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The Way We Are

Hitting two birds with one stone: dinner with high school friends for Tin's birthday and for meeting "new friends." :))

Knowing how much our barkada sucks at planning things, it's such a miracle that this finally pushed through. (Last week, Maring got in the way; on all the other occasions, our laziness and extremely busy scheds are the culprit.) It was great to just catch up, talk about former schoolmates, crack old jokes, and create new ones, enough to make us feel so at home, and for them to feel just as welcomed.

There really is nothing like a good night with these guys.

Happy birthday, Tin! 



Wait for it

Because you never know -- the girl with the yellow umbrella might have been waiting all these years for you too.

If there's anything HIMYM has consistently taught me, it's that (1) what makes for a great story are the characters, and (2) nothing is too small or insignificant for a terrific storyteller.

I, for one, don't think Ted's the best storyteller. (I also don't think he's such an ideal guy - well, for me at least - but that's for a different post altogether.) But, I think that none of us are - when we tell what we think is a great story, we all have the tendency to go off track, remember random details, or forget important ones.

This is the most important story in Ted's life: meeting the love of his life. Granted, it's taken him eight (or nine) years on our watch to get there. And granted, along the way, we've seriously considered if this girl really is The One (especially after Robin). But this is not our tale to tell - it's his. And if he thinks that this is the way to build up the biggest, most meaningful event his life, then we have no choice but to let him finish. We may doubt his feelings, we may judge his choices, but we cannot fault him for telling things this way, because everything in the last eight years, in his head at least, is what got him here. In Farhampton. Where the girl with the yellow umbrella is.

A great story is not just about a hero with a happy ending. It should have a believable ending, with a hero who deserves it. Ted meeting the Mother early on in the show couldn't have possibly led to a convincing and satisfying conclusion. Because that would mean Ted The Romantic being offered The Girl of His Dreams on a silver platter. That would've been so.. easy. No, Ted had to be broken apart, beaten up, left at the altar, repeatedly denied - all of it. He had to get to a point where the mere idea of believing in love and holding out for it stopped making sense. He had to be shaken to his very core and reduced to this. Because only then can love - the magical, wonderful kind he has always held on to - be able to make a true devotee out of him.

Ted, it's been a great journey. Sure, some years (aka seasons) were better than others. But it was an enjoyable ride - one we didn't mind listening to, one we didn't mind waiting for.

Because quite frankly, despite all possible evidence to the contrary, I still believe you when you said she was worth it. So thank you for teaching us how to wait,

and to believe in the universe again, despite all odds.


Some spoken poetry on a Tuesday evening

"Before Bed" by Zora Howard

Bobby Pin crown,
You, my throne,
We make like an empire
before this closet mirror door
a village in your eyes,
my eyes reflecting back
upon this sanctified seat
and oh,
what they will bear witness to this eve.
When wrapping my hair,
you watch me,
press your chest right up on my back
hold my hips as if they were the only mast offering balance
to this wayward sea captain
as if it were my hands sea
my hands sorcery
my hands witchcraft or
wire-weaver who spins gold
threading a nest of precious stone
but my fingers are rather betting fiddling,
finding things to fix on your face,
throw to find there isn’t much a scab to pick,
a zit to pop,
fussing with your stubborn fuzz
which you like so much to bury in the north west axis of my neck.
You’re distracting.
I got a mouthful of pins and a bedtime to respect.
Though your core is gorged with God,
your hands are full of sin,
young man.
My waist does not a meadow make for you to serpent your way in,
young man.
We’ve got to go to bed.
I is a still wet concrete
and here comes you,
a brazen unkempt boy,
carving your gang signs all up alongside me with an unassuming stick.
Where is your home training?
Why do you make the city of me so unbecoming?
Your language is hardening in this landscape of mine.
Everyone will pass here
and what will they find?
That I am your block,
I am your boulevard,
your bayou,
And baby,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind.

When wrapping my hair,
you stare and dare not touch.
Instead, our brown goes for one long line around.
We cannot tell where you begin my end.
I start to blush.
You make to play connect my dots,
my blemishes, and beauty marks
and with your lips
inaugurate my monuments like they’ve just begun this night
last night
and this love is so fresh it squeaks and shines
and lies a little bit,
has secrets and shit to hide a little bit,
small unpoetic things like
like, Baby, you don’t know how to eat chicken
and sometimes it bothers me
like, you leave so much meat on the bone,
your leftovers could feed a small child with a big appetite
or make a nice snack for me now or later with some potato bread or butter.
And it takes everything in my power
not to clean your plate for you but, goodness,
that would be ghastly.
And also,
I pass gas.
I talk with my neck and my hands,
not only when I’m fed up
but sometimes,
when I’m trying to say a point like
It just helps me express it better.
And I got a little street in me.
Sometimes, I lose my cool and get hood.
And I never lose in Taboo but I’m so competitive
I’d make you cry and I’m mean.
Your feet make me uncomfortable.
You never have a clue but it’s more than a hint
when I suggest you and I should go get pedicures together soon.
I have 13 piercings
and two tattoos and
you still look at my body like it’s brand spanking new.
It’s not.

I’m afraid you’ll find my tarnished parts.
If you keep snooping around the way you do,
I’m afraid you’ll see there is no land left here unchartered or uncharred.
This was an empire
before they burned their fires,
stuck their flags deep in this soil.
And when the ear was barren dry,
they gave it back,
unholy act.
See, I’m no piece girl,
when I love I give the whole of me.
So when they left the lease in pieces,
they also left these holes in me.
my monuments have seen some things, baby,
civil wars, famine, and crusades, baby,
the conquer and raids of holy places.
So before we go any farther, baby,
will you listen to the kind of mess my heart’s been in?
touch the grit that’s sitting tranquil
between each whittled rib?
after all the best has been torn away,
will you want the rest of me,
the parts that poets find grotesque and plain,
the bits that boil and bubble over,
crack and callous,
break down and dust to dust;

My crown is fluff.
Bobby pinned bee hive hair,
but, when wrapping my hair just before bed, you stay.
my shoulder be your port,
your eyes revere my isle,
your hands hold my sea.
Let’s make camp here for a while
and oh,
what they will bear witness to this eve.




I took the UPCAT six years ago.

I was fifteen and all kinds of scared.

Everything about it was so overwhelming - the campus, the people, the future that depended on it. For someone who went to a very conservative girls' school for twelve years, a place like UP is something to be afraid of. It was an entirely different world from the one I was used to. It was huge, it was loud, and it welcomed people of all kinds. It was home to the smart and the brave. It was the promised land - and it was the only place I wanted to go to. We all had our dream schools - this was mine.

Much of that day I still recall vividly. (Thanks no less to this entry I wrote right after it.) And much of the person I was that day I still kind of remember. She was so worried, so nervous. The rest of her life seemed to depend heavily on that test. She didn't know what would happen to her and she had no idea what would become of her. But she knew what she wanted - clearly, without doubt, with conviction.

Six years ago, she took the UPCAT.

And now here I am, a graduate of Creative Writing and a student of Law.

I can't say for sure if I am in a much better person now than that fifteen-year-old Karla who was so full of idealism and hopefulness. She was kind, and expectant, and so full of love untainted. She was whole.

UP gave me heartaches, and disappointment, and great, great loss. It made me question everything I believed in. It gave me sleepless nights and troubled mornings. It defeated what I thought was a strong sense of self. It broke me apart into tiny little pieces. It destroyed me. But it also gave me afternoons under the shade of trees along the Oval. It gave me laughter on the steps of certain buildings. It gave me walks in the rain. It gave me people, and places, and faces. It gave me love, of all kinds.

For all that and more, I couldn't be more thankful. Six years ago, fifteen-year-old Karla took the most important test of her life. I wish I can buy her ice cream and comfort her a bit after she gets out of the Chem Pav at around 6:30 pm that Sunday. I owe her. She got me into this crazy, wonderful mess.

And everything has been beautiful since.