Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Childhood Memories

Whenever I see young kids wearing make-up and trying so hard to pretend like adults, I can't help but shake my head and give an unsolicited advice, "Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Enjoy one of the best chapters of your life."

I used to be one of those kids. Even though my life was a bliss not worrying about anything except getting good grades and having fun with friends, I couldn't wait to grow up. I couldn't wait to be independent, graduate from school and get a good job. I couldn't wait to be a woman, go out on dates and be with the man of my dreams. I keep rushing to grow older, dying to find out what the world has in store for me.

Now, whenever I feel the heavy demands of my job, get copies of my utility bills and car payments, argue with the man of my dreams, I can't help but long for my simple, stress-free childhood life. There are times when I miss the naivety and innocence in how I used to look at the world, and the excitement that comes so easily over oh-so-simple things. I can still remember how easy it was for me to feel excited over Christmas days, family outings or birthdays! Honestly, I haven't felt that can't-sleep-coz-I-can't-wait excitement that I used to feel when I was a kid, in a really long time. I am a happy and optimistic person most of the time, but there are days when I wish I could still feel the highs of excitement whenever new things or wonderful events come my way. I guess as we grow older, we become consumed with everyday living that we forget to smell the flowers and take in the simple pleasures of life.

Simple pleasures... such as enjoying each present moment and not trying to hang on to childhood memories!

It's funny how, when we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up, and when we finally do, we long for those simpler early days!

I blame my sister and my grade school bestfriend for my current nostalgic mood.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Understanding Women

I was listening to an FM radio station on my way to work this morning, when I heard the DJ express perplexity over women's behaviors. His wife's Glamour magazine arrived, and he, thinking it was a sweet gesture, encircled pictures of dresses that he thought would look good on her. When the wife got home and saw what he did, she got upset and started yelling, " What's wrong with the way I dress? You don't think I look good in the clothes I wear?"

I started laughing when I heard it, but then realized I'm also guilty of acting that way sometimes! Although I think of myself as a rational and logical person (at least most of the time, and at work or I'll get fired), there are instances when emotions rule my actions, and logic goes out the window. Especially, when dealing with Fiance (Aahh, the things love do to women!). And most especially... during that time of the month!

Case in point...

Him: Babe, can I call you back in a few minutes?
Me: Why?
Him: I'm in the middle of my P90X workout.
Me (upset): Fine! Bye!
Him: Talk to you later, I love you, babe!

30 minutes later, my phone rings ...

Me: So, are you done with your oh-so-precious workout and had finally found the time to talk to me?

Another scenario...

Me: Honey, did you make something for dinner tonight?
Him: I just got out of the gym.
Me: But you got the whole day off, and you knew I'm coming over!
Him: Well, there's still a lot of time. I'll make us some. Do you want chicken or fish?
Me: Never mind.
Him: No, seriously, I'm going to make us dinner.
Me (pouting): No, don't worry anymore. You would have done it earlier if you really wanted to.

Well, today that I'm rational, I can understand why most men (and Fiance for that matter) find women (myself included) to be complex creatures. We have a tendency to overreact and say something else when we mean another! Unlike men, a lot of women's decisions and ideas are governed by emotions. Our minds and hearts are not always in sync, and we let our hearts rule even at times when we know better! (Add hormones to the equation, and we become a mess!)

Deep down though, it all boils down to one thing: we know our men care but we want them to show that they care... by doing things without us asking, and by paying attention to the little details about us.

Jennifer Aniston spoke for a lot of women when she told Vince Vaughn in the movie Break-Up, "I want you to WANT to do the dishes [not because I asked you to]".

Because as illogical as it sounds, that's how it feels that he cares.

And because, as women, that's what we'd do for the men we love.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Solemn Vow

Warning: this post is going to be mushy and sentimental, so if you're not that kind of person, you can turn around now. (",)

For our wedding ceremony, Fiance and I have decided to say our own vows. So far, this is what I've came up with. It's still a work in progress, so suggestions are welcome!

"Honey, I love you very much. You're my partner, my lover and my bestfriend. I love you as I've never loved anybody in my life before. I will be honest and say that I can't promise that I will always be in a good mood, that all our days will be sunny and wonderful, or that our life together will be perfect. There will be days when you'll be irritated or mad at me for the things I will or will not do, and I'm sure, vice versa.

But I promise you this. Whatever you and I will go through - good or bad - I will always love you, and will never leave you. I promise that I will give you the respect you deserve, be there when you need me, and cherish and love you till our dying days.

On this day, as I take you to be my husband, I promise to walk every step of the journey with you . On this day, in front of our family and friends, I promise you, all of me.

This is my solemn vow. "

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Thing Called Love

Have you ever wondered why people are so fascinated with love? You listen to the radio and all you hear are songs about love... undying love, unrequited love, love that fell apart, etc. You talk to your friends, and the favorite topic of conversation is lovelife (or lack of it)! Even scientists found it so fascinating, that several studies have been done to identify the hormones in people's bodies responsible for the chemistry of love!

I believe that what makes love (the kind you feel for the opposite sex, or the same sex depending on the person) so fascinating is the process of falling in love. It's not something that people were born with or that they feel instantly (unlike for instance, the love that most parents feel for their child). It's a feeling that either blossoms or fades as you spend more time with the other person. It's a feeling that makes you smile and wonder why out of all the millions of people in this world, that person fell in love with you- and vice versa. I believe that if love was easy - if people were born knowing the mate intended for them- then nobody would be this fascinated.

Let's look at the process of falling in love, shall we?

You meet somebody, and feel an attraction. Although some claim to fall in love at first sight, I personally believe they just confuse their feelings with lust or attraction. Love don't magically happen the first time two people meet. You can only claim to love a person when you really know him, and can love all of him including all his flaws. If you feel that you're in love right from the very beginning, chances are, you're in love with the idea of who you think he should be, not with who he really is. On the other hand, attraction is something that you can feel instantly for somebody when you first lay eyes on him, and with the right trigger, can blossom into love.

Then comes the getting-to-know-each-other part. Now, who can forget the excitement of being on a first date, the butterflies on the stomach before that monumental first kiss or the hours you spent talking on the phone flirting with each other? Even the uncertainty of whole thing - will he call?, does he like you? are you falling for him? - and the roller coaster emotions brought by it create an excitement in a person!

And then the realization that you're both in love! Nothing feels more amazing than knowing that there's somebody who cares about your day, and loves you for everything you are. It gives you a sense of security, and blissful feelings that are way better than anything you've felt before. It also evokes passionate emotions that's different from any other form of love.

And of course, let's not forget about that wonderful expression of love called sex! Although for some people, it can be just an act between two consenting adults, it is an act that strengthens a bond between two people who are in love. It brings out a feeling that is unexplainable and out of this world (yes, you know what I mean!)...and who can resist that?

We often hear the phrase, 'in love with being in love'. No wonder why!

Now guys, what do you think is the best part of falling and being in love?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Road to Independence

I take pride in being a woman who changes her own light bulbs, makes her own living, knows what she wants, and says what she wanna say. I take pride in being a female who can hold her own in a male-dominated science industry, and who doesn't need a man to complete her, but to complement her. I take pride in being Miss Independent, without making my guy feel unloved and unneeded.

I haven't always been like this, though.

The first twenty four years of my life, I led a somewhat pampered and sheltered existence. My family wasn't rich (far from it!), but I had parents who showered me with so much love and shielded me from the harsh realities of life. My Mom was a housewife who lovingly did the household work for her family, while my Dad took care of all things we couldn't handle. Whenever I have problems or I effed up, I usually just turn to them. All they wanted in return was for me to excel in school, so I spent most of my young life buried in books and studying my butt off. I was a princess who didn't do anything at home, and a crybaby who run to her parents every time something goes wrong. Amazingly, I also turned out to be a sweet child who naively thought the best of everybody, understood my parents' struggle to provide for their kids, and knew the value of every penny.

I had a brief stint of being Miss Independent when I left home for college and lived in the big city. I had a science scholarship with allowance, so I became financially independent, and my parents weren't around, so I learned to be a little more self-reliant. But that only lasted for a couple of years. When both of my siblings entered college, my parents decided to move to the city. I moved with them, and continued to live there even after I graduated and got a good job (it's a cultural thing - you only move out when you're married). I went back to being a princess. It didn't help that I was also surrounded by friends who were always lending a helping hand, and was popular with boys (modesty aside) who were trying to win my affection by catering to my every needs.

For several years, that was the life I knew and led.

So... imagine my shock when I first came to the United States.

I was out of my country for the first time, and thousands of miles away from all the people I love. I had no idea how to cook, do laundry or live in an apartment by myself. I was basically clueless on how to survive on my own! I was homesick, depressed and miserable. I felt like a little baby who was let go in a pool for the first time, struggling to learn how to swim in order not to sink.

But learn, I did.

If there's one thing about me, it's my determination to succeed in every endeavor I choose to partake. I knew I didn't have a choice, so I learned the ins and outs of living by myself. I bought a cookbook of foods I love to eat and studied every recipe. I thoughts of ways to make me feel comfortable sleeping alone in my apartment. I made a conscious effort not to long for my home and my family. I learned to suck it up when things go wrong and I feel like crying.

In the process, I discovered parts of me I didn't even know existed. I realized that I was a fighter and a survivor, who can deal with anything thrown her way... be it the tough challenges of graduate school, the agonies of a broken heart, or the malicious tongues of gossipers and backstabbers pretending to be friends. I realized that I can be a b*tch when I need to be, and can assert myself when I knew I'm right. I didn't lose all my sweetness (Fiance says I'm still a sweetheart... but then again, he's my fiance), but I lost my naivety and my people dependency.

I did meet new friends and dated guys, but I learned to love my own company, and my independence.

Sometimes... so much so, that it scares me a little bit to think of the possibility that I might lose it when I get married.

Fortunately, I have a fiance who love and support the independent side of me and hopefully, will continue to do so.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Know You're Loved When...

...your guy would endure watching Bride Wars with you with the littlest complaints!

Since it was snowing pretty bad yesterday, there was really nothing much to do except go to the movie theater. We've seen most of the good movies already (Valkyrie - watch it, tragic ending but really good! Marley and Me - funny and so heartwarming!) and I was kinda curious about Bride Wars (it looked funny and is in time with my wedding planning), so I asked Fiance to watch it with me. The movie however, completely sucked (for lack of a better word) that I felt bad dragging him to it! The funny parts were already in the previews, and truthfully, I was appalled by how the women were portrayed in the movie! I know I should have expected it even before I came in (it was in the trailer), and it's a movie (so of course, it's exaggerated)... but still! Do women really act that way about weddings? Do their whole lives revolve around getting engaged and when they do, about the whole wedding planning? Would they ditch long time friends just because of bridal rivalry?

I've been engaged for 3 months now (read it here), but if you noticed, I've only mentioned my wedding plans once. Don't get me wrong, I'm VERY excited to get married, but I'm not much into elaborate wedding plannings and I really just wanted a small and intimate wedding with only the people closest to me as witnesses . I feel it's more romantic to say your vows that way! I also honestly don't care if my table linens don't match every single decoration or if the arrangement of my bouquet is not perfect (maybe, I'm not a normal woman?). All I really wanna make sure is that I have a wedding venue and a reception area, I look pretty in my dress, my groom didn't ran away and the people I love are there to celebrate with us. I'll still have most of the traditional wedding things (I'll give you an update on one of my succeeding posts)- a white dress, a cake, a maid of honor, wedding songs and floral arrangements, but I won't have a big entourage and hundreds of guests. I told Fiance this the day we got engaged, and the guy was only too happy to agree!

Having said that, I'll sheepishly admit that I will actually be having two different wedding ceremonies (not my decision, but I'm only too happy to oblige) - a chapel wedding here in the US which is intended for his families (May 16, 2009), and a beach wedding in the Philippines for mine (Jan 5, 2010). Both are small - with around 30 guests each -but what's better than having two weddings, right? My parents volunteered (actually, I volunteered them!) to take care of our beach wedding, so that's one less thing to worry about. All I have to do is describe what I want, and say Yes or No to their suggestions. (I love you, Mom and Dad!)

Anyway, the best part of watching Bride Wars was afterwards, when Fiance and I were going home, he kissed me and said, " I thank God everyday, for giving me such a beautiful, sweet and SENSIBLE woman." (",)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Murphy's Law

Imagine this scenario.

You knew the economy is not doing too well, but you're somehow still hoping to get a pay raise. After all, you had a breakthrough with the research project you're doing and you had a glowing performance review saying you Exceed Expectations. The raise would be helpful with your wedding and trip expences so you're very hopeful about it. But you came to work that day (the first pay day of the year), saw your pay statements and realized it's still the same. Being an optimist, you consoled yourself by saying you should just be thankful, you're luckier than a lot of people, since at least, you still have a good job.

You then decided to start an experiment, but for some reason, the darn lab equipment won't cooperate with you! You tried all kinds of troubleshooting you knew, but still... no luck. You gave up and decided to do something else.

At the end of the day, you're so tired, all you wanted do was go home and relax.

However, since it's the weekend, you wanted to spend time with your fiance. The guy can't drive to your house since you have a cat and he's allergic to it, so you didn't have any option but to drive to his. As you start driving, the snow began to fall heavily. Halfway through, you got stuck in traffic, driving at 5 miles per hour! You began to feel really cranky.... in the first place, you're very tired, and now, you're starving as well! On top of that, you suddenly had a very strong urge to go the bathroom (since you stupidly drank a whole cup of tea an hour earlier)! But since you wanted to get home as soon as possible (the weather was predicted to get even worse as the day goes by), you decided not to stop by at a gas station. After two hours of hellish driving (on a normally 45 minute drive), you're finally at your fiance's house. You're ready to have dinner but he's still at work, so you just rummaged through his refrigerator looking for something... anything... to eat. The darn guy, however, haven't done his grocery shopping yet, and had nothing on hand! So you sat there, watched TV and waited. 30 minutes later, he called to say he's on his way home... but was stuck in traffic! You couldn't wait any longer, so you braved the snowstorm again, and drove to the nearest Subway (which was actually just a block away, thank God!) to buy dinner! On your way home, you saw Blockbuster and decided, you might as well rent a movie! It turned out... the movie was a waste of an hour and a half of your life!

Oh yes, that was my day yesterday!

"Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way." ~ Murphy's Law.

Well, at least, today is a new day!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Seriously, what's in a name? Particularly last names?

Okay, I love my first name (No, its not really Chloie... close to it, though). It sounds pleasant, easy to pronounce and it's not too common.

My last name? Well... not that much, but it never really bothered me. It sounds perfectly normal and that was enough. When I was young, I've always thought of last names as names that were there just for the sole purpose of identifying whose ancestors and family you belong to. And sure, that's important, (and apparently VERY important to Romeo and Juliet's families), but... who cares how it sounds? Not too many people call me by it (except my terror grade school teacher whenever she catches me in my usual troublemaker self!). And I knew, as a girl, I won't hold on to it that long, since when I get married, I'd change it to that of my husband's.

That is... with a fair amount of hope that my would-be-husband's last name won't sound so bad!

Like a lot of women (come, on admit it!), whenever I'd date a guy and it's starting to become serious, I'd try to see how his last name sounds next to my first one. It's usually out of curiosity and just for the fun of it! Unfortunately, I seem to be cursed with dating men who have terrible-sounding last names, that I started to be concerned! I once dated a guy whose last name was Tootle and as much as I didn't care about family names, his was enough to make me hesitate about getting serious. Chloie Tootle? That just didn't sound right! But he's hot, smart and charming, so I said, what the heck, I can't be that shallow! Eventually though, I did break up with him - not because of his last name, I swear! - but because of other reasons.

And it didn't end there. I dated other guys with lame last names, but... since I wasn't in love, it wasn't really a big deal.

But now, here I am, engaged to the love of my life, who is attractive in every aspect except in the last name department! Well, it's not as bad as Tootle (or maybe it is, depending on who you ask), but... it's the name of a part of the body! Seriously! Where the heck did his ancestors get the idea that body parts are wonderful last names? I can just imagine the teasings that my future kids would most likely go through! Fiance told me himself, his classmates gave him hell when he was in grade school.

But... to show how much he loves me, Fiance is giving me the option of keeping my maiden name, doing the combined hyphenated version or changing to his last name, and is letting me decide what will make me happy. Well, of course, I'm changing to his! Isn't the concept of marriage sharing everything (",)? (Hhmmm... maybe I should ask him to change to mine, but then again, that might be pushing too far!)

Anyway, I wholeheartedly love the guy, so even if he has the worst last name on Earth, I still won't hesitate to marry him!

Besides, like I said earlier, what's in a name... right?

(And to be honest, I really don't care! I actually thought it's kinda funny.)

PS. Can you, guys, guess what his last name is?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Time Heals All Wounds

He used to be your world. He used to be the guy whose smile makes your inexperienced, young heart skip a beat, and whose touch and kisses made you feel alive. He was the one who, for the first time showed you the world in a different light, and made you feel so beautiful inside and out. He was the one who used to give you excitement in waiting for the phone to ring or for the doorbell to make its sweet dingdong sound. He was the one who calmed you after a strenuous exam, and made you feel that seeing him after class was the focal point of your day.

Being with him made your young heart happy beyond belief, and you thought it would last forever.

But then one day, he did the unthinkable.

He went to a bar during an out-of-state conference, got drunk and indulged in a one-night stand.

When you found out, you were devastated. It felt as though your heart was broken into a million pieces, and your whole world came crashing down. The pain cut so deep you felt like dying inside.
He begged you to forgive him - it was a drunken mistake that he promised never, ever again- and, though, in your heart you badly wanted to, you knew you could never trust him again. He broke the trust you have innocently and wholeheartedly given and there was no way to regain it. So even though he pleaded for days saying he loved you very much, you said goodbye and walked away.

For weeks, you wallowed in misery and shed buckets of tears. You questioned how God could allow you to go through such pain, how would you survive and would you ever fall in love again. Not a day go by that you didn't miss him. He was the first thought that comes through your mind when you wake up in the morning, and he was your last thought before you fall asleep. It hurt just thinking you'll never see him again, yet somehow you tried to be strong.

Gradually, the pain subsided. You thought less and less of him, until one day, you realized several days had gone by without him crossing your mind. You'd go to a place the two of you used to frequent and feel no more ache. You'd even date new guys and don't compare them to him anymore. You no longer jump when the phone rings wishing it would be him yet at the same time hoping it wasn't. You used to wanna cry whenever you hear a song or smell a perfume that reminds you of him, yet now, you feel nothing.

And that's when you knew.. you're finally and completely over him.

This is the story of my first love, which I wrote several years ago. Lesson learned: Time heals all wounds... regardless of how you feel right now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The One Who Got Away

Overcame with sadness over another failed relationship, my friend started telling me about a guy she used to love when she was younger (her first love), and was wondering how her life turned out to be if she had only met him now. She was so in love with him then (she still thinks he's her Mr. Perfect), but because of long distance and other circumstances that are beyond their control, they had to part ways. It was one of those right-love-at-the-wrong-time stories that make interesting soap operas. Like a good and wise (or at least, I try to be) friend, I told her what I always tell myself: there's no point in living in the past. The past is the past, you have to let it go. Just keep the memories and learn from the experience. Although it's not always clear at that moment, things do work out for the best eventually.

I know it's not uncommon for people to regret a chapter of their lives. Some regret being involved with certain people they knew they shouldn't have gotten involved with in the first place, while others regret letting the one-that-got-away get away. Of the two, the latter is usually harder. The first one is a risk taken and a lesson learned. Missed opportunities, on the other hand, have a way of leaving people restlessly and regretfully wondering 'what if's?'.

Especially... when the other person got away because of their own fear of getting hurt and taking risks!

Take a guy friend of mine, for instance. For a year, he liked this girl, but didn't do anything about it. He was afraid of getting hurt and wanted to be sure he won't. He doesn't have any problem dating other women (there's no emotions involved, so it was easy) but with this woman, he treaded carefully. He waited so long, that in the end, the woman got tired of waiting and chose another guy! When he told me the story, I wanna smack him in the head! (I didn't though since it's clear he wanted to do it himself). The girl obviously liked him, but he's been playing too many games it probably got tiring for her! Now he's totally regretting that missed opportunity.

Okay, I'll confess that I've been the same when I was younger and wasn't so sure of myself. Several years ago, I wanna beat myself up for someone who I thought was 'The One Who Got Away (TOWGA)' ! He was gorgeous, smart, sweet and he treated me like a princess. We got along so well in the beginning, but when I realized I was starting to have some feelings for him, I started backing off and pushing him away. I was terribly hurt and betrayed before I met him, and though, at that time I didn't love the Ex anymore, I couldn't trust my feelings for another guy. Mr. TOWGA was confused, but he sticked around. But then, he made a mistake in telling me about an ex-girlfriend that he had 3 months before he met me, and my mind started wondering if I was a rebound girl. He assured me I wasn't and it's all over between them, but I couldn't risk getting hurt again, so I ended it all up. It was a few weeks later that I realized I blew what might have been a good relationship. For several months, I was plagued with regret and questions of what if, until I finally decided it was enough.

I do admit that I used to be a drama queen who overanalyses things and regret stuff I have or haven't done in the past. Over the years, however, I have learned -and continue to learn- to be the type of person who doesn't look back and regret missed opportunities or things I've done in my previous life. I realized that I am who I am now, because of all my experiences. I don't regret any of the people who came and went in my life (be it friends I lost or guys I dated) because each and everyone of them, somehow, played a role in transforming me into the person I am today.

And the guy who got away? He got away so I could meet Fiance who'd turn out to be the love of my life and the one I will never, ever let get away.

(Sorry, I know I can be too cheesy sometimes!) (",)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Orchestrated Destiny

I was about 10 years old, on our way home from a family outing, when I heard my Mom debating with my cousin the existence of destiny and free will. This discussion brought me to my own personal debate of whether things that happen in life are part of a greater destiny or free will of each human being. For years, I thoroughly mulled this subject until I finally drew my own conclusions.... I believe in both.

I believe that it is my destiny to be born to the set of parents that I have now, to be born in the 20th century and to be born of Asian descent. I believe that it is my destiny to meet the people I have met and that each person has a specific purpose for coming into my life. I believe that the way -how or when- I'd die is also a part of my destiny.

The rest though are free will.

Free will given by God to make the choices we make and to live the life we choose to live. Free will to be either good or bad, and free will to live life with a purpose or not. I've got to admit, I'm not a very religious person, but I believe in God and I believe that He gave us free will while He watches over us and guides us.

I believe that our life here on earth is mostly governed by our own free will. Call it destiny, but it is an orchestrated one. Orchestrated by ourselves.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Highlights

As we welcome the year 2009, I figured this would be the perfect time to look back at the previous year and thank God for all the wonderful things that happened to me. Year 2008 had actually been an amazing year! This is the year when...

.... Fiance and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together
..... he and I went to our first vacation together (hiking at Hocking Hills for my birthday celebration)
.... I had a much-awaited reunion with two of my very bestfriends, JR from France and OS from Russia, and went on an all-girl road trip!
... my sister started her graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, and I finally get to see her after 4 years.
.... Fiance PROPOSED (on our one year anniversary) and I said YES!
... Barack Obama won (I know it doesn't directly involve me but I'm still glad he did and it's something I wanna celebrate)
... my graduate school work was published at a science journal, finally making me a published author (Yay!)
... I got a breakthrough with the research project I'm doing!!!
... I got 'exceeds expectations' in my job performance evaluation (which hopefully translates to a big, fat raise (",), - though I doubt it, with the way the economy is right now)
... I got a year older but wiser!

Cheers to 2009! Hope we'll all be happy and blessed this year!

And even at the risk of sounding like a beauty pageant contestant, I really do hope and pray for WORLD PEACE! (Enough war, already! It's a waste of precious young lives!)