2 08 2008

I know the photo doesn’t go with the title but not everything has to make sense right? Not even the several emails I received today, all in Spanish, and all of which I’m supposed to decrypt to resolve a client’s issue. By the way I might be going to Mexico in 3 weeks for work. Hola! Como se llama usted? Donde esta en la biblioteca? Yo soy Portia, como estas?

Finally, I’ll be able to use the 6 units of Spanish I took back in uni… use all 6 units in saying hello, goodbye, asking where the library is and maybe saying I’m hungry? Yo tengo hambre! If I’m not mistaken. Yeah I’m excited, a new country to explore hooray. Except that I’m going away 2 weeks after D comes home from the US but it’s only for two weeks (hopefully) so I’m sure we will be fine.

There’s not much fresh news… let’s see, I celebrated my first year in the company, I have good friends in the office now, D is finally coming home for good, I’m still obsessed with cupcakes, I’m taking Latin Funk dance classes to keep myself busy, I’ve realigned my social life with the recent changes in my life, I still love my job, I’ve realized it’s much better to have a clear separation between my social and professional circles and I’m going flash/backpacking in China with D, Andre and Yun this October.

Oh wait a minute I do have a bit of good news, I am now officially an auntie to a boy called Adrien Bowen. I’m going to take credit for the elegant-sounding “Adrien,” feel free to pay out my brother for choosing such a strange name as Bowen. Of course my mother is over the moon with her new apo, when I asked her who the baby resembles, she said he’s got my brother’s eyes, his mum’s nose and my cheeks. Who knew you could trace a pair of cheeks to a person, have you ever heard anyone say “Awww… you’ve got your Auntie’s chubby cheeks.” Anyway he does kinda looks like me when I was a baby…

Ok that’s all I’ve got for now, I hope everybody’s doing well. Chao!


Pharida Was Here

23 04 2008

It’s almost half past midnight and I am nowhere near sleepy. And my laptop’s battery is showing no sign of draining up soon so I relented and decided to write here.

Pharida was indeed here, she stayed for four weeks can you imagine? I can and I’m still suffering from missing-mum sickness, tripled in intensity by PMS. It was very, very nice to finally show off Melbourne to her and give her a glimpse of how her brat of a daughter has done a total turn-around and become an independent expat. It was heaven to go shopping with her and walk my everyday route to the city with her by my side while discussing life, love, marriage (in subtle doses of course) and living-in (in teeny tiny, almost undetectable doses haha).

I took her around my ‘burb and we had Sunday brunch at Lygon, a rarely practiced tradition of Melanie and myself, we checked out the op shops in Collingwood, window shopped in Myer, introduced her to my old-school Italian tailor/sastre, visited NGV International, had lunch at one of my favorite Thai fast food, let her experience Nando’s heaven, and did a whole lot of other things.

Ok halfway through this post a message pops up in the lower right corner of my lappy warning me to save my work, switch to outlet power or be sorry.

It’s been two days since Mum left but I still miss her. Melanie and I even postponed watching season 7 of the Gilmore Girls because I’m still in a state too fragile to witness the mother and daughter moments in the show. I hope this vacation of hers becomes an annual thing, I could really use 4weeks’ worth of mothering every year. Maybe next year she can take Dad with her.

I hope everyone’s been good. I have a feeling one of my very best friends has gotten married without even hearing any congratulatory form of greeting from me. It’s because I was too preoccupied or scatterbrained to remember the exact date of her wedding so Abe if you’re reading this, best wishes and congrats! I hope to see you here soon, hopefully your Aussie visas have been ok’d by now.

Work has been very fulfilling, sometimes exhausting but I’m not complaining ’cause I love what I’m doing.  Oh hey did I just rhyme so well then?  Hehe.

I’m off to Texas this friday to see D, finally after nine weeks! If there’s one thing this long-distance setup has taught me, it is the virtue of patience and delayed gratification. I know it’s this friday but the past couple of days have been crawling at a snail’s pace just to spite me I think. Grrr.

Ok I hope everyone’s been doing good lately. Take care whoever you are reading this and please greet Melanie a very merry happy brithday! I think I really need to sleep now as it’s almost 1am and there’s still work tomorrow.

In the end, you’re going to hoard in panic.

12 02 2008

News of an uncle’s death and of Polaroid shutting down factories and consequently making their films extinct brought me panic and sadness.

Predictably I wanted to contact every one of my friends in the US and the Philippines to hoard 600 films for me because they’re sold cheaper over there. But then reading at a forum that I’d have to keep them flat in the fridge for long-term storage made me realize how silly my plan was. I can’t stop a corporation from refusing to manufacture a product that was only making it bankrupt and I don’t really want the hassle of storing films in the fridge, especially since ours is being stocked normally again (’cause we’re sick of eating freaking lean cuisines! do you guys know how deeply lonely that experience is?).

But I digress.

And how weird would I appear to my future husband if the first thing I put in our conjugal fridge is a bunch of Polaroid films? So I just accepted the fact and used up the remaining 3 exposures inside Humphrey (that’s my Polaroid camera’s name btw) because I’ve got twin-pack coming this weekend on D Day.

And then there’s death. I always have a hard time reconciling the concept and my family. I have this illusion that every single member of my family is immune to it and that we’ll all live together forever. Half an hour after speaking to my Mum on the phone the tears came then a mental checklist ran through my mind. Did I say “I love you” to my parents today? Did I say goodnight to Melanie tonight? Have I thanked D for standing up to his manager so I can fly to the US for free? (Obviously the 143’s are delivered on a daily basis so no worries about that)

He wasn’t directly related to me as he was Mum’s sister’s brother-in-law but I always remember him as kind and warm. Growing up amongst rowdy boy cousins and a brother, he always took the girls’ side when fights ensue. I was personally excited and happy for him because I heard he had found a new love and was about to settle down.

His passing made me realize how fleeting time is and how important it is to always be in the moment and embrace every experience, even the ones which break your heart and weaken your spirit. I must admit I’ve been very ungrateful the past days and I know the attitude has to stop right away. I need to remind myself every single day how truly blessed I am.

Even with a permanent employee’s salary. Haha. I had to end this with a laugh. It’s hard to be in the moment if you’re too sad. Toodles.

Princess for a day…

24 01 2008

I’ve never been given flowers for no reason before. Come to think of it he was the first one to ever give me flowers, but that was a peace offering after a major argument. So this totally floored me and made me giggle like a schoolgirl for most of the day.

I got an SMS today from a very good friend, she said she hopes I’m doing well and that she always checks this journal for updates on my life. She also said that she’s sure that my life is beautiful at the moment.

And she’s right, it is beautiful at the moment. It’s summer, days maybe longer but they fly by so quickly. Everyone’s out to enjoy the sun and people are much more carefree.

The trip back to Melbourne wasn’t as dramatic as the first time I went home for Christmas, it helped that D was waiting for me at the airport when the plane touched down. But it was still sad. Now I’m looking forward to my Mum and aunties going here for a vacation in March. Hello to home-cooked dinners everyday.

I’m enjoying each day as it comes, in several months I’ll be undergoing a major overhaul in my life and losing a flatmate, although why she has to move in with her new husband is beyond me. She can stay here and ask Jon to just get a house for himself and I’m willing to give visitation rights, for free.

D and I are at opposite timezones right now. The setup has been very good for us if you ask me because it encourages the two of us to communicate better and keep things simple. I have now acquired the role of goodnight call provider and he has been bestowed the honor of being my logical breaks while I’m at work.

Work is good. So far, so good. I might be sent to China in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to it and hope that I won’t have a shitty time adjusting to the place like when I went to the US. Nani – we may finally be able to fulfill our dream of exploring a new country together =)

Photography still feeds my soul. Recently I bought a Polaroid 600 camera (I think here in Australia they’ve repackaged it as Polaroid700). I’ve been wanting one for a long time and since I want to be able to describe things better to D in my letters, I thought now is a really good time to get one. How many times did I say the words “good”, “one” and “time” just then? Hehe.

My nephew/niece is doing good, if anyone out there must know. My sister-in-law Mitch is staying at my parents’ house. The other day I phoned Mum and she was giddy from seeing her future grandkid on the ultrasound monitor, already moving. I imagine the baby’s still as small as a worm or I don’t know, anything squiggly and wormy hehe.

That’s it for now kids, have a good life in the meantime. I will be posting a travelogue on Singapore soon, I hope.

3 weddings and a whole tabo of tears

30 12 2007

christmas this year was simple but very nice. my mom, dad, brother and i bonded over the barbecue grill while cooking orange island pork chops. it’s amazing how several pieces of karne can strengthen a family’s bond. we ate noche buena early because we skipped dinner and i had too much baked mussels, resulting in an achy tummy. so sad.

on a serious note though, this vacation has really been a reconfirmation of how much of my life revolves around my family and that at the end of the day, they are what matters most to me. i think i can handle pretty much anything with grace, except losing them.

the coming year will present big changes to our lives, especially with a couple of new additions to the family (a new sister and in several months, a baby hooray!). i’m still finding my rhythmn in the midst of it all, especially since i’m used to having my parents and my brother all to myself. my relationship with my kuya may have rough patches from time to time but he’s my brother and i need some time to get used to the idea that he has his own family now.

yesterday was melanie’s wedding and it is the second most touching wedding i’ve ever attended, second to my parents’ silver wedding anniversary a couple of years ago. i cried heaps starting from the church ceremony up until the reception. it was a very intimate and touching affair and it struck a chord because i saw how much their families figure in her and jon’s lives. my parents went with me and i kept checking on my dad because i was worried he’d cry during the bride and father of the bride moments hehehe. i think my contemporaries have just kicked off the marriage phase of our generation’s life cycle as evidenced by the numerous weddings i’ve attended and will attend in the next year or so. yesterday during our clan reunion, i overheard my parents along with my aunties and uncles say na sunod-sunod na raw kameng magpipinsan nyan ;P. all i can say is, seniority rules… which puts me right smack in the middle of the long and slow-moving line. ayos.

Familial Itch

13 12 2007

I am itching to go home to hometown Tanay. Being alone in this apartment is just getting old. I hope the last three nights pass quickly because I want to be with my My, Dy and Kuya really badly.

I have done my rounds with family and friends of boyfriend. Last weekend I was in Adelaide to celebrate Christmas early with D’s family and a couple of his friends, from whom I collected several sweet gifts, which I wasn’t expecting hehe.  This is probably one of the things that draws me to him, the fact that our families play such a big role in our lives and that we both have adorable and sometimes crazy people to call as relatives.

I have also done multiple rounds of Pinoy parties with the same people. Well, you know how it is with Pinoy gatherings, there is always too much food, so my friends and I end up inviting each other for dinner the next night just so we can finish off all the left-overs in the fridge. Last I heard we’ll be having another dinner tomorrow night to hopefully, oh lord god please, finally be rid of all the food.

And I have completed all my deliverables for work with flying colors, well half of them I’m sure I finished with flying colors. Thank goodness the year ended with some good developments work-wise.

So yeah I am definitely raring to get into that plane, breeze through my 3 day holiday in Singapore and finally go home.


And have I told you that my Kuya is getting married this month? And that I’m going to be an auntie soon? Hooray. Me, a legit auntie. Happy-happy.  Plus I’ll get free photography gigs shooting the civil wedding and their prenup.  Triple happy.

Boston and Cambridge

5 11 2007

I went to Harvard. I went to Harvard under very unfriendly weather and all I got to do was rub John H’s shoe. Crappy!

Just kidding. I went to Harvard and it was awesome. Sweet and surreal. I walked on Harvard grounds people. I’ve always had this fascination with the academe, the coffee-sipping, neurotic, passionate free thinkers. This fascination is probably one of the driving factors why I enrolled in a master’s degree a couple of years ago.

So anyway, I braved the category 1 hurricane hitting the east coast that day and the water getting into my shoes and nearly freezing my toes to frostbite death. I was willing to endure anything just to see Harvard, and yes, if it were a band, I would have been a groupie. After putting on the preppiest outfit I could manage, we headed to the uni of my dreams. While there, we checked out the Harvard Law School Library, the Memorial Hall, we were tempted to sneak into the Annenberg Dining Hall even if it risked getting caught by the university’s police hehe and we rubbed John Harvard’s shoe for good luck. It was interesting to discover later on the he wasn’t actually the founder of the uni and that the statue doesn’t resemble him at all and that the year indicated on the statue wasn’t exactly the year when Harvard was founded. But then again who cares? I certainly didn’t.

After hitting Harvard and photographing everything the rain and winds allowed Bogart to, Kuya Mannix and I took the train (again, because I think there is no better way to explore a city than by taking its public transportation) to MIT to gaze at the Strata building which houses the computer science and engineering departments of the school and was designed by Frank Gehry himself. Gosh it felt so nice to be surrounded by intelligent people haha and I’m such a sucker for geeks, no offense to D.

We then went to Haymarket and had the most delicious Boston clam chowder from the Boston and Maine Fish Company stall in Quincy Market, coupled with savory bacon-wrapped scallops. By this time the winds were getting stronger but we still headed to Copley Square to see the Trinity Church and Boston Public Library. After that we were too cold and tired to continue on so we decided to head home. On the way to the airport I got to pass through the most expensive transportation project in the US, the big dig. Although I’m not sure that little fact will interest anyone but anyway, I just thought I’d include that in this post.

If I had to live in the US, I would probably choose to settle in Boston. Because it’s a university town like (note: Harvard is actually in neighboring Cambridge, not Boston) Melbourne, it has a different kind of vibe. OK so I probably need more than two nights to really review this city but because of it’s proximity to Harvard, it has already won 95 points for me hehehe. Another great thing about Boston is the fact that my close relatives are there, it was a bit sad to say goodbye this morning because I don’t know when I’ll be seeing them again, but I’m thankful for the chance to spend time with them.

So there you go, one item crossed off from my list of things to do before you die.