Friday, November 16, 2012

I have struggled with boyfriend-girlfriend relationships ever since. I have had internet boyfriends when I was young because I believe my physical appearance doesn't do justice to who I am. When I have blossomed to a so called acceptable beautiful woman, I become more date-able. I have fallen in love with a guy that so much promise and passion but wasn't sure if he was in love with me. If our relationship had a defining point, maybe our story could have been a perfect love story but it wasn't and it wouldn't. I dated guys who I can boss around and have non committing relationships. When I moved to the United States, I tried dating sites because I thought it was to hard to date around and I was so busy. I got more conscious about my body and and I became a total hottie. When I dated Cj, I thought I have settled all relationship baggages but sometimes I get a wake-up call that maybe I still have some issues that I need to deal with.

Last night, I got mad at him for not helping figure out how to use a device. At first, it was just that. But as I was laying on the couch, I just became silent. I couldn't talk. I didn't know what to say. Cj was a great boyfriend. He is the type of boyfriend that you want to take home to your family. He is very handsome, tall and intelligent. He is really sweet. He listens. He is nice man and maybe in the future an excellent family man. But where is the but. Is there even a but? I try not to compare relationships because all my relationships have different intensity. I believe what I have now with Cj is the one with the most or the best.

I have also struggled with the male model in my family - grandfathers, uncles, brother and father. I know Cj is different from them. And he is. But I am worried that I worry if he is the one for me. I hope I am not over thinking everything.

He is the first guy I really dated when I was in the US. And in the back of my mind, I have always wondered if there is still something or something out there for me.

When I met him, I knew he wanted to be someone. But things change, we change. He is in a career now that is promising but I don't see him having passion for it. I am looking for that passion in him but I couldn't see it.

Sometimes, I just want a break. A test to see how it is if I wasn't with him. But is that right? Every time there is something wrong, he is there to ask and want to fix it. He is always there ready to talk. And I am not always ready to talk. Sometime I think if I am the guy in the relationship. I hope I am not just being suffocated.

I want a man with dreams and are passionate of them at the same times can find security and stability for him and I. Maybe that is what I am waiting to see. Maybe it is there but I just haven't seen yet. Are there suppose to be signs? I don't think so.

How can I justify a feeling of concern when the facts are there saying that he is a keeper? At the end of the day, I can think of leaving him but there is no justification of doing so and I believe it isn't necessary. I hope the answers to my questions. I hope that is uneasiness can just just a  pms thing. If not, then it might be too late for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Peter Pan generation

A repost about the so called "Peter Pan generation".


Agree with many points in this article.
Things I wish I had been told growing up.
1) I can be anything I want but ONLY if I actually make a choice, and only if work hard for what I want.

Responsibility frees you. From fear. From self-doubt. Growing up is holding yourself to your own word. Take on some sort of real responsibility. 

3) The only thing worse than making the wrong choice is not making a choice at all. 
4) A good life is not a series of pleasurable escapes, parties, holidays, etc. A good life is a purposeful, meaningful life.

DATE: 11.02.12 TIME: 23:34 PMPe


Generation who refuse to grow up: No mortgage. No marriage. No children. No career plan. Like so many 30-somethings, Marianne Power admits she's one of them...

The other day I had lunch with my father, who was in London on business. He took me to his favourite pub and somewhere between the tomato soup and the mains he started a conversation that he has, until now — miraculously — avoided.
He glanced nervously at the waiter and sank his glass of wine before launching in, asking me what my plans are for life: Did I see myself settling down and starting a family? Am I saving up to buy a house? What is going to be the next step in my career?
There was a pause as I looked at him blankly and shrugged, before muttering that immortal phrase, loved by teenagers across the land: ‘I dunno.’
Except I’m not a teenager. I am 34.
Refusing to grow up: Those adults who do not acknowledge responsibilities like marriage, children and their career have been dubbed 'the Peter Pan generation'
Refusing to grow up: Those adults who do not acknowledge responsibilities like marriage, children and their career have been dubbed 'the Peter Pan generation'
When he was my age, my father was putting my six-year-old sister and eight-year-old me through prep school, and had another three-year-old daughter at home. He had been running a business for ten years, owned a house and had a pension.
In short, all the usual trappings and responsibilities of a middle-class man of that generation.
I, on the other hand, live in a rented flat with my youngest sister and have few savings to speak of. I certainly don’t have a pension.
As for the idea of marriage and children, well, it’s exactly that: just an idea — it’s no closer to being a reality than it was when I was 23.
My ‘life plan’ as my father so sweetly called it, goes as far as this weekend.
‘Don’t you think you should start thinking about these things?’ he asked. ‘You do know you’re not 20 any more, don’t you?’
I’m not sure that I do.
While I am a fully paid up member of adult society in many ways — I pay taxes, cast my vote and give money to charity — in other ways, I am in hopeless denial about my age.
Settling down: Men and women are getting married later as they put up adult responsibility
Settling down: Men and women are getting married later as they put up adult responsibility
Though I had always assumed that, by now, I would have found the love of my life and settled down, by choice or by fate (I still don’t know which) that hasn’t happened.
As a result, I behave in much the same way I did ten years ago, spending my money today rather than putting it aside for the future. Always grabbing one more night out with friends before the invites dry up.
The thought of saving up the deposit for a flat is so daunting that I choose to throw money away on rent, instead.
I haven’t yet had to grow up so, well, I haven’t.
Reckless, irresponsible and immature? Yes. But at least I can take comfort in the fact I am not alone.
Last week, I read that there is even a name for people such as me. We are the ‘Peter Pan generation’; a sizeable group of 25 to 40-year-olds who exist in a state of extended adolescence, avoiding the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.
‘Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood,’ says Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist who has been studying this phenomenon, at the University of Kent.
‘Another word sometimes used to describe these people is “adultescent” — generally defined as someone who refuses to settle down and make commitments, and who would rather go on partying into middle age.’
These people, he says, might live with their parents until they are in their 30s, choose to put off getting married as long as they can — or even remain single well into adulthood, continuing the life they had in their early 20s.
You only need to look at the statistics to observe this intriguing trend.
Back in 1970, men typically got married at 24 and women at 22. Currently, the average age at which people marry is 32 for men and 30 for women.

Why are the lives of my generation so utterly different from those of our parents?
A recent report shows that the number of women getting married in their late 30s and 40s has almost doubled in the past decade.
Meanwhile, the average age for starting a family today is 28 for women, up from 24 in 1970 . And, thanks to IVF and fertility treatment, more and more women are delaying starting families until they are 40.
What’s more, many more of us are deciding not to marry at all. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics at the end of last year show that more than half of women under 50 have never been married — double the figure recorded 30 years ago.
As for taking on the commitment of buying a house, in the Eighties the typical first-time buyer was 29. Today they are 38. And, according to a report by LV Insurers, by 2025, the average age of a first-time home-buyer is forecast to be 41.
So why has all this come about? Why are the lives of my generation so utterly different from those of our parents?
Well, you could blame the economy. Taking that first step of becoming an adult — buying a house — is harder than ever. Every day we see new headlines about adults having to move back home with their parents to save the sizeable deposits now needed to buy a property.
Hobbies like computer games are seen as ways for grown men to escape adulthood
Hobbies like computer games are seen as ways for grown men to escape adulthood
Three million 20-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents. A third are men and 18 per cent are women. And that three million total is an increase of 20 per cent between 1997 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Even those who don’t live with their parents are more likely to be financially reliant on them. According to a report earlier this year, more than 13 million parents paid out £34billion in loans and gifts to offspring who are well into their 40s.
My parents are not in a position to help me financially, and I find the task of saving for a deposit to buy a flat so onerous, and the reality of what and where I could afford to buy so depressing, that I’ve made the (very childish) decision to not even think about it.

'People are scared of thinking of themselves as adults. They cannot see anything good that comes with being an adult; all our cultural values are with youth.'
Which may hint at the real problem. Professor Furedi, who is in his 60s, says we cannot blame the economy — or property prices — for what he calls the ‘infantalisation’ of today’s adults.
‘If you read the newspapers, all you hear is that young people’s lives have never been as horrible as today — which basically requires historical amnesia, because that is not the case. Recession and economic depressions have happened across the past century but, in my generation, the important thing was that you struck out on your own — even if you faced serious economic hardships and you were broke all the time. Now people make excuses,’ he says.
He believes there are much bigger psychological factors at play — and that the root of our refusal to grow up is fear.
‘People are scared of thinking of themselves as adults. They cannot see anything good that comes with being an adult; all our cultural values are with youth and the further we move away from that, the more anxious we become,’ he says.
Those who have teenage or childish hobbies as adults have been previously branded 'adultescents'
Those who have teenage or childish hobbies as adults have been previously branded 'adultescents'
He believes that the trend for adults to read books aimed at children and teenagers (such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight), the popularity of cartoons such as the Simpsons, and the rise of adults playing computer games, are symptoms of this desire to escape adulthood.
‘People convince themselves that their immature behaviour is an attempt to become carefree, but it’s born out of fear.
‘We now have a culture in which people are frightened of what the future might hold and are terrified of taking risks.’
This can apply to leaving home — or even falling in love. ‘People now avoid or postpone thinking about making a commitment to others for fear they will get hurt,’ he adds.
So am I scared of being a fully-functioning adult? Scared of financial and romantic commitments?
Maybe, although I think it’s more the case that I have convinced myself that I don’t need to grow up — or settle down — just yet.
While my parents’ generation went straight from education to working and starting a family, all in their early 20s, we have a window of opportunity that means we can play around for a bit longer.
Contraception and changing societal attitudes mean that we don’t have to think about getting married and having babies straight away — and our career opportunities are myriad.
When my mother was coming of age, she had three choices: she could become a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. Her three daughters’ lives, however, are very different.
We went to university and were told there was nothing in the world we couldn’t do. We rose the career ladder, travelled the world and had a freedom she could only imagine.
We were — and still are — spoilt for choice. And many people would argue that this is not a good thing.
Just over ten years ago, a groundbreaking book by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner coined the term ‘quarterlife crisis’ to describe the anxieties of a generation of 20-somethings who had the world at their feet, but no idea which direction to step in.
We were, according to the authors, ‘suffocated by choice, responsibility and self-doubt’.

The decisions on whether to marry or not marry, start a family or not, travel or stay put, stick in your existing job or find a new one can make us overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.
Another more recent report, from Greenwich University researcher Oliver Robinson, found that the ‘demanding nature’ of 20 and 30-somethings means we ‘are not happy with a mediocre, ploddy, conventional life’ — in other words, the kind we think our parents have.
But we’re not that happy with our freedom either.
Actually, the decisions on whether to marry or not marry, start a family or not, travel or stay put, stick in your existing job or find a new one can make us overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.
Of course, there is one decision that a woman — even of the Peter Pan variety — cannot put off for ever, and that is whether to have a child.
For years, I was too busy working and having fun to even think about it — and now, even at 34, I have no idea if I want to be a mother. No maternal urges have kicked in yet and, besides, there is not exactly a line of suitors waiting at my door.
Either way, I fool myself into thinking that I don’t have to decide just yet and cling to any headline about women having their children at 41 and 42 as proof that, yes, there is plenty of time.
But is there? The obvious truth is that fertility plummets in your 30s and I am worried that I will wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat on babies altogether.
I talk about these issues with my fellow eternally young friends, but I’ve noticed, recently, that we are fewer in number than we once were.
For while I have a handful of friends who, like me, are still busy living for the now, there are many more who have, almost without me noticing, found ways to buy the house and start a family.
They are very happy in their new phase of their life, while I am still clinging on to the old one.
In fact, I’m starting to think that there is a very real danger that, before long, I’ll be the last guest at the party, dancing alone, long after the music stops. And I don’t want that.
It reminds me of another less than flattering soubriquet for women such as me — TWIT (Teenage Women in their Thirties).
Apparently, we’re propping up bars across the country, hoping the dim light disguises our wrinkles and that our Topshop outfits help us to blend in with the 20-somethings around us. And that’s a very sad thought. Perhaps it is time to finally grow up.
Maybe after the summer...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

He’s Playing Our Song ( A repost)

Definitely, a modern day love story.

He’s Playing Our Song

Brian Rea

ONE Monday night in May three years ago, I was waiting outside Enid’s, the best macaroni and cheese joint in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for yet another mystery date to arrive.

Lately I had been binging on bad blind dates. Since moving to New York for college 14 years earlier, I had looked for love in the cracks and crevices of every wrinkle of the five boroughs. From Friendster to to Craigslist’s Missed Connections, I had tried everything short of leaving the area.
Oh, wait: I also flew to meet a stranger in Georgia for the weekend.
Now I was at love’s rock bottom. I had spent my 20s wracked by adolescent anxiety and felt paralyzed by the length of my singlehood.
It took me years to learn that dating drunk was not the way to connect with a soul mate or myself. I always had to be Mary times 10: 10 beers, 10 shots, 10 bars in one night. Mary alone just wasn’t enough.
When I got sober at 27, my social skills with men reverted to how I’d been at 16, when I was too self-conscious to talk to anyone I liked other than the shy pianist who took me to the junior prom.
When students lined up for the National Honor Society induction ceremony, I noticed this mysterious accompanist hunched over the piano like Schroeder from “Peanuts,” curly hair in his face and oversize sweater hanging off his skinny frame as his arms ran up and down the keys. As the principal babbled on stage, I recognized the song he was playing. It wasn’t classical; it was by the Cure.
He was my first love, though you would never have known it. I used to sit in our high school auditorium and watch him play the piano at the base of the stage.
For school musicals he would man the lights and I would usually play the role of some two-bit whore. There I’d be, prancing around the stage in a leotard, fishnet stockings and high heels, singing about the “wages of sin” while in real life I had never even been kissed.
“On my back all day! Earning Satan’s pay!” I would belt out as he toiled in the booth, dimming the lights because there were nuns in the audience. I thought if I stared hard enough into that booth as I sang, he somehow would know I was singing to him.
I started lobbying hard for him to ask me to the junior prom. And by lobbying, I mean telling everyone — cast and crew, director, teachers, the band pit, the 60-year-old wardrobe stylist — that I wanted him to take me.
When I knew the wheels were greased, I made my move: I offered him a ride home from rehearsal. We sat quietly in my parents’ ’89 LeBaron convertible as exhaust fumes leaked in through the dash. It may have been nerves or inhaling the exhaust, but I felt the world around us fade to white.
“So, are you going to the prom?” I asked coyly.
“Are you going?” he asked back.
“I hope so.”
“Has anyone asked you yet?”
“Well, do you want to go with me?”
And so I had my first date.
My mother and I took the train into New York from Connecticut to find a dress, something we had never done before. In a SoHo boutique I found a metallic number with Asian detailing that made me feel like a superhero. I popped on a black velvet beret and a hot-pink feather boa, and my dream look was complete.
May came sooner than I expected, and suddenly there I was, back in the dress. I actually looked pretty. It may have been the first time I really believed that. Soon there was a knock at the door, and in walked my musical genius in a plaid jacket and Converse sneakers, carrying a sunflower. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen.
But I couldn’t talk to him. There were so many words swimming in my head but none came out of my mouth. I was afraid if I said the wrong thing I might spoil the illusion. We posed for pictures on my lawn standing six feet apart and looking in different directions. Finally we got into the LeBaron and I drove us to the banquet hall.
Once we arrived I was too freaked out to do anything with him, so I busied myself with prom duties: affixing labels to the disposable cameras, going out to buy the prom song on cassette from Strawberry’s music store, taking pictures with any and every person there. Hours passed. I couldn’t even look in his direction, though at times I caught glimpses of him sitting alone at the table scribbling on a napkin, drinking coffee.
Finally I managed to go over to him and try to make up for abandoning him the whole night. “Do you want to dance?” I asked.
“No thanks.”
“Please, just one dance.”
And that was it. I had blown the whole thing. I tried to find the words to say how much I liked him and how sorry I was, to no avail. I drove us home in silence. There was no after-party, no looking at the stars and definitely no good-night kiss.
I didn’t see him that summer, and by senior year we had stopped saying “hi” to each other in the hallways. I missed him and the dream I had of us being together. Because I was certain he hated me I retreated into my own head. Instead of talking to him about the prom — about anything — I ignored him.
He didn’t show up to graduation and seemed to vanish from the face of the earth. I tried to find him over the years, looking him up on Google, searching for where he lived and what he was doing, but he didn’t seem to exist in my world or any other.
Until that Monday night in Brooklyn 14 years later, when he walked around the corner to join me for some macaroni and cheese at Enid’s.
A month earlier, a friend whom we had sat with at the prom posted a photo of that fateful evening on Facebook, tagging me. When I clicked on the notification, there we were. Then I saw that his sister had commented: “My brother would kill you for posting this.”
Here was my chance. I messaged her and asked, “How is your brother anyway?”
Turned out he had just returned from a European tour with one of his bands and was living in Brooklyn. I looked up the band on Myspace and sent them a message, a short note about how the keyboardist and I had gone to the prom together in high school, and by any chance did he remember me?
He e-mailed the next day. He lived a few blocks away in Greenpoint. We both loved the same diner, rode the same train, sat in the same park to people-watch. We made a date for Monday night.
TO sit across from a stranger I already knew felt both familiar and unbearable. I wanted to flash forward to the part when we already knew everything about each other, but in fact we knew nothing about the adult versions of ourselves. This time, though, we had a hard time shutting up.
In the last 14 years he had graduated from music school and was playing all over the world. After living in Boston for a decade, he had moved to Greenpoint and was touring with a few bands that had shows in all the clubs I went to. We shared foggy memories of high school and vivid memories of our dating 20s. But unlike my blind dates of the last decade, I didn’t have to be anyone other than myself with him. He knew all my secrets that first night, some from when I was 16, and some from 14 years later.
As the waiters closed the restaurant, stacking the chairs and rolling the front gate halfway down, my prom date and I decided it might be time to wrap up our reunion. We hadn’t been in school for a long time, but with him it still felt like a school night.
“This was really fun,” he said. “We should totally hang out again.”
I was thinking the same thing. And just like that, our days of awkward first dates were over. I had spent my whole time in New York bouncing from one rejection to the next, believing I was unlovable. Which made no sense to my prom date because he told me there was someone loving me all those years. Him.
Within six months we had moved in together. At our wedding last August, nearly two years later, my 7-year-old niece showed up in a metallic dress with Asian detailing, and my nephews surprised us by wearing tuxedo T-shirts and plaid shorts. I carried my own sunflower. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen.
Mariclare Lawson is the creative director at Cramp My Style, a creative agency and television production company in New York.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When words don't fit (A reply)

I have read an article around October 2011 about a love story. I had a chat with a Nalaine, a dear friend of mine from college, and we reminisced about a summer in college. One of my best summers. We talked about our love lives. Our talk reminded  me about this beautiful article that seems to exemplify my love story. I wanted her to read it but I couldn't find the link anymore. And so I have searched meticulously in the Facebook profile where I read it but no luck. I tried searching in Google with some remnants of words that I can remember. No logarithms worked. And after 1.5 days with some magical intervention, I typed some phrases in Google (which I couldn't remember anymore) and I found  a compilation of articles. After browsing through the articles, I found it! Fate. That is what you call it. I was meant to read it. It was meant to be shared.

The article resonates somewhat the tale of my first love. I have prayed that my first love would be my final and greatest love. But that didn't happen. For me, it was like a teeny bopper story like the one on TV.

I met him college. His name was Ivan. I had a crush on his brother  who accompanied him during registration but ended up liking Ivan more. We became friends. We had night conversations until the wee hours. I was an ugly ducking. He wasn't really a pretty boy but he was a really intelligent guy. That what attracted me to him the most. I thought there was something more happening between us. He had girlfriends and I stayed around to be the good friend because I had him all the time anyways. Girlfriends passed by and I blossomed. I became a very dateable lady. He noticed me because other men noticed me. I've dated other guys but he is still around. After almost 3 years ( with a lot of tears and hoping), he finally asked me out. We dated. In a university fair, he proposed and asked if I can be his girlfriend in front of the oblation of our university. That was really sweet and memorable.  It was was suppose to be a dream come true but he also said that it felt like he was compelled to date me. As hurtful as it can be, I said no. I was moving to another country within a year. I didn't want to be one of his conquests. I didn't want to be like his ex girlfriends. I didn't want to be a consolation prize. If 5 years down the road, I still regret that I said no then maybe I made a mistake but if not, then maybe I did the right thing. We would have ended well. He would be  politician and lawyer. I would be an economist and entrepreneur.  But love took me to a different direction........

The proposal happened in front of him.

I met CJ. I moved to the United States. I didn't feel like dating or meeting boys. My extended family pushed me to meeting people but I declined. Then they said to just try and the least is to try doing it online. I settled, I signed with a Catholic/Christian dating site. On the other side, CJ was being pushed by the priest in his church to date someone. If CJ wouldn't be priest at least he should put his genetics of some use. He wasn't a fond of dating. He looked at the church bulletin board and saw some recommendations for dating sites. He thought it wouldn't really hurt to try. He didn't like some of the websites in the listing because some needed some money then he tried the free one. Then, we met. I am still conventional. I would have preferred the classic boy meets girl and then they fall in love. But God gave us a better way.  Ours didn't have a perfect start but it was a great start. We made great conversations. We became best friends. He was and still is my confidante. He was there when I was at my lowest. He was available when I almost lost my parents. We fell in love. I already know that I will marry CJ and I am ready to spend the rest of my life with him.  I am his first love. He might not be my first love but he is my final and greatest love of all.

One's first love wouldn't necessarily be one's final and greatest love of all.

Here is the lovely article: 

When the Words Don’t Fit


During the flight, I felt his eyes trying to catch mine as I turned and pretended to look for something behind me. The voice we used when ordering drinks, the way we stood to pull this or that from the overhead compartment: everything was choreographed for the benefit of the stranger across the aisle.
And then the plane landed and made its way to the gate. In my memory, it was evening and the rain had just subsided. Somewhere between the gate and my parents’ waiting car, he handed me the poem.

That was almost 13 years ago. I had been flying home from college for the weekend for my sister’s wedding — or rather, the celebration of her marriage. My family wasn’t big on weddings in the save-the-date, banquet-hall sense. So this was the small, elegant party held after she and her husband had eloped. Our tradition wasn’t to have weddings but to have elopements.

My parents had eloped. They had known each other for less than three months and had been on only a handful of dates before they went to a justice of the peace and took vows they meant and kept. My mother had been working at a welcome station in Florida. She handed my father a glass of free orange juice. That’s how they met: my mother with her thick dark hair and crystal-blue eyes, my father in his naval uniform.

I was proud of that, the story of my parents’ beginning. It was a glass of free orange juice, but it could have been a poem.

“Did you hear that a boy gave Sarah a poem?” my older sisters whispered. They were enamored with the idea, and I passed around the white sheet of paper with its pale blue lines so they could read it.

They smiled and teased and recalled memories of when they were single and it was summer, and the boys had dark brown eyes and crooked smiles. It was decided that it was a nice anecdote, the boy handing me a poem. That night, I smoothed it with my hands and put it somewhere safe.

The party the next evening was the first family function at which I was treated officially as an adult. I had recently come back after studying abroad, and so I held my glass of wine and talked with relatives about Florence and London and Paris, and my plans after graduation. I’d move to New York. I’d work at an art gallery. I’d find a boy who wrote poems. It all seemed not only possible, but fantastically so.

The next day, my parents dropped me off at the airport, and when I arrived at the gate, the boy was there. We smiled at each other, and I sat down.

It turned out we were on the same flight, and this time we were seated next to each other on the trip back to Vermont. He played in a band and studied English and had been home for the weekend as well, visiting his family in Greenwich, Conn.
We talked about music and art. His first name was the same as my father’s. It was the sort of thing that seemed magical, preordained. It was the sort of thing that made girls near their 21st birthdays use words like “destiny” and “fate.” 

He walked me to my car, and we kissed in the parking garage, under orb like yellow lights. It was a still kiss, a postcard kiss, a Disney princess kiss, the kind of kiss that makes blue cartoon birds chirp and swirl in the sky, their beaks holding garlands. 

And this is exactly where the story should end. It should cut to credits, and the music should be triumphant but soft. Your last image should be of the young girl and the handsome poetry-writing boy frozen in a movie kiss. You should brush the popcorn off your lap and leave the theater smiling because everything worked out the way you knew it would. You can leave remembering that time when you were young and lovely, and things like that could happen. 

Because it’s boring to say that things don’t work out like they do in the movies. Everyone knows that. Even 21-year-olds. But it’s hard to resist a great story. If we had lasted, we would have had one hell of a story.  

Maybe that’s why I clung to him in that particularly embarrassing way that young girls sometimes do, why I wanted so much for things to work out. Why I let myself turn into someone I didn’t really like when I was around him. Why I was willing to forgive his arriving hours late on the night he met my parents at a restaurant in New York.

He was the last person I dated before I met the man who would become my husband. My husband and I met in a bar. I knew a friend of his. He knew a friend of mine. You’ve heard it a hundred times before.

But a few years later, he and I married, in a big traditional wedding with a white dress and a tiered cake. My father walked me down the aisle. My niece was the flower girl. There was shrimp cocktail.
That wedding was the first of its kind in my family.

At our reception, my father gave a toast. He told the story of how he and my mother met, the story of how all those years ago she handed him a glass of free orange juice.

“There’s no such thing as free orange juice,” he’ll sometimes joke when telling their story, a satisfied but somehow tired look in his eyes.

My parents have now been married for almost 50 years. They have five children, eight grandchildren. They have hurt each other and tried to. They have saved each other’s lives. There have been loud, harrowing fights. There have been slammed doors and threats of leaving.

I remember sitting on my bed and wondering whether my mother meant it this time, whether it was finally done. Sometimes I hoped it would be, that it would just end and that there would finally be quiet. But there have also been hushed reconciliations: apologies and remorse and kind words spoken when no one was around to hear. So it’s after the glass of orange juice that my parents’ story, that anyone’s story, becomes interesting. To me, anyway.

“You have to believe that the Lord put you together in the first place.” That’s what my father said in his toast. That was his advice to my husband and me, his way of saying that what we had was preordained, that it was divine. And really, it was as good an explanation as any for love.

A few years ago, my parents went on a nice vacation together. They drank good Mayan-honey margaritas and walked on the beach. There are pictures of my mother with a flower tucked behind her ear.

“We found out how much we liked each other,” she said to me when they returned. Somewhere between their three-month courtship and five-decade marriage, my parents had figured out why they ended up together.

I told my husband that story, and he laughed softly. In my memory, he was doing the dishes, and the corners of his eyes creased as he smiled into the sink.

IT might interest you to know that the poetry-writing boy’s band has gone on to become one that you may have heard of, though it interests me less than I ever would have imagined. We were a good story. Nothing more. He is what I would have chosen when I thought I could choose. So, I suppose that’s the point: Love chooses us.

My husband and I don’t have a great “meeting” story. We met in a conventional way and had a conventional wedding. And in some sense, we lead a conventional life.

But my husband has seen me at my worst, at my most vile. And he has seen me at my best. He knows the things I don’t tell anyone, and the lies that I tell everyone but him. I have made sacrifices for him and been angry about it. Sometimes his flaws are so egregious, so blatant, they are all I see. And sometimes his kindness is so stunning that I am humbled.

And that’s love. Big, epic, fairy-tale love. The kind of love people write about. The kind of love that could inspire a poem. 

Sarah Healy lives in Vermont and is the author of the novel “Can I Get an Amen?” to be published next June. 
*Thank you Kuya William Panlilio for sharing this on your Facebook last year October 2011.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Give Up Tomorrow

Even being abroad, I still get bothered with the issues that concerns the Philippines. And through a friend's recommendation. I've spend my Friday night  to watch a documentary film titled "Give Up Tomorrow". 

The story reads as if it were ripped out of the pages of a suspense novel: As a tropical storm  beats down on an island in the Philippines, two sisters leave work and never make it home. A 19-year-old culinary student, 300 miles away in Manila, is sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. One of the most sensational trials in the country's history ensues, exposing shocking corruption within the judicial system and long-simmering class and racial antipathies among the population. Two grieving mothers, entangled in a case that ends a nation's use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man, dedicate more than a decade to executing or saving him. 
But the tale is true. Against a backdrop of tabloid journalism, political intrigue and police misconduct, one mother becomes a media darling, the other waits for justice, a judge commits suicide — and the young man remains behind bars.

(Film description from

It frustrates me that the Philippines still struggle with a lot of issues. It pains me that I cannot do a lot being abroad but I am still hopeful. I will find a way to help. Someday is better than no day.

To watch the full length documentary, watch it here.


Fight for the innocent! Persecution will never be a solution.

Philippine Justice System, it is never too late.

"If you are going to give up, give up tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, give up tomorrow."

My brother unfriended me on Facebook

My brother and I have a ten yer gap. My parents invested in my brother's education too much because they were sort of expecting that in the future my brother will send me to school.Culturally for us that was how it works. But that didn't happen. My brother studied Electronics Communications Engineering in De La Salle University. They've spent everything on him. My mother estimated they've spend around $75k on his education.  My brother had some personal issues and didn't graduate college. He blamed my father for pressuring him to become an engineer. He also said that living in my grandparent's house wasn't a mentally stimulating environment when he was in college. If he only finished his thesis, he could have graduated and got his license. He would have been a successful engineer and made great money.  My brother is so insecure with him not finishing his college degree. 

I wanted to go to his university but we couldn't afford it anymore. The great thing was I passed the University of the Philippines Admissions Test.I took the oppurtunity and decided to study in University of the Philippines because it was the smartest thing to do. I took up Business Economics. It was a state university so the tuition fee is cheap. My whole college tuition was only around $1K.  I chose to finish college because I have learned from what happened to my brother. Education is something no one can steal from you. My college degree was the greatest gift my mother gave me. She worked hard for me to be able to graduate.   

With no college degree,  my brother pursued photography but wasn't lucky. He didn't have a permanent job and did freelance but wasn't a lot of money. We still supported him with what he wanted. Photography wasn't a cheap hobby so he didn't always get what he wanted.  My parents needed to think of me too because I was in college. 

 My brother and I had our own share of fights and most of them started with him being aggressive. We struggled getting along. When I was 6 I believe, we had a fight about the TV remote, he wanted to have it so he became physical with me. My mother got really mad because I got bruised. The fighting and bickering existed throughout the years. But it got worse four years ago when my mother got sick . His anger became worse and really seemed mad at the world. He likes to shout whenever he wanted to get something done. He even one time almost got physical with my father. He was just full of anger. Most of his anger, I can't really understand. 

When my mother was really sick and my father had a bypass surgery,  I became the breadwinner. Being the youngest, I expected to be taken care of but instead I became the grown up. I was supporting everyone. I was 21 then.

Recently, we fought over the phone. I was trying to help him out by sending him money and giving him some sort form of income. He didn't utilize it and blamed me that that wasn't his 'thing'. Aside from that, I do support his hobby and pays his website bills. We got into an argument and just started crying. He blamed me for the misfortunes in his life. He made my college degree an issue. I chose to finish college, he didn't. My brother and I have both been through a lot. My life in the United States wasn't easy. His life in the Philippines was hard especially when my mother died on him.

 He deactivated his Facebook for a while. And then the other day, as I was browsing to look for him, I was surprised that we are not friends anymore. My brother had just unfriended me on Facebook. He also disconnected the phone lines. Sometimes, I wonder if I drive people away. Am I destined to not have a my biological family as my family? Is being alone something natural to me?  I am grateful that I can still communicate with my father through email but I still feel sad that he is not with me.  I really want to bring him back here in the United States to take care of him. 

Being in two different countries, the agony is worse. Every day I worry about him and my father. My late mother wouldn't want us to be like this. But even my mother couldn't tame my brother. He is my brother but I have given my own share of being submissive to him and I believe it his turn. But I don’t know if he would reach out to me, he isn't that type. Despite it all, he is still my brother  and I hope we can resolve it. With what just happened, I am just scared that I might lose him. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A riddle to exercise the brain muscles: 

A man and his son are in a serious car accident. The man dies on the spot, and the son is rushed to the hospital. Upon entering the operating room, the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy; he's my son."

Who is the surgeon?

..................the surgeon is the boy's mother.

I was reading Meg Urry's "Why bias holds women back" when I've stumbled on this riddle. In her own words, she said:

I was utterly unable to figure out how the boy's father could both be dead and about to perform surgery. Of course, the answer is that the boy's mother was the surgeon. That possibility never crossed my young mind because, until I was in my 20s, I had never had a female doctor. So it's not surprising that I developed an unconscious expectation that doctors would be men.
The social science research made all kinds of sense to me. Our experiences of life are turned into unconscious expectations that affect how we see others. When scholars reviewed a psychology research paper, for example, they scored it higher if the author's name were male than if female. A male applicant for a job as police chief was rated higher than a woman, even though she had important qualifications for the job that he lacked. Similarly, a male applicant for a job as nursing supervisor was rated lower than the female applicant, even when he had the qualifications she lacked.
This means most of us can't be gender-blind or color-blind or unaware of difference. That's not the goal right now. What we must do is acknowledge our inner biases and make sure we try our best to avoid them.

I've asked this question to my coworkers and posted it on my Facebook. Some got it right, most didn't get the answer right and there were some that just took forever to answer. Afterwards, I got curious what made them answer that way  and I was able to compile such good reasoning. One, we never really had an image of a doctor as a woman. Two, our society is still patriarchal. Three, in relation to one and two, we are still technically sexist. And Finally, our world is becoming liberated. One respond I've read on Facebook is that it might still be the father if the parents are a same sex-couple.

This is similar to racism. We say that racism is wrong but people still generalize people according to their race. So what do you call that? Racial bias or racial generalization? To end this all, let us just STOP TALKING about "it" just like what Morgan Freeman said below. 

Credits to the owner

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My American Dream

My American Dream

ConanO’Brien once said: “One’s dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course”. I couldn’t agree more based on my experience. When I was 16, I was off to college with great enthusiasm. With tremendous encouragement from my father, I took Business Economics at the most prestigious university in my country and dreamed of someday becoming the President. When I graduated college at 20, I believed I was ready to conquer the “real” world. With greater hunger for knowledge, I wanted to study further and someday teach back in my university. The year I turned 21, my future took a different route. My so called world is somewhere else now.

It was the 5th of December 2009, our plane just landed and as I was slowly walking to the airport, a snow flake fell on hand. It was the first day of winter and it was also my first day in a new country that I will start to call - home.

My father and I left my home country, Philippines, and flew more than 8,000 miles to come to the United States, the land of dreams and greener pastures. My mother was recovering from an amputated toe due to diabetes and decided to stay in the Philippines because my brother was "overage" by US immigration policies.  I left with a heavy heart and packed my life of 21 years in just 3 luggage bags.


I remember having a conversation in high school with someone 12 years my senior about going abroad. He said everyone would seize the chance to go abroad when the opportunity presented itself. Being young and nationalistic, I exclaimed that if such opportunity existed, I would not leave my country and choose to stay. I never thought that I would eat my words and do the opposite instead

The past few years that I lived here in America has been a life of endless trials, accomplishments and learnings.  Coming to America changed my life in a snap. Within my first two weeks, I started looking for jobs that cater to my college degree. With no luck, I accepted work as a stay-in caregiver to an elderly lady for a family of doctors. I was not ashamed of my job, but I was not so proud of it either. I am on the opposite side of my field. My being a caregiver is supposed to be temporary until I find a job that is more in line with my academic training. However, the job market is tight and I need a job to survive. My dreams needed to wait.

                                                                                    Jim Mone/AP

A few months later, my father was complaining of chest pains. He fainted so I scheduled him with my boss for a check-up and she found out that he actually had a heart attack. My father had a quintuple heart bypass surgery. He survived. And two months into his recovery, my mother fell unconscious and went into coma and in 24 hours she died due to aneurysm. I flew back to the Philippines for three weeks to lay my mother to rest. Two months after her death, my father decided to return to the Philippines. The loneliness was just too much for him.

I became the breadwinner of the family. Being the youngest, I expected to be taken care of; instead I had to step up and take responsibility for everything. I suddenly needed to be a grown up. I had no choice; I had to keep the family from going through more difficulties. I couldn't quit my job with all the responsibilities suddenly in my hands. I had to hold on a little longer until I saved more than enough or found another job.

The United States meant better opportunities, which also meant acquiring more wealth. This has shown me how easy it is to acquire material wealth through hard work, either by credit or cash. Two weeks into my job, I was able to buy a high-end laptop. Three months of pay checks was enough to cover all expenses entailed by my sudden flight to the Philippines. With my salary of two months, I was able to buy a used car in good condition. These are material possessions that I can't imagine acquiring in less than a year if I stayed in the Philippines.


After one year of my employment and some money saved, I decided to quit my job and try my luck in another place. I stayed over at my friend’s house for two months and then I rented a room somewhere else.  I struggled looking for a job again. I was getting interviews and getting better at it. My improvements didn’t land me the job because they hired internally. I never thought the job market was overly competitive.

And so to finance myself and support my family, I took any job available. I was hired as a Server at a restaurant and then I took a second job as a Sales Associate at a hardware store.  I tried applying for an office position in a company through a friend's referral but they wouldn't hire me because they already hired someone internally.  I applied with the lowest possible job just so I could just get in. I was hired. I was a Cage Wash Technician in the morning, Sales Associate at night and Server on weekends.  I was working 80 hour weeks for 2 months. Then I decided to quit as a server because the pay was just not good enough. And then 6 months later, I got promoted in my first job and I decided to quit my Sales Associate job. Three months after, I was offered to be a permanent and I accepted. Another three months passed, and the job that I first applied for became open. I applied and got the job. Thanks to my new job, I was able to support myself and my family, move to a new apartment and go to school at night. I have proven that I earned what I’ve worked for.

Looking back now, I am extremely different from who I was when I was 16. My dreams have changed and they will still change. I have also changed career paths. To be the President of my Philippines is not my dream anymore. I have new dreams: to have my own business, to get married to the love of my life, to have our own home, and to have my father and brother here permanently. I vow to go back to the Philippines someday and teach.  My struggle to survive in this land of the unknown challenged my dreams and identity but also it defined me and made me unique.

The general idea of the term “American Dream” suggests that anyone in the US can succeed through hard work and has the potential to lead a happy and successful life. I am happy in the land I now call my second home. I have conquered a few steps to success and I am still far from reaching the ultimate success of my life but at least I know where I am heading.

Maria Helena Garcia, 23, Administrative Support Specialist II for the National Institutes of Health, is having the American Life and living the American Dream.