Thursday, April 27, 2006


I went out with the M.O. for dinner the other night and we had Italian. While we waited for our order, the waiter brought us a small basket of assorted bread and breadsticks. I am not usually a pre-dinner nibbler but the mini-baguettes, I devoured them like I had just arrived from the hundred-day-fast.

Last night when I got home I started obsessing about my favorites: prosciutto de parma, sopressata mortadella, serrano ham and cheese! And you'd think I would forget about it in the morning right?

Well, I didn't and since breakfast I had been obsessing about what I wanted for lunch. And so with the perfect springtime weather providing further motivation (as though I needed more), I walked two blocks and found myself at Cipriani Le Specialita across the Grand Central Station and ordered myself a baguette with mortadella and provolone. My sandwich and a can of San Pellegrino Limonada and I had to shell out $9.00.

After work, I took the M15 bus to 14th Street with Renee and half-ran to the East Village Cheese on Third Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets so I could beat their 6PM closing. It is still one of the cheapest place to get your deli stuff in Manhattan and it has forever been a mystery how they can keep their prices so low.

After a quick run around the store, I lined up at the cashier with my purchase: two pieces Portuguese rolls, half a pound each of imported Italian Prosciuuto di Parma and sopressata, sliced Havarti cheese and a cup of Boursin light. Surprisingly, with enough to make lunch for about 4 people, I only paid $11.00. When I got home, I compared the prices with my favorite grocery site: freshdirect and realized if I had ordered it online I would have paid more than twice that!

I just love New York - you can get a taste of the best of the world at a bargain if you know where to go! And the cravings had nothing to do with's just that time of the month.

tinkering, tinkering

I was cajoled to post an ad onto my blogsite. I succumbed to the pressure but as soon as the banner appeared at the top of my posts, it totally annoyed me like a major pimple at the tip of my nose. It just didn't belong there so this afternoon I tinkered with my blog template to remove it. Like a stalker nightmare, however, the ads kept popping up and found its way onto my website regardless how many times I had deleted it from the main template. Probably because I had toggled on the AdSense button and it doesn't have an option for delete so even when I erased the HTML codes, whenever I re-published, the banner ads came out again. I'm sorry if that sounded a little techinical. In lay terms, what happened was I tried to install an ad on my blog, hated it and couldn't get it out.

Well, the bad news was I experimented. And so for about 3 hours I tried to change the look of the website and tried on different 'looks', none of which seemed suited for my blog's nature. I think the 'nautical' theme was still the best so I reverted to it only to realize I had to re-install all my links, my counter and my 'flickr' pictures. The rest was easy but my links....oh no! I couldn't remember anymore who were in my links and so it ended up that the only ones I could re-link had been those I sort of remember their blog's addresses.

The good news? Well, after skipping dinner and my gym appointment the website looks exactly as how it did pre-AdSense banner. You probably didn't even notice that I had been messing with it the whole evening!

Lesson for the day: If it isn't broken, don't mess with it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yesterday Once More

The place was Cavite City, a small peninsula south of the capital. A city less urbane as Manila but less complicated too. I resented going back when I was 9 years old. I felt uprooted from my life in the big city, taken away from the friends I had made and thrust into a more backward sub-urbanity.

It did not help that on my first day in the private co-education school, the boys in the class decided to stage an upheaval against the new teacher. Enrico Bonoan and Francis Salazar were bigger than the rest of us and at age 9 even towered over Ms. Abello who was reed-thin and needing of some practice on assertion. The two boys played on the bridge of the staircase, boldly hanging onto the side of the wall with a ten foot drop below them. Alarmed and not knowing how to handle her wards, the teacher ended up scolding and punishing the whole class. While the rest of the class had been there since nursery school, there were three of us who were experiencing a drastic change – a girl with long straight dark hair that flowed to her waist whose name was Francisca and Winnie del Rosario who like myself had just transferred from the more regimented convent school of Manila. To say that we were traumatized would be an understatement.

These classmates eventually would form my initial social foundation. Grade school teaches us not just the fundamental R’s but also the basics of how to get along with humanity. A broad spectrum of personalities amongst a class of precocious youngsters, we were just about to discover life firsthand. We would develop deep friendships that would outlast the school year and maybe even carry us through adulthood. We would experience many firsts – first loves, first heartbreaks, first disappointments, including the initial struggle of facing up to the reality of not being as perfect as our parents had often nurtured us to think.

Four years ago we got together again in the emails. We formed an egroup that initially began with four members. Now there are more than 40 and those who aren’t online, we keep in touch through phone calls or SMS messages.

We have kept a close kinship. An extended family that shares stories about our own lives and how we have evolved in the many years since we had last seen each other. Some of us unleash our juvenile selves in the emails while others are more cautious in mingling, still struggling with childish fears of acceptability.

While the emails have brought us to virtual reunions, we had also been able to organize mini get-togethers, mostly in the Philippines where a majority still reside. We are much older now – many have been toughened by time and you can see it on their faces but we remain the kids we were in grade school. Laughter is easier because there is little need to conceal our faults. We have gone through many struggles in life and some are still in the midst of their battles. We do not hide neither the wrinkles nor the poundage and feel sorry for those who hide in the pretence of perfection. We dare not lie about our failures nor embellish our achievements. When we sit together in a virtual circle we are but the same kids who ran in the rain in the old campus and played tag and who sang the production number of “The Sound of Music” off-key. We initiated insurrection against the Augustine convent nuns and cried when we marched at graduation when they played “The Theme from ‘Mahogany’”. And we will not forget how Ms. San Juan with her speech defect brought about by a cleft palate taught us to sing our ‘Alma Mater Song’. We had an ancient teacher who was patient to all of us but we remembered her most for the odd way she bobbed her head when she walked. And then there was ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, ‘Star Trek’, “Planet of the Apes’ and Michael Jackson singing ‘One Day In Your Life’.

Sometimes I can’t help but conclude that the emails had been a blessing to our spirits. It bridges us to our past and reconciles it with our present. If we had foreboding thoughts about how our childhood was like, it is all erased when we interact with the people we grew up with and it provides us with a reflection of who we are, and what we have become and how we got here. It heals us of the trauma of our growing up years and makes us appreciate ourselves more.

I think we all grew up better after realizing the rest of us have been well on their way as well.

Note: Thank you Winnie del Rosario for filling in the gaps of my faltering memory

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

By a thread

Where is Spiderman when you need him?

The drama kept a lot of Manhattanites awake last night.

Or click here: The New York Times

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Life is never tougher until you come to a major crossroad. For someone who often chooses to 'take the logical route', a fork in the road with no sign or indication to its destination is a major bummer. Where is a GPS when you need one, right? A friend once told me that the best GPS to life is intuition - gut feel. Well, mine needs major reconditioning because it has stopped working since Magellan discovered Cebu.

And so without the aid of my internal GPS but relying much on the inputs of friends, a long pros-and-cons list in an excel sheet and my pre-menstrual temperament, I took a major leap of faith this weekend and made a decision that I am sure will chart a new voyage to my adventures.

I roll my eyes tonight as I ponder on the consequences of my decision. So this is what everyone else seems to want for me. This is what everyone says is right for me. Is it the same as what I want? WHAT DO I WANT?

I heave a sigh and drown in the silence in my apartment. I hear only the tic-toc of the cheap wall clock from Ikea that hangs in my kitchen wall. It echoes through the deafening emptiness of my surroundings. As I turn to the question at hand once more, I hear nothing. My thoughts do not reverberate in the hollowness of my feelings. I feel nothing.

I don't know.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

La Solitudine

The Italian has left Skopje.

When he first arrived in January of 2004, he went through extreme homesickness (for New York). In the next months, he and I evolved into a relationship dependent on the emails, MSN chat and text messages, aside from phone calls. It was of course, very difficult. He was culture shocked and he was once again a stranger in a new place which, at the time he had arrived, was going through extreme frigid winter weather. When I got busy with my life and forgot to reply to his email for a few days, he begged me, in his usual dramatic way: my chat software has crashed, I am alone in this god forsaken country, you are my only connection to the real world so please do not leave me!

It is funny how we adjust to situations when life throws us a curve. Despite the distance he and I maintained regular communication. We had the usual stuff that makes for what relationships are about - we have learned to fight, argue and make up via long distance. We gossiped, reminisced and planned life.

Twenty six months has passed and he has adapted well to the extremes of the Balkan weather, matched by the extremes in the lifestyle as well. He often escaped to Greece which he drove Italian-style in his Alfa Romeo sportscar in two and a half hours. While there he would narrate to me his itinerary, making sure each hour is accounted for - shopping for gourmet items not easily found in Macedonia, eating ice cream by the Mediterranean, looking for books or supplies for his photography. And then like the story teller that he is, he shared with me stories of what he saw in his drives - the line of cars that would line the road of people from all over Europe driving to Greece and stopping along the way to rest, eat or sleep; or the strange experience of being caught in the midst of sniper fire while driving through the backroads out of Macedonia. When there wasn't real stories to share, we shared far fetched ideas such as owning and moving to our own island somewhere.

As he sent me his final emails out of Skopje, we had summed up what the past months had been. To him it had been how our relationship has evolved, which he noted was based on trust. To me, it has been about 378 email exchanges archived in my yahoo account and 544 in my work account. It also involves habitually waking at 4AM on Saturday mornings for his phone calls and the many greeting cards and packages sent back and forth. It was about the efficient way we coordinated for the biggest event of his life (or so he says) - his photo exhibit in New York last summer and his homecoming to his favorite city in the world.

Today, Tuesday, he is back in Milan, not New York.

" solitudine fra noi
questo silenzio dentro me
è l'inquietudine di vivere la vita senza te
ti prego aspettami perché
non posso stare senza te
non è possibile dividere la storia di noi due
la solitudine..."
La Solitudine by Laura Pausini