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.”

A letter to Amsterdam

I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped on to the plane heading towards you back in October. I cried millions of tears from the Immigration counter to my seat on the airplane because finally, I was starting the long journey I had been dreaming of. The sheer amount of blog posts, testimonials, youtube videos, and guide books that I had read could not prepare me for what was in my future, when you and I would finally come face to face. Honestly, I still cannot describe how I feel about you despite having been with you, in you, for about a month and a half already.

I will try to illustrate my thoughts in bullet form for the time being.

  1. Everyone was right about your temperament. In a single day alone, you would give me a bit of sunshine only to be followed by endless bouts of rain, scattered all throughout the day. I can’t tell when your tears will pour so I find myself staying in my waterproof boots and bright, yellow raincoat.
  2. You are kind. I lost my wallet about a week ago and somehow, it found its way back to me. If that had happened anywhere else, I knew I would have had to kiss Chewy goodbye.
  3. Nothing could have prepared me for the money situation. I was not previously informed that you promoted paperless transactions, so I was quite reliant on Anna ’til I was finally able to get a bank card of my own. This irked me for weeks even if I knew it would get better in the long run.
  4. You have so much to offer. I could get lost in the mazes of your museums for days, maybe even weeks. Don’t even get me started on the houses! The streets are generally quiet but nothing short of interesting. I could stare at you and never get bored.
  5. You are home now, but not really. I still feel like an outsider not because of the language barrier or my ethnicity. You are beautiful but a stopover, if that makes any sense. I was waiting for that feeling everyone talks about when you know you’ve found the one; that it’d be love at first sight and that I would settle here for the rest of my life. I honestly was hoping that from you, for us but sadly, it doesn’t appear to be so.

I hope you don’t mind these letters, Amsterdam. I feel like this is the first of many that I will write over the next year.

Love always,

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”

My Glossier Obsession (Confession + Favorites + Review): Part 1

Some background: Glossier was created by a group of beauty editors that have (literally) tried everything out there and know what works.

“Beauty products for real life”

I discovered Glossier through a Snapchat story by Refinery 29. Glossier had just came out with the flavored Balm Dotcoms and R29 predicted that they were going to break the internet. And since I’m such a curious cat, I researched on the brand and found their website and youtube page.

What convinced me to try the Balm Dotcoms were the youtube videos Glossier put out. The videos were of girls, cool girls if I might add, showing what their daily beauty regimen was like. It was Glossier in action and I ate up every second of it. My initial thought after exploring the youtube and website was “I WANT TO BE A GLOSSIER GIRL” and needless to say, the rest was history.

glossier collection.jpg

What I love about the brand is the “skin first, make up second.” philosophy. I admit that I didn’t start a real skincare regimen up until a couple of years ago only. To this day, my routine is imperfect (I still dislike using toner and sunscreen) and honestly, it can be intimidating because skincare is far from cheap. Though there are affordable products in the market, if you really want to give your skin the best fighting chance, it is better to invest in products that will give you long-lasting results.

Continue reading “My Glossier Obsession (Confession + Favorites + Review): Part 1”

On that day in the car

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Day 352/366

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.

 

How I’m planning to spend today

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  1. Finally finish The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  2. Skip work
  3. Do quiet things in quiet places
  4. Paint
  5. Eat
  6. Sleep
  7. Tell everybody that I have no age/I don’t grow old anymore/my age is X.

 

*Photo taken in Don Salvador Benedicto, Bacolod City with my Ricoh XR 500.

 

Mid-Year Rut

000009So I felt that it was time for me to post something that wasn’t photography related. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt that I’m in a rut.

Maybe rut is not the right term… But these days I haven’t been feeling quite like myself. I know that a big factor is because I don’t exercise anymore and I keep telling myself that I will get to it soon but soon isn’t soon enough. I can’t decide what form of exercise to choose. Of course yoga is first in mind but then I think “Hey, maybe I should do something that I can put down in my acting resume like Basic Ballet or Jazz.” Then that leads me to “Do I really want to do acting though? Or should I pursue fashion? Or should I take Toby’s advise and start applying for scholarships?”

I know that this is a symptom of being young though I can’t help thinking that I’m a late bloomer. At 23, many of my peers (and many so much younger than I am) are already doing amazing things. I keep telling myself to stop comparing because my journey has a different timeline. It’s been a struggle to bear it in mind though. Lately all I think about are the things I don’t have, the opportunities that weren’t given to me (or the ones I let pass) or what could be in store for the future. Sometimes I can’t help but wish that the answer to all these questions were in a manual that would magically fall from the sky for me to merely read and follow. But life doesn’t work that way and this rut will eventually run its course and pass. Until then though, I’ll try to keep myself from thinking about these things too much.