Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dig this, if you can.

A friend of mine forwarded this to me. I had a good laugh. LOL


We've been friends for a long time ago. We come from the same alma mother. Actually, our paths crossed one time on another. But it's only now that I gave him a second look. I realized that beauty is in the eyes. The pulpbits of my heart went fast, really fast. He´s cute. And then, he came over with me.

He said, 'I hope you don't mine. Can I get your number?'

I worried. What if he doesn't give it back? He explained also that it's so we could keep intact.

I said, 'Connect me if i'm wrong but are you asking me ouch?'

'The!?!!??'. .. was his sarcastic reply.

Grrrr! The verb! He was upset! Persona ingrata!!! I cried buckles of tears.

He probably felt guilty. He said, ' imagine this is a blessing in the sky. Irregardless of my feelings, we should still go ouch. '

Now, we're so in love. The past is mute and epidemic. Thanks God we swallowed our fried. Now, I'm 33 and I'm running our time.

After 2 weeks, he plopped the question. 'Will you marriage me?' I'm in a state of shocked. Imagine, when it rains, it's four! This is true good to be true! So of course, I said 'yes'. Love is a many splendor. When we were getting ready for our wedding, everything swell to pieces.

One time, we were having dinner and then came a lady. She said, 'Well, well, well. Look do we have here.' What the fuss! The nerd of that lady! She said they were still on. So I told her, 'whatever is that, cut me some slacks!' I didn't want this to get our hand so I had to sip it in the bud. She accused me of steeling her boyfriend.

As is!!! I don't want to portrait the role of the other woman! Gosh, tell me to the marines! I told her, 'please, mine you own business!'

Who would believe her anyway? It's not my problem anymore but her problem anymore, so she stopped. Everything is coming up daisies. I'm so happy. Even my boyfriend said like twice. He's so supportive.

He said, 'Look at is this way, she's ouch of our lives.'

So my advice to all for you - take the risk. You can never can tell. Just burn the bridge when you get there. Life is shorts. If you make a mistake, we'll just pray for the internal and external repose of your soul.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Of lakes, metal bands, Nokia and many more.

When I was in Indonesia back 1994, I made friends and acquaintances from practically all over the world. They were as exotic to me, as I was to them. So when we talked about our nativeland, we always thought of what best represents our country.

One evening, after watching a rather long kroncong (Portuguese-influenced love songs) singing, my fellow scholars and I went for a susu segar (sort of a night cup). My Argentinian bestfriend Daniela started it. She showed us how to dance Tango and spoke about the Argentinian fire. My English friend Alice talked about Princess Diana, the Buckingham palace scandal (at that time), and Shakespeare of course. My Scotish friend Sofie, talked about Mary Queen of Scots, the kilt and the scotch. My Danish friend Jacob spoked about the Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Andersen. Jonas from Sweden bragged about ABBA. And there was Pia from Finland. She said, Finland is the land of Sibelius, lakes, metal bands, and Nokia.

Jean Sibelius, the Finnish nationalist composer of Finlandia, I know. But lakes, metal bands and Nokia? I was silent, didn't ask further questions. I just sat there and watched her smoke kretek (clove) cigarette in her hippie clothes. She was kind and sweet to me, but I never really quite understood her.

In 2005, Pia came to visit me. She was with her partner Jukka. She was calm and soft-spoken, as usual. So was her boyfriend. They laughed softly. Walked softly. Ate softly. Everything about them was soft, tender, and kind. They gave me the impression that perhaps, Finns are like that. Soft, tender, and kind. Of course, we all heard about that shooting spree last year. But one incident will not change my impression about the people.

Until last night when I came across about the college massacre that happened last week in Finland. (I read last week´s papers during weekends. Can´t be bothered about them during the week. he he he) All I could say to myself was, WHY WHY WHY?

All the victims (except for the teacher) he killed were his classmates. They knew each other. He knew them. What made him do it? And what about those police authorities who waited outside, feeling helpless? And why did he post it on youtube?

I will echo that boy´s thought. He said, what kind of society are we building? Indeed, what kind of society?!

Friday, September 26, 2008


When I was in grade 4, Ma put me in a public school. It was inevitable. I was driving the nuns at the Catholic school crazy. I hit one with a ball. I sneaked in their private chamber when nobody was watching. (It was there that I found out that they shave off their heads because I saw them without their headdress! What is it called anyway, the cloth that covers the head? A habit?? LOL) I went swimming at the school´s pool with my sisters, while waiting for our driver. In other words, I was a problem child. HAHAHAHAHA

So my parents decided that it was time for a change. There were only 3 elementary schools in my hometown then. And because I was behaving badly, I was put in the school were the poorest of the poor in our hometown send their children. The school where children go to school wearing slippers. The school where children line up for free bread during snacks. The school where children have to work in a workshop, in the event that their family can no longer afford to send them to highschool.

My parents probably thought that in that school, I will learn about getting along with people. That I will learn how to behave. That they will teach me to be a person. That I will realize that I behaved badly in my previous school.

That school is Burabod. And whether or not I have learned my so-called lesson, is still a mystery to me! LOL

In Burabod, I made a lot of friends and "enemies". They were all curious why I go to school with ribbons, black shoes, white socks, laced hankies, and trimmed nails. They were laughing when recess came, and I took out my hotdog sandwich & lemonade. They were all amused with my bag, my pencil case, books, and notebooks. I felt like a complete idiot.

But in Burabod, I also met Meren. We were in the same class. We instantly liked each other. We played some games together and danced in the same Dance Troupe.... climbed trees. ... ate pan de coco together......and dreamed about the future! Sometimes, she was at my place. And sometimes, I was at her place. She wanted to be an architect. I don´t know what I told what I wanted to be! LOL

That was back in 1977. We were in grade 4.

Thirty-one years later..... we found each other again. She lives in France. Happily married and has 3 children. She writes poems and takes lovely pictures. She looks gorgeous and has the body of a supermodel (I am so green with envy! LOL). We are catching up again.... giggling and being naughty again just like back in 1977.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tit for tat.

Living in a multicultural society has taught me a lot of things. It has taught me that happiness is transient. That being tied to your culture, is putting too much importance on yourself and having no time to appreciate the world around you. It´s pretty much like being a horse with blinders. You only see what is infront of you, and the rest is a blur.

I love my country like all immigrants/emigrants love theirs. In fact, I always tell myself no country could replace The Philippines..... make that, My Philippines. This is probably one of the reasons why I´d like to think that my only homeland is in music. Because when I play music, I am home. And in that home, I am happy. No gossips. No debasement. No betrayal. No inflicting of pain. No abuses. In that world, I am safe.

But that's not all there is to life. So we adapt. We evolve. And in my case, I have to let go of this sense of disproportionate importance that I've attached to myself. Of that feeling that the only culture I could truly love and consider home, is my Philippines.... or my music. I have to let go of self-importance.

That I am so important I feel justified to be annoyed of everything. That I am so important, I could afford to leave if things don´t go my way. That I am so important, I could pretend that I know better and could shove my views down the throat of others. That I am so important, I don't need people to understand me.

All of that has to go. Because holding on to that feeling, is not treating the people around you as equal. You put too much importance on the self.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Street musicians.

Being in Berlin reminded me again of the one thing that I am so passionate about, music. While my husband and I walked through this historic city for days, I can't help going into trance everytime I hear sound. Yes, anything and everything that produce sound fascinates me!

The musicians are so good, I even gave up a late afternoon tour to Pergamon museum, just to listen to this glass chimes player. He was extremely skillful, I stood there in awe and watched him with envy.

And then, there´s this other keyboard player. She made an electric keyboard sound like a baby grand piano. Her passages were so delicious, I almost cried.

I guess, this is the beauty of being in Europe. I get to experience music in every conceivable way. For them, music is quite essential. It is what the atmosphere is to the earth. And unlike non-western music practices, theirs is purely for enjoyment. It's like having a cup of coffee while munching on that French chocolate truffles.

I took short excerpts.... listen and enjoy their music.


The Neue Synagogue, after it was reconstructed in 1988. This building showcases the history of the Jewish community in Berlin from the 1860s. It was quite a disappointment really. Also, you have to go through a thorough inspection for security purposes (very annoying experience) before you could enter the building.

The Rathaus (city hall) in Alexanderplaats.

The TV Tower´s sphere.

At Charlie Checkpoint. The crossing point between East and West Berlin.

The Brandenburg Tor and the famous quadriga.

The Berlin Dom, a Protestant chuch, conceived to be Berlin's counterpart of Rome's St. Peter´s Basilica.

The Reichstag.

Berlin Wall. I took this picture from the eastern part of the city. I imagined the wall to be much taller, but it wasn't. There are however so many horrible stories about people who died, trying to climb this wall to cross to West Berlin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Her-story at a glance.

I was told today that I am going to Berlin tomorrow. I've never been there before so I thought of polishing my knowledge about European history. Guess what I´ve found out?

* Berlin came from Slavic word "bog" which means swamp

* Hitler was a Catholic (!); he was not German but an Austrian commoner

* The Brandenburg Gate was patterned after the entrance to the Acropolis, and was built to symbolize

* Although the first Holy Roman Emperor was Charlemagne, the continuous line of emperors began only with Otto the Great (a German) in 962

* Despite its name, for most of its existence the Holy Roman Empire did not in practice include Rome within its borders

* The term Holy Roman Empire dates only from 1254

*The Reichstag we associate with the Nazis, was actually the legislative body of the Holy Roman Empire

I thought it was rather odd that we call it The Holy Roman Empire, whereas the seat of power was not even in Rome! Of course in those times, it referred more to territory rather than the city itself.

I also realized that the original EU members are part of the Empire's territory namely Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Luxembourg. We all agree of course that this was not purely coincidental.

If I were told last week that I was going, I would have had enough time to visit the library and prepare. I need at least a week to do my reading. But one thing is for sure. I am definitely going to have a great time. lol

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

phony weird world.

Perhaps, one of the things that really gets under my skin (aside from false humility) is self-righteousness. Some people have the knack for self-righteous talks. They think their life is so perfect, it is okay to degrade others.

Indeed, there is a fine line between self-righteousness and being compassionate. Being compassionate is when you care for other people, you don´t want them to make the same mistakes you did. You spare them the trouble.

Our Christian background tells us also that being compassionate means alleviating the sufferings (sorrows and pains) of others so that when we see them needing our help, we don´t walk away and say `sorry dude, I´m busy. I don´t have time for you right now.´ In other words, being compassionate means being a good samaritan.

Being self-righteous on the other hand, is when you tell others how to live their lives, as if they are nincompoops while here you are, living a fairy-tale like, magnificently impeccable, exceptionally unblemished, astonishingly phenomenal, unbelievably sensational existence. In other words, your life is perfect and spotless.

The sad thing about our world today is that, there are so many self-righteous people around who are insanely disturbing. I used the word insane, because they drive me crazy. lol The question is, why do I let them affect me in the first place and why I am allergic to self-righteous talks? This is actually the reason why I sometimes don't go to church and/or discuss religion. It makes me feel so phony..... so fake...... like these self-righteous phony people.

Having a phony person around, feels like walking a fine line. I know! I have one for an inlaw. (My husband thinks she is just being compassionate. Oh well, he is entitled to his own opinion.) I am always in my toes when I talk to her because she always gives me the feeling that I am competing with her, even though I'm not.

My friend Lumen aptly described this phony people as "people who are envious, they only have negative things to say." That's exactly what they are. They only have negative things to say to you, because they think that you are never a match against their spotless, perfect life.

So why am I spending so much time talking about these phony people? Because I just talked to one last night. I was so annoyed, I had to call my friend Mica at 10 PM (very unholy hour!) and make 2 overseas calls to feel better again! Phew....! lol I'm just so glad I have good, real friends.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

legato... ?

My eight year old piano student asked me today what legato means. I told her that it means, `smooth and even playing, without any noticeable break between the notes.´ I showed her how to do it, in the hope that she will understand what it means. But she did not. She just sat there.... with a blank stare.

Sometimes, being a piano teacher in a foreign land can be so frustrating. It feels like you are not in your own house, although you are! I really wanted to tell her more about legato passages, but I simply couldn't. I felt I needed another 10 years in a Dutch language school!

To make up for that rotten feeling, I went over my CDs and listened to Leonard Bernstein's recording of Le Sacre du printempts. I needed to go away from that confronting, fleeting reality.

Such is the beauty of music. The moment you play it, a story is being narrated to you. This narration gives you the essence of an event and the causal sequence of the story. It captures the concreteness of the present moment, without necessarily imagining it in concrete scenes. And most of all, it discovers the drama that underlies our lives. A single second of the present then, becomes a little infinity.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Being a teacher.

I had been teaching since 1990. I never thought of course that I will be a teacher. I've always thought that I will have a glamourous job in some advertising company as a fashion designer. But I had never been good at visual arts. I can't even draw a horse, for crying out loud! hahahaha

Teaching has given me a sense of fulfillment like playing a piece of Debussy or Chopin does to me. My adrenaline would start to pump the moment I stand infront of the class. It makes me feel good. That's why when I moved here almost seven years ago now, I opted for a teaching career rather than working in some office.

Some people however, give the teaching profession a bad name. Take for example this one person I know. She said that if she doesn't find a real job, she will set up her own translation and tutorial services agency. It's fine really. Except that the way she had put it was rather derogatory, almost insulting.

So, just because one has a degree in whatever-it-is doesn't mean that she could be a teacher. What I find so obnoxious is the way some people project their failures in life, on teaching. My favorite line is, "oh, if I can't do this... I will teach." They say it in such a way that it appears like the teaching profession is for losers!

Therefore, I can not allow some unemployed former blah-blah-blah disrespect the teaching profession. I will not allow some loser "settle" with teaching because she can not find a REAL job! Like I said, just because she has a degree in whatever-it-is doesn't mean she can teach.

Oh well..... she can claim whatever she wants to claim. At the end of day, she knows that she's not a REAL teacher. Case closed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Harappa-Mohenjo daro.... Zapotec Mayan..... Shang dynasty.... the pyramids, etc... We've learned all about these in school.

But as I went through last month's copy of National Geographic, my breath was taken away by the story of Parsa. What was later called Persopolis, under the Greek influence. Parsa... Persopolis.... The Persian City. This place is so important, it even found its way in the Bible.

When we think of Iran today, we automatically associate it with the Ayatholla.... women in veil.... too much fighting.... Indeed, Iran leaves a bad taste in our mouths and westernized mind.`Their culture demonized in western cinema... escalating war of words with Washington D.C. as menacing would-be terrorists out to build the bomb.´

This makes me think. Truly, why do we associate Iranians with Arabs? Or with anything for that matter? Iran is Iran. Period. The world has so much to learn from this old culture. In fact, the Philippine political world (washing dirty linen in public), has soooooo much to learn from these people.

In Iran for instance, there is such a thing as taarof, the unwritten code as to how people should treat each other. The beauty about taarof is that, in a hierarchical society like Iran, people paradoxically deal with each other as equals. One tries to be smooth and sincere while hiding his true feelings. In other words, you never show your intention or real identity to forge a friendship based on equal trust.

BUT as far as our `boxing´ and `labeling´ western-oriented minds are concerned, they are pretentious and treacherous. Are they really? Perhaps, they are simply being cautious. After all, there had been a lot of danger throughout their history. A person´s way to protect himself is to never expose himself.

Maybe if we do not expose ourselves too much, wars (word war also) could be avoided.

On the many carvings on what´s left of its stone walls (which was published on the NG) for example, it is noteworthy that there is absence of violence in this old civilization. There were soldiers, but they were not fighting. There were weapons, but they were not drawn.

Empires and dynasties came and went. And while it is true that their history is undeniably saturated with wars and invasions, so much trade and cultural interchange, Iranians are just direct descendants of polite, peaceloving, hardworking and respectful people. And that's that it.

So next time you plan your trip, include the historic Parsa.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Believe it or not, I am growing sweet potatoes (yes dear, camote in the Netherlands! hahahaha) in my backyard. It´s growing wild. In fact, a portion of our garden is now exclusive for my beloved camote.

My husband who was so confused because he doesn´t know what it was, ALMOST uprooted the mother plant! He thought it was a worthless weed. Luckily, I was there.

So nowadays, I have all the reason in the world to have camote cue for snacks and cocido (steamed fish in lemon juice with camote tops)! I'm in heaven. hahahaha

But autumn is just around the corner. Soon, it will be dark, cold and rainy ... and my dear camote will go to sleep like all the other summer plants. But maybe,... just maybe... it will be back again next year! Can´t wait...

For now, let me enjoy my cocido. hehehe