No Buko, No Pie


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The following is a list of all entries from the ok, seriously category.

Counting Down 2013

What defined my year? Career. But I’d rather define my year with the little moments that made me skip, smile, and feel like a little girl…at least sometimes.

Sail away, 2013! You've been good.

Sail away, 2013! You’ve been good.

CAN’T GET OVER MOMENT. “The Red Wedding” from Game of Thrones S03 E09. Despite the spoiler that sprouted from my FB news feed, nothing prepared me for what went on in that behemoth of an episode. My GOT friends on FB sympathized with me and kept posting GOT-related posts on my timeline. My male colleagues got the brunt of this grief,  and I didn’t spare them the spoilers. When it was their turn to take in the shock, these men flocked to my corner and sought refuge, proof that you just cannot get over something like that easily. Runner-up: “The National Anthem,” Black Mirror S01 E01.

SONG OF THE YEAR. “Just Friends (Sunny)” by Musiq Soulchild. Not a new song, but it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, like Christmas on a summer’s day . Runners-up: Clarity, Blurred Lines, Love on Top.

MOVIE OF THE YEAR. Given that this was mostly a year of TV series, I guess I would say “Frozen,” because it brought back the classic Disney magic when it came to story-telling, while at the same time being “anti-Disney.”

ICONIC MOMENT OF THE YEAR. The moment I found out I passed my specialty board exams and the events that lead up to that. It was only slightly reminiscent of my first board exams years ago, except this meant the culmination of years of finding my true path. That was how monumental those exams were. Back in January, when I realized that none of what I was reading was penetrating the deepest recesses of my sulci, I resorted to the more pricey way of studying for the board exams – cafes the whole day everyday. On Feb 15, I was a weekend warrior on a bus en route to three beaches in Quezon, when Luke Skywalker called me up. He couldn’t stand not knowing whether or not I passed, so he called the Secretariat at 8 am on a Saturday to pester her on my results. It was Luke who first knew that I am officially a specialist. And what iconic way of knowing than with a weekend adventure that usually defined my profession.

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Dampalitan Beach in Quezon is one of those few beaches with pine trees instead of coconuts.

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Bouldering in Borawan. Just so we’re clear, Paolo was acting as my spotter, thus, ensuring my safety.

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Puting Buhangin with its white sand, crystal blue waters, beautiful cave, and sea urchins that attack. At least that’s how I recall it.

BREAKAWAY MOMENT. Hosting an event for the first time. I can talk in front of a team, I can deliver oral reports, but I have never hosted. I have observed up close how professionals do it. And so with a double dose of bibo, I went in front of that crowd and co-hosted with a friend. I would seriously do it again.

BIGGEST REVELATION. How much people believed in me and my potential.

MOST HEARTWARMING MOMENT. I gained a fan in the person of Potpot, a 3-year-old girl. She knew who I was when she saw me and excitedly called my attention, kept talking to me, kept talking about me to anyone afterwards, and demanded her mom to invite me to her birthday party.

EVIL GENIUS MOMENT. When I convinced three people to…let’s just say, sell their souls to me. It was something that had to happen, and we have since maintained our friendship, which still bewilders me. It’s as if none of them still suspect that I was really the one that formulated that scheme, or that they actually “sold their souls” to me. It may appear like a evil genius move, but it was truly more for my survival.

ADVICE OF THE YEAR. Came from my young associate whom I fondly call “Bunso.” She said, “Doc, we gotta have G, as in game. Dahil kung walang G, ang PAG-ASA ay nagiging PAASA.

FONDEST “PANG-UUTO.” My bosses wanted me to give out a fun activity, hence, I organized an Amazing Race for the whole team. They went absolutely wild!!! My favorite challenge was when I asked them to go to a convenience store and build a 5-tiered sundae cone. Which reminds me…

BEST BABAW ACCOMPLISHMENT. To build a 5-tiered sundae cone with one take. I did this to dry run the challenge.

IMG_8990BEST SPUR OF THE MOMENT TRIP. Bringing 2 Indian friends and a young associate to Liliw, Laguna to go shoe shopping. Maddy went crazy and nipped 9 pairs in just one hour. She later told me, “I’m so happy! I feel like I’m in heaven!!” Awww! And I was so glad I was able to do that for her.

BEST IMPULSIVE DECISION. Signing up for the Activities Committee of Mensa. Did it without thinking. Which brings me to…

EPIPHANY OF THE YEAR. I can be an events organizer if I wanted to. The people at work believe I know the best adventures, the best restaurants, the best bars…I’m not really sure why.

SWEETEST REUNIONS. Re-connecting with Slipknot after 11 years. Being with Sailor Moon after a year, but this time with her dream role – being a mommy. And a surprise call from K-pop.

MOST MEMORABLE WTF MOMENT. I was already passed out in my friend’s bed one night. Johnny Bravo, my buddy of the year last year, picked me up because he was saying goodbye. I am used to saying goodbye to him with a hug and kiss. This time, though, I got a kiss on my lips. WTF?! A nanosecond later, I thought I was too drunk to care, so I went back to sleep.

MOST “UN-MEMORABLE” WTF MOMENT. Joaquin Bordado (a mutual friend with Johnny Bravo), thought I was at least 8 years younger than my real age. I didn’t realize that despite the years of friendship, he still doesn’t know that we have a 12-year age gap. He kept guessing and was astonished with each wrong guess. What’s even more dumbfounding to me was that we had this same conversation twice – on the eve of my birthday, and 3 months later on the eve of his birthday – and he clearly has no recollection of it.

BEST LESSON. Something I’ve known all along, but I had to re-learn the hard way – follow your passion and happiness will follow.

SOUL CONNECTION OF THE YEAR. Havarti, hands down.

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I’m a big girl now

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I saw them from afar – this married couple who are both physicians and both my colleagues in a former company. The fact that they know my face and my whole name says a lot about social media and possibly how much they have been talking about me. I’ve never talked to them, except for the wife who interviewed me years ago.

“Hello! Who is with you?”

That was a startling question for me. Do people really need to always be with somebody?

“It’s just me!” I said it with a smile and confidence.

“Are you shopping?”

For furniture, but I didn’t want to explain. “Yes, I am! Are you?”

And then they started cramming in what they were shopping for and why; that they were flooded in, and something about a leather jacket I didn’t comprehend – all within what’s left of the escalator ride.

With that, we parted ways and I proceeded to hunt for my book shelf.

I usually shop the way most strategic women do – check out the scene before you make a decision on what to buy. But for that night, I was a man. I went straight for the shelves, and when I found one that fits my loft, fits my price, and would be easy to transport, I bought it immediately.

Didn’t mind that I had to assemble everything myself. I was actually looking forward to the project. I had screw drivers and determination. Sales guy asked if I had a hammer – now that was something I had to find out. Nonetheless, I didn’t buy one. I figured I can just borrow from my neighbors and make a new friend.

Most Filipinos are a little co-dependent. I’m glad I’m not anymore. Why should I plan my day around another person’s schedule? Why should that be a deterrent to going to the gym, shopping, or going to a place you’ve always wanted to see? If you don’t do it now, you’re most likely never going to do it.

So I’m not bothered if I shop alone. I’m becoming a seasoned shopper because being alone allows me to deliberate, to plan my course of action, and to sprint (if that’s what it takes).

I sometimes travel alone so I don’t have to be bothered if the other person is at all interested with my impulsive decision to climb a wall because I saw it in the cab on the way to a museum, or even having the geeky thought of going to the museum in the first place.

In my rare alone time, I am secure enough to dine by myself. Why should it be an issue?

I have a sense of achievement for being decisive on home improvement, cause there’s no one there now to decide on how to fix the faucet, or make sure something sticks to the wall, or – on this particular night – how to build a bookshelf.

As soon as I arrived home, I searched for my screw drivers and some other tools. Found all of them. But I also found a 2-year-old unused hammer mingling with the others. I did forget that I have it.

I smiled with the memory of who got me the hammer in the first place.

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Sunken

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“If I didn’t take that flight, I think our story will be different. I think we will go on.”

But I didn’t think so. I think the romanticism will settle and reality will kick in. And then it will just be the same story as anybody’s.

“At least you and I have a strong foundation because we started off as long time friends. We would have handled any situation better.”

Maybe. But I think breaking up was with reason – I eventually found myself and you have daughters.

Maybe all that has been happening is so overwhelming, you’d like to believe there is something there. Look, you left 12 years ago. We broke up a year later. You got married a month after. Eleven years later, you realize are not happy, so it’s quite natural that you would think that the relationship before that would probably have been better. When you begin to wonder what may have happened, that will open up a lot of romantic ideas. And since none of it is coming to life, then that only fuels your assumptions that ours may have been blissful.

The period after our break up was the darkest time in my professional life and it reflected in my personal life. I wouldn’t have made a good wife and mother. I think that would eventually have broken us. If we really were meant to be together, that certainly wasn’t our time.

And now you are with me, the first time in 11 years. Everything is so surreal. The last time we sat together was during a time when people around us were happy that we were holding hands and were seemingly inseparable. Now, we’re just sitting side by side in front of an empty garden at 1 am.

Pardon me for being a cynic. I think I was once a romantic, and with each relationship a part of that has died. I’m too scared to get to that point when things get real. Perhaps that’s the reason why I am too afraid to settle down. I like the thrill of getting to know the person and loving each second of their company, and dread the day when there is nothing left.

Does that make me someone who is not meant to be with somebody for a lifetime?

I worry about that sometimes.

As our moment in that time warp was nearing its end, I suddenly had an uneasy feeling in my gut. What may have happened if he hadn’t left? What could happen if I ask him to stay? Since we both have our own lives now that we have to face, we agreed to leave each other be. If there is a next time for us, then it shall come.

I am loving my life now, but why do I think this was one of our greatest nights since that night we first met on the beach seventeen years ago?

Maybe I am still a romantic after all…


Day 47: Two Guys

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A year ago today, I did a house call on a sick guy at The Mandarin. He was starting to feel better, and so it was the first time he was in good spirits to thank me for the effort I have done for him for 3 straight nights. He was especially grateful because he was here working on Bourne Legacy and have no family around. He felt the “sacrifice” I made for him on the night of Feb 14 was noble.

The truth was – I never celebrate Feb 14. In fact, I turned down a date with a really nice guy that night. I’d rather check on these patients and made sure they were better. I proudly wear that choice on my sleeve.

As for really nice guy, we eventually went out, but that’s a different story and a different day.


Day 213: K-pop has his moments, too.

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There was in urgency in his voice when he called me up that Friday night. “I’m being transferred to Vietnam as soon as next week. So we have to go out for a drink tonight.”

In the one year I’ve been friends with him, K-pop and I have formed a friendship in inebriated times and sober times. During this one year, he would bluntly turn down some of other invitations or cut short our session. At certain times this was in favor of some other proposal, the nature of which remained unspoken. While OPM would bring me home to my doorstep, K-pop would go off on his own, moving on to the next party with an altered state of sobriety. He has been brutally frank with his opinion which doesn’t go unappreciated. OPM has transferred to Korea since, so it has been just K-pop and I for the past couple of months. And so I had no hesitation turning down this evening’s invitation knowing that there could be another night together. I had my suspicion that he wanted to drink immediately because he has some hot pursuits in the weekend that would follow. That, and knowing that he may just be paranoid with when he would be sent off.

“I only had two hours of sleep last night so I just might fall asleep on the table. Plus, I want to wake up at 3 am to watch the opening of the Olympics.”

“F*! You give more importance to the opening that with the actual games? Who watches the opening of the Olympics?!”

“I do. And I’m tired. We can always re-schedule for Monday night. I’ll be free then.”

“Fine! We’ll look for a sports bar so we’ll watch the opening there tonight.”

And that’s how I got my way done.

That night, we dined in a restaurant, drank, walked, drank again, then waited for the ceremony to start in our chosen sports bar. In between these, we have been interrupted by a group of flamboyant lady boys in the table next, except their table was six feet higher than ours, as if they weren’t high enough… And by interrupt, I meant incessant, annoying and obviously not welcomed. But what do they care when they’re so high up there? Before our time together was ruined, we promptly left and started walking.

It’s amazing he didn’t let it ruin our night.

While we both agreed that the opening ceremony in Beijing was more spectacular than this one in London, we were still entertained. He thanked me for dragging him into it. “No, this is for real,” he insisted. Maybe it was, cause we weren’t buzzed and he was smiling.

“I can get a girl every night, but a friend like you – if I’m lucky – I only get every couple of years.”


Day 260-ish: The Dwarf and his Umbrella

Maximizing one's drink.

Maximizing one’s drink.

It was breakfast at a cafe. We were not in a hurry and we had not much to do that day. He was staring outside, probably waiting for what to do next.

“Ok, I’m going to give you something to solve. Afterwhich, you can ask me an unlimited number of questions answerable only by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ until you have figured out the answer to the riddle.”

“Alright.”

“Steven goes to work on weekdays and his office is in the 26th floor. On holidays and some sunny days, he is only able to reach the 23rd floor, but on rainy days and most of his usual work days he can go to the 26th floor straight away. Why?”

And this launched a series of questions and answers that lasted an hour. He had his quiet times, triumphant times, and times when he looked as though he was getting frustrated. He had some good insights, amusing ones even, but he prevailed eventually.

The answer is that Steven is a dwarf, and on rainy days, he brings an umbrella. On the usual days, there are people who can help him press the 26th floor button. On holidays, and maybe even some sunny days, he is without any aid, hence, reaching only the 23rd floor.

There was a smile on his face and a warmth inside of me. We soaked a little more of the morning sunshine and the cafe before we got up and left. He was still smiling.

Today, I may very well be solving my own version of a dwarf and his umbrella and haven’t gone out of that cafe yet.

You’re reading this, I know.


Day 330: I am a supportive friend, not a shrink.

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“I’m a mess, sis,” my cougar friend reports to me as soon as her tooch hit the couch. “On one hand, there’s my loyal husband (who’s not really her husband), and on the other is my boytoy.”

She didn’t say boytoy, but I was hoping she would. Boytoy he is a very dedicated boyfriend. While her husband is a very mild-mannered and faithful partner, Boytoy is young, fiery, and wild in the sack, which are exactly what’s lacking in her life. He also publicly displays his affection, calling for his “honey” when out in public with those booming vocals. She finds it very endearing and embarrassing at the same time. His work is not at par with her. Like I said, boytoy. Describing him as unrefined is an understatement. Contrast that with my friend who is very demure in her ways, is educated and successful. But these traits don’t figure in love.

Or should I say, addiction.

“If you had to make a choice where no one else would get hurt, who would you choose?”

With tears welling up and her hands trembling, she clearly stated Boytoy’s name.

My friend is a lost cause.

“I am rooting for hubby, but more important than that, I am rooting for your happiness. So pack up and leave. You are being kind by sparing your husband and grown kids the pain of being unfaithful, and the guilt that they are hurdles to you being happy. Cut hubby out cleanly and quickly, and start a new life.”

“…but I can’t do that!…”

“Of course you can! Imagine the happiness waiting for you on the other end! Just pack up and leave.”

She was visibly stunned. She remained unmoved for what seemed like hours as I poured my next cup of tea and drank in silence.

Like I said, I am rooting for hubby.


One Year

It has been a year since I counted from that day I decided to pick myself up. And yet I stopped blogging less than a month after. What’s happened? A lot. For one, a friend convinced me to bring my walls down and open my heart to someone new. And although that was short-lived, he still remains to be a valuable friend and confidante.

It didn’t take one year for me to turn my world around. It only took a month. And in one month, I had the great privilege to work on a Hollywood film – not too many doctors in this country have experienced the same. It was an even bigger deal for me because while others see it as a gig, I have built my specialty around that industry. Some of the best compliments I’ve received came from the Safety Director. Knowing that he thinks I’ve done a great job was fuel to my diligence fire.

In one month, I met new people. And it warms my heart when they express their appreciation for how I have been with them.

In one month, I cultivated existing relationships. It truly makes one richer to be able to name even just a handful of people whom you trust your life with.SSA45382_opt

And in just one month, I could honestly say I was already happy. Some people even swore they saw a twinkle in my eye, even though I think they were just teasing me. Regardless of its veracity, I knew in my heart that was true.

You don’t need one year to make life fulfilling. If you truly want something, you will have it in one month. In some cases even less.

I need some rejuvenating once more. I know now that I don’t need one year.


Day 11: Crumbling


I knew from the very first time I met Sailor Moon, we would hit it off. Last month, I had a feeling that there was a tinge of heartbreak when she mentioned her husband. I told her I have a feeling we have so many things in common in that arena. So today over lunch, she spilled everything.

I got stuck with one thing she said – that her husband had reasons for not having kids. To me, the reasons were shallow. It signalled that there is a red flag there. Having gone through discussions and different scenarios, I have once again arrived at the same conclusion – having kids won’t solve your problem…

…and that she probably needs to have an affair.

Even more fascinating was that she also thought that an affair will help.

In return for her openness, I told her the source of my depression.

Later that evening, 7-11 dude and I were catching up and he now sounded relieved and enlightened. He was thankful for the help I have given and gladly reported the epiphany he has had. And although the consequences of this epiphany meant the crumbling down of his relationship, he remains hopeful that someday they may still end with each other but with the right reasons. Staying together just isn’t the right solution.

I felt happy with his progress.

Which lead me to think: Why am I suddenly surrounded with friends whose marriages are falling apart?! What is the universe trying to tell me?


Day 4: Finding Value

On my 30th birthday, I was so anxious about getting old that one of my best friends tried to settle my anxiety with this – you don’t measure the quality of your life with the number of years you have been living; you measure it in love. It made sense to me that night. Unfortunately, I don’t even remember what it meant.
Perhaps I’m overthinking the message my friend wanted to impart. So I thought of the simple things that bear great meaning for me this past year:

  •  The time when Captain Barbel told some people that, “I’m alive because of her (me!).” And that before we parted ways, he whispered to me, “Thank you for saving my life.”
  • Or when Snakegirl’s mom thanked me for saving her daughter’s life.
  • When countless of adventure seekers thanked me and my team for an awesome weekend.
  • When someone I respect told me I’m a newfound friend.
  • A young producer exclaimed that “My doctor is so cool!”
  • When so many of my colleagues were amused/impressed with my so-called talent with rapping.
  • When I asked for some emotional uplifting, a friend told me,
    “Im a contractor, busy paggawa ng bahay ng client ko.But then i got a notification na friend is requesting na pakiligin sya. So sabi ko sa mga tauhan ko, “Break time muna. i need a few minutes to remind a friend of mine that she’s special in many people’s lives” 🙂 ………. Too bad, di ko natagalog. Di naintindihan ng mga tauhan ko. Pero sana naintindihan mo <kabibe> 😉 ”
  • Those times that I felt that my nurses gravitate towards me or run to me for support.
  • The feeling that came over me when I was able to look over and take care of my team during a drunken night, all the while remaining sober through all those shots.
  • Friends I haven’t seen in so long had successfully found me and re-connected with me.

We can all find love. We just need to learn to appreciate the little things to see that capsules of it have been in front of us all along.