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Gone for the summer.

The summer of 2011 has been a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a rather uneventful and acads-filled two months mainly because of summer class (my choice, really, but still) accompanied by a rather warranted sense of lethargy brought upon by the intense heat. To me, summer does not bring about images of sand between my toes and the glistening sea; it's usually just the dread of cougar-age temperatures in Celsius and the anticipation for lazy afternoon naps. There's the usual out-of-the-country trip with the family, but other than those four or five days (sometimes a week or more), the rest of vacation is usually spent mainly on what I'm ashamed to admit I do best: bumming around.

But much to my surprise (and amusement, of course), I'm glad to say that I've spent most of my summer without my laptop - or rather, I've gone on days without it. Which means I've actually stepped out of my house, went someplace else (that is not virtual) and had actual stories to tell about how my day(s) went. And I've put my nifty little point-and-shoot camera to good use. I am so proud of myself, really.

Which is not to say that from now on I'm going to live life without the Internet. God knows that is not possible. But then again, at least I'd be able to say that I've spent the last few weeks of my summer doing stuff I could write about, not doing stuff just so I could blog about them. So, allow me, for the next couple of posts or so, to share with you how my summer went: from striptease recital, to beaches, to racing, to Disneyland. It all happened so quickly and I have yet to recover, but am I glad - tan lines, sunburn, and all :)

(Just so you know, I'm listening to Teen Daze as I write this; ironic, I know, listening to them as the summer ends AND writing about summer on the last day of May, but hey it's all about perspective, and who's to say I can't cap off my summer like this?)



Bring me closer to heart attack.

(Photo credit here)

Isn't it thrilling how one person, one man, one stranger, can put into music the complexities of the sentiments you thought you were going through alone? How can words coming from a person you've never met sum up the entire spectrum of feelings you've attached to parts of yourself no one else knows? How is it possible that amidst the sea of faces and crowded arms, you feel like it's only you and him engulfed in the music, like a secret only you two share?

There is a reason why this band, and particularly that man, will always have a place in my life. Through my roughest times and my best moments, it's them I come running home to after all the tears and the sighs. It was She Will Be Loved that I cried to on the piano when everything else was falling apart, it was Songs About Jane that I played endlessly on my iPod when things started to shift gears before I even got the chance to admit that they were. In fact, all of their albums I've listened to from beginning to end, and there is just no way a Maroon 5 song won't be appropriate for any kind of feeling or situation in my life.

Thank you, Adam Levine, for gracing us with your hotness. Thank you, James Valentine, Jesse Carmichael, Michael Madden, and Matt Flynn, for leaving us an incredible experience. And thank you, Maroon 5, for making me feel loved. Last night, and always.

How does it feel to know you never have to be alone when you come home?



He was playing with his phone, twirling it between his index finger and thumb, trying to make it seem like this was what he always did when there were pauses to fill between the how-are-yous and what's-your-next-class, but the quivering of his fingers said otherwise. I should know. I've mastered the skill of phone-swiveling.

"Don't you ever get annoyed that people never call you by your first name?" I asked, finally shattering the cafeteria buzz that disguised itself as awkward silence between us.

I was, after all, curious. I wondered how anyone ever got to calling him anything other than Tan.

"Who would want to be called Genesis anyway? I mean, even I would be annoyed if anyone called me that," he replied without hesitation.

I couldn't even imagine myself calling him Genesis. Even if we become friends, or even just close acquaintances - the kind that had inside jokes about our respective partners, or this as-good-as-rubber baked mac I was trying to eat. I wondered what his mom called him? I assume Sassa would give his real name when she called him at home and his mom picks up the phone. Hi Tita, can I speak with Gen please? Genesis! It's your girlfriend! Or when she would introduce him to her friends. Hi guys, this is Tan. It sounds too impersonal. And odd. This is Gen. It sounds even odder.

I laughed, both at his remark and at the thought inside my head. Gen Tan. I cannot imagine feeling any more glad about being Anne Cruz. Default, but without fault. He laughed too. At me, with me, I cannot be sure. And with that, the lull sneaked its way back between us again, like it always did. We weren't really friends - only connected because as they say in Disneyland (and in this university), it's a small world after all. I suppose after this we're now entitled to an eyebrow-raise or even a small "Uy!" that wouldn't seem too pretentious.

Finally, 5:30. He stood up to leave, carrying with him the Lock-and-Lock water bottle he had refilled a few minutes ago and a giant paper bag (that I'm guessing contained either a really large stuffed toy or a whole lot of shoes), and said goodbye. I wished him luck about his surprise and asked him to greet Sassa a happy birthday for me. I glanced at my phone and wondered if I should be going as well. No new messages.

Wednesday was about to end, quietly lifting the burden of the week from the students as Thursday is slowly ushered in. I could see the sun from behind the trees, as tired from the day as the students inside the cafeteria were. For a group meeting, for a quick snack, for a glass of water - people saying hi, people coming, people walking away faster than you can wave them hello. It was the way things were. The most people can give you is their five minutes, and before you can even crack a joke that would cement familiarity, the bell rings, the professor comes in, your friend texts you, the sun sets, time's up - you're to be somewhere else. I don't complain. Instead, I put the earphones back in my ear, and resumed nodding to Metric's Collect Call.

I tried browsing through my notes about trigonometric functions to while away the time, feeling stupid because I was in a building with people who have likely mastered them in their sleep. I tried to blend in with the crowd, tried to make it look like I don't mind being alone again, because I don't. It's just better to be feeling alone with someone, rather than being alone, period. It's okay to wait when someone else is waiting. No matter that it's almost a stranger whose path I'm unlikely to cross again - at least, for a while, I wasn't the loner girl on the table by the water dispenser.

I glanced at my phone again, hoping that the message, the person I was waiting for had arrived; hoping that the minutes would shatter the waiting. 5:32.


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Thank you, Stache Magazine!

A short story of mine, "In Her White Dress," has been featured on Stache Magazine's All-Art April 2011 issue - and it's such a thrill! I only found out about it today because honestly, as soon as I submit anything, be it for features or acads, I try to get it off my mind as quickly as I possibly can lest it gets me up all night worrying about typos, mistakes, could-have-beens, should-have-beens. I'm glad it turned out well - and on the pages of this magazine! (Which, might I add, has exponentially been gaining a mass of followers.) To be featured on the Art Issue makes me feel truly ecstatic because the entire issue is filled to the brim with works of very talented artists, designers, writers, and musicians - they are all so inspiring, and it's unbelievable to have a work of mine placed alongside all of them :) The PDF copy is available for free on their website - I hope you get your copies! The whole thing is quite a treat, really.

Thanks again, Stache! Special mention to my friend, Ayiene, who is the website editor. You guys have done a truly awesome job! Keep inspiring the youth! :)



And I can't remember life before your name.

UP, there just can't be any other.