Dear Partner

I never dreamed of having someone to be with for the rest of my life. Of course, I never dreamed that we’d be together until now. After so many years of being together, we’ve had so many bad times that outnumbered the good times. We both questioned our love for each other and we both hated each other for that. How come we are still sharing our home and our son? You can’t imagine being with me and sometimes I think life is easy without you!

I remember all the times when you said that it’s better if we part ways. And to my dismay, I told you I respect your decision and it’s better to get separated while we still have respect for each other. I also can’t imagine being with the person who loathed me and who wanted me out of his life. You said life is easier without me and I think you’re right. I also thought about that many times. Oh, see the last sentence of the first paragraph.

I also don’t believe in the reason or the fact that couples must stay because of their kids. Why prolong a useless relationship, right? Both of us can have our own lives and still be great loving parents to our ever dearest baby. Yep, this is both our thought so I know that if we part ways, a part of us will be happy. At least, I hope.

But then, what happened? This drama you and I both created is like the reruns of a melodramatic, mushy TV program. See, we’re not that sweet and dramatic yet we are caught up in this drama. I want this drama to end because it doesn’t make any sense — unless of course, I can be an actor in the future. And, if I’m attending acting workshops maybe I’d pursue drama. After all, you’re the best actor in the world and you’re my guru who taught me lots of drama. I might win an Oscar and a Golden Globe for being your apprentice.

I’m still thinking about the time we met. You said you don’t want to take a chance at love ever again but you did with me. I also said that I’m okay being with myself for the rest of my life. No one knows what happened but every time we plan to separate, it just didn’t seem to happen. Do you remember how peaceful we are when we haven’t met each other?  We both miss those days.

You are strong and I love that about you. I know that you also admire my strength for holding on and for loving you for who you are. I remember these words that you wrote on the small book you’ve given me. And you also said that you’re looking forward to more adventures with me. Come on, how can we have wonderful adventures if we are acting like crazy lunatics?

Tell me now, how do we separate ways? And though you leave for a couple of days, you always come back with a little smile that turns into a grin and a big smile. I think I am used to your uncanny, grouchy ways. Are you used to living without me, my one and only fatty? I know you’re not ready because for the nth time, you’re still here. I’m not pushing you away but I just wanted to let you know that life without me is boring. And, life without you? It is heaven and I’m just kidding. Life without you is pointless because you’re a fucking exclamation point.

You’ll always be my fatty acid even if I hate you at times. I can imagine you all smiles now, you ill-tempered dick head. No more drama, okay? Hugs!

❤ Your OAO

*** This is a general letter intended for couples but for some reason, it also fits me and my crazy partner. 😀

Why You Should Never Doubt Yourself

One thing I’ve learned most about doubt is that it is one of our greatest falls as human beings.  On many occasions, I have doubted myself and I was so wrong! How could I be so negative and so doubtful of my abilities and existence? The bad thing is many people around the world lives with this sad notion about themselves. 😦

It is perfectly understandable to doubt another person, views, values, perspectives and a whole lot other stuff not related to ourselves. But to doubt ourselves? Definitely not! We owe a great amount of trust and confidence to ourselves. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves and  if we are not careful, we would neglect the importance of our existence. Life is too short not to see how special, blessed and lucky we are!

I have neglected myself for the past years and I have discovered that there’s nothing good that came out of it. It was a slow process to me to believe in myself more until I’ve come to realize that I can be more, even without others believing in me. When I was a child and I get scolded and told that I am no good, I felt bad automatically! Yes, just seconds after hearing their comments, I felt unworthy and useless. Of course, I was a kid back then needing for their approval and worrying about what they think of me!

Another realization came to me that as parents, we must also be careful about what we say to our children. If they believe they’re no good, they might bring that belief until they get to be adults. Apparently, as adults, it is our sole responsibility to discern our beliefs and views on things. I told myself that even if I’m not at my best, I’d start to believe in myself little by little until I fully believe in myself. Believing in ourselves is the first step to achieving our dreams.

I’ve stopped doubting myself that I cannot do something. I’ve stopped saying that I’m weak at this and that. I always give myself a chance at life and to live each day believing that I can do anything if I put my mind and heart to it. I choose to try first before quitting and saying that I cannot do it. As long as I’m not killed, it only means that I get to be stronger every second and invincible every minute. So are you. 🙂

Why Today is a Beautiful Day

Did you know that today is a beautiful sunny day for the whole universe? The new Ms. Universe has been crowned. All winners esp. the top 3 beauties are all beautiful and smart. It’s no wonder they’re there in the competition and made the day even lovelier. Congrats to Haiti, Colombia and France! France looks elegant, charming and strikingly beautiful! This is the good news and now for the bad news…

For some Filipinos, it is saddening that Ms. Philippines was bashed. Not just for her answer but she’s been bashed previously, before the competition proper. While it is ideal that one must be really fluent and trained well for a prestigious pageant like this one, one must not be quick to judge.

Many people judged her due to her English speaking skills, when in fact she can also use an interpreter if she wants to. I am not a grammar nazi, linguist or a language expert. I also stutter at times and some folks don’t even manage to get a job in a call center or language centers. Who are we to judge? We can comment, yes, but let’s not be rude. Some candidates don’t even speak English but were able to convey their message loud and clear.

Although her answer during the Top 6 Q&A could be better, it’s still an honor for the Philippines to be included in the Top 6 list. We just have to be grateful for that considering that it is still a hard feat to earn the coveted spot.

Okay, enough of the beauty queen news. Today is a beautiful day in the universe because it just is. A day is lived where we are able to breathe and enjoy the moment that is fleeting. Tomorrow is another day but today is what we have now. Today is my day, your day and our day called present. Let’s enjoy today before it finally ends. 🙂

Life Lessons Learned From A Hiatus

Idleness is the root of all evil. The said adage does not ring any truth to me, at least in my opinion. I’ve been idle for almost a year and I am excited for my one year idle anniversary come January 2015. I never asked for this to happen and didn’t even want this to happen especially if it’s unplanned. But the universe has its own uncanny way of bringing surprises that I am unsure and unaware of. I don’t know how to put all these into words or how would I call my situation. So let me call it a happy hiatus. I am not an authority to give tips but I would like you to have a peek into my own world which is a sort of a hullabaloo-meets-oasis kind of thing.

I am branding this year as my lucky year because it is a year like no other. Each year is unique but this one is very distinctive. Losing a lot when situations have gone haywire on the first month of the year is something most folks consider bad luck. Come to think of it, people may brand it as bad luck but it is just our own thoughts making the situations worse as they seem. At first I thought I’ve lost it all — job, money, chances, people, opportunities, you name it! All I can think of is how bad the situation was and a part of my life is over. And then I tried to shift my thinking on a different level. If something bad happens, something good will happen, too. That was a bit excruciating for me because I am not a Pollyanna.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Hellen Keller

I thought being jobless for a year would make me a useless wimp. Ironic as it seems, I was completely busy. I’ve been touring on my own, hopping from one country to the next either by plane, bus or boat. It was fun meeting new people, all different and beautiful in their own ways. I was like an exchange student and a foster child at some point! Being a lonesome traveler is liberating for me. I do travel on my own but it is my first time to travel for months. Crossing the borders with the other solo travelers and setting our foot in between two borders at the same time is one of my definitions of the word awesome, at least before kicking the bucket.

Finally, my nomad dream came true this year. When you travel alone, you don’t know what to expect. You get to live in the moment and savor every second of it. Sure, sometimes worry sets in and then sadness fills my heart but looking forward to the wonderful adventures take all those sentiments away. Every single day of my backpacking journey is exciting as I do not know what to expect. It is like today I am wandering in this beautiful city then tonight I will sleep in the bus and wake up in another city!

In this happy period, I was also able to write some posts, letters and do the things I always dreamed of doing but never got the chance. I did some moonlighting and yes, it sustained me for awhile to go on with my journey. Along the way, I also met likeminded people who want to share their lives by giving back a portion of themselves. I engaged in helping the less fortunate together with these wonderful people that I’ve met. I also visited old friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time and gave my time to them especially to the ones who need it the most. My life is not about me at all. It’s about them. It is about my loved ones and other people. I am just a dot in the universe also connecting to other dots. By connecting to them, my life is enriched and I feel happy and contented. We don’t need much in life, we just need one another to get through each day. Money can surely buy some happiness but it cannot buy fulfillment.

To begin with, I am not rich and by mere definition, I am poor. I just happened to sustain myself for a year (without working) because of some little preparation. My work as a freelancer does not guarantee a fixed salary every month. It only lasted for three months. So, for the rest of the months, I lived my life as a nomad. What I do is I save every penny that I have years back. Is it impossible? No. If we are living from paycheck to paycheck, we can live below our means and spend money on necessary things only. No matter how little money we have, if we use it wisely and feel grateful for what we have, everything will work out fine. I thought at first, I wouldn’t make it and then December came. Finally, I am closing the year with an unexpected grin on my face. I never believed in myself as much as I believed in myself now.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath

As silly as it may seem, I trusted myself that I’ll get through it. That’s the only option so I am forced to make it happen. While it is true that having a backup plan in life is one of the best things to do, it also makes sense to focus on your main plan. Otherwise, you would just end up doing plan B and may have some regrets later on. At that time, I just jumped right on, not looking back. I also quit over thinking because it kills the mood and makes the vibrations low. I have learned to put myself on a pedestal and love myself more.

Being the spontaneous being that I am, I always go with my gut feel. There are countless times that I have ignored my gut and I was left crestfallen. I blew it and I constantly blamed myself why the hell I am put in this kind of situation. It is when our hearts, minds and intuitions are aligned that magical experiences unfold. It depends on what works for you, if your mind works better then use it more than your heart. It all boils down to knowing ourselves and what works for us. No inhibitions, no pretensions, no whatsoever.

Back then, I am unsure of myself and I was scared of the unknown. I am not brave but I just know that I have to do it. Otherwise, none of all these wonderful things could have happened. Just live life on your terms and let go of the things you cannot control. Even if we are not armed with a plan, we just do it and take a leap of faith and watch what happens.

So what about failure, does it matter? Failure is subjective and it’s up to us how we perceive our failures. Sure it hurts when we fail at something we really want and things don’t go as planned, but when we take failure as an opportunity to learn, that’s the first step to making things happen. We can be right, we can be wrong and we can be both and still fail but as long as we still try and get up every after fall, we will still get to our destination.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

If you think that you’re living in a rut and have lost hope, please give another chance to yourself. There is always a glimpse of hope, a light in every dark corner and a chance to shine. May you always remember that you are a masterpiece and your story goes on. To all jobless sibs and wanderers, it is not yet the end of the world. Remember, the rest of our story is still unwritten. 🙂

How to Survive if You Are Living in the World’s Most Expensive City

I should not write this post but then maybe I should. Many friends and acquaintances have asked me countless times about Singapore. As much as I wanted them to just google the information about this “fine” city, I don’t want to offend and sound like I don’t want to help. After all, I am not an authority to give tips and useful information about SG because even if I am barely breathing here for 3 years, every day feels like a new day as if I am a tourist. Add that to the fact that I don’t know until when my expat life here will come to an end.

When I came to this beloved merlion island, I only have the things present in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — even fewer. I know nothing about living abroad, not to mention that SG is the first country I have ever visited aside from my home country, Philippines. Even back home, I chose not to live on my own so I could save more money and be with my family. Although most people associate independence living on their own, I have my own predicament and eccentricities to deal with. I have my own definition of independence and more of it to be discussed on the bottom part of this post.

I am just your average overseas worker struggling to make the ends meet. I am also the typical Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who works everyday, gives some portion of my money to my family and live life from paycheck to paycheck. I assume many people are also like me even in the other parts of the world. Until it dawned upon me that I should do something to break this cycle or else, I’d be a beggar all my life. As the adage says, “It is not your fault if you are born poor but it is your fault if you die poor.” There’s nothing wrong about being poor but poverty really bites as many people have financial problems. Come to think of it, most people in this world have financial problems aside from the personal problems we have by default.

On Homesickness
Homesickness happens for real and for some people, this is the core reason why they don’t want to try their fate moving/working in another country, especially to countries that are literally miles and miles away. If you think you are not yet ready to leave your home, you have to condition yourself. Otherwise, there will be lots of things holding you back and you’d never walk out that door and do your luggage. You will be sad, they will be sad and tears will be shed (that is, if you’re emotional but it’s perfectly okay). The good thing is, your tears and their tears will dry up, too. And then, you’d embark on a new journey and have new experiences that are all unknown to you. But then, here comes another problem — when you’re staying abroad for so long and you miss them so much that it hurts or to quote other people, “so much that their hearts bleed.” That’s just life and some drama eating you up. All you have to do is call your loved ones and write them missives. What if all these won’t work? Book a ticket and have your much deserved vacation to be with them.

On Learning
Singapore is a great place to learn new things. Some people say that there’s nothing more to do or learn here because after a year or so, this island becomes boring. I beg to differ although I get bored at times, I do acknowledge the fact that there are lots of things to learn and do here, only if we are looking. As a worker, learning is crucial because getting a job here is very hard. The competition is tough as we cannot blame employers if they wanted someone who is a local or a permanent resident (PR), to which obviously I am not. One of the advantages you could have over the other candidates are your experiences and learning. I do believe that everyone can do a job but one who continuously learn would do the job better. You could enroll yourself to classes that would hone your skills, attend seminars and trainings, have new hobbies and activities and so on and so forth. The lists are endless and it is up to us if we wanted to learn or be mediocre at something forever.
We must not stop learning, whatever that is. If your problem is your budget, the government hosts free activities islandwide. Just keep looking. Further, if you want to learn on a broader scale and gain a new perspective, go travel. Singapore is a travel hub connected to different countries in Asia and this is your chance to travel a lot cheaper if you are here. Some lessons about traveling will lead you to a bit of independence and self-discovery (if you think you are lost for quite some time).

On Independence
In my own definition, independence is living a life that you have dreamt of without having to rely on other people most of the time. I get it, we all need help but not to the point where we get too complacent and be dependent on others whenever problems get the best of us. Problems and trials will always be there, dilemmas will always be present and no matter what we do, these so-called tribulations are here to stay. It is just about us bouncing back, adjusting our sails while we are dancing in the typhoon (not just rain) and getting back on our feet. Your heart will be broken and your ego will be dumped and you’d be very disappointed that things don’t work out as planned. But this is just the start of a wonderful journey and if you continue to improve yourself for the better, you’d find your journey to be one of the bests you’ll ever have. Independence is a subjective matter and the above definition is pretty much how I define it. As an expat here, I have to admit that there are times I find it hard to live in SG (mostly due to the demands of work since I am working in IT) but most of the time, I love it to bits. That’s the reason why I am maximizing my stay here and enjoy every single day, just as I would if I am in my hometown. Now, I can say I am used to it though. Adjustment takes some time and we have to be patient.

On Work
Being jobless sucks, it is a well known fact and a general truth proven ages ago. Due to the nature of my job, each project that I am on ends at a given time to which I have to be prepared. Finding a job nowadays is such a pain in the ass and it frustrates me that even if there are lots of jobs posted everywhere, we have to realize that most of these are just plain job posts. Some of the jobs posted by recruiters and employers are created for pooling only. It only means that they are collecting jobseekers for the said position and would call you once they urgently need you to fill that position in. So, you get the picture, a job post is just a job post at that and nothing more unless it is job offered to you in black and white. You’d be lucky if they urgently need you because that only means you’re on your way to bagging that coveted job. Next step is to have your work pass (visa) approved — which is pretty hard, too.

On Finances
Whether we realize it or not, there are just lots of money matters to deal with, even rich people have money issues. The only difference is that rich people learn from their money woes and remember their mistakes and lessons very well. True enough, we don’t have to be rich but we must be responsible for our own finances. To answer how much money should a tourist bring to SG, all I can say is that it depends on what your purpose is. To have a work here, I went with the safest option of getting a job through a licensed job agency by paying a placement fee. Back to finances, a general tip I could give is to just mind the basics – food, shelter and clothing. Actually, clothing is not that needed, unless you are a fashionista or you need to buy clothes to follow the company’s dress code. You could rent a bedspace and not a whole room if you want to save a lot. Although privacy is priceless, the money you pay for a solo room can be used for other necessities in life or better yet, save the money for emergencies. Salary is given only once, every end of the month. It is definitely wise to save a portion of your salary every month because nothing is sure here even if it is stated in your contract that you have to work that long for that employer. Retrenchment, restructuring, redundancy and other issues arise at any moment.
I suggest that we use our money wisely by spending money on our needs first. Treat yourself, too, so you won’t feel deprived. Being a shopaholic is perfectly fine — only if you can afford it. What I have learned a lot about money here is not about how much we earn but how we handle it. Even if you get to earn a S$10,000 (7928 USD) and above each month, you’d be a pauper if you get a lifestyle you cannot sustain. How do I know? Because I know some people who earn a lot and have lots of debts even if they have bigger salaries every year. I have been jobless for 2 to 3 months and I can say that living in SG is not an easy feat. I am tempted to go back home but luckily, I got a job. So, I am just enjoying my journey here until it lasts. 🙂

Summary
In reality, any city can be just as expensive if we cannot manage the lifestyle we choose. Besides, even if we own all the riches in the world and not have the responsibility and knowledge on how to manage our funds, every place would be very expensive. To cap it all off, I don’t regret anything the moment I set my foot on sunny Singapore. I am humbled enough to be living in the world’s most expensive city. 😀

The Bum’s Newspaper – A Day in the Life of a Bum

As I’ve said in my previous post, I’ll be writing something about my week. That’s a wrap, a full wrap because my hands are always full. Idle moments are also scarce if you’re the type of person who wants to be busy most of the time. I do not know if I should say this but at one point or another, I love being a bum. I also hate being one but hating it would just make matters seem worse so I’ve changed my perception about it. I could just think that these two jobless months are my vacation months. Does it count to be a hiatus? I’d like to think it does but it doesn’t. I went to job interviews this week, whew! Thanks to myself for being so persistent on applying, let alone that most of the job openings are for job pooling only. Whatever. 😀

In answer to the WP’s challenge, the objects that I am always using now are my cellular phone, laptop and newspaper! As primitive as it might sound, some of the job openings that are urgent are found in the island’s newspaper. And, I am holding it now. 🙂

Here’s my simple itinerary:

Morning: Exercise upon waking up. If I am too hungry, I just eat right away. However, there is no excuse not to stretch and work my butt downstairs. If I always sit and sleep, I would never get fit. Besides, I have to be healthy in order to prepare for the next medical exam, given that I’d bag that job. After my so-called exercise at the free gym downstairs (see, it’s free yet I am lazy), I take the stairs, sort of a cool down after the exercise. Then, I eat and apply online and follow up my applications by talking to some agents/headhunters.

Afternoon: Still doing that same damn thing, job hunting but with some chatting on the side. All work and no play would make me dead, er, dull. Once in awhile, it won’t hurt to treat ourselves to occasional reading or hobby when doing something that is tiring. Yep, applying jobs can be a tiring feat if you’ve been doing it for months esp. every single day wherein you’re on the lookout for the newest job posts the job site offers. I’ve read somewhere that it is nice to drift away from your current task every 25 minutes, then work again. It may not apply to most people esp. the ones who really like to concentrate on their tasks and not break their own momentum. But the 25 minutes break perfectly works for me. I have gotten used to it even if I am in the mood for writing.

Note: If you’re looking for a job, create/update your Linkedin account. Some employers found me there and called me up.

Evening: This is where I really take long breaks. After past 6 or 7PM, I take a long walk and play with a cat if I see one. I eat my dinner and have a dessert if I am not that full then have a long walk again. Before bedtime, I eat again, sort of a midnight snack or just drink a cup  of hot chocolate.

And what about the newspaper you ask? I still read it but I do not read the Careers Section. There’s more to life than just finding a job but I do acknowledge how important it is to have one. Without a job, I wouldn’t be able to prepare for the rainy days and won’t be a happy bum that I am now. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I honestly don’t know what to do next but one thing’s for sure, I’d have fun. No worries, just prepping for the next days to come with my trusted newspaper to keep boredom at bay. 🙂

P.S. Omg, I don’t know if the newspaper has a relevance to what I have written. Obviously, this is what happens when one becomes a professional bum. Cheers! 😀

Weekly Writing Challenge: Object

Thank you for reading my 100th post. 🙂

Just Do Nothing

“There’s no such thing as nothing. In every nothing, there’s a something. In fact, there could be everything!” – Libba Bray, Going Bovine

Most of the time, we are damn busy that there is no time to do ‘just nothing.’ We are wired to the thinking that we should keep ourselves busy most of the time. As of this writing, I feel nauseous and I had my second vomit. There are times when I don’t want to fall asleep or lie around for FOMO that I don’t get to enjoy my weekend the way I want it.

It’s a no brainer that with this kind of condition, I should just rest. Am I going to wait for my third vomit? My body is already speaking and I am not listening to it. So, cheers to my first NaBloPoMo post! For some, December is a conducive month to write, with all the chills and anticipation this Christmas season brings.

Should I feel the same way? Maybe. I would just rest and hope that things will get better for me tomorrow. For now, doing nothing means everything to me. Let my first post rest for now as I am armed with my pillows for a battle of a good night sleep. Hopefully, there will be no vomits tomorrow.

Lesson: Rest more if needed. Tomorrow is another day. 🙂

NaBloPoMo December: More or Less