Empty Cabinets, Uncovered Bed and the Remnants of My Corner

Empty Cabinets, Uncovered Bed and the Remnants of My Corner

There comes a point in our lives when we have to leave places that have become our comfort zones. Graduating from college entails the inevitable process of moving out of the place that has been my home for the past five years. It took me a bit longer to move out than expected. There were too many things (clutter) to transfer and I just finished procuring the first set of furniture for the place I’m moving into. But perhaps a part of me just wanted to hang on for a bit longer.

Earlier today, I peeped out the window from S207 and gazed at how beautiful the sunrise was; how the rays extended and brightened the room. That would probably be the last time I’d get to do that. I did not take a photo just to keep the image in my mind. 🙂

After my review classes, I rushed back to the dorm to finish packing the things I still had in the dorm. As I was packing I realized that some of the post-its on my cork board have been there for more than a year. There were even posts from my former roommates (Noreen, Gem and Joey). I segregated things for the last time and pushed myself to let go of unnecessary clutter.

I wanted to bequeath some of my things to some people who have made my dorm life memorable. 😉 But due to the rush packing I did these past few days, I only managed to give out three items earlier today. I have some stuff in the condo that I intended to give to other DMC members and foster siblings. It was hard to let go of the things that I gave because they had some sentimental value. But giving away that box from Paris, that Panda nanoblock toy and the “No One Messes with the Family” ARSA lanyard was a part of the process of moving on. To whoever got these items, please take care of them. :>

As I leave the room, I took a last look and took a snapshot of my little corner in UDS 207. I would miss being woken up by the sunlight. I would miss hearing recurring alarms from roommates’ alarm clocks and phones. I would miss seeing familiar places along the hallways. I would miss the random tambay session at the lobby. I would miss the late night walks and milk tea time in Katipunan. I would miss the place I have called my home.

But my corner now is empty — just like how it was when I moved in during my sophomore year. What’s left are empty cabinets, uncovered beds and I take with me all the memories, experiences, “life lessons,” and friendships that were built within the premises for these residence halls.

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8. Toilet: The Musical #ShitHappens

1. 1779778_10201504431799626_1500508962_nFeb. 20, 2014, Thursday — Every school year, I make sure I get to watch at least one Blue Repertory show: from Rock ‘n’ Rule, to Breakups and Breakdowns and Stages of Love and to watching Stages of Love twice. For my last semester as an undergraduate student, I got to watch Blue Rep’s Toilet: The Musical. It is an original play by Blue Rep with music by Ejay Yatco.

Enzo, Kevin, Jigs, Ange and I were supposed to catch the Feb 12 show to watch Carlos Quiapo. But due to the bomb scare in the Ateneo, we had to reschedule. The soundtrack (click here to listen in SoundCloud) has been playing on loop in my iTunes since yesterday.

Aside from a good soundtrack, the play had dynamic characters. I would say that I am a Tiffany. :’) To those who have seen the show, #FIYOLO! But to spare others from spoilers, I shall speak/write no more.

P.S. Jose Mari Chan was part of the audience. His son is part of the play. 🙂

 

7. Starting Over Again

How can I unlove you?

My love is greater than your failures.

If you insist, how can I resist?

Feb. 19, 2014, Wednesday —- (spoiler alert) Filipino movies are known to be cheesy and corny. But from time to time I allow myself to indulge and give in to my jologs side (and I sort of drag friends along, too). France, Dale and I watched Starting Over Again in SM Marikina. As expected, the movie had cheesy quotable quotes such as the ones above. But thinking about it, these lines seemed to stand out because the viewers are able to relate. On another note, there is something predictable about Filipino movies. You can rely that the ending is predominantly, unless it is an Indie movie. But for Starting Over Again, I like how the ending was realistic and not the happy ending that people expect.

P.S. Let us not kill the Philippine cinema. Let’s catch a Filipino movie once in a while 🙂

P.P.S. Hi, Dale! If you are reading this, I hope you got over the ending already! 😉

6. Longest Day (since that paper for Fr. David’s Class)

6. Longest Day (since that paper for Fr. David's Class)

Feb. 18, 2014, Tuesday — I had to check my 2013 planner to verify whether or not I have broken my record for staying up to finish a paper for a class. I stayed up for 27 hours to finish the 15-page paper for Fr. David’s class last year. Apparently I did break the record by an hour last Tuesday. I was awake for 28 hours because I wanted to finish my project before I go to sleep. (I learned my lesson last time when we almost failed project on time because my roommate and I failed to wake up to our alarms.) The thing is I was already done with all the computations the day before. I even started writing the paper Tuesday afternoon. But it must have been that OC part of me that caused me to stay up so late to produce the project report about the Microwave Link Design. So you might be wondering why I was happy despite having stayed up so late.

Here’s the thing. My room for the past four years has windows facing the east. But I rarely wake up early to witness the sunrise. But on the longest day on the last week of regular classes, I was able to see the sunrise 🙂 The photo was taken on Wednesday, but for me it was still Tuesday since I haven’t slept.

P.S. I slept in the afternoon. When I woke up to submit my project, I felt terrible. Thanks to my roommate, Angela, for volunteering to submit my project.

P.P.S. Please do not do this. I am not encouraging people to neglect sleep. I felt nauseous after.

5. With Graduating ECE Scholars

5. With Graduating ECE Scholars

Holding our empty AASA piggy banks after the Graduating Scholars Meeting with the Office of Admission and Aid. Soon we will be returning these piggy banks with an amount that could help other students to have the opportunity to study in the Ateneo. ❤ I am forever grateful for the gift of education our benefactors gave us 🙂

2. Fear of Rejection, Fear of Injection

I wanted to do something special today. I didn’t want it to be another Single Awareness Day. I spent the afternoon of Valentine’s Day 2014 with friends in SocSci conference room lining up to donate blood. The thing is, I fear the sight of blood and I fear injections. The process of blood donation includes a pre-test that they do to check if you are an eligible donor — the fear of rejection (#feels #hugot).

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I could not explain how scared I was when it was my turn to be tested. I hate even the slightest prick on my fingertip. But I thank God for my supportive friends who were there — Dale (the one who encouraged me to donate), Patricia, Clarisse and Krystal. It was the first time I donated blood and I don’t think it would be my last.

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A happy day spent with friends and conquering my fears 🙂

How about you? How was your Valentine’s Day?

P.S. Thanks to the nurse who kept reassuring me that everything would be fine.

1. Postcard from Across the Pacific Ocean

1. Postcard from Across the Pacific Ocean

I have joined the bandwagon and accepted the 100 Happy Days Challenge.

Yesterday, there was a bomb threat scare in our university. It really touched me that friends made an effort to message me to confirm if I was alright. Some of the them are not even from Metro Manila or the Philippines for that matter. One of the people who posted on my Facebook timeline is a friend whom I met almost a year ago during the Go Green in the City competition. Today, upon coming back home to my room, I spotted the postcard he sent me from the US. It is mounted on the door of our refrigerator. It made me smile knowing that people, even though separated by distance, still care. Reading his message on the postcard also reminds me that each person has the to create an adventure of his/her own.

If ever you do come across this post, please do share a moment that made you happy today. 🙂 Knowing others are happy inspires me to be happy 🙂

P.S. Another thing that made me happy was to see that Bea, the girl who lives next door, had the courage to shave off her hair as part of Ateneo Kythe’s Cancer Awareness Campaign. 🙂

Ramblings, Scramblings and the thought of Happiness

It is always at the start of the year when the feeling of uncertainty is heightened. At the same time, a sense of hope overwhelms us thinking about the possibilities that could occur. We are all pumped up to make the world a better place. We start listing things that we want to do with our lives and with these lists we create a mold that would perfectly shape a version (insert age here) of ourselves.

I am heeding a friend’s advice for this year. Through that number game on Twitter, a friend told me to “find happiness in being ordinary.” The thought has been lingering in my mind ever since. A lot of us want fame and fortune that we forget how nice it is to be ordinary. We could wallow in a space where we could go unnoticed, out of sight from the scrutiny of other people. But I guess that was not my friend meant. I wanted to ask my friend what he meant exactly. It is possible that I could be over analyzing things. But then again, there is no harm in provoking the mind to think some more. I guess being ordinary is getting rid of that spotlight. It is a matter of freeing one’s self from the selfishness that’s been nesting on the inside. It is acknowledging that the world does not revolve me and being okay with it.

But for me it must not stop in finding happiness in being ordinary. I must also learn to find happiness in things that are ordinary. There are things that go unnoticed if we don’t take a break from all the hustle and bustle. One of the things I learned to appreciate is the bliss of silence. Don’t get me wrong. I like to talk, I like to listen to music. But the silence allows me to think (about life and all its conundrums or about solutions for a bug in the code I am working on.) Another thing I have been doing more often is gazing at the moon and stars. We were on our way to church and I was in the back seat of the car. I stuck my head out the window and saw that the night sky was clear and stars glittered. To my amazement, I just blurted: “Wow!” (If my memory serves my right, my mom and sister were a little bit confused. Hahaha!) To a person whose sky is polluted by light, a clear sky with stars shining is a sight to behold. One thing I miss though is seeing the sunrise. I want to be a morning person but I’m failing miserably in trying to become one.

The talk about ordinary things reminds me  a Bosconian teaching — that we must also do ordinary things extraordinarily well.  In the process of finding happiness this year, I hope that we all go through what life has to offer. No rewinds, no fast forwards. No pause nor stop. We might find happiness in being ordinary in the ordinary. Let’s find happiness in being ordinary and in the ordinary but let’s do ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Cheers to chasing happiness and dreams this year!

The view from my dorm room’s window as I the sun rises. ❤

P.S.

I came across this 30-Day Challenge called Zero to Hero. The first post should be an introduction about me but in line of being hopeful I ended up writing an introduction to a facet of the person who I want to be. Also, if you are interested in keeping a blog the Zero to Hero is a good way to get you started 🙂

Aichi’s Adventures (and Misadventures) 2013

Inspired by the short video that Krystal made for our Binondo Trip, I wanted to come up with a simple montage of the moments and the people that made 2013 a great year. 😀 Pardon me for the my lack of skill in video and audio editing. I tried to make this in just an hour or two (as part of taking my mind of the MATLAB code I am working on). I also told myself not to post this unless I have a substantial progress for the MATLAB program I was working on.

How about you? How was your 2013?

Disclaimer: If there are events that do not appear in the montage, I may not have the pics on my laptop or the “2013” folder I screened.

The video features the following (in order):

  • New year pics with family
  • Pig out session with Mico and Verlyn
  • Reunion with cousins, Janelle and Ms. Dumaguete (Kaye)
  • World of Fun and lunch with HS friends (Jboy, Lord Louis, Greg, Geo and Benjamin)
  • TEDxADMU with Janiz
  • First Binondo trip with Coleen, Jun, Steve, Romell and Jan
  • Life of Pi movie night in Eastwood with Angela
  • A random shot of me while Sir TJ was discussing about Optics (c/o Carlo)
  • ARSAFEST 2013 with Janiz, Angela and Khalid
  • Golden Times at Shangri-La with Angela
  • DMC Valentines event
  • Theology 151 group project with Angela, Pat, Anika and Lucy
  • Random KFC moment with Benjz and Enzo (I think Angela was the one who took the photo.)
  • Batangas outing with ARSA Batchmates (a.k.a the weekend I decided to somehow give up on TCOM 122 and have a YOLO moment instead)
  • Blue Rose 2013 (Oh hello, China boy!)
  • First day of work in PLDT with Jess and Maeka
  • MVP Olympics Opening
  • Go Green in the City (GGitC) Philippines
  • Birthday treat for Ma’am Reese
  • PLDT Summer Camp Team Building at Camp Explore
  • Close up Summer Solstice with Angela and Jordz
  • Dinner date with Coleen, Dea and Larz
  • Adventures in NLEX with PLDT Student Campers
  • France’s birthday “surprise” (He surprised us with doughnuts.)
  • GGitC – East Asia and Room 804 moments in Jakarta
  • Food trip with Angela, Nicko and Enzo at Ramen Oh
  • Birthday surprise for Angela
  • PLDT Summer Camp Graduation
  • Summer in Dumaguete which includes trips to the beach with family, random moments with the sisters, food trip with family and friends, pig out session with Mico and Verlyn and KTV with Adrian and Mommy A
  • ARSA OrSem 2013: Unleashed
  • Paris adventures during the Schneider Electrics’s GGitC Global Challenge
  • Birthday dinner with Angela in Eastwood
  • Baguio Weekend with Boat 2
  • ADHOC with France, Jojee and Luigi
  • Two-week internship in Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan
  •  Long overdue meet up with childhood friend Kasoy a.k.a Humba
  • Book sale adventure at BGC
  • Dinner in Serendra and trip to Resorts World with mom
  • Random meet up with Aids in SM Aura
  • Late night with ARSA Chorale playing Love Bird :))
  • My Thai, Rue Bourbon Catching fire @ Eastwood with Nath, Anna, Likha and Mykee
  • The Soprano 2 girls with Diana and Patricia
  • Blue Harmonies 2013 with ARSA Chorale ❤
  • Frozen and Christmas vibes in Gateway with Kurt, Kuya Francis, Jojee, Sarah H., Krystal and Aliza
  • Star gazing while Geminids were visible
  • ECE ’14 Christmas Dinner
  • High school mini reunion
  • Christmas 2013 with family in Dumaguete ❤

It was a great ride, 2013!

Years are made up of moments that become memories that would last a life time. Though moments are fleeting and time may slip from our hands, we try to remember and cling to those moments. They need not necessarily be as extravagant as travelling around the world or going on YOLO adventures . They might be mundane moments spent in silence that go unnoticed by others. It is however good to look back at these certain points of what has elapsed – to try fit in a timeline what has been. I believe that it is in looking back that we may learn (even if our memories are imperfect.) Please bear with me as I dissect my 2013 experiences.

THE PLACES

Some may say that we dream to travel to rid ourselves of the permanence or mundane living. But I have always sought out to travel because I see it as an opportunity to meet people, learn about different cultures, marvel at

the beauty that the world has to offer and take home those lessons.  In 2013, God has taken me to places but has always led me back home.

  • Paris, France for the Go Green in the City 2013 Global Challenge (with stopovers in Guangzhou and Amsterdam)
  • Jakarta, Indonesia for the Go Green in the City 2013 – East Asia (with stopover in Singapore)
  • Nara, Kyoto and Osaka, Japan for the 2-week internship at Nara Institute of Science and Technology
  • Cabiao, Neuva Ecija, Philippines for the Ignatian Build organized by  Gawad Kalinga – Ateneo
  • Batangas, Philippines for the ARSA Batch 2013 outing
  • Pampanga, Philippines for the PLDT Student Camp Tour
  • Baguio City, Philippines for a weekend with friends (Boat 2) which became a food trip
  • Dumaguete, Philippines for a time well spent with friends and family 🙂

THE EVENTS (The firsts, the reunions and YOLO adventures)

  • My first time to see a shooting star! It happened while I was walking with DMC friends to Manila Observatory. It was magical! And yes, I made a wish. 🙂
  • Adventures with my roomie, Angela — Spring Film Festival @ Shangri-La, Close-up Summer Solstice (Thanks to Jordz David for the tickets!), Birthday Celebrations, movie nights (Life of Pi, Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo, Tuhog, etc.)
  • Hotel Mulia Room 804 with the GGitC – East Asia participants :> (What happens in Jakarta, stays in Jakarta!)
  • Got lost in Paris! (with Enzo, Mita, Adam, Ujjwala, Aybuke, Abhishek, Sindhu, Surhendar)
  • HS mini reunion in C&L Hotel (“after party” in Hayahay)
  • Catching up with the A Team over KTV, Lunch and cups of coffee
  • Observing the passing of time just sitting outside Starbucks in SM Aura
  • ARSA Chorale practices and that Blue Harmonies related performances.
  • Random Binondo trip with DMC friends
  • Hours of waiting in the airport..Twice in Mactan Airport and NAIA Terminal 2 (Oh hi, France Tan!)
  • Painful and sad arguments 😦 (I’m sorry)

THE PEOPLE

I think that it is the people who we are with who make the event or trip memorable. In 2013, I was blessed to have the company of friends. I also got to meet a lot of people during the trips. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who made 2013 complete.

THE LESSONS

While catching up with an old friend over a cup of tea, we came to talk about how we have moved on in some ways but remained friends. That conversation made me realize that relationships indeed can be fragile IF you let it be and the passing of time would continually test these relationships. Bottom line: Fight for people who are worth keeping in your lives.

2013 has strengthened my notions about dreams. First, We should dream BIG so that if we fall short of that BIG dream, it will still be a little bigger than just a dream. Second, The only way to turn dreams into a reality is to do something about it.

We also need to learn to have a disposition that is grateful for each moment is a gift, that is hopeful, and a disposition that is open for all the possibilities that God can do with our lives. Prayers are heard and dreams do come true.

It was a great ride, 2013!

No One Deserves Secondhand Love

Thought Catalog

Don’t settle for secondhand love, for the friend who was there all along. Don’t settle for the one who stuck around regardless just because you knew they would. Just because you knew they would answer your texts late at night, laugh at your jokes, and call you on your bullshit doesn’t mean you love them. Not in that way. Settling for secondhand love wouldn’t be fair to them.

Don’t settle for a friend because it’s convenient, or because you know it will make them happy. Don’t say your heart’s in it when it’s not. It would be cruel to give them false hope, to make them think you’ll change your mind. Logically, you could, because on paper, it makes sense. You make sense together. You could grow to love them the way they want you to, but chances are you won’t.

Emotions and logic aren’t the same thing, and they…

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#Yolanda #Haiyan #ReliefPH (How You Might Be Able to Help)

Our thesis adviser, Dr. Reese Macabebe, is gathering monetary donations to fund deployments of solar photovoltaic systems for cellphone charging, lighting, water filtration, etc. in Typhoon-affected areas in Estancia, Concepcion, Ajuy and nearby towns in Iloilo. To anyone who can, your help in raising funds will really be appreciated, and will help a lot of people. 

If interested, you can send a message to Dr. Reese Macabebe or I can refer you to her. Also,you can help us by sharing this message to people who might be able to help raise the amount needed.

Thank you!

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I have purposely restrained myself from posting on this blog since the landfall of Yolanda. I have shared a few articles and photos over Facebook. But I have not really published my thoughts about the devastation. One conversation I had with a friend made me realize that instead of spending time to write a blog that week when relief operations were still on going here in the Ateneo, it is best to spend time helping out in the relief operations — packing relief goods, unloading goods from the truck, loading the vehicles with family packs, loading vehicles with family packs ready to be deployed.

Tonight, I have decided to break my hiatus. I hope to help our mentor/thesis adviser raise funds to help in the recovery of the areas hit by Yolanda.

Last Day @ Ito-Lab, NAIST

Leaving is never easy. It comes with the burden of saying farewell and not knowing when you will be able to meet again. I spent two weeks here in Japan as an intern in the Foundations of Software Laboratory under the Graduate School of Information Science (IS). Professor Minoru Ito and Assoc. Prof. Naoki Shibata were my mentors.

I was working on a traffic simulation project. I started out clueless about Simulation of Urban Mobility (SUMO). One of the students, Jiaxing Xu helped me out with my project. I was able to present my progress during last Thursday. All IS interns also presented about what they did in the laboratory. Prior to my presentation I was able to take photos with the other students in the laboratory. From left to right:  Ojetunde Babatunde, Alyssa Vintola (Me!), Prof. Ito, Tomoyuki Ueda & Takuya Tominaga.

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These were the people I interacted with during my internship at the laboratory. It was nice to meet these senpai. I will never forget our late dinners in shokudo (university cafeteria), the time I surprised Ueda-senpai and asked him to explain his research in English, the time they taught me how to order small serving of rice at the cafeteria, how to say “See you tomorrow!” and other simple Japanese phrases. Although my stay was very brief, I really enjoyed it. 🙂

Yesterday was my last official laboratory day in Ito-Lab at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a photo together with Xu-senpai and Prof. Shibata. They were not around. But I was able to take another photo with Prof. Ito. (The pics are not with me yet. I will update this post as soon as I get them.) Also, I got to take pictures with the two “TOMs” I got confused with —- TOMoyuki and TOMinaga : >

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Before leaving the laboratory, the two of them gave me souvenirs and gifts as a farewell treat :”>

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I was indeed an honor to be part of the Foundations of Software Laboratory even for a while. :> Hope to see you all soon in the future! But for now, I say farewell to my spot in the laboratory…

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Throwback Thursday: Friends, Birthdays and that Sophomore Year

The Aegis (yearbook) write-up is due soon and I am trying to dish out all the best memories I have in the Ateneo to date. I to realize how throughout the years, my decisions have become more calculated; how they have become decisions that would constitute the future. But there was a time when I did the most random things even before the term YOLO (You Only Live Once) existed.

I must have been very lucky to have met people in the dorm, especially my roommates,  that are as crazy and random as I am. Going back through the things that compose my list of randomness, most of them occurred in my sophomore year.

The time Gem and I were bored in our new room, UDS 207.

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The times when we had picnics on the Cervini cliff.

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The times when we celebrated birthdays.

We used to organize birthday surprises and eat out to celebrate a roommate or a friend’s birthday. Topping my list would have to be Joey’s 18th birthday. We gathered at midnight on the cliff and  surprised her with a cake and 18 paper roses.
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Later that day, we had dinner at Pizza Hut Katipunan.

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P.S. Belated happy birthday, Joey! I was supposed to post this on your birthday. Sorry I didn’t make it on time.

 

Smash(ing) Glee

Funny how there was a scene on Glee that made a reference to Smash. After all, Rachel’s character is still in the constant search for stardom in the Broadway scene. But that Smash reference was just a low blow considering that the show was cancelled. I really wanted Smash to return for a third season. If Glee is getting a run at it, why can’t Smash? The first two episodes of Glee have been terribly disappointing. Not that I don’t like them doing covers of The Beatles songs. It is just that the plain old high school drama is not cutting it anymore.

If given a chance to pick between the two shows, I would have picked Smash over Glee.  (I am sorry to all Gleeks.) I really used to love Glee when it was just starting out. But it kills me to see what’s happening to the show. As someone who is part of a choir, I still appreciate the music that the show has to offer. And as someone who loves to watch musical shows, production or what not. Smash’s plot had got me interested. Even if it was only focused on producing a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, I liked how the intricacies in creating the whole production was highlighted in the episodes of Smash’s first season. The second season of Smash was also able to show the interplay of competition in running a show on Broadway. But what I loved most about the second season was the fact that it also focused on making dreams come true on Broadway – from the perspective of a producer, writer, actress, director. Another reason why I would give it to Smash would be the soundtrack. While Glee does covers of songs already popularized, most of the songs feature on Smash were original and were written for that specific scene/episode.

Here are some of the songs on Smash that I love:

1. Love I Meant To Say

2. I Can’t Let Go

3. Broadway, Here I Come!
4. Don’t Forget Me

5. Heart Shaped Wreckage

Throwback Thursday: Singapore Grand Prix 2011

The struggle to live in the present is evident when nostalgia hovers above us. It is Thursday and people are most likely posting a throwback post or something related to it. I have to admit that I actually appreciate throwback posts because they give me a reason to think of the things that happened, changes that occurred and memories that are forever etched as photos. It has become a way for us to juxtapose our current selves to who we were. But more often than not, a throwback post is simply a way for us to refresh our memories so that we may not forget moments that made us smile, cry, laugh, scream, jump — memories that made us. I may not have those “We are infinite” moments similar to those in Perks of Being a Wallflower. But there are moments that I always want to remember and I would like to share them with you through my throwback posts. 🙂
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One of the most memorable things during my stay in Singapore was the time we went to the SG Grand Prix 2011. Steffi Chua and I were not particularly into the race. We were after the Linkin Park concert that followed the event. Nevertheless, we made the most out of our time in the Zone 4 walk about area. We got to try on some suits and helmets. It was extremely hot inside the suit. I don’t know how the racers manage to wear them the entire time.
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Singtel set up a simulator of the F1 race in SG. We were able to test the simulators. I discovered that would never have a career that is related to driving. I seriously had trouble maneuvering the car. 😐

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We witnessed the race by the fence. We can attest that the slabs they put as railings are strong enough. Schumacher slammed his car on the curb near where we were viewing the race. Although I am not sure if the picture below shows Sebastian Vettel or the other Red Bull racer.

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But still, the best part was seeing Linkin Park play in Padang. We were in the mosh pit/fan zone. We screamed with other fans and sang our hearts out as Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda sang their greatest hits.

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My grandma taught me…

I fondly called my grandma, Mama Ko. It comes from Mama Dako which literally means Big Mama. (Although she wasn’t big.) It was my grandma who named me Alyssa. (My mom wanted to call me Joanna.) We would have been celebrating my grandmother’s birthday yesterday, if she was still with us. This post is in memory of my grandma who taught me to appreciate a number of things I take interest in until now — books & travelling.

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Mama Ko taught me the value of travelling in her own little ways. She used to bring me along in her trips to Cebu and Manila. My summers were never dull because of those trips. I enjoyed shopping for clothes in a shop called Red Circle. But above all, I just loved being in another city. I enjoyed the boat and plane rides to the unfamiliar cities.

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I remember tagging along with her to Tagaytay and see the Taal Volcano. A vague memory is still with me of the time I saw dolphins while on board a ship to Cagayan de Oro.

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I even got my passport at a very young age because she brought me, my mom and Mama Des to Hong Kong in the summer of 1998.

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The following summer we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. I was with Mama Ko, Mama and Tita Christine in Bangkok. I remember crying and having a fit just because I couldn’t ride the elephants. Hahaha! I really did like to ride that elephant. So, I rode a wooden elephant in Singapore Zoo more than a decade after. :))) But that’s beside my point.

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Summer of 2000 was the last summer I had with my grandma. That summer, my mom and my grandma allowed me to join a book seminar that was hosted in National Book Store, Shangri-la. They let me be part of the Book Circle Club, a sort of club for kids who are supposed to like reading books. I don’t recall much of the book seminar. But I remember my mom and grandma buying me new storybooks – Strega Nona and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. That summer they also got me my very first novel – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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I really don’t think I got my interest in books from me mom. (Sorry, Ma! Hahahaha!) I remember my mom dozing off after reading a few pages of the first book of the Harry Potter series. On the other hand, I remember my grandma reading monthly issues of Reader’s Digest.

I was blessed to have a grandmother who took me to different places, sparked that enthusiasm for travelling and taught me to appreciate reading books.  😀

My Southeast Asian Bucket List Entry

A few years ago, I took Hi 16: Asian History, a class taught by Ms. Isabel Nazareno. I chose to learn about history that is about countries that are geographically near. Aside from the geographical location, I also considered the fact that early interactions with other Asians gave birth to what we now know as the Filipino culture. I had my apprehensions when I took the class — the names are difficult to remember and I just hated memorization in general!

Please do not ask me about the details I learned about the Chinese Dynasties, Shoguns in Japan and Indian civilization. I have forgotten most of them after the exams. (Hahaha! I only got a B in that class.) But what my professor was able to do is spark my curiosity to explore the Asia and learn more through travelling.

The last part of the course covered Southeast Asia as a general topic. We didn’t have the time to delve into the history and culture of each country. This is the reason I choose to add to my bucket list:

“Travel to all ASEAN countries.”

What do you think? Want to explore Asia with me? Or perhaps, add this to your own bucket list?

I am not in a hurry to complete this now but I do home I get to explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in next few years. But I do not limit myself to travelling around Asia. I would love to travel around Europe as well. 🙂Image