Dear Leon,

The following is a blog post that was written some time ago, during a wet, rainy day here in Amsterdam.

I have no idea when you will find yourself reading this or if you’d ever come across this open letter to you at all.

Today was a Wednesday, meaning a short day at school today. I did the usual routine of strapping the car seat on to the bakfiets, carefully placing Kate into the seat and cycling to school with Alex and Harvey. I didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary today.

When Lewis left for football and Billie went home to her house next door, I asked you if you wanted to come on Maxi’s walk with Kate and I. Normally, you don’t say yes because you’d rather spend the time on your half an hour screen time but today, you decided to come along. It was 4:45pm, the rain had stopped for a bit so it was the perfect time to go out and do a nice long walk around the lake.

Like our usual heart-to-hearts, we got into the topic of how long I’ve been in Amsterdam for. “Since tomorrow is February 1… It’ll be about 3 1/2 months now”, I say to you while pushing Kate’s buggy. You proceed in telling me that Lewis mentioned that Alex hasn’t reached a year with their family yet. I chuckle and correct you, telling you that Alex has actually been around for more than a year and will be marking her 2 year anniversary with their family in the summertime.

You look at me and ask, “When will Alex leave then?”

“Alex’s situation is quite unique. She’s planning to move in with her boyfriend so she’ll definitely stay in the Netherlands. But they can’t do that just yet, she still needs to save some money.”

“And he is still in school.”, you added.

I smiled. “Yes, that’s right. And to move in together, they’re both going to need money. But it’s nice for Lewis and the rest isn’t it? Alex gets to stay with them for a lot longer.”

“I wish you could stay longer.”

My heart swelled up a few sizes bigger when you said this. This always happens when the topic of me leaving comes up. What you don’t know about this time was that I was already seriously considering finding ways to stay in the Netherlands; not only because I’ve already started building a life here but also because of you and your sister. Every time you ask me when am I leaving, I bite my tongue before I could get the words “I don’t plan on leaving because I want to stay near you. I want to still be around when you become 10, 11, 12… I want to be around when Kate goes to school or when you get your first girlfriend.” because honestly, who knows? Things may change in the next few months and I didn’t want to get your hopes up.

I have not known love the way I have come to love you. Taking care of you, learning with and from you, has been the best part of my 2017 and is what I look forward to everyday. All these emotions I feel for you and Kate, I never would have expected to feel in my lifetime.

And it’s prompted by the little things that both of you do. Like when Kate makes a new sound and giggles whenever I imitate it or when you talk to me about your Harry Potter progress. I have a new appreciation for all the maids and yayas that have spent part of their lives taking care of me and my sisters.

But instead of saying all these to you, I let the emotions settle in. I look at you and touch your back and reply simply with “Me too, buddy. Me too.”

 

Don’t forget to love yourself.

I just spent a good portion of my day watching Youtube videos of people giving expert advice as to how to get someone to be attracted to you. I was doing this because I wanted to find answers. Weeks ago, I met a guy that made my heart skip a beat. He was the person that I always said never existed: someone who could make me fall head over heels at the first meeting.

After pondering over these alien feelings, I realized that I had indeed fallen for this person who was essentially, still a stranger to me. I’ve barely skimmed the surface of what makes him a person and yet, he’s the only constant thought that I have every single day since that first encounter. I will even go as far as saying that I think I’m already in love with him.

How strange is it to feel this way about someone whom I barely know.

Continue reading “Don’t forget to love yourself.”

The first month of being single

It took me a while to publish this post. I spent a lot of time staring at the earlier drafts and with time, it was slowly forgotten. It has actually been 4 months since the break up. I am still single but have gone through many realizations.

What you are about to read is my last draft of my reflections on the first month. I left it as is so the emotions are quite fresh with a sprinkle of bitterness.

The most important thing I learned from these four months of being single is this: In order to move on, I needed to forgive (him) to forget (and move on with my life).

Everyone has their own way of coping with heartache. For some, it’s engaging in intimacy with the first male in sight. For others, it’s crying and eating uncontrollably or maybe shopping ’til you’re so broke there are new scratch marks on your credit card (ahem). All these, I’ve sadly either done or contemplated on doing these past few weeks.

So imagine my surprise on New Year’s Eve, after scrolling through what felt like an eternity’s worth of New Year’s greetings on Facebook, that it finally hit me what I needed to do to pick myself up. If I had to describe it, it was like finally realizing that your grade went up and you’ve been wearing glasses with the wrong prescription this whole time. You take them off and think, “So this is why I’ve been getting all those headaches.”

The answer was always there with me, from the very beginning. I was feeling helpless, trying everything to move on as quickly as possible but lo and behold, I subconsciously already knew what the answer was.

Continue reading “The first month of being single”

Redecorating the condo

Here’s a quick post that’s basically me showing off a new(ish) rug.

After years of living in Manila, I felt that it was time to revamp my place. This condo has seen several people come and go. I first moved in here with my older sister and her family (husband, baby and the yaya) back in 2010. When she graduated, she moved to the province of her husband which led to me and Annie living alone for a while. Annie eventually moved out after graduation because her new job was situated in Quezon City and commuting in Manila is a bitch. In between all this, we’ve had several furry visitors (4 cats and 5 dogs) come and go as well.

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When I decided to redecorate the place, I didn’t have the capacity to do everything in one go. The floor was my biggest problem because they’re in the shade of a dirty peach marbling. But since I’m poor and retiling is not only laborious but expensive, that’ll have to wait.

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What I did instead was I removed around the furniture and added small but new elements to the space. I’m not formally trained in interior decorating but I did have the power or the internet. Let’s just say Pinterest was my most used app during all this.

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Bought this rug/banig last Christmas at Greenbelt 5. I knew early on that I wanted to infuse a lot of natural textures and color to the space so I kept an eye out for local crafts in bazaars and online. I brought in some greenery (bought from Cubao) to add color and to see if I can actually take care of something that wasn’t a dog.

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After going through several websites, OLX ads and Facebook groups, I’ve come to realize something that Manila has been missing: eclectic-border-bohemian inspired home pieces. I have been obsessing over these maximalist-themed interior decorators on Instagram and every time I click on tags to the brands they get their stuff at, it’s always way too expensive or they don’t ship to the Philippines. It’s frustrating since I’m on a budget and I don’t want to settle for buying all my things at the SM Department store.

I’ve actually been toying around with the idea of starting my own online shop wherein I sell the kinds of items I’ve been looking for at affordable prices. You’ll be able to find incense holders, tapestries made in India, wooden boxes, etc. Thinking of also selling my bayong with the pompoms.

What do you think? What are things you’ve been wanting to get for your space but aren’t accessible atm?

*Photos taken by me using the Samsung S4 camera.

You Can Do It.

Now’s the time for us to have faith in what we can do.
No need to fear, cause now’s the time to have faith in what we can do.

My sister said this morning, “Listen to this song. It should be our theme song.” And I didn’t think much of it until I heard the song for myself. Let’s just say, I felt the need to listen to it more than 6 times in a row.

So to all those who are feeling stuck because of the struggle of 2016, this is for you.

On that day in the car

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We sat there, quietly making our way along a highway that we’ve passed a million times before. The song comes on and I start tearing up while thinking of everything that we were letting go off and leaving behind. I look at you as if it were the last time and you were crying as well.

Despite everything, all the fights, the tears, the screaming… despite knowing that this was the only way, we held on to each other like we always used to do. We said nothing because we already knew what didn’t need to be put into words.

Nobody said it would be easy leaving the person you loved most.

 

The first week of being single

Because everyone loves juicy gossip.

2016 has officially roundhouse-kicked my butt. You’d think things can’t get any worse than the recent Presidential elections, chaos in Syria, the whole Marcos debacle, losing a loved one… then comes life proving you wrong and reminding you that you are not never in control.

And even if I’m a pretty optimistic person (at least, I’d like to think so), this was a blow unlike other blows. When you separate from someone you’ve put alot of time and effort and love in to, the world becomes a glassy version of what reality is. It’s like stepping into that other world they keep talking about in Stranger Things, it’s familiar but not at the same time. That’s where I’ve been living for the past week, somewhere that looks like my day-to-day life minus all the colors.

Continue reading “The first week of being single”

Life Update: My Grandma passed away (12/5/2016)

On September 6, I got the news that my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer.

On November 21, she quietly passed away in her hospital room at St. Luke’s Medical Center. She was with her night nurse and my mom.

Life gave me a very aggressive wake up call three months ago. It was like she was saying, “You may think this is what’s going to happen in the next few months but think again.” Almost all my plans for 2017 were changed because of what happened. I ended up deciding to stay in Manila indefinitely, got a job so that I could be near the hospital, and put my plans of doing Yoga teacher training or migrating to the United States on hold. Why I did this will be saved for another post.

For now, my family and I will be in mourning for the loss of my Guama, a woman that all agree that had left too soon. She was known to be caring and faithful to God. Many people, myself included, weeped greatly during her memorial. But as the Pastor reiterated many, many times; we should not feel sadness for her because she is in a far better place now.

At least the pain is over, Guama. I still miss you everyday.

What a “normal” week is like for me (2 weeks ’til USA 2016)

Since leaving my job at VR Inc., I’ve been through a rollercoaster of events and it’s only been a week! My close friends know how random my days can be so they’re used to me suddenly disappearing off the face of the earth and resurfacing elsewhere. But of those of you who are still getting to know me, allow me to give you an idea what a “normal” week is like.

 

Saturday night: Booked a flight to Legaspi City to see my mom (happening the following Monday) 

Saturday was my Mom’s birthday and I could feel through the phone that she wanted me to visit her before the big trip. After checking and comparing prices, I bought a plane ticket for the following Monday (the 15th).

The hardest part of leaving Manila is dropping off Elvis and Allie at my sister’s (that and leaving my sister behind as well). They always always know when I’m leaving Manila because they get extra clingy and have really long faces when it’s time to shut the door.

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Continue reading “What a “normal” week is like for me (2 weeks ’til USA 2016)”