Friday, December 31, 2010

My very own Great Perhaps

Perfect book in a perfectly empty coffee shop

I read “Looking for Alaska” months ago, but as I try looking back at the year that was, I can’t help but pull it out of my disorganized bookshelf and run through a few parts. You see, I have this habit of highlighting sentences, even entire paragraphs, in books that really made marks on me. Not to memorize or anything, it just makes re-visiting books much easier. Like today.

Reading anew transported me back to the very moment I started flipping the pages of this John Green novel:

My head was comfortably resting on his leg with his hand running through my hair, as if serving as our physical connection since we were both lost into each other’s books. I was reading the first pages of Looking for Alaska when I came across the words “Great Perhaps”. It was on page 5. Somehow those words hit me. So I grabbed my highlighter and marked them. I even read the paragraph aloud for the boyfriend, stealing a few seconds from his own reading.

It was a borderline sunny and rainy afternoon. I was with my favorite person. With a coffee shop all to ourselves. How could I think about anything related to a Big Maybe? Because here with me was what used to be my Great Perhaps.

I know this is, like, supposed to be a flashback of the year we just left behind and I intend to write about that, too, if time permits. But when it comes to “us”, I truly could not draw a line between years. It’s like a before and after. And “Looking for Alaska” reminded me of our before.

(I am the worst at book reviews, so this is not going to be one. This is just pieces of the novel that stick with me until today. If you are looking for a good review better check the net.)

Highschool is where people expect you to do the most stupid things and live the most interesting parts of your story. Saying it that way, perhaps, I haven’t lived up to everyone’s expectation. I was pretty much the boring A student. I was part of the honor roll, wrote for the school paper and was handpicked by the Principal as the student to take her place on Teacher’s day. Lame, right? In my defense, I also played for the Varsity (basketball) and was an adopted member of the cheering squad. Perhaps, I was busy juggling too many things to give time for those “interesting” stories.

So, I barely went out on weekends. I barely slept on class. I cheated, yes, but only on homeworks. I was never the classmate who had the most fascinating stories on disobeying school rules and highschool rebellion. I have a clean record, so you know. But, before you judge my little miss perfect ass, I did something, in highschool, something our concerned parents and over-protective brothers and skeptic friends all warned us about:

I fell in love.

We were young and naïve, surrounded by a bubblewrap of invincibility. We weren’t even allowed to take hold of a steering wheel yet we dared take hold of each others’ hearts. Hell, that was stupid. But it was the best time to be stupid.

"Those awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. ... We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail." - Looking for Alaska

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Party Trilogy

Since this post is late and I don't have the brains to find the right words, I'll let the pictures do the talking. Teehee

Part I: The MC2 Wild, Wild, West Cowboy Christmas Parteyy!

When: December 7, 2010
Where: SMX Center

In line with the theme, we had a Cowboy costume contest. The requirements were they had to be a pair and they should have a prepared tagline. Want to know what's ours?

"Forget the horse, ride the Cowboy!" Now that's a winning line right there! ha!

Eliosah showing off her P3,000 raffle price. Hmm, I kinda won P5,000 that night. Lucky me!

Batch 2010 already seemed bonded! Nice!

Still, Batch 2009 is ze best!!!

Everic feeling Haciendero.

Rye (mas) feeling Haciendero.

Danilo and Darel in their signature poses.

Cluster pic for finale!

Part II: Get your GLEEK on! SGV Tax Christmas Party

When: December 13, 2010
Where: AIM

Tina modeling our hats! Winner ang hats, right??

Girls even wore Christmas balls as earrings for the added effect. But, sadly, we didn't win. :(

Batch 2009 as THE PERFECT 10!!

Err, gatecrasher? Nooo! Crazy Vincent in his costume! (Yes, he's gay)

More gays, more fun!

New hires getting ready for their Glee-inspired numbers.
Too bad I don't have pictures of those.

Wearing the winning hats!

Part III: ACE takes over Centerstage!

When: December 9, 2010
Where: Centerstage (obviously)

Now this has got to be my favorite of the bunch! In a sentence, it was clearly a night of friends having fun. :)))

My unfinished mask. I barely had 15 minutes to make it!

And our Senior Director managed to produce something like this. Competitive!

Our emcees for the night, Maelyn and Rye!

Girls (yes, girls) having fun!

Wifey and I

Oh man, I still can't believe we lost in this game!
Tirahan ng baso, natalo kami?? Siyeett!

Sana lagi na lang naka-Zorro mask si Ev. hihihi

Partners! Batman and Robin FTW!

Ate Crisee won the (in)famous PINAKACHAKANG MASK award!

Batch 2010's masks looked very well-made! Bravo!

ACE cluster FTW!!!

Christmas parties are 100 times more fun when you celebrate with the best people. I know I did! Happy holidays, you guys!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Epitome of Happiness

Philosophy wasn’t my A subject in College. Although I found it interestingly mind-boggling, I was usually distracted in class what with all the ‘major subject worries’. I usually had to multi-task in lectures, juggling pretending to be listening to my Prof and reading law provisions on the side. Despite all distractions, I have one prized Philosophy lecture I will forever remember.

My professor was babbling away, throwing Nietzsche here and Nietzsche there. Here we go again, I thought. But then she dropped this question that caught all of my busy-with-law brain cells: If you were given the chance to live all over again after you die, like a second-life on earth, but then everything will be the same. Start to end. Highs and lows. Same experiences, same decisions- all of it. Would you take it?

In my mind, I answered hell no. Like, what’s the point? If everything will be the same, why go through all of it for the second time? Then my professor explained the reason behind the question and the implication of our answers, which, up until this very day serves as my instant reality check/ wake-up call.

My professor said, if you are truly living your life to the fullest, like what most goddamn Hallmark cards tell you, you would have said yes, over and over, to a life of eternal recurrence because you’ve seized every moment of every waking day of your entire life and the only way to live a worthy life is to repeat it. See the point?

I have been, in more instances than I can count, troubled by that lecture. I felt like I’m always missing out on something. I get troubled with upcoming regrets thinking I may not be able to give justice to this life. So when an officemate wrote this for me, her words definitely touched my heart:

Hey Teammate! Nakanino na nga ba ang bola? Hehe. It’s amazing how I can talk to you about anything, be it as shallow as some cute top I saw or as insightful as the TV series we enjoy watching. And every time I talk to you, it’s never with reservations. IMO, you are the epitome of happiness in our cluster. You remind me of this First Communion song entitled This Little Light of Mine. Pero instead of protecting/keeping your conscience clean, I hope that you stay happy or be happier despite the unpleasantness of everything else around us. Safeguard your happiness, Teammate. It’s a rarity.

So whenever dark clouds reign over my days, I replay these carefully chosen words written especially for me. I shut the voice inside my head screaming I haven’t done enough. Saying I don’t know how she perceives me as someone that happy would be a lie. I worry about not being able to do everything, yes. But about being happy enough? No, I never worry about that. I feel it and I embrace all of it.

Maybe I’m made up of sugar and spice and everything in this world that is nice, or maybe I’ve read too much Paulo Coelho and Nicholas Sparks too early I failed to absorb the fact that fiction is what they write. Maybe I am just a forever silver-lining girl, the most loyal believer of optimism, but I don’t fake any of it. I am happy because I got so many reasons to be and those outweigh the reasons not to be. They’re always there, of course. But I would rather swim my way atop all the negativity and guard my happiness with all of me. Because, really, nobody got it right when they answered doctor, or nurse or teacher or president when they were asked what they wanted to be. Happy, that’s it. That’s all we ever want to be.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On the First Day of Christmas

(written on December 1, 2010)

December isn’t exactly a blissful month in the office. December is our send-off to the yearly busiest busy season. While other people start giving away little tokens, we receive an unwritten memo slashing off our usual snooze time into half. As a result, few days before welcoming this period, hormones go crazy, tolerance level crash and the ranting just goes on forever. As if our system is releasing all our bitchy vibes before we get too busy to even bitch out about anything.

So come the first December morning, I was conditioning my tired brain that this it was just like any other day. Forget deadlines, forget follow-ups, just live one workday at a time. But when I finally left the bed, a certain feeling came surging in. It finally felt like a Christmas morning.

The same day I decided to skip my usual mini-stop coffee break and head to Starbucks to spoil myself a little, instead. Later in the afternoon, I didn’t reach the bank in time to deposit. I missed the closing hour for about 3 minutes. In place of throwing a fit, I took it as a sign to loosen up on being thrifty and spend my entire bonus on holiday presents. Besides, that’s the only way of splurging I wouldn’t feel a dab of guilt about. And to put the cherry on top, I finally decided on the perfect gift to give the boyfriend for Christmas.

Oh, ‘tis definitely the season to be jolly. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Faces of (In)Justice

When I found out Hubert Webb got acquitted, I went home from work earlier than usual to catch the primetime news. I wanted to see it; videos, reports, everything. Real-time news and reactions I read in Twitter all day weren’t enough. It was like someone dear to me died and I had to see that person lying lifeless in a coffin before I let everything sink in.

I was in elementary when our history teacher required us to watch the court give its verdict to Hubert Webb and the others. I remember the defense requesting for the full court decision to be read, resulting to an entire day of recollection. A lot of details stick with me: 19 stab wounds to a 7-year old kid, 6 men raping a young lady and 12 stab wounds to kill their mother, as if what they did to her children weren’t enough to take her life. That was my first real eye-opener to the dark and dangerous version of this world. After that, curiosity caught up with me and I decided to watch the movie version one time it was shown in cable TV. That kept me up at night far longer than any horror movie ever did.

It was inhumane, brutal, gross and I still feel sick in the stomach whenever I watch documentaries on Vizconde massacre throughout the years. Knowing high-profile criminals, one being a son of a Senator nonetheless, were put behind bars for the rest of their lives to pay for the heinous crime they committed got that little spark of confidence I have in our justice system alive. And now, I don’t really know.

I am not saying with authority and full certainty that those acquitted were guilty. Although, I cannot comprehend how a Senator was not able to pull resources and prove the innocence of his son when we are all aware of the ugly truth that, in this country, the rich and the powerful can spin anything their way. On the other side of the coin, if those guys are truly innocent, what incompetent lower court justices, NBI agents (who are lawyers, themselves) and policemen we do have. Plus, I don’t think we have the level of technology to obtain evidences to prove a man’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It will forever be someone’s word against someone else’s with some lightweight evidence on the side. Anyone who watches CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, etc., would agree on that.

I once sincerely believed that my path was towards that profession, taking up law and becoming a criminal lawyer. I wasn’t interested in corporate law as much as I was passionate about representing and defending in a criminal case. But today, I feel disgusted towards every single criminal lawyer in this country. It is being unfair, I know. But I think we all deserve a day for that. There were three women killed some 19 years ago, the head of their family left grieving for his loss. He earned the justice he long fought for, or, it seems now, he was merely swayed in believing so, until a former Senator requested a DNA testing of the specimen that is now nowhere to be found. Now, our country rests in a thin line between an inconsolable victim and innocent men jailed for years. Whichever side we take, we point our fingers to the same hopeless justice system that doesn’t know that first thing about justice.

My prayers are with the victims- whoever they rightfully are in this story.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Because Christmas is a series of parties...

Trademark Bratz pose

Fierce mask!


Giving you a glipmse of how crazy/happy the past week had been. Christmas parties are a favorite. Blow-by-blow detailes to follow. :))

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