“13 Questions,” 3 years later

Allo, faithful viewers, readers, wishers, prayers, dreamers and golly whoopers! Three years ago, towards the genesis of this fine little blog, I answered an amazing set of questions that helped me learn more about myself. It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these and I’m interested to see how my responses have changed. Click here to read my 13 Questions in 2011, when I was 13!

I hope you enjoy this little window into my life.

1. Three things you want to say to three different people.

Grandpa: I will always love you. A person doesn’t completely die until everyone has forgotten — and I’ll make sure you never will be.

Tim: With every person in my life, I imagine shadows signifying the depth of their person fanning out behind them. Yours is among the longest … and I’m so glad you’ve made mine a little longer, too.

Katie: Hey, I kind of really love you. Keep shining~

2. One of my insecurities.

Surprise, surprise — my worst insecurity is that I’m terrified of not contributing enough. What is contribution, really, when everyone does it? When every drop of ink spilled onto a page is considered “contribution,” and when every kid has to volunteer a certain number of hours just to graduate high school? Meaningful contribution is what I’m worried about not achieving. (See I am more than a student for more insecurities.)

3. What turns me on.

A mixture of intelligence, humbleness, and passion, a very rare yet special combination to find. So many wonderful qualities come with intelligence, like perspicacity, creativity, and vulnerability. When mixed with the gentleness of humility and love for life that comes with passion, the result is a full and beautiful relationship.

4. One of my bad habits.

:’) It’s the same thing … I can’t seem to finish what I start! What can I say? Half my mind churns out meaty dreams and the other half is vegetarian.

5. Who I wish I could be.

I look in the mirror and I’m content with what I see. I like who I am, who I’ve become. Wouldn’t wish for anything more or less. I often think about the future me, but I don’t wish to be that person. I trust myself enough to accept what the future holds.

6. Where  I want to be right now.

With someone I love, doing something we both love.

Oops! Where?

New York. Always New York. I wouldn’t mind being a struggling, debt-owing student in you, my sweet apple ;)

7. The last thing I ate.

A Chick-Fil-A sandwich, no pickles! It made me feel sick. Haven’t had such a greasy sandwich in a while, but the peach milkshake made up for it. It was sweet with little peach chunks that just made my day ^_^ I recommend it to anyone who wants to taste some summer!

8. Sexiest person that comes to mind. 

Tim and his mesmerizing eyes.

9. What song I’m currently listening to.

Laughed out loud to this question! Guess it’s time you all know that alternative, indie-loving me also loves rap music. Here’s what I’m listening to — Warning, Mr. Gambino has a chronic case of sailor’s mouth.

(See music I normally listen to and if you can’t get enough, here‘s some more)

10. Last time I cried and why.

A couple of days ago .. See question pt I, question 1.

11. Something I’m excited about.

My mom’s coming home from the Philippines sometimes next week! It’s been almost two weeks and I miss her so much.

12. Best things about my life.

The best things about my life are the people in it. I have so much love for everyone who’s supported me, gotten to know me, and cheered me on these past couple of years. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve been presented with, and I plan to make the most of them!

I’m also blessed to have good health so I can let this wandering spirit roam.

13. Three things I want right now.

There’s an almond milk chocolate bar downstairs right now.

But I don’t what that .. oh no, not at all…

 1) I want to throw myself into an unfamiliar country, forget about unimportant things, become immersed in their culture and never vacation as a tourist, ever.

2) I want that chocolate bar. I’ve always wanted to learn ASL. How rewarding would that be? As an aspiring speech pathologist, it’d probably be wise to take some classes.

3) I want to be out and about, shooting guns at the range, horseback riding on a remote beach, cooking soup with a friend… I’ll take experiences over objects any day.

YES! Completion! If I were to answer these questions every 3 years, the next time you’d see this is when I’m a freshman in college.. oh my.

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any additional questions, feel free to pelt me with them via the contact form or below. Love you all and warmest wishes!

PS: Would anyone be interested in poetry? I’d be happy to share a few of my better pieces.

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Wait … teens aren’t a harrowing species?

 

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If I learned anything Sophomore year, I learned about people.

I’ve been aware of the cacophony emitted by “good” and “bad” people living in the same sphere since my I could walk. I’ve always known sometimes the “good” neutralizes the “bad,” and sometimes it’s just not enough.

But before Sophomore year, I didn’t understand dimensionalism. I simply didn’t have enough faith in my age group to believe anyone actually pondered the big questions: Our deaths. Our lives. The purpose of life if it culminates in death. Passion, what it means to love and be loved, the scary domino effect of our actions — please. Teenagers discussing the definition of progress? Sixteen year olds worrying about things other than social media and SAT scores? I’d have seen my leprechaun in my backyard before verifying that.

Oh, how wrong I was.

The truth is, we’re terrified of all of these things.

Perhaps it doesn’t seem so because of how we deal with them, but that’s because we don’t know how to deal with them. Difficult stories on the news and drama circulating adult lives bang on our eardrums every day and, sometimes, we open the door. When we do, we’re conflicted. We don’t know how to help. What can we do, really? We’re stuck in a phase of our lives where we’re aware of bad happenings but our voices aren’t ripe yet. Most of us aren’t aware of our worth or the quality relationships we could give each other if we really tried.

As we grow, our ignorance crumbles, reality says “Yoo-hoo!,” and our experiences number, making us more adept … but also a little more sad. The glitter of leading an independent lifestyle starts to dull when we realize the responsibilities that’ll weigh us for the rest of our lives. Not only money issues, or school issues, or daddy issues if you will, but world issues. We’re the proprietors of this grand and beautiful mess of a realm and it’s up to us to sustain it. We realize that life’s a damn Spanish bull and it’s about to be provoked.

You guessed it, this is when the profundity starts to kick in.

Not in all of us, but in a meaty portion I’m grateful to have met and formed friendships with.

I had meaningful conversations with many people about everything from pressing world affairs to the consequences of chivalry’s supposed death. People I’d barely met approached me with subjects that left us feeling raw, vulnerable, and refreshingly … human. I met a righteous guy extremely invested in power that melted into a puddle at the voice of his sweet little sister. I saw classmates infamous for “being uptight” break loose on the dance floor, and nearly broke down in tears when 40 zealous students joined the Philosophy club T started.

I realized that innately, we’re all emotionally driven.

The thing that leaves the deepest chasms in our hearts isn’t sadness or anger — it’s the absence of it. It’s the absence of imagination, of hope, of both the fear and prospect of the future. In the grand scheme of things, even eye-rolling teenagers understand that, so we do things to fuel it. Not always the sanest or safest things, but it’s just proof that we want to experience. Desire leads to the divulgence of the unknown, and wanting the truth is hardly ever a feeling to suppress.

Dimension exists in all, though its depth varies with the individual.

I guess it’s just up to us to root out out who lives with meaning, but first, we have to give them a chance. Good people are sparse and hard to find, but when they’re found? They satisfy the stirrings in our souls, only to replace them with more intense ones.

It’s funny how intrapersonal growth flourishes under interpersonal relations.

 

It’s beautiful.

 

Thank you all for reading today. If you want to share your views on this, I’m all ears! <3

Book Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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It’s been 20 minutes since I finished this book. It took me that long to begin reviewing it because it struck a chord inside me, one that rendered me lifeless and contemplative in bed for 15.

Oh yes, it’s that kind of book.

The phrase that best depicted Elegance, which I found tucked in the pages of praise before the title, was “Light yet erudite.” … And goodness, the truth in that statement!

Let’s begin by saying that Elegance is no ordinary novel — the language is deeply profound for a work of fiction written and set in a modern time period. Second, the plot’s beautifully simplistic, the setting never straying from a pompous hotel in France that just might trigger a growth of disdain for Parisian elite in even the kindest reader. Third, the alternating voices in which it’s written are inescapably charming and, at times, painfully honest.

Renee, the 54 year-old concierge, is a sort of philosophical goddess. (Hey, what do you expect from a book written by a French philosopher herself?) The problem is she’s a concierge in Paris, only a speck of dust in the book’s galaxy of rich aristocrats.

So she plays dumb. Renee is shrewd but insecure; her detectors light up at the slightest hint of beauty but burn at the ugliness of humanity.

Paloma, a 12-year old suicidal daughter of a hotel tenant, starts a journal of the “movement of the world” and “profound thoughts” — all neat, twisted little essays both justifying her hunger for suicide and search for something beautiful to eradicate that hunger.

The result is magical.

The story alternates in perspectives of Renee and Paloma, their very genuine chapters ranging from a sentence to 20 pages. Eventually, a Japanese man swoops in, capturing the hearts of anyone that chances to catch a glimpse of that crinkly smile.

It’s so very delicious — if you’re the reader type that gobbles up books with deeper, satisfying, lasting meanings, then Elegance is for you.

I must admit: sometimes, this book is practically a compilation of essays with a loose plot. I must also admit: These essays are incredibly well done. They explain the obvious things and emotions that we all get and dissect them but with outstanding delicacy and, well, elegance.

 

Src: le-bibliophile.tumblr.com

 

It made me laugh out loud, cry, blankly stare at the wall, bang my head against the wall, and at the end, collapse into a wave of admiration and respect for Ms. Muriel Barbery. It was by far the most honest book I’ve read, never failing to capture the authenticity and complexity that throbs in human nature.

Do yourselves a favor and pick it up, loves! The Elegance of a Hedgehog wins all my stars :’)

*BONUS*

It’s also a movie, what?! I’ve yet to watch it, but if it got an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes imagine how fantastic the book must be! <3

 

Thank you so much, kindred soul,  for reading! I’ll post about my summer adventures later this month. Until then, have a lovely Saturday and recommend some books for me while you’re at it! :’)

 

I am more than a student.

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Five days out of the week, I wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, and collapse on the bed with weary eyes that have absorbed too much.

Two days out of the week I volunteer, take Sunday classes, go to mass, and prepare my mind for the next five days of brain-busting.

The vicious cycle repeats again and again. It’s a perpetual, taxing lemniscate of robotic actions and little creativity, only made bearable by the loneliness of humans who bear an identical cross.

I feel we all slightly lose ourselves in this lethargic daze of student life, yet we find ourselves there, too. We learn how we learn, how to learn. Through trial and error, we discover who we are, who we’re not, and what it’s going to take to be who we want to be. Slowly, the things that are important to us become buoyant while everything else drowns or drifts away, like sleeping otters who’ve unconsciously unclasped the hand of their partner.

 

But sometimes this frenzy of thought, this befuddling bubble of people pushing us in the direction they think we want to go in makes us believe we actually want to go there when our heart screams otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like life’s a hallway and our true selves are at the end of it, though we must go against the grain, swim against the rapid current of people and fight to not lose the ghost of ourselves in the crowd. We musn’t be distracted by the colorful doors or else we’d find a twisted version of ourselves and stamp our foreheads with “HAPPY” when we hesitantly embrace it.

This is, at least, what life feels like for me at the moment. This is probably an echo of what other students feel, though the fright of vulnerability has maybe replaced it with a more subdued version, a beach without waves.

Maybe it’s the time school occupies that makes us question its worth, or maybe it’s the forehead-creasing bafflement that forces devoted students to invest in grades, or maybe they’re both contributors to the depreciation of our true identity.

We lose ourselves in ranks, GPAs, or honor rolls, and forget that we are more than a number. We forget that grades do not define us. We forget that school is not a competition, but a vivacious opportunity to learn and grow.

We forget we are more than students.

As for me, I’ll try not to forget. I’ll write it in the condensation on mirrors from hot showers, I’ll spell it out in alphabet soup, I’ll even ink it in red on homework — but I won’t sacrifice my student days trying to outdo or prevent being outdone. Instead, I’ll devour knowledge until it devours me, until it blossoms into an earnest love for learning. I’ll create and fulfill my own definition of success. I’ll fight for the girl at the end of the hallway; she sees the my transparent ghost struggling and smiles at the thought of infusing it with color once it reaches her.

I  am more than a student, and the day I give up what I love to participate in this worldly race for “intelligence” will be the day I’ve lost.

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5 more brilliant new artists (PT 2)

A couple of days ago, I posted 10 brilliant new artists that’ll steal your heart PT 1 and promised five more that have stolen mine. Here they are, in 8…7…

6. THE CROOKES

Songs by The Crookes rocket me into space — their heavy electric guitar solos and steady percussions take a different route when paired with George Waite’s sultry, encompassing voice. The melancholy, almost lethargic quality of these British indie rockers make their songs perfect for reflection and as company on rainy days. Get lost in the depth of their music, blast them, and they’ll pretty much wiggle into your soul. PS: They’re all literature majors, meaning their lyrics are intimate, poetic, and … brilliant. And we all like intelligent British musicians, yes?

7. AIR REVIEW

For a second date, my boyfriend took me to an Air Review concert — let’s just say that was a stellar night. Air Review’s a quiet kind of band, scarcely advertised by the humble members that produce the mellow Indie music. Though they’re little known local Texans, they’re a gem with mind-blowing progressions, piano melodies, and hella soothing vocals. Their name matches their style: light to the ears but powerful and catchy as ever.

8. KIMBRA

No one understands the perfection of quirky Kimbra. No one. Despite her stranger-than-average (*Correction: better-than-average) music videos and chameleon hair colors, she remains incredibly classy and her vocal range grows with every new, upbeat pop tune. She overflows with passion, exuberance, and electricity, not to mention her songs will stick to your mind like clingy jellyfish. ALSO: She can dance. ~BONUS POINTS~

9. DELTA SPIRIT

This indie rock/alternative band is mad talented. The variations of their songs, strong instruments, and soothing, feel-good vibes never fail to send seizing chills through my bones. Close your eyes while you’re listening and you’ll see colors; open your heart to them and you might even shed a few tears. Their music is sweet, nostalgic, brilliantly composed, and lastly, highly recommended.

10. ONE NIGHT ONLY

Perhaps it’s the teenage girl in me but … *swoon.* These (*cough* BRITISH *cough*) rockers are charmers. Though their high-quality music and melodies are crisp and very 80s-rock inspired, the lead’s voice was what stole my heart. The frontman doesn’t lose his accent when he sings, and his pronunciation and gritty voice actually made me wish I had “One Night Only” with him… Kidding, kidding, ’twas only a pun. (Maybe) PS: This music video has Emma Watson in it. Watch for perfection overload.

…And that concludes it, hopefully you’ve enjoyed rocking out to these amazingly talented artists! Drop a comment and feel free to suggest, half of these were suggested to me by family and friends.Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you whenever inspiration smites.