Two things and a lot of other things on a Friday night

First, I’ve never written as much as I’ve had these past few months. The only catch is I’ve been writing for other people. I’ve been writing for people who have whatever it takes – patience, hard work, a knack for photography, money and even HTML coding skills (because God knows I don’t have that) – to run a legitimate blog but don’t have the time or the words to write about whatever it is they want to blog about. If you go by the things I’ve written so far, these past months I’ve gone backpacking to Laos and I’ve traveled to Singapore and Hong Kong. During my travels, I’ve also tried local street food, as well as high-end restaurants to review their food. I’ve also lost 50 pounds, 20 pounds and 13 pounds through daily exercise, yoga and diet. On top of that, I’ve become an expert 24-year-old parent who wants to give other young parents tips on how to raise their children.

I’ve never pretended to be so busy with life until now. Because isn’t that what it is, pretending? A thought often comes to my mind whenever I’m supposedly writing from halfway across the world. Is this the fruition of my once upon a time dream to become a writer? Is this the writer’s equivalent to an aspiring musician who gets stuck singing at clubs and weddings? Or am I worse because I’m the aspiring musician who lets other people sing her songs at clubs and weddings?

I don’t feel sad or bad though. To be honest, I actually feel good about it. Is that sad or bad? I like that I get to write, that I get paid to write and that they actually like what I write. I like imagining myself backpacking across Southeast Asia. I like thinking about how I’d be as a parent in my twenties, mostly because I don’t think I’ll ever be a parent in my twenties. As lame as it sounds, I like pretending to be this hip and cool blogger who gets invited to all these restaurants and who gets to try their food for free…

Even though in reality, I go to work Mondays to Fridays at 8 a.m. sometimes with a smile on my face, sometimes without. I teach until 3 p.m. and then tutor ’til 5 or 6 p.m. I go home, sometimes with a smile on my face, sometimes without. If I feel like it, I work out. If I don’t, I read a book (right now, it’s The Three Musketeers) while listening to some music (tonight, it’s Christmas songs because it’s never too early for Christmas songs). Then I write for other people to earn a few bucks on the side.

Except tonight, I don’t have to write for other people since I was able to finish them early, which brings me to my second thing for tonight.

The last time I watched Grey’s Anatomy was in high school. I stopped watching when I realized, to my dismay, that I was unknowingly craving for the drama I was seeing in these very fake shows to happen in my very real life. High school, you know?

But earlier, I came across a friend’s post about Grey’s Anatomy and I saw a photo of April Kepner and Jackson Avery. I thought to myself, hey they look cute together. And for some reason, that passing comment spiraled into me watching all their scenes on YouTube, and that spiraled into me falling in love with their make-believe relationship and their scripted life… only to find out that their current status is very flimsy. And now I’m unstable too because no one gets attached to fictional characters in less than 24 hours more than I do.

So I tell this to Karen because, well, it’s Karen, and she looks at me with her Karen face and says, “Seriously, you need a boyfriend.” And I whine, “But who would even want to date someone like me?” Because really, 24 hours ago I didn’t even know these fictional people and their fictional lives existed but here I am consumed with thoughts on how fictional Jackson and fictional April can fix their fictional marriage.

Seriously though, what is wrong with me?

But also, seriously, believe me when I say I am writing all this with a stupid grin on my face because as bizarre as I know this all is, I like this little glitch that I have.

And that just gave me an idea. I keep seeing all these lists of things people want in a boyfriend or girlfriend or like traits that would make you a perfect boyfriend or girlfriend. I haven’t seen any lists yet about faults and flaws your future special someone needs to know about you before trying to date you. That sounds fun. So maybe I can make a list about that.

Maybe. Next time I’m free to write for me.

Of staring at the moon and the thoughts that come with it

Is it just me or is the moon looking extra fine tonight?

I saw the moon tonight and I was completely amazed. In fact, I was so amazed by what I saw that I asked my mom, who was in the car with me, if it really was the moon I’m seeing. In fact in fact, before sharing this thought with the wonderful world of social media, I found myself looking for the moon again and again when it got lost in the trees and buildings just to make sure that it was still the way I saw it. For a while there I just was just staring at it. I found it so mesmerizing.

After some time, it dawned on me that it had been days, maybe weeks, since I’d last seen it. And the reason why I hadn’t seen it for a long time is simply because I hadn’t taken the time to look at it. Which I think is pretty sad considering I’ve been coming home late this past week so if there’s anything I should’ve seen a lot of recently, it would be the moon. But I didn’t.

And the first thought that popped up in my head soon after realizing that is that I’ve been spending a lot of my days looking straight ahead, both in the road and life in general, that I’ve forgotten that it wouldn’t hurt to look up once in awhile.

One of the things I always have the most trouble with is finding that balance between being realistic and being the world-peace kind of idealistic. I’m usually either one or the other; rarely am I a combination of both. And for the past few weeks, I’ve mostly been, I think the perfect word for it is functional. I’ve been doing everything I’m supposed to be doing – working and teaching, self-studying during my free time and planning my future. I got so caught up in the technicals and practicals of this life, that I forgot to let my head fly up in the clouds a little bit. And I’m saying that not because I need it, but because it feels nice, and because I think because we owe it to ourselves to do something that feels nice every now and then.

Another thought that came to mind is how underrated the moon is compared to the sun and stars. Literally speaking. The sun is the sun, nothing really tops that. We can’t really underrate the sun since the existence of the entire human race depends on it. And the stars… well, John Green, along with every other love song, made sure no one will ever forget about those.

But the moon… the moon is just there, appearing every night like it’s supposed to, at a time when people are either too tired to care or too drunk to notice. I guess it’s because there’s very little mystery about it now, that it doesn’t get the cred the other two have. It can’t be known for its beauty either since it’s basically a gray ball of holes and craters.

But it has its moments. Like tonight.

I’m tempted to list down a number of symbolism and parallels about the moon and life and love and people right now, but I’ll just leave it at this: being a moon among the stars and under the shadow of the sun is a most beautiful thing in the most inconspicuous of ways.

Really though, if you’re reading this right now and the moon’s still out where you are, go and look. I hope it looks the same way it does here. I hope you see it the way I do right now.

Tell me a secret. And I’ll tell you one of mine.

I’m testing this idea I thought of earlier today – that we sometimes find it easier to tell our secrets to people who we’ve never actually met and/or seen in person.

I’ve never met you so there’s no reputation for you to uphold or protect. I’ve never seen you so I can’t possibly come up with preconceived notions based on your appearance.

As someone who has her own secrets, I think the nicest thing about keeping a secret is that moment when you finally share it with someone who you know will never tell it to anyone else. On the flip side, the worst thing about keeping a secret is not having anyone you feel you can tell it to without being judged or criticized.

So stranger, are you game? It doesn’t even have to be dark or profound, it could be that you pick your nose when no one’s watching or whatever: something you’re embarrassed about, a something you’re afraid someone you know will find out (hopefully, it’s not something illegal) or maybe something you’ve never felt like sharing with the people around you.

If you’re feeling generous with your secret or alone because of your secret, I’m all ears. If you tell me one of yours, I’ll gladly tell you one of mine. Of course, what I’m going to tell you depends on what you’re going to tell me. It doesn’t seem fair if your secret is about nose-picking and mine is about, I don’t know, classified government information.

For some secret sharing, email scribblesforthesoul@yahoo.com

This is the sniffles talking

Nothing makes me feel prettier than having the common cold.

Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Mila Kunis better step aside.

Puffy eyes, runny nose and the constant sneezing? Beautiful. Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Maxim will be calling soon. 

But seriously, the only thing I like about having colds is having the perfect excuse to look like a red-nosed, teary-eyed neanderthal with hair worse than a prickly shrub.

No settling down for me any time soon then

One of the perks that come with my job is having free unlimited and unrestricted access to the Internet. And since work was really slow yesterday, I decided to take advantage of that. So I opened Google and typed “things every girl must do.” I was curious to find out what people think I should be doing that I haven’t done yet. One of the articles that appeared on the top of the page was Glamour Magazine’s 36 things every single girl must do before she settles down, and I thought hmm, that’s interesting. Not that I have plans to get committed real soon – I’m pretty sure I need a guy first to make that happen. I just wanted to know whether or not I had that option, just in case Ben Barnes suddenly knocks on my front door and proposes. I KNOW, I KNOW.

But fear not, Mom and Dad. According to this article, I still have a long way to go before I can settle down. You’d think the list would be full of deep, personal stuff like, I don’t know, meeting the guy’s family maybe? But I thought a lot of things on the list were unnecessary and a bit nonsense, to be honest. Or maybe I’m just bitter because that means no Ben Barnes for me. You be the judge.

  1.  Live alone, or at least move apartments in NYC without the help of family – I’m not ashamed to say that I’m 22 years old and I still live with my parents. Most people would say that young adults aren’t independent if they still live in their parents’ house and that they couldn’t really be considered adults because of it. For me, though, there’s another, more significant flipside to it. I don’t look at it as me still depending on my parents for everything, because I don’t; it’s more of me being with my parents to take care of them and my grandparents, since they’re also living with us. I mean, of course there are times when I love being alone but more than anything I love living with my family. And I’d have no problem if it stays that way until I have a family of my own.
  2. Train for (and finish) a huge physical test like a half-marathon – While I’m not an all-star athlete, I’m not completely terrible at physical challenges either. If there was a schoolyard pick, I’d probably get picked in the middle. I don’t train for marathons because I have no interest in joining any. But I did climb up 500  really steep steps to reach the top of a mountain when I was in Caramoan and I was able to do that without having exercised at all in the weeks prior. Because I was swimming and spelunking before that, my legs and knees were already buckling 50 steps into it. I’m not sure if that counts but it definitely was a physical test for me and I conquered that big baby.
  3. Quit your job – Well, I just started mine… so no, thank you.
  4. Fly to a foreign country by yourself – This one’s on my bucket list so I really am praying for this. Hopefully, my plan to travel throughout Europe in 2016 will push through.
  5. Get drunk during the day, just because you can – Yeah, I can. The only problem is I don’t want to.
  6. Go on a date with someone who actually makes you nervous – I think I prefer going on a date with someone who actually makes me feel comfortable. Plus, as some of you probably know by now, I’m excruciatingly awkward when I’m nervous so this is also for the guy’s sake as much as it is for mine.
  7. Go out with an older man who takes you somewhere nice and makes you feel like a million bucks – I’m sorry but when I read this, a rather unpleasant word came to my mind and it’s not a word I’d want to associate myself with.
  8. Chill with your widowed and single grandma – My 94-year-old grandfather is still very much alive and healthy, and I intend to keep it that way for a very long time.
  9. Attend a wedding alone – You mean without a date? Isn’t that pretty normal for any single girl?
  10. Date the creeps – I have to do that before I settle down? What if I date the really creepy kind of creep and not make it out alive to actually be able to settle down?
  11. Buy yourself some flowers – It’s not that I don’t like flowers. I just like looking at them more than I do receiving them. Flowers can be really expensive, and I’d rather use the money to buy a book or watch a movie.
  12. Invest in a LBD (little black dress) and some sexy stilettos – Stilettos kill my feet. It’s as simple as that. I salute all the women whose feet can bear such an ordeal.
  13. Buy something frivolous and expensive that you love wearing – I’m the kind of person who, when it comes to shopping for clothes and accessories, never buys anything frivolous and expensive. I think the most expensive article of clothing I bought is a pair of jeans worth $20.
  14. Make a list of all your faults – I never thought of doing this one, but this is kind of interesting. Maybe I’ll write about this and post it here for all of you to see. Yes, I think I’ll do that.
  15. Learn to cook well – I was about to cross this one off until I saw the word “well.”
  16. Let your married friends edit your online dating profile – Online dating profile? I think I’ll pass.

So I’m pretty sure Glamour Magazine would discourage me from settling down in the near future. They probably think I shouldn’t get settle down at all if these are their prerequisites.

Thankfully, I have my own prerequisites to follow which, if I’m settling down with the right guy, are really easy to abide by.

  1. Get my parents’ approval.
  2. Get his parents’ approval.
  3. Get my siblings’ approval.
  4. Get his siblings’ approval.
  5. Get God’s approval.

Yeah, I think if I’m able to get these five things, everything else will work out splendidly.

What are yours?

The unlikely story of how I got the job: Part 3

Going into that last interview, I felt like I was on my way to the guillotine. Quite frankly, it had less to do with the possibility of me losing the job offer and more with the idea of facing The HR Man again. I’m no expert in reading people’s thoughts but I can more or less sense if a person likes me or not – and my senses were screaming that this man was not at all amused by my subdued sparkly personality. I wasn’t even praying for the job anymore, I was praying for my dignity – that I won’t be ripped to bits and pieces.

Now would be a good time to point out that this man is gay. Before I go further though, let me just say that I have no problem whatsoever with gays. I have a couple of gay friends and I think they’re wonderful people. The HR Man is probably a wonderful person too. It’s just that he terrifies me. He reminds me so much of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada – which, for the record, is what my sisters say will be my life story with this whole experience (if it isn’t obvious enough, I’m Anne Hathaway, not Meryl Streep). But really, how can anyone not feel the least bit intimidated when you’re face to face with the gay version of Meryl Streep?

Anyway, The Interview. It already sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? A lot of things were said. I’m not sure if most of the comments could be considered bad because, personally, they weren’t. It’s common for people to remember the bad in a situation more than the good. I remember the awkward ones the most, and The Interview had more awkward moments than anything else – like my very painstakingly thought out attempt at lightening the mood with a witty remark… which ended with him staring at me as if thinking, “You are one sad, sad creature.”

The most significant moment of the interview, however, was when he said he had two major concerns about me.

  1. “You’re too sheltered.” I could understand where he was coming from with this one. I’ve accepted the fact that there’s something about how I act or talk when I meet people for the first time, especially the ones who terrify me, that just gives them the impression that I’m a quiet lost girl with no friends and no life and no future. And knowing that I was raised in a strong Christian household would understandably make him think that I’m overprotected and inexperienced with “life” (because he actually told me to “go live life and go wild and crazy in Bangkok”). Overprotected? Yeah, maybe. Not denying that. Inexperienced with “life”? Well, if you define life as going out to parties on a daily basis, getting drunk/high/laid every now and then, and basically doing anything and everything that a lot of young people nowadays brag about to their friends but hide from their parents, then I am definitely inexperienced, and proud of it. I’m also unsure how that’s a bad thing.
  2. “If I look at you and how you dress, and I get bored, what more can I expect from your work?” When I heard him say this, I seriously couldn’t stop myself from smiling. I mean, I was very much aware that it was an insult and that being told up front that he was bored with me simply because of how I dressed was a really bad sign – BUT I genuinely found that comment so hilarious because I’ve been teased about how I dress by my sisters, friends and even my ex-boyfriend. They said I sometimes dress like a pregnant lady because I like loose tops and bootleg jeans. I’m obviously not the type of girl who loves shopping and fashion, so I don’t dress as fashionably as other girls do. To be honest, I actually thought I looked pretty good in my mint green loose (not pregnant loose) blouse tucked in my flared jeans and nude heels. I even made the extra effort to wear accessories. I felt more fashionable than comfortable, that’s for certain. It makes me wonder what outfit I should have worn that would be deemed pleasing to him – evening gown, maybe? But it’s still amusing to hear someone criticize my sense of fashion… or lack thereof apparently, which really doesn’t bother me at all because I do prioritize feeling comfortable with what I’m wearing than looking like I’m always dressed to please somebody.

I know hearing these thing should have shook my already barely there confidence, but it kind of did the opposite. With the first one, I found his comment more interesting than anything else and the second one just really made me laugh inside. I came to this interview feeling awfully nervous because I was afraid he’d say I wasn’t good enough. It turned out to be that his reservations were personal aspects of me – aspects that I happen to like about myself – rather than my writing capabilities. That’s when I felt that if ever I didn’t land this job, it wouldn’t hurt me as much as it would before going to this interview.

But it turns out I wouldn’t hurt at all because he ended The Interview by telling me that his gut feeling was saying that I have potential and that, should I accept the position, he looks forward to what I can offer the Agency. So here I am, two weeks in the job and feeling pretty good about myself and my work.

I end this crazy long story of how I got the job by saying two things:

  1. It doesn’t hurt to pray. This doesn’t just apply to finding jobs, and this isn’t just exclusive for Christians only. If you believe in God, then prayer should be a vital part of your life. Trust me, it helps. And if you don’t believe in God, then what have you got to lose by doing it? If nothing happens, then nothing happens and you can go on feeling right about your belief. If something happens, then it’s up to you to choose what to make of it. It’s a win-win situation, really.
  2. Never compromise the characteristics that make you you, especially the ones that make you a good person. But at the same time, respect the fact that not everybody will be completely pleased with that. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be open to the idea of change. What I’m saying is if we’re going to change, let’s make sure we’re changing for the better and not for people’s approval. These people only get to be with us for a certain amount of time, we’re going to have to live with ourselves for the rest of our lives. And that would be impossible to do if we don’t like ourselves.

The unlikely story of how I got the job: Part 1

Like most of my peers, one of my biggest concerns in the past month or so was finding a job. More importantly, it had to be a job that I like or am passionate about. I didn’t want to be one of those people who valued their position or salary more than the work itself or worse, those people who put up with their jobs for the sake of being able to say that they actually have one.

At first, it seemed pretty easy to do- just apply for the jobs that I like and disregard the others that I think wouldn’t suit me. But then, gradually, thoughts pop up in your head. Are you really qualified for the job that you like? How many people out there who also applied for the same job are better and more qualified than you? When you hear people from school, especially those who got higher grades than you (which, if I’m being completely honest, is probably half of the senior student population), talk about looking for work, you can’t help but panic a little and start scrambling to send your resume to every company with a job opening. And I’m quite embarrassed to admit that no amount of praying on my part assured me enough to stop me from reacting in the exact same way.

Overall, I think I applied for seven jobs. I got accepted in four.

If you read my graduation speech (because I strongly feel that every graduate is entitled to one), you’d understand why I have the tendency to cower when faced with a bunch of choices, especially when all the choices seem so appealing. I know, I know. Why apply for seven when I couldn’t even choose between four, right? Like I said, I panicked. But this whole experience for me has been an absolute blessing because I was able to witness firsthand how God works His magic.

Early February, I applied for the Jr. Creative Writer position at an events management agency. I’ve never heard of the agency before. I was only interested in the position. I honestly did not expect to receive a call from them because, first, when I checked their website, I found that most of their clients are high profile and huge corporate companies; second, the only official experience I’ve had was working as a copy editor for the student council paper and while that screams “I have crazy good grammar!”, it doesn’t particularly say “I’m also a good writer”; and third, they only had one opening and I hadn’t even officially graduated college when I sent my resume. Because I had close to zero expectation of being deemed qualified, I forgot all about it. It was really easy to do since I didn’t hear anything from them ’til the last week of March. By then, I had already received my first job offer as a copy editor at a publishing company, which I turned down because my gut feeling was telling me that I’d be miserable, copy editing medical and business journals all day every day.

On March 25th, I went for my first interview and initial writing exam with the head of the HR department of the events agency. If I had close to zero expectation of landing the job going into the interview, I had negative 100000000 expectation coming out of it. Seriously, it was that bad. There were many factors. Namely:

  1. He asked me if I liked to party. I said I didn’t and that I’m the type of person who’d rather stay at home than go out at night. It didn’t even occur to me that I was applying for a job in an EVENTS agency and that creating and attending parties are what the company’s about. The fact that my interviewer frowned after I gave my answer was what made me realize that painfully obvious information but by then it was too late, which brings me to number two.
  2. He asked what made me want to work for the said company. Okay, before I tell you my answer, you should know that after his party question, my small hope of landing the job just flew out the window of a one million-story building, landed in the gutter and was flushed down to the deepest depths of the earth. So when he asked me that question, I figured it couldn’t hurt anymore to just tell him the truth. And I did. I told him I’ve never heard of the company and that the only reason I applied for it is because of the job position.
  3. After being interviewed, I was tasked to write a detailed account of a social event/party that I’ve personally attended. This could have been easy… if I actually went to one. I spent five years in college, not once did I ever attend a frat party or a concert after party. I’ve only been to a club twice and that was only because I wanted to dance, and in both times I was in bed by 1 a.m. Really, I’d make any parent proud. Anyway, I was faced with a choice of either making something up or just writing about something that might just embarrass me further. Again, I figured I was already doing amazingly horrible anyway so I might as well just go all out. So I wrote about my high school prom. I’m 22 years old, just recently graduated from college, and I wrote about my high school prom for a company that’s known for organizing fashion shows, product launches and massive corporate parties. I swear it took everything and more for me to keep myself from bursting out laughing because that’s what I do when I know I’m the butt of the joke – I laugh at myself before anyone else gets a chance to.