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August 11, 2014

"I wish that every kiss was never-ending."

How not to save me

1. Don't use the Pinoy ka? (Are you a Filipino) line.
It's reserved for the real deal. Like finding out that the random Pinoy you found in the bus station comes from the same island as you do and  the joy that comes in shifting from Tagalog to your mother tongue. The real deal. The idea of a community wherever you find yourself in the world.

I could have said I'm on my way to Denmark. No, wait. Ditch that. If I said I was going to Denmark, you might have other sisters there and maybe they can contact me, too? I should have said I was a tourist and asked for some travel tips.

2. Don't ask me to tell you my life story.
Yes, my husband is puti (white). No, I don't know yet if I will stay in Norway for good. Am I regularly employed? Yes. Where do I live? Nydalen. Can you have my phone number? Sure. Here's my work phone. Can you knock on my door one day for a visit? Uhm, no. Not really.

I could have said I'm single. No, wait. Ditch that. If I said I was single, you'd have hugged me like I needed comfort and, yes please, I need to have friends. I badly need a group where I feel I belong. I should have said I was homeless and needed 10,000 Norwegian krones for a plane ticket back home.

3. Don't gang up on me.
How would you feel like if three women came up to you, two on the left, one standing up and hovering over you flashing a piece of paper that has Jesus written in bold letters? I bet Jesus would have preferred you to, at the very least, make me feel safe.

I could have said I regularly went to (insert church or congregation name here). I could have said I am already saved. No, wait. Ditch that. If I said I went to (insert church or congregation name here), you might have a follow-up question in hand. I should have said I was atheist and left right then and there.

August 4, 2014

Sunday in Oslo

Sunday, Sunday… How can I describe you?

How about with the first time I saw apples? There were several apple trees in the public garden we passed by. At first I didn't believe they were apples because they were too small, but T and his cousin insisted they were apples, and when people who grew up with apples tell you you're looking at apples, then you ought to believe them.

How about with the beautiful windows in the old Oslo buildings? Helping T's cousin look at an apartment for sale in Gamlebyen (The Old City) only reminded me how much I want T and I to get our own place. I'd give up the balcony for a quaint communal courtyard. I'd give up the huge space for bigger windows. I'd give up the proximity to public transportation for the charm of forgotten streets.

Sunday, Sunday… You've reminded me that I'm living a new life now. That I'm miles and miles away from my family and friends and that I'll just have to make do with telling myself that all new things I'm experiencing, I'm experiencing for them as well -- apples that have not yet fully grown and 35-square meter apartments that are enough to buy mansions in the Philippines.

July 29, 2014

Two birthdays and a wedding

There was a birthday celebration with pancit bihon because it felt special making it myself and because the non-belief in longer life when you have pancit on your birthday can be set aside. There was a Skype call with my Mom, who told me it was a good idea to make pancit. There was that day before the birthday and that Skype call and a wish that my Mom was in Norway. There was a daughter who misses her mother.

There was another birthday 19 days after mine. There was grilling in the park. There was playful planning on an imaginary trip to Denmark to experience the Roskilde music festival. There was love, five years in the making, and several more years to come, with or without Roskilde music festivals.

There was a wedding in Switzerland. There was a groom who had the same name as my husband and a bride who is like a sister to me. There was the delicious reality that I have one of my best friends very near me now, less than a two-hour plane ride away.

April 20, 2014

Nine days

Nine days before I turn 29.

Last week, I realized I'll be hitting that special birthday.

I guess I was in my late teens when I "learned" that when your age is the same as your calendar birthdate, it's supposed to be celebrated in a special kind of way. I may not remember who I heard this from or where I read it, but I do remember thinking, Mine's 29. No rush and no worries. I can afford an extra special birthday by then.

And here I am, nine days away from turning 29. Paying some bills on an Easter Sunday and wishing money grows on trees so I can outshine my 26th birthday - celebrated in two countries, carefree as a 17-year-old out to conquer the world and pit-stopping at a music festival, booze, long hair, snubbing maps, and breaking rules.


March 29, 2014

Cat Heaven

Apparently, Cat Heaven is by the tram station at Olaf Reyes Plass, cigarette butts and all.
I found this cat last summer. He looked so beautiful. Everything about him was happy. Black. Tail. Ears. Eyes. Smile. Halo. That was the summer I joined Opera Software.

That summer felt like everything was about to fall into place. I did everything that was asked of me. I had to start from scratch. There was no way I could easily land a job in media in a country I had no proper knowledge of -- its language, its politics, its history, and all things in between. I finished with an A in the Norwegian language-competency course, university level. I was fresh from a one-year course of Journalism for TV and Radio in a college in the south of Norway, finally over the whole year of torture trying to make radio and TV reports in Norwegian, finally over the whole year of feeling like a misplaced decoration made of wood, rough around the edges, raw, expensive, bought from some exotic land, important mainly because it will add a stark contrast in a home full of breakable, Caucasian cherubs.

That summer felt like Norway has suddenly decided to be kind to me.

Let's stop this nonsense. She must have some use somewhere.

The summer of 2013 was a turning point in my life. I began to smile more naturally again, I began to laugh without hesitation again, I began to take photos any time I want to again; bits and pieces of stories waiting to be taken in a digital, square frame.

Cat Heaven is one of those stories. By the tram station a few minutes away from the company-maintained apartment. 

March 25, 2014

Some trolls at home

Can you spot them?
I got my first and only trolls from T's younger sister, Marianne. One of them is old, playing a pan flute, and looking content with his (musical) life. The other two are teenage trolls with very long noses, stuck together, standing on a flat stone of some sort.

I've placed them on our biggest pot in the apartment. I like the fact that when we have guests, they can accidentally see them while sitting on the couch, maybe while they are half-listening to a conversation, looking straight at the wall in front of them, where the big pot stands, and then finding a nose there, and another one just behind it.

Well, if the guests would ask me, I'd tell them, Look at the other plants by the window.
We have several plants in the apartment. Most of them small ones.

When T and I were living in Kristiansand in the autumn of 2012, we escaped to Ikea when we got too tired or too bored at home. We loved (still love) window-shopping in Ikea. But, like they say, you never leave Ikea empty-handed. Aside from the furniture and what-have-yous, the plants they sell are also decent enough, in fact fancy and feels like luxury for young couples like us. By spring of 2013, the apartment got filled with several plants, most of them cacti, small ones that were too cute not to buy.

This was how they looked like after a winter of house arrest in Kristiansand, in a line, enjoying the sun:

Of course, I have several misses. Like killing the cactus that was once in that big, red pot:


Ouch. Hurts that I managed to kill a cactus. I mean, who fails at taking care of a cactus? Someone who forgets that cacti don't need water once a week: Me.

In the new apartment in Oslo, I'm trying to revive an orchid T gave me as a gift last summer. Wish me and my trolls some luck.

March 24, 2014

Nearing a decade

In four months, this blog will turn 10 years old.

On July 16, 2004, I wrote my first blog post. At 7:14 PM, Philippine time, most likely after school, in one of the internets caf
és outside the university, most likely in Surf 'n Play, where both high school and university students stay until midnight, playing World of Warcraft or Diablo, spending the rest of their school allowance on an hourly payment of 10 PHP to 15 PHP.

Those were the days.
I cannot wait for my classes to end so I could, like the gamers, spend my school allowance, thinking, I'll finally be able to write what I've been feeling the whole day: thoughts, rants, life drama, the troubles of being 19 years old, imagining what I would achieve by the time I turn 25.

With my best friends Russ, Yenyen, Liyo, and Chai, we would sit side by side for hours writing, sometimes getting unlucky, cursing the whole world when, just when we pushed Publish, the internet connection went down. Gone. All 30 minutes pouring our hearts out gone. Just like that.

But we went on writing again anyway. And again. And again. We would be able to salvage some phrases which we might have imagined sounded raw and artistic and genius.

One day, the whole world will read me.