different book. I was raised a Christian but no longer share the faith so maybe that’s why I couldn’t really warm up to the main conflict of the story, but still, this book may appeal to many with regards to the juxtaposition it depicts, culture, the pitiful characters and their unanswered prayers and the tough what if questions people are perhaps afraid to address because it could lead them, or not, to conclude that there probably is no God.

I’m interested to watch the movie adaptation though. Have you guys seen it? Would you recommend me watching it? Please share your thoughts.

Quotable Quotes:

“Man is a strange being. He always has a feeling somewhere in his heart that whatever the danger he will pull through. It’s just like when on a rainy day you imagine the faint rays of the sun shining on a distant hill.”

“Sin, he reflected, is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind.”

“It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell…

~Karen Marie Moning

My First Kiss Went A Little Like This

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Photo found on Google. Credit to the owner.

Do you remember your first kiss? Yes, the very first! How nice was it? Or how terrible? Ideally, specially as teenagers, we expect our first kiss to be sweet and romantic! Or hot and wild! Intense! Oh dear! Locking lips with someone we like should send tingles up our spine and leave us feeling incoherent after.

Contrary to the perfect romantic first kisses I’ve either read, watched, imagined or hoped for, mine was a turn-off. Let me walk you down memory lane because my first kiss went a little like this…

My first kiss happened many moons ago, I was fourteen, he was sixteen. His name’s Andrew. He was my ultimate crush then and little did I know that he’s got a crush on me, too. We attended the same high school and we were both athletes. We’ve known each other by face and was only formally introduced to each other in a party after almost a year of smiles and hellos during training/practice or in the corridors.

We were dating for more than a month already when it happened. Since I belong to the science classes, he has to wait for me for about an hour until I finish my last class. After class that day, we went to the small garden just at the back of his classroom so he can help me with my homework. (I remember I suck in Biology and Chemistry then!) Once we’re done, we started walking while holding hands as he led me to his classroom door.

The touch: We were holding hands then he pulled me to him and pushed me gently against the classroom door then placed his left arm around my waist while his right hand caressed my face. (I liked that part!)

The ambiance: I never thought that my first kiss would be in the most romantic place in the world — in school, outside his classroom door! I mean, come on, I’ve imagined a kind of romantic setting, too. But definitely not in school!

The kiss: Well, our noses bumped at first and I was about to laugh but he kissed me right away and the first few tender brushes of his lips against mine was magic, it did really sent tingles up my spine and made all my body cells come to life until…

The tongue situation: Eeeewww! Just eeeewww! Oh boy! Was the tongue even supposed to be there??? It’s just wet! And sloppy! I was shocked! I wanted to punch him in the face!

The aftermath: Absolutely awkward. Confusing. Disappointing. In my mind, I’m trying to figure out what just happened. Funny thing is, I ended up having a very high fever that night and wasn’t able to go to school the next day!

So my first kiss didn’t happen according to plan but well, life isn’t a movie set. But in between homework and practice, the kisses got better, more quality kissing took over for the next two years.

So how was your first kiss? Was is sweet? Or was it terrible? How old were you then? Did it turn out the way you’ve imagined it to be? I’d love to hear, after all, what better time to delurk if not during first-kiss-story sharing time, right?

Quote of the Week

If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard.

~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sunshine Blogger Award #7

As usual, I’m very late for this again! I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long, Kavita! Thank you so much for the nomination, I do appreciate it a lot. Do visit her blog here (and thank me later) if you haven’t yet.

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I guess everyone knows the rules already. So I’ll just start answering the questions right away.

1. Museum or movie?

Definitely a museum! 🙂

2. Favorite author and why?

Haruki Murakami
https://electricliterature.com/haruki-murakami-to-pen-advice-column-for-fans-b8e9d3bf0648

I have several but Haruki Murakami definitely tops my list. Norwegian Wood is the very first book of his that I’ve read. It blew my mind! I have never read anything like that before, anything Murakami-like! Since then, my fascination of him and his books grew and I intend to read all his works.

3. Favorite music group?

Eraserheads, Green Day, The Beatles, Abba, Maroon 5, Bee Gees, Backstreet Boys. I can’t choose just one. 🙂

4. Favorite book?

Kafka on the Shore (and all Murakami books, actually), The Kite Runner, Stoner, A Little Life, The Book Thief, Unbroken and many more. There can’t only be one.

5. Do you write because you want to or because you have to?

Well, most of the time because I want to since writing is a very good outlet when I’m feeling too much (good or bad) and I write because I have to for the very same reason.

6. Why did you start blogging?

Boredom.

7. If you could live at any other time in history, when would it be and why?

I’d choose to live during the war years. I’ve read many books and articles and watched some documentaries about the war, it’s probably the worst years to live but well, I don’t know, I’m constantly drawn to the idea of living during those times whenever I’m asked. I also want to live during the years Jesus Christ was still on earth.

8. What is your favorite place to visit?

I enjoy visiting amusement parks, museums, zoos, bookstores, flea markets, thrift shops and libraries.

9. Favorite quote:

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. ~Rick Warren

10. Library or sports arena?

Library! But I’d choose sports arena for a chance to see Roger Federer play! 😉

11. Famous person you admire most and why?

Ferdinand Marcos. He’s one heck of a president, very smart and polarizing. He can recite the 1935 & 1973 Philippine constitution. He’s the best president the Philippines’ ever had. There was discipline in the country during his regime. Economic growth and stability was better then. You can write a book about his achievements and what he has done for the country, unfortunately, more people choose to focus on the negative.

My nominees are:

https://pascaleshealingjourney.com/

https://handwritten427.wordpress.com/

https://omabdalrahmaan.wordpress.com/

https://imelma.wordpress.com/

https://introvertsoulsway.wordpress.com/

https://avoicefromiran.wordpress.com/

https://randomthoughts29056.wordpress.com/

https://wordsinthelight.com/

https://aethist.wordpress.com/

https://mariamshittu.com/

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/

The questions I’m looking forward for them to answer are:

  1. What is something popular that annoys you?
  2. What did you do on your last vacation?
  3. What’s your favorite number and why?
  4. What do you bring with you wherever you go?
  5. What smell brings back great memories?
  6. What are you best at?
  7. What TV series are you watching these days?
  8. What book are you currently reading?
  9. What was your first smart phone?
  10. Do you prefer traveling around or with a group?
  11. How do you plan to make the world a better place?

There you go! I hope the nominees would have the time to do this… And to everyone reading this, feel free to answer them, too!

Thanks again, Kavita! 🙂

Quote of the Week

Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be…and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this: Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.

~Andrea Gibson

8 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others

Most people get upset when their expectations are not met. I guess it’s normal to feel that way for a while. However, for myself, I’ve learned that if you want to be happier, successful and have a stress-free (or less stressful) life, it’s very important not to expect anything from anyone specially things we too, are not willing to do for ourselves. We all are following different paths in life so it’s quite understandable when other people’s actions/behaviors don’t always align with ours.

Very often, many of our disappointments come from misguided, erroneous or even unwise expectations. True enough, it’s also hard not to expect anything in life, but we’ve seen it many times too, that life is not always what you’ve planned or wanted it to be. Moreover, people don’t always behave the way we want them to. We can always hope for the best but expect less or expect the worst.

So today, I thought it would be nice to share with you a few things I’ve learned to stop expecting from other people.

1. Stop expecting others to understand you.

This is one of the very first things I’ve stopped expecting from other people at an early age. It’s one of the most important things I did for myself. It helped me a great deal. As someone often branded as weird, strange, naughty, crazy or stubborn when I’m just being myself, I used to expect that someday people will understand me. Expecting others to understand me always leads me to disappointment though. It used to make me upset for hours or sometimes even lead to fights. But as soon as I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t need them to understand me because I very much understand myself, life has never been better. And I had always been the same weird, strange, naughty, crazy and (not so) stubborn (anymore) girl that I am.

It’s important to remember that not everyone will understand you and they don’t have to. You may be unwanted by some, but you may also be priceless for others. So always keep in mind your worth and spend your time with people who value you.

2. Stop expecting others to agree with you all the time.

People have different opinions about everything and it is very unrealistic to expect them to agree with you all the time. You can try to convince them to agree with you about the subject in hand but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will concur with what you’ve said. Not everything that seems right to you is right for them, too. Opinions vary. So it’s perfectly fine if they don’t always agree with you, besides, you also don’t agree with them all the time, right?

3. Stop expecting people to return the favor.

The golden rule states that, “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” In reality, this isn’t always true. Not all people will show you kindness the way you show it to them. Many assholes and bitches who are not happy with themselves will treat you unkindly/cruelly despite the kindness you show them. So if you want to do favors to people, do it from your heart, do it because you want to without expecting that they’d do the same for you later on.

4. Stop expecting people to respect you when you don’t respect yourself.

While it is important to be nice to other people, it is also essential to be nice to yourself. Never beg people for respect, attention or love. You give yourself these things. Respect yourself, pay attention to yourself, love yourself. At the same time, respect others. They might not respect you as you respect them, but respect them anyway.

5. Stop expecting people to know what you’re thinking.

If you want to say something, tell them. Don’t expect others to know what’s in your mind. People can’t read minds. So you need to talk. You need to effectively communicate so people will understand and know what you want or what’s in your head. Just say it.

6. Stop expecting people to change overnight.

You can’t change people. I guess, you shouldn’t even try to. Personally, it’s either you accept them as they are or live without them. People change but that is totally up to them and when when they do without others forcing them to do so, it also changes the way  you see them.

7. Stop expecting people to live or do things according to your standards or your idea of who they are.

Allow people to be themselves and stop expecting them to act or behave according to your standards. Appreciate them and respect them for who they are. People’s morals and ethics differ. Right and wrong are not always clearly defined, so as long as you expect others to do things according to what you think is right will often leave you in frustration.

8. Stop expecting people to be always okay.

Every now and then, life throws a curve ball on us and sometimes, other people take far too long to cope with these difficulties. We deal with our problems in different ways and others suck at it sometimes but we all have good days and bad days. It’s okay not to be okay all the time. Have a little more compassion for others.