Reality Bites

This is not about that 1990’s classic film. I love that movie though and I’m glad Winona Ryder’s back on track with Stranger Things–which I absolutely love too. Anyway…

So life caught up with me and I have to juggle my attention between work, family and responsibilities. My last post was…last year! I didn’t even do a 2016 Wrap Up post which I intended to do towards the end of 2016. I know I don’t have a fan base of readers but some people came up to me telling how they enjoyed reading my posts. Very encouraging. So here I am, my first post for 2017.

2016: Wrap Up

Last year went by in a blur and a lot of changes happened: My boss (the guy who hired me) left the company, Jason and I moved to a new apartment and money was a little tight–an effect caused by Malaysian Ringgit dropping against US Dollars. I moved offices–from a brightly lit open space, we moved to a higher floor with black metal fence space dividers. At first our reactions were like “What the hell?!”–the office look like an amateur MMA fighter ring. As days go by, it grows on you and you realize it’s kinda cool–industrialized, utilitarian chic. I got a new boss–he’s cool. How did I know he’s cooler than my old boss? He stayed till late during our office Christmas get together and drank with the rest of us alcoholics. It was bad ass–I’m not sure it’s ok to drink alcohol inside our office. I guess the most interesting thing that happened last year was when my 5 year old put a small battery up his nostrils. It was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time. All in all it was a good year. The family is healthy and we got by just fine.

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My MMA-inspired office space.

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New apartment, new space.

2017: First Quarter Storm

We started off this year on a good note. We came back to work refreshed and revived from the time spent with our family and friends back home. We even have plans of taking the kids out overseas. Well you know what they say about best laid plans–they go awry. So Jason has to move back Singapore leaving our family of five spread across 3 countries. Talk about LDR, right? So after packing up things at the end of 2016 and unpacking them in a new apartment, we have to start packing again–this time dividing things to “bring to Singapore” and “leave in Malaysia”.

Jason had to be in Singapore by February so you can just imagine our rush in packing and securing accommodations in Singapore. We realize that our expenses might go up–and go up it did. But you know, God is good. He sends help when you’re drowning so your head can stay afloat. We were able to find a reasonable room for rent. It’s a little far out from the city but the distance to Jason’s office is just nice that it doesn’t take more than an hour’s commute.

First few days was tough especially if you’re not used to being totally alone on a regular basis in another country. Malaysia is generally peaceful nation. The country is made up of people coming from different race and belief but they all live harmoniously. If there were any discrimination, it wasn’t something people talk about in the open. Being alone here, I got to be more observant and aware of my surroundings. Being a female, even more so. I had to start commuting to and from work. My current best friend is Grab. I had to prepare meals for myself–I realized I used up too many utensils and kitchenware when I cook so even if I’m cooking just for myself, I end up washing utensils, cookware and dishes equivalent to 2 persons dining. Recently, I just buy cooked meals.

So yeah, change is not all that bad. 2017 started off with storm and a little uncertainty but what’s good about storms is the aftermath. Sure, there’s destruction and a loss but it also gives you opportunity to rebuild and re-set your goals. And this year, that’s what 2017 is going to be all about.

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My Father The Hero

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (NIV)

This post was originally a Note I published in Facebook 5 years ago. Today is my Dad’s 64th birthday and I’m just so grateful how far we’ve come along since I wrote it in February 2, 2011. You can find the original post here.

It’s still more than a month before my father’s birthday or even Father’s Day but today I called up my Dad and realized it’s never too early to give him the honor he deserves.

Flashback 12 years ago:

Me: Dad, mag-shift na lang kaya ako ng engineering? Masyadong mahal ang archi. Ang dami kong kailangan bilhin na gamit eh wala naman tayong pambili ngayon. (Dad, should I shift to engineering? Archi is just to expensive. There are a lot of things I need to buy but we don’t have any money right now.)

Daddy: D bale anak, ituloy mo lang yang architecture. Kahit igapang natin ang pag-aaral mo makatapos ka lang. (Don’t worry child, just continue with architecture. We will do everything so you can finish your studies.)

Further back:

Me and my Dad were at the mall. He was looking for a cheap tennis shoes to replace his worn out pair. I saw a Reebok tennis shoes…’new arrival’…would really look nice with my high school PE uniform.

Me: Daddy, gusto ko yung shoes… (Daddy, I want those shoes…)

Daddy: Sige na nga, ikaw na lang ang ibibili ko. (Alright then, I will just buy for you instead.)

February 2, 2011:

Me: Daddy, ok na. Nakakuha na kami ng flight ni Kiel. Iu-uwi ko na siya sa February 12… (Dad, it’s ok. I finally got a flight for me and Kiel. I will bring him home on February 12…)

Daddy: Ah ganun ba. Si Kuya na lang ang susundo sa inyo… (Is that so. Your Kuya will be the one the pick you up…)

Me: Ha? Ah…bakit? (Ha? Ah…Why?)

Daddy: Iko-confine na ako this Friday or this weekend. O-operahan na ako… (I will be confined this Friday or this weekend. I’m having my operation…)

My Dad is never the one to complain. He deals with his own pain as much as he can and despite all his struggles, he still manages to take care of his family. He already had a heart problem when he was younger but choose to ignore it while he served in his family, his church and his community.

I remember telling him one afternoon that he’s going to be a grandfather soon–the context being me not yet married. I saw a millisecond flash of anger and disappointment. It was so fleeting that you wouldn’t notice it because his countenance changed so quickly into compassion and just said, “Kailangan mo nang alagaan ang sarili mo at si apo.” (You need to take care of yourself and my grandchild.) He is so forgiving and he does not hold any grudges on anyone. He made sure I start my own family right and until now, he’s still a pillar of support for me–even as his heart problem worsen. And this weekend and in the coming days, we can only lift up our worries, anxieties and fears to our Lord.

March 17, 2016:

I wrote a prayer as an ending but I thought I should just leave that one out. Reading it again made me feel it’s too personal…too raw. Until now, tears well up my eyes while reading it. I would like to end this post with a thank you: Thanks Dad for everything. Thank You Lord for answering my prayer.

That Contract Called Marriage

The past is only the future with the lights on.

“Baby Come On” by +44, written by Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker 

There will be a point in our lives where we look back to moments we tried so hard to forget. That point has finally arrived for me and right now I’m forcing myself to remember every detail of those moments.

I remember how we met and the circumstances that led us to meeting each other. I remember how I saw the red flags and warning signs but choose to ignore them. I’m in love or so I thought. I remember how the truth finally sink in because someone finally told me. I remember my reaction after being told the truth: I accepted my fate. I remember how I continue to defend him and make excuses for him even if my heart could take it no more. I remember losing sleep, feeling tired, burying myself at work because that was all I can hold on to. I remember how I finally snapped out of it: I packed my things and left with what I could carry. And he still had the audacity to threaten me.

Looking back, I realized how I toughened up. How I stopped being a people person. How I cleaned up my friends list and started touching base with people who knew me when I was just a harmless little girl. I started to re-connect with my college best friends and primary school classmates. I kept my inner circle small and professional network wide. I stopped keeping it all inside me and started sharing my inner struggles with someone who truly understood me.

Next week, I will start all over again. I’m going back my home country and the trip has some twisted irony in it. I’m going back to see the end of a marriage I’ve been fighting so hard to get nullified and bear witness to another marriage contract being entered to by a dear friend.

I have nothing against the institution of marriage. I’ve been guilty of making a mockery of that institution myself. Me and the other person who got me into it. And I’m sorry for that. I’ve come to realize how powerful the piece of paper called marriage contract and marriage certificate is. So here’s my piece for anyone who plans to get into that contract: Sign the contract if you can’t live without the other party. Sign the contract if, despite all his inadequacies you still want to sleep and wake up next to the other party. Sign the contract if you’re committed to it even if the other party isn’t and no matter what you will still fulfill the terms and conditions of that contract. Sign the contract if you don’t mind sharing whatever asset you acquire while being bound to the other party. Otherwise, get a lawyer to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement. Sign the contract if you don’t mind having to decide on everything with the consideration or consent of the other party. Sign the contract if you’re honestly capable of unconditional love. If you can’t do a third of those conditions, don’t sign. Don’t put yourself to misery. Don’t put the other party to misery.

A favorite song of mine has this line: “The past is only the future with the lights on.” Mark Hoppus is spot on! I’ve learned a really nice lesson the hard way. I can talk about it as casually as the weather but deep inside, I can still feel a tiny prick at my heart. I can’t say I’m no longer in the dark but at least I have fairy lights ahead of me now.

What’s Good Enough?

Today is Valentine’s Day and I though I’d make this post a little something about the most awaited–and most dreaded day of the year.

These past few days have been marred with a few disagreements between me and Jason. Mostly because I think he plays too much Xbox while he thinks I dabble in too many things. But the most striking line during our exchange was said by him:

“No one is ever good enough for you.”

So what is indeed good enough for me?

Disclaimer: This is my personal list of what’s good enough. It might be different from what others believe in. Hey, it’s a free country. Feel free to write your own thoughts on the comment section.

A man is good enough for me if…

He is a responsible person.

Being responsible is a big deal for me. I have my parents to thank for that. Being an adult is difficult enough as it is but being an adult with family is even harder. When you have monthly bills to pay, being irresponsible will be a hard blow on every relationships. Even if you don’t have kids, you still have adult responsibilities to fulfill: taxes, bills, rent or mortgages. Being responsible is not only limited on the financial aspect of life. I want my man to be responsible enough to live a well balance lifestyle. I’m not too keen on being a widow.

He dreams big and gives his best shot to achieve them.

I always believe that people who dream big have 90% chances of living the life they want. The remaining 10% is the effort they put into achieving it. If you don’t dream big, what’s left to achieve?

He knows how to have fun.

You can be responsible and still have fun. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t know how to have fun. I would die…of boredom.

He’s great with kids.

I have 3 little boys. He has to get along with them 80% of the time so that’s playing, eating and playing again. 20% is left to parenting and that covers pep talks and sermons.

He’s good at time management.

I’m not even good at this myself so he has to be good in it. When I’m running behind on everything else, he has to help put me back on track.

He’s neat and always pleasant to be with.

Who doesn’t want to be with a well dressed and fresh smelling person?

He loves me for what I am, faults and all.

Selfish but this is the person we’ve all been looking for: Someone to love us back the way we want to be loved. I’m not saying that he cannot complain about my faults because he can. I would try to improve myself but I won’t be doing it for him, I would be doing it for myself. When we love, we cannot force the other person to change. When we love, it means we’ve accepted that person without any conditions or reservations. It’s tough but that’s the very definition of love as God has taught us: unconditional.

We’re ok now. Like any arguments, they always blow over. But I still would like to say if there really is no one good enough for me. Because there is. And he’s that man.

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Happy Valentine’s Day Jason!

 

#5years

A lot of things can happen in five years. It may be just half a decade but for some, it can feel like another lifetime. In five years, one can get pregnant, get married and settle into a domesticated lifestyle. In five years, one can have a girlfriend, marry that girl and have child with her. All pretty much normal occurances in any person’s life. In five years, you and your ex can work for the same company. You had a bad break up so you never make any effort more than a polite smile when the need arises. It rarely does as you both make conscious effort of avoiding each other at all cost. You don’t want your colleagues to get caught up in awkward situations nor would you want to give your current partners any reason to get alarmed.
Now why would you think that? You’re married and you have kids. Marriage may not be a walk in the park but you already have someone.
Five years of routine then someone or something breaks it for you. You suddenly feel like you got married too soon and never took your time to know more about your partner. You get annoyed with little things. Then the little things are not so little anymore that you start to feel that five years is enough for you. It started to feel like a lifetime. The worse part, someone actually made you ask yourself your What If’s.
What if five years ago, you made a wrong decision? What if you made an effort to find out what went wrong? What if you tried harder?
After five years of circling around each other, you and your ex decided to finally catch up with each other. It’s not that you don’t keep tabs on each other’s life. It’s just that all information you have on each other are all secondhand accounts from common friends.
Then your “What If’s” finally have answers and you realize your ex has been asking the same questions all along.
You see, a lot of things can happen in half a decade. But our lives are not measured in chunks of time. You can go on living a life you don’t want or you can finally let go and start a life you actually want. People’s lives are measured in their quality of living–not the monetary and tangible kind of quality but the intangible quality of life: your value as a person, as a family member and as a member of your society.
It took me and Jason five years to come full circle. I don’t regret the five years I’ve spent married to another man because those were my “learning years”. A lot of things can happen in five years. It can change a person.