Cancun, Can Can!

I’ve never been to Mexico and it was really fun when a big bunch of us went (10 ladies) for a good week. It was interesting because we got to sight see and at the same time have enough relax time for me to get so burnt that I’m peeling off skin after only a week has passed. Of course, my best friend was with me (never apart, we are. lol). The only thing I didn’t like was how they used USD currency. It made everything a little more expensive that they should’ve been, in my opinion. I mean you can haggle but still.. it wasn’t the same.

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My favourite part was Isla Mujeres! Haggling for souvenirs, and getting offered tequila on a burning hot day was funny. And yes, the last ferry back to our resort left without us, but we toughed it out and got on a different ferry and braved the bus back to Barcelo Costa. We saw this amazing view of the cliff and it was breath taking. You could see iguanas soaking up the sun on the rocks, too. A little creepy but since, they don’t move fast, they didn’t creep me out too much. There’s a good story to this: Riding on our cool golf cart, we were about to go around the island to see this amazing cliff, according to our friend.

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But she forgot the directions of how to reach the cliff, and none of us knew enough Spanish to ask the native speakers. Then my cellphone comes to our rescue. I had downloaded the Google Translate app on it and had Spanish, French, and Japanese languages so I could translate offline. ‘Acantilado’ is the word for cliff and we would stop every now and then to make sure we were heading the right way. Then just when we get tot the cliff, our personal chauffeur noticed there was a map right on the steering wheel. LOL. We laughed ourselves silly.

 

Resting in hammocks at Xel-Ha

Resting in hammocks at Xel-Ha

The excursion that we went to first was called Xel-Ha. We did quite a bit of snorkelling and eating. Now that I think about it, we were only there for 2.5 hours which was totally not enough to finish the whole thing! Even though on it’s map, it looks like a theme park (so fun!) and it had the river where you can jump off a small cliff! I wanted to do that and walk on a rope!! We started on the wrong side of the place.. Ooh and there were dolphin interactions for an extra $100 which I did not have, sadly. Next time, I will do it!

Hammock Store

Did I mention that I bought a hammock chair? Haha, the guy wanted it for $75 and that thing was not worth $75 at all. So I haggled to get it for $40 but he wanted $45, so I said, sure. I didn’t realize it wouldn’t fit in my luggage so I had to carry it like it was stroller/carry on. At least, the airport didn’t give me so much grief for it. I refuse to post pictures of our bar hopping tour; I was red like a lobster from all the alcohol, but at least I was still moving; if I was drunk as heck, I wouldn’t be able to move off the floor–which is a very scary thought, when you’re in a different country that you can’t speak the language of… LOL!

Productive Year! …Or So I Hope

Well, since it’s been so long since I’ve updated my stories, I’ve finally decided to stick to one and work it until it’s finished. I used to love re-reading my stories, revisiting the various worlds I’ve known for so long but I was always scared to touch them even at their unfinished stage. To me, the words had to be perfect otherwise, it wouldn’t feel right. ARGHH! I’ve been in that stage for almost 3 years now! I’ve only managed to add a page or two here and there but that’s as far I got! I blamed it on my lack of reading lately, but who was I kidding? So! Now, you’ve all had a sneak peek at one particular  story of mine, The Mermaid Story (no, that’s not going to be the final title of the story).

Like I said in my previous introductory posts about this story, I’ve actually finished the main plot line of this story. It’s the details that are hard to put to it because of some issues (i.e.) how to make mermaids talk, and do the animals talk in words or no, etc. Now with my fourth year of procrastinating, I’ve finally made up my mind to write out this story. It’s been a rough start, with the images of how the story should go a certain way interfering with my processing for details. However, with that said, my writer’s block is finally gone and I’m proud to say that the story now has a new introduction, and along the way, I’ve conjured up new characters as well. I feel as though they’ll be crowded with so many crews throughout the story, but I’ll make it work. :) So far, my inspiration comes from Boyzone’s songs. LOL! I know; it’s weird. Don’t ask me why, but it just lulls me into my fantasy world and keeps me there. Pray that at the last day of the year 2014, the story will be finished because it’s my present to my sister and my best friend. I don’t want to give them an unfinished present.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts

After thinking about why I’m such a weirdo, look what I found while I was browsing in the bookstore: Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. For the longest time, ever since I’ve noticed that when I was younger, I was always so shy and quiet when it comes to socializing. I’m fine if you leave me with family and stuff, but the moment I know I have to deal with someone new.. I’m already comparing myself in my brain to how the other kids (my close cousins) react to those kinds of people. I was never quick to like someone enough or trust someone enough to be spontaneous around them. I alway measure, measure, measure. I’m gauging their actions, their words, and how other people react to them. I always thought of my younger self as an outsider; always observing, barely participating. It literally felt like I was watching life happen in front of me. I’m actually very thankful for that because I learned (and I’m still learning) a lot through watching and listening to others; it made me more conscious of good and bad decisions, of personal opinions and intentions. It was eye-opening to live that way and yet at the same time, it felt like there was an invisible barrier between me and the life around me. It felt like I was poring over every small detail and because of it, I was failing to actually live life the way everybody else around me were living.

Quiet by Susan Cain

Since I started reading Cain’s book, I realized that this is how I am and it’s ok to be like this. I am an introvert. It’s very liberating to finally be at ease with myself. I used to feel so bad for declining invitations to socials and parties and even just to hang out. I get stressed out even with just the thought of having to spend hours with random people that I don’t truly know and having to talk and talk and talk. And talk about what? ‘Oh, your nails are so nice. Where’d you get it done?’ I honestly find it hard to start conversations, because I don’t usually care about those things, and when finally (after 20 minutes lol) someone gets to a good topic, I can’t help but want to listen and absorb the useful information. To everybody else, I know I come out quiet, but to me, it’s just that if I don’t have anything useful to contribute, I’m not inclined to talk. You should see me try, though! I can pretend to be an extrovert to some extent! And at some level of comfortability (often with family and close friends), I am totally at ease with spending an outrageous amount of energy, and if the situation calls for it, I can try to emulate this version on myself towards other people. This is also good because let’s face it, our society favours the bold and the outgoing.

Just thinking about the extroverts around here is tiring me out, hahaha! I do try every now and then, and I’m slow to get myself worked-up for these things. If a friends asks me out of nowhere to hangout later that day; the first emotion I feel is dread because I was looking forward to a quiet night of reading, or just staying at home. LOL When I was younger and I didn’t know any better, I blamed my mom for letting me grow up so quiet; I had associated my quietness to her strictly authoritative disciplinarian style (“I rule, you follow… Or else!”) and I even started thinking I was anti-social or a hermit. But now after absorbing most of the book, I now know, the “buzz” for the extroverts are just not the same level required by the introverts. In the book, Cain shows that if extroverts need a party to get that happy feeling, then introverts need a long walk by the beach. The difference is that extroverts are into “jumping into” an activity and introverts are into “analyzing the activity.”

It’s really interesting when I see a friend of mine who is always ‘Go, go, go!’ kind of a person and they tell me that if they’re stuck at home (let’s say the car broke down) for a day, he/she would not know what to do with themselves. I have a lot of interests that keep me busy even though technically I’m only at home. For example, I write, I study languages, I read, and I draw, etc. That extroverted friend of mine thinks I just sit at home and lounge but that couldn’t be farther from the truth; I hate the feeling of being bored. When I’m not productive in anyway and not accomplishing anything, no matter how small, I get restless and I go find something to do. It’s just I find that I recharge my energy better when I don’t have to deal with so many people all at once.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? =)

Another Year, Another Chance

The year 2013 has been a mix of blessings and obstacles. It’s been a whirlwind of travels and family drama and of course, my personal demons. It started out with a hesitant but willing step towards reconciliation towards a relative but by the time fall came around, the disputes and grudges were are nasty as a suppressed bullet being shot into your heart. I was kind of hoping that this year would end with a better note, in terms of being civil and having a little more understanding of the situation, but it all fell apart when the confrontations happened. I wanted to justify my parents’ side; to explain how it must have felt having to wait for years for somebody to do their end of the arrangement. I’ve tried a few times to set up a private time to talk about my family’s point of view, but it was always “work” in the way. My sister moved around her work schedule for this, but if they couldn’t make the effort to do the same, then that just shows me how they truly “care” about our relationship. While that ended on a sour note, I’ve been surprisingly doing well, with my other goal in life: to travel.

catching the sun

You’ve already seen my post on New York. My introverted self was actually okay with travelling with 6 other friends and keeping in close company with them for a week! I can’t even stand a single night of rowdy partying. That was around June 2013. Then later this year, mid-October to mid-November, the whole family went on an Asia Tour, as I like to call it (I also have a post about this, take a look here). My best friend came along, as I promised her. This time, we were on vacation for almost a month!! It was really fun! Busy, but fun. It felt like we were gone for 2 months, I almost started dreading work when we were getting closer to going back to Canada. We spent a few days in Hong Kong, where we met up with a family relative. Then another few days were spent in Singapore, making my best friend sick on the last day when we were headed to the Philippines. Then it was pretty much beach time and lots of time with my dad’s relatives. We did a little sight-seeing closer to our hometown because my best friend has never been.

The kicker of this year didn’t come as a shock, it was more of a devastation. As a child, I always thought of my family as perfect, both my immediate family and close relatives. Then slowly, as I grew up, the people around me seemed to want to share all the bad stuff about the family that was never told when I was younger. As I matured, it became more of a burden, which really brings to mind that saying: Ignorance is bliss. At the same time, it was a good learning experience for me because through the bad choices of all those people that I’ve heard about, I became more aware of consequences and that everything you do or don’t do, have inescapable consequences. I think this made me extra cautious in what I did in the past and it still guides me when I have big decisions to make. All those bad secrets of the family became examples of what not to do. However, with that said, those issues never disappeared, not really. Some years, the family would seem okay; the aunts and uncles talk to each other in a very warm and loving way, but behind their backs, something entirely different was being said. I hated that about my family. I often reprimand my mom when I notice her doing it; every single adult in the family seemed to thrive off of putting each other down and making themselves look high and mighty. That’s how I grew up; my sense of the perfect family slowly disintegrating with every year that passed. Now it seems this year, I’ve lost all faith in the meaning of that word: family.

As this year ends, mine is about to start.

As this year ends, mine is about to start.

My parents fight and they majorly fight only about 3 things. I can’t tell you what they are but the last one of that list is of course: Money. Which bugs me to no end because they can’t seem to see eye to eye on the subject, but they always refuse or ignore when I offer to help clarify about their finances. The other two reasons are what finally broke the meaning of family in our household. Long story short, my mom now wants a divorce and my dad wants her out of the house. Our newly acquired house (2009) is huge and is worth a lot. Through the years, after witnessing how those 2 things continued to cause havoc between my parents, the news of a divorce came to me as a relief. In my heart, I was finally hoping for a future without any yelling and name-calling, etc. My brother didn’t want them to get a divorce but me and my sister were all for it. There were no more tears to cry for this so-called ‘family’ because it never was a family for such a long time; that family facade was finally crumbling away and all I could see was a better future, for each and everyone of us. I’ve seen enough disrespect go on for years and years in our home. So since my dad wanted my mom out of the house, that meant me and my sister will be going with her. I asked my brother if he would stay with our dad in the house, and he shook his head and said no. That leaves one person to pay the mortgage and bills and utilities of a household for 5 people. My mom felt sorry, but I said she should feel sorry for herself, for letting things go on for years and years, and not have gone through with a divorce a long time ago.

Now, with that decision in mind, I knew we would need our own car and move into an apartment. I mentioned this to my sister and brother that they should be ready to move out by next spring; save money for rent, etc. That seemed to put things into perspective for them. They were quiet for a while and I could tell my brother didn’t really like the idea of having to move out and pay rent and not be living in our awesome dream home. But for me, I can sacrifice the dream home if it would make everyone involved more happy, and less stressed. So after a hiatus in my car research, I started it again, and finally made up my mind to get a vehicle so we could go to work and move around the city without having to rely on public transit, especially during winter time. I knew it was a stretch, because my credit for the previous years were not so holy, but having a stable job helped. I got a car for my birthday. It was a bittersweet acquisition, but it had to be done for practicality’s sake.

new car!!

This seemed to be the right move because the very next day, we had a family meeting. My parents wanted another chance. They wanted to see if they can still work things out, but I was already shaking my head. I knew things would be good between them for the first 3 days and then it would go right back to how it was before. It was a good thing that I said everything I was holding in. I was tired of hoping that the family would ever be as cohesive as a single unit again. It seemed like everyone was heading to their own directions. I said a lot of stuff, from my issues with how the equality of labour at home was royally skewed to what was really hurtful about my mom and dad’s relationship. The majority wanted to try again and so I was overruled. My parents apologized but I let them know that for me, this retry thing was conditional. I asked quite a bit from my dad, then my mom, and then my siblings. So here we are, in the “trying” phase where we really need to be able to trust and lean on each other. I pray that this will be the beginning of a new chapter in our family’s life. I don’t want my parents to end up in a divorce; it’s just there’s a very legitimate reason why they should.

As this year ends, mine is about to start. I’m looking forward to a lot of positive things! I’m hoping that stress will not be as proliferated as this past year. And I’m striving to a healthier me so I can achieve my goals and go even further in my life. Here’s to a brighter and happier future for us all!

Hello, Canada (Vacation’s Done)

Well, I’m back at Winterville. After almost a month of full-on sun and sweat, coming back to Canada seemed like a blessing at fist. Then the snow starts coming and I thought, Now I’m thankful for those sun filled days. The whole family went on a bit of an Asia Tour, sort of, along with my best friend, who turns out to be such a celebrity in that part of the world. :D We left Canada on October 16th and came back November 13th. First leg of the trip: Hong Kong. That city reminded me so much of New York! The people, the mess (lol!); it was a big, busy city and so much lines, strings of people everywhere we go. Go to a ride: lines, go to a restaurant: lines; I tell ya, there were lines EVERYWHERE. It wasted so much time waiting on those lines. but anyways, we did get to see a lot for our three day stay.

Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island (Hong Kong)

Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island (Hong Kong)

First we went to Ocean Park, a theme park, aquarium, and more. Kinda like Sea World in Florida, but smaller. Then we went to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha a.k.a. Giant Buddha. That was an awesome experience! And we got to see monks, female ones! I’ve never seen a female monk. They shave their heads, too, interestingly enough. Then we got on a ferry to get to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Avenue of Stars. Then we shopped a bit at Mong Kok and tried some street food.

Then after that, we headed to Singapore, where you’ll be fined for chewing gum. There we went to Sentosa, checked out the Merlion, Universal Studios and Marina Bay. We were getting tired at this point, with our fully scheduled days, missed lunches and late nights. My best friend even got sick on the last day there; the poor thing.

Merlion Statue in Sentosa, Singapore

Merlion Statue in Sentosa, Singapore

Then we were off to Philippines! Oh, the beach! i wish we could’ve stayed at the beaches longer and had more sun to cook us a bit while frolicking in the salt water. That week really killed my hair. It was nasty by the time we were done, but with the help of lots and lots of conditioner, it thankfully revived to it’s usual rat’s nest style. Philippines was mostly time with relatives, which wasn’t the original plan but the weather was finicky and so some stuff were either, ‘Let’s do this now!’ or ‘Let’s not do this in this weather.’ Anyways, the highlight for me was the Donsol trip. Even though we didn’t get to see the whale shark (too early into the season), the island hopping was more than adequate to cover for that loss. The fish feeding was amazing! And the waterfall that ended at the sea was phenomenal! It was hands down the best island hopping I’ve been to. :)

Beach and sun makes for a good island hopping experience!

Beach and sun makes for a good island hopping experience!

That vacation was one of the coolest ones yet. It felt longer than just a month; I was starting to dread work, thinking I had forgotten how to do things at work. On a different note, surprisingly, we all got along pretty decent, with very minimal bickering. LOL. With 6 adults, I thought it was gonna be a mess, but thank goodness, it went well. Next time, I’ll post more in depth coverage about each place that we went to see. Ciao for now! :D

Yes, I Admit It: I Talk Weird.

I know as a fact that, at work, I half talk in my brain and with my mouth so sometimes, things don’t come out as clearly as I think they are coming out. Why talk about this, you might ask? Because it took me a while to finally accept the truth.  My co-workers find it weird, how I talk to them, but they are so nice that not a lot of them mention it. Hahaha!  I usually notice when the face or faces of whoever I was talking to becomes blank or confused. Then I have to explain it again, but this time, consciously making sure that what I say in my brain, also comes out verbally. It’s happened a few times, and I’ve gotten enough “What?” asked right back at me to know that I talk weird at work. I don’t know why, but I do. I have a feeling it’s because when I talk, I also analyze the other things going on around me and so instead of focusing on the conversation and the words, half of me is absorbed in the commentary that’s going on in my head about (i.e.) the other person’s non-verbal communication, or their eyebrows aren’t plucked properly or there’s a faint hint of bad breath from this one, or I’m reprimanding myself for staring only at one eye of that person during the whole conversation and I’m trying to find a way to move my eyes but not make it weird so that I’m now staring only at the other eye . See? My brain works weird; it notices quite a bit.

It doesn’t help me either because I lose part of the conversation and I, in turn, have to ask “Pardon me?” since my brain was processing something else besides the conversation at hand. Which makes me look like a total weirdo all the same.

And so I’ve learned to somehow to block off bigger distractions, which can sometimes be good but also bad on the other hand. Sometimes, I can totally ignore someone calling me from across the hall, because I trained my ears to focus on things only close to me. This is so that I don’t pay attention to unnecessary stuff that would potentially distract me, but as you can probably tell, it has it’s bad sides. I can tell you a bunch of examples, but honestly, it’s super embarrassing so I won’t. Instead, I will tell you that this weird way of dealing with the world absolutely sucks.

LOL. So far, it’s only gotten me out of situations where random people would be staring (ie) in malls, and I would see them and feel awkward because they’re staring. That much I’ve managed to block out. You know how when you feel like someone’s watching you and you involuntarily look that way, you find that person? Well, if it’s a weirdo (as in suspicious looking people) or even if it’s just a regular Joe, it feels weird. Then I start acting like a robot in hopes of making them stop staring. Believe me, it gets very uncomfortable. But this part, I’ve already figured out how to deal with; it’s when I’m at work that is hard to fix. LOL! I’ll let you know if I get any better.