Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of Songs and Memories

It’s amazing how songs (and perfumes!) can transport you back in time and vividly remind you of the past as though it just happened yesterday.

I was surfing the net this morning when I came across Eraserheads’ song, ‘With a Smile’. As I listened to this famous 90’s music, my mind began to wander back to the year 1995… the year when E-heads was the craze, their music was considered part of the UP D culture. The year when I was a shy yet determined freshie at Peyups. The year when I was an awkward teenager trying to fit in my new surroundings, but having a blast doing it. When life was simpler, all I worry about was getting good grades. When I was just starting to learn how to be independent and live miles away from my family. When most people I knew were struggling to get a 2.0 (a 'B' in US school system) in Chem 16 and at least a 3.0 (a 'C')at Math 17. When I spend every single school day with my bestfriend CT, attending classes or studying our butts off at the library. When my classmates and I didn’t mind attending laborious Physics classes because most of the instructors were cute. When I spent most of my free time watching movies or going to the mall. When my blockmates and I devour fishballs and isaw as though they’re our staple foods. When CASAA, Beach House (I wonder why it’s called that when it's not by the beach?) or Rodics were the places to be at lunch time. When Sunken Garden was the place to relax at, and people-watch at the end of the day. When DS was still 'crushable' and I get giddy whenever he talks to me. When Tom Cruise was still my idea of a perfect man and the most gorgeous guy to roam planet Earth. When I was dying of curiosity to watch the Oblation Run yet too shy to admit it. When Lantern Parade was the university’s highlight of the whole year.

Aahh, those were the days.... I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since! It seems like it was just yesterday...

Gotta stop reminiscing before I get too nostalgic...

Embarrassing Moments

I was on a work break last week talking on the phone to BA, when one of my co-workers decided to join me outside and smoke a cigarette. She’s this 20-something (early 20’s) cute and fashionable girl, who talks in an oh-my-gosh- you-know-like-whatever- type of teenage/preppy talk that could either be annoying or endearing, depending on the person. In her case, she’s actually a sweetheart, so it’s endearing. BA and I ended our phone conversation and I chatted with Ms. Fashionable for a bit. But as we were chatting, something suddenly fell from the sky and landed on her...

It was bird crap!

As you can imagine, the poor girl was screaming, ‘Oh my gosh! What is that?’ and started jumping all over the place. My initial reaction was to laugh (hey, I don’t mean to be mean but the situation was really, really funny… considering she’s usually all- poised). Nevertheless, seeing her stricken face, I knew the situation was not a laughing matter. So instead, I took her to the restroom and helped her take the nasty stuff off her clothes. And since the work day was almost over, she decided to go home and change clothes!

I was thinking though, thank God it wasn’t me! I couldn’t even finish telling the whole story to BA when I saw him afterwards… as my laughter just won’t stop! Anyway, as with most of embarrassing moments, Ms. Fashionable and I were finally able to laugh about it the following day.

This brought me back to memory lane, reminding me of my own embarrassing moments. I can still recall a few.

There was that time during our so-called army training in high school, when my skirt was blown up by the strong winds, exposing my tiny shorts (thank God I was wearing one!) to the whole platoon I was commanding. (To this day, I haven’t completely forgiven our lieutenant/teacher for calling an on-the-the spot training without giving us time to change clothes!).

Or that time when I got out of the university bus in Toledo and slipped right into the snowy, slippery driveway, as the entire bus passengers bear witness!

However, one embarrassing moment still remains the most unforgettable for me. It was that time back in my college years when unattainable-crushes-who-don’t-know- you- exist- so- you- try- to- impress was the norm. I had one of those crushes. He’s one of the most gorgeous guys my teenage eyes had ever laid upon. I was attending a class next to his so every Monday and Thursday mornings, I’d catch a glimpse of him. One not-so-fine day, I had the misfortune of getting caught in traffic and ended up being late for class. Since my class room was on the third floor, I ran up the stairs as soon as I reached the building … books on my right arm, lunch box on my left hand and a heavy bag on my back! All of a sudden... my foot missed a step, and I completely lost balance! Books, papers, lunches (not to mention, ME!) all flew in the air! I tried to pull myself up and gather my things together. Suddenly a wonderful, oh-so-manly voice spoke to me, trying so hard not to laugh… ‘Are you okay?’ I swear, if I had a lighter skin color, you could see me blush from head to toe! I wished the floor would open up and swallow me… I was just dying of embarrassment! But hey, who better to rescue you than your gorgeous prince charming, right? Besides, I finally got my desire of making an impression… probably not in the positive way I preferred… but who cares?

We started talking from that day on....


Life is a thousand miles journey that begins with a single first step... thus goes the saying. I began mine twenty- nine years ago. It started with a first step - a step out of my mother’s womb and into her and my father’s loving arms - but it was a succession of numerous firsts afterwards. First disappointment, first dance, first step to independence, first kiss, etc. I got a long list. Being a restless person, I need to feel that my life is in constant motion and not settling into a routine. I crave for change. I always wanted to experience, explore, LIVE LIFE! Though I confess to being, at times, a drama queen with a flare for histrionics and sporadic depression attacks, my life doesn’t exactly have the makings of a soap opera. But in my quarter of a century existence in this world, I feel fortunate to have experienced various firsts which made my life not just a simple journey but an adventure. To me, at least.

First taste of being a student. Though my memory of being a five-year old child on her first day of school is a little bit hazy, my parents’ love for reminiscing about the past gave me a more vivid idea of what it was for me. I was brimming with excitement, not only because I’ve been dying to learn my ABC’s, but also (actually more) because I was finally able to use my new school bag, show off my colorful pencil case, and look forward to recess. Today, exactly 24 years and one month from that day, I‘m a working girl… but still looking forward to recess.

First admirer. I hated him. It was nothing personal, I just hated boys at that time. It seemed to my innocent, nine-year old mind that their idea of having fun was making fun of me. Little did I know that it was their way of getting noticed. I should have been flattered with the attention, but I felt embarrassed by it. And my classmates’ teasings only served to fuel my embarrassment, thus turning me into a snobbish drama queen. He’d slip love notes in my books and I’d rip them in front of him. He’d annoyingly follow me on my way home and I’d cry and childishly say I’ll tell my father to scare him off. He gave up only after we graduated but I did learn to cope with him and other boys without being melodramatic.

First graduation (grade school graduation). One of the most memorable days of my life. I felt like a celebrity, sitting on the stage in my lovely, new dress and basking in people‘s congratulatory remarks. And though my knees were shaking terribly I could barely walk, I somehow managed to deliver my valedictory speech in front of hundreds of people. My parents’ faces radiated with happiness and pride and it gave me a blissful feeling.

First crush. I was 13 years old when it finally hit me that guys were actually interesting. I became attracted to this gorgeous guy who has kind eyes yet manly image. It was nothing serious and we never formally met, but for the first time in my life, I felt my heart flutter and turn to mush whenever he smiles at me.

First step to independence. After 15 years of living with my family, I left the ‘nest’ to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at UP. I was overflowing with excitement. I got my long time dream of studying in the country’s premiere university - and I’m independent, at last! Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful, but like most teenagers I wanted a shot at living on my own - with no one to tell me what to do, what’s right and wrong and all those stuff. I soon realized it wasn’t all fun - when the novelty of the situation wore off, I began to miss my family and long for home. But it was the start of my new life. I felt that I grew up suddenly and became more mature and independent.

First ever date. How would you ever forget that time you spent countless hours trying on different dresses and deciding which one to wear? Or practicing your speech but ending up tongue- tied when you’re finally in front of your date? I‘d never! Although the guy I first dated wasn’t someone I was very much into, I wanted to make a great impression. And though it wasn’t a perfect date, being a sentimentalist, I made sure I imprinted every detail in my memory - from the songs playing in the restaurant to our moonlight walk when he took me home.

First job. Graduating from college and getting your first job is like closing one chapter of the book of your life and opening another. You enter a new world - a world of professionals, and leave the world of a student behind. You’ve became independent - financially and emotionally. I was 19 years old when I graduated and got my first job - a college instructor at UP. Nothing actually changed that much - I had a scholarship with monthly stipend in college so I had always been financially independent, and I wasn’t leaving the student life behind since I was continuing my pursuit for higher studies- but I felt that it was the true start of my journey to a bright future. Though it wasn’t the job I originally wanted , I learned to love it. I realized that nothing was more rewarding than seeing your students look up to you with eyes that shine with respect and appreciation for what you’re doing.

And of course, one of the perks (if not the main purpose) of working is getting your paycheck. With my first salary, I bought a walkman I kept alive for several years for sentimental reasons.

First trip away from the country. No words can adequately describe what I truly felt that day. It was an assortment of emotions. Part of me - the sentimental part - felt utterly melancholic. I was leaving my family - the people I loved most in the world, and my country - the place I called home for the past 24 years of my life, behind. I wasn’t sure how welcoming US would be or how I’d cope in a strange surroundings with unfamiliar people. It was, in a way, scary. Yet another part of me - the adventurous part - was brimming with enthusiasm. I was on my way to pursuing my dreams and experiencing a lot of many firsts. First plane ride, first foreign trip, first taste of a different culture and first love…

First love. As Einstein had wondered, “how on earth are you going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomena as first love?” Falling in love for the first time beats all kinds of feelings. It’s as if you’re looking at the world with different eyes, suddenly realizing how colorful life could be. It hit me rather late in my life. Having been brought up by parents who constantly remind me to give utmost priority to my goals, I was contented establishing a career and focusing on my dreams. I did go out on dates but I never met anyone who made an impact. Just then, this guy came into my life and my world turned upside down. For the first time, I realized I was capable of passionate emotions. It was like being in a heck of a roller coaster ride - one moment I felt like I had climbed Mt Everest in sheer happiness, the next, it was as if I had plunged into Mariana’s Trench rift of depression. We broke up in the end but it was an experience I wouldn‘t trade for the world.

First heartbreak. After a heartbreak, you wonder how could you go on living, how could you survive, how could God allow you to experience such pain, and would you ever find love again. I asked all those questions after I had my heart broken for the first time. I shed buckets of tears for a few days. But then, as though a light suddenly shone on me, I just decided to stop moping and move on with my life. I had so much to live for so I’ll go on living, I’ve always been a survivor so I’ll survive, and God allowed me to experience the pain so I’ll emerge stronger and wiser. Yes, I’d find love again, and I did… and it was sweeter the second time around.

It’s been almost 5 years since that first trip. And it was an eye -opening experience. In a span of 60 months, I experienced all those firsts… and more… much more. I found friendships in people from other countries. I got an apartment I could finally and proudly call my own. I learned to cook, do laundry and say ‘No’ more firmly. I received my Master's Degree and landed my first US job. I met the true love of my life (BA) who showed me that love knows no racial or cultural boundaries. Honestly, I’m still not sure where my journey of life is leading me. But wherever it might lead, one thing’s for sure: I intend to live life to the fullest. I’m almost halfway through my list of firsts. It’s still a long way to go. First cruise to Europe, first business, first house, first baby….. the list goes on. Sometimes I get scared, but I know life is about taking risks and experiencing new things. You won’t get very far if you find comfort and remain cosseted in the arms of familiarity. Some things might not turn up the way you expected, but it’s part of the learning process. After all, Bill Gates started with his first computer, and even Tiger Woods had once been a neophyte. Take a risk. Embrace change. Take that first step to wherever…

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Top Ten Reasons to Date a Chemist

I saw this in the web a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it! So, a few months after BA and I started dating, I decided to be silly and sent it to him. I guess this got him totally convinced (... that chemists are the bomb!) since he never let this chemist get away (",).

10. We might name a molecule after you.
9. Chemists know how to handle HOT items.
8. Chemists have all the right elements.
7. Guaranteed to experience great chemistry.
6. Chemists have all the solutions.
5. Chemists are used to exchanging fluids.
4. We are constantly learning and improving our techniques.
3. We have no problem resorting to gadgets and gizmos to get the job done.
2. We are used to pulling all nighters.
1. Who else is better to experiment with, than a chemist???

You Know You're Loved When...

... he tells you every single day how much he does
... he never stays mad at you when you have an argument, and says sorry when he knows he's wrong
... he would go through mile to make your birthday special - the most wonderful gifts, a romantic dinner and an unforgettable weekend getaway
... he drives for you because he knows you don't like driving
... he spoils you and does anything you ask him (at least, most of the time and as long as it's not unreasonable :-) )
... he would endure watching Sex and the City or 27 Dresses with you, even though he hates chick flicks
... he trusts you with his precious car
... he cooks you breakfast and cleans your car
... he tolerates your clumsiness, absent-mindedness and moodiness
... he respects your opinions and thinks highly of you
... he's proud to take you home to his family
... he's willing to love the people you love
... he takes care of you in almost every way
... he makes you happy!!!

I love you too, BA ... ' for all that you are and all that you do, and for the many ways you make my heart sing!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The 101 List

What better way to start a blog than to write a list of the 101 things you wanna do before you die? I wrote this list a couple of years ago. Except for the last 12 things, most are small, possibly insignificant goals... but hey, each single moment combined together makes my life somewhat exciting! And trust me, there's nothing more satisfying than crossing an item off your list after you've done it! I've crossed out a lot of them (the ones in bold letters... yey!) but it's still a long way to go...
  1. Learn to drive.
  2. Get a belly piercing.
  3. Buy a new car.
  4. See the Statue of Liberty.
  5. Gamble in Las Vegas.
  6. Stay at a five-star hotel.
  7. Climb a mountain.
  8. Learn to shoot rifles.
  9. Live in a hotel for two weeks.
  10. Watch a movie at Imax
  11. Watch a 3D film.
  12. Visit a planetarium.
  13. Fly first class.
  14. Be a guest speaker.
  15. Watch a dlophin show.
  16. Donate books to a library or old clothes to charity.
  17. Watch a Bollywood film.
  18. Resister as an organ donor.
  19. Ride a jet ski.
  20. Slow dance by candle light.
  21. Kiss a guy in a way he'll never forget.
  22. Sail.
  23. Go canoeing.
  24. Kayak.
  25. Meet someone famous.
  26. Learn to ride a bike.
  27. Go to a strip club.
  28. Smoke a cigarette.
  29. Adopt a pet.
  30. Learn to whistle.
  31. Protest for a cause.
  32. Watch Superbowl.
  33. Watch NBA.
  34. Make love in a beach.
  35. Get a tattoo... a henna tattoo.
  36. Ride a convertible car.
  37. Take a US roadtrip.
  38. Visit NASA.
  39. Hike the Grand Canyon.
  40. Learn to swim.
  41. Cook a perfect quiche.
  42. Learn to play the piano.
  43. Volunteer.
  44. Walk barefoot in the sands of Boracay.
  45. Read 1001 books.
  46. Dance the night away.
  47. Learn a foreign language.
  48. Sponsor a child in the Philippines.
  49. Learn to ski.
  50. Present at a conference.
  51. Bowl a near perfect game.
  52. Go on a cruise.
  53. Go to a Hollywood movie premiere.
  54. Attend a music concert.
  55. Sky dive.
  56. Get a full body massage in a spa.
  57. Ride a roller coaster.
  58. Fly in a helicopter.
  59. Go to a drive-in theater.
  60. Go horse-back riding.
  61. See a broadway musical.
  62. Complete a 1000 piece puzzle.
  63. Get drunk at least once.
  64. See a comet.
  65. Ride a limo.
  66. Go to an auction.
  67. Go to a wine tasting event.
  68. Contribute to Wikipedia.
  69. Do a charity walk.
  70. Own a personal library.
  71. Watch a hockey game.
  72. Be a model for a day.
  73. Ride a hot air baloon.
  74. Jump off a waterfall.
  75. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
  76. Ride a mechanical bull.
  77. Paintball fight or laser tag.
  78. Expore an African safari.
  79. Go to Disneyland.
  80. Camp outdoors.
  81. Make a difference in someone's life.
  82. Learn to use chopsticks.
  83. Watch a fashion show.
  84. Sing at a Karaoke Bar.
  85. Watch a TV show or movie set taping.
  86. Watch a ballet show.
  87. Attend a Muslim service at a mosque.
  88. Attend the Olympics.
And my long-term, life-altering goals...

89. Get married to a guy who'd love to hold my hand until our dying days.90. Honeymoon in Europe and kiss in Eiffel Tower.
91. Have 2 beautiful and smart kids.
92. Write my autobiography.
93. Buy a house in Ohio.
94. Buy a beach house in the Philippines.
95. Visit all 50 US states.
96. Watch the sunset in 10 of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
97. See all the 7 wonders of the world.
98. Establish my own business.
99. Retire with at least a million dollars.
100. Tour at least 5 countries in each continent.
101. Die happy.