What You Are

What you are is habit-forming.

You’re the pill I can’t stop taking because you make me feel so good.

You make me feel and it’s more than what I signed up for.

In the most cliche 90’s song lyrics I know, you are this particular line: I know I want you; I don’t know if I need you but, I’m dying to find out.

And it’s this that’s particularly, implicitly scary for me.

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Dead Beats and Winter Things

She was fourteen when she fell for a boy who drew wolves. At that time, the love she offered had been an innocent one – probing but gentle. He took what she offered without understanding what it was and in her elation, she did not bother explaining. All that mattered was that he took it and it made her happy to be accepted.

She was fifteen when the boy who drew wolves broke her heart. She swore on that day that her heart broke a million times over leaving only a gaping cavity in her chest. It was then that she knew that the boy who drew wolves was the love that she wanted but not the one that she needed.

She was sixteen when she came to love a boy who drew castles. He asked her to help him court another girl and every day she found reasons to love him more. By and by, he fell for her as well and she thought she could come to love him as he needed to be loved.

She was sixteen when the boy who drew castles broke her heart. On that day, she thought she would be as devastated as before – that she would feel her heart shatter a thousand times over. It did not happen. Her heart only broke in half. It was then that she knew that the boy who drew castles was neither the love that she wanted or needed. His was the love that made her feel wanted and she mistook it as something more.

She was seventeen when she met the man who drew faces. This man had a habit of coming late so she took the role of the one who waited. At that time, she had nothing to offer him except for her youth and he took it willingly to his heart. As it went, he took her hand into his as well. Towards the end, she never did understand why he never asked for her heart but now she thankful that he didn’t.

She was nineteen when she broke the heart of the man who drew faces. She told him that there was no one waiting for him any longer. It was at this particular end that he finally asked for her heart. It was too late, to say the least. She realized that the love she had for him was not innocent, or wanted, or needed. The love she had for him had been a selfish one and it would have destroyed them in the end.

She was twelve when she met a boy who drew diagrams but she was twenty when she came to love him. It started when he asked her for a kiss and she had said yes. The kiss became more as time went by and she thought she loved him. Apparently, she was mistaken.

She was twenty-one when the boy who drew diagrams set her free. On that day, she watched her mother as she saw how broken her daughter was over a boy. She watched her father as he saw his little girl grow into a woman for the first time. In the end, she couldn’t make him stay but she was thankful that he didn’t. She could not love him the way he needed to be loved and similarly, he could not do the same for her.

She was twenty-one when she pursued a boy who could not draw. He was everything she never wanted. He was everything that she needed. He was, and still is, the boy who now holds a bag containing half of her heart. Piece by piece, he tries to put it back together by using parts of his own. Little by little, his heart and her heart have merged so that that no one could see where her heart begins and where his ends.

We don’t know where it ends. However, she was twenty-five when she kissed a man who drew plans. Ergo, the story continues.

Mandatory Year(s) Reviews

Yesterday was my first anniversary in this distant place. I found that whenever I get tired of doing something, I subconsciously draft a plan to go to a place where no one knows me. Now, I think I took it a bit too far and ended up in another country. I would come back in a year or so. I can’t stand being away for too long mainly because I miss the food and the idiosyncrasies. There is, after all no place like home.

Being that as it may, this is a mandatory year review which will be covering five years. I’m writing it now before I forget about it altogether. Actually, I’m just procrastinating for a bit.

Let me start with…

2013

  • Hello, Kim ❤
  • Previous job contract ended so…
  • …got into a refinery job
  • Went to a few places and got some new friends
  • Broke up with someone…
  • …ended up with someone new
  • Basically, a career move

2014

  • Nothing substantial happened

2015

  • Another year of nothing
  • Went to Batanes
  • Went to Hong Kong

2016

  • Went to Malaysia
  • Resigned from job
  • Went to graduate school
  • Got a giant investment stint (which is an adult achievement, actually)
  • Went to Saigon
  • Went to Japan

2017

  • Stayed in Japan
  • Gained a lot of friends
  • Lost a lot of friends
  • Gained a special friend (hoping to keep this one for a long time)
  • Found out that life is essentially a giant cycle of hello and goodbye

 

That’s about it. Happy anniversary to me.

Oddities of Storms in Summer

It’s raining from where I’m writing this. Not much of a typhoon compared to what I’m used to experiencing from where I originally came from. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome change from the sweltering summer heat.

Currently, I’m sliding into one of my pensive moods. However, I’m not entirely sure how to organize my thoughts but maybe, writing it down might help. It’s just a couple of things so sit back, relax, and watch me bare the unbearable.

He had always been a bit odd.

That is to say, he stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of wood grains and chips. However, I do not discount the fact that I first noticed him in a room of lackluster people. I would not forget how he had shone brightly that day. The way my heart just knew that he was there – like a beacon to a ship lost in a storm. But there had to have been a certain kind of oddity that made me notice him in the first place. It might have been his gait and countenance. The way he never smiled as he made his way into the long corridors would make the finest contrast for times when he did smile. It was incandescent. Coincidentally, it might have been his eyes. The way they soften and sharpen depending on the topic or the person he was talking to. There was such vibrancy to them that could never hide his emotions and it had always baffled me why people couldn’t understand him when he was practically wearing his heart on his sleeves.

However, these have passed as observations done in retrospect. Lately though, I find that my head turns to the uneven pattern of his footsteps when he arrives. I find that my body comfortably slides just a little over ten inches behind of his when we walk in stride. There is a certain brand of comfort that exists in that ten-inch void. There is the feel of home in his uneven stride.

In this sense, I had always been a bit odd.

Odd that I would notice the minute things that could easily pass from everyone’s stare. Odd that I would think about it from time to time. Odd that I would catch myself smiling from a half memory.

I struck out in a storm and wound up crashing into him in waves.

He was the April to my December and possibly I was his as well.

It was the chase of the opposite seasons; one barren while the other teems with life. He was ancient and I was a newborn – both exploring the vast expanse of the void that exists between the hearts of man. In the course of the pull of the unknown gravity that settled between our orbits, I turned ancient and he was the newborn.  I knew the wisdom that would come and he saw the world anew.

It was beautiful and it was sad. He was the Primavera flourishing against the Starry Night. Like night gives way to day so to shall the intricacies that lay in between us.

I was the December to his April but I was the Indian summer of his January.

 

Can’t Feel My Face

I found that lately, I don’t feel too much.

About five years or so ago, I had been feeling too much. I felt all the inconsistencies, negativity, elation, and beauty inwardly and I didn’t have enough experience to interpret what any of those meant. Eventually, it led me to become a kind of social porcupine. I didn’t want to feel too much because I didn’t understand what most of it meant. I didn’t have a solid interpretation of things coming from my perspective that whatever opinion I had would be echoed from others. Consequently, I tried to shut out everything by building a spiked wall made out of apathy. For years, the wall towered over anyone who wanted to get close – coming to a point when it started hurting people I used to care about.

The key phrase is, “used to care about”.

Looking back, the reason that I lost people along the way was never really clarified. I could go on blaming myself or I could talk to them now in the guise of professional curiosity. However, the misgivings and misunderstandings would probably get in the way of my explanations. In the end, I would start feeling too much again.

I have a mixed opinion about feeling too much.

Lately, I started feeling again.

It scares me.

Of Sleepiness and Musings

Who you are, who you should be, and who you ought to be are very different individuals occupying a common physical existence.

Who you are is mostly what you perceive yourself to be. That person exists within a room free of all moral or social obligations that exists outside his prescribed confinement. That person survives on thoughts and persists in the meanderings of emotions. However, who you perceive yourself to be usually occupies a very small percentage of the roles that you play within a given day. Give or take, this side of you would only surface an hour before and an hour after you go to bed. In that sweet expanse of truly living as you intend to be, I find that for me, I am all but productive.

Who you should be is another difficult persona to unravel. In the quarter of a century that I have been alive, I found that the person who you should be changes at any given moment. Sometimes, it’s a requirement of the people around you. They tell you to be someone they think they need or someone who can be a little bit more tolerant of their beliefs. This is never going to be about you. This is always going to be a product of the demand of others. As denigrating as it seems, who you should be is a slave of another person’s whims. Or so it seems.

Finally, the person who you ought to be is the goal you need to achieve. It is a different person than the person you should be because this is the only other positive thing you have control over. This person is your ideal self. It’s all your aspirations and dreams condensed into a shining goal that you work so hard to protect and reach. The problem is that probably, you’ll become this person someday and then you’ll end up lost and empty being bereft of your goal. Either way, it’s a sad goal to achieve. As I see it, if you become this person, you lose your goal. If you don’t achieve it, you failed to realize your life’s work. Whichever is the scarier event, I leave the decision to you.

Why did I talk about this after more than two years of silence?

I’m afraid that I’m in a place where all these three people are trying to surface in breakneck speeds. Each facet coexist and are demanded to come forth so vehemently that sometimes, I feel like I’m losing sight of who I should be at any given time.

Little by little, I’m shoving pieces of myself into cardboard boxes; locking them in well-sorted containers until such time that I can call upon them again.

Bit by bit, I’m learning who I should be and who I ought to be while saying goodbye to the person who I really am. After playing so many roles to a point of exhaustion, I find that the hardest person to actually convince is me.

But hey, it’s been a while. Let me pour my heart out to you again. Join me in my current journey into the unknown world of a young professional just as you had joined me when I was a young adult.

Take my hand.

Let me take you to my wonderland.

Thailand and Fatal Wanderlust

The institute I used to work for had this thing for travel. People would come and go with just a tell-tale post-it in their desks and I found myself often stuck all by my lonesome, nursing a cup of milk tea. A few months had gone by like this until one uneventful day, I was asked for my passport number.

Why?

I was told that the team would be going on a short trip to Thailand and that passports were needed immediately. Back then, I just shrugged it off, like it was nothing but now that I looked back to it, I was the proverbial unsuspecting victim of the viral disease called wanderlust. A few whirls later, I found myself in a tight line trying to get my passport in order and thinking of what I’m supposed to be doing there for half a week.

Then it came.

We went to Thailand.

TRIP REMARKS

  1. Ticket price: free
  2. Accommodation: free
  3. Pocket money: $150.00 for three days

WHAT I WAS DOING THEN

I was working on a project back in 2012 when the news came along: the cluster was going to Thailand for some office activity. I was all for it but then I remembered something else, I haven’t a passport yet. My boss said it was okay with her if I didn’t come because apparently, passport processing in the country could take you a lifetime and a half to get done. I would take none of it, of course. I mean, this was a trip to a view you don’t get to see very often so a level-headed person (such as not myself) would not pass this up.

I decided to go get a passport three and a half weeks before the flight.

Being directly related to someone working for the government, I enjoyed this one good policy they had: the red lane. Apparently, a faster passport processing time is promised to the government employee as well as first degree relatives of said employee. So to you people out there who have to get their passports in a rush and have a government employee parent or spouse, you can use the red lane to get your passes.

For everyone else, the chaotic line at the DFA starts at 0700H. It’s best if you apply two months prior your desired trip date. I’m not kidding.

WHAT I PACKED

I was from a tropical country going to another tropical country. I packed what I would usually wear – light shirts, a few pants and another pair of shoes. No slippers for me because I wasn’t going to the beach or anything (I was WORKING). No dresses because I don’t like walking around new places in uncomfortable clothes. I brought slacks though, just because it’s a work thing. Anyway, I’m not big on dressing up so if you want to wear anything fashionable, go right ahead. Just don’t wear thick clothes; it’s downright suicide.

I recommend that you to bring sunscreen if you’re going in the summer. Most of the places you will go to involves being exposed to sunlight (but I bet what you wanted to see was the night life anyway) so prepare yourself for burnt skin if you forgot about this. Anyway, Thailand sells all kind of products for a cheap price. It’s because labor there is cheaper than other places so the products there are also sold for less (which is nice).

WHERE I STAYED

So first of, we checked in on MyHotel Pratunam. The room I got was pretty good. It had two beds which I shared with myself. So what I did was jump around until my companions called me for meetings and happenings. That aside, here’s a picture of the room I stayed in:

Myhotel

It’s a clean room which really works well for me. The view wasn’t really breath taking outside though since we were situated right smack in the middle the Pratunam shopping district. This is a pretty nice place to stay in if you plan to shop later on. It’s in the Pratunam district where various stalls and malls litter the place. I bought myself shirts and blouses with just a 10-minute walk from my place.

WHERE WE WENT

  • The Naj

This is a restaurant situated in Bangkok. I think we wound up here due to a recommendation from one of our companion’s friends. I was at first taken back by the presence of the place. There was a small alcove leading towards the restaurant (it wasn’t situated right at the roadside). Then there was music playing when we entered the receiving area. This place is the go-to destination if you want ambiance served in huge dollops.

HOWEVER, The Naj is not a place for the newly baptized in the world of Thai cuisine. You can maybe appreciate a few of the dishes but most of them take time to love. It needs to be a constant affair or else, even the provided palette cleanser will override your taste buds.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the place from Google (because I think I forgot the camera back at the hotel):

naj

There’s a plus side to you first-timers not ending up eating: they hold live cultural dances during dinner. They have this little stage up front where they present to you traditional dances as you eat…which is nice.

  • Khaosan Street

Khaosan street is situated in Bangkok. It’s a nice place to go to when you need to unwind at night. The place offers street foods as well as restobars and small fashion kiosks. Along the street you can also find massage parlors and gold stores. This place is lively all throughout the night (in all the meaning that apply).

I mean really lively.

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If you’re there to experience the night life, then this is the place where you have to go. As for me, I just contented myself with looking at the various wares that littered the sidewalk…among other things. i was eating through the whole street and when i got back to the hotel, the toilet was my best friend.

  • Wat Traimit Temple

What you should probably expect from going on a planned tour to Thailand is a tour of their temples. They have The Golden Buddha, The Reclining Buddha and the Emerald Buddha temples listed off in the first half day of the cultural tour. among all of these, what really caught my attention was the Wat Traimit Temple which housed the Golden Buddha.

The place was intricately designed, to say the least. It was as if it was a living tesseract with all its attention to detail.

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  • Kwai River Bridge (Kanchanaburi)

There is a feeling of nostalgia when I walked the tracks along the Kwai River. It’s the same feeling I got every time I walked inside the ruins of Corregidor. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness coupled with longing, all topped with gripping curiosity that always washes over me when ruins of old batteries and forts from the second world war present themselves in vivid colors. It reminds me to be a better person afterwards.

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  • Damnoen Saruak Floating Market (Ratchaburi)

Finally, we went to the Floating Market. They sell viciously delicious Thai lanzones here. You should buy 10kg of it when you can, seriously.

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On a side note, you may opt not to ride boats in this place. They have mini bridges that connect the island markets together.

HOW IT WAS

This trip sparked the wanderlust in me. It showed me a living world with actual people and not just another picture on Google. What I regretted not doing was going to Phuket though. However, I can just leave that to another time.

The food adventure was something else, though.

Here’s a praying Thai McDonald from the MBK branch to bid you welcome and goodbye.

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