The Upside of Things

Ah, moving on to the good rant.. haha! Ok so, just last month, I got accepted to work at a cardiac surgery unit and I’m just finishing my orientation. One last shift, a night shift, and then I’ll be on my own! Exciting and scary at the same time! It’s interesting how the unit works and I have to say this (not in a demeaning way), they are very anal about things. Haha but understand that we are dealing with the heart and lungs so of course you have to be anal. Do you want staff that just chillaxes and doesn’t pay attention to lab work, to the slightest changes in heart rate or rhythm? I don’t think so, not on a unit like this. So anyways, being anal means I have to retrain myself into working at such a pace to cover all the different bases, and there are lots to cover (compared to my general surgery unit)! So for now, i’m very grateful for the 12hour shifts, it doesn’t make me run around like a chicken with the head cut off.. Although, I’ve had a few shifts like that recently lol. So bottom line is, I’m glad for the change, the new challenges of this new environment and the pleasant new people that I’m meeting everyday. It’s fun even though it’s a bit stressful. I needed something to take my mind off things, and this is working perfectly. I’m not as exhaustively stressed about the other things and this work stress is a healthy sort of stress; makes me want to do better each day. I’m gonna study after this actually, need to review all the heart meds and such. So wish me luck, and ciao for now! 🙂

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? =)

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. 😀 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! 😀

Did You Know… (4)

…that I gained 4 pounds in two weeks?? I’m so happy!!!! 🙂 Everyone at work thinks it’s cute how I’m so happy to gain since everyone else usually wants to lose weight, but the thing is I work night shifts and it takes a toll on my body. Just recently, I’ve almost passed out during work for no apparent reason. I think it’s because I don’t have enough time to eat properly during and after my night shifts. So, I’ve been losing weight faster than I can put in food into my system. In desperation, I tried my brother’s protein drink and worked out, hoping to gain muscles rather than lose weight. I was sceptical at first but surprisingly it worked!! From a shameful 118 pounds, I’ve upped my weight to 124 pounds (closer to what I used to be before I started working, which was 127 pounds). I was so shocked!! You can probably understand that at 118 lbs, I felt weak and easily tired and lethargic, coz my body wasn’t in it’s ideal working order. But now I’m back to my busy little self and i like it =) My goal is to get up to 127-129 pounds before our vacation this October so I don’t look like a piece of stick in the pictures… LOL!!

New York, New York!

OMG! New York! What can I say? It’s the city that never sleeps; the big apple.. I went for vacation there for a week with friends and co-workers and we were so busy that it totally felt like we’ve been there for two weeks after our 3rd day! I was mostly grumpy when we were walking around due to the heat and my walking shoes turned out to be not so fun to wear after 11 hours of walking around; I almost got blisters, but I saved my feet by buying flip-flops then later on, I bought the most comfortable shoes ever. It’s a Sketchers H2G0, which was water resistant and felt like a saviour for my feet! I convinced my best friend to buy one too so she wouldn’t suffer from her flats and she was so surprised at how comfy it was! 🙂 I strongly recommend it! It really made me a better, less grumpy person during our trip.. LOL!!

Feels like heaven!!

Feels like heaven!!

And so I digress.. Back onto the main topic of this post: New York. Such a wonderful city, but I guess with the large number of people in the city, it didn’t have a good smell.. Reminded me of how Manila was when I went back in 2008: crowded and a little stinky. But at least, NY wasn’t too scary or to smoggy. We went to see a lot of things and I loved a lot of the things we saw. I found the area of NYC where we stayed as so-so; the streets were stinky and it was humid and all in all too crowded for me. Let me say though, it was not a boring place. Lots of things to see like the Broadway shows, wax museum, etc. We went to see Lion King – The Musical and it was fantastic; the only off thing about it was the actor playing the older Simba had an accent and it was coming in and out during his speeches so it was distracting… like his pectorals.. HAHAHA!! It was because the costumes they wear exposed the guys’ manboobs and he was the most buff one–I guess because he’s Simba, so he has to be the best looking one?–so every time he moved, those things twitched. LOL. Anyways, those are the kinds of things you can see, and shop around, too! There was a Forever 21 and H&M right by Times Square.

The Big Apple

Then there’s Brooklyn. The Brooklyn area was nicer, in my opinion. The Brooklyn Bridge, being so close to the Hudson River was very nice and breezy, although it felt like it was prone to drizzly weather. It was super windy too! But I liked that 🙂 I would show you a picture of my teal pants that got ketchup stains all over it but it looks gross. Long story short, we were out of money and bought street food and it dribbled on me because I was pretty much inhaling those hotdogs due to starvation. I should let you know, we wasted so much money eating out! Tips are a killer! We each spent about $400 for eating out for four days! Sheesh, in hindsight, we should have thought about that better.. We orignally placed to do groceries, but we were hardly ever at the condo to even buy food for it.

Nintendo World's Link

Nintendo World had this picture of Link that was made up of a lot of pictures of people. It’s really cool! I got a Mario and Luigi keychains from that place. I love green and I’m tall so Luigi sticks with me while Mario goes to my sis. On a side note, surprisingly, during the trip, the group had such dynamics that no one person was overly loud or no ‘clique’ ever formed; it was just good ole hanging out altogether. Thank goodness we never got to a club! We were always too bushed to want to go out after a full day of busy, busy, busy. Once we got home, every one started collapsing on beds and slowly one by one, we would go have our showers. That place was tiny for a group of 7 people, but we managed. Overall, New York is a good place to go, but not for just for a week.. Or I should say it’s a good place to keep coming back to because you can always go and see something else. 🙂

Google SketchUp

Here is the final  out come of the drawings/reproduction of the house in the Philippines that I’ve been working on in the past months:

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 7.38.06 PM

Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the colors that I wanted for the outside of the house because our neighbour there already used the colour, so we’re okay with this sunny colour. =) My mom’s cousin (my aunt) lives in the house with her 5 or 6 kids. They are very good kids and are smart, but their family doesn’t own a place, so my mom thought of having them “take care”  of the house, but technically speaking, it’s their house now because my family’s never going to live there; vacations, maybe. But we don’t have money for the back part yet; we’ll do that when I win the lottery next week. =)

The main house will be my aunt’s place and the additional apartment style in the back will be for rent unless we are there for a vacation. This way, my aunt can have a bit of an income for her family while her kids are still trying to finish school. So far, the renovations are being done inside the house. The ceiling is being changed, the electrical & plumbing stuff, the washroom, the kitchen (used to be my brother’s room, when we still lived there) is now an open concept kitchen, which makes the inside of the house look much bigger. We actually bought cabinet doors from here (Ikea) and had them sent in these big package boxes, along with the gas stove we brought with us here from 10 years ago (coz it never got used, haha!). I sent most of my gently used clothes (too small to fit me still) in those boxes, and some of the stuffed toys that are just sitting in the basement. There’s so much stuff that really should be donated and it’s too expensive to ship them all to the Philippines even if I really want to do so.

There used to be 3 bedrooms in that main floor (the bungalow area) but since they ripped off the wall, it actually looks much better. I can’t wait to go back this October! We’ve used up quite a bit of our resources, but personally I really want that house to survive for years and years to come. I want my future grandkids to still be able to see it. LOL! I’m thinking waaaaay ahead of time.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 10.12.22 PM

Did you see the backyard? Hahaha, my dad wanted to just make the back completely made into a separate household; he wanted the house to be almost like a duplex, but I told him I wasn’t spending all my money on something I wasn’t going to use. The repairs on the main house is expensive enough, thank you. Anyways, we’re getting the windows changed, the two bedrooms air-conditioned and all the doors changed, too. All the floors will be tiles including the bedrooms. So much to do and they only started about a month ago.. A few days ago, my aunt posted photos in Facebook and looks like a total disaster right now. LOL! Everything’s under construction so that’s why it was looking like a dump. The kitchen at least is getting tiled, the backsplash tiles, I think are also being put up. The outside walls are being re-plastered and then it’ll be painted. The roof was the first one to be fixed, coz it was starting to leak through tiny little holes. However, we are on schedule, the money is a little tight, but we can sacrifice a little luxury here to make the house in the Philippines livable for my aunt and her kids. =)

Mom: Lost and Found

What a crazy time it was… A few nights ago, I was at home on my day off doing pretty much nothing after I’ve cleaned the entire house. Then my friend comes over and we were killing time watching movies and playing on the PS3. By the time it was 6 PM, I started getting something ready for dinner because I knew my mom would be coming home soon. The easiest thing to make: Baked Salmon. So that was done. I was expecting her to come home with my dad but she didn’t. So I thought, ‘Okay, I guess she gets home today at 9 PM instead of  6 PM.’

Now, to clarify her schedule, my mom usually gets home at 2 PM or 6 PM or 9 PM. My dad usually picks her up because by the time he’s back from work, he would’ve had enough time to rest and eat before going to pick her up.

I wasn’t caring much until it was actually 9 PM and my dad was still at home. So I asked him, ‘Aren’t you picking up mom?’ And he said no, she never said to pick her up today  (that means she’ll go home by bus, usually). But then my sister, who was sick and was mostly in bed, happened to come downstairs to eat. Then after hearing me questioning my dad, she piped in, ‘Oh, yeah, she said she’ll be home by 1-2 PM today to make me some soup.’ And I was just confused; it was 9:15 PM already and still nothing. So my dad gets this idea to call After Hours and I had to ask my friend to ask her aunt who works at the same place for the phone number. Then they tell me that my mom was supposed to be done work at 1PM. So I told the guy on the phone my problem and that she hasn’t contacted the house and SHE HAD NO CELLPHONE with her. So he said he’ll try paging her to call our home phone, but in my mind, I just knew she didn’t have her pager on her. She rarely ever brings it because she usually borrows my sister’s phone when she works.

I should also add, that there was a blizzard outside. Looking out the window was scary enough, imagining someone was out there in that cold was worse yet.

So after that phone call was done, it was past 9:30 PM and we were all thinking up possible scenarios about why she hasn’t phoned home when her work was done in the afternoon. Here’s what we collectively came up with:

a.) Her bus broke down. –> Me: But it wouldn’t take the bus company 8+ hours to replace it with another bus. So we scrapped that.

b.) Maybe she was somewhere safe? like the groceries? or casino? –> Me: But why won’t she phone? She usually wants someone to haul her groceries for her. (So this scenario was a little iffy)–> Casino? My dad actually went there (because it was less than a minute from our house) to check it out.

c.) Something happened that she couldn’t get to a phone. –> So far the worst one yet. Kidnapped? Fainted and out cold in the snow? Hospital? (My dad and I called all the hospitals in the city and checked in their emergency center if there was a patient named Jane Doe (obviously not going to put my mom’s name on here).

So after getting nowhere, I decided to call all her friends and unfortunately I also had to bug her clients for the day. When my mom forgets the phone, she calls home using the client’s phone and it stays in our caller ID. We randomly called the three phone numbers and got nowhere. Then I texted my cousins if they’ve seen her today and no dice. One of my cousins said to get her paged in the casino to check. I got this message right as my dad comes home from the casino. I told him he should go back and get her paged, and he said, I looked around and she was nowhere.

After getting no comforting response from all those phone calls, we were starting to panic a bit. So my friend, then my sister said we should go drive around to look for her. This was now 10:45 PM. My brother, me, my sister and my friend all hopped into the car and we drove by Superstore and went down the main street really slow, checking all the bus stops. Then we went to the houses of her clients and knocked and knocked and knocked but nobody would open the door at frikkin’ 11:15 PM. so we called their phones again and my brother said, ‘We are not leaving until they pick up their phones.’ But we got nowhere even after talking to them, just confirmed from one place that she left around 1PM.

My cousins were texting me to unpdate them if we find her, then my brother said to get our dad to phone the police. My dad called me and said that they would dispatch someone to check out where she was at last, which was where we were parked. I started praying silently that she was somewhere safe. We checked and rechecked around the block coz at this point, my brother and I were thinking the worst: he was thinking she fainted and was somewhere on the piles and piles of snow everywhere, and I was thinking she got kidnapped or mugged when she left her client’s place. We were so quiet in the car, you can feel the tension. My friend didn’t know what to say but she gave me a pat and said, ‘She’s okay; she’s smart.’ Which is true, but the fact that my mom didn’t call was very uncharacteristic of her, so of course I was worried. I was trying not to cry at this point.

Then after our last loop around the block, my dad phones at about 12:40 PM to say that my mom phoned. He sounded very mad when I asked him where she was. Guess where? Casino. My dad angrily tells me that the police had come to the house to ask about her right after she called and so he let them know that she was alright. Later on when I asked my dad what they said after hearing that she was in the casino, he told me they said, ‘Oh, she must have won lots of money by now.’

And so we drive to the casino closest to our house because my mom had called to get picked up. The moment I learned she was okay, I was very thankful and the stress started to ebb away. When she got into the car, I was scolding her. When we got to the house, she kept saying sorry and hugging everybody. She said she forgot and when I asked her, she said she first went to the mall and left by 5 PM but forgot to call that she was at the casino (I was thinking the same thing in my mind but I couldn’t be sure, but what she said was good because that was a possibility but I thought it was unlikely, nonetheless). I told her she owed us McDonalds the next day for letting us worry like that. When she learned what we did trying to look for her, she laughed like a maniac and said, ‘Now I know how much you guys love me.’