Thursday, October 18, 2012

A long stumble

                It’s been a while since I’ve written in my blog. It’s been a while since I felt like I’ve done anything. I had some great times with my friends over the past few weeks but there’s almost no sense of accomplishment. I just always caught myself making excuses to not lift, or not study, or not work. It’s showing in everything I do, my performance on the two midterms I had this week was way under the prestige of my university and myself. I can see why there are so many students I silently shake my head at when midterm grades come in. It’s easy to not perform your best especially when you have the sense that you’re in a good spot. Complacency is a buzz kill.
                Why should I push myself harder? I’m already an honor student, I already landed an interview for another internship. I guess when I’m aspiring towards the top ranks, the only thing on my mind is that I need to be the best. When I’m in a position where I’m a head, I relax and let things pan out on their own. It’s so much easier to just give yourself a break because you think you deserve it.
You can’t finish a marathon if you’re happy running 25 miles. You still have 1.2 miles to go. 1.2 miles, statistically most Americans can’t do that by itself. Yet you just did it over 20 fucking times, how hard can the last one be?
That’s the thought process I need. I’ll probably never run a marathon, but I need to instill the idea that everything I do to better myself is amazing; pushing myself to the limit to get better is all worth it in the end. I can’t announce “I’ve tried my best, gave it my all, now is the time to quit.” I didn’t try my best, I didn’t give it my all if I’m still sane enough to quit.
I used to feel drive to read all my textbooks, do all the homework, workout, talk with friends  and I still got eight hours of sleep. Now, I see myself putting off everything, because I think “I perform better when I’m rested.” I know my body, I know my mind, and a good night’s sleep is more beneficial than a night of cramming, but I had time to sleep when I pushing myself too. Complacency seeps in so quickly, but you don’t always see the results instantly. That’s what makes getting back so much harder, you don’t see results of pushing yourself either. I’ve stumbled through the last weeks and had some fun, but it’s time to put my head down and run myself into the ground, or to the top, whichever I can handle. Looks like bloons tower defense 5 will have to take a backseat for now, because I have shit to do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Law of Large Numbers

                I spent the weekend at a university sponsored leadership retreat. It was a direct result of me signing up for anything the university sends me. That mentality has given me some weird results but I don’t mind being out of my comfort zone anymore. At the very least I expected free meals for the weekend, but I came home with so much more.
                My first thought when we boarded the bus to Springfield was there were a lot of people and way too little time to interact with all of them. Especially since everyone else was cliquey. When the workshop started all the walls came down. We all had a common bond, interest in leadership and how to battle adversity while leading. It was good because social change was on all of our minds so we didn’t have to hide it behind small talk.
                There’s things the program leaders expected me to take away, but I think I sneaked in a lesson by myself. Sure they may have pressed the issue of inclusiveness but I took some free range on that idea. Forty seemed like a lot of people for just one day. At the end though, it felt like such a small amount. Communities make large numbers irrelevant. It’s not forty people, it’s one individual with the passion and characteristics of forty. Diversity in thought and background brings a community together, not tear it apart. I know it seems like I’m contradicting just to contradict, but really I’m just shedding light on misconceptions that have been internalized. Think of a community through the law of large numbers, the more people there are, the closer to the actual mean it will get. So through diversity on both ends of the spectrum, we can come together to truly represent the population, which is what social change is all about.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting an education

                Life is busy at college, that’s for sure. There is time for me to write, but I’ve just been so tired I don’t have words to say, but it is nice, not having thoughts pop in and out at moments. When I really need to just rest my mind, it just rests. There’s no anxiety that I’ll do bad, or I’m making the wrong choices, there’s just silence around and stillness in my mind. I enjoy not thinking. There’s no other way to put it.
                Today has been a little bit different. For one of my classes, “Intro to Insurance” we had a guest speaker talk about his professional experience as a “long term care” agent. It’s something not a lot of people put thought in to, “that won’t happen to me,” or “my family will take care of me.” The truth is, it has to happen to someone, and asking that much from family can put a lot of stress on relationships. So why avoid it?
                The guest speaker told his story, about how he switched from clinical psychology to the insurance game mid-life.  It’s listening to people like him that loosen the anxiety. Life doesn’t have to be set in stone, and a lot of the time you have to roll with the punches and change plans. His life was interrupted when his father became very ill, and the family was having a hard time providing care by themselves. He continued on about how the lack of preparation for his father’s old age started to change his life completely. I sat in class feeling like we shared a common bond. I saw in him that he moved to insurance to help others, not himself. It’s what drives me, starting my career so other college students don't have to go through what I went through. So other families don’t have to suffer too. It was good to know thirty years down the road that success to even higher-ups is first measured in personal satisfaction, which is best obtained by helping others.
                There are a lot of us, going into different fields for all the right reasons. All of us attempting to make the world a better place for others, not just ourselves. You can’t tell me that people are evil after that. I see the good, because it’s easy to see. Maybe so many see the bad in others, because when they look into the mirror they see bad in themselves. If we judge people, we’re really only judging our own perception.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Journey's Beginning

It’s been a week since I’ve last posted, mostly because I haven’t had internet. I also haven’t really been writing, but the first week back at college is the busiest and most expensive. It’s been mostly like expected, sometimes duller, sometimes more exciting. Instead of having a last night in Macomb party, I had a first night in Champaign party (but with my Macomb friends). Which should probably mean nothing, but I like to overanalyze.
                Welcome home parties are the optimistic brother of the closet pessimistic going away party. Going away parties can be fun, and are there to honor all the good times that were had. So, is there any point in having a going away party where you’re only kind of happy? Or is a going away party just there to say “Congratulations on moving on to something better!” There’s clearly a reason to go away, but there’s not always a reason to celebrate it. So why say goodbye in such a large way? What’s wrong with saying goodbye privately? This could only apply to me though…
Maybe you can’t take the time to say goodbye to everyone if it’s at such an intimate level, but sometimes goodbye doesn’t have to be said. I am generally cold towards acquaintances. Why would I say goodbye or I’ll miss you, if it’ll only be true for the first week or so? I guess pleasantries have never been a huge part of how I communicate. Yes, I do hide behind words, but in a different way than small talk. Generally, if I said it, I meant it, and if I didn’t say it, I wasn’t thinking about it. Maybe that’s the cold side of me that my friends don’t see, that I don’t like to show.  I might just be a little bit broke, like I don’t meet people well, but I connect fast after that.
Welcome home parties seem so much warmer than going away parties. Everything old seems new, and all the embraces feel right. Everything new feel old, since they’re apart of where you live, they’re instantly apart of who you are. It’s great to be connected to all the new things at college; everything is another thing to be proud of. Yet, I may be connected to and proud of all the new students, but I don’t make effort to get to know them. I’m truly broke (in multiple ways, $). places I’ve been seem cold to me, but people I know are shining lights. New places give me new reasons, but new people keep me retracted. I need to take steps to reach out to people. I can’t rely on just my reclusiveness to get things done now. I guess I have about nine months until summer, but about nineteen years of brokenness and I better get a fixin’. My journey starts now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Long Time Coming

                Today I had a conversation that needed to be had for years. After a while, I kind of expected it to never happen. Yet it still found a way to come back even against the odds. I truly think today was a much better time than maybe a year ago, though. There’s some more separation from the event, allowing the conversation to be a little bit more civilized.  It wasn’t the birds and the bees talk. That happened years ago, and probably a little too early thanks to tv and an easy to guess parental lock code.
                It was a talk about who I was and what I’ve done. It’s a lot more difficult to accept my past when I’m not just ranting on a website. When there’s an actual person to talk to, to listen to, it’s much harder to convince myself I was always doing the right thing. Though I think the conclusion was I was wronged just as much as I wronged others. I can only hope that down the road our two wrong turns can still take us where we want to go. It’s so easy to see that I was just trying to be the person I am today, but the timing was just all wrong. I figured out I wasn’t the type of person that meets their love in high school. I think a lot of people learned that the hard way. I do still think that my decisions and blind passion was right, just at the wrong time. That translates into “I was wrong, but I don’t like being wrong.”
                I probably shouldn’t single out one specific person in my writing, but…Anyway I was pretty speechless at the time, but now that I’m not on the spot, I can only wish that you see this. I hope that whenever and wherever it happens, I can introduce you to my wife, and I can meet your husband. But until then, a chai and latte every now and again sounds good.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Living Out of a Suitcase (Home)

                There’s a two week break between when I arrived in the states and when I leave for school. I haven’t unpacked, and I most likely won’t. The room I grew up in has just become storage area for things I can’t take with me. There’s no comfort when my day ends in this bed, it feels just as weird as a different bed in a different place.  Which is fine, there hasn’t been a lot of emotional value here. In fact, It’s where most of my dreams have died. In this room I spent countless hours playing guitar and singing in hopes of being a professional musician. I learned you have to be good at music for that. My dream of being with who I loved died here, behind a 13 inch laptop while I curled up in the corner denying everything she would tell me. Being a writer is still a real dream, but that’s just because my room has four walls that shuts out the world. Any standing structure could have kept that dream alive.
                Even when I’m settled, I’m still in between places. My bed occupies space in this house, but all my meals are either out with friends, or at my mom’s house. Life has been different since my parents divorced. First, I felt like the only adult in the family, and sometimes I was. Later on things smoothed out, and though we’re physically farther apart, I feel closer to the individuals of my family than before.
 I guess this house will always have that story factor. “Here’s where I grew up, here’s the things I did.” It’s worth remembering, but it’s not worth loving. Which is weird, because I usually find love in everything. I’m not sure if I secretly dislike this place because it made bad memories, or I caused bad memories and needed a scape goat. Either way, maybe I find comfort in freedom, having open invitations to live in the place I want to live in at a given time. Maybe I’m in between because no single place has filled the entire gap a home should fill. Like I’m in between incomplete houses, trying my best to grab all the qualities of “being home.”
I can talk all I want, but maybe the only thing I can do now is look to the future. I can’t wait until I have my own family. I’ll be able to have one complete home then. I won’t look to have the house fill me; I’ll fill it, with love. And I don’t care if it’s a small 2 bedroom apartment or a house on a mountaintop, it’ll have my family in it. In the end, that’s the only requirement a home has to fill.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Perceptions and Extended Metaphors

I spent a lot of today thinking. What if you discovered a new light in your life? Maybe it’s a new friend or new hobby. What if it turned into a bright star, and you had to watch it slowly inch towards a black hole until its light can’t escape the vacuum, until its light can no longer warm your skin. I know  I’d hate that, and I’d do everything I could to make sure it didn’t get pulled in (bad metaphor, can’t escape a blackhole). How do you keep things like that alive?
What if I just make it out to be a shining star, but everyone else sees it as a black hole?  First, I’d tell everyone they’re wrong. They can look with their fancier telescopes and years of experience and tell me it’s a black hole, but they’ll never be able to look through my eyes and see the star shine like I see. Perception is the strangest thing. It tells us what we see is actually who we are. Other people can’t see like me, because they’ve been molded into different people with different vision. Maybe they see black hole because it’s all they’ve ever seen, or deep down it’s what they want to see. I see shining star because I want to see a shining star, but I also can feel the aura of a star.
                If words meant anything to stars, and they had control, this is what I would say “Don’t go towards black holes, or near stars that make you look brighter. Go where you shine brightest, even if it’s in uncharted territory. When you shine the brightest, other stars will take notice and support you, regardless of how dangerous it looks.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Part of my Past

                I keep mentioning all of my past struggles in Macomb, but I never really tell you more, besides the girl that didn’t love me back. So I guess this blog post will be the hardest one for me to write. This is about the only thing I have come to terms with. I tried my best to just write and not hide behind my writing in this post.
                It was the first day of my senior year in high school, Wednesday August 18, 2010. I was taking two challenging classes, and then the rest were easier classes that I wanted to try. I was in the marching band, almost one fourth of our school was in marching band. So for the last few weeks of summer the band would give up most of their time to learning drill. Since school started, the eight hour Saturdays and three hour weekdays of band ended. However, every Wednesday during school we had a three hour night practice. Eventually after running through the sets just “one last time” about five or six times, we picked up chips and headed in. It had been a fairly long day, and I really just wanted to head home. I skipped the normal interactions and bad jokes with my friends to head home a little bit early. I pressed the unlock button on my keys to the 2007 Rav 4. I hopped in and was off as fast as I could.
                I always took this way home. It was about four minutes faster, and considering it was four miles either way, it was way too enticing. My parents advised me against, especially at night. I had to take an unprotected left turn onto a highway. It wasn’t something that seemed worrisome; I was never negligent about driving. As I took the road leading up to the intersection at the highway, Katy Perry’s “California Girls” was playing on the radio. I eased over the bumpy railroad tracks that were about a quarter mile from the intersection. As I proceeded around the slight curve in the road approaching the stopsign, I did a preemptive look both ways. Nothing. When I reached a full stop, I quickly glanced left to make sure, and then right as well. I started to pull out, committing myself to the turn. I heard the horn of a motorcycle just in time to pull my attention to the left. A split second of vision, a motorcycle coming in at forty five miles per hour at my door. I got out “Shit” before the impact and the side airbag deployed pushing my face from the window. My cars momentum put it in the turning lane before it stopped completely.
 I fumbled through my pockets for my phone. Nothing hurt. I guess that was okay, everything moved, and I was relieved. When I found my phone first I dialed 811, then erased and dialed 921. Finally after a long exhale, I slowly dialed 911 and reported the accident. On the phone, everything became real; I realized gravity of the events I caused. I could look out my window to see the driver of the motorcycle on the road. I could hear his screams, I could hear his pain. People came to my door as I was on the phone, trying to help me out. The door wouldn’t open. It wasn’t smashed shut, it was locked. Cars lock doors when airbags deploy. I obviously knew that, it was just the last thing on my mind. I freaked out because the door wouldn’t open and I scrambled to the back seat to try to open those doors. That door was obviously locked too, so all of my fear and confusion was locked inside a small damaged container and I still had to describe my location to 911. Eventually as my mind opened, I realized the locked doors and got out.
I started that slow walk, now with more cars pulled over to watch the events transpire. I approached the crowd surrounding the motorcycle driver, and nodded at questions like “are you okay?” “Has some one called 911?”  I finally saw the driver, and everything hit. I saw the pain in his face, and I wanted so badly to take it for him. It was my fault. But that wasn’t it. I saw through the pain in his face and saw him. A classmate. A senior in high school, someone I had been associated with since I could remember. I wasn’t friends with him, but I was connected to him, and all this pain he was going through was my fault. He had no helmet, and all the guilt and fear I had multiplied. When the emergency response came, they asked me to stand at the curb until they could safely get him off the road. It was the longest time in my life. Standing from afar as I had to witness all of the pain I caused and all of the worry in the faces of everyone nearby. I hated them, everyone trying to be compassionate, trying to help out, all it did was make me feel worse. Eventually as the ambulance drove off, they tended to me.
“Are you hurt?”
                “No.” That’s where it came down the hardest, the shock started to go away and the trauma could set in. I wasn’t in pain, I was unscathed. Yet, my classmate was in an ambulance. The tears finally started to come.
                “Do you want me to take a look at you?”
                “No. I’m fine.”
                More questions were asked, and I droned through them because there were more pressing issues on my mind then proper protocol. My parents arrived, and we spent time waiting for the whole process to finish. We sat in silence for a bit, and I cried. Eventually they spoke and I cried even more. I was just a fucking kid. How could anyone expect me to put up with this anymore? I didn’t want to be attacked by a barrage of questions. I just wanted it all to be over. I guess I did talk eventually, and the whole day ended at some point. A lot went on, and I don’t remember.
                Two years after the accident and I can’t fully accept everything that happened. I can stomach the initial earthquake it caused, but the aftershocks did so much more damage. The other driver suffered a broken wrist and fractured hip, but he quickly recovered. I still only saw him occasionally, and can only hope that’s all the pain I caused him. Some things haven’t gone away. I can never take that same way home, it makes me nervous thinking about it. Any time I drive and have to take a left hand turn, my right hand spasms and I have to bring it close to my mouth to stop myself from hyperventilating. I have spent minutes sitting at one intersection looking both ways to confirm there is nothing coming. I constantly ask people sitting in the car with me to look also. I’m scared of ever letting it happen again, having to go through so much pain, and still have to tell everyone that I’m uninjured.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Small Things

                There’s that cliché “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It has some value; I mean there really isn’t much of a reason to be nervous about little mistakes that everyone makes. Yet, I’ve found it’s all the small things that make everything worthwhile. Like on my last day in the Philippines, my cousin got all of his friends that I met to text me. Each text wished me a safe flight and they all said goodbye in a way that only they could. I’ve only been around these people 2-3 times each, but their personal messages still felt so endearing. Like every person sent their whole personality in 200 characters or less. I cried, I’ll admit that. Saying goodbye to my family was tough enough, but to get unexpected goodbyes from people I hardly know was very touching for me. It just reaffirms all my beliefs in human kind, that people will be good if they have a chance. You can even see how strongly it affected me in the post I wrote the day I left (Iniwan ko ang aking puso sa Metro Manila).
                That’s not it though, other small things can be just as touching and not a word needs to be said or written. The day I got back, my friends didn’t just hug me. They did that lame run and jump hug you see on TV, but it didn’t matter if it was cheesy, it made me brighten up so much more. There was just a little bit more effort in their hugs, but it translated to a much larger effect. I can’t help but smile more than I ever have, to know that I’m missed. Their running hugs showed me that who I am is a part of their life, and when I’m gone there is a hole in their life. I mean I’m sad there’s a gap for them, but I’m happy that I get to fill it. They also may have wanted the gifts that they knew I’d buy them, but I like to think the gifts are there to return the hapiness.
                In the end, don’t sweat the small stuff, because those little mistakes, those little things you do without thinking are the things that make you, you. Making everything perfect just takes away the personalization, and you can feel it in things like music created by computers, not humans. It’s all interesting, that all this effort can go into some big project, but the small things are what makes it really special. I love all typos in texting, and bad handwriting and silly smiley face emoticons, it all just makes the world feel right.

Unexpected Delays

                I made a 40 hour trip from Manila to Macomb. The only problem is it should only take 22 hours. I spent an extra 18 hours in Detroit. Which is definitely an adventure that I would add to “just keep your composure, and you’ll make it through” moments of my life.
See, my earlier flight from Japan to Detroit landed 50 minutes late, and since it was my port of entry to the US, I had to go through customs. As a result, I missed my next flight, and was scheduled for the same flight four hours later. So as I wandered aimlessly around the Detroit Airport, I spent a lot of time thinking of where my first meal in America should be. The resounding answer in my mind was the most American thing I could think of, Taco Bell. I had it and it was overpriced, but it was delicious. They have almost all of the fast food chains in the Philippines too; just no country will ever out do USA in unhealthy food. Anyway, when I returned to the departing gate, an earlier flight to Harrisburg was sitting there thirty minutes after its scheduled departure and still had no crew. So my flight was pushed back another two hours, and I had to call my brother waiting to drive me home to take the two hour drive back, without me. I later learned there was a small surprise party waiting for me there. Eventually after waiting the two hours, my flight was cancelled, and I had a small freak out. I had no idea what to do about that.
Eventually, after following the mass of angry people I found the assistance desk, behind a line of 100 angry people. Everyone around was in so much anger, while I was just honestly scared, I’m hardly an adult and I had to spend the night alone in Detroit. I looked up a few crime facts about Detroit, and that was not a good idea. There was a family behind me, with two small girls. They were in tears, they just wanted to get home, and I just wanted to get home too. They kept looking to me for reassurance; I was the closest to their age. I kept smiling and mouthing “It’s okay” and they seemed to relax a bit.  Eventually after about 2 hours of waiting in line, I received a new flight in the morning to a different city, but it was much earlier than my other choices. I was given a hotel room and three meals.
Everyone still sat in anger on the way to the hotels, but there was nothing any of us could do anymore. So I took advantage of the small opportunities I was given. For example, I took a bath, a real bath for the first time in years. I probably shouldn’t have done it in a questionable hotel room, but it was worth it. Then I spend the next few hours thinking of bad jokes about airlines, “hey, maybe you should buy me dinner and a hotel room before screwing me over next time” I was pretty proud of that one.
I eventually did make it back home, except my luggage was sent to a different airport. At that point, it was something I expected. My friends and family were angrier than I was. I guess I saw how anger and yelling got people nowhere, and when I eventually reached the assistance desk, they were more than willing to help a calm customer that just wanted to get home. I was always told that my level head was a good characteristic, but this was the first experience where I actually felt I benefited. In the end, I’ll sum it up with a new popular slogan, “Keep calm and carry on.” Sometimes, regardless of age, there are people looking at you. You may be a leader, and have no idea people are following. It’s best to act with a calm mind and always be an example.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Iniwan ko ang aking puso sa Metro Manila (I left my heart in Metro Manila)

                Here it is, the last day in the Philippines before I fly back to the States.  I don’t want to leave; the massive floods don’t want me to leave either. I have a lot waiting for me in Macomb, my parents, my brother, and all the friends I’ve gained along the way. The excitement to see them is drowned out by the sadness I have from leaving. Macomb molded me through tough love and lessons from disappointment. Metro Manila transformed me with open arms and a warm heart. Maybe all my romanticism, all of my unrealistic hopes, dreams, and love belong in Metro Manila. Macomb is just a stone wall where my hopes, dreams, and love get smacked in the face. Here, I believe people are basically good and they do everything they can to prove it to me. There, I believe people are basically good and they do everything they can to take advantage of me. Macomb broke my heart, while Metro Manila stole it.  
                I’m leaving with a lot more than what I came with. It’s not just gifts or money; it’s a lot of intangibles. Knowledge and respect are big ones, but I knew I would leave with at least those two. The small unexpected things are the ones I truly cherish. First, the feeling of belonging. Next are the friends I’ve met. A lot of them, I may never see again, but there will always be memories. There are a few good friends I’ve made that I would do anything short of moving half way around the world to keep close. I guess you can see the unfortunate nature in that. One girl, so subtly pushed me to do things and learn things I would have never done or learned. Here I am writing more, because I was in awe at her writing and everything she had done with her life. She’s just two years older than me, but if I was half as successful and half as outstanding as her in five years, I would be truly happy. She’s almost too pretty to be real, much like the girls I’ve met out of shallowness and held on tightly to out of necessity. Yet, there’s no necessity with her, just genuine friendship.
                There’s a few things I lost that are also worth noting. Most noticeably, is ten pounds of weight which is solely a testament to my discipline. That’s pretty unimportant in relation to everything else though. The biggest thing is my shell. It may even still be there, but I open up to interaction with others way easier. Maybe because I felt attacked in Illinois, but safe here. I used to say as little as possible, but now there’s things I want to say because I've learned they’re worth listening to. I have a sense of self confidence now, though it may still need some fine tuning. I guess that goes back under what I’ve gained.
                In the end, I can’t wait to return. Maybe see those friends I thought I’d never see again. Maybe pursue the two or three promising friendships I made. Whenever I do come back, whether for a visit or forever, I’ll feel whole again. Part of me isn’t coming back on that plane. Part of me is staying. Iniwan ko ang aking puso sa Metro Manila.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Goodbye to Good People.

                My internship just ended. It makes me feel empty knowing I may never see the ten or more people that I interacted with for twenty three days. I never got a sense of who they were, just how they acted.  They were all interesting people, good people. Everyone was different, each a lifetime of different experiences mixed together. I’ll never even get a real taste of what they lived. They have their own stories to tell, and I’m sure they’re all worth listening to. Every person I cross paths with have experienced so much that I have not. When someone walks by, I’m missing out on so much. How they survive, who they love, little pieces of advice they have to give, it’s all just walking by and I never stop to ask them about it. Maybe it’s strange to get personal with new people, but maybe it’s the best way to learn. For example, in my internship, everyone clearly had more knowledge than me, but I didn’t have the time to ask to share their knowledge, or even their opinions.
                I guess it is humbling thinking there are 7 billion people. Each one is like a book, some similar, but none the same. There’s just so much to each one, but there’s only ever time to see the cover. Sometimes there’s enough time to read the little blurb on the back page. Even then, I can really only see the books at the libraries I visit.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I am a tourist

                That’s what I am, right now it’s all I am, and it feels great. Death Cab for Cutie’s “You are a tourist” has been my soundtrack for the past eight weeks, and it’s really something I’m living. I never had that strong of a desire to leave the USA, but an opportunity rose, and I took it because I could benefit greatly. Here I am eight weeks after arriving in Metro Manila, just one week from leaving, and it’s where I want to call home.
Ben Gibbard has it right, “When you feel just like a tourist, in the city you were born, it’s time to go.” I finally did leave the town where I was born in. It took me leaving to learn that my hometown broke my heart. Amidst a barrage of family and emotional problems, were little glimmers of hope, egging me on to stay a bit longer. I always listened; I had nowhere else to go.
When there's a doubt within your mind
Because you're thinking all the time
Framing rights into wrongs
Move along, move along
Minus the few good friends, I was distanced from everyone there.  I felt like I didn’t belong there, sometimes like I didn’t belong with my family. It tore me apart to wake up to the same situation as the day before and have nowhere to get away from it. I guess that’s the problem with small towns, there are secluded areas, but everyone knows where they are, where I would be. I spent all my thinking I was the problem. Thinking everything I did was a mistake.
When there's a burning in your heart
An endless yearning in your heart
Build it bigger than the sun
Let it grow, let it grow
                There was a burning in my heart. A burning to outgrow my hometown and the obstacles it put in my way and be my own person. I don’t want to be stuck there. Everyone else lives there, I’m stuck there. Not for long I hope. I don’t have the need to travel, just the need to find a home. Champaign (where my university is) is nice, but it’s too close, I’m afraid a false hope will lead me back. I can’t fall for the silly little things that brought me happiness. There is so much more to be had. Especially for me. That yearning in my heart, it’s all about finding a place to belong, it was growing, but there’s no need anymore.
                I found a place where I belong. Maybe THE place I belong, there’s a lot in the states I haven’t seen. Metro Manila feels right for me. As I’ve said before, they feel like my people, like I belong. And I want to so badly, a place where I can leave all my struggles behind. The only thing is that would mean leaving my friends behind. Nine weeks ago, I was having hard time thinking about traveling to another country. Now all I can think about is how much I want to live here (I'll finish college first). I can only hope the opposite of Death Cab’s statement is true too. If you feel just like a native, in a city where you’re a tourist, it’s time to stay.

I think it’s time to stay.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Come Together, Right Now.

There’s nothing that brings Americans together closer than cheering for someone they’ve never heard of in a sport they watch once every four years. The Olympic spirit is truly magical, of course there’s a competitive tone, but it’s just competition, there’s minimal hate. It’s impressive that countries like North Korea, so intent on shutting out the world willingly participate in these events. There is a bit of a difference for them, but they go to prove they’re strength, as individuals and as a country. It’s like the world is at a standstill when there’s global competition, at least compared to normal, there’s a sense of respect for others that rarely exists outside.
Everyone rallies behind their loyalties, whether they live there, or lived there. People we can associate with have spent their whole life to become the very best; we realize this and embrace their dreams, no matter how big. Watching the Olympics is the perfect feel good. Everyone competing is living out a life time goal, and we get to reap benefits from the countless man hours they put in. Anyone watching can connect to the athletes, as humans we tend to put everything we have to dreams that may never come true. It’s really heartwarming when we can witness someone get where they wanted to go.
                All I can say is, it’s a shame it has to end. Yes, I’m big on sports, but year round badminton and skeet shooting may get a little dull. It’s really not the sports that make me love the Olympics. It’s the togetherness; it’s the pride we can share with our nation when an athlete wins.  It is pride we can share around the world, when an athlete breaks a world record. The Olympics prove the ultimate message “When we come together as a world, whether fan, athlete, or coach, we can do things that have never been done before.” It’s just a shame that when it ends, intolerance and disdain will slowly seep back in.