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A Song for You - Michael Buble

But we're alone now
and I'm singing this song for you


Postcard from Abada

I found this outside my window the other day. It would have been nice to share the view, to have another set of eyes seeing the spectacle of a pink sunset, but what was there to say? Any word would have trivialized the instant into a mere Wow, which is never sufficient; when was it ever?

I was in the company of books, nine books to be specific, but books that I actually liked. It was a big haul and just having it stacked on my table by the window was comforting enough, even though they have yet to be read. There is a quiet kind of affirmation one feels when surrounded by possibilities - the possibilities of new books, new stories, new people. Possibilities of cozying up in a corner with just one train of thought, possibilities of conversations about a line that jumped at him because it made a wrestling reference, which you never realized yourself.

It was like getting drunk in the beauty of being alone, of finally seeing a picture of what it's like to have only yourself, of realizing that you are beautiful and exquisite despite people getting tired of you or not believing in you, of looking at a pink sunset and finding yourself in it.

I found this outside my window the other day, and it's like the sun telling me: it's going to be okay, and for the first time in a long time, I believed it.


A cycle of violence

I think my feelings for law school can be summed up in this one line from People vs. Genosa, which is ironically, from a subject that is not exactly on my list of favorites right now (thanks to a former prof who hates my guts-- but that's for another post altogether):

More graphically, the battered woman syndrome is characterized by the so-called “cycle of violence,” which has three phases: (1) the tension-building phase; (2) the acute battering incident; and (3) the tranquil, loving (or, at least, nonviolent) phase.

Oh god, I am in an abusive relationship with law school. And yes, despite this kind of treatment, I am deluding myself into staying, because jesuschrist I just want to be loved back.




Karla - 2, Oblicon - 0

I'm sure those numbers won't stay that way for long, but one thing I learned in law school is that even the little victories matter. A good recit is a good recit. Oh, small joys. Woohoo.



Geraldez vs Kenstar Travel. aka EuroTrip from Hell. Lesson learned: always double check your travel agencies. It was so funny that it was actually kind of sad. I will forever owe my decent recit in Oblicon to their ridiculous defense.





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The four of them wanted to see light. Atop the observatory, they were looking up at the stars, half-asleep and half-drunk, but fully expectant of every bit of dust and light that might shoot its way across the sky. They were lying down on the floor and talking, the kind of talk that was aware of how this wasn't the kind of talk they normally do, the kind of talk that was meant only to make sounds to keep each other awake and to keep each other warm. But it wasn't at all gibberish. It was the kind of talk that sang, it was the kind of talk that led to song. They were singing of Stars (or at least two of them were) while waiting for stars, while waiting for something significant, while waiting for a cosmic event that will set things in motion. Wasn't this how it always began? With a bright light and a wish? They were doing nothing else really, other than just look up, but somehow lying there, with friends, in a campus that wasn't theirs, in a night that wasn't even supposed to happen, meant something. The anticipation weighed just as much, if not more, and they knew it. They knew it in the way they clinked their shot glasses, in the way they nibbled on the chips, the way they traversed foreign territory just shy of midnight.

The meteor came - in fact, it wasn't even just a meteor - it was a fireball. It ripped through the black sky quickly, gracefully, almost as if it was ashamed of having ruined the perfect stillness of the sky. It was enough to keep them in awe, in a momentary state of shock. But it was only for a while, only in that instant that it was traversing the blackness across them. After it was gone, they went back to talking, about pasts, about futures, about song. About each other. About things that didn't matter, things that did. They found the light, yes. But it wasn't in the meteor.





just because there are no pre-existing contractual obligations doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.


Blank pages

So it begins again.

It's back to the battlefield that is law school once more for me.

The beginnings of new semesters usually elicit feelings of excitement, but the whole debacle of last semester kind of ruined it all for me. While I'm still thrilled about the idea of buying new pens and filling up new notebooks, there;s this undeniable feeling of dread that this semester is just going to be as tiring and demanding as the previous one, if not more. There is still also this fear, that perhaps there is something in me that I have lost permanently after having experienced such emotional and mental exhaustion. Sure, I don't doubt that I am going to be okay again eventually, and the idea of recovery is becoming clearer in my head now. But at the back of my mind, I think a part of me has embraced the pessimism that found its way into my system some time back. I was never like this. I was never the kind of girl that gave up on anything before I even got the chance to start it. I was never the type to push people away, just because I'm terrified. Yet, I also don't think it's something I can turn off just like that after everything that's happened - it's the natural consequence of it all, I guess.

I feel like for the first time though, I really am welcoming this new semester as a different person. I am seeing things with new eyes this time - perhaps no longer with colored glasses, but not with completely shattered ones either. It is overwhelming, for many reasons, but mostly just because there is this expectation that I know better now, that I can make better choices now, given all that has happened. In theory, I suppose that's right. But I'm still scared. I have to admit that.

At this point I'm already tired of saying it. And I'm sure people are tired of hearing it too. But it's there, the fear. I can't make it go away just yet. But I'm trying. Every day I wake up, every single time I get myself off the bed, that's me trying.

I won't promise myself anything big this semester. I don't need bold declarations of "I'm going to rock this sem!" or "This is going to be my semester, watch out!" Nothing about that false kind of confidence comforts me now - in fact, it only makes me feel the gaping hole between appearances and actual feelings. So when people ask me what's the game plan, I just shrug and say, "Let's see." Because other than the fact that that's all there is to it, I also don't know what's there for me. I am not looking forward to anything. I have no idea if I can survive ObliCon, I'm not even sure if I deserve to be in Crim 2 (our Crim 1 grades aren't out still), I can't tell if I'm ready to let people in again... I really do not know.

All I know is that I have this semester. And all that I want it to be is a blank page - not a continuation of the past, not an entirely different chapter either. Just a blank page.

As far as new beginnings go, I think I'm okay with that.


the end where i begin

we keep ending it with a comma, as if we were merely catching breath, as if we have been speaking too much in the last two and a half years and we just needed a break, we did, i now understand, we really did; you did, you thought you did; but what i never realized was i did too, because i kept talking and talking and talking, as if merely rambling out words were enough to justify a conversation; but we both knew what it was, wasn't it? it was no longer just about my day because you asked, it was about your day because i didn't ask and we had nothing else to talk about, so you put a period on it finally, just to end the conversation, and i didn't like the silence, because it drove me crazy, it brought me to the point where i couldn't wash my own dishes, and i refused to sleep on my own bed, and i stopped wearing the pink jacket you gave me, i stopped being me for a while, and it wasn't beautiful at all; but there is an exquisite kind of pain, the kind that makes your eyes sparkle over the joy one finds in little things, the kind that makes one grateful for oreos and donuts and people saying one has nice legs - things that no longer come from you because you put a period on us, and we stopped talking - and i found comfort in that silence, but i refused to accept it, i pushed it all away, because you made a sound again, the sound of a phone ringing in the middle of a night, unanswered with a hello at first, but eventually welcomed with much relief, like a lost pen being found, and we tried to hold on to the sound of our cries and laughs and moving hands, as if trying to make up for the silence of the last four months, as if trying to deny feelings of loss or betrayal or pain, as if pretending knowing about the pill didn't hurt, things that kept looking us back in the eye when we tried brushing them off - so we put a comma, we put a comma because we never want it to end, because it sounds right, but there are other sentences to be written, other stories to be told, and commas only clutter things, like this, because can anything ever make sense in run-ons?




On My Bedside Table: A birthday edition

What better way to spend one's birthday (and well-earned semester break) than by getting oneself new books, right? One of the things I missed in the last few months is having the time to just lounge around and immerse myself in a really good book. Sure, reading cases are fun (sometimes) - but they always come with the stress and pressure of having to remember facts that the professor might ask or that might come up in the tests. There is also the added frustration of realizing that you will never finish on time. Reading is hardly the fun and relaxing activity I've known it to be when it comes to the study of law. While I still had my fair share of bedside book tables last sem (how can I not? I have books everywhere), I must admit that I never really had the time to finish them. And as such, I never went out of my way to buy new ones either. Sad, I know.

So I was only more than eager to get my love of reading rekindled through books that I actually love and chose for myself. For my birthday, we went to Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street, and like a little kid inside a candy store, I just ran wild. 

Here is what's been keeping me occupied these last few days. I'm almost halfway done with all of them - which is telling of how deprived I was of books that truly interested me in the past months :))

Drown by Junot Diaz

I don't think I have mentioned in this blog how in love I am with Junot Diaz. I was supposed to write a blog entry about his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao after I read it, because it was that rich and compelling, but precisely for those reasons, I never got around to doing so. I never knew how to begin explaining Junot Diaz, and quite frankly, up to now, I don't think I can do him justice.

Drown is Diaz's collection of short stories, and a precursor to Oscar Wao, in more ways than one. The strength of Diaz's prose lies in his cultural background and how well he incorporates his being Dominicano into every bit of his fiction, from the characters to the language. But the characters he creates are almost never alien, and somehow even in their "otherness" they are actually quite "universal." They speak so naturally, they react so casually, that you can almost hear them right there outside your window, fighting over a lover or anticipating a fiesta. It's even more fascinating when you realize how similar their culture is to ours - you can say it's because of our shared Spanish-colonized histories - that you almost forget you're reading fiction of the Dominican Republic, not the Philippines. Almost.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Disclaimer: I picked up this book because (1) I've been seeing this for the longest time but never got around to buying it because I keep seeing other books on top of my "priority" list, and (2) it was hardbound and had illustrations for every chapter, making it really thick because it used glossy paper, which makes the entire thing really pretty to look at, but (3) it was only Php 480! Four-hundred eighty pesos for a hardbound, illustrated book.  How can you not pick up this book for that reason alone? [Well, of course, that wasn't my only reason, but that's for another blog post altogether.]

What you see is what you get in Why We Broke Up: a long love letter about why two young people broke up. Minerva is returning a box to her ex-boyfriend Ed - a box full of things that reminded her of him, of them. It's unconventional in its conventionality, because while you somehow get an idea of what's coming (i.e. their break-up), it always manages to surprise you. For a YA novel, it certainly is one of those that strike a quiet balance between innocence and maturity. While it does explore the thrills and inconveniences of a first love, what resonates more is the fruition of falling in love with a person who is your complete opposite - which speaks to everyone, I believe, regardless of age.

(A little trivia: Daniel Handler is a writer more popularly known for his pen name, Lemony Snicket. Yep.)

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

Fine, it is another one of those books that just jumped out at me simply for its title. (Hey, I'm guilty of judging a book by its title sometimes. Sue me.) This book could not have come to me at a more opportune time. I guess if this list were a mix tape, Essays In Love would be my anthem.

Alain de Botton weaves together philosophy and fiction in this story about two strangers falling in love and eventually falling apart. But of course, it's more than just that - it's always more than that. This is one of those books where the story itself is only secondary to the author's prose, which relies heavily on his philosophical dissection of love and all its intricacies: from the initial meeting, the reluctance, the appearances we keep, the politics in bed, etc. I particularly liked how each paragraph is "numbered," as if each of them are bullets popping out of the narrator's head in succession, stream-of-consciousness-style. If our over-analyzing (especially when it comes to our beloved) were to be written down on paper, this is how it would look like.

More than anything, it's the questions that he asks, and not the story he tells, that lets this book leave its mark on you. If there is one thing that I can bravely and undoubtedly pin the word love on right now, it's this book. It's that beautiful.

Our Rights, Our Victories: Landmark Cases in the Supreme Court by Marites Vitug

Ah, yes. The book that came a semester too late. I promised myself I'll lay off on the law books this break, but I saw this book and it just had me at "Landmark Cases in the Supreme Court" -- I had to get it.

It is only one of the many nonfiction books by known journalist Marites Vitug about the legal system in the Philippines. Her other book, Hour Before Dawn, was bonus reading for our Consti law class (which has been undeniably one of my most challenging subjects), as such, I was already aware of how well Vitug renders legal jargon to smooth, effortless exposition. Upon reading this book, however, I immediately felt a sense of regret of the Why only now? variety. Alas, here was a book that presented some of the landmark cases we discussed in class - in well-crafted prose! "Why didn't I find this book sooner!?" was all I could hear myself say.

It was a thrill to see the cases we read in class presented in a different context other than as explained in the ponentias. Whereas the cases themselves only deal with the actual controversies pertaining to legal disputes, this book presents the entire situation - what really went on before, during, and after the trials, who the people labelled as "petitioner" and "respondents" were, when it all occurred, and why it all had to happen. One of the things that can make reading a case difficult (especially for those outside the study of law) is that they are so technical, the story gets lost in the process. While, of course, the narrative is not of primary importance here, for someone like me, I find it important in my understanding of the case - which is why having all these characters and details fleshed out by Vitug in a manner that the ponentes failed to do so helped enrich my understanding of these landmark cases.

I can only hope all the other cases we read in class are written like this. #CWmajorproblems

Spider-Man Blue

So, okay, this is not exactly a book, not exactly something I bought at Fully Booked, and not even on print. But I put this here because it's a recommendation from a very good friend of mine that has gotten me so engrossed over the last couple of weeks, it deserves a spot on my bedside table, even if only through my tablet. 

Spider-Man Blue is a re-telling of Peter Parker's transition from high school loner to friends with the popular crowd, from lovestruck boy to torn-between-two-women, and from typical teenager to friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. At the center of the story is Peter's undying love for Gwen Stacy and how he never truly seemed to forget her, even long after her death. It's poignant and honest - almost like a love letter of sorts, rather than a peek into the life of a very public superhero. But it is precisely this vulnerability that lends more humanity to a character so wrongly misunderstood as merely that web-slinging wisecrack.

To be honest, I have always wanted to dip my toes into the world of comics, but have always been pretty intimidated - perhaps because of the sheer volume of issues that I don't know where to begin, or because of the passion it stirs up in each fan that I'm afraid I will never get it as much as they do. But I think now I'm beginning to understand why. Not all comics are written with just pure spectacle - they have a lot of heart too. It just takes a little getting used to to see this translated on paper as images and not words.

(Is it so wrong that after this, I'm completely on #TeamGwen now? At least my rooting for Emma Stone is now anchored by the actual comics and not just her overall adorable-ness - although, that's not exactly such a bad thing, is it?)


It's such a shame that school starts again in less than a week, meaning I'd have less (or almost zero) time to read books again. But - silver linings - that'll only make looking forward to Christmas much easier. Crossing my fingers that I get lots of gift cards to book stores come December. Yoohoo, can you hear me, Santa?