Friday, February 28, 2020

I Miss You More

Friday, February 28, 2020

27 February 2020

Him: Are you excited to go to exotic places again?
Me: Oh yeah, but more excited to be with you.
Him: I miss you more.
Me: I miss you too, honey.

Monday, February 24, 2020

I Miss My Old Running Place

Monday, February 24, 2020

I miss my old running place. I've resorted to running on the streets near where I live because of its closure. Even before sunrise, the roads are already busy. I always run on the side of the road facing the oncoming traffic so I can dodge speeding motorcycles, tricycles, and jeepneys. This constant vigilance to avoid getting hit or getting lost is quite taxing, more demanding than the running itself. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

When we are heartbroken and foolish and unforgivably injurious to others

Thursday, February 20, 2020

"In all of our lives, there are days that we wish we could see expunged from the record of our very existence. Perhaps we long for that erasure because a particular day brought us such splintering sorrow that we can scarcely bear to think of it ever again. Or we might wish to blot out an episode forever because we behaved so poorly on that day—we were mortifyingly selfish, or foolish to an extraordinary degree. Or perhaps we injured another person and wish to disremember our guilt. Tragically, there are some days in a lifetime when all three of those things happen at once—when we are heartbroken and foolish and unforgivably injurious to others, all at the same time...."

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things, 2013

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Learning Portuguese

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In preparation for our trip, I started learning Portuguese, the Brazilian variant in particular. I’m only in the beginning stage of learning the language, but, so far, it’s not as difficult as I expected it to be. It was much easier than learning Nihongo, which I wholeheartedly attempted but miserably failed. But what made it easy for me to learn Portuguese is my familiarity with Spanish.

I find Spanish and Portuguese quite similar. Both are romance languages that have origins in Latin. They share similarities in vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, and word order. The main difference, though, is in the pronunciation. And that’s the part that I need to focus on.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Of Travel Bans and Sleepless Nights

Monday, February 17, 2020

The recent travel ban imposed by the Philippine government against Taiwan supposedly to arrest the spread of COVID-19 caused me several sleepless nights. It was only when logic prevailed and the authorities decided to lift the ban when I was put at ease.

My upcoming KLM flight has a short stop at Taoyuan International Airport, and because of the ban my flight would have been affected. When it seemed like they intended on keeping the ban despite the lack of local transmission in Taiwan as well as protestation of the country that it is not part of China, I got alarmed. I called the airlines’ local hotline to know about my options. The agent informed me that in case the ban won’t be lifted they are going to reroute my flight through Singapore or Thailand (which, ironically, have more cases of the virus but no travel ban was imposed against them) instead of Taiwan. I was glad to know that the airline already made plans to limit flight disruptions.

I felt quite relieved knowing that my travel plans will push through. Now I can pack and repack to my heart’s content.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

When we say we lack time to cook

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

“When we say we lack time to cook – or even time to eat – we are not making a simple statement of fact. We are talking about cultural values and the way that our society dictates that our days should be carved up. The changing rhythms of life have had profound and surprising effects on our eating. A sense of time pressure leads us to eat different foods, and to eat them in new ways. A collective obsession with not wasting time has contributed to the rise of the snack and the fall of the cooked breakfast; to a rise in convenience foods and the death of the lunch hour.”

~ Bee Wilson, The Way We Eat Now: Strategies for Eating in a World of Change, 2019

Monday, February 10, 2020

Some Topics I've Been Meaning to Write About

Monday, February 10, 2020

Things have been very busy at work that I don't have time to think about the topics I've been meaning to write about: Northern Ireland, the calming power of routine, setting priorities, the Choishi-michi trail to Koyasan, my ideal vacation, and how I choose accommodations, among others. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Weaving a collective meaning

Sunday, February 9, 2020

"Ari proposed to begin with three houses, each house to be occupied by a group of people not necessarily related by blood who were prepared to live together as a family unit. Not some sham family, politely avoiding having to care about one another, but people who would share a surname and the task of weaving a collective meaning into that name. People who would support and protect and staunchly cherish one another."

~ Helen Oyeyemi, Gingerbread, 2019

Saturday, February 8, 2020

I Need To Find a Place Where I Can Run

Saturday, February 8, 2020

It was raining lightly when I woke up this morning. I hesitated a bit before deciding to go out for a run despite the rain. When I reached the hospital grounds where I usually run, the guard manning the entrance told me that runners are no longer allowed to enter the premises because of the coronavirus outbreak. When I asked how long the ban would last, he said that they weren't privy to that information. It's indefinite. Maybe it will remain until the virus is finally conquered. Now I have to find a new place where I can run safely. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

A philosophy of self-sacrifice

Friday, February 7, 2020

“…He had eloquently articulated a philosophy of self-sacrifice that would help define the emerging traditions of Irish republican martyrdom. ‘It is not those who inflict the most but those who suffer the most who will conquer,’ MacSwiney declared. When somebody dies on a hunger strike, the moral calculus of causation can be tricky. It may have been MacSwiney who, in the strictest sense, chose to take his own life, but by announcing that he would eat again only if the British acceded to his demands, he seemed to transfer the responsibility for whether he lived or died into the hands of his captors….”

~ Patrick Radden Keefe, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, 2018

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Same, Year After Year

Thursday, February 6, 2020

I know someone who loathes the current administration with such a passion that she's thinking of joining a rally for the president's ouster. The president's incompetence, corruption, lack of manners, disregard for rules, and continual support for foreigners at the expense of his countrymen are among the reasons she gave. When she asked me how I feel about his administration, I said it's no different from the previous ones and no matter who runs the country my life will be the same. They all promise to bring prosperity to the country but the Philippines stays the same, year after year. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The world of books

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

“Books impressed me tremendously. From their simple printed pages one could conjure up a world as real as that grasped by the senses. Furthermore, the world of books, like meat in cans, was somehow richer and more flavorful than the everyday variety. In ordinary life, for example, one saw many people without really knowing them, while in books one even knew what people were thinking and planning.”

~ Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird, 1965

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Catching Up on My Reading

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

One of my goals this month is to read six books. But it’s already February 4 and I haven’t finished reading even a single book. My nights are spent researching about plane fares, hotels, destinations, safety concerns, and itineraries that I hardly have time to read anymore. I manage to read several pages during break time at work, while waiting for my ride to leave, or when I’m caught in traffic, but that’s it. I definitely have to catch up on my reading this coming weekend.

My to-read books this month include Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, and maybe Tara Westover’s memoir Educated.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Did existence ever seem worked for?

Monday, February 3, 2020

“…then she was walking away, her long legs scissor-like in their little, orderly movements. It would take her thousands of steps to get anywhere, but she would get there easily, and when she arrived, in the present, it would seem like it had been a single movement that brought her there. Did existence ever seem worked for? One seemed simply to be here, less an accumulation of moments than a single arrangement continuously gifted from some inaccessible future.”

~ Tao Lin, Taipei, 2013

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Retiring My Running Shoes

Sunday, February 2, 2020

After running 349.72 km in my old Saucony running shoes, I now have to retire the pair. The uppers still look fine but the outer soles are all worn out. Experts say that running shoes must be replaced after around 300-500 miles (483-805 km), but some say that it really depends on several factors: the runner's weight and running style, the kind of shoes he or she wears, and his or her running style. Maybe a neutral runner like me who weighs 50 kg, wear a lightweight pair, and run primarily on the road need to replace their running shoes earlier than suggested. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Shame

Saturday, February 1, 2020

"Wherever I turn, there is something of which to be ashamed. But shame is like everything else; live with it for long enough and it becomes part of the furniture. In 'Defence', you can find shame in every house, burning in an ashtray, hanging framed upon a wall, covering a bed. But nobody notices it any more. And everyone is civilized."

~ Salman Rushdie, Shame, 1983
 
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