De-bratting in Progress

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly. -St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Into the Wild

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."
— Chris McCandless

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time to write again...

I've spent two years in Sydney already and I'm still finding my way through. Three promotions and one career shift later (still in advertising, changed departments), I'm still the same little girl who gets stressed crossing the street without the green man lit, who jumps up and down while clapping when I'm happy and giggles with my hands covering my mouth. Old habits die hard. I've just had my review and while they called me brilliant and that I've done a fantastic job, (and they are giving me the raise I want), they want me to work on projecting myself as a serious force to reckon with, not a junior girly girl from my "background" (ie the Philippines).

Another cultural barrier to overcome. This time, I'm not too happy about it. My initial thoughts were --Is it my fault that I look like a teenager? Regardless of how I dress, my skin will always look Chinese porcelein not old and sun damaged! And I'll always be teeny tiny unless they come up with some magical pill that can make me taller. Am I to learn how to speak with an Aussie accent so people don't think I grew up in a nipa hut in a coconut tree? While some of the things I know I can work on such as acting serious while presenting, being more outspoken and less shy, speaking in a measured manner, not the giggly excitable me, etc. Some things are beyond my control. It's hard enough to focus on doing my job excellently, but having to focus on managing other people's misconceptions is another task I'm not too sure I'm up for. Why do I need to prove myself worthy when my work should speak for itself, right? If I were white, preferably with a British accent because that's where planning was invented and serious looking, I doubt those comments will come up and they will just focus on the work that I've done.

I know I'll get over it eventually and take the comments with a grain of salt (after all, they are only looking out for what will make my career blossom and they can't control how people perceive people). And for sure I will continually get better. It's just really annoying having to learn a different persona. I am happy with myself and how I am. Why do I need to change for other people to take me seriously? Maybe I should just be a kindergarden teacher like I've always wanted to be so I can laugh as much as I want, be playful all the time and be with (little) people who will love me just the way I am. Growing up sucks.

But that said, I still love my work and the people I work with all the time. Once I'm trained well, maybe I'll start my own multiculural (ethnic) marketing company where we'll embrace and celebrate cultural diversity not try to mould everyone into this perceived image of how a professional should be.

In the middle of of difficulty, lies opportunity. -Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I miss you Ina!

This photo was taken exactly 2 years ago... it was our last gimmick with Ina and Victor before they got into the accident the following night. Since that day it hasn't been the same.

It's amazing how you really can't control memories. they just pop here and there. Thankfully I mostly remember the good times... her laugh, her ghetto-ness, dance steps, her voice and her random thoughs, her passion for life and chilling out, how much we used to laugh, how we were always there for each other, the crazy mutual admiration and total love we had for every single girl in the group.

But there are times I wake up in the middle of the night, remembering how we lost her, every single detail of that night and it the emotions just come back full force and I can't control it. I just have to ride the wave every time it happens and pray I'll feel better soon.

One of the gifts Ina has given us when she left is learning how not to stress the small stuff. A bad day, a fight with your boy, laundry colours mixing and staining your clothes, work problems, rude and stupid people, dropping your phone in the toilet (yep it happened to me last Friday!)... these are nothing compared to losing a best friend and sister.

She also taught us that life is too short to be too nice or to try to please everyone, to be with people who don't appreciate you or don't see your true value, to hang on to energy drainers, empty promises and people who won't change. Everyday is a gift and it should be spent working hard on your dreams, taking control of your life and being exactly where you want to be and exactly who you want to be.

You may not be the perfect friend, daughter, girlfriend but as long as you have your priorities straight, you have a good heart and stay true to yourself then you don't need to apologise for being who you are. (* lots of disclaimers here ie as long as you're not hurting yourself and others, etc... but you know what I mean!)

Ina was and is a wonderful best friend, she leaves a legacy and stays with us all. In my philosophy classes, they say that love is stronger than time and space and death, and through Ins, I've found this to be an absolute truth.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I woke up yesterday with a smile, thinking what a great weekend this will be, my sister and I can go wine tasting at Hunter Valley (more like whine chugging) or hit the beach. But I thought I should do my chores first so going out will be my prize! I knew I needed to refold the clothes in my closet (because it should be arranged by style and color!) and so I got out of bed and moved towards my closet and OMG TWILIGHT ZONE!!!! there were tiny tiny black wormy creepy crawlies with rapelling skills all over my clothes and closet!!!! EEEYYUCKKKKKK!!!! Some were hanging from the ceiling from inside the closet, some were crawling on my clothes and the side doors, some were just being totally annoying and jumping! They looked like tiny wrigglers but black and when you touched them they rolled over and pretended to be dead. I swear they look like tiny lint until they start crawling like know how when you bend your fingers up and down that's how they move!! iiiiccck goosebumps!

And I found one on my hair so I started screaming and jumping around like crazy! Some really really gross creepy crawly must've laid eggs in my closet and yesterday was when they all hatched...

So I grabbed some insect spray and went mental until I was choking on the fumes, then Kuya Eric took out the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming the little suckers and we're singing the Ghostbusters theme. tananantantanan tanananananantananantantanan... when there's something strange in your neighborhood who you gonna call... Ghostbusters! hehehe. And then my sister bought me another can (I said the other bug spray didn't work... I'm sure it did it's just my overactive imagination) and I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed.

Now I have this really mental task of washing ALL my clothes :( While I was taking out my tops I got really scared and asked Kuya E..."I wonder what the mommy looks like!" and Kuya E goes "don't worry there won't be a mommy there" I wonder why I believed him that moment but it worked! I went back to scooping clothes out but I was still secretly thinking a big killer worm with massive teeth will spring out and bite me. I watch to many horror movies!!!

It's Sunday now, I'm not even halfway through my laundry and I can't find any black ickies left in the closet but I think they've just temporarily retreated and when I'm sleeping they'll come get me! The frenchies (Kuya Eric and Frederic) were saying I don't need to wash every single piece of clothing but the thought of some microscopic black worm crawling on me wins hands down!!! And well it is lent... maybe this can be my penance! I just hope I don't have to do laundry for 40 days!!!

I miss Manila and the comforts of home... mom sent me a text message saying she wishes she was there to help me and me actually thinking the same thing brings my de-bratting score down to -5.

On the plus side, I was able to paint while waiting for the dryer and washing machine... I saw this painting on the net and copied it (well not totally)... the girl looks a bit odd but since the colours are a bit surreal, I like it :)

Friday, February 02, 2007


You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday Thoughts of a Warrior of Life

Leaving home to embark on a new adventure for the first time is exciting. I felt a teensy bit anxious about the challenges I would have to face but mostly I was enthralled at the idea of venturing into the wild untamed Sydney.

It's the kind of excitement I face when I get ready to compete... with the help of my teammates, I put my battle gear on- my knee brace to keep a past injury/hurt strong, armor to protect me, headgear to keep me thinking straight and most importantly, my weapon to slay the opponent. And then there are my coaches, trusted mentors who have trained me and instilled in me everything I need to win, who shout out words of encouragement to keep me pumped and strategy when I seem stumped on how to beat my opponent. We share a special bond and a secret code only known to our team who I consider family in the crazy world of arnis. Victorious or not, the thrill of competition is what keeps me going in, getting battered and bruised- I love every breathtaking second of it.

In my journey to Sydney, my teammates and coaches are my whole family/clan and all my close friends. These are wonderful people who have prepared me for the grueling months ahead. They've given me the knee brace, armor, headgear, weapon, strategy and encouragement I need to not only to survive but to keep my spirit alive. (and if you're reading my blog, that means you! I can never thank you enough for all the beautiful things you have done for me whether you were aware of those kind actions or not, I've been blessed to know you or be related to you.)

For 8 months now, I've been both victorious and beaten to a pulp on a weekly basis. I still love the game, but I'm battle weary. After a while, you get tired of psyching yourself up to face a brand new challenging day, of fighting dragons, overcoming obstacles, even the seducing victory parties seem old. Honestly, all the fun or trying to have fun after competing can be so tedious. Sometimes, the best way to celebrate a victory, is to curl up in bed and nurse your wounds because you know there will be another competition ahead when you least expect it. Work, homesickness, loneliness, unfamiliarity, sadness, chores, lack of cultural connection (iba talaga ang pinoy humor), fending for myself, pretending everything is ok all the time... these are just few of the challenges I have to face everyday. This is not to say that life in Sydney doesn't have its wonderful wonderful people and moments, I have great friends and have had far too many good times to recall but I was ready to come home.

And what a trip home it was! My lovely crazy family, warmth, my bed, my girls, old friends, Carlos, Muffin, being surrounded with love, the festive season and weddings, parties and catching up, the jokes, my comfort zones, omg Victor, being served, pampered, our maids who hid my suitcase because they didn't want me to leave, peaceful days, scrumptious food, Capone’s, my stay was like Christmas everyday! My beautiful wondrous life before I decided to change it! For two and a half blessed weeks, I didn't have to don my battle gear or fight. It was safe and I was free to let loose the little girl inside me... and oh how much fun she had!

It was no wonder then that I was bawling my eyes out a week before I was due to go back to Sydney. It was painful to leave it all behind, not so much the lifestyle (ok fine part of it is the lifestyle) but having to say goodbye to my Kuya, my parents, my friends, these are the people who you know you were meant to physically be together. They’re not just a habit, something I can learn not to look for, they’re part of my life and my heart, part of my being. (Obviously, I still have to learn how to cope with this!) Call it dependency, but I don’t care, I know I need to have my family with me.

I just blinked and I found myself on the plane beside a nurse who spent the holidays back home too. We started talking about our trip and I mentioned how quickly it went by and she said "oo nga, parang nanaginip ka lang"(yes, it was just like you had a dream"). Misery loves company, I’m glad she could relate.

So today, is my first Saturday back in Sydney. The week went by well. I went to work straight from the airport even if I was sick and I still enjoyed it. I did miss Uncle Anky and Tita Nidia and my friends (workmates included) and can’t wait to catch up with Brights. My battle gear feels a bit heavy but it still fits perfectly. I took a moment to remove it to contemplate and write.

I was wondering mid-week why I still wanted to come back to Sydney, and my brother (I miss youuu *sniff* I’m instik beho tulo laway kaka-iyak) sent me this. How comforting. I’d like to share it with everyone.

As Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So what if that first step is a little painful?

You see, if you want to accomplish something, there are two kinds of pain you might encounter: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.

Whenever you take that first step toward a new goal, you often experience the pain of discipline: the pain of hard work, the pain of sacrifice, as you single-mindedly pursue your dream. On the other hand, if you don’t go after your dreams, you might experience an even greater type of pain: the pain of staying stuck, which eventually turns into the pain of regret.Remember, as Sydney J. Harris wrote, “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

When you’re really ready to make a change in your life, you’ll find, as writer Anaiis Nin did, that the “risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”The great thing about discipline is if you discipline yourself on a daily basis, eventually something “magical” will happen, almost without your realizing it-one day, the discipline will turn into desire.

A runner who “makes” herself run on a daily basis, one day gets up “wanting” to run. The same holds true for writing, public speaking, or anything else.

So today, start that project, make that call, do what you need to do to begin. Here’s a guarantee: If you work through a little pain, you’ll see a little progress.

Now it makes sense why I need to be here in Sydney. I'm in training to be the best person I can be and this is the place for it. I'm putting my battle gear back on... Handa...LABAN!

Monday, January 01, 2007

sydney flu sniffles!!!!

waaah i'm sick! I have the i'm-going-back-to-sydney flu! Ate A had it now I have it... we share the same symptoms:

1) crying randomly
2) crankiness and pouting
3) fever
4) sore throat
5) puffy eyes
6) a really bad cold
7) meowing and whining like muffin
8) hair smelling like cigarette smoke from going out too much
9) non-stop clinging to family members
10) absolute dread going back to Sydney boot camp