Journey to the Wild Wild West

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This is what travel should be all about and other things not related to the UK.

Taken in Edinburgh, Scotland

Before my trip to the UK, I was expecting to comb through backlogs of travel tips in my head that beg to be written on my blog when I get back. I would start typing away words like “Cabbing is cheaper than taking the hop-on hop-offs if you’re in a big group” or something like “To get a UK visa…” but these travel tips will only make this blog just another less credible reference on Google. That, and the highlight of my trip was not anywhere near Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle or London’s Trafalgar Square.

This blog is for my friends – new and old – and how they made me see traveling in a different light.

There are so many things about traveling that fascinate me – the surprise of “going” and “moving” and “seeing,” the excitement of culture shocks or the aesthetic value of a spot, to name a few. You know that feeling when you sit down at a coffee shop with a piece of napkin on one hand and a pen on the other while listening to interesting conversations around you, and then suddenly all you hear is poetry from these people and then you start writing it down, one word at a time? Traveling brings that experience to a notch a million times higher. That’s the reason why I’ve always loved airports and buses and passports and fridge magnets. That’s the reason why I’ve always loved “to go.”

Life in Canada is not easy just like it is not easy to live anywhere else in the world. From working at a coffee shop as a donut baker to being part of the renovation crew in a large department store working with forklifts and loading docks and industrial carts and dollies, l looked at my own future in fear. All the nice things in the world seemed so far away. I was clueless about the next time I will see my grandmother again, and I am talking about that one person I desperately want to kiss and embrace everyday. There were some short trips that took me to some nice neighboring cities, but they all felt nothing but empty consolation to my tired self. Hey, I’ve been to the United States! Which looks and feels exactly like Canada! Ha! Continue reading

First Time in America City!

After almost three years of living in Vancouver, I’ve finally crossed the border! The nearest US state to us is Washington and I spent my birthday week in the capital.  The distance between Vancouver and Seattle is approximately 225 kilometers, taking 4 hours of travel time by land. That is like driving from Manila to Zambales under normal traffic conditions. Not bad, eh?

If not for the US flags everywhere, I would think I’m in just another Canadian city, only a little less prettier than Vancouver. Weather is the same, architecture pretty much looks the same.

seattle

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It’s Hard to Talk About Love All The Time!

Been months since I was here because it’s hard to write about love all the time.

My past relationships were always easier. When I look back, it seems to me that most arguments were just made up — guess it’s safe to say they came out of boredom. Let’s get drunk and then talk about morals and values, and yes now we’re talking and I am so impressed by your eloquence and intelligence, but oh no you didn’t just say that about women, but oh no you didn’t just say something so sexist, so are we breaking up or what. Makes me doubt if I ever even had a more legitimate relationship issue back then.

NO – I cannot talk about love all the time anymore. I give up. Let’s just go back to my old ways. Major events at the start of the year, I got my US and UK visa.

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Russian guy go kiss my ass.

The problem with some guys is that they think you owe it to them when they text you, buy you flowers, watch chick flicks with you or let you hold the remote control. You don’t owe them a favor just because they like you.

You are not a ticking time bomb as what society suggests. Take your time to be vigilant about who you are going to be in a relationship with. Take your time to think it through before laying your last cards on the table. Say yes to those who you want to say yes to, and don’t ever go on dates just because you feel like you are 26 and “running out of time.” You are not running out of time. You have choices. You have time to choose. You have every right to rectify the issue before it becomes a disaster – like a regular customer in a department store, like all of the male species who think the world is a place to shop for women. Take a break and go shopping, girl!

So this guy asked me out again on October 30. “Hi, let’s go out on a date?”

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It was half past midnight, an extra fresh Wednesday morning, our bodies tossing and turning on the bed.

We could not sleep.

We wanted to talk and at least ask, “You cannot sleep, too?” but then again it would disrupt our attempt at sleeping.

I turned around you, and then turned my back on you, and then around you once more. You came closer, caressing my hair and my nape. I felt like a puppy. There were no words. No words at all.

For the past few days, I’ve been meaning to ask you the silly little question little girls ask their partners: Do you love me?

But I am serious. I just want to hear it again. Do you love me, sweetie?

Perhaps, it’s this culture of western relationships that I am never gonna get used to. No “I love you’s,” but compensated with tons of “I really like you so much, really really really LIIIIIKE you SOOooOoO MUCH.” Ugh, it’s stupid. No monthsaries, which is fine. No cool-offs, which is even better. But I need a little whisper in the ear. You can say “Goodnight” before we go to bed and then push a little “I love you” here and there and I promise I will not freak out. Continue reading

Stop this waste of energy that is called “Maturity.”

Stop telling me to “refrain from thinking too much” because it “drives me psycho” and being psycho is so 10 years ago if you are 26, or 22 years ago if you’re 30something. Don’t tell me to stop being jealous and insecure because it’s childish, because mature people are settled and evolved and sophisticated and don’t go around freaking out if the relationship is not Facebook official. Stop making memes that make fun of girls getting paranoid when they find their boyfriend “like” another girl’s photo following with a comment that goes like “You are extremely beautiful, show me more of those sexy legs.”

Allow me to age the way I naturally will. Stop telling me to find a guy who has a good job, is nice, and can be a good father to my kids because that kind of guy is who I SHOULD marry, but only if I am mature enough to realize it. Let me keep on wishing for the love that is insane, for the boy who is crazy enough about me, for a partner who will go the distance finding out at what age I got chickenpox and how those little round scars got to these knees and then declare to the world that I have found the boy I want to spend the rest of my life with. Let me apply the most indie-ish filter to our silly photo together on Instagram, the one where it suddenly looks like sunset, so cinematic and beautiful, when the photo was taken at 2 and the sun was mad and the shadow on our faces was reminiscent of the passionate brightness of the day and we were complaining because we didn’t wear sunblock. Let me pretend to enjoy the rain because everybody hates rain and I am pretentious enough to want to be different and loving the rain makes me look like I am an OK person, making me look like someone who is easy to please and  is actually “dateable”.

Let me stalk you. Let me create fake Facebook accounts and send you flirty messages to test if you will fall for the trap. Let me create my own monsters because I want to find out what kind of person you are. Because if I don’t create these monsters, somebody else will, and members of this “mature world’s” population are cowards who think it is no one’s job to warn me about it, so please just let me save you the bother and allow me to uninterrupt your maturity by letting me do the job myself. Continue reading

For three weeks straight

…a handsome, young bachelor kept asking me out on a date. When he asked if I was married, I said no. He might’ve thought I was single as single could be. It’s funny enough that he is from *Russia. It’s even funnier that his smileys do not have eyes, too. Like this.))

Years ago, he toured Southeast Asia for 6 months and skipped the Philippines. “Would you go with me?” he asked, to which I replied, “You don’t need me there.” I could’ve just said no. Women like me find it hard saying no to beautiful girls and boys. I meant no, but I just didn’t want to say it.

He asked if I had a great weekend, and then I remembered my Friday with you. It makes up for my uneventful Saturdays and Sundays. You, you make me not need a weekend. So what I told the new guy who kept asking me out on a date for weeks now was that my weekend was spent kayaking. Truth: I went kayaking even before I met him. Bitch.

It is funny how, one boyfriend after another, the next guy is always better. But this? Not necessarily better. Well, he has a sailboat. He flies his own small plane. He’s a paratrooper, which explains why he said he never gives up, not even on asking me out. I cannot point my finger exactly on what makes these Eastern Europeans go crazy about The Oriental Girl, but I am telling you, they can get crazy as crazy gets.

On the first day at the harbor, he greeted me, “Privet.” I said, “Horosho.” He was surprised at why I can speak his language, but I am even more surprised at why he greeted me in Russian in the first place. He said, “It’s the watch.” Oh, the watch. You got it for me from your vacation in Europe in the spring of 2012. “You choose a watch like a Russian.”

After a week, he was becoming more persistent. “It’s just coffee,” he said. All I could do was smile like a girl who was keeping a secret was supposed to smile.

Lucena: My One True Love

If everyone loved everybody the way my grandmother loved me, I just know — there’d be no war.

My grandmother is my best friend. If everyone had a best friend like my grandmother, no questions will ever be asked. When there’s a slight change in your aura, say, on a Wednesday, you are missing your eyeliner, grandma knows something is wrong. Maybe the boy is absent in class or off from work today. Maybe you’re PMS’ing. Set a time and date; grandmother knows.

So when your eyes are red with tears, you don’t have to go through describing every agonizing detail of something that is already painful enough to think about. And when you actually feel the need to open up your soul, she listens as calmly as a lazy Sunday afternoon. And unlike your class valedictorian, unlike your pastor or your priest, unlike your self-help books and your critical theory, grandma does not judge. Amidst all the circumstances that tell you how big a mistake your existence is on this planet, grandma tells you that hey, you are OK.

Remember when you were 4? The timeline that starts from when you were a baby until the calendars were set to 1993 (a year your grandfather, the love of her life, passed away), remember how you were actually living like a princess? You were showered with so much wealth in the form of books and laughter and kitchen play sets. Grandma would cultivate a small garden and you wait until the flowers bloom. It was as if she created this small space of beauty just so you have leaves to pick from every stem to use as playmoney because she knew you wanted to be everything – businesswoman, doctor, writer. Or Barbie.

How about when you were 4 and 5 and 6 and 7; when you were light as feather? Grandma and grandpa defied gravity for you. Your right hand held on to grandmother, and your left, to grandfather. They lifted you up and you pretended to walk on air. You were laughing madly as you looked at other children and wondered why they didn’t look as loved and cherished as you were. Continue reading