A vivid sensation of the smell of an aquarium and the cold stingy glass pressed against my nose flooded my brain. I remember the blurred and murky water behind the thick glass, the overhead lamp making the fat-bellied gold fishes visible, and the uneaten pellets aimlessly floating atop. I was one with the fishes and the plastic seeweeds (at least pretending to be). These were childhood memories I never even thought had hung around in the depths of what was tucked and forgotten. Now I am remembering every detail like a light that has been switched on.
I had those silly imaginations where I shrunk and dove into the aquarium. I wanted to swim into its slimy, algae-riddled water, and throw myself onto its bed of pebbles and watch it explode in midwater and fall back down slow-mo until I am all buried in it. I was in love with the ocean in whatever form it took. I have wanted to become a Mermaid since then—a silly dream that lingered as far as I can remember. I wanted to live in the ocean where there is absolutely no boundaries. Its depth and vastness used to haunt me as a child, but as much as its mystery gave me chills down my spine, I wanted to surrender to its perils or maybe the absence thereof in its tranquility. To be a mermaid was a ludicrous dream, yet I held onto it as if it was the only thing that ever mattered in this life. I still feel that same throbbing LUST when I see the ocean, so much that I have convinced myself that I was indeed a mermaid from a life before this.
Now as I write this little note down, I am actually at work. Graveyard shift causes survival hormones to send jolts of electricity to my brain, hence the flood of thoughts. Or maybe this is my way of wasting the hours til I am bound home and, finally call it a day. Because now I realized that this is REALITY. There’s no such thing as magically turning into a mermaid and returning home to friends and family who reside in the abyss off the Marianas Trench. There is only me now worrying about every minute where one thing could go culpably wrong and praying that everything will be alright. Someone is under my care and supervision, and this is now my job. I’m not exactly charmed about it but it isn’t grim as well. Undaunted despite of this not being my comfort zone, but what scares me actually draws me close even more.
Everything that I chose to be now is downright the opposite of the magical creature I wanted to be. Life is as real as a knife slitting through my skin. Don’t get me wrong. I am where I wanted to be. It takes an intestinal fortitude to face life realistically, they say. Because at the end of the day, no other sh-t can pay the bills than what you earn for a living. Being a magical creature cannot buy you a bottle of Ginger shampoo from the most rip-off french cosmetic shop. And definitely, the ocean is not a livable niche for a two-legged woman like me.
But does this mean everyone of us should stop dreaming and let reality bore us to death? Not with me. I have made an ingenious map of my behavioral pattern… relating my surrealistic ideals as a child to my adulthood ambitions. Maybe just like my young self, I am drawn into unliveable niches in life. I find an ocean with zero chance of survival so luring that I like swimming through its perils. Maybe being safe and comfortable, doesn’t make me feel safe and comfortable. I feel like I know nothing about my new role. In fact, I am terrified. In fact, mortified. But just like the young version of me who wished to become a mermaid and pretended to be one, I lived through life with that redundant thought and it became my reality. Maybe this play pretend, this repetitive make-believe that I have the guts to make it through unliveable niches eventually becomes the palpable truth.
I have packed my bags and left a place that was my home for 27 years. I am lost in translation in Scandinavia. I have the faintest idea how life is gonna be from hereon.
Among all things, I think pizza is an indulgence. Today, I had my second chance at eating at Pepe’s Pizza here in Oslo which I somehow never felt guilty for. The past few days have been a marathon of multigrain cereals, multigrain crackers, and multigrain shit everything. I ate away all the stress and sadness and somehow relived what once was an enthusiastic version of myself. I enjoyed our shrimp pizza with garlic sauce and found a piece of heaven on earth with the 1 ½ slices I devoured, indeed. Thank you for the treat, Ate Hesa. On our first month of salary, I swear I’m gonna do just the same for you. AND AGAIN, at Pepe’s Pizza where we could also ogle the cute waiters? Just kidding.
Lovin’ my new bag so much. I just had to snatch it off the H&M rack.
Mai Quel smiling at whoever he was talking to. Lovebug I suppose?
Three hungry people at Karl Johan’s Gate.
Oh you one dirty bastard, you! I just wanna eat you all up.
Our favorite hvitløk saus (meaning garlic sauce) of all time!
Ta med! = Take out! There are so many uttryker (expressions) I gotta get used to.
Meanwhile at Aker Brygge, there’s another branch I really think has also an eye-catchig interior.
Im coming back again for another indulgence. :) Fo sho.
Starting my life here is like starting from null. But I am excited about meeting new faces, learning the language, embracing the culture, doing my A-game in my new job, and building friendships. It gets harder before it gets better they say… but I am built for this. I know I can make it through in my new home, Oslo. This is where I start discovering Europe… and the rest of the world. Motivations, motivations! The man upstairs will always be there to love and guide. :) I owe this to Him.
Pictures are from Karl Johans’ Gate, Brugata, and the Norwegian Royal Palace.
I have a long list of deadlines and to-do’s that are being piled up. But I’m looking forward to what’s in store for me after everything is done. Slow progress is still progress!
So what’s the hold up? I guess a lot of tinkering inside of my box.. a lot of oiling. A lot of internal workup that is beyond what I do as uhm typical ME… you know, the girl who takes pictures. :3
Surely there are stacks of photo albums and submissions that have been set aside, and I promise they are still in the works but I cannot focus on the entire facade. I want to do everything with all of me, and not just a portion of my attention. So every time I switch into places, I completely disregard one thing until the next time I continue. Say, my studies vs my photography.
Both are unequivocally important. And I could choose to whine or just FOCUS and disregard all the stimuli around me. Sometimes it came down to sacrificing a lot, doing what I don’t normally do just to make one GOAL pursued.
February should be some sort of a roar. I am in the process… I shouldn’t give up now.
Modesty aside, I believe my relationship with God has always been constantly afloat. Be it a minute zit conundrum or a life-turning issue, problems has always kept me anchored onto my faith. Problems being constant, I often speak to the the man upstairs for help, and most times, to give thanks. I might pray under my breath, I might have it unsaid in my thoughts, or I might record it in my phone, write thousands of drafted prayers… either way God is on my mind, always. I have never felt so close to HIM until now that I am a struggling adult.
So when my sister confronted me with a question, “HOW MANY YEARS HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU WENT TO CHURCH?” What seemed to be a simple question seemed to be rhetorical to me. She must have wanted to say, “Why don’t you go to church?”, but she chose to be unoffensive. I have never brought my kid to church, let alone myself. Someone would readily assume I have turned cold inside and turned my back on the religion I was assigned to. That is the truth, but not entirely. God isn’t found in any four-cornered wall with a human being speaking in his behalf. And that is a very bold opinion, and people are welcome to throw stones at me.
But people have got to understand… and not judge me. Life taught me to find God within me. It’s in the inner peace I find when I remain true to myself, when I follow the burning passion within me to do things and create things with the talent I was given, it’s in how I remain kind to people in my thoughts and in my actions, to keep the goodness within me to utter only what does not harm and does not hurt, to share without even thinking what the gain would be, to love endlessly, to respect my body and my whole being… I find God when I cry, when I laugh, when I breathe, when I pray on my own. God has always been reachable and convenient and most people do not realize that. People go out every Sunday, dressed up with their family, and god forbid they miss one Sunday, they obsessively hang on to their notion that God will unforgivingly throw them punishments for not attending church. God has always been understanding. And there’s no way that HE IS THAT KIND who imposes irrational rules. I find God in moments I am flooded with wisdom and clarity amidst confusion… and there’s so so much more I wish a lot of people could realize.
In short, I guess I do not want to share a literature of combined views about God with other people and limit myself on imagining the magnitude of his greatness. It only weakens my faith rather than reinforce it. I guess I do not want a human being preaching in behalf of God because I do not want to scale Him down that way. God is so vast that the universe is an understatement. I do not want to put tangibility on my faith.
A couple of encounters with you was no longer than a point zero something of my whole life. But it didn’t really take that much to know that you are someone who is remarkably genuine. You have a very easing demeanor that it seems impossible to not bask in it. You have that bold honesty but comes with it are tact and etiquette that only a true blue gentleman could ever possess. Gentleman, because I am a lady and I perceive you as one. ;-)
We might not ever share that planned coffee date anymore, or we may… and maybe repeat it a hundred times over our humanely short lifetime that it will become sickening to do it way too much but… point is, I am glad our paths intertwined. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to your sister’s engagement shoot, and to the job I was offered to do side by side with you. Have I said “NO”, then none of this would have happened— not our vanity shots, not our kite-flying moments, not our endless talks on society’s ethics… not even our hilarious moments with Audrey and the legendary chauffeur who we mercilessly called “BJ” and “bukol” over and over.
Let this be a simple memoir of our times shared.
Your brand new friend,
PS- Be a law-abiding law student. I might need you in the future! And if I will, please try your hardest to keep me from prison.
I overheard a few people at home saying they have been unusually sleepy yesterday. I felt the same way actually. I was extremely sluggish and unproductive that I totally couldn’t work on my laptop without falling asleep. If it’s not my coffee withdrawal, it’s probably because we are on HIBERNATE mode. Although it’s not winter per se here in the country, I believe that it’s our body’s instinct to reserve and preserve energy during the coldest months by putting us on sleep mode, and by signaling us that we need to pack on extra calories for energy (thus we are unusually hungry as well). It’s a primitive automatism of our physiology. It’s either that, or I’m just rationalizing my being-a-lazy-fat-ass.
There’s so much shiz going on this November and I am getting all hyped up. I’m up and about doing photo shoots and styling for other photographers, just being on the road with people (seeing both new and old faces). It has only been a month and I feel like I’ve been given all sorts of “busy”, it’s sometimes too good to be true. This is what I like. I like dressing up in the morning, with hardly any sleep, not enough time to prepare for what’s coming next, packing my bag, filling my tumbler with caffeine for the road, enjoying all the sight-seeing, going home tired as fuq, and doing it all over again the next day. It reminds me a lot of 2012. It was the same AUTUMN-y feel. I always make it a point that, I get to be the compass for my team, always pulling them towards forests and open air. I just have that selfish feeling of having the need to feel the autumn breeze, if there was such thing as autumn in the Phil. But who cares man, I want to see dead leaves, and bald trees, and feel the gloom of dying plants… and get wind burns from this chilly season. I love this part of the year. I love it to death.
My boyfriend has a habit of keeping plastic and paper bags because he loves to recycle. He always finds a good use in what most people throw in the bin. Other people’s trash is always his treasure. I kept one of his paper bags with me from 7-11. Since I have no table lamp in my room at my grandparent’s house, I used the paper bag to improvise. Time to see how far my recycling skills would go!
The end result is this! It’s really cheap yet it looks chic. It only took me 5 minutes to finish this one!
So here’s what you’re gonna do… Firstly, grab everything you need.
1. Cut out a shape on your paper bag’s front side. It could be any shape! But I chose heart. I want to see a glowing heart because it symbolizes how mines glow because of my boyfriend. Omg I’m so cheesy, kill me now. *regurgitate*
2. Use the cut-out shape to trace the same shape on your lace. Make it at least an inch bigger.
3. Tape the lace on the inner part of your paper bag, exactly where the hole is. This will serve as your lining.
4. Now cut a 2-inch hole at the back side of your paper bag. This is where the Christmas lights’ electric cord is gonna exit.
5. Now cut out a hard paper with the size and shape of the bottom of your paper bag. This will serve as your lamp’s flooring. Then place it neatly inside.
6. Now put the Christmas lights and place it at the bottom. Pull the plug out from the back of your paper bag where you cut a 2-inch hole. Pull out at least 2-3 feet length of the Christmas lights so it can reach any outlet.
7. Fold down the top part of the paper bag thrice. Tape it or staple it in place.
8. Plug it and… voila!
Now I have a night lamp, I’ve recycled something and helped the world (even just a tinny bit), and I’ve made my boyfriend proud! Anyways, this project is dedicated to him. :-)
PS- Please do not use cheap Christmas Lights as they have the tendency to explode and might cause house fire. The more expensive the lights are, the more heavy duty it is. I use Starry String Lights .They’re about $10-$12 for the shortest length. It doesn’t use up so much electricity too! I got mine as a gift last Christmas but it is available on amazon.com for you guys.
I stand barefoot in front of my bedroom door with a knife in my hand, my toes feeling the rubble of dust and splinters from prying the knob open. I could feel my chest hiccup and my eyes burning. I was about to well tears like a baby. Frustrated and stressed, I was beginning to succumb to my subconscious spelling out my idiocy. How could I be so stupid? l closed my eyes and imagined the keys hanging in there, mocking me. Three friggen’ identical keys locked inside. “For the love of God, smash the door!”, my own mind seemed pretty pissed off too, now. But NO. I have all the time in the world to call a locksmith, wait for the locksmith, watch the locksmith work, pay the locksmith, thank the locksmith. Because the last time I smashed a door into smithereens, I had the need to. This time, this door doesn’t fence me out from a person who took his own life. I have all the time in the world to be locked out of this room, this room with an empty floor. I can wait…
"I just want you to adore and love the shit out of me. I just want you to miss me more the longer I’m gone so you would cross seas just to be beside me. I want you to look at me differently like there’s no other person that you’re supposed to be looking that way. I just want your Universe and my Universe to be one. I just want to be the only one. I just want to be your only one. I just want to own every second that you breathe. I am selfish, god damn I am selfish. Yes. I want you endlessly.
I always give every drop of the concentrate of my every being, and I want your everything or nothing at all. What part of that is very hard to understand?”
Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know? - AM. “We both know that the nights were mainly made for saying things you can’t say tomorrow day. Crawlin’ back to you, ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few? ‘cause I always do.”
Finding a good lighting is the key to a nice selfie. It makes you look fairer. A good window lighting is a good example but certainly a thin curtain (most preferably WHITE) will soften the harsh sunlight from the outside. The window reflection also creates a nice white gleam on your eyes. Master using the back camera of your iPhone especially if you’re stuck with 4S (since front cam is always grainy and low res). It is very inconvenient but you need to learn how to hold still and master where the shutter button lies. Blind shot, but practice makes perfect. And it’s okay to have 10-15 tries until you get a good one. A high-def selfie always looks better than a grainy one so deal with it! This is why I envy iPhone5 and S4 users!
Front Cam pictures are usually grainy and low-resolution!
Here’s a back cam image of me! You can see that there’s a ridiculous amount of difference!
If you have a phone app that can adjust the shadows and highlights of your image, you can also play with it. If you get the right adjustments, you can bring out the crispness in details such as your hair strands, your lashes, and other textures or even bring out the color of your eyes. You can skip skin softening! Milias, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, zits, female mustache, they all bring interestingness so leave them!
This photo was taken with my iPhone 4S back cam edited with Adobe Photoshop for iPhones. Thank you for reading up to this point. xoxo