High School Reunions


When you say “high school reunion”, I automatically think about “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion”. I guess that movie pretty much created the base for my concept of that “milestone” event.

A million and one shows and movies later, a “high school reunion” meant, at least to me, something of a hit or miss. On one hand, I kind of expect it to be something exciting and nostalgic, something worth looking forward to. In it, I could meet classmates from way back, catch up with them, tell stories, reminisce, and generally have a good time. On the other hand, as many many shows/movies portrayed, it could be a huge pain in the butt where one’s self-esteem can be trampled on unwittingly/deliberately by said classmates.

Right after university, when I started working, I was actually looking forward to our reunion. Not that I was shivering with anticipation, but if you asked me then, I was more likely to go.

However, a few more years down the road and major life changes after, ironically, I feel like I am still the same me that I was back in high school. I am aware of a lot of changes in me, but that’s the thing, the changes are WITHIN me. Physically, I pretty much still look like how I did back then, save for the bigger eye bags and maybe a wrinkle(gasp!) or two. And don’t get me started on the “plus 1s”.

To be perfectly honest, I feel like our high school reunion is gonna be a showcase of engagement rings, baby bumps, baby photos, and husbands/wives (or at least a significant other in your arm). Change in marital status isn’t the only flaunt-worthy thing. Those who are working/studying/living abroad would be comfortable as well since they are pretty much doing something out of the ordinary, or at least not something that the majority of our batch is doing. Those who have put up their own businesses, or are already in a high enough position in a big company would be seen as career-focused go-getters who are worth looking up to.

But me? I have none of the above. I’m a lot of things and nothing at the same time. I’m a graphic designer, storyteller, student, aspiring videographer, insatiable traveler, fangirl, and inventory manager. If you add my sparse blogging, then yeah, a blogger as well. But somehow, I don’t think any of these, even when put together, would make much of an impact as an answer to, “So, what have you been doing lately?”

First off, I don’t know what to say to that. I’d pretty much say, “Ah, I help out in our family business.” That answer right there is pretty much the same answer that half of our batch would give. Coming from a Chinese community, that’s like the path that was set for most of us. It could either be a suffocating one or a liberating one depending on each person’s circumstances. As for me, contrary to what I believed before, this certain path has given me the needed liberty to pursue my other passions, and I’m really happy where I am right now.

It’s a little contradictory, right? I say that I’m happy where I am, but then me not wanting to go to my high school reunion is coming across as me being insecure of my current situation. Well, to be perfectly honest, yeah, I kind of am.

It’s petty, I know, but I would really hate to hear the loss of interest as they say, “Ah… family business. Yes.” Like I haven’t achieved anything in my life. Could be true, I don’t know. This may just be an internal conflict that I’m projecting outwards, and maybe people wouldn’t really care what I’m doing.

The bottom line is, I’m really not ready to see all of them anytime soon. In our community, it’s rare for people to go far after high school. Only a quarter of our batch ventured out into the wild wild world for their bachelors or masters. The rest of us went to the same universities and bumped into each other in malls and other places. We lived in the same place, talked to the same people, even though our own little worlds expanded, we never lost touch.

The people that I want to see, I already see as often as I want.

Even most of the people that I want to see aren’t going. I don’t wanna pay 2000php to spend a night being uncomfortable and feeling sorry for myself. So tell me, is all this such an assbutt reason for me not to go?



Why I Don’t/Rarely Post About My Travels on Social Media


Friends tell me that I suddenly “disappear” sometimes. When I go on trips, that is. Unlike most, I don’t like broadcasting travel plans on SNS, and I usually only post photos (sparingly) after I’ve returned. Why?

1.) Scrolling through FB or IG and seeing other people enjoying their travels while you’re stuck at work feeling suffocated… well, it sucks. I don’t wanna contribute to people feeling sucky.

2.) It’s nice to see photos from someone else’s travels sometimes, especially if it shows me the beauty of a place I haven’t considered going to yet, or a hidden gem in a place that I’ve already been to (and want to go back to). However, getting a blow-by-blow update* of each corner of a city somewhere is frankly, irritating. And please, don’t tell me, “If you don’t like it, then don’t look at it/block him/her/me.” First of all, it CLOGS MY TIMELINE, and I can’t escape from it. Even if I don’t wanna look at it anymore but want to see other people’s posts, I’d have to go through those. And second, as a friend, I really would like to keep you, so I’m not that willing to block you because I like you. I’m just asking for consideration.

*My limit is around 5-7 photos per day, spread throughout the 24hrs. Uploading 10 photos w/in 30mins of pretty much the same place/selfies is what drives me crazy. Also, if you have a LOT of photos and wanna show them all, I suggest collage makers.

3.) It warps people’s idea of you. Just because I can travel doesn’t mean I’m rich. It means that I kept myself from shopping for clothes, shoes, and other things I don’t urgently need, for months, just so I can have the funds to pay off my credit card, which I used to purchase tickets and accommodations. Of course, travel is still considered a luxury, but I planned and budgeted for this luxury so that I can travel at ease and not be totally broke afterwards.

4.) Other people’s opinions. I know that I shouldn’t let what other people say get to me, and I try not to, but sometimes it’s hard to escape the effects of criticism. It depends on each person’s situation. As for me, my main issue is being “unworthy” of travel. Like, why would I need a vacation when I don’t really do anything stressful? Honestly. I’m no Steve Jobs or Bill Gates but I have my own share of stress. And traveling isn’t just a “vacation”, it’s part of my self-actualization process, and basically for casual research.

5.) In relation to #3 and #4, it makes people think that I have a lot of free time on my hands. Honestly, I don’t, nor am I that energetic a person to do activities when I have free time instead of staying in and sleeping. In other words, people think that I’m just “nagpapasarap sa buhay” (coasting through life). Well… what the heck do they know anyway?! I have things that I do. I work. I study. There are dreams, old and new, that call to me, which I chase through my hobbies. I am blessed to be able to have a pretty balanced life, and I’m thankful for that. Very few know all the things that I do, so don’t judge before you totally know.

6.) This one’s a bit trivial but really gets to me: “You’re going there AGAIN?!” Seriously, tell me, have you seen every inch of your city? Your home country? I haven’t, so it follows that I would’ve seen less of a country that I don’t live in. There’s a popular quote from pop culture, “Go to your happy place” said to people who are agitated or sad or whatever. Well, I have my happy place. People go back to malls all the time just to check out what’s new in their favorite store, which is their happy place. Well, I do the same. It just so happens that my happy place is about 4hrs by plane from home. Some people get their kicks from buying bags worth half a year of my salary (not judging those who do, btw, ’cause I get it…kinda). I only spend about 1/3 of that per trip, and I get to experience other cultures, practice the new language I’m learning, meet new people, hone my navigation skills, have good food, and make once-in-a-lifetime memories. Isn’t that more than worth what I pay for, compared to something that will mostly sit in a closet? Of course, buying really good (and kinda expensive) luggage is another thing.

Those are pretty much the main reasons why I don’t post about my travels on SNS. There are smaller reasons, but they evade me for now. But basically, para lang wala nang masabi, wag na lang. There. And also, for a pretty boring person who lives by a lot of routines, I have almost zero stories to share when people ask me what I’ve been up to. So by not posting travel stuff on SNS, I’d have new things to share. :D

It’s Been a Year, Dad


I’m not sure what we’re celebrating today… 1 year. An anniversary. Of what? Of the last time we saw you? Of 365 1/4 days of feeling a great big hole in our lives? Of that night when I was too late to see you breathe your last?

It’s been a whole year without you, Dad. And it will be 2 years, 10 years, 30 years, but I will still have to fight the tears that come whenever I remember that day, even those two weeks.

I wasn’t ready, Dad. Call me stupid, a naive idiot, but all that while, I thought that we were gonna go home together at some point, when you get better. They say that it had to get worse befor it got better, and I thought that that was it – you were getting worse because you were on your way to get better, and we’d all go home and live our lives better. Together.

We may not have talked a lot, but Dad, there were so many things that I wanted to do for you. I wanted to bring you and Mom to Jeju and walk those trails for exercise and for you to get fresh air. I really was computing and recomputing the projected expenses we’d incur, because I was saving up for it. Since you and Mom can’t walk a lot, I had to factor in private car rent and a driver, and business class seats so you’ll fit comfortably in the plane. I was about… 2 years away from it.

Sigh. It all boils down to this: I miss you, Dad, and I’m sorry. For everything.

Here’s Mini You to keep us company while we wait to see you again.


Here's Mini You in Seoul. Not quite Jeju, but at least it's the same country. Lol.

Rant in the Middle of the Night


As usual, I was in my k-drama mini-binge after dinner. I was watching Three Musketeers and was inspired to write a story on AFF. Since I’m a bit uncomfy to put a rant this lengthy on the foreword, I’ll just put it up here. :))

The said story was inspired by one scene in Three Musketeers (which stars Jung Yonghwa of CNBlue, playing Park Dal Hyang (D’Artagnan)). In the scene, he was with the other 2 musketeers Heo Seung Po (Portos) and An Min Seo (Aramis). They were in the house of Heo Seung Po, hanging out in his room, when Seung Po’s wife entered.

Earlier in the drama, it was told that Seung Po, being the son of the Minister of Military (or something lol), he had to be marry the daughter of someone of power. This was how he ended up marrying a woman who didn’t have the most flawless face, and is twice the size of the women around them, which made her a sort of comic relief in the drama.

Anyway, back to the scene. In the scene, Seung Po’s wife entered the room. It was the first time that Park Dal Hyang saw her, so he was all excited and stood up, greeted her warmly, and even did a full bow. Min Seo and Seung Po asked him why he was bowing so formally, so Dal Hyang said, with all innocence, that he of course should do so because it’s his first time to meet Seung Po’s mother. To this, the two other guys laughed, and Seung Po’s wife left with an irritated sigh.

Then, a bunch of kids entered, who were apparently Seung Po’s children. There were 4: 3 girls and 1 boy. Dal Hyang was surprised that Seung Po had children, to which Seung Po replied, “Because I’m the oldest son in this house, I had to go every night to my wife’s room and… make babies… until I had a son.” The other two looked at him with awe and horror on their faces, and praised him for his iron guts.

Now, I know that it’s all for entertainment, but for someone who has similar physical “flaws” as Seung Po’s wife, it’s kind of painful to watch that one tiny scene. It wasn’t even important to the story – it was plainly for comic relief. But that’s precisely it: women who look like that are only treated as comic relief. After all that time, Mrs. Heo was simply someone to push out children, and after the coveted son came, she became simply that being that Seung Po had to sometimes come home to and put up with. And really, it takes iron guts to make love to a woman like that? Honestly, if it weren’t for the obviously fake painted-on spots on her face (to make her ugly), Mrs. Heo is cute. And even if she did have those spots, that’s all the people around her saw. A fat girl with spots on her face. And they all thought, “Sigh. Poor Seung Po.” But did they even try to look past all that? Wasn’t it enough that she bore him and took care of his children and continued to stay even though he treats her poorly?

I’m so sorry for the long rant… But it just made me feel like crap so suddenly. I do love the drama, it has a good story and the acting is good (Yonghwa though, you DID improve, but there’s still a little ways to go. But ily<3) and it’s funny as well and I will keep watching it. But it’s just that… that scene kind of made me think about how guys in general view me. So like, I’m just that fat girl with flawed skin that they had to deal with as their classmate or groupmate or just like, some random passerby. If only it were possible, they’d choose to not look at me because it hurts their eyes. Kung baga, parang kailangan nila tiisin yung presence ko kasi kailangan ako sa grupo eh. No choice eh. And the idea of even ending up with someone like me is… well, horrific, and can only be gone through if it’s like, for money or power. And I’m not even considered as a girl in the first place. Like, bagay lang ako na naglalakad at nagsasalita. I’m not even worth considering. I’m always to be killed in that “Kill, Do, Marry” game – no second thoughts.

That’s why I suddenly came up with this story – because apparently this thing can only happen in stories (no one has proved otherwise, at least in my own experience). What if someone like Mrs. Heo, a normal-looking girl who’s twice the size of those chopsticks they call women in dramas, and is actually human so has pores on her skin that sometimes get clogged and turn into pimples (unlike the mannequin-like flawlessness of women in dramas), goes through the same arranged marriage thing? Would she experience the same thing?

She probably would. But since I’m indulging my imagination, WHAT IF one of her husband-to-be’s friends actually saw past the flaws and liked what he saw? Same stakes. It’s a marriage of convenience. What would the fiance do? He needs whatever she and her family had. But the sincerity of the other guy is a formidable opponent for her heart.

What if everyone started seeing what the fiance still couldn’t? Ano, dami mo nang kaagaw? Gulat ka naman kasi ang nakikita mo lang lumba-lumbang panget? Will she stick with the fiance (because her family will also benefit from the union) or throw caution to the wind and go for who’s sincere about her?

Will go get this drama on!!! :)))

Still deciding on the roles though. But definitely, the following actors have been imagi-cast by me: Yoo Yeon Seok, Song Joong Ki, and Park Hae Jin. :)) Also starring Choi Siwon, and probably Cho Kyuhyun lol. I’m considering Henry as well. Still not sure which character these guys will play…

Daaaaad~ Happy Fathers’ Day :)


I don’t think we ever celebrated Fathers’ Day properly when you were still here, Dad. You were one un-fussy person. Lol. Even your birthdays weren’t celebrated grandly. I wish we had an all-out grand party for you when you turned 65 last year. But I guess that wasn’t your style…

Back in Sydney, I was actually planning on going on a trip with you and the family to Jeju when you turned 65. I kept on computing how much I’d need to get you there. Since we’re like, probably descended from Chinese giants or something, the tiny seats in budget airlines (and even economy class in normal airlines) are out of the question, at least for you and big bro. Also, since you already had a hard time walking, I had to factor in renting a private car and tour guide (since I don’t drive and bro doesn’t have an international license) so we could get around.

Sigh. That’s one of my regrets. Not having earned enough to treat you and mom to things like that. I know you and Mom appreciate traveling more than just… things, so that was what I really wanted to give you. But I didn’t have enough, so I thought I’d give it a couple more years…

Ah, really. They say that things that can be done today shouldn’t be put off until tomorrow. Now I realize how true that is.

I’m so sorry, Dad. That has been a thought I had in my head and my heart for years. I know you expected great things from me, but to this day, I’m still just going with the flow, doing what needs to be done and/or what I’m told to do. I’m closing in on the 3rd decade mark, yet still I’m not really sure what I want to do. For someone who got good grades, I totally fail at life.

I’m sorry for not being a beautiful daughter for you either. That I’m worthless like this, you at least could’ve bragged about a daughter who had guys lining up for her, or at least has someone special in her life that you deem worthy of taking care of her. But alas, here I am, basically a not-purple Barney-sized female that always gets mistaken for a “sir”.

I know you worried about that aspect of my life, Dad, that’s why you were consistent in asking Mom to take me and get a facial or laser hair removal or something. I’m so sorry for also failing as a girl. One would think that being born as one, it’d make things easy, but… yeah. I’m not that lucky.

We never really talked about stuff like that, but I always had an image in my head of you walking me down the aisle. I know, I know, I’ve said countless times that after 27 solid years of being forever alone, I’ve given up on love and getting married, but still… I had that tiny little dream of you walking me down the aisle and you playing with my children (and talking to them in Chinese so they’ll learn ’cause goodness knows I can’t!). Well, I guess that dream’s out the window now. I’m just really sorry that I never got to ask you what kind of guy you preferred. All I’m sure about is that I want one who’d make as good a father as you.

I’m sorry, Dad, for being a total failure. I really want to be a daughter you could be proud of, and trust me, I’m still trying. I’ll figure it out. It’s just too bad that you won’t get to see it… But maybe I can tell you all about it when we see each other again.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Papa. Have a good rest!^^

영원히 사랑할거예요 아빠! <3


For the Future


As I scoured through my amazing collection of schooldays photos for my friend (she requested a Throwback Thursday bonanza from me), it slowly sunk in that those photos were already a decade old, some even older. I still can’t believe that much time has passed, and yet inside, I don’t feel much different from the girl in the pictures (although I can definitely say that I’m less “emo” now, lol).

For a couple of years now, I’ve been bothered by the fact that I’m nowhere near able to support myself. I’m just an employee (albeit not that regular) and I get a fixed income every month, and that income is less than the normal entry-level salary that college/university graduates get when they enter big companies. And it’s almost been 5 years since I graduated university.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m actually okay with how much I earn. I think it’s a fair amount based on my performance. Haha. What I really want now is to have multiple streams of income.

I’ve always been a good money saver. Okay, except last year, when I hemorrhaged money for SMEnt and the South Korean tourism industry (oh the pitfalls of being a fangirl!). I was about 50% short of my goal savings and didn’t even know it until I stared my passbook down the other day. I had to take out my calculator and painstakingly remember all the major spending I did and slowly tried to reconcile them with the amount that I apparently spent.

Here’s the rough breakdown of my expenditures:

  • 30% for a business venture that didn’t quite work out (but hopefully we’d be able to revive… some time later)
  • 30% for travel + fangirling (they kind of went hand-in-hand recently)
  • 15% for food and drinks and movies (because I love to eat and watch movies, which also requires eating, not to mention late-night hunger – thank you 24-hour deliveries!)
  • 15% for other random things like groceries, clothes, shoes, school books, “socializing”, whatnots…
  • 10% for plays and musicals (I don’t know why people think this is a waste of money. Hey, you watch movies. This is just the live version! Like watching a concert instead of just listening to the CD.) and some other form of entertainment

Some might wonder, “How about rent? Phone, electric, water, and other bills?” Well, first off, we’re fortunate enough to own the house we live in. :) As for the others, as of now, I don’t have to worry about them yet, but I’m fairly sure that I will have to in the next couple of years, hence this post and the semi-panic that goes with the realization.

I won’t be able to support myself at all when that time comes if I don’t find a way to increase my income. There’s pretty much no getting out of where I’m working now, and if there was, a different job could only mean a higher pay, but still a single source of income. I want passive income, something that just comes in while I do my actual job.

That’s why for the last year or so, I’ve been wanting to invest. On what? I don’t know. I know nothing about stocks. I recently learned about bonds in school but I’m not sure how to go about investing in those (I hope they tell us in one of the lectures). But before everything else, I lack the funds for investing.

Luckily, my parents and I saw this news clip about the 52-week Money Saving Challenge adapted into Philippine version by The Kuripot Pinay. Check out her blog for the whole mechanics. Basically, it’s saving a certain amount per week, each week increasing the amount by adding the 1st week’s amount. For example, if you want to save in increments of Php20, you’ll have to save 20 the first week, then 40 the next, then 60, and so on until you reach the 52nd week. Since my friends and I were all in dire need of money-saving, we accepted the challenge.

This time, I want to be strict with myself, so I set the bar a little higher than the example on the blog. I did the chart for my own values, and the latter part of the year’s amounts would really have me not going out or buying anything for two whole months, just so I can fulfill the saving goal. So, friends, your gift from me this Christmas will be free hugs. :)

I know, I know, saving isn’t the answer to financial freedom, but it’s the first step. I’ve researched the best bank and account type to keep the challenge’s money in while I figure out what kind of investments are available and how they work. Hopefully, by the start of 2015, I’d have legit investments that’d earn me money even while I sleep. :D

Now, how do I have the same determination for healthy eating and regular exercise…