Dear Self, Happy Birthday!

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Dear Self,

You’re another year older but things are continuously changing for the better, right? Though you’ve faced too much challenges this past year and your patience was tested and run out, you were able to make it! Hopefully, the tough moments will soon stop. Focus to maintain the happiness you’ve attained. Take better care of yourself because it won’t be easy growing old. 😉 Appreciate life more and continue to be grateful for everything, always.

Now get ready for the hugs and kisses, birthday wishes and birthday shenanigans. It’s going to be a hell of a day.

Cheers!

~Self

Loving Someone We Can’t Have

Perhaps it’s human nature to want something or someone we can’t have. From little things to big ones, sometimes, there’s this something that we want but just can’t have. The same thing goes with people. Let’s be honest, there is (or there was) this someone we’ve been wanting to be with but can’t, right?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my crazy heart, it’s that it never gets to choose who to love. Never. It just, well, I don’t know. It just loves. Sometimes we’re lucky to be loved in return but other times, not so. We sometimes get into this sadder kind of love. We fall for people who don’t love us the same way. Or don’t love us at all.

When this sad moment happens to us, our worlds just seem to stop. It cuts us deep.  We feel helpless. Our lives are shattered. Our minds are warped. Our hearts hurt. Our souls in pieces.  So what do we do?

We all have different ways of dealing with matters of the heart like the pain of loving someone we can’t have. I’ve experienced this just once but it took me quite a while to put myself together and get through it. But I did! So I’m sharing it with you and feel free to share yours, too, in the comment section.

Sulk.

Allow yourself to sulk for some time. Feel the pain of that unrequited love. Cry if you must. You can cry only so long then you have to do something else with your time. Acknowledging and feeling the pain is important before you get past it.

Write it down.

Writing every single emotion you feel, even the littlest of feelings, can help you feel better and heal faster, big time! Once you are able to write it all down, you get a clearer picture of what exactly you’re going through.

Acceptance.

Accept the fact that they don’t love you the same way or that they can’t reciprocate the love you have for them. Once you accept that fact, you’re headed to the right path. It would be easier to go on living even when you’re the only one loving them.

Find a hobby.

Find something you love to do and as much as possible, something unrelated to that person. It won’t be very easy to stop your mind from thinking about that person but once you engage yourself deeply in creative or enjoyable hobbies, you gradually become less obsessed with the person and focus your mind elsewhere.

Enjoy whatever time you spend together.

Whatever/However you spend time together, keep in mind to focus on the good times, the good conversations, the good jokes, the good laughs, the good whatevers. Always only the good points. Enjoy the moment and don’t ask for more.

Go on dates with other people.

Since it happened, I haven’t dated anyone so I’m not very sure if this works but perhaps yes because you’ll be focusing your attention on other people. But it’s important to keep in mind not to look for this person from the other person you’re dating. That’s just not fair.

Protect yourself/your feelings.

If I were in this situation two, three years ago or so, I wouldn’t consider being friends with the person. But things change and so do people. So did I. Hence I’d say, it’s okay to be friends with this person. Keep the friendship. Be there for them when they need you without crushing your heart, of course. Be there when they need a helping hand but when things get difficult to handle, tell them or just leave.

Exercise.

Exercising contributes to emotional balance so do some workouts, walk, jog, or run. Play sports. You’d be shooting two birds at the same time — it removes the negativity in your mind and helps you stay fit.

Don’t be angry.

The thing is, I never get to learn how to be angry with this person. And I find that a good thing. So I’d say try to remember all the happy times you’re together, the wonderful times you’ve shared. I personally think there’s no point getting angry at someone because love didn’t grow in their hearts. I’m content and happy that love grew in mine. So be glad, it grew in yours, too.

7 Things I’ve Learned from a 7-Year Interracial Relationship

Let me preface by saying that I’m not an expert about this topic and I’m writing this based only on my own experience. I have never dated anyone outside my race before the 7-year relationship I had with an Arab guy. I remember telling my mom when I was younger that I’m never gonna date a foreigner but I did and the relationship went pretty serious and splendid actually, but then I guess, some good things just never last.

Each of us has an idea of what love is but it isn’t always as easy at it seems, is it? Sure, any relationship have its own challenges to face, however, though an interracial relationship can be just as rewarding, it comes with additional baggage. While the magic works for some, it may be a little bit complicated for the others.  And whether it works or it doesn’t, there’s always something to learn from it.

1. Families can end it all.

Sad but true. It’s not that he didn’t stand up for me but well, I guess, there’s nothing more I could do at that time but to let him go because arrangements were made on certain things already here and there so yes, families can end it all. There were haunting regrets at first of course why we didn’t try harder, why I didn’t do this or why I didn’t do that but eventually, I’ve realized there’s nothing more I can really do about it anymore, really. They’re family and I can’t and I don’t want to fight them. Blood after all is still thicker than water.

2. Each and everyone is a lot more than their race.

Every culture has its own intricacies and nuances and yes, it’s not always easy accepting these things. It’s important to keep an attitude where no one culture is better than the other. It’s important to remember that you both are unique individuals and that cultural differences shouldn’t define your relationship. To belong to different races means that we have different experiences and different things to learn from and about. We should learn to accept and appreciate each other alongside our cultural differences. We can always be ourselves so it’s important to be honest about your views and opinions about everything. Moreover, it’s important to always listen to what the other has to say. There’s so much to learn and gain from listening to each other. I became more aware of things this way.

3. It’s not just about sex.

While sex can be an important part of many relationships, I still believe that it shouldn’t be regarded as a primary reason for a relationship to work. I know a lot of people who link love and sex together but the truth is, sex doesn’t mean the person loves you. And how someone performs sexually should not be based on what race they are from.

4. Love doesn’t/can’t conquer all.

I guess this notion has duped us for quite too long. It’s just not true. True enough we were madly in love with each other but there were times that we’d also fight. We’d make up and feel like our love for each other makes us solve our issues but when I look at it more, none of our issues were actually resolved. We’d fight about the same thing after some time. Eventually, this somehow contributed to the breakup. If we don’t get to work our asses off for a relationship to work, it will definitely fall apart. We shouldn’t depend on love alone because love won’t save us all the time. Love is necessary. It’s a strong force but it’s not enough.

5. You only have to answer for each other.

Many people including my friends and family have something to say about our relationship but how we feel about each other and how we decide to progress in our relationship should always and should only be decided by no one else but the both of us. Easier said than done but once I’ve learned that the more I let others interfere and decide for me, it ruins the relationship. It’s essential to make a commitment to deal with problems as a couple and don’t let others’ opinions matter. Who I’m dating is no one’s business but my own. It taught me a great deal that when it comes to who I’m dating or who I become involved with is solely my own business and no one else’s. I don’t feel the need to explain to anyone why I dated an Arab guy for that matter.

6. It’s not always easy.

Well, if you haven’t realized it yet, it isn’t always easy maintaining and making a relationship work. And I find this harder when I dated someone outside my race. I needed to learn to understand and be familiar with my partner, his body language or even the way he talks. I also learned to compromise. And it takes a lot of patience. I’ve lost count of how many stereotypes and insults I’ve seen with regards to interracial couples and one of the worst in my case was when someone commented that I’m dating this Arab guy for his money. I’ve always believed that a man is not a financial plan. I can finance myself, thank you very much and so I’ve mastered long enough to just ignore such comments.

7. It’s not that big a deal.

For some, questions like what their parents will think or feel about the relationship is a big factor, but not all. I’ve been asked this question a hundred times and sure it was something my parents, my brothers and I didn’t quite agree on at some point in the beginning but then again, they’ve never quite agree to every guy I’ve dated before. Haha! 😁 So at the end of the day, dating someone outside your race need not to be a big deal, really. It’s just a normal relationship in most ways.

Every relationship is different and race wasn’t really an issue for us at that time. When it did, it ruined us, unfortunately. I’ve learned lessons the hard way but there’s nothing I’d ever regret. We were just two people who loved each other… then. I’m still glad it happened.

Happy day, homo sapiens! 🙂

And Then One Day…

Sometimes, just when everything seems to be going well, life throws us a curve ball. Then everything just starts to get messy. We get very confused and nothing seems to make sense. It’s not always that we get to come out of it easily because sometimes, it hits real hard. It’s way too painful that it seems so unfair why we need to get all through that without knowing the reason why.

But it’s situations like this that we are supposed to be stronger and we should fight harder. We can’t give up. We have to keep going. Then we’ll learn the lesson life is trying to teach us. Eventually, we grow.

Sometimes, we’re lucky to meet unexpected people. People who we meet at any random day of the week and staying up until wee hours of the night with them just talking about anything. We get to learn new things or start new hobbies with them or because of them. We learn to appreciate another side of life unknown to us before we’ve met them. Then sometimes, we fall in love. And gradually, things start to fall into place again. We feel deeply moved, we feel loved, appreciated and recognized. We feel everything all at once.

And then one day, it would just hit us. We are happy. In fact, we are very happy. We feel complete. We smile for no reason. Our hearts beat for all the right reasons. And when we look back months or years ago, it would make us feel glad that we stayed strong and didn’t let the pain or hurt consume us. We moved forward, we fought.

What Did You Want To Be When You Grow Up

This is a question we were all asked at one point or another in our childhood. Was it a doctor? Or an engineer? Perhaps a teacher? My answers varied depending on how old I was when I was asked the same thing.

I first wanted to be a dinosaur — a T-Rex or a triceratops. T-Rex because I really thought they’re amazing and huge creatures, like kings and queens of dinosaur land. I like triceratops, too, because they look really cute in my eyes then. As I grew up, I learned I can’t be a dinosaur but my love for them still grew. The T-Rex became who I want to be, strong and smart! And the triceratops? I really find them sexy when they walk. Haha!

Then a mutant. And I was so damn serious I wanted to be one. I’ve always wanted to be Magneto’s female version! 😉 Funny how as a child, we know what we wanted to be when we grow up, right?

I first attended school when I was three and a half years old. It was then that I wanted something I thought better than just being a dinosaur or a mutant. I wanted to be a nun. True story! Haha! Mainly because my teachers were nuns. But that changed soon enough when I realized I wanted to be a singer! Oh man, I love to sing! I still want to be a singer these days but I guess, singing in a karaoke bar or at home is as far as that dream could get. 😉

Come elementary years, I wanted to be an archaeologist and a librarian. This is mainly because of my love for reading. The books we had at home back then were volumes of encyclopedias and history books which my father enjoyed reading, not novels and stuff so I was very much interested in ancient past and material remains back then.

High school and college years were different. I wanted to be a lawyer then. And I wanted to be in the world of politics. I don’t remember quite well anymore what made me wanted this at that time but just like becoming a singer, it’s a dream I still have until now.

None of what I wanted to be when I was younger came true. I lead a totally different life now. A life far from what I imagined as a child. My interests changed and adjusted over the years. Being exposed to different environments or hobbies or new experiences molded me into who I became now. It’s good to know that I continue to evolve as I open up to change and new things. Lately though, I have this strong desire to become a dinosaur or a mutant again instead. And I’m serious…

So my dear readers, I want to know what it was you wanted to be when you grew up? Did it come true? Did it actually become your career now? Or a hobby? Or did it remain to be just an interest? I’d be really glad to know so feel free to write them in the comments.

Have a wonderful day, homo sapiens! 🙂

My Love Affair with Airports

86585ca2999e443I will never forget the first time I’ve been to the airport to travel, not just to pick-up relatives vacationing from abroad. To travel not for leisure but for work. I was always fascinated with airplanes flying so high above me when I was a small girl. And so I was so flabbergasted when I got face-to-face with an airplane on one of the wide windows of the airport that night I’m bound for Kuwait. It was huge and magnificent that I had to stop, look and tell myself that it’s real, I’m looking directly at an airplane that I just used to see flying above me. I felt like the plane was staring back at me, too. It was wow! Then I went looking for my gate and I’ve seen a lot of people mostly Filipinos but many others with different nationalities, too! The shops, the monitors. And since then my love affair with airports has started.

I don’t travel much but yes, I love airports. There’s a different feeling whenever I arrive in airports. I love reaching them way earlier than my flight. For the past nine and a half years, I’ve been living eight minutes away from the airport. Sometimes, I go there to kill time. I go around then sit in a cafe as there are no cafes in my area. (Yes, you’ve read that right, none! Only Arabic style coffee shops that’s filled with thick, suffocating smoke from cigarettes and hookah/shisha/hubbly bubbly.) The Kuwait International Airport is small but development works are on progress so we’ll be seeing more of that in the next few months/years. Still, it’s okay to just go around the area where non-travelers are allowed.

When I travel though, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I love reaching the airport way earlier than my flight time. I go around the area before immigration then check-in then go around again. Once I pass the immigration, I continue walking around and checking all the shops without the intention of buying anything. (The only things I buy in airports are books and coffee.) Then after giving myself a tour of the entire place, I choose which cafe I’ll buy coffee from and find a good spot to read, write or just people-watch while waiting. People-watching in airports is never boring. Human drama right in front of your eyes.

Sometimes too, I just stare at several tv/monitors, big or small, showing the departure flights. Yes, I enjoy doing that. It makes me happy staring at all those flights change their status one by one — boarding, departing, delayed. Furthermore, I also like watching the ground crews do their jobs when a plane arrives at the gates. And I like seeing the pilots pass by us before boarding. Well, it’s nice to know who’s flying the aircraft, right?

I love airports not the way I love a certain restaurant, museum or shop. How so and why?

When I’m at the airport with my luggage and all, I know I’m set to another adventure. I’m riding an airplane. I am going somewhere. Some place other than where I am at the moment. A place I haven’t been to before or a place I’m returning to. Somewhere, someone or no one, is waiting for me. A place I might like or not. I’m going far away. Or I’m going home.

imagesIn addition, I feel most interconnected whenever I’m in airports. It’s a place so full of movements. A place full of change. My brain cells get so alive, active and energized. The diversity of people who crowd the airports, coming and going from one place to another for whatever reason. It’s compelling to see people of different nationalities, young and old, families, tour groups, solo travelers, waiting for their flights or just arrived.

Next, airports make you step back and wait. I mean, in this present world where everything just go by so fast, it’s just nice that whether you’re just transferring from one plane to another or having a really long layover, airports make you stand still, stop, pause, wait and think.

What’s more is that it makes me temporarily escape from my everyday life. From the person I choose to become. From the life I’m leading. It reminds me that I can go somewhere else again and start all over though it’s not going to be easy. The point is, there are many other possibilities, many cities, many countries to go to. Sometimes, seeing all the destinations in the monitors makes me realize where I really wanted to be.

Airports are a beautiful place of transition. For some, it’s where their journey begins, to others it’s where it continues or to many others, it’s where it ends. One thing’s for sure in airports though — no one stays. Everyone leaves.

Both photos are from Google. Credit to the owners.

My Anti-Bucket List

I understand the idea of mulling over and writing down the things we wish, hope and want to do and ticking them off once we’ve accomplished it and for me, it somehow helps me to live out the best possible life I could, though sometimes, I just end up disappointed as it ends up ruining my expectations.

So this time, for a change, I’m writing down the things I hope to never do — or hope to never do again, things I don’t plan to do, things I hope to never happen — or  hope to never happen again, before I kick the bucket. This list isn’t all-inclusive, of course, but read on.

  1. Stop reading. 📖
  2. Stop singing. 🎤
  3. Get tattooed.
  4. Marry or have an affair with a married man.
  5. Break someone’s heart. 💔
  6. Hold a spider. 🕷
  7. Stop learning new things.
  8. Go to prison or be arrested.
  9. Ignore complicated realities.
  10. Stop taking risks.
  11. End the year with less money 💰 💰 💰  than I started with.
  12. Not believe in myself.
  13. Step foot on anything squishy or slimy.
  14. Take things for granted.
  15. Play it safe.
  16. Lose my taste for alcohol. 🍺 🍷
  17. Smoke.
  18. Lose my sense of humor.
  19. End up in the hospital wearing my worst pair of underwear.
  20. Get food poisoning.
  21. Say no to dessert. 🍰🍮🍭🍫🍩
  22. Cause more hurt than happiness.
  23. Kill someone.
  24. Change who I am.
  25. Be normal. (Who wants normal?)
  26. Fall off a horse.
  27. Get bitten by a dog.
  28. Be hungover.
  29. Fight with my mom.
  30. Hit 70 kgs!
  31. Be a walking ATM to my friends or anyone.
  32. Tell a child that Santa Claus 🎅  is not real.
  33. Keep toxic people in my life.
  34. Get stuck in the elevator in between floors.
  35. Hold back love.
  36. Stop taking chances.
  37. Hold grudges.

It’s your turn now! What’s on your anti-bucket list? Write them down on the comments, I’m so eager to know!

Have a pleasant day, homo sapiens! 😊

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love, perhaps, is the most wonderful thing in the world. Love is what makes us smile, it’s what makes us sing or dance. Love is what makes us human. And love makes life worth living.

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Valentine’s Day is that time of the year where the world is split into two: first, those with partners or are in a relationship and second, the singles. (Which group are you in this year?) We were in either group at certain points in our lives, and in which group were we happier, each of us has our answers.

Well, whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day tends to get the better or worse of people. That secret yearning in us to be loved. And what best way to celebrate such concept but to create a holiday that is best represented by worldwide commercialism.

So the best girl gets the flowers, the sweetest chocolates, the most memorable candle-lit dinner dates, and if she’s lucky, the ring! We are all suckers for romance and for the very few men who really look forward to this day to be able to express their love, oh, you rock! But then again, love is much deeper than that. We can always express our love at any given day, at any given moment. Why limit ourselves expressing our love for just one day out of 365?  Why not make everyday Valentine’s day?

Moreover, this commercialism has gone way too far that it makes us feel incomplete to be on our own on Hearts Day. When we don’t have to feel that way, we shouldn’t feel that way. Singles don’t have to be miserable on V-Day. There are a lot of things to enjoy and that includes being single.

Anyhow, I’m not sure exactly why I’m writing this today so I better stop. Love is such a crazy thing, I guess. It’s a beautiful, crazy thing. It’s magical. It’s complex. It’s different for everyone. But whether you’re single or in a relationship, I hope you feel loved.

Happy Hearts Day, homo sapiens! ❤️

Walk Away

We don’t always get exactly what we want.

We don’t always get to have the person our hearts long for.

We don’t always find what we need.

We don’t always get to where we wish we are..

Perhaps it’s just not how life is supposed to be.

Love comes, love goes.

Love grows in some, dies in others.

Sometimes it gets too much, sometimes too little.

Sometimes it gets uncomfortable.

Perhaps it’s time we learn to let go.

We stop holding on to the past.

We just let things be.

And sometimes we walk away.

Because to walk away is perhaps the best thing.

The best thing we can do for ourselves and for the other person.

It brings us to realization and acceptance.

That sometimes things are just not meant to be.

Things change and people do, too.

Walk away.

Who knows how life will begin anew.

On Friends & Friendships

imagesSocial media has made it possible for people to become friends to anyone around the globe merely through the click of a button. I think it’s generally a good thing. My need for friendship isn’t too much but once I decide to build one, I intend to make it genuine as much as I can. Somehow, maintaining friendships can be hard work but so worth it at the same time because our friendships are one of the most influential and essential parts of our life. Recently, I’ve been pondering quite often about my friends and friendships. The friends worth keeping and friendships worth saving. The fact of the matter is that, my social circle is quite noticeably shrinking. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I actually think I quite understand now what they mean with “less is more” and “quality over quantity.”

images (1)I first arrived in Kuwait on the 1st of March, 2009. I have a variety of friends back home but very few real ones. They’re some of the best people I’ve met. The kind of friends for keeps. A few weeks since, my friendships have changed a lot. I’ve met different people of different nationalities. Most of the friendships/connections built were situational. Most needed context to make sense. Some stayed longer while some had a shorter shelf life. I still do wish them well now but I don’t intend to reconnect. Luckily, I also get to meet a few that didn’t need any context but exist in any given situation, people who are always there during my ups and downs, stayed during my best and my worst days, the type that lasts.

Several times, I let go of a few friends while a few others let go of me as well. I didn’t think I was being selfish to let go of them just like that but mind you, it wasn’t always easy to put an end to it. However, given the world we live in and the values instilled in us, I knew it was necessary.download

A couple of years afterwards, two of my closest friends abruptly ended our friendship. I first received a message from one of them telling me never to call her again and a few days later, I received pretty much the same message from the other. Sure I’ve made mistakes and dealt with things the wrong way. We had misunderstandings at times which is pretty normal in any relationships but why they suddenly wanted to end the friendship, until now, I still don’t fully understand.

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.

My heart ached. It really did. Breaking up with friends is just as painful as any other relationship break-ups there is. So after months of failing to know how I’ve wronged them, I stopped. I thought maybe knowing the answer may not satisfy me just the same and I don’t want to drive myself crazy thinking why. I just finally allowed the hurt to help me grow. It was sure a painful way to end an almost decade of friendship but I’ve decided to just let go and move on. I still sometimes think of them though and wonder, did they give up easily on me? Or did I give up easily on them?

downloadI love my friends, really, I do. Friends are one of the most beautiful gifts of being alive. They help shape our lives one way or the other. They cheer, support, help and see the best in each other. Friendships that have depth and true understanding is one among the essential elements of a blessed life. And I feel blessed to have a handful of them. Interestingly enough, some of us drifted apart at some point for some reasons, both inevitable and necessary, but later found each other again and our bonds became stronger. Sadly though, not all our friends give us that good effect. Some lie. Some betray. Then it’s difficult to rebuild trust and loyalty once again. So sometimes it’s better that they end. And a lot of my friendships are meeting its end nowadays.

Whichever and however way we choose our friends/friendships, I think it’s vital that we offer a meaning in each other’s lives. It’s nice to think that we fulfill them and they fulfill us. My friends mean something to me in different ways and play different roles in my life. I do appreciate, value and respect each one of them. Be that as it may, I personally don’t find any reason to work on a friendship that leaves me unfulfilled. More so, friendships out of habit or obligation. That’s just not fair and friendships are voluntary so I think there’s nothing wrong in ending friendships that doesn’t suit you in a positive way anymore.

5e833fe87a8c01614aff165d433a3c29Sometimes, too, we just outgrow our friends. At some point we realize that they’re not good for us because they bring us down or whittle at our confidence every so often. Some friendships evolve with us, but some do not. I will not apologize for evolving closer to my true self and evolving past their comfort zones. We change as we age and grow. So I think it’s just right to let go of such friendships and accept that it’s over.

Other times, too, we have this friend who always swings the conversation back towards him/herself and has no interest in what we have to say. I’ve met a number of them kind and I just avoid them as much as I could and luckily, they themselves stop talking to me, too.

b9cf3e4b311dd4d5e5f3366375bf2c20Moreover, there’s betrayal. As it is with all kinds of relationships, nothing could murder friendships faster than betrayal. It hurts a lot to be betrayed. It hurts all the more to end a friendship because of betrayal. I no longer see any point of saving a friendship when one betrays the other.

From time to time, psychological or emotional issues also become reasons why friends drift apart. It’s important that we maintain everything balanced in our friendships. Support for each other. Will to help in making each other better. Give and take. Trust. Unfortunately, there are times when these factors shift its balance and no longer serve one or the other in a worthwhile, beneficial, balanced or positive way. One typical example is a change in fortune among friends. The manner how we deal with situations like this isn’t always the same, thus, causing friends to drift apart. Where envy or jealousy didn’t exist before starts to gradually emerge. It’s nice to have friends who are always there when we are at our worst but I just don’t get them when they leave us in times when our fate changes for the better. (More of this on another entry.) So I suppose, it all boils down to who we pick as friends in the first place.

I’ve also met a lot of people who just befriend you because they need you. We don’t usually see this right away at the beginning of friendships but eventually, it shows. They take, take, take. And you give, give, give. Then they leave you. They build it when they need it, and break it when they don’t.

Here’s the thing, it is important to always try our best to see things from different perspectives before we make rush judgments whether to still keep these friends or completely cut our ties with them. After all, we all make mistakes. Some of us (myself included) don’t like to rely on anyone for anything to get us through life’s hardships but perhaps there’s nothing wrong in giving the friendship a second chance, be a bit forgiving and understanding maybe, because throwing away a friendship can’t be that easy. Every kind of friendship adds something to our lives, good or bad, it’s just up to us how we are going to let it affect us.

Love

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… But I do know how it is to love someone I cannot be with… To live with the knowledge that if circumstances had been different, I would be with the one I love… 💔

That Cold December Night

We were talking and laughing so hard over dinner one cold December night.

It felt like I’ve known you for so long when it was actually the first time we went out.

My mind connected with yours like it never did with other people.

The kind of connection I needed then to bring me back to life.

It never occurred to me that we’d someday meet and spend time together.

Because though we’re under the same sky, we belong in different worlds.

It’s really amazing how someone who was just a stranger to you before,

Would suddenly be someone who’d mean so much to you.

Even until now I’m not sure what we were then.

What I’m sure of is that you made me feel butterflies again.

My heart became alive anew as I found my ability to share what’s in me once more.

It’s nice reminiscing about it,

Reliving every second, every minute of that winter night.

It can’t be real anymore but it’s still something I hold on to.

Two years ago was when I opened myself completely to you.

Sometimes my mind wishes I shouldn’t have.

My heart says otherwise.

Maybe it’s not harmful to hold on to the feelings I felt then.

Because it’s a reminder of how I am still capable to feel something for someone.

I’m not numb after all but in a way scared to experience it again.

Where My Heart Once Was

Last night I was packing,

I saw a picture of yours.

A good one.

A happy one.

Today I looked at it again.

I don’t miss you as much anymore.

But your face will always be

one of the few faces

seared in my mind forever.

I choose to remember

the good memories I have of you.

Tomorrow I may still bleed.

I may still cry.

I may still hope

to spend time with you again.

I may still remember the pain.

But I won’t lose myself again.

I’m reclaiming the void

where my heart once was.

Betrayal

How do you murder friendship, kinship or any kind of relationships the fastest way?

Betrayal.

Betrayal is the fastest relationship killer. It can manifest in different ways, in different forms, in different acts, in different relationships, in different individuals. How people take advantage of other people for their own benefit at the expense of other people’s feelings, I don’t really understand. What’s worse about it is that,

“The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.”

Yes, betrayal never comes from our enemies but from our friends, our colleagues, from people we love, from people who mean something to us, from people we trust. I can attest to that.

We all probably have experienced betrayal at least once in our lives. All of us have our own personal Judas perhaps.  And when it happens, the sting of the betrayal often leaves us appalled, hurt, broken and maybe clueless and unable how to move forward from that point on. On the other hand, the traitors will deny the act and even convince us that we misunderstood them. Moreover, many of these traitors would even justify their acts of betrayal.

Whatever relationship we have with the person who betrayed us, it often leaves us hurt and wounded deeply. We let our guards down whenever we start to be comfortable with people and we often realize it too late. As I grow in my understanding of relationships of any kind, those who love you or adore you at one point, can or will reject you any other day. People see things from different perspectives and we unintentionally disappoint each other sometimes.

Moreover, it hurts to know that you were betrayed because they can gain more from betraying you rather than staying true to you. Why would anyone do that for momentary benefit or comfort? I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that they’ve lost more than they know. They’ve lost more than what they thought they’ve gained.

It’s sad that this had to happen. I probably appear weak to them that they took advantage of it and I won’t be able to trust them once more. I’m in a place where as far as I’m concerned, there’s no point in trying again. Nothing ruins a relationship more than the realization that you can’t trust these people any longer. It’s an irreparable harm but something to learn from.

Surviving a Racist Workplace

For the past month or so, I have been deliberately thinking about getting out. I spend much of my time contemplating about the best way to leave not just the company I’m currently working at but out of Kuwait entirely.

There were a lot of changes that took place at work in the past couple of months and it’s very unfortunate that I have to work with racist superiors. It is very tempting to leave my position but it also puts me at an unfair advantage specially so that it wasn’t me who created an uncongenial workplace to begin with. 

I am the only female employee in my workplace and to disagree with the managers who have control over my job is tough. Having higher-ranked racist managers is even tougher. To be recently excluded from some of the benefits I used to enjoy since I started working here just because I’m not Korean is quite unacceptable, unreasonable and offensive after all these years of working my ass for the company specially the last year or so. 

For most of us, majority of our time is spent in the workplace. And at work, we don’t usually have a choice to go with a group we personally would want to work with. But we have a common goal and for a country and a company like this, we have to work in a very diverse working environment since much of its manpower are of a mixed race whether we like it or not. Personally, this is not a difficult thing to deal with as long as we all are treated fairly. However, working in a racially hostile environment is stressful and affects a person’s well-being. I’ve been working in the same company for the past seven years and racism was never an issue until very recently after all the changes that took place.

I personally find no excuse for people who say racist comments specially in the workplace. I don’t believe I should just swallow hurtful remarks. I take such things personally. I know it’s the other person’s issue and not mine but as I’ve mentioned, I take it very personal but I try to process it as healthily as I could.

I can’t help but speak up when I hear racist comments at work even when it is not directed to me or any other specific person. It is not okay because it makes everyone start thinking it is acceptable. If a comment hurts me, I feel the need to address this to the person who made the comment. It is difficult not to say anything and it may even imply that I agree with them. But speaking up puts my job at risk in return. And I have to consider the person’s authority over my job, too. I should be realistic of the consequences it will cause me but it’s not very easy to just shut up and pretend I don’t hear anything.

Sometimes, I just change the subject. However, this relies of course in the other person’s emotional intelligence. If they pick up the cue that I don’t agree with what they said, then it’s good. At times, they even apologize.

Some days, it’s nice to play dumb at racist jokes. Acting dumb and asking the person what his racist joke means often leaves them not being able to explain why it’s funny. It would need them to suggest a racist stereotype should they want to explain and when this happens, I’d be glad to ask the accuracy of such stereotyping and then it’s easy to pinpoint the racism in his joke.

I’m not sure how much longer I can manage to continue working here. When something’s wrong, it is really difficult to turn a blind eye. Apparently, to confront racism is a long haul. It is a slow process and takes a lot of patience. And mine is running out.

A Corner of My Own

Spiders.

I’m afraid of them.

I see them.

I kill them.

One night,

I turned the lights on.

A big black spider

Scampered in the ceiling.

I walked in slowly

And afraid

As the spider ambled

To the corner.

There it stayed

Away from harm.

And for the first time,

I didn’t want to kill it.

I wanted to be like it.

I wanted to find

I wanted to be

In a corner of my own.

My Sulfur Bath Experience in Tbilisi

I was wandering around Tbilisi in search of a good place to have dinner when I came across several brick, domed rooftops which happens to be sulfur bathhouses.

I came to understand that these bathhouses are an important part of Tbilisi’s history. Tbilisi got its name from the hot springs that run under this district. According to legend, it was these sulfur springs that made King Vakhtang Georgasali to decide to settle there and make it the new capital.

I must admit, visiting one of these sulfur baths in Georgia was the most embarrassing but also one of the most hilarious experience during my recent travel.

There are five sulfur bathhouses left in Abanotubani district, or so I counted, compared to around more than 60 at the peak of its popularity. I wasn’t sure which to choose but someone approached me and invited me to try it. He lead me to what I never thought was a bathhouse. The exterior was elegant as it was inside. It appears totally different from the other bathhouses. I even thought it was a mosque!😅

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You can choose to go for a public bath or a private room. Even though public bathing will cost me a lot cheaper, bathing with strangers still didn’t sound very appealing to me so I opt for the latter and it’s rented by the hour. One of the staffs accompanied me to my room and I was told that I should dip myself in the water for 20 minutes while waiting for the masseuse to arrive. I must say, I am not very fond of any activity that involves water but I was impressed and felt okay when I came inside the big bathing room. There was a changing room, a toilet, a sitting/waiting area, a pool of hot sulfur water (40°C-50°C), a massage slab and shower. I paid for the room, the towels, shower gel, scrub and massage.

Since I booked a private room, I used it naked. The water was literally hot! As I tried to submerge myself, I already felt like drowning. It’s a small tub/pool but I had some difficulty breathing and I felt like the water’s gonna swallow me whole. Good thing the smell of sulfur wasn’t that strong. When I finally managed to fully submerge myself, it felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life!

Then the masseuse came. A stout fifty-ish woman with an austere face. I watched her walk to the waiting area where she suddenly stopped and stripped her clothes except her underwear. She came in front of the pool with her piercing gaze and pointed to the marble slab at the corner of the room. She then filled in a bucket of water. Naked, I went out of the pool and clumsily made my way to her. I smiled and said hello. She didn’t smile nor reply. She just looked at me and pointed where I should stand. It was awkward as hell!  I moved as instructed and when I turned to face her she was already carrying the bucket and threw the water at me! Ice cold water!!! I literally shrieked out of shock and I even felt furious I screamed why did she do that? She started laughing too hard then and asked me, “Good?” Hell, no! But yes, it was, to be quite honest, a few seconds later! She continued laughing her evil witch, sly laugh. I ended up laughing with her instead. I came to know much later that she also doesn’t know English so you can probably imagine how it was for the rest of my time with her there.

She started to scrub my arms while standing then she let me lay down in the marble slab to exfoliate the rest of my body. After the scrub, she filled in a kind of small sack with soapy water and covered me up with it. It’s the second best part of the whole experience, I felt like a baby and my skin felt softer and smoother.

Then came the best part — the massage! The human moment that I finally managed to totally relax! Her hands were so light but were really very good at what they do. I had a full-body massage and it was so totally worth it! After 20 minutes, she doused me again with buckets and buckets of water as she laughs her evil laugh. After feeling content and satisfied (I guess) throwing water at me, she finally stopped and started gathering all her stuffs in the bucket then left laughing.

I took another dip in the hot pool for a few more minutes and ended up laughing to myself. It was a fun experience. I then showered and got dressed and moments later, the phone rang and my time is up.

I left the bathhouse relaxed, happy and satisfied. Once outside, I remembered I was hungry and so I went on looking for a place to dine in. What happened next is another story that will stay in my heart forever but for now, I’ll keep you with the bathhouse experience.

Have a wonderful day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Sometimes I Wish We Never Met

You were smart, cool and sweet. You’re a breath of fresh air. You’re everything any girl would’ve wanted. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d go farther than being friends. But I wanted you in my life. You were my muse. You showed me another positive side of life. Eventually, I trusted you. Then, I loved you.

But what could have happened if we just never met?

Quite certainly, I would’ve saved myself from a tremendous heartache. Did you come in my life to teach me a lesson? If so, I wish you were a lesson I didn’t have to learn. Things weren’t so perfect when you came but I was okay. Still, you were there to cheer me up. Made me look at life from a different view. Said things are going to turn quite well. You offered me wisdom. You helped me become whole again.

Then you broke me just the same.

I’ve been contemplating for a very long time now if you were ever worth the love and time I gave you. Was the joy I felt with you worth this pain? Was it wrong to break my rules for you? Was I so naive to think that I meant something to you? Was it wrong that I trusted you? Or was I a fool for loving you?

If I could turn back time to the night we first kissed and change it all, I will. If only I knew that you’d give me more pain than joy, I would have left it all the way it once were. If only I knew you’d leave me for little mishaps and uncertainties, I shouldn’t have let things went too far.

Perhaps it’s true that everyone we meet in our lives come for a purpose or a reason. None of it is a coincidence. None of it a mistake. It’s been some time now since you did what you did and I’m trying to put them all past me. But some days, it all just comes back, reopens the wound you left me and hurts like hell again.

That is why sometimes, I wish we never met.

When It Comes To You

People come and go.

Some stay for some time,

Some stay longer.

Either way,

They’re not there forever.

They come, they leave.

Some love us,

Others hurt us.

Some make us whole,

And when we’re lucky,

They stay.

Others break us though,

Then leave.

But eventually,

We get up again

And put all the broken pieces together.

We get used to them gone.

But why when it comes to you,

I’m finding it hard to get used to?

When It Finally Sinks In

As I stroll through dusty lanes early this morning, it suddenly felt real. After the planning, the urgent moving, the changes and everything, I am, in the end, left alone.

Why has it hit me just now?

It just seems like yesterday when I first set foot in the company premises to attend the job interview. Time flies. Seven unbelievable, wonderful and enriching years have gone by and I am grateful to still be here. It’s just that I am left alone now. Everyone I worked with when we first opened the branch office has said goodbye. The last among them left today.

As it happens to everyone, we have tons of good times and some really bad times.  Things we think we should have been more involved with before or things we should have just ended at some point early on. I don’t really regret anything but I feel like I should have left the first time I wanted to. I would have been someone and somewhere else by now, who knows, and probably wouldn’t feel so alone today.

Perhaps there comes a time in every person’s life when it finally sinks in. To understand the subtle shift from an almost fantasy world to real life. I think I crossed that line today — I just no longer live in my own head now but in a very real new world.

Some Lessons Learned From My Most Spontaneous Travel

I first started traveling one destination at a time where I make a research of what places to see, what things to do, what stuff to try, what foods to eat, etc. I usually spend almost a month in one country exploring its different provinces. Then I tried dividing my vacation days to two countries. It was better. My most recent vacation though was something I didn’t really have time to plan about. My vacation was cancelled a few times the last two years and I almost have given up thinking about it. When schedules were finalized and I can really go on leave, I wasn’t sure where to go. First Jordan. Then Qatar and Jordan. Then Qatar and Georgia. Or just Georgia. I ended up traveling to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Qatar and Jordan.

Among my main goals while traveling are to indulge myself in alcohol and suffice my palate with dishes I have never tried before and eat every pork dishes available in the place. 😅 (I’ve been living in Kuwait for the past nine years and a half, alcohol and pork are prohibited here.) And over the years, I’ve learned that one of the best things about travel is not merely about the places you’d be visiting or the food you get to taste the first time but the things you learn while traveling. Of course I can only speak for myself and so as far as I’m concerned, traveling has taught me a lot of things about people, culture, tradition, food, places, history and life in general. It also has taught me a lot of things about myself.

Most of my travels in the Philippines were spontaneous ones. I get to go to provinces three hours or more away from my hometown with just an hour notice. When I started traveling to other countries though, I had to research and make a list of things to do, places to go to, where to stay, etc. It was okay at first but following a certain schedule while traveling makes me feel my options are limited. I felt like I’m not getting the most of it so I went back to traveling without having everything planned. Today, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from my most spontaneous vacation.

Decisions.

It’s very important to be very flexible with your plans so when forced to make last minute decisions, it won’t turn out so bad. Even the most indecisive person can change and learn how to make spontaneous decisions while traveling. Your plans could totally change but roll with the changes and discover other ways to enjoy.

You need not be multilingual.

While knowing a second (or more) language can really be very helpful while on the road, I have never been trapped in a situation where I badly needed to have known one. It’s sometimes embarrassing that the people I meet are bilingual but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their company. And I was never in trouble for knowing just one.

Strangers can be the best guide books and they can be the best of friends you’ll ever meet.

While there are a lot of ways that could be of help when traveling alone like Google maps and stuff, strangers can still be the best guide books ever. I once asked a stranger how to go to this particular restaurant that serves traditional dishes while in Vietnam. He helped me find the place but suggested an even better place! And when I visited the place he recommended, I’ve met several other people there as well, a few of the best people I’ve met while traveling. Every stranger I’ve met has lead me from one place to another and each place was definitely a worthwhile experience.

Unplanned travel escapades are where the fondest of memories are.

I’ve always find spontaneity a lot more rewarding than a carefully planned life. Since I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 18, almost everything that happened in my life were unplanned. Same thing when I travel. The many instances where I wasn’t prepared during the trip turned out to be the best and where the fondest of memories were made. I’m not a big fan of surprises but I am always amazed where my love for spontaneity leads me. Unplanned escapades are usually short but in my experience, it’s never short of thrill and excitement! These memories are the ones I relive again and again. It never fades. The memory of each unplanned adventure never gets old.

It’s not always about where you go. It’s also about the people you’re with and things you do together wherever it leads you to.

No matter where I go to when I travel, one thing happens for sure, even if I don’t initially notice it, I come back a better person than who I was when I left. I gain more positivity and courage so thanks to the people I meet along the way. Every person I meet is unique and has something to offer which adds to the excitement. Never in my life have I thought of going on an escapade with marijuana smokers and learning a lot about life from them. Turns out, they’re a few of the kindest of people I’ve met.

It’s okay if things go wrong.

My parents, my mom specially, raised my brothers and I to always follow the rules. If we follow the rules, nothing could go wrong she said. Sure, generally she’s right but following the rules all the time is not fun. Following what the guide books say, it leaves us with little chance for spontaneity. It limits us from appreciating the beauty of the unexpected. When things don’t go according to plan, be okay with it. More often than not, it leads to better and more exciting adventures.

Inform your bank.

It is important to inform your bank about your travels because during my recent trip, they put my card on hold because of suspicious transactions. Know that when your bank notices something unusual on your transactions, they have the right to put it on hold. For my bank, there’s an option when you log-in online where you can inform the bank of your travel dates so they wouldn’t suspect your future transactions. It’ll be hell to have no money while in a foreign country so consider this.

Overpacking sucks.

This is a serious pain in the ass. For years, packing my things is what my travel nightmares are made of, I’ve never learned to travel light until my most recent escapade. Having to travel from one country to another at a very short notice, I had to ask my then still stranger travel buddy to pack my stuff for me. My packing skills are seriously awful. It’s amazing to see her how to do it and yeah, I definitely learned a lot from her. It’s not easy travelling from one place to another with large suitcases.

Appreciate and surrender to the moment.

Of course it’s nice to take photos of almost everything beautiful and interesting when you travel — the tourist spots, the food you’ve tasted the first time, the views, etc. — but sometimes, we forget to appreciate these things as it is because we’re busy taking photos for Instagram. During my recent travel, I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am — phone, camera, extra batteries, chargers, etc. — but I also get to appreciate everything more and I get to see and explore hidden gems because my phone was dead. I was left to explore the streets not knowing where it’ll lead me. Surrendering to the moment made the trip so much more exciting, interesting, educating, fun and special.

Life is so damn good.

Sometimes we forget to be grateful how fortunate we actually are. As I grow older, I become more grateful for being alive and having the chance to travel from time to time. Life is good. I know we all have times when we feel like life is so unfair but life is good, homo sapiens. Life is so damn good.

Why I Talk to Strangers

As children, we were often told to never talk to strangers because it’s dangerous. And I remember being frequently scolded by my parents for disobeying. I was caught many times — in school, in the market, in grocery shops, department stores — talking to strangers both young and old. I don’t know but even at a young age, I prefer to smile and say hello or something rather than just staying silent. With the innocence of children, they won’t really understand the different intentions of strangers for being nice. So I could definitely understand that it’s a very sound advice for children not to talk to strangers.

Not very much so with adults though. Talking to strangers is one of the few most relaxing and interesting thing I do when I’m alone.

The first reason why I genuinely find it interesting talking to strangers even when I was a child was because I grew up from a small family and not very close with our relatives. We also didn’t have neighbors whom we can play with when we were children so I only spend time with my two brothers, not that they’re not interesting enough to be with, they’re both very cool actually, but I always thought that there are far more things I can know and learn about if I talk to others and more often than not, they happen to be strangers.

I also like talking to strangers for the simple reason that I hate waiting. Waiting for friends who come late at the scheduled meeting time, waiting for my order to arrive when I dine out alone, waiting in long queues, waiting for my turn in banks or other offices. Waiting is boring so I always bring a book with me but sometimes why not talk with someone instead until it’s your turn to approach the counter or until your friends arrive? I mean, time flies faster when there’s someone to talk to, right?

When I was a freshman in the university and was working part time in a fast food restaurant, we had this customer who eats the very same thing — rice, hotdogs and eggs with hot chocolate— every Monday morning. He is good-looking but he never smiled. He always carries a blue backpack and always reads a book while he eats. Strangers like this guy appear to me as riddles waiting to be solved. They’re irresistible. Why does he eat the same thing at almost the same time every Monday morning? Why doesn’t he smile? What other books have he read? Who is his favorite author? Etc. Etc. One rainy morning, he came again and for the first time, he came to my counter. He said hello. I think I was smiling wide to my ears when I said, “Hi! Good morning. One hotdog meal with hot chocolate for dine-in?” He smiled back. We dated for the next couple of years.

Moreover, a stranger is not my phone, nor my laptop or PC. So talking to someone I don’t know is a way of taking a break from gadgets. A break from work-related or the usual phone calls or text messages. A break from my typical work day. A smile and some small talk with a stranger often recharge my energy.

For the past fifteen years or so, I’ve experienced happily talking to strangers while travelling. When I travel, I always spend a good amount of time in parks and cafes to read, write and people-watch. The fun thing about it is you’ll never know who you’d happen to sit right next to, or who would happen to sit next to you.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a stranger to someone and I feel they’re interested to talk to me, too. The first time I visited Hanoi, I get to meet some students in the park surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, who are working on a project about what tourists like the most about their country. They basically asked to interview me to which I delightfully obliged. While I was hiking my way up to the Monastery in Petra, I was offered a marriage proposal! Ha! That could make for another post. 🙂 When I was in Qatar, I’ve met a British guy in the library as we happen to be looking for the same books. While in a tram in Georgia, I’ve met a Kuwaiti family who happens to be very nice to me. I’ve also met several others in clubs and restaurants. It’s funny actually because I’ve met/befriended more Kuwaitis in Georgia in four days than in my nine years of working in Kuwait. 🙂 I’ve also met people from different walks of life and with all sorts of life experiences. I’ve met a wealthy businessman while exploring the monastery and caves of Vardzia, an Australian guy who gave up his job to travel and was so curious about the “Happy Pizza” in Siem Reap, expats earning a living in Doha, poor villagers who don’t have any idea how much money tourism makes out of the attractions in their country but are only very grateful that you visited their place and so much more.

I’m a big fan of solo travel but it doesn’t really feel like I’m traveling alone because of the many strangers I get to talk to. Having an unexpected travel buddy (or buddies) from time to time is rewarding. And it’s even more interesting if these buddies are different from me. They help me realize how much of a bubble I actually live in. I learn new things from them. They help me broaden my view of the world.

I also get to have the deepest and the most meaningful of conversations with strangers. When I first arrived in my hotel in Amman, I’ve met two women (one from Palestine and one from Syria) and a man from Saudi Arabia right there in the lobby. We instantly clicked and that same afternoon went on a road trip to As-Salt, had dinner, smoked shisha, shared each other’s life stories like as if we’ve known each other for a very long time. I was then mending a broken heart from a seven-year relationship and the Syrian lady just broke up with her boyfriend the day before. The other lady just broke an engagement while the guy recently got dumped. A group of brokenhearted humans basically. That’s a very unforgettable day. Four souls with shattered hearts formed a friendship like no other.

I don’t know but I often find it easier to open up to strangers, it’s cathartic telling them my deepest feelings. Or probably because I won’t see them again anyway! Ha! Or maybe because they tend to be more objective? Bottom line is, there’s something strangely satisfying talking to people I don’t really know. That’s how I feel, at least.

Strangers have too much to offer us. Each has a unique story to tell. And when we keep our minds open to encounters with strangers, we learn about them and they teach us something in return. Some encounters could even be life-changing. Who knows, right? Some stay for a while, some stay longer. But either way, they serve us a purpose that helps us evolve into better people.

Happy day, Homo sapiens! 😊

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…

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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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?

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.

Here’s Why I Don’t Like Cats

I don’t like cats. I don’t hate them. Hate is such a strong word. I just don’t like them. We had cats growing up because my younger brother adores them but I never really cared about them, didn’t play with them, didn’t feed them at all. I once gave away one of my brother’s most evil feline without them knowing at home (not until after a few days, that is!) because the evil cat broke the aquarium (which was also my brother’s) while trying to catch a fish. I was the primary suspect to the crime because I was caught many times killing fish from the same aquarium but I swear, it wasn’t me on that occasion! It was the darn pussy cat! But hey, the moment I got rid of that evil cat, my heart was in the right place! Anyhow, I really didn’t like cats even before that happened. The only cats I like are Garfield (of course!) and Sassy from the movie Homeward Bound.

Alright, alright. I know cats can be pretty damn cute, innocent-faced murderers that they are, right? Who’s not to like their big round eyes and their furry bodies? Well, I think there are still a number of people who find them irritating or boring as much as I do. I was once gifted a shirazi cat a few years ago, however, it was proven and tested that we have a great amount of enmity for each other, so I gave it away too, to avoid killing it or be killed by it!

So why don’t I like cats?

imagesFirst of all, I really think they’re possessed by the devil. One minute they’re so cute and nice then totally different the next. One moment they’re quiet then they’ll be growling like crazy all of a sudden. They’d even stare at me like I did them wrong at one point then starts acting like they love me too much a few minutes later. Sometimes, too, they’d just bit or scratch me out of nowhere!

Second, they’re creepy. Do cats really have to stare at me when I eat, read, watch TV or when I pee?

Third, too much of their fur comes off. Cleaning cat hair off on almost everything at home specially the sofas is just another added chore.

Fourth, they don’t have social skills. They just lurk in wherever they want at home and no matter how I persuade them to come to me, they’d just stare at me blankly like “what’s your problem?” then walk away!

imagesFifth, cats are mean. I don’t know how many times I’ve been scratched by my brother’s pet cats. I was also bitten once. I mean, come on, why? I didn’t do anything to them. They even scratch my books, the sofa, my pillow, the door even! And they break pots and aquariums! Pure evil!

Sixth, I think they’d eat or kill me at any given chance!

Seventh, they think/act like they own everything they see.

So how about you? Do you or do you not like cats? Why and why not?

Do These Habits Annoy You Like They Annoy Me?

I’m waiting for my flight at the moment and enjoying my first cup of coffee after a few months since I’ve stopped drinking. I love coming early to the airport whenever I travel to be able to roam around the whole place, buy coffee then read. I have read very little this year and I’m not very happy about it. However, I don’t think I can catch up with my reading at this point because this young fellow a few seats from mine is talking too loudly on his phone. I don’t understand a thing he’s saying because he speaks Arabic but man, he’s too loud and he sounds like a frog. I don’t know what better word to use to describe his voice. Froggy? Haha! But yeah, he sounds like a frog. Anyhoo, Mr. Froggy Guy just gave me an idea what to write about instead!

We all behave differently and less becoming from time to time. We all have habits and some things that are normal for us just aren’t the same for others. Now because of this loud, froggy guy, I can’t help but think about the things other people do which I find annoying/irritating. It might not bother other people as much as it bothers me since we all are different individuals and behave differently but do the following habits annoy you like they annoy me?

1. Talking loudly on the phone. (Or just talking very loudly.)

I don’t understand people having loud, animated conversations on their phones in public! They probably get so carried away but come on, keep it down. I’m not in the least bit interested about other people’s conversation and I think it’s always possible to modulate your voice. High-decibel assault on my eardrums are not welcome so please don’t make the whole world your phone booth.

2. Nose picking.

Everyone does this once in a while, alright, but picking your nose in public places? Who wants to see that?

3. Stinking farts.

We all do need to pass gas but that doesn’t mean others should smell it, too. Who wants to smell a fart? You, yourself, don’t want to smell yours, do you? So finding yourself caught up in someone else’s rectal gas is maddening! Go to toilets or empty spaces if you need to release stinking gas.

4. Interrupting when someone’s talking.

I, for one, love to talk. When I say something, I want the person’s full attention on me and what I’m saying as I do the same to other people when they do the talking. It annoys me when someone cuts me off mid-sentence. I get completely miffed when someone butts in when I’m talking most specially when I’m saying/explaining something important and complicated or something that gives me butterflies in my stomach. When people interrupt, they should just tell the other person to shut up because they have better things to say. It shows that they don’t know respect because however I look at it, it is rude to interrupt.

5. Nail biting.

I think nail biting is not just a bad habit but also a disorder in the same category with OCD. I just find it really irritating.

6. Gross eating.

Table manners, please. No one wants to hear the noise people make when they chew/slurp their food/drinks or when their teeth clangs to the cutlery. It also gets me totally irritated to see food scattered all over the table, talking with mouth full, taking too much food like there’s no tomorrow and not eating it all and also burping without covering their mouths and burping intentionally loud because they think it’s funny!

7. Whining and complaining.

Whining or complaining once in a while is normal but when someone does it every single day? Oh, seven hells! Don’t be surprised why I avoid you. I don’t like people who talk as if the world owes them something!

8. Always late.

It’s infuriating that very often nowadays, people think it’s okay and it’s normal to be late in meetings or appointments. Once or twice is fine for sometimes, some unavoidable things happen. But I find people disrespectful of my time when they always come up late.

9. Repetitive noise.

This often happens at work. It really gets on my nerves rather quickly when people make useless, irritating, repetitive noise like tapping their pens on the desk or even sighing deeply all the time like as if they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders when all they actually do is nap/sleep, watch, smoke and drink coffee at work.

10. Taking shit out on other people.

Feeling angry or upset is okay. However, it is unacceptable to be taking your shit out on other people or go and act freaking crazy at them about something that made you angry.

A very common scene anywhere in the world today. This isn’t only annoying but also very rude. It is always important to give your full attention to the person speaking. If you find your phone more interesting than I am, don’t bother hanging out with me again.

12. Being a slob.

Since I started sharing rooms/apartments, one of the things I fight/argue about with my housemates (in addition to noise) concerns house chores. Throwing the garbage, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, etc. In any living situation where you share the place with someone, there is always the one who cares more and the one who cares less about these things. Obviously, the slobs care less or not at all. We all differ in standards when it comes to keeping our homes clean but leaving your mess behind when cohabiting with someone is unacceptable for me. It’s disrespectful and inconsiderate expecting others to clean your mess.

13. Making everything about them.

There is absolutely nothing wrong about sharing things about yourself to people, however, why or how some bring up unrelated topics back to them or about them all the time is a different thing. I guess this boils down to becoming good listeners. It is very important to listen and understand to what the other person is saying instead of just waiting another chance to revert back the conversation to yourself.

14. The need of being right all the time and knowing it all.

It is so irritating to be with someone who has to be, needs to be and wants to be right all the time. Not to mention always trying to prove other people wrong. Of course there are instances where you can really prove yourself right but so what? I think it’s okay to correct someone once in a while but generally, people should remember that conversations are always a matter of each person’s perspective, opinion or experiences. Respect theirs as they respect yours.

15. Acting like a victim.

It’s totally draining being in the company of people who always complain and think that life is unfair. It’s normal to feel sad and discouraged but life wasn’t meant to be always easy and happy. Life is hard but it’s always up to us whether we let ourselves get stuck to it and act like pathetic victims of this cruel world or make something better out of it. In addition, I don’t like people acting like victims of circumstances they themselves created.

16. Being negative all the time.

It’s exhausting spending time with pessimists. Things do go wrong and sometimes, we have no control of that but it wouldn’t do you any good to stay stuck there and be completely negative about it.

17. Playing dumb.

I’ve known many women who has the habit of playing dumb specially in front of men or their crushes/boyfriends. It’s not cute! It’s just not!

18. Pretending to be friends then badmouthing them behind their backs.

What’s wrong with these people? Why pretend you like the person when you don’t? You don’t have to be friends with everyone so don’t pretend to be friends then badmouth each other after.

19. Invading my personal space.

Crossing boundaries are way too greater nowadays. My personal space or any issue related to it is something very important to me and I protect that probably far more seriously than others. This is my kind of comfort zone where I set/maintain a certain distance from people both emotionally and physically where when it’s crossed, it gives me a feeling of irritability and discomfort.

20. Making personal calls all day at work.

Colleagues can be very annoying in a multitude of ways. Making personal calls at work all day, every day, is one example. It’s understandable to make occasional, personal phone calls but use your common sense. Personal calls should be kept at a minimum. I, for one, am not interested with what’s happening in your personal life. Leave your personal matters at home.

~~~

I understand we all have habits we don’t realize irritate other people and I actually don’t give a damn about it but I also know that it’s also important to be mindful of others. It’s essential to be aware of our bad habits in order to work on changing them and adopting new and better ones.

What habits annoy you? Share them!

14 Things Restaurant Servers Wish You’d Stop Doing

I am more of an eater than a server but I worked in the food industry for several years, in fact, it’s in the same field where I had my very first job. I was sixteen then. I worked as a restaurant server in a Lebanese restaurant in a 5-star hotel when I first came here before moving to my current company two and a half years later and I can say that I also enjoyed the years I’ve worked there and at the same time had my fair share of restaurant horror experiences. I can tell you several stories about hungry humans during those years I was in the business but I’ll save that for another post. I guess, everyone who worked more than their summer vacation as a server have at least one work-related nightmare.

It’s an easy job for some but not so easy for others. I think there’s no easy job in a restaurant and in my experience, the servers have it the hardest. In one shift, a server can attend to a hundred or so restaurant patrons — some nice, some very hungry and of course, some just plainly rude. In addition, there’s the endless demands of the guests (and managers), the very long time standing or walking back and forth, cleaning, delayed breaks (or sometimes none!), malfunctioning microwaves, juicers or coffee machines, dumb questions from guests, managers and collagues, quick-tempered chefs, lazy workmates and so on. Maybe it would be nice if it would be a requirement to have one-year working experience in the food industry before entering the university. 😉 Just so everyone would know and understand how it’s like.

In between shifts, during breaks, in staff parties or whenever there’s a chance, restaurant staffs (I and my former coworkers included) can’t help but talk about you — restaurant patrons/guests — what they wish (and would really appreciate) you would stop doing.

1. Ignoring the staff’s greetings.

I don’t understand why you choose to ignore the staffs when they greet you. Many of you just immediately demand for what you want instead of acknowledging the staff’s “Hello” or “Welcome.”

Sometimes, servers are cut-off mid-sentence while greeting the guests. Worse still, I’ve never known where on earth do they teach that “Give me turkish coffee, sweet,” is the proper reply to “How are you?” Rude!

2. Letting your children run amok.

I hate this, big time. Letting your children run amok in a restaurant is dangerous. It’s a disaster. It’s chaos. It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining. If the servers trip over your children and dump food or juice or hot coffee or anything on them, the server almost always gets the blame when in truth, you should be responsible for it. You should be responsible for your children. Not the servers. Restaurants are not playgrounds. You are the only ones thinking that your unruly children are cute and adorable. If you can’t control your children, stay at home for lunch/dinner because servers are not babysitters.

3. Treating your servers as servants.

There is a difference between a server and a servant. Servers are not supposed to kiss your asses. While it’s nice to have someone to fill your glass of water or your cup of tea or coffee, or serving you with your meal and other requests, that doesn’t make them your servant. It also doesn’t mean they’re lower than you. It just so happened that their job is different than yours. So keep in mind to treat them with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Servers are not your personal employees and they’re not obliged to do anything other than taking and serving your orders politely and with utmost respect while making sure you enjoy your dining experience.

4. Not asking for the extras you need at once.

Why do servers ask you if you need anything else after you or your companion ask for something extra? Come on, save the server the trouble of taking several trips here and there by trying to tell them what you need all at once.

5. Whistling & snapping your fingers at the servers.

This is something I’ve encountered a number of times when I was still working in that Lebanese restaurant. Unfortunately, guests whistling to the servers and snapping their fingers when they need something appeared to be a common practice! You should never, ever do that to your servers. It’s downright rude!

6. Blaming the servers when your food is late.

It’s perfectly okay to ask the server what’s taking your order too long. Don’t blame them when your food is late though! It’s annoying alright but they are as miffed as you are when your order is taking forever to be ready.

7. Blaming the servers for not following cooking preferences/requests.

What happens between the time the server takes your order and the moment they serve it to you is out of their control. When you request for a dish without garlic, they jot it down and relay it to the chefs. Whenever possible, they also tell the chef directly about your requests/instructions. However, if the dish you ordered still came with garlic, the servers aren’t the ones you should blame. They take your order, they serve your food BUT they DON’T cook your food.

8. Bitching about your food after consuming everything on your plate.

One of the many dick moves diners do is bitching about the food after devouring their plates clean. Servers usually check on you if your food is okay and if you say yes, then the servers really take that as a yes. If there’s a problem about your food, let the server know as soon as you have the issue so they can find a way to make it right. Don’t bitch about it after you’ve swallowed everything already — a common drama to get the food for free. Ha! These types of guests can burn in hell.

9. Not asking for separate checks before/while ordering.

It’s totally fine to ask for split/separate checks but inform your server at the beginning or while ordering. It’s common courtesy. Splitting checks equally among  you is alright but if it’s seven ways for every person’s order (seven hells!), oh, definitely a heads up!

10. Staying too long after closing time.

Closing time means the restaurant is closed. Go home.

11. Putting your cash/card on the counter when the server’s hand is already out.

Your servers don’t have contagious disease, or else, they won’t be working there in the first place. If their hands are out to receive your payment, hand it to them and not on the table/counter.

12. Hitting on your servers.

This is very irritating. You go to restaurants to eat, I believe, not to find someone to mingle with. But it’s a common scenario in restaurants here. Anyway, just let them do their jobs. Don’t hit on them.

13. Anything phone-related.

This is another dick move I personally wish diners stop doing. You shouldn’t expect your server to stand and wait ages for you to be ready to order until you finish your call or finish texting or whatever business you have with your phone. It’s irritating taking orders while your attention is on your phone.

14. Interrupting the server while attending to another guest.

Learn to wait for your turn and don’t be rude to both your server and the other guests. You’re not the only guest in the restaurant so wait for your turn.

~~~

Anything else you’d like to add? Share them!

My Food Quirks

I wasn’t a picky eater, ever! I’d eat anything given, offered or served in front of me. My palate’s never shy. 😉 But still, we all have our little quirks when it comes to the food (or drinks) we eat or maybe never thought of eating. It may be funny for some and weird for others. Anyhow, I thought of making a list of my personal food quirks today.

1. I remove the crust off my toast, I don’t eat them.

2. I don’t chew gum.

3. I don’t eat strawberry-flavored foods/drinks.

4. I enjoy eating sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

5. I love peanut butter and jelly. I’ve met a lot of people who find this a weird combination and I don’t know why.

6. I enjoy my spaghetti a lot more if mixed with mayonnaise.

7. I used to soak coffee beans on my coke for more than half an hour or so before drinking it.

8. I prefer eating ice cream once it’s melted already so sometimes, I first put it in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

9. I don’t like my food mixing up on my plate so I use section plates at home. When dining outside, I try not have them mixing with each other. I know they’ll all get mixed up in the stomach just the same… Well, it’s okay that they touch each other but I don’t want seeing them all mixed up.

10. I don’t eat yoghurt. (And cheese, if I can avoid it).

11. I prefer my coffee warm. I don’t like iced coffee that much. So I usually make (or order) a cup of hot coffee and let it cool down before enjoying it.

12. I won’t eat sharing food without a serving spoon.

13. I always bring with me a lunch box cutlery set (spoon, fork, chopsticks) or a sujeo (spoon & chopsticks) as I use them instead of those in restaurants whenever in doubt.

14. I enjoy eating breakfast foods for dinner.

15. I haven’t eaten pizza for more than a year I think but when I sometimes do, I only eat Margherita and Hawaiian. Yes, I love pineapples on my pizza! And the fewer toppings, the better.

16. I prefer eating bananas with peanut butter.

17. I used to only eat egg whites, then I used to eat only egg yolks. Now, I devour the whole egg!

18. I’m no longer used to eating noodles with a fork, I always prefer eating them now with chopsticks.

19. I eat M&Ms color by color. I don’t like the orange and yellow-colored ones though so I give them away. I eat the brown ones last when I’m alone but eat them first when I’m with my brother because he eats them all!

20. I like eating dessert with my meal whenever possible.

21. When I eat Arabic bread — they call it kuboos, I’m not sure if it’s spelled that way! — I don’t eat the bottom part and I don’t eat it if it’s not made on the same day.

22. I eat apples but I don’t like apple juice; I eat oranges but I don’t like orange juice.

23. I like dipping bread with butter on my hot chocolate or coffee.

24. I only drink laban during the month of Ramadan.

25. I always use matching spoon and fork or paired/matching spoon and chopsticks. I don’t like eating using unmatched cutlery.

26. I still eat baby foods (Gerber & stuff) like once or twice a month. I love the banana flavor.

So there goes my food quirks and I still don’t think I’m weird, do you? Anyway, what’s yours?

20 (Bad) Habits I Won’t Give Up Just Yet

Habits take up space in our lives. Good and bad.

Good habits. It usually takes me an eternity to form one good habit. So I always make sure to give myself a pat on the back whenever I form one.

Bad habits. Give me a day and a half and I would have formed several. I don’t know what’s with bad habits but it usually is so easy to make them. Right? Right. Sometimes I tell myself I’d do something about them but well… some habits are just hard to break.

Today I’m sharing with you some bad habits I won’t give up just yet. Read on if there’s something we have in common.

1. Chocolates, ice cream, cakes. In other words, sugar.

2. Alcohol.

3. Picking fights.

4. Skipping meals.

5. Talking to myself. – I don’t find this a bad habit but many people I know judge me for it. I couldn’t care less.

6. Breaking promises to myself.

7. Multi-tasking.

8. Purposely annoying people.

9. Stopping mid-sentence.

10. Scathing sarcasm.

11. Wasting table napkins. (I just can’t help it!)

12. Hoarding.

13. Spacing out.

14. Being argumentative.

15. Not having a routine. – Well, routine is lethal.

16. Staring at an open fridge.

17. Talking during movies.

18. Not paying attention when I’m not interested with what other people are saying.

19. Questioning and complaining.

20. Buying gifts at the last minute.

We all do things we somehow wish we don’t but we can work on changing it to good ones little by little. I guess recognizing these bad habits for now is essential to a positive change but for me, not just yet.

I’d be glad to know about your bad habits, too, so feel free to write them in the comments.

Happy Sunday, homo sapiens! 🙂

9 Reasons Why I Read the Book First Before Watching the Movie

Reading has always been my favorite pastime. I’m happily content in the company of books. However, it’s June and I’ve only read eight — yes, eight! — books, the least for me in a span of six months.

For the past couple of years or so, I’ve noticed that a lot of books were adapted to movies — Hidden Figures, The Girl on the Train, Inferno, Me Before You, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas — just to name a few.  My friends and those who have been following my blog for some time now are aware how much I enjoy reading and that I’m not a big fan of watching flicks and how I almost always deride movie adaptations.

Then comes the great debate: read before watching OR watch before reading? Both, of course, are tactile experiences, it just depends greatly I guess on every individual’s personality but here’s why I choose the former:

BvsM

1. I get the whole plot.

I like reading the book first because I get to understand the whole plot. There were times when I first watched the movie and didn’t understand a thing about it. It didn’t make any sense to me when I watched it. I’m not sure if it’s because the movie was so bad or I just really didn’t understand. But when I read the book first, I get to know the backstory and all, the characters, etc. Reading the book first gives me a greater understanding of the movie.

2. I get to imagine and create the characters the way I want.

In books, I can imagine the characters the way I want to and one thing I like most when reading is the way I can relate with the characters, being able to somewhat read their minds or understand their action and create and have my own image of them before I see their movie versions. There are a lot of irrelevant things written in books but somehow, these things are actually the important things that give more life or make the characters more interesting for me. It’s these things that make us connect with them. And there’s nothing better than these connections that we get to create as we follow the character’s development and story. Whatever are relevant in the story are the only things we see in movies. There’s not enough backstories provided about the characters and very little information to grasp.

3. It develops my thinking/imagination.

When I read something totally new to me or a first from an author, it’s cool being left to my own imagination. Unlike when I watch the film first, I can’t help but remember the actors and actresses playing the parts and I don’t really like it. I like having my own version of the characters and the settings and then be either amazed or disappointed later when I watch the movie.

4. Movie adaptations are too modified.

Many movie adaptations are too modified. This probably ain’t a bad thing for many because it wouldn’t really matter anymore whichever you do first, read or watch. No spoiler threat since there are differences already between the book and the movie. But for a booklover like me, I don’t like it when movie adaptations are too altered specially the endings.

5. Be the insider.

I find it fun when I watch movies with my friends and they’re all contemplative and musing over what’s gonna happen next and there I am, the only one in the group who’ve read the book beforehand and I’m the one conveying information and they’re all like, “Oh!” or “Aha!” Or “I see!” while I explain. 😉

6. The real ending.

Most of the time, the endings are modified in movies (as I’ve mentioned in #4), well, I guess to fit a certain time frame or perhaps to leave the audience anticipating a sequel so being able to read the book first actually gives me a different conclusion as to why the movie ended or has to end that way.

7. Comprehensive Details

A well-written book provides comprehensive details of the plot, characters, settings, etc. It gives the reader the feeling like you are there in the book. It makes you feel like you’re experiencing what you’re reading. The way everything is described in detail is way more enjoyable. You wouldn’t miss a thing.

8. There’s more suspense.

Reading can be so intense that it gives me more suspense. Just when you thought you’re gonna find out the answer already, you’re wrong. It will still take you to another chapter or so before everything’s revealed. This intrigues me more thus makes me want to read more which results to sleepless nights. 🙂 Unlike in movies that it would end rather quickly or the story just happened so fast (or too slow). Removing a lot of significant parts from the book to meet a specific time frame just lessens the suspense.

9. The book stays with you.

I love books — the cover, the pages, the smell of it. Apart from the story, the book itself offers a special connection with me, unlike movies. When I was younger, I remember our family renting and watching VHS tapes. I’ve enjoyed a few good, unforgettable movies then but there was no physical thing that leaves me connected with it. Unlike books, they can stay on my shelves for as long as they can. And I can get back to them anytime I want to.

~~~

How about you? Do you prefer reading the book first before watching the movie? Or is it the other way around? Please share your thoughts.

Enjoy the day, homo sapiens! 😊

*Image found on Google.

3 A.M. Thoughts

Sometimes I wish there’s someone

I can talk with about everything.

About anything.

They don’t even need

to say a word.

No need to agree

or disagree

with what I say.

Allow me to laugh.

Allow me to breakdown.

And just listen.

Just listen to what I

Truly want to say.

What I’ve been through.

What I’m going through.

Or what I’ll be going through.

But there’s no one

I can trust these days.

Words always get twisted.

No one to lean on.

No one to listen.

Why?

When I just want to let it all out?

It’s sad, ain’t it?

Just sad.

To have so much to say

but not one soul to tell it to.

No one willing to lend an ear.

No one patient enough

or kind enough

to listen to someone

who is nothing but sad.

My 5 Best Doctors

1. Fresh air

I remember my mom when we were little telling us to go outside and get some fresh air every morning or in the afternoon. Fresh air contributes a lot to our brain health. I’m not an expert on this but I know the more oxygen the brain gets, the more it functions more efficiently. It does improve your concentration as well.

2. Sunshine

Sunshine boosts levels of serotonin, thus, makes my mood better, too! So I try to take a little sun time daily. Though it won’t be too easy now because it’s summer and with temperatures rising up to more than 45°C, oh, it’s hellish!

3. A good night sleep

For years, 4-5 hours has been pretty much a good night sleep for me. Sleeping more than that gives me back pain and makes me lazy the whole day. Several months back, I started to force myself to sleep for 6-8 hours. It wasn’t easy as I tend to wake up after 4 or 5 hours no matter how tired or drunk I was the day/night before so I started taking melatonin and it worked after a few days. It helped me regulate my sleep. I guess, the few hours I’ve added in my sleep were a lot better than spending them overthinking. 😉

4. Walking and jogging

Walking and jogging have been a part of my lifestyle for years. I’ve stopped since I came here but eventually got back to it though not as much as I usually did before back home. Both helped me a lot when I’m sad and most specially during my most painful breakup. I haven’t gone out for a walk or to jog for months again now but I’m preparing myself for it again.

5. A great conversation

Having great conversations increase my energy and brightens my mood. I like talking to people who stimulates my mind. I like learning new things, sharing what I know, discovering new ideas, knowing things we have in common, debating about issues/subjects we disagree on, etc. It’s fun. It’s energizing. It’s healthy.

Here’s What Happened

It’s an ordinary day.

I met a stranger.

He was nice. No hint of arrogance.

He sounded smart. Indeed, he really was.

I trusted him. Opened up to him.

Built a friendship like no other.

Became my favorite person.

Some days I look for reasons why we’ve met.

Reasons for why things happened.

Perchance to save me?

To offer me wisdom perhaps?

To teach me a lesson?

To hold me to keep me from falling?

Or to protect me from deeper pain?

I knew I might love this person.

But I also knew he’s not mine to keep.

It may be he didn’t come to save me.

But just to teach me save myself.

And eventually I learned how.

Then he started to drift away.

Just like that.

No explanation.

No goodbye.

Until we’re strangers once again.

Verbal Abuse at Work

Anger… it’s an emotion that’s hard to control. An emotion I try to avoid. Most specially at work but then, it’s inevitable. Very early today, someone just brought me to my boiling point. A verbal assault. A first. Is anyone ever prepared for a verbal assault? I wasn’t.

I don’t like being yelled at for whatever reason. Even if it’s my mistake. (But the problem was, it wasn’t my mistake. At all.) Even if you’re my superior. Even if you’re earning much more than I do. I don’t give a damn really but I don’t like being screamed at, seriously! But I was attacked by loud, aggressive anger plus toxic language and sarcastic comments for around fifteen minutes that seemed like forever. I only listened to him the whole time but I was really furious inside already but when he asked if I understood, I only smiled (surprisingly!😲) and just asked if he’s done and that he can talk to me again when he’s sane. I left the office and went home.

I wasn’t really expecting something like this to happen. I thought I’ve met the most evil boss ever but I guess I thought wrong. This guy is the evil boss times two! 👿 I wonder is this his way of showing me that he’s in control? Or was he trying to intimidate me? Probably he was just in a bad mood? Is that how he expresses himself? No matter what his reasons were for behaving that way today, I can’t let myself be a bully bait.

I don’t want to write here what exactly happened this morning and the things he told me. I don’t want to take it personally but it impacted me. I didn’t give it much attention when I heard news about him before. He just started with us last week. I still intend to stay in the same company until next year but I don’t intend to deal with another day of tirades. I don’t think I can stand a person who only knows how to express himself by yelling. It angers me when someone yells at me and I’m afraid I can’t always hide or control my anger. I’m not so sure what to do if this happens again. I hope it doesn’t.

How do you deal with a boss/coworker who verbally attacks you? Write them down in the comment section. Let me learn from you…

Things – A Short Story by Ali Al Sabah

     She was horrified when she knew that her husband wanted to get rid of everything useless and anything that no longer bring him happiness. Returning home on Thursday noon after quitting his job, he locked himself in the bedroom and emptied all the cabinets and drawers.
     He found a large amount of clothes that no longer fit him and some which he haven’t used for more than a year. Along with these clothes was his gown and cap. He discovered electronic devices dating way back to his childhood years; old phones and computers that already ceased to function. A stack of textbooks and an oud instrument. He found papers dating back to high school, some of which with Tupac’s song lyrics and some with scribbles he could no longer understand. A photo album of his travels captured by an instant camera. A collection of pirated CDs for songs and movies. A ceramic cup that reveals a picture of himself when poured with hot beverage, a birthday gift from a distant time. He found a Samsonite travel bag which he decided to keep unable to remember the last time he used it along with four others. An old copy of the family tree with some handwritten notes. A collection of coins from several countries. An old wallet and an expired passport. Accumulated receipts.
      As the sun sets that day, a pile of bags was amassed on the doorway. With The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in hand to reread for the second time, he walked to the nearby Starbucks enjoying a feeling of lightness.
    On Friday morning, he gathered a number of watches, sunglasses, lighters and perfume bottles in a box. He went to the kitchen where he found lots of unused cooking equipment, utensils, and expired foods; mustard, pasta sauce, and an instant coffee. He continued circling the house in search of what else could be disposed. He also decided to break off from the long hours spent watching television and videos online. Getting rid of those things created a vast space in his brain that used to be crammed with chaos and was permanently bewildering him. The cloud of thoughts that had been haunting him almost daily for several years vanished. He prepared a quick lunch and then went back to Starbucks to continue reading the novel.
     He woke up early on Saturday and went for a run in the beach. When he returned home, he cooked the available food left for his lunch. He again went to Starbucks to read the book and left it there when he finished. Soon he’s back home and he took out the clothes he wanted to wear the following day.
     Morning came and he put on the clothes as soon as he woke up then headed to the airport.
~~~
This  is just one among the several short stories Ali Al-Sabah has written and I’m delighted to finally be able to read one because he generally writes in Arabic. So for my readers who are interested to read more of his works, click here
I’d be glad to know your thoughts about the story so feel free to drop a line or two in the comments. 
Have a wonderful week, homo sapiens!

17 Things I Don’t Do Anymore

One thing I like when boredom strikes me is that I get to think about things I don’t normally think about on an ordinary day. I’ve realized there are a number of things I don’t do anymore, some I’ve stopped doing a couple of years ago, some I’ve stopped doing very recently. Over the past nine years, being a resident of this small, oil-rich Arab country, in a way, has changed me.

1. I no longer buy things on impulse.

Visit my home (specially back in the Philippines) and you’ll find lots of useless things there way, way too much more than those that are actually useful. I could maybe explain why I don’t use them at all but I’m not so sure I can explain why I bought them in the first place. Perhaps because I found it cute when I bought it? Or maybe because it’s purple. Or probably because it was on sale. I used to be the perfect example of an impulsive buyer specially when I lived in Manila. I’m very poor in handling my own money, seriously. I don’t know how to control and save. So I let my mom take over it. I try not to give myself access to my own money as much as I could and since I don’t have that much access to it anymore, I’ve stopped buying things on impulse.

2. I stopped eating junk.

Yes, I totally stopped eating junk! Fast foods, canned foods, instant noodles and the like. One day I just realized I want to eat “real” food all the time so goodbye junk foods!

3. I don’t avoid the dentist anymore.

I don’t like going to the dentist since I was small. I’d rather get bitten by a dog than visit a place of misery that is the dentist’s office. The needle, the drill, the pain, the smell, the long time waiting, etc. But the truth is, we need them in the long run. I’m not saying I love going to a dental clinic now but I don’t avoid doing so anymore.

4. I no longer party until wee hours then go to work at 7 AM.

I think we all reach a point in our lives when we just get tired of partying or drinking until late hours at night or early hours in the morning. I must’ve reached that point a couple of months back and so I decided to put an end to it… for now. 😉

5. I don’t shy away from the microphone anymore. 😅😁

Come on, guys! It’s never too late to be a singer!

6. I stopped checking my phone right away when I wake up.

It’s not healthy. And it just doesn’t feel right.

7. I don’t engage in online arguments any longer.

It’s head-aching and who wants that?

8. I realized I don’t memorize mobile numbers anymore.

Since college, I unintentionally memorize almost all the mobile numbers on my phone book! I don’t know why but yeah, I used to have all the numbers in my head. When, why and how I stopped doing this? I don’t know!

9. I stopped living in the past.

I should have done this sooner but it ain’t always that easy, right?

10. I stopped loving the wrong people.

The time I’ve spent loving them was more than enough.

11. I again no longer explain myself anymore when I say no.

I don’t know when did I start explaining myself to people when I say no. Why and when I started feeling guilty saying no to people. I guess I was trying to be kind to them? Or I don’t want to hurt them? Anyhow, I’m back to the old me, no means no.

12. I stopped drinking coffee like it’s my job.

I stopped drinking coffee not long ago. I used to drink at least five cups of black coffee everyday and I feel like there’s more coffee running through my veins already than blood. It wasn’t easy the first two weeks but I’m pretty much back to normal now.

13. I stopped apologizing.

Apologizing for not replying back to emails, not responding to text messages right away, missing a day at work because of health reasons, bombarding others with emails to catch a deadline, declining dinner invitations, refusing to go out with people, not being able to cook pretty well, talking too much, laughing out loud, being old school, etc. I totally stopped apologizing for such things. If people don’t like me the way I am, that’s their problem, not mine.

14. I stopped giving a damn to people who don’t give the slightest damn about me.

Need I say more?

15. I don’t write a journal anymore.

I’ve been writing since grade school but decided to stop since the beginning of the year. I’d still recommend others to keep a personal journal because it is actually a good thing and it’s been a great company to me for years. I wasn’t fed up writing or anything, it just occurred to me to stop and that was the end of it.

16. I no longer spend too much time on social media.

Not that I spend way too much of my precious time on social media, but my social media world is limited to Instagram and Twitter only. I don’t really post as much as before on Instagram anymore and I just started with Twitter a few months back which I hardly checkout, as well, except for tennis updates.

17. I don’t do things I don’t want to do anymore.

It saves me a lot of work, gives me a lot of positive energy and helps me keep a good mindset.

I think there’s more to add on this list but I’ll stop at seventeen, besides, I have some work to do now so it’s your turn this time… What things do you not do anymore? What things have changed? Share them in the comment section.

Have a great day, homo sapiens!😊

People Watching

One of the most important things for me whenever I get the chance to travel is getting into the vibe of the place I’m visiting. And what best way to do this than to people-watch!  People-watching is something I find really entertaining to do. There’s no specific time of day (or night) to do it and you can actually do it anywhere. It’s harmless. It’s free! The only important thing to remember is don’t creep anyone out when you do this. 🙂

People-watching is not a hobby, for me at least! It isn’t something I always do when I have free time. And as I have mentioned, I just usually do it when I travel. I don’t plan when and where to people-watch, it just happens. Whether I’m on a street stall trying out different street foods, or when I drink in bars (or in the streets, too), in a park or even just when I’m sitting by the window of the hotel/hostel I’m staying in or more often in cafes. It mostly happens when I’m alone, though I must say, it’s really fun people-watching with friends. People-watching lets us see the beauty of people, whether as a group, as a couple or as an individual. If you’re lucky enough, you even get to see the details in a person. And so far for me, Vietnam is the best place to people-watch. Tourists either amazed or disgusted seeing things for the first time, locals on their daily routines, women in micro-mini skirts and sky-high heels riding scooters/motorbikes, persuasive (and aggressive) vendors, unusual street performers, school boys and girls either tired or brimming with joy that school is over.

What happened one Friday in January though was a first for me. I went to the airport, sat in a coffee shop and started reading. I’ve been trying to concentrate on my book for half an hour but some noise outside the coffee shop was bothersome. So I gave up.  Since I’ve been trying to use my phone mainly for calling and texting, I opted not to use it and decided to just people-watch. I don’t really people-watch here. Seriously, I don’t know why but it doesn’t interest me. But then I ordered another cup of black coffee, a cinnamon roll and started people-watching.

Fifteen minutes later, I got bored. Nothing seems to catch my attention. So I ate my cinnamon roll instead. I was about to go back to my reading when a couple around their late 20’s came in. They were in the counter for like 15 minutes and I think they’ve already asked the barista every  single type of coffee served there. I can clearly see how annoyed the tired-looking barista was already specially when they ended up ordering just two cups of American coffee. 🙂 The guy on the table beside mine smirked after hearing them order and muttered to me, “Finally, two American coffee!” I didn’t notice he was also observing them. We ended up chatting about the couple, coffee and books until he finally joined me on my table.

We continued to people-watch until a group of young guys arrived but just stood in front of the cafe, according to my companion (I’m not sure whether he mentioned his name or if I asked but I don’t really remember actually, I just know he asked mine), they were still waiting for one more friend and that the other friend prefers to go to Starbucks. They were speaking in Arabic in husky voices (so I didn’t really understand what they were talking about) and they were all wearing sweatpants and hoodies. One of the youngsters was wearing black-framed glasses and has curly black hair. The other two looked daft and arrogant. I didn’t notice them leave but my new friend whose name I didn’t get to know said they’ve decided to go to Starbucks.

My attention is now on an Asian woman sitting across our table, alone and very busy with her phone. Obviously, she’s going on vacation. She had her hair dyed and permed, her nails painted bloody red and she seems to be wearing all her jewelries. Haha! Then suddenly her phone rang. (I’m pretty sure even the people on the other side of the airport heard her phone ring! 😀 ) And her voice was like a foghorn, believe me. It’s too loud. I didn’t quite understand what she was saying because of the dialect she’s using but I’m pretty sure she’s angry. My new friend said it isn’t the first time she saw women like that in the airport so it doesn’t surprise him anymore. I kept my mouth shut. 🙂

I decided to leave a few minutes later to meet with some friends and we ended up hearing mass. I haven’t visited the church here since 2009 and I honestly didn’t feel quite comfortable, I don’t know why. So I ended up  eyeballing the people around me. The middle-aged couple in front of us kept on giggling for reasons we didn’t know. Sitting beside one of my friends was a plump lady who looks like in her late thirties was busy texting, smiling from time to time. I was surprised when she suddenly started taking selfies. An elderly man sitting at the back-most pew was dozing off. A woman leaning sideways to one of the pillars of the church seems to be staring blankly faraway. The mass ended and I didn’t understand a thing about the sermon. We waited for a while for the crowd to lessen before we went out. Just a few steps from the church’s main door was a Christmas tree where people, young and old, were trying to strike a pose. Children running around while screaming. Babies crying. People talking loudly. It didn’t feel much like I was in church premises, really. I kind of felt like I’m in a market. With my experience that day in the church, people-watching also lets us recognize how much the world has changed.

We later went to the fish market. I told my friends that I’m just gonna wait for them outside because I don’t feel like going around there. I sat in a bench munching some chips. There were two guys talking  near where I’m sitting. Both of them were tall, well-built, have beards and were wearing hoodies. One of them has a small, tribal sun tattoo on his left hand. I was about to turn my attention to something else when I heard one of them say, “I want to go back to Baguio.” My ears started to burn upon hearing this so I paid closer attention to them. Not only was I people-watching, I was also attentively eavesdropping. 🙂 I was pretty much able to hear nice and new things about Baguio and it made me really happy because Baguio is actually my hometown. So see, people-watching is a very informative activity, too. Haha!

People-watching is an entertaining thing to do really but I’d still prefer sticking my head on a book. But that Friday didn’t seem to be a good day to read thus I turned into a passive observer watching life go by. And now that I’ve tried it here, would I do it again? Maybe yes. Or maybe not again.

I’d be glad to hear your stories about people-watching, too, feel free to write them in the comment section.

Happy day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Some People Don’t Like Me and That’s A Good Thing!

Most of the time, my filter doesn’t work. I have to say what I need to say. Not to humiliate people but I just need to speak my mind. I can be brutally frank and it’s too late to care (sometimes) how people would feel when I say something. Yes, I can be a total bitch sometimes (or often, that depends on how you define a bitch!)) but I’m not about to change anytime soon, whether that makes people like me or not.

We grew up believing that we need to belong somewhere in this world. The need to be a part of something else, of something bigger than ourselves. And alongside this, the need to be liked or wanted by people.

I remember a panel interview I had when I was just starting to create a life of my own back in Manila. While waiting for my turn (since I always arrive early in any appointments because I hate being late and people who come late), the HR coordinator came in the waiting room telling me and the other interviewees some information she called “tips” about the interviewers. I remember her saying, “Miss M is this kind of woman to work with so you should be like this. Mr. H on the other hand is like this. Another Mr. H is the same. Mr. O is pretty much like this and that. You should adjust to what they require of you, change your attitude to please and impress them and make them like you.”

That made me think the whole time I was waiting. And I’m still reminded of it even these days when some salesmen visit the office offering their company products and services. I’ve encountered a number of salesmen selling their products explaining the features, offers and benefits that come with it and when we start asking whether the product has this or that, even those that are NOT actually included becomes suddenly a part of what they’re offering. Later on, after buying and using the product and you contact them again because of malfunctions whatsoever, it becomes a problem. Why?  Because of the unnecessary promises and warranty or replacements promised that the salesman mentioned comes with the product doesn’t actually exist or can not be actually included in the item in the first place. In short, they just tried to please you or convince you at that time in order to sell their items. They’re salesmen after all! But the problem it created afterwards does not only affect the salesman himself and the customer, it could create a problem for his superiors and the company itself.

So the same thing pretty much happened in that panel interview. Three of us were interviewed by five interviewers. It was pretty funny to me because the other two interviewees were inconsistent and kept changing their answers in order to please every single one of the interviewers. They seem to be reinventing themselves every time another interviewer asked them a question. They turned out to be ass-kissers in the interview. I think that’s terrible. I mean, they seem to be not sure of themselves or what they’ve got to offer. If I were the interviewer, I’d be second-guessing whether or not I can depend on them to do the job I’m hiring them for. I guess if you try to be everything to everyone, you lose the unique person that you are. Every time you change yourself or what you’re offering just to please people or whenever dismissal is looming in simply shows (for me) that you’re not clear about yourself, what you are offering and/or the value of it.

Anyway, they picked me for the job. Three of the interviewers pretty much liked me, the other two clearly did not. But I didn’t accept the job offer. Why? Just because.

Being on the receiving end of a shitty situation recently, I’ve realized that I still don’t care (and wouldn’t care) if people don’t like me. It’s safer that way as far as I’m concerned. It allows me to be true to myself and what I feel and that’s all that matters to me now. I can freely express myself regardless of what other people think or say. This is me, I’m clear about who I am and what I want and what I can do or offer to people. If people don’t like it, it’s okay. If they do, then good! 🙂 I don’t have to change for other people. If ever I will change, I’d have a pretty good reason for myself why I will.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to say no to people that we end up saying yes even if we don’t want to. Maybe it’s human nature, most of us don’t want to feel selfish by saying no, sometimes we just choose to be kind so we say yes. I’ve always believed I have all the right to say no without feeling guilty. As long as I say no in a nice way, I think that doesn’t make me a jerk. And when people don’t like me, it gives me more power to say no wherever and whenever I need to a lot easier.

One other good thing when people don’t like me is that I learn more about myself. It teaches me what I can become, what I can do, thus, giving me more self-confidence and other people’s influence become lesser.

Knowing that I’m worthy of other people’s energy is another good thing when people don’t like me. 😉 For them to be using their precious time talking about me probably means I’m somehow affecting them. Oh, that’s flattering! 😉

Bottom line is, I don’t really care if people like me or not. I make no apology for that. People usually love me or hate me all my life and I actually really love this about myself. Not everyone’s gonna like me and that’s okay. People’s judgments have no bearing on me, what they say about me is none of my business. I choose not to waste my time on people who don’t like me. I’m not on this earth for them. I’ll just continue doing my thing.

Happy day, homo sapiens!

Breakfast for Dinner

I had a date with my preggy friend last Thursday and decided to dine in IHOP which is actually one of the few places I go to alone very often. It’s my friend’s first time there and she kinda feels weird having breakfast meals for dinner. But then she said, that’s to be expected whenever she’s with me. (Okay, friend. I’ll take it as a compliment!)

I think those who know me can tell right away which one’s mine… 😉

Six Text Messages I Never Sent You

Hey!

1. It’s been months since the last time we talked. Really talked. The kind of conversation we used to have, the one I like, I enjoy. The kind of conversation that attracted me to you. It’s nice and fun reading those threads of text messages but it saddens me at the same time. Little did I know that would be the last day I’d enjoy a chat/conversation with you. If I paid more attention that day, would I have seen signs at least that it would be the last? I don’t know. I just think now that it’s a terrible thing really how we throw away people. A terrible thing, being thrown away. Why don’t we talk anymore? Why’d you stop talking to me? I wish I could get or come up with even a flake of an answer…

2. I have been wondering what have you been up to since then. Did you get a new job? Or are you still doing the same thing? Are you staying here or did you fly somewhere else? Do you still do the things I’ve known you love doing or have you discovered new ones? Many times I’m tempted to call you, I was so close to pressing that call button. But I’m afraid you won’t answer, afraid that you’d cancel. But I almost did. I always remind myself that if you want to talk to me, you will. I just kind of miss that personalized notification tone from you and the ringtone when you’re the one calling.

3. You know, there’s always something around me that reminds me of you. Whether I’m at home, at work, in a coffee shop, in a restaurant… There’s always something that makes me remember you. It makes me feel like an idiot sometimes. Some days I wish I’d bump into you in places we used to frequently go to but sometimes I also hope not to because I’m not sure how I’d feel or what I’d do when I see you. Every working day on my way home, I pass by the place that reminds me so much of you. It always leaves a smile on my face but lately, it makes my mouth curve down, too.

4. You’ll always be one of my favorite people. Always. I hope someday, you find it in your heart to forgive me if I, in any way, did you any wrong. I still wish we could be friends. I’d give up anything for a second chance. Damn, I miss you like hell!

5. Thank you and I really hope you’re happy. Well, I know you are. You should be. There’s nothing you want that you can’t have. Nothing you want to do that you can’t do. You’ve got everything and could have anything within your grasp so I hope all your dreams come true.

6. Lastly, I have never said this but yes, I love you. I really do.

The Sunshine Blogger Award #3

Huge thanks to Himani for this sweet Sunshine Blogger Award and for following my blog! I do appreciate it a lot! You can visit her blog here to see her sketches and stuff. 🙂

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The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Let’s start of with the nominees first:

Sohair

Mbura

Daksha

Brown Girl on a Budget

Dilip

Saranya

Mariam

Orange

Mahesh

Love’s Deep Waters

Divya

My 11 Questions for the nominees are: 

  1. Describe yourself in three words.
  2. What’s your worst habit?
  3. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  5. One thing that’s on your bucket list.
  6. What’s the most unusual meal you had?
  7. What is something that you feel passionate about?
  8. Do you believe in afterlife?
  9. What is something you’ve recently learned?
  10. What’s your hometown like?
  11. Which among my blog posts do you like most?

Now here are my answers for Himani’s questions:

1) What is special about your place you grew up?

I was raised in my hometown, Baguio City. For one, it’s the summer capital of the Philippines owing it to its cool climate since it’s situated 5000 feet above sea level. It’s a small city but is classified highly urbanized. I love most of all the simplicity of life there specially when I was younger. The place is always up-to-date with the recent developments but still maintains the simplicity and relaxing atmosphere I grew up from.   

2) If you know today is the last day of your life..how will you spend your day?

Hmmm… I’d probably meet all my closest friends, eat and drink a lot! Then I’ll spend an hour or two reading random pages from my favorite books, hit a few tennis balls, then go home to my family, eat (again) my mom’s best dishes chat with them until my last breathing moment.

3) What is worth spending more on to get the best? 

Food! I don’t mind spending much on food as long as it satisfies me.

4) What do you wish to be born  in your next life, again as a human being or any other creature?

I wish to be born as a dolphin! 🙂

5) What do you love about yourself the most?

My resilience in times of adversity.

6) If you had to be on a reality tv show, which one would you choose?

Dancing with the Stars, MasterChef, Survivor. 

7) Where do you see yourself in next 5 years? 

I hopefully have my own business already.

8) If you could buy one material thing and money was not an issue, what would it be?

If money weren’t an issue, I want to buy as much stocks as I could. I also want to buy a castle that’s still retained its original design and everything! And all the books I want to read! I know you asked for just one but forgive me. Haha!  

9) What’s the best way to comfort you when you’re having a really terrible day?

Very good food and black coffee. 

10) Which food you’ll not eat under any circumstances? 

I can’t think of any because I love food. There’s almost nothing I don’t like. 🙂 Just don’t give me pure cheese to eat. I’m not really a fan of cheese.

11) If you didn’t have to sleep,  what would you do with extra time? 

Read! There are a lot of books I want to read but I don’t have that much free time to do so… Or I’d probably learn how to ride a bike!

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So there you have it! Once again, thanks a lot, Himani!

Enjoy the day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Mental Detox, My Way

There’s so much hype everywhere on how to detox our body from the food we eat or products we use that harm our health. Detox could probably be the most popular word in terms of wellness these days but to be quite honest, I don’t do any body detoxification thingy. Really. I know it’s essential to our bodies but I’d get to that some time later. I find detoxing my mind more necessary. Our brains construct what actions to take so I find it very important to take care of my mind.

I am blessed to have had the pleasure of living a carefree and adventure-filled childhood. By adventure, I don’t mean magic carpet rides and stuff, I just mean exploring the beauty of the vast outdoors. Hiking, boating, kite-flying, bicycling (though I only hitch with my dad because I never learned how to!), horseback riding, name it and I’ve probably done or tried it. Then life happened. Adulthood started to loom over me quite a bit early.  The stress caused by sudden life changes at that time almost had me lose control of my mind. I’m a girl who overthinks things way too much. It’s just me, that’s just the way I am. So I got used to working my ass off no matter what it takes whenever I want to achieve something or get things done. I have always been that stubborn, hard-working but still happy-go-lucky girl in my world full of chaos.

Fortunately, I’m able to learn and take better control of my mind soon enough instead of falling into the trap of overthinking and stress. I’ve developed doing a mental detox from time to time and I find it is just as important as a body detox. Here’s what I usually do to release toxic thoughts that cloud my mind…

Taking a break from social media.

Nowadays, whether you’re into twittering, or photo-sharing or simply sharing everything worth-sharing (or not) to the public, there’s just the right social media application right for you. That’s just the world today. (I don’t have a Facebook account. I’ve just very recently signed up with Twitter and I’m inactive most of the time. I occasionally post on Instagram which I’ve also set on private.) The thing is, social media is associated with lots of bad stuff BUT it is associated with lots of good stuff as well. However, people these days consume a lot more time on it.

I strongly believe that we need to take a step back from social media once in a while. Shut down. This gives us the chance to connect to ourselves and to the people around us more. I really miss going out for lunch or dinner with friends without a mobile phone on the dining table, having in-depth conversations with them, asking questions and thinking of answers without searching the internet. Connecting to the real world, creating memories, experiencing things for the sake of experience and not for the purpose of posting on social media.

Taking long walks.

Walking helps me a lot to clear my head. Whenever I’m stressed from work or had an argument with someone, I try my best to go for a walk. When my longest relationship came to an end, walking has been a vital part of moving on. I’d spent at least an hour walking early in the morning or in the afternoon after work in the exit stairs of the apartment building. When I was left hanging clueless, I can’t bring myself to take a walk to be able to move on and let go. Why? I really don’t know. Eventually though, I was able to pick myself up again and started walking up and down the stairs as usual.

Moreover, walking always changes/improves my mood. After a manic day at work, I sometimes feel stressed so I go for a walk. Sometimes, my weekends are so boring that I feel so homesick, I go out for a walk. Walking does change/improve my mood in such situations.

Saying goodbye to toxic people.

I’ve had my fair share of toxic people in my life. I find it unhealthy when I’m in the company of people who make me feel less than myself. People, even so-called friends, who create drama and act like poison to my mind. Thank heavens, I find it easier now to get rid of such kind of people. And whenever I get rid of them, I’m always happier and drama-free!

Traveling.

This is my  most favoured way of having a total mental detox. I don’t hold back on calories when I travel and I don’t feel guilty about it. Food makes my world go ’round! I taste every possible food there is in places I travel to and that way, I’m able to relax and clear my mind completely! Also, discovering new places is surely relaxing. It rejuvenates my mind and it’s uplifting. It gives me a different view of life, a different perspective. I always come back from a trip wiser, refreshed and happier.

Cleaning and rearranging my room.

I don’t really like routine, I find it lethal. So even in cleaning my room, there’s no specific day/schedule and I rearrange my room any given moment I feel like doing it but most specially when I’m feeling out of sorts. When I rearrange my room in such a way that it makes sense to me at that particular moment, adding or removing stuff, it gives me great satisfaction and lifts my mood. It also helps me to identify what I really love having in my room, what I need and what I don’t. (It’s not always easy for me throwing things even when they’re useless already so I keep them all in storage boxes and just open and reminisce whenever I feel like it.) So even though you like routine, a bit of a change here and there once in a while will do your mind a lot of good.

Reading.

Reading (books, in general) has always been a big part of my self-development and has always been my favorite entertainment. And though there are never-ending distractions due to the world’s advancement in technology, reading is something I can’t remove from my system. Books are very powerful that they’re able to change and transform lives. It still is my favorite entertainment and definitely one of the best ways to relax and calm my mind. Not only do I feel better and relaxed, I always learn something new, too. Reading feeds my always hungry mind, engages and broaden my imagination,  stimulates my mind, expands my vocabulary and a whole lot more.

Taking some me time.

For the past six months or so, I’ve been actually telling myself more often to be selfish. I just thought, sometimes, it ain’t bad if it has to be all about me. Self-care is a necessity so I don’t feel guilty pampering myself. From June last year until early January, I’ve cut my hair thrice and dyed it twice. (I don’t really cut my hair very often and never tried dying it until 2016!) There was also a time when I’ve had my nails painted different colors weekly. I was never a fan of nail polishing until middle of last year and it’s actually fun. So the main idea here is do what gives you joy, either doing what you’ve always wanted doing or trying something new.

Writing a journal.

Though I’ve entirely stopped keeping a journal, I would still recommend doing so. I’ve been writing a journal for years, I loved it and I must say that being able to get all my thoughts and feelings on paper, good or bad. is a very effective way to declutter my mind. Writing honestly about how I feel helps my brain overcome emotional upsets. Scribbling a few lines of poetry like six-word stories or haikus, which I personally do, also helps.

~~~

I don’t claim to be an expert on mental detox but I find this worth sharing with you because I see good effect and development on myself since I started doing a regular mental detox. I get to focus on positive thoughts more each day and able to reconnect with myself more and more.

Do you guys do a mental detox as well? Share your tricks, too, in the comment section. I’d be happy to read them.

Thanks for reading and have a great day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Liebster Award #6

Hello there! Today’s post is another Liebster and I want to thank Zovi for this! Do check out her blog here if you haven’t yet! Lots of nice stuff to read there! 🙂

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The Rules:

  1. Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, links to their blog. Include award graphic.
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Make a new set of 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Nominate 11 others and share your post with them so they see it.

The Questions from Zovi and My Answers:

What gets you through a bad day (or everyday)?

Food, coffee and a great conversation.

Who has been your role model? Why?

Oh I don’t remember having any role models growing up or even now that I’m an adult. I greatly admire Ferdinand Marcos, though.

Would you rather have more time or money?

Money. I think I pretty much have time but not enough money to do the many things I want to do for myself and to help other people.

One word that describes you and your blog.

Real.

Which is the first book that made you cry?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It relaxes me.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I really don’t know but in my case, I only get to write when I’m feeling too much.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

As I always mention, I don’t really consider myself a writer but if there’s something I would tell my younger self… hmmm… “Do what you truly want in life that makes you happy no matter what it takes and regardless of what that looks like to other people.”

Which is your favorite post from my blog?

Stop Caring.

If you could bring back anyone from the dead, who would it be? Why?

Adolf Hitler because I have a lot of questions for him and to tell him that because of him, I won first place in an essay writing contest when I was in elementary school and some cash prize! 🙂

The Nominees:

Sneha

Priyanshu

Patrick

Paragtak

Maya

I know I should nominate 11 bloggers but I’m running out of time so I’m nominating everyone reading this as well! Or you can answer the questions in the comment section, too, for an interesting discussion. 🙂

My Questions:

  1. What’s one thing about you that surprises people?
  2. Where is your happy place?
  3. What’s your dream job?
  4. What are you most afraid of?
  5. The best way for you to relax.
  6. Your favorite movie.
  7. What are you most proud of?
  8. Has a book ever changed your life?
  9. What sports do you play?
  10. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
  11. What do you hope never changes?

Enjoy the day, homo sapiens! 🙂

How I Deal with People I Don’t Like

In a perfect world, everyone is nice, cool, caring, mindful. In a perfect world. But then again, we aren’t in a perfect world and imperfections are all around us. There are those whom we just click with right away, some whom we can handle alright, and try as we might, some whom we just don’t care about. And then there are those whom we just don’t get along with, people we just can’t stand and sometimes it’s difficult to know the right way to deal with them.

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing is right but here is how I deal with people I don’t like…

Accepting that I can’t get along with everyone.

The thing is, we definitely aren’t going to like every single person we meet. But not liking someone doesn’t necessarily mean we or them are a bad person. It’s just that we have different opinions or personalities and we just don’t jive. So it’s okay not to like people. The best thing to do, I guess, is just accept it. I don’t need to like everyone (whether at work, in the apartment, etc.) as much as they don’t need to like me, so I’d better go easy on myself. 🙂 I have to accept that I’m not going to like everyone. I can’t change them and they’re probably not trying to be difficult, too.

Identifying what I dislike about the other person.

It’s very important to know what it is exactly we don’t like from a person. So I consider what’s happening and why. It might just be because I don’t like the person because of certain qualities which are socially acceptable but not for me personally and if that’s the case then that is my issue and not the other person’s. In a way, being able to pin-point what puts me off about this person is a way of bettering myself, too.

Releasing the need to be right.

The more I think I am right, the more I struggle dealing with the person I don’t like. So I try to just make my point and walk away. Agree to disagree and try my best not to be judgmental.

Finding common ground.

Sometimes this is difficult but when I look hard enough, I sometimes find some common ground with people I don’t like. It helps to know something we have in common and try to develop it from there instead of focusing on things they do that annoys me.

Checking my expectations.

Sometimes I take a moment to check on myself. I get irritated because the other person doesn’t do what I would do if I were on his situation. Expecting others to do as I’d do almost always leaves me disappointed. We are all different individuals, raised in different ways, believe in different views so we devise ideas and solutions for every situation differently as well. So I guess it’s normal, besides, I also don’t act the way people expect me to all the time either. So I check on my expectations and try to be tolerant of different approaches.

When all else fails, ignore them completely.

Yes. Sometimes, or well, more often, it’s best to just ignore them completely. I do try to avoid them as much as I could until eventually, I can completely ignore them. This isn’t easy when I have to work with these people but in cases where I don’t need to, it’s really not an issue.

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How about you my dear readers? How do you deal with people you don’t like? Feel free to write them on the comment section. I’d be glad to learn from you!

Enjoy the day, homo sapiens!

12 Things I’ve Learned from Working in Kuwait

It’s almost nine years since I boarded the Etihad Airways flight leaving Manila a few minutes past midnight. I haven’t been home since then. But for as long as I can remember, working overseas — specially in the Middle East — was never part of my plans growing up. Moving to a foreign country could be a scary stuff for many but not for me. It’s just that, at that time, I didn’t see myself working abroad. But to borrow the words of Jamie Lannister (or George R.R. Martin to be more precise), “…the things we do for love.” So off to Kuwait I flew…

Jumping into life as an expatriate was a decision I made for love. When I think about it now, I still somehow think it’s one of the most stupid decisions I’ve ever made. I had a rewarding job back in Manila, was earning good enough, have a wonderful family and friends. So why leave? Love. Yes, love. But that’s not what I wanted to write about today though here’s a spoiler… it wasn’t a happy ending. It wasn’t all easy but I can say I still have been very fortunate and blessed after that. What happened then opened new doors, challenges and opportunities for me. Thus, here I am now.

Personally and professionally, these long years of working in Kuwait and living on my own has taught me a lot of things. Allow me to share some…

1. I’ve learned to become totally independent/self-reliant. Arriving in an unfamiliar environment by myself, I didn’t have a choice but to find my way around and rely on myself completely. I have already moved out of my parents’ home a couple of years before I came here but it’s always easy to go home to them whenever I want to or need to. But moving to another country, clueless, is a totally different thing. I learned to cook my meals, treat my wounds (physically & emotionally), going to the doctor when I’m sick, making my grocery list, paying my house rent and bills — I have to do it all on my own. (Thanks to technology I am able to pay my bills or order food online just by clicking this and that, click, click and click then it’s done, as sometimes it’s not easy calling due to language barriers.) It’s amazing to realize that I was able to adapt pretty quickly. I’m glad how I’m able to improve an independent mindset and was able to enhance my decision-making skills. Of course I still make mistakes, but it’s from these mistakes that I learn to be wiser and stronger being on my own. Being able to do things my way is a very liberating feeling!

2. I’ve learned that nationality matters. Well, we always hear that we are all global citizens but in reality, nationality matters here. It does. I understand this connotes a negative meaning, however, sad as it seems, people are paid according to what passport they carry. An Indian teacher can never get a salary equal to an American teacher though they have the same qualifications. Nationality determines the salary for different job titles.

3. I’ve learned a great deal of patience and balance. I always try to be as optimistic as I could about life, however, patience was never really my virtue. Coming here though, I’ve learned to be patient with myself and other people or else, I’d better go back home. It just hit me one day to just take it easy and be patient for a while, balancing my work and social life and give myself a chance to learn how things work in this country.  It is definitely a big adjustment, seriously. But being patient and knowing how to balance things helped me adapt to these differences.

4. I’ve learned that culture shock is a real thing. (It can happen to anyone.) And homesickness, too. Coping with culture shock I think was one of the most challenging aspect of moving overseas or even just traveling. Every traveler I think feels the same way to a certain extent but for most first-timers, I think it’s more serious. First thing that strike me was the language. I felt dizzy listening to people talking simultaneously and very loudly in an unfamiliar language that pretty much sounded like noise to me in my earlier months here. Next, the way people stare at me made me quite uncomfortable, too. (My mom told me it’s bad to stare.) A lot of men stare at women differently that it makes it awkward and unpleasant. I don’t know how to explain this well so I’ll leave it at that. I’m sure others who have worked in the Middle East will understand me. Another thing that still shocks me even to this day are the times when some men drop a piece of paper on your table with their mobile numbers on it. Seriously. You can decently ask for my name and my phone number if you want to be friends with me but dropping a piece of paper with your number and expecting me to call you or send you a message?!? Hell, no. I don’t know if this is okay with other women, but for me, definitely a no-no.

Work ethics and social interactions are far too different from where I came from so it’s really a big shock for me, too. Life doesn’t move as quickly here but life doesn’t end when you don’t get a reply to your email the same hour or the same day, but still. Unanswered phone calls are annoying as well. Some things that I can’t really get used to.

Alongside coping with culture shock, I also learned that homesickness can hit even the most independent of people. It was only less than a month since I arrived when I started  missing everything about my country already. I miss my family, my friends, the food/restaurants, my dog, my mom’s voice (specially when she’s angry (: haha!), my hometown, our home, my bedroom, my books, our village, the markets/shops/malls/bookstores, the public transportation, the pine trees, the fog, the weather, the rain, the discos/bars, alcohol/beer, the people, the fun. I wanted to go back home. But I thought better of it so I stayed. I realized it’s okay to be homesick. Some people I’ve met here make me forget homesickness every now and then. I just try to enjoy the time I have here with some good people I’ve met or by myself most of the time. Home will always be there when I return anyway. 🙂

5. I’ve learned that it helps a lot to learn the country’s language and culture. Communicating with people from different countries without a common language was something really irritating for me at first. I actually expected them to at least know basic English, however, that wasn’t the case. Many people I’ve met here don’t speak English at all. It’s surprising specially in places where English-speakers are expected. So it was (and is still) pretty difficult to communicate. Like in restaurants that serve Arabic dishes, of course as expats, we expect someone who is able to explain to us the dishes in English. It’s frustrating that the staffs aren’t able to explain these things to you. So my experience in a Lebanese restaurant helped me a lot about Arabic food. Anyhow, as days and months and years went by, it became very interesting to experience communicating without a common language! Yes, believe it or not, it’s possible! This happened almost everyday in my first two or three years and even these days, though rarely. But it’s not easy of course. It sometimes leads to miscommunication so it really helps a lot to learn the spoken language in your host country. I’m not saying learn everything but knowing the basics certainly made my life better and easier. It’s pretty annoying coping with a language difficult to understand and I never had the will to learn actually but it goes a long way to know at least how to greet or say thank you in other people’s language.

It’s also a big plus knowing cultural taboos and how to avoid them. I surely found some pretty odd things at first and many times, I disagree about something, but taking a step back and trying to look at things in their perspective helps a lot in understanding their culture/behavior and gradually I learned to understand and respect them. Nothing really comes out good for being an idiot abroad so I try to learn whatever possible things I can learn about the place, the people, the culture and gain understanding of whatever situation I’m into. I’m sometimes appalled or amazed or surprised but it all contributes to how I survive here.

6. I’ve learned to be flexible. I can’t always get what I want and people are not going to adjust or give way for me all the time so I always try to be flexible. Back home, I mostly work things my way and I’m mostly in control of situations but here, I’ve learned that life can’t always be like that. I certainly can’t have all things my way and not every situation is under my control. I’ve learned and understood that there’s always more than one correct answer. I always try to be open-minded and to be prepared to change my mind once in a while because things don’t just fall perfectly on my lap. Even in everyday experiences like eating out with friends/colleagues, being flexible and open-minded will make the experience better, happier and worthwhile. Trying unusual and never-before-heard dishes because it’s the only place open at that time of the day/night actually introduced me to new different dishes and new favorites! So being flexible lead me to different adventures.

7. I’ve learned to manage my expectations. It’s good to think positive but it’s stupid to underestimate how difficult it can get to live in a new place, a new environment, with different people, different climate and a new culture. It isn’t all fun and easy so give big enough room for disappointments, irritation, discouragement and tears. Don’t be overconfident as well but learn to find your niche in your new world and it will be satisfying and beneficial later on.

8. I’ve learned to ask for help. Being independent doesn’t mean you won’t be needing help. Though I can figure things out on my own most of the time, there are situations where it is wiser and more efficient to ask for other people’s help like asking for directions or how things are done here and there. It’s pretty annoying sometimes because of unnecessary talks/comments but hell, there’s no harm in asking for help.

9. I’ve learned to just smile and not to sweat the small stuff. Seriously. A smile always goes a long way. (But still be cautious and use your common sense, of course!) Smiling just feels good. Smiling makes me happy and it could make other people happy, too. Remember that smile is contagious. 🙂 Moreover, don’t sweat the small stuff. Life could be way much worse than we could ever imagine so I learned to appreciate what I have and what I don’t and life as a whole. Really, life ain’t that bad.

10. I’ve learned the value of money. Since I started living by myself, specially when I started working here, the way I look at money started to change. I realized I can just buy a ticket to somewhere and enjoy a lot of different, wonderful, crazy, mind-boggling and extraordinary things instead of buying shoes and bags every so often. (I still don’t mind spending money on books though!) I’ve been able to travel to a few countries during my annual vacations and I was also able to see how people spend (or waste) their money and how little a lot of people have. I also don’t have much but I feel really blessed living the life I have now. I get to realize how much money I’m wasting on things I don’t really need when a lot of people don’t even have anything to eat. I’ve seen poverty in places known as tourist destinations but it’s saddening, heart-wrenching even, to see the reality behind these beautiful and astonishing places. Since then, I promised myself to spend my money wisely and find ways to help the less fortunate in my own little way.

11. I’ve learned to take risks after risks after risks. (Or else, life’s a bore.) I think my decision to quit my job back in Manila and come here was one of the riskiest thing I’ve done in my life. Less than a month since I got here though, I started regretting that decision. Everything was not what I expected, nonetheless, I stayed. Then I needed to take far bigger risks after that. As it turned out, what seemed to be a wrong decision almost nine years ago, turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

12. I’ve learned to embrace diversity. It’s important not to stereotype. Everyone of us is a masterpiece. None of us is exactly the same as someone else. We were raised in different ways, we have different cultures and beliefs, thus, we have different opinions and way of life. Sure, some (or a lot) of things were strange, peculiar or unusual but overtime, I learned to accept and respect these differences as others accept mine. This diversity makes it all beautiful. We become more passionate about other people, it helps bring about a healthier lifestyle, it enriches our knowledge and opinion and it makes us closer.

These are the most notable things I’ve learned thus far living as an expatriate. (This decision I’ve made for love ain’t that bad after all.) Years ago I thought working abroad wasn’t for me. Not anymore. It has opened a lot of exciting, challenging, rare and unexpected opportunities, both personally and professionally that I think working abroad is a choice I’d make again and again. There were years of happy, delightful, wonderful and satisfying moments. There were weeks and months of tears and despair. But all these contributed to what and where I am now.

Kuwait is not a place for everyone. Countless times I thought it’s not for me, too. It’s certainly not the life I’ve wished/imagined when I was younger but it undeniably helped me in a lot of ways which couldn’t have been possible if I just stayed back home. I am pleased that I’ve learned a lot about myself and that my life had been better in one way or the other. For this I am glad for the experiences I’ve had here. Sure there are negative aspects of the country and sometimes I myself find it unsafe in some areas, but it’s not all war zones here or in the Middle East. We can’t ignore the fact that terrible things happen every now and then, however, we have to keep in mind that tolerance and respect for people and their culture is a two-way process. I still always tell myself and believe that there are far more good people here. Perhaps, I just have to give it a try to reach out again. I don’t want to be left wondering what if and if only.

Thanks for reading. Happy day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Get to Know Me Tag

Hi there! Today is the Get to Know Me Tag day! This is another first for me and I’m so delighted to be tagged by Shayra! (At least I kinda feel like someone’s interested to get to know me more somewhere out there! Haha!) Thanks for tagging me Shayra and do visit her blog here.

Let’s get started!

download The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Answer the questions asked.
  • Nominate/Tag 5 or more bloggers & let them know by commenting on one of their posts.

The questions and my answers:

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WEARING?

Black slacks, brown top with puff sleeves, black windbreaker and black doll shoes.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE?

Hell, yes! 😍😊

DID YOU EVER HAVE A TERRIBLE BREAKUP?

Yes and I think any kind of breakup is terrible if the person means a lot to you.

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

A little older than you are, Shayra! 🙂

HOW TALL ARE YOU?

Less taller than you…

HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH?

I stopped checking!

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DO YOU HAVE ANY PIERCINGS?

Ear piercing.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TATTOOS?

Nope but I think of having one sometimes. Though I’m pretty sure I won’t do it just the same…

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?

Beer! And whisky or any alcohol! But since it’s not allowed here, black coffee.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SONG?

I have a lot but recently All I Ask.

WHAT’S YOUR ZODIAC SIGN?

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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO SHOWER?

15-20 minutes on weekdays. Longer on weekends.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SHOW?

Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAND?

The Beatles, Green Day, Maroon 5, Backstreet Boys, Coldplay, Eraserheads.

SOMETHING YOU REALLY MISS?

Disco!

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN YOU’RE SAD?

Here in Kuwait, I just lock myself in my bedroom when I’m sad. In my hometown, I used to take a walk in Camp John Hay or go to a bookstore or the public library. At night, I grab a drink at a bar or something.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO GET READY IN THE MORNING?

Excluding shower, 15 minutes.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A PHYSICAL FIGHT?

No. Never. I don’t like fighting. Haha!

WHAT TURNS YOU ON?

Kindness and intelligence.

WHAT TURNS YOU OFF?

Arrogance and stupidity combined.

QUALITY YOU LOOK FOR IN PARTNER?

Kind, intelligent, sweet, good sense of humor, PATIENT.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?

Recently, black. Read here: https://happymesshappiness.wordpress.com/2018/01/24/the-mystery-blogger-award

LOUD MUSIC OR SOFT?

This really depends on my mood.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

-Rick Warren

FAVORITE ACTOR:

Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise

DO YOU HAVE ANY FEARS? WHAT ARE THEY?

My mom and an empty fridge. Earthquakes. Spiders.

WHAT’S THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU CRY?

When I was left hanging… clueless… I felt stupid and worthless. 😢

MEANING BEHIND YOUR BLOG NAME?

Here -> https://happymesshappiness.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/liebster-award

LAST TIME YOU SAID YOU LOVED SOMEONE.

Apart from my family? Hmmm… maybe 2016? I loved someone after that but I never really got the chance to tell him. My bad…

LAST BOOK YOU READ.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

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THE BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

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LAST SHOW YOU WATCHED?

Game of Thrones Season 7.

LAST PLACE YOU WERE?

Office.

LAST SPORT YOU PLAYED?

Tennis.

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WHO’S THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO?

My boss.

LAST SONG YOU SANG.

Swept Away by Christopher Cross. Check it out here, it’s a beautiful song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZQwf7kaFuY

FAVORITE CHAT UP LINE.

Hey!

DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH?

Oh, yes!

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND THE LAST PERSON YOU TEXTED?

Colleague.

FAVORITE FOOD.

Korean and Japanese food.

PLACE YOU WANT TO VISIT.

A lot! But I’m looking forward to Egypt and India this year. And a second visit to Jordan.

LAST TIME YOU WERE INSULTED?

Can’t remember…

FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SWEETS?

Chocolate, of course!!! Anything chocolate!

WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO YOU PLAY?

Drums.

FAVORITE PIECE OF JEWELRY.

I’m not a fan of jewelries but a ring or an earring is fine.

LAST TIME YOU HUNG OUT WITH ANYONE.

Last weekend with the flat owners of the apartment where I’m living. They pretty much treat me like their youngest sister. 🙂

I’m tagging:

Ushnish

Dilip

Elly

Samita

Queenyasa

Mahin

And everyone reading this! Or you can answer some of the questions on the comment section! Let’s get to know each other more, homo sapiens! 🙂

Thanks again, Shayra and let’s all have a wonderful day!

A Random List of Loves, Likes and Dislikes

I thought of writing something to kill time yesterday so here’s a random list of my loves, likes and dislikes. Read on and see what we have in common. 🙂

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Loves:

  • Food
  • Books
  • Roger Federer
  • Adventures
  • Kisses on the forehead
  • Traveling
  • Alcohol
  • Singing
  • Having a strong mental connection to people
  • Black coffee
  • Shoes
  • Cuddling
  • A good sense of humor
  • Bags

Likes:

  • The word “darling”
  • Talking to strangers
  • Tulips
  • The 90s
  • Starry nights
  • Dogs
  • Libraries
  • Winning
  • Late nights
  • Debates
  • Listening to other people’s love stories
  • Long walks
  • Pine cones
  • The British accent
  • Cool wind blowing to my face (and my hair)
  • Numbers
  • Gays
  • Wagasa
  • Thrift shops
  • Bamboo
  • Museums
  • The smell of cinnamon, freshly-baked bread, books and pine trees
  • Magic
  • Happy endings (but I like tragic endings, too, in books/series/movies)
  • Hoodies
  • Postage stamps
  • Vintage stuffs/designs
  • Airports/airplanes
  • Long travels
  • Window-shopping
  • Spontaneity

Dislikes:

  • Being late
  • Needles
  • Milk and cheese
  • Long queues
  • Noisy housemates
  • Strong scents
  • People trying to control me
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Spiders
  • Bad customer service
  • The sea (or any bodies of water)
  • Lazy people
  • Arrogance and stupidity combined
  • Ironing my clothes
  • My favorite character killed in a book/movie
  • Two-timers
  • Hospitals

There’s the list, so far… 🙂 Share yours, I’d be very delighted to know!

Happy day, homo sapiens! 🙂

Ask Me!

Hello, everyone!

First of all, thanks a lot for your wonderful birthday wishes yesterday. I think I received a lot this year than any other, from here on WordPress, on Twitter, and everyone who called and sent text messages, wow! Thanks a lot, guys! You all made it extra special, thank you!

1_Ot2ffVKd-_gwF5zaZz5lAgAnyway, I’ve decided to write this post as fast as I could before I continue with my work again… I’m giving my readers a chance to ask me one question each. I will try my best to answer them all. Then maybe I can ask you back one question, too. I think it’s a good way to get to know each other.

So guys, let’s get started, ask me! 🙂

Photo credit to the owner, I just got this from Google!