Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Miss


I miss feeling alive. I know it sounds so dramatic but there it is. I feel so bound by time, work, money, responsibilities, relationships that I'm suffocating. I numb myself just so I could function as required but I feel so darned fake.

I miss the times when I'm reminded that my existence is so miniscule in the grander scheme of things. Like, when I look up to the sky and see so many stars because the nearest artificial lighting is about 2 miles away. You can actually feel them moving. The night is so quiet that you can hear the wind whistling through the nearest bamboo tree.The leaves rustling at intervals, creating a simple melody.

I miss staring out into the ocean at the middle of the night. You can't really see the ocean, but you can taste the salty air, smell the fresh air and hear the waves crashing into the shore and retreating back into the sea's embrace. I miss seeing the sun rise from the sea blanket and vividly color the ocean. I miss riding in motor boats and seeing fishes on the clear blue green ocean floor. I miss swimming till I'm sunburnt, bone tired and dizzy. I want to swim until I can feel like I'm floating in my sleep. I miss crashing by the sandy seashore; safe distance away from the bonfire that should keep us warm while we drink, tell stories, sing along to someone's guitar, laugh hilariously at our antics and bet which one of us is drunk enough to be goaded into doing something very stupid.

I miss lying in a hammock with my favorite tunes on my mp3 player cranked up and reading a book.

I miss hiking up a mountain and looking down on hills, trees, houses fields... not pavement, parking lots, cars and buses.

I miss going to old places that are new to me. To feel the history just pulsing through every furniture, every brick and imagine the events that had taken place.

I miss connecting to the fundamentals. I miss experiencing the simple joys, the simple things that make us feel alive.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My own take on California Maki


Some purists would probably be aghast at my recipe but this works for me and apparently, other people like it well enough. Here goes nuthin.

To prepare this you would need:

2 packs of crab sticks (around 500 grams combined)
1 kilo of Japanese sticky rice (short grain) *yung tig si 68/65 Php sa SM.. kung sosyal ka, mas okay yung 118/99 Php per kilo*
2 cups of red cane vinegar (Del Monte) *typically rice vinegar dapat but this makes a good substitute as well*
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup plain mayonnaise *you can also use Japanese mayonnaise that comes in those squigee bottles*
[if you're using plain mayonnaise, you would need to mix 1/2 tsp of paprika, a pinch of salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of white sugar to it]
3 large, ripe mangoes, cut in strips
1 cucumber, also cut into strips
1 pack of Nori (the darker the nori, the better) *aka dried sea weed*
A bamboo mat
A sturdy chopping board
A very sharp chef's knife

Procedure:
1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in water for about 10-30 minutes. If you're using a rice cooker there should be equal parts water and rice.
2. Add a 1/2 cup of water, the red cane vinegar and the sugar once the rice comes to a boil. Stir thoroughly to ensure that the vinegar and the sugar is mixed in properly. Wait till it cooks. Cool once the rice is at the right consistency.
3. While waiting for the rice to cool, you can chop the mangoes and the cucumber into elongated strips.
4. Once cooled, spread the bamboo mat onto the chopping board, then a sheet of nori.
5. Dump 1 and 3/4 cups of rice on the middle of the nori. Spread flat and even it out using a spatula.
6. Make indentations near the bottom of the nori, slather it with the mayonnaise mixture then arrange the crab sticks, mangoes and cucumber.
7. Grab the bottom end of the mat tuck it towards you then roll it.
8. Cut in middle and align then cut individual pieces, about one inch thick.
9. Serve with wasabi and kikoman sauce.

There you have it. This recipe is quite sweet though since that's how I like my maki. I haven't tried it inside out as is more commonly used in commercially made maki's (I miss going to Suki Market!) but I would really love to try. I would need roe though.. which I rarely find in SM.. :(

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On a side note.. I normally make maki's when I'm experiencing extreme emotions. There's just something about it that soothes me. It helps me sort out my thoughts. Ate in Cabalen nga pala last Saturday night and their maki is weird. They are using crisp, indian mangoes instead of the pangasinan or zambales ones. Tastes alright.. but I still find it different.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Clarity


So here I am, typing away on my laptop this stormy evening. I hear the thunder rumbling from a distance. The AC can't drown the soothing pitter patter of the rain on the roof.

Its the 8th of the 5th. In two days, I'm turning 24.

This year, aside from my family being safe and healthy, I only have one totally self-directed wish. I wish for clarity.

Clarity. Such a simple word, simple concept but I find it frustratingly difficult to come by it. I feel like everything in my life is so muddled by choices, by options, by other people's opinions, by friendships that i've built or enemies I've made.

I'm so frustrated by the fact that I honestly do not know what to do with my life. I have no inspiration, no dream, no drive.. no aspiration past having money deposited onto my ATM regularly.

I've checked all the variables that Ive used as an excuse in the past to be uninspired - and this current job that I have actually trumped them all. Commute? It's only 30-45 minutes from where I live.. time? the shift is perfect! 9am-6pm! Topic? I love fixing up computers and internet connection so thats not it! stressful customers? We have the best customers in the world. Co-workers? They are all, without exception, really decent and upstanding, kind people. Success? finished training top of the class and my stats are okay - so i'm not really frustrated with that either.

So why do I still feel restless? As if I'm a ball, trying to fit into a square hole? I feel different and I feel caged. This feeling of being in out of place just won't go away. I honestly thought for a couple of weeks there that i've found my niche. But now, I realize that I was only kidding myself because I can't face the fact that I'm scared of living in the real world. The real world where real problems can't be solved by transferring to a higher level of support. To a world where you can't ask your supervisor to slay the angry customer for you. To a world where you actually have to converse with another person about their hopes and dreams and political views - not just what needs to be fixed in their pc.

I'm not wishing for more money, not knowledge, not even peace... I just want clarity. To be able to see myself clearly and the people around me. To know my place in the world.. to find something that I can offer to the world and help people with.. something that would make feel alive, instead of just existing.

I know it's a tall order, even for my 24th birthday. I may not have clarity - I may be confused with what I want/can/will/ought to/should be/would be doing with my life right now, but if there's one thing that I don't lack - its hope. An unconditional trust in the Supreme Being that he will guide me in figuring it out soon so that he can use me to help other people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Blues

Is there a character that is the equivalent of christmas' Grinch for Valentine? Because if there is.. then I'm definitely on his team.

I opened the paper last week (yes, as if I don't get enough news on the web, I actually have the patience to read through the editorial pages of PDI), and saw this article on young blood. An intelligent and seemingly successful 21 year old woman was whining about how, in her 21 years of existence here on this earth, she has not had a valentine because she's a member of NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth).

Well, I'm not exactly a part of that demographic but I identify with her. It's lonely and depressing to be alone on valentines day and I kinda feel fake if I celebrate it giving roses and chocolates to my folks since I do enough of that on mother's day, father's day - not to mention their respective birthdays. I'm hardly the type to hook up either. I could spend it with my friends (and get stinkin drunk) but my location would not give me that luxury.

Honestly, I think I should just go abroad and work. I feel like I'm no different than an OFW since I don't really have a life here. It would be a great adventure of epic proportions - to be able to meet people from different countries, nationalities, walks of life. I'd be willing to do manual labor - it would be nice to do something that doesn't exhaust my braincells.

Anyway, yeah.. Valentines suck. I don't even have a good book to read. Or a good kdrama to indulge in. Did I mention that Valentines suck? I already did?? well, so does Mondays.. I hate Mondays with a passion. Why do they have to be together.. I thought 2011 is my year (according to the chinese lunar calendar)? Rabbit? wth!? Work your magic!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Funerals and Regrets

It is always hard to write about death, but I have always felt that writing about painful things helps one heal him or herself.

Yesterday started out ordinarily enough. Woke up, went through my routine, then my sister suddenly asked me to look up flight information for saturday morning. Which I did no questions asked. My mother, ever the fountain of information texted us that our Uncle, my dad's oldest brother passed away last night.

I was shocked. I knew he was weak but I thought that it was more due to his advancing years rather than a pressing illness. I felt sick to my stomach when I remembered my dad reminiscing several months ago that the last time he and his brother actually talked - his brother was asking him to come home and visit, to which my dad replied that he can't because he cannot take time off from work. He said that uncle asked him when he will make time? at his funeral? I guess his words rang true and I can only imagine my dad's grief. He was crying non-stop since he heard the news yesterday till late last night. I never knew my dad to be that emotional. Sure, he cried when we buried his older sister , our favorite tita, and his uncle, our defacto lolo on his side-but never with this much heartbreaking grief. I'm quite worried.

My Uncle, what little bits and pieces I remember of him, was a somber man. He was a busy body who woke up at the crack of dawn and I remember him and his wife making several "banyeras" of suman during our stay at their sprawling colonial house which is right at the center of Calbayog city. They (siblings) have a wide age gap and my dad always said that when most of them were playing, being kids - their kuya had already been working to help clothe, feed and shelter their brood of six. My lolo and lola on my father's side, I was told, died only a couple of months apart so that burden was carried alone by my Uncle until relatives and good Samaritans took in his siblings. Then he got married and created his own family.

I can only imagine how hard that must have been. But what I find astounding is that through it all, through all the moves and through different homes and relatives each sibling went through-they never forgot to keep in touch with each other. Out of the six of them, he was the only one who lived at Samar his whole life. It's like, he's been waiting at home, making sure that he's there if ever one of his siblings decide to visit or stay.

I wish I could have visited them more than once. I wish I had gotten to know him as much as I did Tita Lisa. I wish I could have known my cousins and my nieces and nephews who are probably a lot older than me. I wish our family would have been a lot closer with the rest of our relatives.

So I'll leave this post with Harry Chapin's Cat's Cradle as a reminder to never take one's family for granted in the pursuit of things we think might make us happy.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year Dreamin'

Dreams are funny things. They can either feature one's hopes and aspirations or it could just simply be a nightmare of epic proportions.

So today, due to being up till 4 in the morning, I slept the through the afternoon and was swept away in a dream so freakin' vivid it shook me all the way to my core.

No, it wasn't a nightmare. I think I would have been able to shrug it off easily had it simply been a nightmare. I wish it would have been just a nightmare so I wouldn't feel this emptiness inside.

My dream was simple. I was loved, cared for cherished.. did I mention crazy in love? The guy who I was dreaming about isn't really important although I must admit that he's starring in my dreams more and more frequently though I honestly can't figure out why. The only thing that attracts me to him is his sense of individuality. I think the phrase "marches to his own drum" has been coined specially for him. In reality he's happily inlove with his super hot girlfriend. In short-he's not my typical fantasy material.

Anyway, I'm not gonna elaborate on the scenes. Cuddling, sugar kisses and lots of super cute flirting. Just thinking back on it brings a silly grin and a blush to my face.

My heart races... then just as suddenly... pain.

Pain.. because it isn't real.

Pain, because it's over as soon as I wake up.

Pain.. because no matter how hard I wish it were otherwise, I'm still not that girl in my dream.

And the guy in my dream does not exist in my reality.

Awww man! Its the new year and i'm feeling all maudlin. Maybe I've been watching too many Kdramas.. or maybe I just need to get laid.. hahahaha!

:D