Thursday, November 30, 2006

Adventures of the New Expat

Survived Day 1 at the university. My head ached at the end of the day because of all the things that needed to be done but at least I got through it. I nearly thought of backing out the night before. After all how does one say goodbye to the comfort of home and hello to total uncertainty?

When I got to NAIA my eyes were all puffy and red. I breezed through POEA (for a change) but waited 1.5 hours to get myself checked in at the malaysian air counter.Fortunately I met Jordi there, a spaniard who was on a business trip to Manila. We were standing in line together and since it was taking forever we ended up chatting. The first thing he told me was I didnt look like a Filipina maid. I know it sounds insulting at first but it's a reality for most Filipina travellers. tanggapin na natin na karamihan sa tin umaalis to work as DH and caregivers. at walang masama dun So I took it in stride and striked up a conversation with him. He was quite friendly and by the time we checked in, we were friends. I think it was knowing that there was someone who actually buys a telephone directory (yung yellow pages ha!) that made me feel at home with him. hehehe.

Inside the airport we joked around while going through immigration. True to form may blooper pa din ako. Pumila ako sa men's line ng security. hahaha. He treated me at the airport snackbar and we chatted some more. He travelled a lot so he was used to airport life.

I thought it was goodbye for us when it was already boarding coz we were seated 10 rows apart.It sounded so abrupt as I was just getting used to having a new friend.So I felt kinda sad but what can we do right? But since ms. friendship ako, nagpalipat ako ng chair sa tabi niya. Pakapalan ito ng face sa stewardess. So I moved. Jordi got my bag from my original seat and couldn't believe that I was able to carry that much weight. Nagpayoff din pala ang gym at weights.

We chatted the entire 3hrs 45minutes of the flight. Parang naglife history activity kami ng psych testing. hehehe. We compared notes on the common words in spanish and filipino, talked about tolkien and lord of the rings, watched the sunset from the plane and admired the clouds. It was fun. We had a lot of things in common both in interests and experiences. It was kind of way too coincidental that we met. Even our family backgrounds were almost similar. The Filipinos seating around us were curious I guess coz they kept giving us strange glances. Sabagay gwapo yung katabi ko eh.hahaha. I even got to drink beer on board the plane. We debated on which beer was better and how we both end up taking care of friends who end up dead drunk.I had a great time. But most of all, it kept my mind from the feeling of loneliness. And it gave me hope that I'd be okay in this strange country.

I hesistantly said goodbye to my new friend at the airport after the university driver came and picked me up. He offered to bring my bag to the car but my driver said it was okay. So Jordi left in a cab bound for KL and I went to my hotel at Equatorial bangi, a kingdom faraway. We promised to keep in touch. I hope so. I think that was the best plane ride ever of my life.

The next day was day 1 at work. Spent the morning figuring out my id cards, getting my passwords, and getting a phone installed in my room. I now have a local of my own! wow! my room is still bare except for a pc, a printer and my phone (which I installed myself) along with three books (persuasion by jane austen, The alchemist by paolo coelho, and an angel book courtesy of luis and byo) and a bunch of papers. The driver brought me to a local grocery in the afternoon to get my supplies of junkfood.

By the time I got home I was having a migraine. I think the spicy food for lunch did me in. Not to mention that I ate so late. Buti na lang ves and mommy called. I fell asleep and nearly didn't hear the call of my other friend Gautam. He and I met last July here so it was nice hearing from him again.

So what happens next for this adventurous lola?... search for a house. Two options-- live in campus (FREE) but live a hermit life or rent a place somewhere and figure out how to get here.

Have I told anyone that nottingham is right smack in the middle of a mountain in the middle of nowhere? Parang nasa bagiuo ako. at walang public.magaling!

Till the next adventure

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Final Day

If you had 24 hours left what would you do?

I'm facing that question right now. This is my last day in Manila. I'm leaving tomorrow for the grandest adventure of all. Im moving to Kuala Lumpur. Everyone tells me that it's the best thing in life. I know it is. But part of me is also scared shit that it might not be.

I'm leaving everything that I find comfort in tomorrow. I'm leaving my family, friends, my car, my cat, my security, and my badminton. Basically my life is ending tomorrow and Im starting a totally new one. If that isn't scary enough, I'm going to a place where I hardly know anyone and where I don't even understand what most of the people are talking about.

But I don't want to think about that now. I've got 24 hours (or flight is at 5pm) left and I mean to enjoy every freaking minute of it.

The past four months have been one hell of a roller coaster ride. I lived. And that's what made it all worthwhile. I'll miss everyone and I know I can't wait to come home for xmas.

Three weeks. I just need to survive that for now. 21 days.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Late Night Coffee and Pancit

There's nothing like eating leftover pancit with a good cup of coffee after a long hard play of badminton. I'm not a regular coffee drinker (except right now in my quest for the starbucks planner)but surprisingly, I found Nescafe's 3 in 1 quite good.

It was an impromptu gimik after queing at GBC. Popie Cholo (aka Willy) invited us to eat pancit at the LOVE electronics office in Cainta. So off we go-- tita connie, tito morris, ara, coach harry, Marlo, and me. Ara cooked scrambled eggs, marlo made coffee (first time daw niya magoffer magtimpla kaya touched ako!hahaha), and willy provided the in house entertainment. We pigged out on pancit, tofu, tasty bread, atbp pang mga tira tira. =) Non-stop tawanan and non stop asaran. I nearly died laughing sa mga impersonation ni marlo sa lunges ni "sgt-sp04-capt" WAGI!! Napawi lahat ng pagod brought about by the games.

Namiss namin sina luis (who was sleeping, pao, at lou but it was fun nonetheless. The gang made me feel welcome and I was really touched by the gesture of making me feel at home. It was almost 2am when I finally got home. Puyat puyat again. I slept in front of the TV on top of my favorite beanbag. Tired but happy.

My biggest learning last night-- life goes on. And if you allow it to, it will shower you with graces from the most unexpected places. Rainbows will always come after the rains.

7 days to go...

Monday, November 13, 2006

The final two weeks

Two more weeks of playing badminton and I have to say goodbye to my beloved sport for a while. I don't know how long it'll last but I hate to think that I have 6 more playing days left. I think I'm still in a denial over the reality that in two weeks time I'm saying goodbye to the pollution and drama of Manila and will say hello to another world called Kuala Lumpur.

I'll miss a lot of things when I go. I think I'll miss my badminton nights the most. It's been part of my life for so long that I don't know how to last a week na without playing. I'll also miss my tambay nights and gym days and my telebabad moments with Ella. Haay.. I hate goodbyes.

Last sat I had late dinner with Luis, Mike and Binky at tapsi ni vivian. Afterwards Luis and I had coffee at Starbucks in Blue Wave. We hanged out till almost 2am. It was slightly different from our usual post badminton hangouts but it was fun. We talked about the coming semester and how excited we both were about our new jobs (he's teaching na and Im teaching in a new university). I'm going to miss our drive homes at night. I've gotten so used to dropping him off after play or tambay and I know in Malaysia I won't get to do that anymore. Sometimes I wish that I didnt have to go. But I know that I have to or else I'd always live to regret that I never tried.

Who knows how my adventure in KL will prosper. I do hope that I'll get to find good friends there as well. I do hope that I can also return home in the near future. Three years is just 36 months away.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Singles Match Miracles

Last night I played singles against Luis on court. Well modified singles that is-- we just played in one half of the court and all shots beyond that half is considered out (you might say, it's more for training of control of shots). We played 8 sets in all (rally point-1 to 21). First we tried the right side then the left side and then the two diagonals. Ever since I can remember I would always end up losing (or should I say massacred) in singles against luis (or against anyone). I just simply do not have the leg power to last in singles. Last night I scored my first ever double digit score in history. The first set I scored a 10 I was shouting for joy. Moreso when my score reached 14.

Luis is not the type who gives leeway because I'm a girl. No mercy pa din yon. Every time we train or play together, I always end up getting a pasa courtesy of his body shots. Last night our friends were kidding him about his no mercy treatment of me on court. But I never take that against him. In fact I rather enjoy the challenge (sige na nga masochist ako!).Luis pushes me to go beyond my limits. He'd never take excuses from me and would continue to push me until I can push no more. And I find it heartwarming that he believes in my capacity to go beyond mediocrity.

The games ended with me losing all the matches. But I felt a winner nonetheless. I used to lose badly to luis before and last night we had some very good rallies out there. And partner luis was proud. I could barely walk off court afterwards. He even had to bring me my water bottle coz I could not move anymore. During the last set I was so tired that my legs would not move in the way I want it to move but I pushed on nonetheless. I couldn't bring myself to disappoint my partner.

After our 8 set challenge, he still pushed me further by doing drills with me. My task was to receive all his jump smashes. Para na akong statue sa court kasi di na ako makagalaw. But I still tried anyway. Was able to return most of his smashes except the ones that required me to move far.hehehe.

Finally we retired at 12:00 midnight. Tita connie was kidding us na sasaraduhan na kami ng ilaw sa court. Willy also joked that we were masochists for doing all those drills. I dropped luis home at 1230 am and on my drive back home, I was too sleepy for words. When I got home I fell asleep exhausted on our bean bag in the sala. I didn't even make it to the bedroom. Woke up at 5:40 am na!

I was bone tired but felt like I was on top of the world. I made myself proud last night. And with two more weeks of play left, I know every moment is worth cherishing. I will truly miss our kulitans and drills on court (sige na kahit ang mga makabagbag damdamin mong pasabog! hahaha!). Kung pwede lang sana ang malaysia i-commute araw araw, para pwede pa din ako maglaro.

wish ko lang.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Life has somehow changed a lot the past few weeks. Sometimes when I look back over what happened I couldn't help but wonder, what could have been done along the way? Could things have been more different? But then I realized that that's life. It's a constant myriad of changes that no one can absolutely predict. One moment you're friends, and the next moment it's gone.

I used to hate changes but recently I've learned to embrace and just enjoy the ride while it lasts. And though at times I find myself wishing for what if's and could have's I realized that there's no use crying over what is gone. Sure it hurts but life is tough. We need to learn to move on.

I've come to know the meaning of friendship the past few weeks. And I've come to know that sometimes we all change. Promises are broken and feelings are changed. But if you know how to forgive and let go, you learn that with every goodbye, you learn-- you learn that there's no use holding on to grudges when life is too precious to waste. And most of all you learn that in the end, those who stick are those who chose to stay.

Some are fated to leave but if you are lucky enough, someone chooses to stay.

Midnight at Eastwood

I'm used to doing people favors. I'm used to being the one who takes care of people. I've mastered the art of being a martyr nga daw eh. But last night I was taken cared of in one of those rare moments in life when I didn't need to be the strong one.

Luis,Byo and I spent the night hanging out at Eastwood. We picked up Byo from Parang and headed to Eastwood city where we stayed till 1230am. It was an impromptu thing that just came out of the blue. Buti byo was able to sneak away from work to chat with us.

I had fun hanging out with them. It was a different way to spend a tuesday night but surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the best nights of the week. Last night I realized that life is indeed different now. But surprisingly, despite the sadness that lingers, it's actually much better.

It took the wisdom of someone younger to make me realize that maturity doesnt come with age. And that years doesn't mean anything. What matters are the choices we make during moments of great awakenings. And that sometimes the very person you thought would be the one to be there, will be the first one to say goodbye.

Last night my friend finally showed me what he meant when he called me his best friend. When I first heard it I was touched. But when he actually showed me what he meant, I was left speechless. And I actually cried. I never thought I was worthy pala of such blessing. And for that I shall always be grateful (i can just imagine his reply to this--duh!drama!)

Byo sent me this message earlier today, a quote from dawson's creek-- "It's weird as it happens, isn't it? You still love the person, but you just stop needing them like you used to"

How aptly said.

I paint my own rainbows now. And last night someone added brighter colors to my masterpiece.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Midnight Snack at Jollibee..

I once heard a story that the reason why Jollibee was named as such because its supposed to be a place where people work hard but are happy. In a seminar I gave in Ilocos a couple of years back an old lola cried how her biggest dream is to be able to bring her apo to eat chickenjoy at jollibee.

Somehow Jollibee seems to bring comfort to everyone-- be it children or adults. Last night I got to experience that comfort for myself.

After playing badminton, Luis and I brought Byo to work at eastwood. The three of us chatted the entire ride from Byo's place to Eastwood where she's in the night shift. Afterwards Luis and I decided to stop by Jollibee in Libis to eat. We were both craving for chickenjoy and jolly hotdog. I ordered chickenjoy, fries and peach mango pie while Lolo Luis had chickenjoy, jolly hotdog taco style, and choco mallow pie. YUMMY!!

Pigging out on our comfort foods, we laughed about the adventures we had the past weeks and shared our thoughts on the issues that seem to hound our lives (sige na nga mine na lang!hehe). There's something comforting in a pack of peach mango pie and choco mallow pie that makes everything seem okay. Luis teased me about being his human target for the night (pakainin ba ko ng shuttle!!hehehe) for he hit me in the body 5 times!But he also congratulated me for lasting in our singles match (hey! improving ang score ko! naka 5 na ko!) kahit na halos mamataymatay ako.

We ate till we could eat no more. I got home at 2am full and sleepy. We were thinking of visiting Lou and Pau pa but because it was already quite late, we decided to just skip it.

I told Luis how thankful I was to have our friendship these days. He's been there for me so much lately. Even his gf Beaulah whom I've known only for a while but whom I found to be easy to talk to and admiringly cool about the recent issues has been really nice. And I'm grateful for that.

Luis and I started out as badminton buddies and then carpool partners and now we are the best of friends. And despite the issues lately, I think the reason why we both remain good friends is because we both know how each means to the other and we remain honest to the friendship.

Some things are indeed worth smiling for. Kahit na napupuno ako ng pasa kaka body shot ni lolo, masaya pa din ako. He inspires me to thread on no matter what and to push myself beyond my limits.

If there's one thing I'm gonna miss when I leave for Malaysia, it's these chikka nights in jollibee and burger machine. Sana pwede ang delivery sa Malaysia. hehehe.

I guess it's really true that sometimes we have to learn to say goodbye and let go to make way for the new. Goodbye may be sad but with every goodbye we learn-- we learn to say hello to the chance to start anew. I had to say goodbye to an old life recently but I also got to say hello to a new one. I'm not used to it yet but I take comfort in the thought that no matter what happens I will find a way to be happy.

And though it pains me to know that some things will never be the same, I find comfort in the thought that Jollibee moments will always be there. At may makulit akong partner na handang saluhan ako sa chickenjoy. =)