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As I am writing this, it is a day past your birthday. It is actually the 29th on February, something that happens only every four years. The year we first met, 2008, was a leap year. In one of our first meetings, you joked that you were born on this date, but I was quick to point out your birthday didn't fall on a leap year. Cue nervous giggles. Who would have thought those small talks would lead to this.

The last February 29 I had, I was in a very different place, as you were too. We weren't friends yet; just on Facebook. I greeted you a happy birthday, you said thanks, and that was that. But then, somehow, the universe played tricks on us and decided to bring us together. When I think about the many things that have happened in the last four years, I still find myself shaking my head - in disbelief, in awe, in gratefulness.

To the person who has brought me so much light: happy, happy birthday. Here's to many more leap years, and giant leaps in life with you.


Surreal / So Real: What I learned about becoming a fan of a loveteam

Scout asked me to write about #OTWOL, but after last Saturday's concert (which I attended with my equally-crazed friends), I ended up writing about #JaDine. Kind of the same thing, if you ask me.

I've already been asked before: "Why are you spending so much time on this?" I tried coming up with scholarly, dignified answers - it's something that lets me apply my knowledge on private international law, particularly on the laws on marriage; it's a show whose writing reminds me of the kinds of works I used to study back in college - but the truth is, I just really enjoy it, unabashedly, with no real definite explanation, like a lovesick teenager with raging hormones.

I find the greatest joys in the simplest of things - and sometimes, that means things that aren't high brow, things that aren't always rarefied in taste. But who's to say there's nothing to be gained in enjoying the smoke and mirrors of all this spectacle? There's a lot of truths I've found about myself ever since I've jumped into this rabbit-hole of a fandom - from my projections about my career to my perspective on love and friendship. (For one, I realized I think I'd really love to pore over contracts and litigate in the media, literary and entertainment industry - but that's for another post altogether.)

Most important, I think, is (taking a cue from James and Nadine themselves) the message that life rewards the honest and the patient. There is bravery in quietness; there is strength in forbearance. Sometimes, life isn't just about "pushing." There is also beauty in surrender, and in letting things just fall into place.

*cue Bahala Na*


Anyway, here's the link to the article that I wrote. Forgive the unabashed fangirly-ness! It's not everyday I get to write about things I love in spaces other than my blog. *sheepish grin*


And she will be loved.

It's been almost three years, and yet I've never seen him play live.

Except for that one time we played RockBand Beatles at our house, and he dutifully assumed the role of Ringo while I played Paul and George and John alternately. And even though unsurprisingly he got an almost perfect score on the difficult level, it just was not the same. Tapping on plastic circular pads did not give him the satisfaction of actually playing for me, which he had always wanted to do, since I play the piano for him when he visits me at home.

And then we had Saturday.

It wasn't at all planned - we just watched Deadpool and wanted to have a nice, quick dinner after - and yet every single part of me felt like things just fell into place and happened at the right time for the right reasons. It just had to happen now, right before the 14th of February, at this particular time in our lives, where things have changed (including ourselves), yet certainties feel the same and affirmations ring truer.

Over dinner, in the middle of having our unlimited order of meat, he went up on stage with the live band and played songs I didn't expect but have always loved, songs that I've never considered ours but have now laid claim on us. And what a sight to behold: this boy, whom I only used to admire from afar, this boy, who surrenders himself to the rhythm, the way the heart surrenders to its own beat. This boy.

Whatever words I say, I will always love you.


and when at last I find you

"Are you... are you crying? Because of a puppy video*?"

"But look at it. It's so cute. And pure. And happy. And cute."

"Yeah. So?"

"Don't you find it cute?!"


"It has the Beatles' 'I Will' playing! How can you resist that?!"

"It's just a dog."

"It's not just a dog. It's the simplicity of happiness in that puppy's face. And the beauty of having a creature just looking at you like that and loving you unconditionally. It's having the Beatles ask you, 'Who knows how long I've loved you?' and without you having to say anything, they answer 'You know I love you still.' It's that certainty. That sudden realization that despite what the world throws at you, despite whatever kind of shit you get yourself into, at the end of the day, this love is simple. Love, in its sincerest, most honest form, is easy. It's the look on a puppy's face when you come home after a long day. It's the honesty of a smile when you ask if you can have the last slice of chocolate cake. It's the way your hand is held after the anesthesia wears off, it's the way your tears are wiped away when the antibiotics kick in. It's when you have someone in your life who finally makes you feel like the entire galaxy is in your chest and all the stars make a constellation of the parts of you that you never thought you will come to lose. It's the way he pauses when Paul McCartney croons 'Will I wait a lonely lifetime?' because in his head, he is building you a house and painting you a fence and giving you the rain showerhead you've always wanted. 'If you want me to I will,' he finally sings. And before the song even ends, he looks at you the way clouds look at the moon, and in that instant, you know it's the life you've always dreamed of, right there in front of you. Like an apparition that makes you believe, like a universe that has come to being and has given you the sun."


* This is the link to the puppy video. If you can watch it without feeling anything, your heart is made of stone.

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Last Monday, I went to have new glasses made. The pink one I've been using since law school began suddenly disappeared, unfortunately, during finals week last semester. And while I'm not entirely blind without them (I only have astigmatism and a bit of near-sightedness), life is a bit easier when the world isn't as blurred and I don't have to squint my eyes to read.

The clinic I went to is this quaint little hole-in-the-wall in the UP Shopping Center. It's owned by an equally quirky and fascinating optometrist too, Nella Sarabia, of the renowned family whose stores one sees in almost every mall in the metro. Her shop is nothing like the rest of the chain though - and I mean that in the best, most positive way. Instead of bright lights and giant posters, hers is lit in a soft, warm glow and her walls are adorned with giant historical photos of the Filipino-American war. No intimidating glass cabinets of exorbitantly priced eyewear, just an entire wall of her old, vintage cameras mixed with new ones atop a modest display of classic and eccentric frames. She has history books and poetry books on her coffee table; apparently she used to sell albums of OPM rock bands too. She's a friend of the Eraserheads and The Dawn (in fact, Ely's daughter Una was there to pick up her glasses that day), and she's an ally to many writers, poets, and musicians. (History book writer Zeus Salazar chatted me up while we were waiting for our turn.)

It was a fascinating place of history, music, poetry, and perfect vision.

She glides across the room like a forest sprite and talks in a voice so comforting, almost like an ethereal being. Flowers literally adorned her hair on the day I went to visit, and the pink skirt she wore flowed gracefully down her thighs like a soft petal. She was cool and kind and very engaging. And she was great at what she does. She did magic on my eyes quicker than you can say oculus reparo.


When it finally came down to picking my frames, I ended up choosing by instinct - which usually meant going for the pink one, or the one that seemed like it called out to me first. Mine ended up being both. It had a rose-gold body with pink temples. It wasn't like anything I've ever had before, but it felt familiar and comforting. It screamed Karla, even though it looked nothing like what I owned. I loved it.


This isn't the first time I visited an optometrist, but it's the first time I did at an actual crossroads in my life. While she was asking me about my life as a student of Malcolm, and the many things law school did to impair my vision, I realized how much closer I am to actually being released into the real world. Law school is, in many ways, an alternate universe equally harsh, or probably even worse, as the real world itself. But for the last four years, we were all still shielded from what was outside its four walls. Sure, we read about current events; sure we discussed the issues. But our lives were confined to the rigors of school, and our worries were primarily anchored on the fact that we needed to study and survive. We moved our schedules around exams, we deliberately gave up social life for acads. We studied tax, but we didn't have incomes yet. We learned about family law, but marriage was lightyears away. Law school is the here and now - at least that was the case for the last few years.

Until it isn't anymore. Granted, I'm graduating later than expected. That gives me a bit more time. But nevertheless, in your fourth year, the light at the end of the tunnel is more than just a faint glimmer now; it's an illumination. It's like finally having a helmet slowly removed, seeing the world again with no filter, and hearing the sounds of the streets clearly and un-muffled.

I'm not yet at the end, and yet I also can't help thinking that it's all so close. The F's are slowly becoming P's. The D's are turning out to be O's. My vision's being realigned again, slowly adjusting to seeing the world again through new lenses.

Am I going to like the view? I still can't say. Unlike my actual eyeglasses, which I was able to pick up just about a day later, I'm still not sure what will become of me once I emerge into the real world, having had my vision "impaired" (but in many ways also "repaired") by law school - and the many ordeals that came with it. My eyes have seen so much, I've always believed, after all the jurisprudence I've read, and yet I feel like I've seen so little. Of the world, of the people, of life. After all the calibrations law school did to my vision (and to my person), how much of my senses have improved? The questions I asked myself while at the optometrist's chair seem like the same questions I will ask when the real world lenses kick in. How will I look? Will I get dizzy? Will it take some adjusting? Is there such a thing as "too clear"? Will the floor seem like it's floating when I look down?

The answer won't be simple nor will it be easy. But if anything, I hope it's as comforting as the glasses I eventually went home with last Wednesday. They fit just right, and I look great in them.


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