Monday, September 27, 2010

The Collective: A Place for the Anti- Mall Crowd

The original plan was to visit a Flea Market in Guijo St. that Friday night. Flea Market turned out to be a disaster. But there was no way our night will end like that. Fortunately, a few blocks away was The Collective, and it changed our night’s story.

The Collective was a formerly abandoned warehouse re-built by young entrepreneurs to cater to the, well, anti-mall crowd. They opened various restaurants, boutiques, even a bike shop. Close to what you see in malls. Although, the big differences I guess, are the ambiance, the feel of the place and the kind of people who visit it.

Initially, I intended to post as many pictures to give a clearer image of the place. But since the boyfriend and I are determined to re-visit over and over and try every restaurant (yes, we fell in love with it), I'd rather make this entry only about our first one.

The Pasta Box

Deliciously Crunccchhyyy AdoboFlakes Sandwhich with Kesong Puti

A healthy serving of Tuna Alfredo Pasta

Holy Chicken Pasta, which was Holy Yummmy!

Pasta Box is all about giving the customers freedom of choice; choose your own pasta and choose your own sauce. They have a wide variety of pasta: Farfalle, Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Fussili, Conchiglioni and Linguini. Fun starts as early as trying to pronounce those tricky words properly.

We were very satisfied with all our orders, add to that the fact that we only paid less than P400 for everything (we also ordered iced tea). The highlight was the Holy Chicken Pasta. It tasted like CPK's Kung Pao Spaghetti, only better, because they use cashew nuts instead of ordinary peanuts. Plus, it costs A LOT cheaper in Pasta Box.

Happy Couple with our happy tummies :)))

The boyfriend and I definitely fell in love with The Collective that we are visiting, again, this Saturday. We're still choosing between Wasabisabi and Wingman, though. Or maybe we'll just try both. Ah, food trip! :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Braving a New World

Off. I’ve been off for a time now. I’ve been off from the time I received the news of an officemate leaving. Putting things off isn’t really my style. I used to voluntarily stay late in the office just to finish tasks and have a clean slate the next day. I like it that way. I don’t want work piling up; I don’t want missing deadlines. But ever since I found out that my very first mentor in my biggest engagement already tendered her resignation, I’ve been sweeping every task under the rug, praying they will magically disappear and never haunt me. In denial, yes, they call it that.

She is the 4th clustermate to leave this year. Leaving is normal in this firm, since this is just considered as a sacred training ground. The norm is to move on after a year or two. But her leaving hits me more than just a normal resignation. She is my mentor; she was my mentor. I owe her most of what I know today. She was my senior in my biggest engagement. I worked with her more than I worked with anyone else. Her leaving means losing my protective line, my security blanket. Her leaving means I would have to take the bullet, myself, from now on.

I know I should be jumping up and down at this moment. For sure, I would have to step up and try my very best to fill her void in the team, which would mean more responsibilities. Not everyone is given the opportunity to handle bigger accountabilities at work this early. Especially in my kind of job where we deal with legal matters and deadlines bundled with a 25% penalty. But the thought of being completely on my own, reviewing others’ outputs then being liable for them as if they were my own, those are sending nervous cells down my spine.

Come November, it will be hiring season again. We’ll definitely employ an additional team member- our new baby. He/she will be like the ME a year ago- eager, idealistic, full of energy, and at the same time, clueless and nervy. It will be my duty to do the very best to take cluelessness and nervousness out of the picture. It will be my duty to arm her with whatever knowledge I have received the past year. More like shifting places from being mentored to the one mentoring. The responsibility of raising the baby will be placed at the palm of my shaky hands. Poor little thing.

So for today, I will allow myself to savour my last hours of being at the bottom of the pyramid. I will slack off and access unauthorized websites and ignore the urgent mails. Over the weekend, I would have to brace myself and saturate every lazy cell in my body. Next week, I will be braving a brand new world where I would have to step up, not only when my seniors are having a bad day, not only when my manager’s hands are full, but for every waking day.

It’s scary. But it’s the good kind of scary.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How can I forget?

I have been smiling a lot lately- the out of the blue sort that makes you look stupid to people who witness it. Not that I’m on the verge of losing sanity. There’s just this little reminder tied on my finger that effortlessly brings about doses of good vibes.

The Don't Forget ring c/o google images

The boyfriend gifted me with the Don’t Forget ring. It is a sweet little ring tied like a bow, in a cute box with reminders to smile, to make a difference, to dream big, and most of all, that you are loved. He knew I’ve been stressing about getting too sickly and missing out on a lot of work lately, so it was his way of cheering me up, as if all of his other ways of making me feel loved weren’t enough.

It's the cutest thing, isn't it?

Now I have something to perk me up when hugs and kisses and holding hands aren’t available. My happy batteries will always be charged. Thanks to the boyfriend, who’s been the sweetest ever since.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Lost Entry

I remember writing about the final scenes of Karate Kid months ago. I remember typing the words away on my laptop, whatever was going through my mind the actual time I was watching it. Having written it at 2am I opted to re-read it first thing the next day before posting it here. Too bad, first thing the next day, my dear old laptop’s hard drive collapsed and all my precious files died with it.

So, that Karate Kid entry never saw daylight. I thought about re-writing it but I was never in the mood. Until today.

I found out through Facebook that a friend just quit her job. She realized it ceased offering her anything other than monetary compensation. A brave soul, she must be. I can’t imagine leaving my job at this point, in spite and despite of all the rants. Is it because I don’t have enough guts to walk away or I simply don’t want to leave?

The final scenes of Karate Kid kind of reminded me the answer and now I’m in the state of mind to tell, at least, a part of that story.

It was the scene when the kid was already hurt and he was trying to persuade his mentor to let him fight. He was asked to give one valid reason why he should continue. His answer was simple: because he was still scared and he doesn’t want to be scared, anymore.

Probably, you can’t figure out the connection between my work dilemma and the kid’s answer. I, myself, can’t deliver a one-liner logical explanation why it got me thinking about my job, in the first place, the very time I was watching the scene. I just thought to myself, that 12-yr old kid is right. I shouldn’t quit on something simply because it annoys me or it pains me or it stresses me out of my wits. I shouldn’t quit on something. Period. Because quitting means walking out without having the job done.

I appreciate my work, even though it doesn’t pay me enough to spoil my parents once in a while, even though I don’t have a health card and my parents shoulder my expenses when I get sick and I get sick more often since I started working, even though I feel like all beaten up by weekend due to unreasonably long work hours, even though I am a professional with a hard-earned license but is paid with a lot less than what a call center agent gets. At this point, if I tender my resignation, I’ll know in my heart it is because I’m quitting on something that is difficult, something that pushes me to my limit and succeeds in reaching it. And that is the very reason why I’m staying.

As long as leaving feels like quitting, I’ll stay. The time to leave is when it finally feels like moving on.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Her low necklines don’t lie

If only time permitted me, I would take a trip back to 3 years ago and have another College day. I would struggle to fit in my skinny jeans, put on the shirt on top of my pile and slip on my silver havs. I would take my normal chaotic commute to Taft and arrive there an hour before my first class. Even with my eyes closed, my feet would drag me to Medrano Hall, where most business students hang-out in between classes. I would search the room for familiar faces through one swift look. For today, the recognizable face would be that of a friend I have grown to be close with throughout the years. I call her “Ate”, even though she’s a year younger. That says a lot about her, I guess.

If time permitted me, I would take another day in College, when I would be in school way too early for class, only to find out we have a free cut. If time permitted me, I would go back to a class- free College day for another walkathon with this girl:

She tells you when you’ve gained weight but will never stop you from ordering large fries and additional sundae when you reach the fastfood counter. She’ll even commit that crime with you if you need her to.

She tells you if you have something in your teeth, or worse, in your nose in plain English and not with ridiculous hand gestures because she would rather you hear it from someone who cares than someone who will laugh at you after.

She tells you her daily ventures and personal struggles because she permits you to be a part of her, and letting her in is as equally easy.

She points out your imperfections, reminding you everyday that you’re flawed yet amazing and falls nothing short of a person who deserves to be loved- faithfully.

She confesses about her Plans A, B and C on how to steal your boyfriend because it’s her way of saying you got a good one.

She is that friend who is quick to say ‘why not?’, always ready and eager to take on adventures rather than pondering too long asking ‘why?'.

She had her heart broken but would never be heard bad mouthing the entire male population or calling love overrated because she is everything but a pathetic bitch. One of life’s twisted turns won’t knock her down.

She’s that friend who is brutally honest, without minding if it will hurt, as long as she puts sense into that clouded mind of yours. After all, she doesn’t care if you will still like her in the end. She only cares about pulling you through all of it; THROUGH and not the by sugar- coated easy way out.

She is the girl with firm values, in-tack relationships, strong convictions and a heart that is toughened by her desire to enable people to stand for themselves. She is the girl whose honesty goes with a little pain in the gut and a whole lot of love. And the world certainly needs more of that girl.

Our friendship wasn’t instant. We come from different backgrounds- religion, family, etc.- but we were glued together by a friendship that dwells on honesty, respect and acceptance. Sure, those words are too common you hear them everyday. But in a friendship? They’re unquestionably rare.

I miss this girl.

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