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I was BLANK – As I looked at my examination number printed under the list of successful examinees it’s as if those numbers slowly filled my vision.

Then COMPREHENSION – I’m in! I passed!

Followed by JUBILATION – the world is beautiful again and I can`t stop smiling and calling and talking to anyone who will listen.

Then DISBELIEF – as it sank in that I am truly one of the new students. How can it be? I’m so ordinary. So unexceptional.

Then GRATEFULNESS – for the answered prayers and support of everyone around me.

Then DREAD – for what is ahead. Questions of whether I’ll be able to fulfill what’s expected of me swirled in my mind. Whether I’m qualified for something like this. Am I ready? Will I ever be ready? I wonder…

And finally EXCITEMENT – for the new journey laid in front of me.

All these and more I felt as I beheld the ordinary piece of paper plastered on the glass wall at the entrance of the School of Letters.

I,  apparently got accepted for the PhD program for Linguistics of Nagoya University…

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Hi peepz,

You know who you are. I know I haven’t been keeping in touch with you lately and it’s been some time since I last posted anything. Sorry about that. Let’s just say I’m having my period of introspection… hahaha! Salve and Sherma, if you were here you just might get the dreaded text message or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just hunt you guys down since I just need someone to cheer me up. Or maybe I just miss hugging you guys. Sigh! Luvy and Mae, can you believe me existing without hugging anyone? (point of clarification: I only hug girls my really close girl friends).  Or Missy Ai, I just might drag you to yet another session of i-max screening with food tripping interspersed (I just hope we don’t get jinxed yet again!).

Point of the matter is… it’s December. This will be my second Christmas here and I’m not there. I just feel so alone and so out of touch. I can hardly feel that it’s the holiday season which in hindsight is a good thing since I just might burst into tears during class… I can just imagine… (so not cool!)

So I figured since I’m so down and all why not make a list that will make me even more melancholic. I guess it’s one way of confronting a problem right? maybe if I have a really good cry I can get it out of my system… so here it is – the things I will miss this holiday season:

  • I will miss the Christmas decorations one sees on the streets, in the mall and in every house from the most humble to the richest. Especially the parol (a Filipino Christmas lantern shaped like a star which is constructed using bamboo sticks and colorful paper).

  • I will miss the blaring Christmas songs over the radio in the jeepneys, tricycles, buses, malls and from the house of my not quite so deaf but might as well be deaf neighbor (in my case the neighbor is actually a relative).

  • I will miss the puto bungbong (a purple colored grounded and glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes and placed in a special steamer. Once cooked the resulting sticky rice cake is often topped with butter, sugar and grated coconut.) that one can buy after simbang gabi (shameful admission this might be, that was one of the reason why I attend simbang gabi not to mention the wish you can make when you complete it).

  • I will miss karoling– kids going house to house to sing Christmas carols for some coin.

  • I will miss the cacophony of sounds produced by their improvised musical instruments usually made of bottled soda caps, pebbles and tin cans (which may not be harmonious but nevertheless charming).

  • I will miss the kids singing their thanks after you gave them their coin – “thank you, thank you, and babait ninyo, thank you!”

  • I will miss writing down “The List” – names of people that  I will be giving gifts to.

  • I will miss trying to remember the name of my latest inaanak then failing that writing the description of their progeny instead i.e. daughter of Ate Baneng’s sister, son or daughter of some aunt or other, etc.

  • I will miss the buying frenzy in the mall for Christmas gifts but most especially the trips to Divisoria where I usually end up lugging a sackful of goodies.

  • I will miss scouring the malls and every nook and cranny of Divisoria for that perfect gift for one of the people in my list.

  • I will miss the gift-wrapping mania that takes over me after I bought all the gifts and making some sort of system to monitor whose gift is which.

  • I will miss the manito-manita. The series of gifts one gives and receives before the big day according to theme –  circular objects, long object, soft objects, etc..

  • I will miss the office Christmas parties which is most often than not a costume party so everyone ends up wearing the weirdest of ensembles and everyone will think it’s cool.

  • I will miss receiving the Christmas bonus and the various freebies the company gifts to its employees.

  • I will miss giving the gifts I selected for each of my friends and of course receiving gifts from them as well. Hehehe…

  • I will miss the feeling of buying a round-trip ticket home for only 2,000 pesos mainly because I bought it weeks before I go home.

  • I will miss the feeling of packing all the gifts to take it home for the holidays.

  • I will miss the feeling of anticipation one gets when you know that in just an hour or so you will be home with your family to celebrate the holidays.

  • I will miss the feeling one gets when you see your family outside the airport.

  • I will miss the hugs and kisses, the laughter and the bickering – just the feeling of togetherness with my family.

  • I will miss grocery shopping for noche buena.

  • I will miss preparing the one and only dish I know how to prepare which unfortunately my younger brother can’t eat –  chicken macaroni salad. He is forever asking me to learn a new dish to prepare one he can actually eat, hmmm… maybe next Christmas 🙂

  • I will miss my mom’s barbecue, gelatin, special meatballs… my younger brother’s spaghetti. Sigh…

  • I will miss the noche buena with my family.

  • I will miss seeing first hand the expressions in my family’s faces when they opened their gifts.

  • I will miss sending text messages to friends on Christmas and new year’s eve. Actually, trying and persevering are the operative words, since everyone has the same idea as you so the lines are naturally busy but by persevering and patiently pressing the resend button one eventually gets through.

  • I will miss  receiving consecutive text messages from those same friends some unexpected all returning your greetings.

  • I will miss my niece’s shriek of laughter and kakulitan, my mom’s kalambingan, my dad’s excitement for his garden, my younger brother’s kakulitan and his updates about the latest anime, video games and such, my kuya’s stories and my sister-in-law’s bungisngis.

  • One thing I will NOT miss though – my flight back to work, back to the grind and to the smog, pollution and traffic of the metropolis.

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My friend, Salve, claimed in her blog that she’s a love charm. She forwarded several instances as proof… reading it I can’t help but think about the phrase “mothers knows best”… hmmm… At one time, Salve, Sherma and I talked about living together. In our point of view, it will be practical since it will cut costs and it has the added bonus of all three of us enjoying each other’s company. I envisioned endless pajama parties – talking, eating and reading together… Unfortunately (on hindsight – fortunately) my mom vetoed it. Now I wonder if my mom had an inkling of what would have happened? Imagine, if I did lived with Salve then I would have been one of the stories she recounted as proof. And looking back, I remember who I was with then… and never was I so grateful that it didn’t happen. I just had a narrow escape… hehehe…

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Me, a Love Charm?!

By Salve

I have reasons to believe that I can actually help another person find her way to lasting (?) love. It all started when my Tita and I shared an apartment in 1999. I was still a university student then and she was starting to establish a career. You see, Tita�fs only older than me by four years, so we really get along well. She has a boyfriend, a childhood sweetheart, and they�fve been for ages! Even so, I knew they weren�ft planning to tie the knot soon. They were both busy with their careers. But after more than a year, they suddenly decided to get married. A few months before that, my younger sister was sharing the apartment with us already because she just transferred to a new school in Manila. So, here comes my second evidence.

A month before Tita�fs wedding, my sister and I chose to find our own place. Like Tita, my sister also has a boyfriend and they�fve been going out for a couple of years already. I am aware of my sister�fs impulsive nature and for a time she�fs been talking about getting hitched and having a baby. I didn�ft take that seriously. I was so sure she wouldn�ft do it. But then, during one of the school breaks, my mom called me one day and told me my sister won�ft be coming back because she�fs getting married in a few months. I was so shocked, of course. But what can I do? *sigh*

So, in the next months, I lived alone and I got so used to it. I discovered I actually liked living alone and on my own! ) Before I knew it, I�fve survived a year already!

Then came the day a friend asked if I know a place she could rent. She said she wanted to space away from her family for a while. Besides, she�fs having a hard time traveling from the countryside to Manila where she submits her work. She�fs a writer and practically owns all her time.

I told her, if she�fd agree, she can share in my apartment. It was a big place for me, anyway. And of course, sharing the apartment would mean a few bucks of savings from my monthly household expenses, too. D To cut the story short, I found myself a new roommate! She was unattached and not even planning to get involved with anyone at all! But, after almost a year, she started talking about this guy from her hometown whom she never really liked before and haven�ft had any descent conversation with. She really tried to fight what she felt and she would tell me she�fd never go back there until her feelings for the guy had completely died. It never happened, of course. Love would come knocking when you least expect it, and before you know it, you�fre hooked already. And before I know it, too, my friend was spending more days in her hometown than in our apartment. She�fd come over once or twice every two weeks, until she finally decided to leave the apartment because she wanted to spend more time with the guy who is now her boyfriend.

So, I�fm left alone again. I didn�ft feel sad. It was during this time that I thought?after what happened to these three people?that maybe I can attract the �gL�h word for other people. They should be enough evidence. I can presume since a lot of things come in threes, right? Like wishes, luck, wise men, even characters in children�fs stories (billy goats, bears, blind mice, etc.). I always tell my friends and officemates that if they want to be walking the isle or find a boyfriend soon, they might want to consider sharing a place with me, which we�fd all laugh at afterwards.

I don�ft know if it�fs a gift. Or maybe I posses extra-extra positive energy/vibes and it affects the people close to me. Or maybe it�fs mere coincidence. Whatever it was, I�fm glad to be part of it.

Now, Tita have two sons, my sister and my friend have one boy each and all of their kids are my inaanak. P

SOURCE: http://salvacion.wordpress.com/2007/04/17/me-a-love-charm/

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TOO DEEP FOR TEARS

Last week my grandmother passed away…

It was not as if we weren’t expecting it. She hasn’t been in the best of health this past year. Mama has been telling us and reminding us to spend time with her while we still have the chance. And now I am so grateful that i took heed of her. Before I left last year, I went for a visit. She was not the same Lola I remember. The robust and genki Lola of my youth. Still, in other ways she’s still the same. The same personality, the same wisdom…

The thing is, when I found out about her death no tears came to my eyes. Still my heart felt so heavy… shouldn’t there be a tangible proof of my grief? I asked myself. As I write this entry, I still haven’t cried. I want to though… it’s just that it wont come out. For someone who can cry at a drop of hat, it’s just not happening.

My mind knows… my mind has accepted the reality of her death… in my heart though… it still remembers… it still won’t let go of the image of a girl embracing her Lola, sleeping beside her and laughing with her. I don’t know if I ever will. Maybe someday those tears will come. But for now, I just want to hold on to that image a bit longer…

I love you Lola. I will miss you… for the rest of my life…

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Taken during the holidays. I miss this little munchkin so much…

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I have to give credit where credit is due… and this one I place squarely on my baby brother’s unruly mop of hair. A family picture taken during the holidays… since I was unable to be physically there, they found a way to make my prescence felt anyway! hahaha… if only they had also found a way for me to eat Vinz’s spaghetti and my Mom’s barbecue….

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This is especially addressed to vinz… wish you were here but since you aren’t I ate everything on my own. You would have loved it. Promise we will find a Japanese restaurant that serves a decent Ramen when I go home. But for now just content yourself with the pic. 😉 I ate this somewhere in Mie-ken with friends.

I learned about the anime character “Naruto” from Vinz. He kept on nagging me about the story until I just had to give up and watch the anime and later read the translated mangga. And since my brother is so fond of food it was not surprising that he got fixated with Ramen – the noodles that Naruto loves to eat.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish of Chinese origin. It is served with a variety of toppings such as sliced pork, seaweed, kamaboko (steamed fish paste), green onions and even corn. It is so widely spread in Japan that almost every locality or prefecture has its version.

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