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Untitled (Hello, Laziness)

I’ve been MIA for a few days but only because I’ve been busy with life. Sort of. I was supposed to write an entry regarding my trip to Sagada (which was awesome, by the way) but I’m feeling pretty tired at the moment so that will have to wait. A mini update will do for now although I can’t promise that it’s going to be exciting or whatever.ImageToday I used my cousin’s Polar watch to check how many calories I burn during my workout (weight lifting + HIIT). The number surprised me a little because I had no idea that weight lifting really does burn a serious amount of calories despite being seemingly more laid back than cardio exercises. My right knee became haggard again and it’s starting to worry me. I should figure out a way to strengthen my knees.

Yesterday, I binged on cookies. I have no idea why. I wasn’t stressed or anything and the cookies weren’t even vegan. This morning, my sinuses got worked up and I really think that the dairy I consumed has something to do with it. I am never going to touch dairy again. And I need to learn how to bake vegan cookies.

Although I am still traumatized by my previous company, I applied for an English tutor position this afternoon and will be coming in for an interview tomorrow. I hope this one goes well because I seriously need to start working for the sake of my second degree. I guess if this company still isn’t very good, I’ll have to suck it in and endure it until I have enough money saved. I am doing my best not to end up at a call center.

When we went grocery shopping two days ago, I bought buckwheat flour which is so exciting because I’ll finally be able to make buckwheat pancakes! Problem is, I don’t have baking powder so I have to search for a recipe that doesn’t call for that ingredient. I’m not one for experimenting in the kitchen because I don’t even know the basics of cooking. I don’t even know how to tell if a pan is hot enough to cook things on; it’s all a matter of trial and error for me.

So there you have it. Not a lot has happened but at least I finally got out of the house. I’ll try to write that Sagada trip entry ASAP. I know how helpful travel-related blog posts are for people who plan their own itineraries so I want to give my own small contribution.

Have a great week, guys!

 

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Work It!

I told mom about my plan to go back to university to get a second degree in Nutrition and she was alright with it. Of course, I think she did not protest too much only because I told her that I also plan on working for a year to be able to fund my education. I’ve calculated my tuition fees for the three, four years and it came down to $2,322 which covers 100 units (it’s supposed to be 156 units but I took away some of the General Education subjects since I’ve finished them). Although I’m pretty sure that I can save that much money in a year, I still have to think about miscellaneous fees, random expenses (projects, field trips, books, etc.), and allowance. Now, mom is helping me look for a job, any job, so that I can start making money as soon as possible. I feel quite pressured but when I think about getting that degree and finally doing something I have so much passion for, I feel better. And more determined.

I’m hoping to get hired by the Embassy of Japan as a member of their local staff. Though I have no idea how much the salary is, before my obsession with Korea, I had a great love affair with Japan. I still love that country and its culture but I think I might have to brush up on my Japanese language skills (I was already an intermediate learner back in 2009 but when I had to learn Korean, I ended up forgetting 60% of what I’d learned in Japanese which is totally pathetic, yes?). Oh, and I have to write an essay of not more than 400 words explaining which aspect of Japanese culture or society I’m most interested in. Not gonna give my answer here but I will be typing up my piece soon. If I’m not mistaken, one of my close friends has worked for the Embassy of Japan, most likely with the same position. She’s definitely more qualified, though, because she was an exchange student in Japan for a year thus she could speak Japanese really well. If I don’t get the local staff job, I’ll have to apply for a call center job. There are a lot of graphic designer openings, sure, but I’m more of an illustrator and that job is pretty hard to chance upon.

If only someone could fund my studies then I wouldn’t have a problem. Then again, maybe this is just life telling me to shut the fuck up and start working hard for something that I really want.

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Smile Though Your Shoes are Breakin’

Whenever I look at blogs of people who exercise, I often see that they have nice workout clothes, most of them signature ones like those made by Nike and Adidas. I, on the other hand, use these babies:

Image

ImageI’ve had them for two years and I first used them during a school field trip where we did a lot of trekking. The next time you have the urge to get new shoes because you know that everyone at the gym or in the streets will be mesmerized by them, think about me and my smiling shoes. I can’t afford to buy new ones, not even a cheap pair, but that doesn’t stop me from working hard everyday. No excuses!

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Dying to Become a Dietitian

I want to take a second degree in Nutrition.

I entertained the thought before when I encountered a scholarship for a Master’s degree in China. However, I didn’t push through with the application because a) I don’t have a background in Nutrition to begin with, and b) the nutritional studies in China might be different from the ones here, perhaps leaning more towards traditional methods and such. Just when I thought that I would never be bothered by the desire to study Nutrition again, the fact that the people around me have shitty diets and are getting sick because of them has very recently reignited my agitation.

In particular, my older brother whose diet consists of around 60% meat, 35% processed foods, and 5% whole foods is not the healthiest person I know, and he has been coughing like crazy for more than a week now despite his visit to the doctor and prescribed medication. Furthermore, when he is in a normal condition, he works out yet remains totally overweight. The rest of my family still eats a lot of red meat and white bread, finishes liters of soda every month, consumes tubs of ice cream, and practically inhales instant noodle cups. I worry for their health, especially my parents’ as they are both already 50 years old. I’m pretty sure none of them are willing to be vegan (although my father is a pescatarian) but I do want them to be more conscious about their dietary choices. If I were to become a dietitian, I could help them and other people recover from sickness without having to pop a single pill. Food, after all, should be the first thing that comes to mind when one desires to be cured. With all the medicines being made in factories and advertised like crazy nowadays, though, we seem to have forgotten that.

I talked to my recently certified nutritionist friend (who is a brilliant chap, by the way, could be deemed a walking encyclopedia and has, over the years, developed a much better sense of humor) and he told me to go for it as he has never met someone so passionate about diets. Quite frankly, I never thought that I’d turn out this way. Before coming to Korea, I did not touch vegetables at all. I was a bit picky about fruits, too. I loved meat, chocolate, chips, and pastries. Because of my sweet tooth, I gained weight every year and became a yo-yo dieter. I remember going through an entire month not eating lunch, thinking that I could go without the calories; I ended up fainting while we were grocery shopping.

Things changed when I became a foreign exchange student. In Korea, I learned to eat and love vegetables. There are plenty of Korean meat dishes but they have all sorts of delicious vegetable-filled dishes as well. Unfortunately, I gained a whole lot of weight while I was there, thanks to pizza nights at our dormitory, midnight fried chicken feasts with friends, and loads and loads of alcohol a.k.a. Koreans’ favorite medium for forging and strengthening relationships. I reached my highest ever weight of 53 kg (116 lbs) within only 5 months. It was during summer vacation that I decided that no, I refuse to be this pudgy. So, I went to the gym. Every single day. After a little over 1 month, I was down to 47 kg (103 lbs). I was able to do that because I applied what I had researched about going on a proper diet and taking on an exercise routine. That summer had been an eye-opener for me and if I had not found out everything that I did then, I would probably still be a wreck today.

Another thing that has increased my interest in nutrition was taking up a Food Nutrition class during my last year of university. We were taught only the basics but they all fascinated me nonetheless. I received a high grade in it after the semester and the knowledge I received there remain very useful to me in everyday life. Although we were taught not to go for any sort of fad diets, I tried the Atkins Diet early this year (I’m a stubborn bastard) and went through nightly chest pains because of all the fat I was consuming. I eventually reached ketosis but I was more miserable than ever. Along the way, I found out about the 80/10/10 diet which worked for me and I absolutely loved because of all the [unlimited] fruits and vegetables involved. It was that diet which pushed me towards the direction of veganism. Soon enough, documentaries like “Forks Over Knives,” “Hungry for Change,” and “Vegucated” convinced me to become a vegan for life. I have not turned back since. Veganism is the ultimate DIEt for me, the lifestyle and way of eating that I will take with me to the grave.

I want to become a nutritionist so that no one else will have a shitty relationship with food as I did. I want people to enjoy their lives to the fullest, free from diseases, and at the same time love the right kinds of food. I do not expect to be able to convince people to let go of their bacon and french fries, but I can certainly show them that plant-based foods can be just as–if not more–tasty and wonderful as processed foods. I am also thinking of educating the poor and letting them know that a plant-based diet is not only healthier but more suitable for them since most fruits and vegetables are cheaper than meat. My highest ambition is to eventually be part of the government, specifically at the Department of Health, so that I can reach out to everyone in the country and influence them by providing dietary and exercise guidelines and coming up with projects that promote and establish healthy habits. It’s a long shot, I know, and the soonest that I can go back to school is in 2015 (I plan on working for a year to fund my education) so my goals will have to wait, but you can’t completely change your life without having the right amount of drive for it, yes?

I should really mention this to my parents soon.

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Thoughts of a Whole Half

klimtkiss

“According to Greek Mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate beings, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” 
― Plato, “The Symposium”

When I checked my Facebook account yesterday, lo and behold, one of my more casual friends has been engaged to her boyfriend. Although I wanted to leave a congratulatory message of sorts, I did not feel that we were close enough for me to do so; therefore, I left the page without doing anything. A few minutes later, I found myself contemplating on the fact that I have never been in a romantic relationship before. I’ve kissed people and have lost most of my virginity (not going into details here, hahaha!), but a boyfriend/girlfriend? What the hell are those things?

In high school, I almost had a girlfriend. As cheesy as it sounds, she was my first love. We became friends because we were two out of four students in class who failed to find other people to form a group with. She was an artist with a jaw-dropping amount of talent and was comfortable conversing about anything and everything under the sun. During our retreat that year (we were in a private Catholic school), I refused to let her go back to her bed so we talked in hushed voices until everyone was asleep and, as expected, we were teased about it in class the following week. At that time, it felt really strange for me to be thought of liking her as more than a friend just because I enjoyed her company so much. She, on the other hand, did not give a rat’s ass about it. Eventually, the teasing died down along with my awkwardness. However, one night, she told me that she liked me. As in liked me liked me. How did I take it?

I freaked the fuck out.

The next day, I couldn’t look at her. I sat beside her during lunch and she shared her food with me but all the while my heart was about to explode in my chest. It was the first time that anyone had ever confessed to me, and it was someone who was nice and funny and smart and awesome and open-minded and cool. In other words, she was the type of person who I thought would never be attracted to me in any way. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I did not feel that I deserved her affection and attention, so I ruined everything by allowing my extremely low self-esteem to get the best of me and ended up avoiding her. We have been awkward ever since, or at least I have. She asked for my help during college in her desire to transfer to my university, and even then I couldn’t hold a proper conversation with her. She was the glowing comet I chose to sleep through, the warm embrace I stepped away from, the beautiful poem I never read. She was my biggest loss.

Until now, I regret the decision I made back then, and sadly, until now, I believe that I cannot be loved by anyone in a romantic way. I don’t long for it nor am I looking for it, but it’s something that I don’t expect to come for me anytime soon. Or ever. Whenever I think about what my future will be like, I do not and cannot see myself with anyone. I envision myself being single forever, travelling alone or with some friends sometimes, and living with and taking care of my parents until their old age. Meanwhile, when I go to Facebook or Twitter, I’ll keep encountering posts and tweets of everyone else getting engaged, married, having kids, and eventually retiring with their better half. To be perfectly honest, being alone scares me a little bit simply because I do not find very attractive the idea of dying in my sleep with no one knowing about it until several days later when my corpse starts rotting. My fear of that, though, is no match for my fear of being liked by someone as more than a friend. I know that no one’s perfect but I can’t help thinking that because of my flaws and inadequacies, I will be one day thrown away and forgotten, leaving me back to where I started. To me, engaging in a relationship is allowing the other enough access to all the facets of your being that they can destroy them in one fell swoop without so much as a warning, and that is simply an amount of invulnerability that I refuse to have.

Perhaps we really are all just halves. We are social beings because other people are able to fill the holes in our imperfect facades with their love and compassion, making us feel complete and relevant to the bigger scheme of things. It should not mean, though, that all of us are meant to be a whole being with someone else. A half is a fraction but it exists. It is not a zero. So no, Plato and Greek mythology, I am not going to spend my life looking for my other half, if there even is such a thing for me. If he/she comes, then he/she comes. If not, then I will just let it be. Perhaps my other half was my first love, or perhaps not because it didn’t work out. However I may react to the next person who confesses to me I cannot predict right now, but I will try not screw it up. Hopefully.

Oh, and I found a quote that I find better and more agreeable.

“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”
— Veronica A. Shoffstall, “After a While”
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The Other Kind of Travel

Active travel. Why have I heard of it only today? It’s probably because I don’t know of anyone who does it–travelling in other people’s books entails simply going to a place, taking pictures, sightseeing, discovering the history behind geographies, and having a taste of local cuisine–and that to me is a tad bit disappointing. I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of physical activities in people’s lives today or the tight hold of city life on them telling them to be wary of Mother Nature and her array of threats in the form of cliffs, wild animals, and poison berries; whatever the reason is, it has to disappear from the face of the earth. To date, my only active travel experiences are 1) hiking a mountain for four hours straight and then going down for several more hours in torrential rain and ankle-deep flood threatening to wash us away into an untimely death, and 2) island hopping to swim and snorkel among schools of fish addicted to pieces of bread. Aside from monetary problems, like I said earlier, the thought of active travel has not crossed my mind until only a couple of hours ago when I read about cycling in Death Valley (an instant addition to my bucket list). That led me to researching about physically challenging local trips and, ultimately, to the term which makes me giggle like a schoolgirl in excitement.

Active travel. Doesn’t that sound beautiful or what?

I spoke with my mother last night about our spelunking and trekking trip to Sagada and she reluctantly agreed to give me the money to make it happen. She thought that I was going to ask for a converted amount of $232 which I was appalled at. First off, her inexperience in travelling has seemingly led to her overestimation of the expenses for a trip. Secondly, she does not know that she has passed on her being a cheapskate to me. And third, well there’s no third but I felt that coming up with just two things wasn’t right. Anyway, I quickly explained that I needed less than half of that amount and that it included everything. She wasn’t able to protest much after that. So, my third active travel adventure will definitely happen soon, and I plan on making the most out of it.

In preparation, I will be training harder starting tomorrow. I have less than three weeks to get into a much better shape in terms of strength and endurance. I am the one who planned the itinerary and made the budget so I only hope that my friend will be able to do all the activities with me. She’s trim but she doesn’t exercise due to her schedule as a grad student and I’m worried that, like a lot of the people who have gone on the same journey, she’ll be too tired and sore by the third day to do anything else other than walk around and go on a food trip. I might have to ask her to jog or at least walk for a minimum of thirty minutes a day every day before our trip. Cross fingers that she’ll agree to do it.

My goal is to be able to partake in more active travel trips in the near future. I want to swim, climb, trek, dive, pedal, and row my way across the world. I already have one adventure in mind: climbing Mt. Pulag, the third highest mountain in the country. I’ve read about people awakening to a sea of clouds and that, to me, is something worth seeing. Oh, and I would like a photo of me doing a handstand on the summit, haha! I’ll be working hard on my yoga to be able to do that little number. Nothing is impossible!

I need to get a job soon. ;;;

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I’m a Dick

As the title reads.

Now on most days, I’m a pretty nice person. I don’t turn down invitations by friends to go someplace or do something even if I’m broke. I send people links to articles and photos knowing that they’ll be happy to see them. I do favors and errands without asking for anything in return. I press the Like button on Facebook pages I’ve never even had a single thought for, just because a “friend” needs it for a contest and whatnot. And, even though they don’t ever reciprocate the action, I send long, cheesy birthday messages to people I care for a whole lot.

But this post isn’t about how I am one of those people who bothers to stop in front of an old woman in the street to give her some coins. This is about how I stopped talking to a long-distance friend because he’s clinically depressed. Which is basically what a douchebag does: Run off the minute she finds out that her friend has a huge problem in his hands. Way to go, goody two-shoes.

I’ve never been close to anyone who’s mentally unstable (I’m not sure if saying this will get me into trouble or not but if it does I apologize in advance). I know one other person who’s been diagnosed with depression but we’re more of casual friends, not bosom buddies. My closest friends are all right in the head, with no deep-seated issues that haunt them in the dead of night. Their problems are just as complicated as mine so hearing them talk about it doesn’t bother me.

Of course, he had to come around.

We met online, on a health-related site. I guess he was being friendly enough that day to add me and strike up a conversation out of thin air, and I guess I was in the same mood because I replied to him. Then he answered back. And then I did. Our conversation ended up being too long for that website so he found me on Facebook and we continued our talks there. We even chatted on Skype.

He’s an intelligent one, way more intelligent then I am. He has all these gargantuan ideas in his head that I have never come across, and talking to him is like conversing with a really cool, youthful encyclopedia. Sometimes I have to research about something he’s mentioned because for the love of me I can’t keep up with him, but there are times when he goes down to my level of mediocrity and talks about movies, music, our homelands, and the like. Everything was balanced.

Until he mentioned that he was depressed. Not the oh-my-god-I-watched-a-sad-movie kind of depressed but the this-has-been-going-on-for-weeks-and-I-need-medication-and-therapy-for-it type. Our last conversation had been mostly about his depression. Although it went on for a while, I honestly still don’t get it. As someone who’s never had mental health issues, I find it difficult to relate to and sympathize with people who have them. That friend of mine, he  told me that talking about his problem doesn’t help. Meds make him feel terrible and therapy is bullshit. Hearing those things made me feel inadequate, helpless as a friend, so I haven’t logged in to Skype since then. He sent me a message over Facebook a few days ago and I haven’t responded; I don’t know if I still want to. I won’t have an answer if he asks why it’s taken so long for me to reply. I won’t have an answer if he asks if we’re alright. I won’t have an answer if he asks what I think about his depression. I don’t have words to tell him at all.

If I continue to ignore him, this isn’t the first time I’ll be doing it to someone. I’ve cut off friendships, both online and offline, by simply not talking to people anymore. For some reason, I find it very easy to do. A lot of people will feel guilty doing it but I don’t. I’m not the type to be sentimental over a relationship no matter how long it’s been going on; it’s just how I am, I suppose. I’m a dick and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, not even myself.

I guess this is another -1 to my ever-shortening list of friends.