PS I spent part of my morning having a photo shoot with two stuffed goats, hbu?
Note: This was an entry I wrote last August 23, 2016. At the time, I felt the need to keep these thoughts private due to some complications. I’m glad to say that everything worked out in a way that I feel like I can finally share them.
Exactly two weeks from this moment, I will be on a plane flying from Clark, Pampanga, to Boston, Massachusetts.
Well, technically I’ll be on a plane flying me to Dubai where I’ll be having a 7-hour layover, then I’ll be on a plane to Boston, but who needs to be technical.
I moved out of my house a couple months ago and my parents were gracious enough to let me dump everything I own into their house. I’m currently sitting in my room in my parents’ house, surrounded by so much stuff I can’t even begin to understand how I’m gonna pack into two suitcases of 23 kilograms each. My whole life in 100 pounds of stuff.
I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of things that don’t get shared when people tell their story of moving abroad to study. For instance, they never tell you that unless you have a few million pesos on you, you will worry about money. Constantly. And it is exhausting. You will think about where to get it, how you will get it, and briefly contemplate the merits of the value of a kidney on the black market (it’s Php50,000 for one kidney in the PH. In case you were wondering.) There were mornings I would wake up in an immediate panic, eyes flying open and having to take deep breaths to try and ward off the debilitating anxiety. “What have I gotten myself into?” I would think to myself, the fear and crippling anxiety immediately overshadowing the happy fact that I got into business school in the first place. Yeah, not that fun.
They also never tell you how the idea of leaving is such an emotional roller coaster. That sounds like a tired old metaphor, but if there’s one experience it’s true for, it’s this one. I mean, I know all us Manila people always whine about how crappy everything is and how we would loooove to escape, but when it actually happens, the reality kinda floors you.
It’s like that time I didn’t get my period for 7 months and then one day 7 months worth of PMS decided to make itself felt, all at once. One minute you’re raging about the 3 hours you had just spent on EDSA to travel 17 kilometers to your office, the next minute as you’re storming through the lobby of your office building you get sad as you see the Potato Corner stall and think, “awww, there’s no Potato Corner in Boston,” and feeling legitimately sad about it. (Well, Potato Corner is awesome, so I consider this legit.)
Another thing not really shared is how moving away from the life you’ve built to somewhere and something completely unknown can take the bravest person ever and make them buckle. Everyone talks about the excitement, the thrill, and all the amazing things they’re looking forward to experiencing, but no one mentions how it actually really feels to look at someone you care about and think, “I’m not going to see this face in person for a very, very long time.” It’s scary. And hard. And have I mentioned really, really scary? If someone were to ask me right now how this whole experience has been, all I would say to them is that the last 6 months have been some of the hardest and most emotionally challenging months of my life, and you better be darn ready to face it if you’re looking to do the same.
But you know what? If you’re lucky, you will find that you have an amazing family who will support your dreams (in the real, tangible way, not just in the “you can do it, anak!” kind of way), that you have friends who will be there for you through the entire ordeal (AKA 6 months of my obsessing about this non-stop), and that you have a well of courage inside of you that you never even knew was there.
I saw how my family was amazing through this whole thing. They have stood with me, supported me, let me cry when it was all too much at times, and helped me keep my feet grounded when I lost my way. They have given above and beyond what I asked for and expected, and for that, I will forever be grateful. I also saw that there are people who care about me and are willing to help me, even though they get nothing in return, and coming from someone who does not know how to ask for help, it was an incredibly humbling experience.
And lastly, but most importantly, going through this entire ordeal has strengthened my faith in ways that I believe no other experience in my life ever will. I am not a religious person, but I do and have always believed in God and in Jesus, and in the divine plan that he has for my life.
When I was a kid, I discovered for the first time Jeremiah 29:11: (Sunday School kids, say it with me!) “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'” And this verse has stuck with me ever since. Everything that has happened in order to make this ~*new adventure*~ possible has proven to me that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be headed, no matter how frickin’ terrified I am. I’m meant to leave (despite all the challenges I’ve had to face thus far.) Just as I’m in a time when I’m comfortable, earning well, and settled with my life (I owned nice dish sets and silverware for crying out loud! And a whole set of wine glasses! Mature looking ones!) God called on me to leave. He said, “Hey, remember that thing that you’ve been asking for for a really, really long time? Yeah, it’s time.” And despite it looking like an impossibility at the beginning, he made it happen. Who am I to say no?
It’s been crazy, and I’m still absolutely terrified (both gigantic understatements) but we’ve finally reached that point in the story that everyone talks about when they talk about leaving home to study abroad — the being excited about the new adventure. I don’t know what’s going to happen or where I’ll end up after my year of grad school (torture for obsessive planners such as myself) but I know that wherever I end up, it’s going to be exactly where I’m meant to be.
It’s the last two days of the year, and admittedly I’ve been thinking a lot about my resolutions. Resolutions in essence are supposed to be great things – it’s a hope-filled message to your future self that you want to be a better person in the coming year. It wouldn’t be such a cliche to make resolutions if only people actually treated it like a list of goals as opposed to their magical wish list that they hope to fulfil in the next 365 days. (No, you are not going to go to the gym everyday. No, you are not going to suddenly never eat junk food and fast food ever again. And no, you’re not gonna magically be able to wake up at 5am everyday to head to yoga. But I digress.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking so much about my future lately that I couldn’t help but look back at the last five years. Right out of college, I was in such a hurry to get to where I thought I was supposed to be at that age. We’ve all been there, right? We have all these images of who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be doing by the time we’re 23. Learning that life isn’t always gonna turn out the way you expect it to is part of growing up. It’s a rite of passage.
I have a confession: when taxi drivers try to strike up a conversation with me and I don’t really feel like talking, I tend to just make things up. Most of them ask me if I’m married and/or how many children I have, and the stories kind of just go on from there. They ask their questions, and I hone my skills in yearn weaving.
Don’t ask me how, but I stumbled into a career in an industry that doesn’t really afford me much free time. As much as I want to, advertising account managers or entertainment marketing managers don’t really get to go out of town on a whim every weekend (but hey if this is you, congrats, my dwindling social life commends you). So when a long weekend presented itself and it turned out that a couple others of my good friends were free, we took the chance to flit off to Batangas for a little R&R… and much to my dismay, a little mountain hiking.
Here’s the thing – the hiking wasn’t really my idea. I don’t really climb things. I’m small. I’m afraid of tall things. I’d much rather dive or snorkel or play sports that involve balls. But I’d never done it before and I was told that Talamitam was a good mountain for beginners so I sucked it up and went along, promising myself that I wouldn’t be a whiny little betch.
I have to admit, the climb really wasn’t all that bad. The views were amazing, and the weather was cooperative (meaning the sun stayed away and the wind was cold – just the way I like it) and it was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with my camera.
This is still one of my favorite sets of photographs, and I can’t believe it took me about 10 months to write about them.
The thing with this set is, every time I come across it, it reminds me that once upon a time, I wanted to be a photographer. I’m not saying that’s dead, just… in a coma. I got into advertising as a means to an end – a job/career that grants me stability so that I can save up enough to be comfortable yet still pursue my passions. It was a good, mature plan. But lately I’ve realized that my means to an end has become my reality, and it’s getting to that point that I’m actually starting to like it. So it’s not a bad thing, really, but it’s hard to accept that something I used to want with every fiber of my being is now something that I don’t even think of anymore. Did I just learn to cope, because it turns out – hey! – I’m pretty good at marketing? Is this growing up? Or am I just being a vapid middle class yuppie whining about her life?
Because the thing is, I like my job now. I like where I’m at career-wise. I’ve been having a ton of fun the past couple of months, and the financial stability is definitely something I feel like I worked so hard for and therefore deserve. So where do I go from here? Sometimes I still see the end goal I started out with, but sometimes I feel like every single thing that I’ve experienced in the past couple of years is telling me that I am meant for something else completely different.
So far, in the past 7-something years of being in my 20s, I’ve only come to realize one universal truth: we’re aaaall faking it. And if faking it has gotten me this far, I guess it won’t hurt to see where it takes me from here.
“I hate you.” Said the fabulous French man jokingly, as we watched the sun rise while at the most remote beach you will find in Calatagan.
“Look at that sunrise. You would never see that sunrise in France. We have beautiful sunrises too, but not like this. And for that, I hate you. Because you get to see this whenever you want.”
You forget things like that when you’re from a place like the Philippines. You forget things like the fact that when people say we have some of the most gorgeous views in the world, they’re not exaggerating.
I went on a short notice adventure with a bunch of crazy people a couple of weeks ago and it was one of those trips that reminded me why it’s always worth it to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. From the insane drive to the beach in the middle of the night that had us screaming like we were on a roller coaster (this place is LITERALLY at the edge of Luzon. We could see Galera.) to finding myself in the middle of the ocean at the wee hours of the morning scratching off a thing or two from my 30 Things To Do Before I’m 30 list. To the unexpected friendships that you make with people who are from halfway across the world. It’s always, always worth it.
It’s always fascinating to see what happens when you do something that scares you or makes you uncomfortable.
So. Where to next?
DISCLAIMER: August 6, 2014
Hey guys! In fairness sa inyo, binabasa niyo pa rin ‘to. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit. Hahaha! Anyway, as rib-tickling it is to read all your angry comments as if kayo personally ang inaaway ko at hindi Globe Telecom, at bilang kaarawan ko po bukas, comments will be disabled for the time being. Don’t worry, I’ll enable it again after the weekend! Alam ko na sobrang importante sa inyo na you have to have your opinion heard all the time, but I want to spend my birthday weekend in peace and away from any form of ka-jologan. YEAH, I SAID IT! Hahahaha. Thank you for the 20 thousand hits to the blog rant that I angrily wrote on my phone in just ten minutes! I suddenly feel so relevant!
I have come to accept that sarcasm is lost on the vast majority of the Internet, so yes, I’m being sarcastic.
I get it, I’m the one in the wrong here.
On the one hand, I have an unpaid bill of around 4.5k to Globe from a now inactive work line that has remained unpaid since October last year, certainly becoming a cause of concern for the company. On the other hand, I have been receiving early morning calls, threatening texts and emails, and threats of legal action… For a debt of less than five thousand pesos. I’ve already given the date, time, and place of where I would pay the bill. Parang ransom Lang. Yet I still get threats over and over again. I get it. I’m the one in the wrong here. But I wouldn’t be so annoyed about this if I had been getting stellar service from Globe in the last four years that I have been a postpaid subscriber. But no. We all know that stellar service is not in the nature of Globe, despite what their ludicrous awards say. So this is my open goodbye letter to you, Globe Telecom. I sure hope I can make it count.
I remember moving over to you from Smart in 4th yr high school cos you had the unlitxt promos first, and a boy I was dating bought me a SIM card. Alam no naman, masarap makitextmate sa crush mo. I figured, eh, I’ll spend less on credits. And all my friends are moving to Globe anyway! Well, I have certainly regretted that decision hundreds of times in the last few years.
So here. I’m gonna right my wrong today, and I’m gonna live out the rest of my contract with you for another month. I’m gonna pay off my debts, my gigantic, concerning debt of P4,585 that I have irresponsibly forgotten to pay. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.
Since according to your agents, these threats are coming straight from the MAIN office, my shame is certainly heightened. But I’m just curious though, did they raise the alarm over at the Multi-million peso Globe Tower? Is there a giant picture of my face all over their offices? Certainly the MAIN OFFICE has me on some sort of MOST WANTED list, because it seems like only the worst of the worst would be hounded by such overachieving billing agents. I am almost proud of my notoriety. But of course, I am more ashamed of how I have wronged you, Globe. I am so, so sorry.
But still, thank you for the memories. Thank you for the fake unlimited data plan. Thank you for the dropped calls, the iMessages that are a day late, and for the exorbitant roaming bill for a country that I wasn’t even in at the time of billing. Thank you that there is absolutely no signal in my house in BF, meaning I have to run outside every time I get a call, no matter if I’m still sleeping in my room or in the middle of a shower. Thanks for the memories. Because these memories will surely be keeping me away forever.
I am so excited to close down my account as soon as my two year lockout is done this august. And I will make it my life’s mission to make sure that I discourage people from from patronizing your product. You do not deserve their business
Goodbye, Globe. I hope, after today, I never even have to so much as think about you ever again. Don’t worry, babayaran ko muna, syempre, yung utang ko sa inyo bago ako umalis. Kawawa naman kasi Kayo eh. Baka namumulubi na kasi Kayo.
Hi Smart. I’m coming home. Can you ever forgive me?
EDIT July 31 2:57 PM
As of today, I have been called twice, texted once and emailed once. Even though I spoke with this same person yesterday and replied to the text that I got earlier today. Gumuguho na yata yung Globe! Naku naku naku.
EDIT July 31 4:09 PM
I call the landline number that has called me at least 5 times regarding this matter, and what answer do I get? “Ay ma’am Smart department po ito.” Hanggang sa pag hanap sa harasser ko, mahahassle ako?? Hahahaha.
EDIT August 3, 2014
This is, by far, my favorite comment:
Thank you, Philson Legaspi, for making my day.
EDIT August 4, 2014
I would just like to share that, after EVERYTHING that this agency put me through, no one even ever acknowledged receipt of my payment. Ever. Nothing. Radio silence. Round of applause, please!