Summer Fun in Boracay

Hi, this is Garrett. My summer has started a month ago, which is kind of late compared to others who start school in June. During that month, I mostly spent time with my sister in the house mooching around and doing chores. I mostly swam and danced to Kpop dance practice videos, so I’m not sure if that was me being productive.

What I wanted to write about is the Boracay trip that we went on to celebrate my aunt’s and my sister’s birthday. It lasted around 4 nights, and we spent most of our time swimming. All of us came back with serious tan lines, but it was a very relaxing and amazing vacation.

So the first day started really early because our flight was at 7 am. We got ready and all, but due to stuff that the announcer said that I forgot, we ended up leaving Manila at 8. The flight was uneventful, and it was only when I stepped out of the plane that the reality hit me: I was in Boracay. And I’ll be honest; I was awestruck, but that admiration slowly turned to horror when I kept hearing the prices of common goods. To foreigners, they might seem cheap, I won’t lie. Ice cream for like maybe 1 USD doesn’t sound expensive. But to Filipinos who normally buy the same ice cream for way less, that is quite a shock. It seemed like lots of items had a markup of past 100%. There are many various reasons why, and I won’t bother explaining. But do know that if you travelled to somewhere in Luzon, you would pay way less to get the same goods.

Once we arrived to our hotel via e-trike, we ate lunch and waited until 2 pm to check in. During that afternoon, we went to D-mall at Station 2, where my younger cousins and my sister swam at the beach. D-mall was mostly sprawled out, and we walked a lot just to check out most of the restaurants and shops they had to offer. The beach though is what I truly liked. The sand was so soft, and the waves were so strong. It may not sound impressive to others, but the only beaches I’ve been to so far were quite rough on the feet. That beach was what you would see in advertisements of Boracay. We ate dinner at a high-end restaurant, then we hit the hotel again to rest.

The second day was mostly spent at another beach. We woke up early to visit Puka beach via shuttle. Puka was a great beach, but the sand was kind of rough. I think my relatives liked it because very few people visited it. One highlight of that day was my mom, sister, aunt, and cousins getting their hair braided. Both my mom and my sister got Dutch ponytails, while my aunt and cousins got a diagonal French braid.  We had lunch, then went swimming until 2 pm. We went back to the hotel and rested for a bit.

Mom then took me along to Citymall via shuttle. There was a very loud Zumba class ongoing, which made me look at the foreigners and think, “Is this what you think we do all the time?” We went to Watsons to get some supplies, then visited a pasalubong store to get barquillos. Lastly, we visited Mang Inasal to get dinner for all of us, then we left for the hotel.

The third day was the most eventful. We went island-hopping in the morning, then we swam in Station 2 the whole afternoon. The island-hopping experience was magical. We visited 4 stations around the sea, where the boat would drop the anchor and we could snorkel. Snorkelling was a blast! The colourful aquatic biodiversity of Boracay was so breath-taking. Fishes, sea anemones, coral reefs, and sea urchins lured the eyes of the tourists, and made them acknowledge their ethereal beauty. It made up for my frustration at my 2 younger cousins who were a bit high-maintenance.  I managed to see shrimpfish! They’re fish that swim vertically, btw.

After the island-hopping experience, we ate lunch, then went swimming at Station 2. I had a lot of fun there, truly. The waves were strong enough to knock me over, while the sand was so soft. It was a bit crowded, but that was okay. I kept on swimming from noon to sunset, so you could already imagine the very strong tan lines I had. Even as I write this, my face still sports a tan line around my eyes. We ate dinner at Dencio’s, then we went back to the hotel.

We spent the first half of the 4th day at Station 2, and the other half at the hotel. We went swimming, and ate lunch at Max’s. I was so tired from all the swimming we did since coming to Boracay, and so I took a long nap, only to be woken up for picture-taking. Then we spent the night celebrating the birthdays of my sister and aunt with a nice dinner.

We woke up very early on the 5th day because we had to be at the airport around 6. The flight was uneventful, but it felt great to come back home. (It didn’t feel as great to do chores, though, but stuff had to be fixed.)

So that’s what happened during my vacation in Boracay, I hope you enjoyed reading this.

 

Goodbye 2018

Hello everyone, it’s Garrett. Today is January 2 for me, and I’ve decided to look back at what 2018 brought me. I’ve spent the first day of 2019 cleaning the house, which was very much needed after my relatives stayed for Christmas and New Year. I also spent the first day getting to know another Kpop band, Day6. Yes, you’ve heard it, I have gotten into Kpop. Before I explain how I got there, let’s see what 2018 has given me.

I started 2018 with a new phone. Well, technically, it’s a hand-me-down from my dad who upgraded to the iPhone 7. It’s a 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus that was already showing its age, but I was very grateful for it, because I used that phone throughout 2018 for education and entertainment. I still have it now, and I very much appreciate the presence of a headphone jack. (I’m still a student, and I’m not blowing weeks’ worth of my allowance over a wireless headset.)

I attended a friend’s birthday party in January near my house, which was something considering that most of my friends are far away from me. What stood out the most was that I was the only guy friend of hers that attended. Also, I was a few minutes late, and I was nervous that I missed out on a lot of things, but it turned out that the party hadn’t even started yet. Filipino time is real. If you don’t believe me, try being on time to any gathering. Everyone will think you’re early. The party was great, I had a fun time with her friends, and the food was delicious.

February was when I had my first prom experience. To be honest, I didn’t see how asking someone to go to prom with them become the norm. All of us batch mates dreaded going to prom, but the experience itself wasn’t that interesting. The batch above us attended too, because our prom was about them passing the responsibility of being the oldest batch in the junior system to us. The food was great, sure, and everyone looked amazing in their prom attire, but my batch didn’t care much for the entirety of it. The only reason why all of us went was because we had a dance number that was going to be graded as our final exam in PE. When it came to the dance floor being free for everyone, most of my batch mates stayed in their seats on their phones while the others were dancing crazily with the upper batch. I took my chance to dance, because I didn’t wear nice clothes to sit down and be boring. When it came to the slow dance, everyone danced with everyone. No one really cared who was dancing with who. The most memorable thing I can remember is seeing a good friend of mine dancing with his scientific calculator.

March was mostly spent by my section and I preparing our class play for our English project and exam. We started on the props, the script, and the auditions. I auditioned to be one of the main characters but I wasn’t picked, so I ended up becoming one of the props men. When the script was done, we started doing run-throughs. When the props were done, we started practicing with the props.  That’s when we realised that changing sets under 10 seconds was harder than we thought. Our play had to be within 1-hour, and we had to adjust many things to make our play fit.

March was also when I had an outreach with my club. We went to an elementary school in Zambales to teach them about math. The school was located somewhere near the mountains, and the buildings needed some work. The students were very attentive to us when we were teaching, but it was my first time encountering classes where exams had to be read out loud by someone. I asked why the teachers had to do that, and they said the students had a hard time comprehending stuff written on the paper. Before we went to the school, we met an important official who acknowledged our efforts at helping the students of the elementary school in their subjects. March was also the month that my section discovered my love for dancing. One of our classmates had to create the choreography for an 80s song to be used as the entrance, and he asked for volunteers. I was one of them, and as we practiced, I always gave my all, which impressed everyone. Practicing the choreography was fun, amidst all the changes that were made to make it more interesting. I was given the title “Most Energetic” because I had the most energetic performance.

April was when we had our class play. Our play was based on the book “Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe”. The other 2 sections based their plays on “They Both Die At The End” and a Nancy Drew book that I forgot the title of. To summarise the event, most of the plays featured LGBT themes. Our batch made history by being the first batch to introduce LGBT couples in our plays. The thing is, the lone play with a straight couple got the most awards. I don’t blame the section behind the Nancy drew play; it was definitely a delight to watch, but something felt off with how the judged awarded the sections. The most memorable experience for me was the opening choreography of our play. Our play started with a main character leading the dance with Footloose. At that moment, I didn’t care about the audience, I just focused on having fun. Mom was ecstatic and said that my dance reminded her of when I was a kid. Sure enough, I saw the video and realised that I danced like I was on a sugar rush. Everyone else was chill, but I was dancing like I was going to be graded individually on a group project.

What stands out the most to me during summer was the 3-week internship that I took as a requirement for graduation. I’ve talked about this before in another post, and basically,  it was the internship that made me start commuting via the trains. The place that I worked at was great, and so were the people that I worked with, but it was so repetitive, my ADHD self couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t imagine how other people with conventional jobs could stand doing this for the rest of their lives until they hit 65.

Summer was also when I got braces. I still have them now, and I’m used to them already. I usually stick to various shades of blue or green whenever I change rubbers, although I still look awkward while smiling in them. Back then, though, I was in pain all the time especially when they put on the rubbers for the first time. Eating anything was hard, which sucked because I had the rubbers put in my mouth right before we went to Singapore for my sister’s birthday.

My sister’s birthday trip to Singapore was very enjoyable. I revisited some places that I loved back then, and we visited new places and restaurants to eat in. My sister had fun too, although I think I enjoyed myself more than she did. We found out the hard way that she wasn’t a fan of Universal Studios Singapore. Both of us loved Science Centre, and the hotel that we stayed at was also amazing. Gardens By The Bay impressed all of us, but I wish I didn’t almost fight with my mom and my sister over my power bank. All of our battery lives were short at that time, and I was the only one who packed a charger. I was a fan of Singaporean cuisine, and their transportation, but I was shocked at the prices.

August was when I started Grade 10. This year, I was separated from most of my friends in school. I only had like 2 friends in my section at first, and I felt the walls around the other friend groups surrounding me. It wasn’t that they hated me, I think it was just a result of sticking with the same people for so long that everyone ended up creating their own world.

September was when my batch presented the laws that they made for various countries that would help fulfil Sustainable Development Goal #4 : Quality Education. It’s a tradition among Grade 10 batches, and it was our project for Social Science. My team was assigned Philippines, and our policy targeted educational facilities and learning environments.

October was when I became 16. I checked exams on my birthday and got some scores back (worst birthday gift ever), but during the weekend before that, my relatives came over to celebrate my birthday with me. After I went to my boarding house from school, I treated my roommates to chicken nuggets and fries from McDonald’s.

October was also when I got my first report card for the school year 2017-2018. My grades were good, but I flunked Physics. Again. I can’t exactly remember the grades, but I will always remember what my advisor said about me in the remarks: “He’s a kind and gentle student but he’s encouraged to be more open to socialization to gain more friends.”

November was when I was truly making an effort to gain more friends in my section. That meant that I immersed myself in almost everything related to Kpop. Why Kpop, you ask? I observed my classmates to see what would help me start a conversation with them, and the answer was Kpop. Most of my batch mates listened to Blackpink, Twice, NCT, Seventeen, BTS, and other 3rd generation bands that you can imagine. So, I did my research. I searched the songs that most people say every Kpop fan should know, and I listened to them. Once I found the songs that I liked, I downloaded them on my phone, and searched more songs sung by the band or singer. Interestingly, I realised that most of the songs that I enjoyed were sung by either 1st or 2nd-generation Kpop idols. Super Junior, 2NE1, Girl’s Generation, BoA, Wonder Girls, SHInee, Shinhwa, and more captured my attention. I asked a friend for help in identifying the members of Super Junior, and we became closer over the fact that both of us were fans of Super Junior.  I still couldn’t make friends over my taste in Kpop, though, until I started listening to more 3rd-generation bands, like NCT, Monsta X, EXO, Red Velvet, BTS, EXID,  and so on. One memory that stood out the most to me was when a BTS fan complimented my ability to dance to Red Velvet’s song Peek-a-boo in 2x speed. Another one was when I showed my section that I could dance to Boombayah by Blackpink, and the last one was when I showed some classmates how to dance to Gashina by Sunmi.

December was the saddest month for me. I lost my grandma, Lola Ana, on December 2. We went to her memorial service on December 21 and 22. It was the saddest funeral I’ve went to, because my grandmother was kind to so many people, and she cared deeply for everyone. Everyone cried for her, and I think the heavens did too, because it was raining on those 2 days. I cried really hard especially when it was time for her to be buried, because the gravity of the situation sunk in deep, that I was never going to see her smile again.  I think what helped me move on was the fact that she was in heaven being rewarded for all the good deeds she did to us, and that if we were good too, we could see her again in the afterlife.

Now, it’s January. It’s the first month of 2019, and I’ve discovered a K-rock band, Day6. Their songs are great to listen to while you do your daily tasks, and the members are very talented especially when they play their instruments. Their vocals are underrated, and I’ve decided to start 2019 right by becoming their fan.

One wish that I have for 2019 is that I get to hang out more with my relatives and friends.  It’s a bit hard because both my relatives and friends are kind of far from where I live, but nothing beats the feeling of having a good conversation with people you are close with. Also, this is probably because I’ve watched too many shows that depict teenagers always having fun with their friends in various places out of school. You can’t blame me for feeling a little bit jealous at that, can you?

Anyways, It’s the start of 2019. I have yet to see everything that it has to offer, but I’m pretty excited for what it can be.

All Work and No Pay

My school decided early on that all incoming Grade 10-11 students must undergo an internship with a minimum of 80 hours as a requirement for graduation. To be frank, I wasn’t excited at all for “a chance to experience working in a field of science”. A job with no pay? Really???

I did a 3-week internship in the Aquatic Biology Research Lab at U.P. Diliman Institute of Biology. The personnel were really helpful and kind, and I managed to learn new things from them. My intern-mates were also really fun to be with as I found out. I managed to be friends with one batch-mate and two students from Mindanao. We all shared more interests than I thought possible and we helped each other out when needed. At the final day of the internship, all four interns including me were given a sample of benthic macroinvertebrates (I’ll explain later) from different families. Overall, it was nice and chill, and I’d recommend it to anyone else who’s interested in aquatic Biology.

I actually didn’t manage to show up on two days of the internship. I couldn’t attend the first day because of an overlap with a vacation, and the third day because of a passport renewal appointment, and a loose bracket. (The vacation’s a future post in the works. Stay tuned.)

The second day was when everything started for me. Mom accompanied me going to the building, but it was a little complicated because the main road to the building was closed. It took Google Maps to show a long but scenic route. (I found out 2 weeks in my internship that there was a shorter one that would have saved my legs and feet.) Once we got to the building, I saw the lab and all the people inside. I was left alone by Mom after she told the supervisor I had ADHD.

I was given an orientation about benthic macroinvertebrates. There’s Google for all you readers, but I’ll give the gist on what they are. They’re a diverse group of sedentary invertebrates that are bottom-dwellers, and their presence and/or absence is used to monitor the quality of water. I was tasked to sort out all the benthic macroinvertebrates from their samples. If you guys know those Hidden Objects games, then you already have a grasp on what I was doing throughout the first week. That went on until lunch, where I managed to talk to the other interns. The afternoon was fine. The personnel managed to point out certain animals I mistook for debris like leeches. My batch mate was kind enough to let me ride with them going to SM North EDSA to get on the train going home.

The following days until the end were honestly very repetitive. Commute, work, lunch, work, commute, then repeat all over again. The commute going to the building was quite long. A train ride, a jeepney ride, and a walk altogether took 1 hour and 30 minutes. Also, peak hours inside a train are no joke. You can get squeezed to the point where you have to fight to get in or out. Woe behold the people in the middle section who have to get off, because not getting out in time is a fear all the riders have. Lunch was the only thing that was different every day. We explored as many cafeterias near us as possible and ate as much food was possible. I had two lunches per day, which Mum was quite happy about with me.

Also, I was introduced to the process of elutriation during the first week. Basically, it shrinks the sample size by removing as much debris as possible to make sorting easier. Imagine rinsing out a piece of clothing and removing all bits and pieces of dirt from it, and then doing it for 4 cycles. My arms were aching by the time I did all sample bottles.

The work I was doing differed per week. The first week was dubbed “Where’s Waldo”. The second week got the name “Who’s Waldo”. The third week was a mix.

The second week was spent identifying the animals that we sorted out from the week before. We started identifying to order-level via dichotomous keys. I wasn’t so bad there. When it got to identifying up to family level, I realized I was the worst out of all the interns. Woohoo, right????? Thankfully, the personnel simply told us the features to look for to identify certain families and didn’t judge us so much.

The third week was a mix, honestly. The first day was a continuation of last week. The second day was spent wrapping centrifuge tubes full of samples with parafilm to preserve the ethanol and the animals submerged inside. The third day was the main event: fieldwork. The personnel simulated what they did when they collected samples from different water sources. They evaluate the site and check if it meets the criteria for an optimal reference site. Then they use physical and chemical measurements to analyze the site. Lastly, they start collecting the samples using either leaf packs or a D-net. The last step was honestly tiring. The afternoon was spent learning to use a software program used in Statistics. The next day was spent answering an exam and preparing a presentation for the final day of the internship. And the last day of the internship was spent mostly on the culminating activity. Lots of labs had students from different regions of the Philippines, and everyone’s presentation was nice. We all got certificates and remembrances from our lab.

It was the little things during the internship that I remember fondly. The playground near a building, the time everyone gathered around a laptop to watch an anime on the cells of the human body, the card games played during break, and all the confessions that happened over lunch tables. I also liked the times when someone had a birthday and everyone was invited for food.

This was definitely quite an experience. I really hope I can put this in my future CV.

Brace For It

Hello! Garrett here. Sorry for not uploading any stuff for a long time, Grade 9 sucked the soul out of me. The gist is: new subjects, flunking Physics, realizing that apathy was never a good method of coping, and batch mates flirting with each other.

Alright, so the big news is: I now have braces.

Yes, you heard it right, now I am dealing with many inconveniences and annoyances just to set my teeth straight. I just had them activated today, since I actually got them last week but I also had an extraction too that day. So yeah, it was painful for a week. The sad truth for me is that I will have to endure more of those operations soon because the x-ray showed 6 IMPACTED TEETH. Basically, those teeth gave up on their main purpose (that is to shoot up) and decided to go anywhere else but up. My wisdom teeth are laying down like they stopped giving a care about getting out.

Alright, so if you have or had braces, you’ll nod your head at this list. If you don’t have them but need them soon, don’t worry. You’ll get used to everything about them. Here goes:

1.) Food will get stuck everywhere. I’m not kidding, you have to bring a portable toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere you go cos there is nothing more embarrassing than having to talk to someone with bits of rice or whatnot stuck in every nook and crevice you can think of.

2.) Eating makes you question everything edible. You’re usually given a list of foods you can or cannot eat. The number one question is, “Can I eat that?” It’s usually followed up with, “Is this worth brushing out afterwards?”

3.) Brushing becomes a serious commitment . I’m serious, if you rarely went up to 2 minutes while brushing your teeth before, now, you will. Also, now that you have braces, you now have the responsibility of making sure the braces and teeth don’t get damaged. But really, the main reason why is because no one likes food bits stuck everywhere. There are special brushes for those with braces. I recommend the manual orthodontic brush by Oral-B. Honestly, you just have to find a brush with a small head and soft bristles and you’ll be fine.

4.) Your mouth will get scratched from the inside. I already got two sores because of two brackets. You might be given wax by the dentist or not, but my orthodontist said the rubber bands will help make the brackets go smoothly against the cheek.

5.) Pain is inevitable. Especially if you get them tightened. Painkillers are advisable for this, but you will also get used to it too.

The only nice thing so far about my braces is that every 3 weeks I can pick a color for my rubber bands. That’s it, really. If I’m gonna suffer all these just for straighter teeth, I might as well make my braces look cool.

That’s it for now. Tune in for another post soon!!!

Looking back…

 

Once this post is uploaded, either it’s 2018 already or we’re really close to it. There are two ways we can go. Either we look back at what 2017 has been for us, or we look forward to what 2018 has in store for us.

2017’s quite a ride for me, but it cut me some slack in terms of emotions. I have more control over how I feel, and I can easily not give a damn about stuff I hate that affects me. (Not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but it’s either that or I care too much). When it comes to academics, well, I might need better work ethics to pull some grades up, but I’m working on it. Also, I did things I didn’t expect I would. I ran after a dog owner to ask about the dog. (The dog’s name is Fritz and he’s a Pointer). I tried being a bit of a thrill-seeker by choosing really scary rides. (It was fun, but man, my vocal cords need to rest). I raised my hand to audition for a role in a school play. (It was really fun.) I also managed to have awesome conversations with some lower year students too. It was quite a relief to know that they were just as weird and brilliant as my batch, too.

2017 also brought new challenges too. More tests, subjects, teachers, make-up classes, responsibilities, and social etiquette developed or discovered. (I have gotten myself in sticky situations because of this. ) Also, I had to learn to keep my mouth shut and not snark at teachers when they say something ignorant. (Not worth the trouble, believe me.)

I also discovered new interests (and friends!!!) in 2017. I found shows and books worth binging until the early morning. I found people who share the same interests with me (and introduce me to their own). I’m quite excited about what could happen next with my old and new friends in the upcoming years.

Speaking of 2018, I’m not exactly sure what’s coming. Well, I do know what’s on my school calendar. And on other people’s calendars too. But, with a supportive network of friends and family, well, let’s see what happens this 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Gifts: A Stress to Give, A Joy to Receive

Ah, the holidays. Full of happiness, traffic, parties, and stress. Can we even say Christmas is near if don’t get stuck in traffic on the road or in the mall? Can we even convince ourselves that we have the Christmas spirit in us if we don’t suffer from cashier/ gift wrapping lines as long as NLEX? I don’t think so.

While I do agree that the holidays are quite merry, people do tend to glamorise it so much that we forget the stress involved. The stress of gifts, traffic jams, parties, nosy relatives, and financial issues are quite a formidable force of nature. I’m glad to say though that most of us have developed our own ways of dealing with them over time. Time (and money) management, good music, and epic comebacks are some of the ways people have found to be effective.

Now, you know well as a student that you have to be a bit of a penny-pincher if you even want to think about giving gifts to friends. (I’m assuming you are not rich. If you are, you can actually focus on giving your friends the gifts they like.) What I would suggest is to give every gift a personal touch. Without it, you’d just be giving special giveaways. (Especially if you get them all the same thing!)
It really depends on your strengths. Since I got notebooks from Papemelroti for my close friends, I decided to write a personal letter inside each one. Everyone liked the letters, but one decided to write one back as a gesture of appreciation. I still read that letter up to this day.

On that note about gifts, I didn’t know there were some rules on gift-giving. Well, apparently, the general rules are: you’re not supposed to expect to get a gift back from the person you’re giving a gift to; but if you’re the one being given a gift, it’s usually polite to give one back. I suppose that’s why we re-gift unused gifts, too. Not only because we don’t like the gifts, but also because we can convince ourselves that we’re a good person by giving someone a gift we think they’ll enjoy.

One of my best friend’s friends decided to start the tradition of writing letters on every birthday gift, so I thought, “What if I write letters on gifts for Christmas?”. So I did. Personally, there’s just something really cool about getting a letter from a special friend, and I wanted to share that with people this Christmas season. Also, when someone gives you a letter as a friend, it’s like they’re willing to share a piece of themselves with you on paper for you to treasure. I know I do. (So does my name-sake in Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, but the letters were not read by the intended person, anyways. Whoops, that might have been a spoiler.)

There are some shops that are often visited by people with a low Christmas budget. One of them is Papemelroti, while another one is Miniso (depending on whether your local mall has one of its branches.) Both of them offer nice stuff for generally low prices. Think of Papemelroti as the anthropomorphic representation of the hipster side of Tumblr, and Miniso as the Japanese version of Divisoria. Papemelroti is generally well-known for its locally-sourced notebooks and jewelry, while Miniso is known for having almost everything at affordable prices.

While we can’t really say much on what to give people for Christmas, we do know when to draw the line when it comes to acceptable gifts. People follow different rules, and you might just have to find out on your own what yours are. Yes, you will find out by trial-and error sometimes. But, even if you give the wrong gift, at least your feelings won’t be hurt (much). We all have went to acting school at some point because of horrible gifts. (Because we all say thank you for the fact that the person thought of us enough to give us a gift, right?)

I’m either old or broke enough to know that Christmas can’t be defined by giving gifts. It can neither be defined by family gatherings nor the birth of Jesus Christ on its own. (Even if I’m a Christian, some non-believers do celebrate Christmas.) What I do know is that everyone may have their own reasons why they celebrate Christmas, but it doesn’t matter anyway, because everyone is focused on one thing that unites us: spreading joy. That’s what the holidays are all about.

Sugar, Spice, and Skating on Ice

On the day our President made his State of the Nation Address (SONA), my sister had no school. Mom took a leave that day. We went ice-skating in the mall in the afternoon.

That’s basically what happened on that day in a nutshell. Let me expand my experience on the rink. It started off with my sister and I getting the equipment needed, which were a pair of ice-skates and a helmet. Now, I’ll tell you something about those shoes. If you can walk in them, you can walk in any pair of high heels. Those skates only have thin slices of metal on their bottom, which is almost worse than those deceptive-looking heels that scream “style” on the outside and “pain” on the inside. (Note, I heard this from my female best friend in my old school, who wore a pair on our reunion in a mall.) Luckily, I was spared of the embarrassment of falling in those shoes while on land. While I was preparing for the ice rink, my sister found an old friend of hers who was about to enter the rink as well. (They stayed together throughout the whole time in the rink.) As I was about to enter the rink, I thought, “Maybe I could be a figure skater”.

As I fell on my butt on the ice, that thought vanished as quickly as my dignity.

As time went on, I slowly mastered ice-skating to the point where I could glide at a moderate speed without falling down and getting my arse frozen. I was no Victor Nikiforov, but my skating was enough for me to keep up with my sister’s friend who practiced regularly. The thrill for me was trying to glide as fast as possible without falling down. Of course, Mom just had to take a video of me falling down while gliding too fast.

Oh, and we had to take a break from skating so that the ice could be restored. We got to see the machine from Plants vs. Zombies! (Gosh, I sound like someone who stayed inside the house too much.) Seriously, though, it was amazing to see something like that in front of my own eyes for the first time.

As fun as ice-skating was, it slowly lost its thrill to the point that I exited earlier than my sister. Of course, if I had a friend with me, I would have stayed on longer. But I didn’t, so I left early, feeling like my feet stepped on Legos.

Would I ice-skate again? Sure. But I’d rather do it with a friend (or more). It’s much more fun to challenge each other and laugh at each other’s misfortunes.

 

I’m Not a Pessimist, I’m a Realist

You know that joke about optimists and pessimists? “The optimist thinks this world is the best. The pessimist fears that this is true.” Well, lemme tell you what a special snowflake that I am, and declare myself as neither. Kidding aside, I’m actually not a pessimist. The world can be nice and all. It just ain’t that way all the time. The world was nice when humans were still developing ways to live longer, and people died early due to disease and childbirth, therefore preserving Mother Nature. (Poison Ivy would have been pleased.) The world was also nice when it didn’t feel like doing so many Harlem Shakes that ended up destroying property and taking lives. At this point, I just give up every single thought of me being an optimist.

I like to think of myself as a realist. I’m that person who looks at a half-filled glass and thinks I need a refill. I’m that person who has to bring optimists back down to Earth, and pull up pessimists from the pits of negativity. I’m that person who decides if something is worth going after or not. I’m also the person who is often told by others to be more cheerful. Cheerful? Of course I’m cheerful. You have not seen me during season premieres, cancelled school days, fanfic updates, book releases, and clearance sales if you think I’m not cheerful.

Why do people think I’m a pessimist? Well, I do like crime shows, slasher horror movies, and my jokes in the first paragraph pretty much spell out the fact that I don’t have much hope in this world. I’m not a pessimist (well, I keep telling myself that), so I tried finding what was good in this world. I gave out compliments to people. I found funny people to watch and laugh at as they joked around. For goodness sake, I’m even subscribed to Bright Side. I don’t watch the local news (so many death reports, you would have thought they were trying to discourage us from perpetrating our species), I stopped listening to ignorant people ranting about subjects they didn’t have a single clue what they were talking about, and I even tried listening to inspirational music. (The only inspirational song I liked was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, aka the Pantene commercial song.) To my surprise, it actually somewhat helped. (I wasn’t a full-on optimist, but I was more willing to imagine that things were going great.)

I don’t care much if you, dear reader, are a pessimist, optimist, realist, or whatever you think you are. If you’re concerned about the negativity in your own thoughts, though, it isn’t that hard to try and find some hope or happiness to pull you through your life. Maybe you can watch soldiers reuniting with their family, or you can listen to feel-good music. Whatever manages to pull you out of your negative thoughts should be enough. If the negativity of your own thoughts is directed towards you, do seek out some advice from professionals. A low-self-esteem never helps anyone.

To all the optimists out there, you do you. Keep bringing hope into this world, we realists and pessimists need it.

Blood on the Streets, and on the TV Screen

I’m a fan of slasher horror movies. In slasher horror movies, there’s something just horrifying and fascinating to watch about how far our human nature can go in  committing evil deeds. The slow realisation on the characters as they know who the dark enemy is, the urgency you feel through the protagonists as they rush to either take down the enemy (or enemies) of get out of the building, are amazing. Graphic depictions of death scenes are just the icing on the cake. There’s something so electrifying at the suspense and fear you feel coursing through your veins as you take a glimpse of what life is like for people on the dark side. Saw takes the trophy for best graphic death scenes, that’s for sure. The others take the cake when it comes to psychotic behavior, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and House of 1000 Corpses.

Crime shows also are interesting to watch. Real-life or not, they’re still great. The best part about TV shows is when it’s hard to distinguish who’s good, and who’s bad. That’s when I know I really like the show. One requirement of a good crime show is that I need to see what’s happening on all sides. Of course, it doesn’t matter how they do it, it only matters that they do it. Crime stories have two (or more) sides to look at. You need to be able to look at them all to fully engage yourself in the events. Dealing with morally ambiguous issues? Hit me up, I’m down for it. Analysing evidence left at the crime scene? Why not? Drama between co-workers? Eh, too much can make me pass. But graphic depictions of criminal, psychotic, and/or insane behavior? Let’s roll! Gotham aces the graphic depictions of behavioral problems. CSI and Bones have flying colors at analysing evidence. Dexter kills it at morally ambiguous issues, and sociopathic thinking. Hawaii Five-0, and Burn Notice hook you in with the action between cops and criminals. Sherlock and Elementary let you take a sneak peek at how the mind of the great detective works when it comes to piecing together clues, puzzles, and crimes.

 

What connects the two of them? The title should say it for you. Yes, it’s blood. Before you write me off as a wannabe freak, let me tell you why it’s interesting. Blood is meant to stay in either bodies, or sealed containers. When you see blood stains anywhere other than those two, something’s wrong or someone is having their period. In the two genres, it’s always the former. And that’s what makes both genres enjoyable. I get to see people doing something to resolve the problem, either by criminal or law-abiding methods.

The Polarity of Sibling Relationships

As you all know, I have a younger sister who I love and hate at the same time. If you don’t understand how people can feel like singing songs with someone and throwing eggs at them simultaneously, you might be an only child. My sister can annoy me and love me at the same time. The polarity between our moods whenever we’re together is quite insane. One moment, we’ll find ourselves kicking and screaming just to get her up to eat, and the next thing you know, she’s telling me the latest stories about her well-off classmates as we laugh.

My school calendar was a bit later than hers, so she was teasing me the whole time I still had school and she was enjoying summer, and then the tables turned. I had fun rubbing in the fact that she couldn’t watch TV while I could. She had fun reminding me that I had to help her with Kumon worksheets because Mom said so.

Do we agree with each other? Often. We do like watching cooking shows together. Do we fight with each other? Most of the time. I won’t even start on what makes us fight with each other because the list will go on until Hogwarts stops changing Defense Against the Dark Arts professors.  Do we introduce new stuff to each other? Of course. I introduced her to Miraculous Ladybug. She introduced me to Minecraft. We show each other new YouTubers to enjoy.

I teach her stuff she’ll need in life. That’s what an older sibling does. Therefore, I teach her what school glosses over, like dealing with different types of friends, different types of teachers, and later on, how to flirt with people, and how to ace a job interview.

I suppose the hardest lesson I’ll learn later on is that my sister will grow up, and make decisions for herself that I cannot interfere with. I can’t hope that my sister will stay the same to me, because we’ll grow up, and eventually distance ourselves from each other. It sounds sad, but that’s the truth. She can’t always be the young, naive sister that I know right now. All I wish is to know that we still have each other’s backs when we need it, no matter how old both of us are.