Tuesday, April 27, 2004

A Sunday in Cold Spring

We found ourselves en route to Cold Spring last Sunday hoping for the same mild weather we had been enjoying for most of the week. Halfway through the trip though, the clouds had started to set in and the drizzles began to invite the chilly breeze in. And so amongst mountain views of landscapes slowly greening, the Hudson brought us to this town that was almost always picture perfect.

It is not my first time here. My friends and I have travelled here often to enjoy Robert's house with a deck that look onto the grand Palisades and the Hudson River. In the summer the guys would play baseball on the diamond across from the house while the women either cheered them on or drove to the outlet malls to shop. In the autumn when the mountains became reallife postcard shots, we mingled on the deck and talked about all the mundane things.

What fascinates me about this old town, though is that everything is an image worthy of a picture. Brightly painted shutters on buildings in bright red or purple, bright red fire hydrants with wild daisies on its side and pastel colored porches.

Streets that are quiet, always with a light breeze and in the warm summers, the shops put out their wares to spill on the steps to their doorsteps or outside on the sidewalks to attract the attention of the people strolling by.

The life is more laid back than the city from where we all work and live in in the weekdays. Air that is so fresh and abundant that it almost drowns the soul in ecstacy and clears the mind of the stresses of modern life. The pace is slow but not drudgingly. People stop to smile at each other, make small talk, laugh. Birds that sing tunes that perfectly blends with the hum of the bees and the rustle of leaves against the breeze. The Hudson so embraces the shores, kisses the breakwater.

Sometimes when you walk through the streets in Cold Spring and you wonder if it is a dream. But you do not pinch yourself because you just want to bask in its serenity, its beauty. You float along, skip a heartbeat now and then as something beautiful catches your fancy: a tiny hummingbird, fresh smell of coffee brewing from a nearbu cafe, the chatter among locals. Wish that the day will not end and that Monday will not announce its return so that the roads will not take you back to the city and away from this picturesque town.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Gigi's Jump for Joy

"Ask me to jump off a bridge and I'll ask which one. Ask me to jump off a plane and I'd gladly do it several hundred times"

I play with the wind and dance with sunshine in a playground of blue skies. I've touched clouds and seen the earth as a tapestry of colors. I've locked arms and made wonderful friends with strangers while falling at 120 mph.

I live life not on the edge but through its infinite spectrum of possibilities.

Skydiving is not a death wish, as most cynics would like to think. It is a thirst for life. It is relishing life and all that it offers. It is a means of exploring one's limits, strenghts and weaknesses. Jumping off a plane is not a show of fearlessness. It is not a denial of fear but an acceptance of fear. Accepting that it exists but that it can be harnessed and controlled.

Skydiving is not the greatest sport. Saying so would be challenging an entire deluge of athletes. Tennis players would say tennis is the greatest sport, basket players - basketball and golfers...well, I don't understand golfers. My wisdom and imagination cannot possibly go that far. But I digress.

Skydiving is a sport. The United States Parachute Association alone boasts of a membership of 33,664 men and women who reportedly made a total of 2,151,228 jumps last year. The group has a female to male ratio of 1:5 and is a mix of individuals that range from construction workers to medical professionals to housewives. The average age of skydivers is 35 and ranges from 16 to 72 years old.

Skydiving is a way of life. It has the ability to change one's perpective of life. Jumping out og a plane os a form of revalidation . It releases you from baseless childhood beliefs and opens your eyes to new truths.

Jump out of a plane and see how invigorating it is and know that you can never be too old or too female or too anything to date to do something you have always wanted to do. Scream, sing, dance, laugh and embrace everything that is around you. This is life, you are alive. Celebrate!

Skydiving has made me less worried about certain things I have no control over. This includes gravity and poverty. I have gone to the darkest, deepest dungeons of poverty and sold and hawked all of my worldly possessions, including ahusband - who I must say was quite happy to be pawned. Not including, however, my parachute rig. I have promised eternal devotion to my rig. It sleeps with me and we have long meaninggful conversations on weekends. My one true love, my true north, the one entity that will break my heart.

I am not braver than most and absolutely not more intelligent than average. I am just another girl, a Filipina to the core. I had a dream when I was child. I dreamt I could fly. In Paulo Coehlo's book The Alchemist, he wrote, "When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true."

The universe did conspire. I can fly. Come share my sky.

written by my sister Gigi for the Philippine Magazine STOPOVER, October 2003

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The M.O.

My girlfriend calls him the M.O. because he has a lot of modus operanda in life. To me he is chauffeur, tennis teacher, walk in the park companion, and best friend. Also ex-boyfriend who respects the fact there is now someone new in my life.

Story #1
M.O. doesn't have the link to my blog. He majored in some psychology related field. He knows me well, he can read me like a book. So driving up to the Palisades one Saturday morning:

"You wrote about my mom on your blog" was his dry statement. I didn't.

"Mitzie asked me about it." he continued.

"And when did you talk to Mitzie?"

"Yesterday on the phone." he said without looking away from the road.

"Nice try," I smile back. Mitzie is out of the country, since two weeks ago. Nice try, I thought again.

Story # 2:
We were searching for a book and some maps on Puerto Rico in his apartment. He is not a slob but he misplaces a lot of things, ex-girlfriends included.

M.O.: Life was better when you were here, you kept things in their proper places
Me: (I turn my head slowly to his direction, almost grinning but not really, right eyebrow raised)
M.O.: It's not about that Filipina maid thing issue (I squirm). It's just that things were much more organized when you took care of stuff (I squirm some more). Everything in its proper place. Guys don't do that. Unless they're you-know...
Me: (raise left eyebrow, both eyebrows now arching, half smiling but still not really)
M.O.: (continues babbling about neatness not being a man-thing, justifying how mothers always kept things in place for boys like him)
Me: (same expression, hands now on my waist)
M.O.:It's not a bad thing you know, I like a girl who mothers me.
M.O.: it's true! women who are nurturing are easier to love than those who are constantly combative. We want to have someone take care of us and then it gives us incentive to reciprocate when you do.
Me: (just keep staring at him with same bewildered expression)
M.O.: Frigging crying out loud Victoria, say something! You're driving me up the wall!!!!

Story #3
Me: I need a third language. Teach me Chinese. R. said you minored in Chinese in college.
M.O.: (flashes me a WHAT???!!!! look)
Me: graduating from your school is a bragging right, you know.
M.O.: I have other things to brag about
Me: So teach me chinese
M.O.: (hands me chinese take-out menu) R. meant I ate so much chinese while in school I minored in it.
Me: nyek!

Story #4
Talking about my endeavor to help a friend
M.O.: you waste so much of your time on these people who don't deserve it
Me: well, you never know who deserves it til after you've helped them
M.O.: and so far your charity have benefitted the non-deserving
Me: you can't know that at the start. it's a risk.
M.O.: have them do something for you first.
Me: what if they think I should do something good for them first?
M.O.: then you don't deserve whatever they have to offer.
Me: oo nga no....

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

What is in a name?

No one has ever called me by my married name except when it had anything to do with my daughter in school. Nope, nothing about trouble because she's had a boring (ho-hum) life and never had to put me through visits to the principal's or counselor's office. I have however, had travelled proudly many times to the graduation stage for her medals (Scientific fact: children inherit 80% of their genetic make-up from the mother).

Coming to America, however, I had to use the name on my passport for work, which happens to be my legal married name. So what followed was an email address in a surname familiar to me and yet one I never owned. I had called it my daughter's last name. My email address, my rent contract, my utilities are all using this name now. Many of my friends, unfamiliar with the name were all taken by surprise at first.

"Did you marry?"

"Doesn't sound like a Filipino last name. Sounds Mediterranean."

"Congratulations! Finally tied the knot huh?"

Yikes! Explain, explain, explain...

Neither has anyone close to me back home ever called me MARIVIC. Hellllooo.... you talking to me? Oh, yeah! That's what I call myself now. People who know me from long time ago however still call me Mavic, Mavs or the more common, Victoria. Best friend Remy always, always calls me Victoria. When I was working with marketing communications, my business cards were all Mavic. I have never really been Marivic except perhaps a week in college when I ventured into using it. I couldn't stand it. I still can't stand it.

Here now at work, people never automatically make the connection of me as a Filipina. Asian, yes but they get lost guessing where in the Far East I came from. Probably because I am taller than most Asians? Or I speak with a weird twang? Or my eyes aren't chinky enough? (Side note: If Fernando Poe gets elected as Philippine President in May, I might actually start admitting to being Thai or Vietnamese). Sometimes people pronounce my name ma-ri-vich and it drives me up the wall. One colleague I reminded twice the corret way to pronounce my name and when he came up to me calling me again 'ma-ri-vich' I really had to raise my voice a few octaves higher and told him not to change my name!

I will never get used to being called by the name I have on my passport, in the same way I will never get used to liking my passport picture. So I am going into a new endeavor to find the right man to save me from all this predicament I have brought myself into. I will now search for the man to marry with the nice last name. I refuse to get stuck with another name I will not love to use attached next to my name. So I met this nice guy a while back and I asked for his last name.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Falling in Love in New York

Once in your life you will find him
Someone who turns your heart around
And next thing you know
You're closing down the town.
Wake up and it's still with you
Even though you left him way across town
Wonderin' to yourself, hey, what have I found.

When you get caught
Between the moon and New York City
I know it's crazy but it's true;
If you get caught
Between the moon and New York City
The best that you can do
The best that you can do
Is fall in love.

from: Arthur's Theme by Christopher Cross

He laughs when he is happy and he is contagious. When something is bothering him, he smiles back at me when I ask if I can help but he doesn't brood about it. And I let him because when it becomes intolerable I know he will share it with me, even at two o'clock in the morning.

He makes me appreciate being in New York. We've walked from downtown to uptown, east side to west side. He enjoys telling me stories, then tells me I ask a lot of questions. But he answers all of them. He also tells me I make him feel old because I have so much energy. We're just the same age but we look at the world in the eyes of a child so each day is something to look forward to. I probably wouldn't appreciate New york City as much if it were not for him. At a time not long ago, I had contemplated walking away from all of this. And now seems I can't.

Every bit of the world feels good when you share it with someone. Even the troubles are less in weight, the frightening moments, less dark. And every bit of the beautiful things is intensified ten-fold - the changing of the colors in the fall, the first snow, the smell of christmas trees on streetcorners, the coming of spring, a light drizzle in a sunny morning.

And when he is away, I jump at the sound of the phone and I can always tell if its him even before I hear the voice on the other end. He emails me in the middle of the day just to say I'm missed or that a thought about us came to mind.

He and I are two very different people, born from lands as far away from each other. We share some things in common - a close-knit family and the value and love we have for them, a life of discovery and a hope for a future with someone to make dreams come true. Like two birds landing on the same branch in the course of a journey. We now promise to journey each day as friends and more.

Once in a lifetime something good comes along and you pray - really hard, that it doesn't end. Now 8 months later, I have more faith than ever it is going to be a while before the highs take a down trend.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Ang Aking Mentor

This entry is the result of a dare to write in Tagalog. I do speak the vernacular but not as comfortably as I wished I could. My grammar is poor and I speak like the way I tell my daughter she shouldn't, in a mix of Tagalog and English (or Taglish). I enjoyed writing it and I hope you do, reading it. I have the translation - email me for it. LOL

Mentor tawag ko sa kanya. Dating boss na kinakatakutan sa opisina pero kahit kelan di niya ako na terrorize kasi amo niya yung amo ko. Isa siya sa mga galamay ng guapong mestizong kalbo. Kapag meron kaming workshop, tanong siya ng tanong lagi kung saan ang hapunan, kasi ako ang me hawak ng pera. Nakakaladkad tuloy ako kung saan-saan tulad nung nasa Davao, para bumili at magpiyesta sa durian. Kapag merong mga quarterly meetings or basta merong kailangan tungkol sa pinansyal si amo ko, siya hinahanap ko sa planta. Siya naman ang nangteterrorize sa mga alagad niya para gawin ang report para sa akin - yikes, para pala ke amo ko.

Mabait siya sa akin, laging merong advise kaya masarap siya kwentuhan tungkol sa mga nangyayari sa buhay namin ng boypren ko nuon. Madalas din namin pagkwentuhan ang tungkol sa anak ko. Nung nag-isip akong aalis ako at titignan kung ano meron sa kabilang panig ng mundo, bumiyahe siya mula Mindanao para makapag-tanghalian kami at maka kwentuhan, makapag-paalaman. Na-touch naman ako. Hindi din siya nawawala sa buhay ko mula nung dumating ako sa Isteyts. Madalas siya mag email at nung dumalaw siya sa parteng ito ng mundo ay panay din tawagan namin kahit di na kami nagkita kasi masyadong bisi pa ako na magpasikat sa opisina kasi bago pa lang ako (ngayon alam na nilang di na ako nagpapasikat).

Nung umuwi ako ng Pasko ay hindi ko na nagawang matawagan siya at alam ko din naman na wala akong oras dahil dun lang ako sa kilikili ng nanay ko gustong sumiksik. Di ako nagplano makipagkita sa mga kaibigan dahil halos 2 taon ko din di nakita ang mga magulang ko kaya kahit na suyang suya na sila sa pagmumukha ko, nakabuntot pa din ako sa kanilang dalawa palagi. Yung aking anak kasi naka-iwas, bumalik sa dormitoryo. Sabi sa inyo matalinong bata yun eh.

Nagpadala ako ng email sa mga kaibigan ko tungkol sa aking blog. Nabasa daw niya kaya siya nag emeyl pabalik sa akin. Madami daw pala akong talento. Di ko na lang nasabing madami pang iba kaso di kako 'for public consumption' - hehehehehe. Pero pinaka importante daw, kelan ko ba balak na magnahimik at mag-asawa na. Yun lagi kasi ang inu-unggot niya sa akin. Mas makulit pa nga kaysa sa nanay ko eh. Sabi ko naman sa kanya di ko siya gagawing ninang kasi sa casino lang sa may disyerto ako me balak pakasal. Tipong parang signipikant - me ere ng sugal - hehehe ulet. Di ko din naman siyang magagawang ninang ng anak ko kasi dahil laging naka destino sa guerra yung nobyo ko (hoy, hindi sundalo!), malabo pa sa ewan na magkaka-anak pa kami.

Ang alam ko lang, totoo yung pagka abala niya sa akin. Lagi niya ine-explain sa akin na importanteng humanap ako ng lalaking mahal ako. Yung makakasama ko hanggang sa pagtanda ko. Ilang beses, puro haging lang. Hirap kasi maghanap yung totoo ang pagkatao mula sa umpisa at buo ang loob na makipagsapalaran sa buhay na seryoso eh. Karamihan hanggang umpisa lang magaling - tapos nakikita mo na yung budhi - pwe!

Sabi ko sa kanya, itong aking nobyo ngayon eh hindi naman pabago-bago. Nung una ko pa lang nakilala nung bago ako sa opisina namin, me topak na. At sikat na siya sa mga topak niya. Hanggang ngayon, tapos ng dalawang taon yun pa din ang topak niya niya pero close up ko na nakikita kasi nobyo ko na nga siya. Mahirap magsalita ng tapos. Laging nasusubok. Pero sabi ko sa aking kaibigan at mentor, wag siyang mag-alala at mabait naman sa akin yung Diyos ko. Lagi ako nilalayo sa demonyo. Di pa niya ginagawa yun at pinaglalapit pa nga kami. Biglang me naiisip akong kanta: sana ay ikaw na nga....

Bigla ko tuloy na-miss mentor ko. Na-guilty kasi di ko siya tinawagan man lang nung umuwi ako. Wag ka mag-alala Vicky, pag-uwi ko, sa kilikili mo naman ako sisiksik (tapos eh ke Lizza naman hanggang isuka ninyo ako).

Sino me sabing di ako marunong magTagalog? Pwes! Bawiin mo!!!!!