On Life

Sometimes, things just don’t happen as you wish them to be.

It can be extremely frustrating and toxic.

You may even ask, “Why did all of these things happen to me? What did I do wrong? Why did I deserve this?”

But then if one realizes that there are certain realities behind it, then it is easier to accept the fact that it did not turn out the way you wanted it to.

Firstly, maybe by letting go and by moving on, the door to a better, brighter one opens up for you. Maybe it seems a far-fetched concept, but then, why it should not happen in the future?

Secondly, maybe it is just a way to be reminded that nothing lasts forever and that things must be cherished while they are still in one’s hands.

Finally, who knows what destiny and life may bring, no? After all, life is an unpredictable thing.

The possibilities are endless…

Dreams That Lie…and lie.

Once upon a time, there was a child who just wanted to do something in the world so that he can be remembered as someone who did something great. He thought that he could do engineering; however, he found out that his mind could not comprehend the mathematical equations needed to deal with the concepts that he has to do.

Besides, he just wanted to play a lot on the road, eat lots of junk food and hang around at the internet café for the air conditioning that it offers. Then, he just liked to drink concentrated fruit juice and get some saging rebusao for an afternoon snack.

He was lanky and he had huge dreams for himself.

He wanted to be able to bring his family out of poverty, buy a big house, get a sports car and travel around the world.

He thought of himself as a simple man.

At least, that was what he thought.

Come ten years later and I am here, typing this little story on a keyboard in front of a computer monitor. I am a teacher at an international school somewhere in San Juan, Manila, and I haven’t yet started to teach something in front of a classroom yet.

What many people don’t know is that I am also a volunteer writer for Esports by INQUIRER.net, which aims to be the leading electronic sports portal here in the Philippines (and we are on the way!)

Even though it is still early in the day, something tells me that I will be able to do a lot of things (despite the fact that I have faced ten thousand problems) and I really want to believe that I can do all of the things that I want to do.

Then, I want to go places.

I want to see the world, see new sights and break any boundaries that I see in my way.

But then, sometimes, I think that they are too far away. Wow. Welcome to real life.

You discover that a single plane ticket to a certain place is worth one-sixth of your net monthly salary. Then, you learn that the money you spend outside for a month is a third of your money.

You scratch your head and say, “How the hell should I help my parents?”*

Or “How the hell should I save money for the stuff that I want to have?”

But then, you look around and remind yourself that you are lucky enough to have a good job at a place where you are surrounded by people that you cherish. Then, you remind yourself that although you are not yet living the dream at the moment, you are trying to do something good not just for yourself, but for other people as well.

That dream will come for me; I’m sure of that. If I work hard and believe that it will come – it will certainly come, right?

And there’s consolation in knowing that you have tried your best shot.

If you get that one shot, that one break, that one moment in time…would you let it go?

I certainly won’t. I hope that other people get the chance of experiencing life in “full technicolor.”

Even if it means sucking hard at Math and general knowledge.

LOL.

*I was the one who was supposed to take care of my parents once I got a job, but then, my elder sister got a better job, so my parents simply made me save that money instead for the future.

Once Upon A Time

There was a time when there used to be a guy who had a very strong imagination. He kept on thinking of all the inventions that he wanted to do and he kept on drawing lines on his notebook. In the afternoons, he would run out with his paper kite and show off his kiting skills against the rest of the neighborhood who thought that he was half-crazy.

Then he began to set his sights towards the top. He wanted to become somebody, maybe a scientist, maybe an engineer or maybe an architect. He wants to be able to make his dreams alive and see them in the most beautiful and concrete form possible.

In a world where people steal money from the treasury, where dishonesty is considered to be a form of art, where callousness is seen as manly, he tried to forge his own way while keeping his heart intact.

But it was hard. Doing it alone was proving to be a steep mountain climb for him.

Then he saw two clear dreams on a single night. These sequence of images do not happen to him a lot; usually, he forgets about the things that he dreams about when he wakes up.

In the first dream, he saw himself alone, trembling, marching in the dark with frozen corpses all around. Everything was so desolate that the mere sight of it would have driven the most optimistic person into a state of madness.

He walked alone, with only a bottle of unknown liquid in his hands.

Tap, tap, tap…

Tap, tap, tap…

Tap, tap, tap.

Then he falls down on his face. He dies. Simple as that.


After a series of blurry, red screens, the images go to a very wonderful place where he is in the company of his friends. The scene was wonderful, with plants and tables all around.

It was a wonderful garden party.

Instrumental music played in the background, while he talked with someone in a very intimate and relaxed manner.

Finally, they went together to a table and started ordering food.

Then, the dream ends there…

All of a sudden, he wakes up inside the mosquito net, while his parents have set out early in order to work.

He has to do school again. But he knows that is the only way for them to escape life as it is.


He wakes up in a very drowsy and confused manner, because apparently, he had a dream within a dream.

He looks at the calendar and he realizes that he has to submit his project proposals today.

Damn. People think that certain things are outright glamorous. If they only knew the hard parts of it, then they would not certainly dive into this, he thought.

It was 5:45 in the morning and it was time for another day at the office…

The Teaching Life: Chapter 1

Imagine being a person without a permanent address.

Imagine being a person who has been locked out of his friend’s house.

Imagine being a person who struggles to keep up with all the dreams that he wants to do.

Imagine being a person that tries to have fun while all of these things are happening in the background.

Imagine being a person who is currently torn between two sides of the same coin, where one says that “being a strong person is of no use; the only use is that you get wrecked every f**king day,” while the other says “stay strong no matter what it takes.”

Imagine being a person who keeps on slumping several times a day, trying to figure out how to get that happy ending to a journey that begun quite a long time ago.

Imagine being a person who has to deal with paperwork by day and virtual work by night.

Imagine being a person who is shaken inside 24/7.

Welcome to real life, where the cliff is set much higher; where mistakes cost a lot more and where success is a journey.

In real life, you have to apply everything that you have learned up to this point, whether it is in or out of school.

The bar is set higher if you are a teacher (or anything that involves people in particular), because you also have to take care of the way it pans out in their lives.

Here are the things that I have seen so far, besides the usual lesson plans and whatnot:

GOLDEN RULES of TEACHING:

1. Always follow through any promises or sanctions.
2. Never make a promise or threat you cannot keep.
3. Always use a seating plan.
4. Be consistent.
5. Follow the school rules on sanctions and rewards.
6. Involve the parents.
7. Make teaching interesting or fun.
8. Wait.. Wait.. Wait for your instructions to be followed.
9. Tell the students what they are going to do or learn in the lesson.
10. Use lots of positive praise.


In addition, I have learnt where in the world I currently stand in terms of the things that I want to do, whether it be travelling, writing or playing (YES, TO ALL HATERS THERE, #sorrynotsorry.)

I also want to be able to take care of my finances, so I am going to be extremely strict about it. I will not spend unnecessarily, because I feel that if I want to be self-reliant and if I want to be able to fund my dreams, I need to have that money behind me!

Then at the same time, here is what one of my former teachers (and current confidants) told me:

“Tell that person to come up with a (firm) decision. If that person wants to keep the friendship, then that’s it. If that person feels that talking after the confessions and stuff is kinda weird then stop.”

Very, very good advice indeed. I know that person was (and is?) a good friend, but sometimes, things are just getting…edgy, for a lack of a better word.


At the same time, I feel like the world is open for the likes of me to take.

The question is whether I’ll remain human afterwards, because believe me, once you’ve got money and power in your hands, it is hard to be one.

I want to do something. I want to play big!!!

I want to be able to have the feeling of being able to break the sky.


I am extremely lucky to have good co-teachers at school. I feel blessed!

#rockandroll #totheworld!


Then, I guess I should start planning my weekends so that they will be much more productive and engaging.

Maybe I should jog once again.

And oh, I keep on thinking and thinking of doing all sorts of things.

I should just do them!


Finally, after years of waiting, I finally transfer to my new apartment in Manila. Well, real life is here, because I pay rent, I pay bills and I pay all sorts of stuff!

I can’t live anymore that kind of life where I just escape from the house just to avoid people. Welcome to real life, I guess!

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Clap Clap Clap

Apparently, I’ll never get away from a country’s capital, at least for now.

After studying for four years in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, where the metro turns into a public shower on rainy days and where the mayor is more focused on crazy projects than upgrading the city’s utilities, I am back.

In my country’s capital. Manila, Manila, where traffic is a pain in the neck, I begin my teaching (not-so-career) and even though it is not my (FINAL CAREER DESTINATION), I really find teaching stuff interesting. There are a lot of things that are extremely new to me (though it may sound weird to other people), mainly because I did not do these things as a part of my life back in the past.

But then, it is time to step up and take the mantle. Here are some of them:

1. Routinely ironing clothes: I never needed to do it, except for special occasions. Then I realized that doing stuff like this is also a measure of self-respect and proof that I can handle myself properly. Heck, apparently, this is the minimal standard of being an adult.

2. Standing straight up: I never reminded myself that I should stop slouching when I walk in public, that is, until pretty much recently. Damn. I guess I need to straighten up if I don’t want to turn into a letter “C” or a letter “L” by the time I get old. It is pretty hard to remind myself to keep it 100 percent up, but I guess I need to start being conscious of my body.

3. Getting some weight: Unlike those people who need to shed off some stuff off their body, I need to get a bit of fat (or muscle) mainly due to the fact that I am underweight. I calculated my body mass index (BMI) and I found out that I need at least three kilograms in order to reach my normal weight standard. That means a lot of eating and sleeping. Oh well. These are just some of the things that are “new” to me. I’ll be damned!


On another note there are many new things that I am experiencing at the moment, aside from the ones where I almost get myself killed (yeah, all thanks to electricity.)

I am seeing the thrill of living one’s life where everything is based on the way you deliver. Then, even though I have no idea how to interact with different sorts of people, I try to do it in my own way because I feel that trying something is better than doing nothing.

Another thing is that I am getting the feel now of being a person who lives here in Manila: It is quite different in the sense that people are more cosmopolitan and that people are more varied in their opinions on certain things.

I want to see not the bright lights of the city, but I want to see its soul.

I want to acquire new things, new skills, new stuff…meet people, make some noise together, create new approaches and collaborate with different personalities.

The last part does not sound like me, considering that I prefer to do things solo in the past.

Guess what, there are some opportunities here and there!


Then, someone told me that maybe I should learn how to take things slowly.

Here I am, taking things REAL SLOW like a turtle would do, Ain’t enough for you?


Some things are just hard to control.

The easiest way to put it would be trying to tame a zoo that is full of mixed specimen inside.

But then, it is part of the challenge. Besides, if people succeed in doing it, then it is wonderful anyway.


Overall, I see and feel weird things.

So mixed, so chromatic and so twisted.

Well, I am absolutely looking forward to the way that it all pans out!

Real Life

I really love music as long as it sounds nice and as long as it has a bit of meaning behind it.

Here’s a song that I found on the interwebs:

I feel electrified when I hear the song!


Speaking of being electrified, I met Death in the face when I tried to charge my tablet at a socket in the guesthouse that I’m staying in. I could clearly see the electric current inside the charger and the air suddenly reeked of ozone.

Thank God my reflexes were quite fast that day. Believe me when I say that it was a live event, considering that there were quite a number of people in the room.

Mr. Mikail said the following after the said event:

“For years, we’ve been putting stuff in that socket, but this is the first time it has happened. Something’s different with you.”

I also really wonder why some things have to be different when it comes to my life. Yeah, sure, my life is unique, but then, there are times that it just gets out of control.

This year’s going to be electrifying. I said that it will be a hype train back at the beginning of the year and I guess I lived up to the hype in my own sort of way.

Even if it meant that I have to learn some things the hard way.


Okay, now I am an elementary teacher and I have scratched my head during the first day of my work.

I realized that I need to step up my physical appearance, not just for the job that I am in, but to prove to the rest of the world that I can clearly take care of myself…and that I value myself highly.

Then, I noticed that I needed to adapt to the new environment (that I’ve got myself in) and that I needed to stop being noisy and talkative.

Within a few days, I learnt how to do all of the stuff that “normal people” do. Sure, it looked great on me, but at the same time, I felt like I was undergoing a freaking metamorphosis that may redefine me once again.

I guess that is the awakening that real life is giving me and I just hope that it gets better.


It is actually my first long stay here in the capital. Some things are expensive and some of the things that I want are basically unattainable, at least in the short term.

There are many interesting places and spots that I want to see: after all, I want to see how it all works out as I go through my first year of “real life”.

One thing is for sure: There is almost zero room for mistakes now. A person has basically three strikes before all hell breaks loose and I don’t want to use all of those three chances at once.

Many things aren’t the same anymore, but I know that I can adapt if I stay strong and if I focus on the things that I need tgo do.


Well, I don’t miss Turkish food at all.

But I certainly miss many of the good memories that I have experienced especially in my last two years in Turkey.

If I ever get a chance to go back to Turkey (or to go elsewhere), I would certainly want to grab that opportunity.


Someone mentioned that being a teacher at a Turkish high school here in the Philippines is not easy.

I’d bet that notion is true, so I guess what I need to do is to make a lot of things work out – before I get booted sooner or later. in fact, the guy told one of my friends that “you will only last a maximum of two years before you tap out.”

I’m lucky to have a back line in case sh*t becomes real. I just hope that my friends also have that kind of fallback.

Because you will never know when the hammer hits you in the face.


Some of those who read may ask why in the world I don’t hype things too much anymore.

The truth is, I want to have a look at things in a positive way, but sometimes, people get tired.

My last year in Turkey brought me to the very limit of my patience.

I don’t want people to experience the “gray and black” stuff that we did back there.

If not for my friends at school and my “job” as a “writer”, believe me, I would have tapped out a long time ago.


I’d like to end this long wall of text by saying that I am looking forward towards having a constructive experience in life.

I don’t want to reach the age of 30 without having done anything substantial in this world, so I really, really want to learn right now and hope that I will be able to apply everything to the best of my ability.

Unless I get totally wrecked, I’ll keep on believing!

Mini Posts…

So I finally get to go back to Manila after a week or so of rest and recreation (R&R). I really had an unexpectedly wonderful time with my friends doing all sorts of things such as swimming, trekking, bowling, eating and whatnot. I guess that it works out pretty well for me! Yay!

I guess I will have a lot of good memories to look back when I start doing my job in a few weeks.

I still wonder how will it all work out – guess I will just have to cross my fingers and see what happens next!

Nuts.

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On Being Free

I said that I will feel better once I come back to my city and it has proven to be both true and false for a couple of reasons.

It was true because I finally get to see everyone and everything after that taxing four-year adventure back in Turkey. It felt very good to be on terra firma once again and it felt great to see the streets that one used to see in previous years. The thing is…nothing is the same anymore.

People live with the threat of war and conflict over their heads and to be perfectly honest, I was totally shocked when I saw that the city is populated by strangers.

The city that I used to know is slowly disappearing under a combination of blood, fear and death.

Blood that comes from the battles that have been fought in the past…and will be fought in the future. I have saw what it meant once…and even seeing war as a spectator has been more than enough for me to stop writing war fiction.

Fear of being disjointed, of losing a home that is once known and familiar — fear of being caught up in a quagmire which has no end in sight. Except for the people that I knew back in the past, I know nobody here — many have left for different places to create a diaspora of a different sort.

Death – that is both literal and figurative as people die every single day in the city, while at the same time having the values of the city die slowly as people struggle to redefine their identity in an ever-changing world.

I will miss the beauty of my city soon — a city which I have chosen to call my own.

Nothing lasts forever, it seems.

However, what remains of my city remain beautiful: The trees, the sun, the air and the sea…all of these have been given by God in much abundance – and surely enough, everything is just wonderful.

As I go around with my elder brother, I kept on having my mind blown by the scenery that I keep seeing on road. I missed seeing the greens of my place, that’s for sure. In fact, there are certain places that I have saw for the first time in my life and I really thought that it was nice to see those spots.

Then at night, I keep seeing the Milky Way whenever it is not cloudy. I keep on looking at the stars, hoping that a shooting star comes from above and fulfill my wishes. Funny, ain’t it?

The only time that I saw that kind of sky in Turkey was on a winter night, 28th Dec. 2014 and that was the day I felt that there was something else awaiting for me – and up to this day, I really wonder what the future holds in an unpredictable world such as this one.

Maybe I should get my own spaceship and fly above the sky. LOL.

Not writing anything of substance for almost a week felt extremely weird. However, it also felt refreshing as I did not have to think much about the things that my editor will tell me.

It is really relaxing to do nothing but to spend some time with the people you consider as friends.

Oh well.

Then I realize that I need to do some stuff pretty soon.

In a few days, I will say hi to real life, where appearance is considered to be a very large part of personality and where first impressions matter the most.

I would like to take this one pretty much seriously, because it would set my tempo and outlook for the rest of my working life.

Career?

Not yet. I am just starting.

I would like to play to win this time around.

Any sort of win in life will do, as long as I have earned it in the right way.

I really wonder what should I do when I start doing stuff as a teacher.

I feel that I should be able to deliver the goods and be able to bring new stuff to the table.

I want to be very good this time around. I want to break the sky.

I want that feeling of fulfillment.

Here is a song that reflects the curious state of mind in which I want to know…a lot:

 

Lyrics:

There’s something about you,
I wanna know,
I wanna know.
There’s so many questions,
I wanna know,
I wanna know.
Smiling at strangers in the dark,
I wanna know you,
Yeah I wanna know you.
Tell me the secrets in your heart,
I wanna know you,
yeah I wanna know you.

I’m feeling nervous,
Do you feel the same?
Do you feel the same?
Your smile makes me curious about you, about you.

Smiling at strangers in the dark,
I wanna know you,
Yeah I wanna know you.
Tell me the secrets in your heart,
I wanna know you,
yeah I wanna know you.

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Pigeons and Butterflies

Birthdays, Games and Sweat

To start things with, it is the birthday of one of my friends and thus, we celebrated that moment with seven rounds of Call of Duty 4 at the internet cafe; I can say that it was one of the best days of my life thus far.

To be more precise, it has been one of the most memorable games of my life here in Turkey for two reasons: First, I get to enjoy a game with my friends without having to worry about carrying them in the game. (The last time we played together, we needed to play against a Turkish clan and I had to lead my team to victory.) Second, I get to enjoy my pistol kills: No matter what others may say, I showed that I can play in a relaxed way without trying to micromanage people!

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Well, not much love for those who try to challenge me in in CoD!

Afterwards, I get to have lots of gifts during the day. However, it was extremely tiring to walk under the sun (I also had to pay the house bills along the way) and it was a bit disorienting at times. Still, by the end of the day, I almost filled up my bag with goods and I was able to say my farewells to a lot of people out there. It was a good fast-breaking dinner overall, but then again, I was extremely tired that all I could do was to sit it out somewhere and hope that I could have the energy to continue doing stuff the next day.

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Tadaa! Me, my friends and whoseover else is in the pic.

A Wednesday Full Of Farewells

It is a Wednesday and I have just woke up from a very short sleep. The thing is that the house back in Cebeci does not have any electricity and that we are supposed to get out of the house because they are about to close it down.

Well, I guess it is time for me to really remind myself that I will be leaving and that I will be teaching some children back in my country. In the afternoon, I went to Middle East Technical University for the very last time to say goodbye to my friends.

I found Recep, Mucahit and Nedim all in the same room and it was really nice to see them for one final moment. They’ve been a great part of my life here in Turkey, so I guess I am going to miss them…a lot.

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One last time.

Then, there’s a dinner at a home in Çankaya where some Filipinos live – a sort of despedida party as four of us are leaving Turkey pretty soon. The dinner was great and the food was extremely delicious.

We also left them with some sort of memento – a little thank you for the things that they did for us over the past year or so. Afterwards, it was time to go home and take all our crap out of the house towards another place. It was extremely tiring, but what else can be done about it? Then, it’s time for more photos…


Going For A Final Splash

Today is basically the last “legit” day of my four-year stay here in Turkey’s capital and I really wonder how many farewells I still need to do. I know that I still have to do a lot but I am afraid that I do not have much time to do it.

Then, I had to say goodbye to Akif at a fast-breaking dinner. I’ll admit that it was a little bit rushed, but I guess I can’t do anything else about it.

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Ankara, you’re wild, you’re a bit interesting, BUT you won’t be missed.

At the moment, I have taken a sort of pseudo-break from my newspaper; after all, I am about to go back to my country and I want to spend some time for myself. For now though, I really need to pack my bags and make sure that I am able to buy all the things that I need to buy.

Heck, saying goodbye this time around is a bit tiring – after I take care of my remaining paperwork tomorrow morning, all I want to do is to rest and close my eyes…until my editor said otherwise. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD MY FRIEND!

Anyways, it will be a long night on the road to Istanbul some 24 hours from now and from then on, Turkey will be a distant memory…and I hope that I do not forget it.

Just one thing: Ankara, you’ve been a damn spoiled brat, you were not cooperative and you are nothing but a bloody teenager who wears makeup. Sure, I’ll miss the people and the moments that I spent in the city.

But Ankara, you won’t be missed. Sorry, not sorry.

 

And here’s a song to top it up:

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Opinions and Thoughts

As of today, I have crossed another line off the list of the things that I am supposed to do here in the city of Ankara. I have visited the mausoleum of the country’s national hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

I must say that the architecture was colossal and wonderful. I also liked the fact that there was a garden around the complex and believe me, it was extremely refreshing.

It was a good visit. Yeah, it was great to see another one of Turkey’s iconic monuments and get something off it!


Once upon a time, one of my editors told me that being bad is better than being good in some ways.

When you are bad, you have at least two options:

1. Since you are bad, you don’t need to try anymore and you don’t need to waste your time trying that certain field in which you suck.

2. Being bad leaves only with one road to being better: Since you don’t have the talent, you’ll reach that maximum ceiling pretty soon. At least you know that is your maximum level!

But then you know you are good and in fact you are better than a lot of the guys out there…and then you choke at the vital moment? That is just horrifying and head-wrecking to watch!

I wonder how those guys at the booth feel after being unable to deliver (I’m referring to a North American Counter-Strike team called Cloud 9).

Why can’t you keep the advantage, boys?

Then again, you are fighting against the best team in the world at that game.

But still, just make it 3-2 at the worst – and don’t lose in that fashion again!

Having a very good advantage and just unable to close it out is just outright ridiculous.


Sometimes, I really wonder if I can take a break from writing in general. I do not have a writer’s block or something, but I feel that I am just going mechanical – though I am still writing with all of my heart.

Then again, writing is one of those few fallbacks that I have when I face a lot of frustrations in life.

Nice catch-22 to think on, I guess.


Tomorrow, I am planning to go to a museum. But then, maybe I’ll not have the time for it.

Then, sometimes, I am getting tired of doing things solo.


Consistency was never a part of my life. Like I’m always aboard on a hype train where I feel the greatest highs and the worst lows at different points of the year.

I got my new highs and new lows too. I just said quite some time ago that 2015 is my year and it turns out to be quite true in unexpected ways.

Then again, I’d like some consistency and static in my life right now.

I’d like a strong foundation to build the rest of my life on, because talent – and talent alone will not help me do much.


One of the best ways to start being consistent would be my writeups and my newspaper work in general, because here is what another one of my editors said:

“You look like a Mozart in which you write based on what you feel. You write differently each week and you experiment with new stuff every now and then. I don’t say that is bad and I see very huge things coming for you.”

In the same vein, he said:

“Learn how to be consistent. Look at your best articles. See what worked. It is the same with games; once you get tired of that same strategy, then go for the next one!”

Then he also mentioned something of note:

“Clear your heart.”

I’ll do whatever I can!


Sometimes, I am tempted to say that life is just a lie.

But then, that’s just being ingrate and stupid.

It is too tiring to hope at times. Try it.


Nothing in life comes easy. But then, the greatest things in life started at a dim point, no?

Well, I just hope that it will be worth the headaches now.