Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Girl Gone Bad

I take pride in having the ability to love unconditionally, the capacity to forgive easily, and the virtue of enduring patience. Before I react to an irritating situation, I would try to envision myself in the other person’s shoes and understand why he (or she) thinks the way he does. Modesty aside, some people actually tell me I’m a sweetheart ;-).

Having said that... there are people however, who can push my buttons (especially on a bad day), test my patience and trigger my b*tchy side.

Case in point…

One day in college, driven by my perpetual curious nature, I decided to try and watch a movie by myself. I bought the movie ticket, grabbed a coke and popcorn, and settled in at a seat close to the exit. A few minutes later, a guy sat on the seat next to me. In the middle of the movie, his hand accidentally brushed against my leg and said “sorry”. Since I thought it was an accident, I made no big deal about it. It happened again a second time, and again, he apologized. I started to feel annoyed. I gave him an evil look and tried to sit as far from him as possible. Two more times however, and I totally lost my cool! If in the beginning I thought I was just being paranoid, after that, there was no doubt in mind that I was being harassed! However, instead of getting mad, I decided to get even. Since the movie was almost at its end, I took a sip of my coke, set it in between our seats, and as the credits started rolling, “accidentally” knocked the drink onto his lap! I said “sorry”, then strutted out of the theater feeling vindicated! (I never watched a movie by myself again after that though).

Another scenario…

After a long and hard day at graduate school, I went to the grocery store to pick up some items for my fridge. I drove my car to the parking lot and saw an empty spot I could park at. I signaled my intent, but there were a couple of pedestrians blocking my way. I waited patiently for them to cross, but as I was about to park, a car in the opposite side dived in and tried to grab my spot. Under normal circumstances, I probably would have let it go, but after just dealing with frustrations in my research and abdominal cramps, I was ready to blow off. Still, I tried to be calm and said nicely, “Excuse me, I was about to park there.”

The woman looked at me haughtily and replied, “Well, you’re taking such a long time! I'm in a hurry!”

That was the last straw! If she acted nicely about it, I probably would have been more patient. But given the arrogant way she responded, I flipped out and yelled angrily, “Didn’t you see the people in front of me?”

The woman chose to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, and continued to inch into the spot. At some point however, she realized she couldn’t park completely as I was partially blocking the way! When she had no choice but to look in my direction, I said, “Either you find another parking spot or we’ll be here all night! ”. I was bluffing of course (and it was probably a childish reaction), but at that time, I felt that I have to stand my ground. It’s a matter of principle! Aside from that, I was so tired and grumpy, there’s probably no way anybody can talk sense into me! The woman grudgingly gave up and left me to my precious spot ;-)

Moral of the story: There's a b*tchy side to every woman... even if she's a sweetheart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mr. Right

"Its funny how we set qualifications for the right person to love while at the back of our minds we know that the one person we truly love will always be an exception." - Ally Mc Beal

In a way, I agree with Ally Mc Beal. We can't really help who we fall in love with. We set all these criteria yet in the end, fall for a person who was completely the opposite. There are some people however, who are lucky enough to fall in love with the person they've always dreamed of. I consider myself as such.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a list of the qualities I want in my Mr. Right. Years later, I fell in love with a guy who possesses 95% of it.

  • Has gorgeous eyes that seem to light up when I enter the room

  • Has a smile that makes my heart skip a beat

  • Has great passion for me

  • Doesn't have bad vices

  • Can make me laugh and cheer me up when I'm feeling blue

  • Someone I can talk to about anything - whether deep or superficial issues

  • Has similar interests… especially traveling and hiking

  • We complement each other in a way that feels like we're two peas in a pod

  • Someone who knows when to be serious and when to be silly

  • Knows how and when to take charge

  • Someone who'll stand by my side and support me

  • Open to compromise

  • Dependable yet allows me to be independent

  • Sensitive to my needs

  • Honest and forthright

  • Brings out the sexual vixen in me

  • Driven to succeed in every aspect of life

  • Makes me feel safe and comfortable, yet brings out my adventurous side

  • Gives me personal space and time whenever I need it

  • Can be relied upon to do what he says he will do

  • Believes in himself and makes me believe in him

  • Open-minded and respectful of my beliefs.

If I Were...

If I were a month, I would be:...June

If I were a day of the week, I would be:...Saturday

If I were a time of day, I would be:…4:30 PM

If I were a sea animal, I would be:...dolphin

If I were a direction, I would be:...right

If I were a sin, I would be:...gluttony

If I were a planet, I would be:…Earth

If I were a liquid, I would be:…water

If I were a stone, I would be:...a pearl

If I were a tree, I would be:…a Narra

If I were a bird, I would be:...an eagle

If I were a flower/plant, I would be:.. a rose

If I were a kind of weather, I would be:...sunny

If I were a mythical creature, I would be:...a unicorn

If I were a food, I would be… an ice cream

If I were a fruit, I would be ... a watermelon

If I were a musical instrument, I would be:...a piano

If I were an animal, I would be:...a dolphin

If I were a color, I would be:...red

If I were an emotion, I would be:.. moody

If I were a vegetable, I would be:... cauliflower

If I were a sound, I would be:…ocean waves

If I were an element, I would be:...zinc

If I were a song, I would be:… Can I Have This Kiss Forever?

If I were a singer, I would be… Leona Lewis

If I were a movie, I would be:...Braveheart

If I were an author, I would be:… John Grisham

If I were a place, I would be:...Chicago

If I were a taste, I would be:... sweet

If I were a scent, I would be:... Victoria’s secret Pink

If I were a word, I would be:… enchanting

If I were a body part, I would be:...eyes

If I were a facial expression, I would be:...a smile

If I were a subject in school, I would be:... science

If I were a cartoon character, I would be:... Little Mermaid

If I were a shape, I would be:...a star

If I were a number, I would be:... 1

If I were a piece of jewelry, I would be:...a necklace

If I were a piece of furniture, I would be:...a bed

If I were a car, I would be:...a Lamborghini

If I were an item of clothing, I would be:...a tank top

If I were to choose somebody to be, I would be…still ME.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine

In the serious science business, you won't get out alive if you don't know how to laugh and have fun. These are some of the chemistry jokes I got from the net or forwarded by my friends during my grad school days. Thanks to all the authors who knew how (or at least tried) to tickle our funny bones!

Two atoms are walking down the street.
Says one atom to the other, "Hey! I think I lost an electron!"
The other says, "Are you sure??"
"Yes, I'm positive!"

A neutron walks into a restaurant and orders a couple of cokes. As she is about to leave, she asks the waiter how much she owes. The waiter replies, "For you, No Charge!!!"

What do dipoles say in passing? "Have you got a moment?"

Chemists do it on the table... periodically. (whatever IT is!)

How many physical chemists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but he'll change it three times, plot a straight line through the data, and then extrapolate to zero concentration.

A physicist, biologist and a chemist were going to the ocean for the first time.The physicist saw the ocean and was fascinated by the waves. He said he wanted to do some research on the fluid dynamics of the waves and walked into the ocean. Obviously, he was drowned and never returned.The biologist said he wanted to do research on the flora and fauna inside the ocean and walked inside the ocean. He too, never returned. The chemist waited for a long time and afterwards, wrote the observation, "The physicist and the biologist are soluble in ocean water".

A Chemical is a Substance that:
An organic chemist turns into a foul odor.
An analytical chemist turns into a procedure.
A physical chemist turns into a straight line.
A biochemist turns into a helix.
A chemical engineer turns into a profit.

Rules of the Lab:
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
Experiments must be reproducible, they should fail the same way each time.
First draw your curves, then plot your data.
Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
Always keep a record of your data. It indicates that you have been working.
To do a lab really well, have your report done well in advance.
If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer and derive the question.
In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
Do not believe in miracles - rely on them.
Teamwork is essential, it allows you to blame someone else.
All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
No experiment is a complete failure. At least it can serve as a negative example.
Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will break before any use can be made of it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lets Talk About Love

I can’t help but smile whenever I see an old couple walking hand in hand.

Call me hopeless romantic, but in this uncertain world where unstable relationships abound and break-ups are everyday occurrences, seeing an old, loving couple holding hands gives me hope. Hope that not all relationships are as fragile as they seem to be nowadays. Hope that some people can love each other forever and relationships can last a lifetime. Hope that even though relationships take hard work, love conquers all. And hope that I would be one of those few who have that one-of-a-kind LOVE that will stand the test of time.

I fell in love for the first time when I was 24. So in love (or so I thought, but it might just the novelty of first love) that when my relationship ended in betrayal of trust, I was devastated. I felt so hurt and betrayed that even after I started dating other guys, I found it hard to fall again. I was too scared of getting hurt that I kept every guy I dated at arm’s length. I became a serial dater who was too much of a coward to commit. At the first signs of complication, I’d break it off and ran away. In the midst of it all however, there was one guy who patiently guided me out of my shell and taught me to love and trust again. But love has a twisted sense of humor. Just as I was falling in love, life circumstances forced us to let go of the relationship turning me back into the slightly jaded woman I once were.

Then I met BA. I don’t know how or why but for the first time in my life, I felt that I could just throw caution in the wind and let loose. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt that I could fall and he’d catch me. The first time I met him, I knew it was going to be different. Don’t ask me why, I just knew and felt it. So I threw caution in the wind, let loose and fell in love. I never had any regrets. It was everything I hoped for. It made me realize that what I felt before him were puppy loves. Our relationship had been mostly happiness. I won’t call it perfect, but it’s darn well near one. Although there are times when my ‘trust issues’ would resurface, he reassures me so well it becomes impossible not to have faith in our love. We do have petty arguments from time to time, but they never lasted more that 5 minutes. He’s one of the most wonderful guys I’ve ever known. I’ve never felt so loved and cared for. Yesterday, as he was fixing my bike and teaching me patiently how to ride it (I’m pathetic, I know!), I was actually overcame with feelings of amazement at what a superb guy he is. I don’t have a formula for creating a successful relationship, but I know that there would be that one person who makes you feel like you two fit each other like a glove, and things between you just feel right. That’s how I feel with BA.

A month from now, we’ll be celebrating our anniversary. Lately, whenever we talk about spending the rest of our lives together, I realized that I now look forward to it without an ounce of fear, only with hope… hope that several years from now, we would be that old loving couple still walking hand in hand...

Monday, August 11, 2008

What If?

No one in this world had never asked the question ‘what if…?' at a certain point in his/her life. 'What if I took law instead of medicine?' 'What if I went to work in Europe instead of US?'. 'What if I pursued my career instead of giving it up for my family?’.

Sometimes, when we’re in an unsatisfying situation, we tend to think of our past and wonder how things would have turned out if we made a different decision. Perhaps our life turned out better. Perhaps we reached our destination faster. Perhaps we had been happier. We try to retrace our steps back to where we originally came from… back to that fork in the road where we had to make a decision whether to go one way or another. And then, we'd wish that we could turn back the hands of time and alter a chapter of our life story, not realizing there’s a possibility our situation could have been worse if we did.

One of my favorite movies is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sliding Doors. I was a sophomore in college when I watched it. It started with Gwyneth being fired from her job and trying to catch a train. The film progressed and then divided into two scenarios, one of which, she caught the train and thus caught her boyfriend cheating on her. On the other, she missed it, and so remained ignorant of her boyfriend’s unfaithfulness. It showed how that one simple event started a chain reaction that altered the course of her life.

For several days after watching that film, I raked my brain for answers to those mind-boggling questions of what ifs. Simple situations like boarding a bus would send my mind into high gear wondering what would have happened if I boarded the other. Or I’d go to the library at 2 in the afternoon and think, what if I decided to go earlier? Years passed. My world became more complicated. Thinking about life-altering situations (which, this time, truly required thoroughly mulled-over decisions) prevailed over those ridiculous thoughts. Most of my decisions resulted to good things, but I sometimes still ponder questions of what ifs. What if I had decided to pursue psychology instead of chemistry? What if I had chosen to accept the patent chemist job I was offered and stayed in the Philippines instead of pursuing graduate studies here in US? What if I did what the guy I was dating before asked me to and followed him to Australia?

No one knows. Just like the saying, nothing’s permanent except change, nothing’s certain except uncertainty. Maybe I’d be a lot happier, maybe not. Or maybe…. if I did take up psychology, I’d be wondering, what if I pursued chemistry? Or if I stayed in the Philippines or went to Australia, I’d be asking, what if I went to the US?

The problem with most of us is that we never have satisfaction. We long for things we don’t have and when we finally do, we wish for more. When we’re in an unhappy situation, we wish we could turn back the hands of time and change things. We’re plagued with regrets and questions of what ifs. We fail to see that behind an extremely unsatisfying situation lies a beautiful thing just waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s a good laugh in an embarrassing incident or the blossom of love in the heart of war, we just have to see it. If we can’t, we have to search for it.

A few years ago, I experienced a slightly similar scenario as the one in the Sliding Doors movie (only it wasn’t a train and I didn‘t have to catch a boyfriend cheating on me). I missed my plane ride to Ohio after visiting my friend in Massachusetts. I had no choice but to take the grueling 15 - hour bus ride home. I was seething at first, but as the ride progressed, I began to see the good side of it…. that of seeing parts of New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, which I wouldn’t have had the chance to see if I took the plane. The trip suddenly became interesting and before I knew it, I was back in Ohio. And who knows?… there might be another good reason why I missed it, I just wasn’t aware of it.

In my melancholic mood or when I’m having a sporadic depression attack, I still ask those ‘what if?’ questions. But I try not to dwell too much. Even though I sometimes feel bored with chemistry, my heart still belongs to it. I was homesick in the beginning when I got here in US, but I feel blessed that I was able to experience all the things happening to me now. I’ve got to admit, I did make some bad decisions in the past, but I dont regret any of them. In a way, they helped me be the person that I am now. I love to think that the story of each of our lives has the same ending, even if the development has two versions. We might reach a crossroad but whether we chose to take one road over the other, our destination would remain the same. It’s just a matter of being happy and satisfied with our choices for the time being.

Nevertheless, if we’re not, there’s no use looking back at the fork and wishing we could start over again. Just keep going. The way I choose to see it, life is a journey and this journey consists of traveling through roads which continuously branches out into other roads. Somewhere along the way, the one we were supposed to take and the one we have taken will intersect and merge again. In the end, there’s only one road which will take us to our final destination.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Three years ago, inspired by Sophie Kinsella’s book ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’, I decided to delve into my own shopaholic tendencies and write an article about it. Take note however, that the boyfriend I was talking about here is now an EX, and my shopping addiction has nothing to do with the break-up (“,).

Last weekend, I was feeling kinda down and worried. The more I dwell on it, the more I felt depressed. So I thought, what the heck, enough of this! I gotta stop worrying and be happy. Life is too short to spend it worrying. So… what could take my mind off my worries and make me happy? Well, watching a movie with my honey… but he’s in a conference! Okay, hanging out with my friends… but it’s Saturday morning, they’re staying in bed until 12 noon!… It’s gotta be something I could do by myself. Work on my research? Nah!… Sure, it would take my mind off my worries, but it would also make me feel exhausted. Plus, it’s no fun at all! Which means…there’s only one thing left! The one thing that effectively relieves me of any form of stress. The one thing I love more than eating watermelon, watching ‘Braveheart’ or pouring my sentiments on a journal. Second on my list of things I love doing. Second to cuddling with the object of my affection… shopping!

Yes, shopping! The thrill of seeing a 70% discount on a blouse I’ve been dying to buy! The surge of excitement upon getting a glimpse of the laptop (on sale!) I’ve been longing for, since… forever!

Shopping is most women’s sickness. It’s sort of an addiction that we can’t seem to shake off. It’s almost like a therapy. (I swear there’s a scientific study that will back me up on this). And I’m definitely not immune. In fact, if shopping is a cancer, I probably have the terminal case. One of my baffled guy friend actually asked me one time why we, women, love to shop. What do we get out of it? I always say… well, aside from the fun, shopping is an art (the art of being patient and finding great bargains), and a good exercise (walking around stores for several hours is!).

I have yet to meet a guy who loves shopping. Guys are absolutely terrible shopping companions. My brother’s the worst. The first and last time I was able to drag the little rascal to the mall, he became so impatient after only a few minutes he left me on my own! I think the only one who’s patient and happy enough to go with me was my boyfriend… and that was only at the start of our dating days. He’d walk around the mall and suggest which dress would look great on me. A month later, gone were the suggestions, but he’d still walk around and wait patiently saying he’s happy just being with me. But a few more months later, he’d just drop me off the mall and say… ‘Okay, honey, I’ll call you when my football game’s finished and I can pick you up.’ In a way, I was happy to see him off. At least, I won’t have to worry about him getting bored anymore.

I wasn’t actually born a shopaholic. The truth is, I used to wonder how some women, like Alicia Silverstone in the movie Clueless, could be so shallow as to feel excited at the sight of a beautiful dress on display at Cache. It’s incomprehensible! But yes, I’m taking it back now! I don’t think it’s shallow anymore…well, for obvious reasons… it’d be like admitting I‘m shallow! Looking back, I think the first time I realized shopping is fun was when I moved to the city and lived in a dorm near the mall. Aahhh… temptation, who can resist it? I’m only human… okay, I‘ll revise that… I’m only a woman! Besides, I finally had a consistent stipend from my scholarship… which means I got my own money to spend! But at that time, my ‘shopping cancer’ wasn’t malignant yet. Obviously, it was because my money wasn’t enough! But when I finally graduated, got a job and started earning more, the cancer spread to my whole body. I don’t feel satisfied leaving the mall without buying anything. I always have to buy something… even if it’s only a small pen!

Anyway, going back to my story… so, off to the mall, I went. Two hours and $40 poorer later, I was back home, exhausted but happy. I got new skirts and a pair of shoes to satisfy my vanity, and decorations to hang in my apartment wall and ease my growing boredom with its present state. I might start worrying again after a few days (probably more so, since in addition to my original problem, I now have financial ones to worry about!)… but what the heck! I relieved myself of the stress I was feeling before and that’s what’s important, right?… Financial problems??? Who doesn't have those? But as my bestfriend always say, God will provide! (as you can probably tell, she’s also a shopaholic!).

And besides, if I start to feel stressed out and get worried again, I could always go shopping! ;-)