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On my bedside table.

They say one can be defined by the things they sleep with -- you can tell what kind of person you are simply by the things you hold dear before traipsing in slumber. Well, I guess I'd leave you the judge of that, based on the books I have stacked beside me by my bed. I'm not the type of person who can just settle reading one book, I have to read at least two novels to push me into finishing them. I don't know, I guess I get bored easily and the idea of having more than one story and numerous characters makes it all the more challenging and exciting for me. I'm weird like that.

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
I never get tired of reading it, sometimes going over the whole thing, other times just sifting through my favorite parts. The seminal tale of a middle-aged man falling madly in love with a 12-year-old nymphet is undeniably one of the best novels written, not only because of its riveting plot but because of its beautiful prose. The words alone are enough to seduce you and reel you inside Humbert's mind of lust, love, and longing.

2. Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal (Translated by Leon Ma. Guerrero)
I just started reading it last week. I've always wanted to reread Rizal's work because discussing it in high school made it seem so tedious and uninteresting -- as do most high school classes. Hehe. Besides, it was in textbook Filipino, which made it all the more difficult. I guess reading its translation (and the most accessible one at that, or so Guerrero claims) will fulfill my desire of appreciating Rizal's novels for what it is: a cultural phenomenon, a masterpiece. I can't wait to get to El Fili!

3. Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco
The book that got the local literary scene talking by gaining international awards. I just finished reading this last week but it's still on top of my bedside table. Definitely one of the best local novels out there. Miguel Syjuco presents a seemingly simple story in a complex but intricately woven manner that makes it easy to read but quite tough to digest. One has to read between the lines to get through the humor and message, which makes it a very thought-provoking and entertaining read. Syjuco certainly did the nation proud.

4. Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
Subtitled "Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, from Cleopatra to Princess Di", it may seem like a clever book not for the modern-day woman who wants history backing up her ambitions. Sure, it's a compilation of accounts about all the feisty, strong women from the Biblical era up to the present and how their lives took a tragic turn after gaining power -- and that might get to the audience across as, "Let's kill girl power because it just killed girls!" But reading about Cleopatra (who knew she married her brother?), Anne Boleyn (poor girl) and other more obscure but equally fascinating queens just only fuels the desire to step up and do better. Fearless femme fatales, oh yeah!

5. Dirty Italian
It's my birthday gift from The Boy-nospace-friend, back when he was still a boy-space-friend. It was supposed to be funny, because I used to manipulate him to flattering me in Italian before, and besides, it's a book full of curses and naughty phrases, but I think it was really thoughtful of him to give me this :P And besides, it's an awesome book! Now I can curse (and flirt) in Italian! -- except that no one understands. :))

(Off-topic: Speaking of Italian, my new piece for this semester's piano recital is Italian Mariner Song by Robert Schumann. I'd also be having my first exam in Italian 12/13 on Friday. And I'm listening to my favorite Italian song Non Amarmi by Aleandro Baldi and Francesca Alotta. I italiani devono fiero di me! HAHA!)

What's on your bedside table? ;)



And the rest is rust and stardust.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.

... All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other's soul and flesh; but there we were, unable even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do so.

- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov


Growing pains.


It's such a depressing word. From the way the long o curls into a lingering l and suddenly halts into a harsh, concrete d, the tangibility of its gloom is undeniable. Sure, age is just a number, with age comes wisdom, age is just a state of mind -- but nonetheless, it is a reality we all deal with albeit in different ways. And maybe I'm just not at that point where I'm ready to embrace being an adult yet.

Lately, I've been sleeping with thoughts of growing old on my mind, wondering how far (or how little) I've gone from the innocent little girl that I was. I'm not usually bothered by my age, and in fact I hardly ever think about it, unless the -Ber months start knocking and I'm forced to count down the days before my birthday. (That's just how my mind is wired when it comes to that day.) But for some reason, it's as if these thoughts have been finding their way inside my mind, disrupting me in my silence and resonating even in the noise.

Have I really been growing up, or just growing old?

We'd all like to believe that as our days become years and years become history, we get better at dealing with the situations life throws at us, especially at this time in our lives where we're no longer kids and we're practically adults. We laugh at petty high school cat fights, and snicker at unnecessary crush drama. We shake our heads in disbelief over our angsty, emo pre-pubescent tween phase and deem our ignorance tragic. We're smarter and better than that. Why? We're eighteen! We're in college! We're old! We know what we're doing! We're free! We're mature! We know better!

I guess it's ironic how it's also these statements that we use as excuses for all the other times we stop being smart and just start acting like the complete opposite of what we think we are: kids. I'm eighteen, I'm old. I know what I'm doing. And yet, we don't.

Every once in a while, the mistakes of my past come flashing right before me as if purposely saying how stupid I am for thinking I did what I thought was right. Just when I start believing that I'm getting better at handling myself in situations, the past comes knocking and makes me feel otherwise. And, adding insult to the injury, they come just when things are perfectly okay. It's unfair -- it's in the past and it shouldn't have a place in the present, much less the future. And yet it will find a way to haunt you and follow you. It's unfair -- because during that time, you just thought it was the right thing to do. But it is only later that you will realize it wasn't. It's unfair -- because just when you think you're doing fine, everything shatters to pieces.

It's during these times when I can't help but wonder: Have I really been making the right decisions? Am I really capable of judging what should and shouldn't be done? How do I really know which is the grown-up thing to do?

Sometimes, I still wish I was still a kid, when all the stupid mistakes I did are excusable by innocence, and all the things I said are caused by my ignorance. I still want to have the liberty of acting immature just because I don't know any better. It's overwhelming still that right now, there is just no one else to blame for all the mistakes I've done but myself.

Maybe the only grown-up thing to do is suck it up and learn from it. Deal with it by yourself. But then again, I think the better thing to do to go get a tub of ice cream, watch Toy Story, and get a hug from someone again and again until it feels better ;)

P.S. My Enemy aka best friend Hope Velasco just started her own blog! Hmm. Grown-ups should have better avenues of expressing themselves other than FB statuses, and blogs provide just that. Haha! I love you, Enemy!


Papa's girl.

There are so many things I have said and will continue to say about Papa because he's just too awesome, really. But last year's Father's Day blog entry may be hard to top, and besides I know deep inside he squirms when people adulate him, most especially me.

So in the very rare occasion that he does come across this, let me keep it short and sweet:

Happy Father's Day, Papa! :) You'll always be the number one man in my life, and I'll always be your number one girl.

Oops, no wait, number two. Hey, Ma. :)



I've been saving these last words for
one last miracle but I'm not sure
I can't save you if you don't let me
You just get me like I've never been gotten before.

- Gotten by Slasher feat. Adam Levine


Coming home.

It's been two years since I started living in Katipunan. I can still remember that first night: no microwave, no television, no internet. Just my bed, my clothes, my school supplies, and myself. Being the spoiled, pampered girl that I was in high school, suddenly being thrust into this place so far away from home was frightening. Of course, it was exciting too, but it was nothing compared to the fear. It was a whole new world out here -- no comfort of high school friends calling you, no assurance of a delicious home-cooked meal, no sign of parents waiting for you. Everything was just completely different. I wanted to prove myself strong and independent, but a huge part of me just really wanted to go back to Paranaque and crawl under my bed sheets. And that happened everyday, every week.

Flash forward to now. My parents just brought me back to the dorm this afternoon. I'm all alone in my room, with the television and the pouring of the rain playing in the background as I confirm friend requests. I wait for my tea to finish heating in the microwave to make me feel a little warm. I no longer feel the emptiness of my room, as I glance at my table already filled with too many readings. I still miss my real queen-sized bed, but there is comfort in this tiny little bed I am sitting on right now. This whole place, it doesn't feel alien anymore, it doesn't feel sad.

After two years, I'm no longer just a part of it, it's a part of me. I will always be a South girl, and I will always miss Paranaque, but this is also my place now. It's finally what it should be: home. Katipunan is home. UP is home.

I am home.


Fire at Palma Hall.

The Chemistry Pavillion of UP Diliman's Palma Hall was in flames early this morning after an electrical device was left plugged inside one of the rooms, igniting the fire. What's worse, the chemicals inside the building worsened the fire which made it more difficult for the firemen to extinguish it. Classes in Palma Hall and all the four pavilions were suspended for the day.

I have no connections whatsoever to the Chem Pav because (duh) I'm an English major. Sure, I go there every now and then to visit friends while they wait for their profs or to accompany them when submitting papers but other than that I have no affiliation to the dreaded C word. I never really liked Chemistry in the first place (and it never liked me), so the fact that I don't have academic reasons to visit the place is actually a relief.

But there is a reason why that Chem Pav is particularly special to me. Why? Because it was where I took the UPCAT. How was I supposed to forget that momentous day filled with jitters, fear, and a tremendous amount of brain damage? That building will (unfortunately) always be associated with nausea and anxiety, but it's nervousness well-cherished, because that is precisely the venue that decided my fate. Vivid images of the hallways, the staircase, the rooms flash before my eyes and suddenly I'm back to August 5, 2007. I can still remember standing outside, looking nervously at my permit (and my ugly-ass picture), silently observing fellow UPCAT takers, wondering about my future. The amount of pressure that weighed on my shoulders on that day was huge because the next four years of my life would depend on it.

Andee and I passed by Chem Pav a while ago to make "usyoso." It wasn't completely destroyed, but you could see how bad the damage was. The windows panes were lined with heavy black traces and the smell of burned chemicals lingered. It looked sad and deserted. It also looked like it would take a while to be restored. It was kind of depressing. That was the place where I took the UPCAT! It's got a place in my personal history! And now it's -- well, not gone, but -- really, badly ruined. But because I am completely unassociated with it, I can't help but also feel, well, a little indifferent. After all, I'm not the one who's going to suffer Chem17 makeup classes.

Being the over-thinker that I am, I can't help but wonder: Is there a metaphorical analogy behind this? Is it a premonition for something? Do I need to read between the lines? Does this mean that my UP dreams would go down in flames as well? Oh God! *exaggeration caused by too much fiction* What does this mean?

Well, I'm not sure about the whole symbolism thing. I have yet to come up with an elaborate story on that. But one thing I'm sure of right now is that classes in Palma Hall (AS) today and tomorrow are suspended. And that meant only one thing to me right now: NO ITALIAN CLASSES!

So is it so wrong to feel so relieved?


Back to The Stress Factory.

UP, we have only been back together for two days and already you are stressing me out. WHYYY?

Over the span of forty eight hours I have gone from relaxed to excited to wasted, and all just after five subjects or so. I swear this is going to be my most toxic semester yet -- and yes I am already certain of that. My majors this sem are mostly English and CL courses, which means I would have tons of reading to do. It's not surprising given my course, but I guess the sheer idea of the volume of work for the remaining months dawns on me and right now, I'm kind of hyperventilating. If you only saw the readings and books! But with a bit of luck, maybe I can manage. My latest dismissal is at 4:00 pm, so hopefully I would have enough time on my hands to catch up on my reading lists.

But probably the biggest hurdle would be my Italian 12/13. It's an integrated advanced Italian class worth 6 units, meaning I have it everyday. And my God, right now my head is still reeling from the shock I got in class. My last Italian class (Italian 11) was in my second year, first semester, so I have to admit that I am kind of rusty. The year in between was obviously not spent in watching Rai Italia or watching Italian movies, so I guess I came to class with the thought that "Hey, it's the first day. What could go wrong?" Well, turns out, EVERYTHING. Our teacher came in class, with no English greetings and introductions, and just started blabbing on and on -- in Italian. I was picking up random words here and there, but everything else was all a blur. I kept asking inside my head, "Where are the fucking subtitles? I don't understand anything!" And the worst part was when I was asked a question, I had to fumble a grammatically incorrect statement and then a quick apology after. Boy, was it embarrassing. Well, my teacher seems strict but he's actually kind of funny. Kind of. Aaargh. I really have to brush up on those verbs again. And tune in to the Italian Channel and actually listen.

Then, just this afternoon, it rained so hard (with matching thunder and lightning) that taking the commute home was yet another challenge. Katipunan jeeps inside UP are actually quite extinct but always sought-after. The jeepney terminal lines meanwhile are always a mile long, and even a mile longer when it's pouring. I'm used to it, but I guess after all the negative vibes that I have accumulated so far, my commute today was really like rubbing salt on an open wound.

The only silver lining in all this would have to be my PE class. It's funny (in a sad sort of way) that my schedule is the exact opposite of my boyfriend's. All of my class times are his breaks, and vice versa. I swear, if you saw our schedules, you would laugh at the irony. We had zero chance of ever seeing or even bumping into each other on weekdays due to conflicting schedules, and on weekends because of his exams and of course, because we would be going back home. But our last hope of ever seeing each other this semester was my PE class. Thank the stars for my professor, who used to be my prof in my Walking class two years ago. He was very kind and funny about the prerog (there's a great story about that particular prerog process but maybe I'll keep that for now), and to keep the story short: my boyfriend got in the class! So hooray for that!

The first week isn't even finished yet, and here I am already ranting about the sem. I know I have to think positive and be strong and yadda, yadda, yadda. But oh, I just feel so tired. Maybe I just need to sleep this off. Or maybe I just need ice cream?

I suddenly feel McFlurries summoning.

UP, you really are a stress factory.


Waiting in line can make you profound.

As Andee, Jamie and I were waiting (im)patiently in line for enrollment last Wednesday, our idle minds couldn't help but talk about our future and what lies ahead the three of us in creative writing. As I have mentioned in a previous post, it has become a slow, arduous battle with words, rhyme, plots, and climaxes. It was never easy. Even for me, who admittedly still enjoys the course in general. The thought of being somewhere else, busying ourselves with other things can often be comforting. But at that very moment, while waiting for our adviser to arrive, we are still CW students. Nothing else.

But while we were stuck in the unmoving, monotonous present (that is, the line we were in), it was only natural for our thoughts to fly somewhere else - somewhere in the past, and in the future. Of course, the inevitable "Remember our freshman enrollment?" nostalgia trip was to occur. It happens every enrollment, every semester. We would reminisce how the five of us waited by the door of our adviser, warily asking what high school we came from, what PEs we had, what time our English 11 was. We would laugh at the door incident we had with a bitchy (gay) prof as we were about to enter his room. We would shake our heads in embarrassment over our dumb questions about the Toki route and library clearances. Every recollection of that day would somehow make us feel better about ourselves - oh how much we've grown, how much we've learned since then. And suddenly, all would be well again.

However this time was different. Usually, by the moment we finish laughing over the time we still had our moms with us for that enrollment, the lines would start moving and we would be abruptly pulled back to the present, leaving no time for reminiscing, but for e-prerog, post-advising, assessment and payment woes. But because this semester's adviser was known for being notoriously late, we had no choice but to sit there (im)patiently and keep on talking, complaining, and unavoidably, wondering.

Suddenly, it dawned on us. Third year. Goodness, we're halfway through! Even after all the bitching and anxiety-attacks over our course, we've finished two years. Just two more years to go, and before you know it, it's yearbook photographs and graduation tears all over again. But unlike high school, where stepping into junior year only gets you excited about the future, this time it's different. This time, there's this big scary place waiting for us after we get our diplomas - what's that called again? Oh yeah, right. REAL LIFE. (Also: Law school!)

Checking our curriculum course list and crossing out all the subjects I have already taken, it became apparent to me how near (yet far) the end is already. I only had seventeen subjects to go, excluding the ones I would be taking this first semester. That's 17 subjects in 3 semesters. That's 51 units left. Seems like a lifetime more to go, but seeing my course list almost halfway crossed out was the tangible proof that I am almost there. Almost. Almost. Almost. And I didn't know what to feel.

But that's the thing with almosts. It possesses the power of both a need and a want. It can be a stimulus or a disincentive. It may bring forth regret, or contentment. The good thing with almost though, is that it is never a plateau. Once you realize an almost, it's a plunge right down to either the greatest thing in your life, or the worst. It's the big drop on a rollercoaster, the big turning point of a story. It's where you make things happen (or not happen), right when you realize, "I'm almost there."

And what happened after my philosophical musings on our future? Well, we were to wait an hour or so more before she finally signed our Form 5A's. What's new? UP is not known for being the University of Pila for nothing. If anything, the most important lesson they want to teach us (but we stubbornly refuse) is patience. So the three of us ended up quoting the entire Mean Girls movie again. Almost.

Here's to Junior year aka The Almost Year. Let's do this!


Quote of the day.

Lokohin mo na ang lasing at ang bagong gising,
wag lang mga estudyante ng UP
na sa enrollment nanggaling!

Yes, folks: I'm now officially a college junior. @_@