The One With The Girl Who Taught Me How To Dance

I used to hate dancing. I have 40 left feet and I have moves like Jagger’s grandmother. The most that I can do is bob my head and raise my pointer finger to the roof — awkwardly. Last year in Barcelona, one of my friends took me to a Salsa party. His teacher asked me to dance, one of his classmates asked me to dance, but I stayed glued to my seat. I regret it to this day.

Well things changed when I went to Ho Chi Minh City for work last year. On our first night, one of our companions booked a Vespa Food Tour. We were grouped with 3 other people: an older gentleman (I think he’s German, I’m not sure), a Vietnamese dude who’s come home from being away for so long, and a girl from Hong Kong with tattoo sleeves and the perfect cat eye liner. During the tour, I managed to become friends with the girl from Hong Kong. Her name’s Wolf. The German dude gave us a tobacco each so we smoked that the entire night. She taught me how to smoke a proper cigar. She also convinced me to hang out after the tour. So we did.

Apparently roof top bar parties were a huge thing in HCMC at that time. So we went to a really popular one — the one with a MANGO event going on. While people were swagged up and dressed to impress (or hardly dressed at all), we were in our shirts and shorts. Wolf took off her jacket so at least she was wearing a tank top. I just folded my shorts 2 more cuffs so it was super short. We blended in perfectly.

She told me about herself. She even told me really personal things. Like the guy she slept with the night before who she sleeps with everytime she’s in HCMC. How high she got that same night. Who she buys her pot from in the city – he delivers to her hotel. She bought us the first rounds. I bought the second. And many rounds later, we were drunk, and talking about all of the stupid boys we’ve fallen in love with.

She wasn’t shy. She spotted a cute guy and decided to buy him a drink. Two drinks. She disappeared for a few minutes to talk to the dude then came back declaring him to be cute but kind of dumb. “All brawn, no brain,” she said. Then a music she liked started to play. And she danced. The way she danced, you can’t help but just watch. She was by no means a great dancer. She was all arms and head. But she didn’t care. She had her eyes closed and she was singing along to the song — but only to the parts she knew. And she laughed. She was laughing the entire time. She wasn’t laughing coz she thought she looked funny. I guess she laughed because she was just having such a great time and she didn’t care about anything else.

I wanted to join in on the fun. I wanted to be part of that private party she was having in her head in the middle of all the people we didn’t know. “C’mon Kax. Stop giving a fuck.” I remember she told me when she saw me nervously swaying my hips to the music and looking around to check if there were people making fun of my awkwardness (there wasn’t). I laughed nervously at that. There are a lot of things I don’t care about, but looking like a train wreck while dancing wasn’t one of it. She told me to get out of my head. So I did. And went into hers — where it was more fun and where other people didn’t matter.

That night was the first time I danced in a club and actually liked it (not even caring that the music playing gave me a migraine). We ordered more beers and shots. The drinks were expensive but we stopped counting. We ran out of cash and it was time to go home.

She wasn’t on Facebook. She told me. So she gave me her number instead. She flew back to HK the day after and I went to work. The last time I was in HK I wanted to get in touch with her to see if she wanted to get a drink. I lost her number though. But out of all the people I’ve met during my travels, she was my favourite. She taught me to be more comfortable and confident. She taught me to not give a fuck and just have fun. And somehow, she taught me to just go out and give things a go.

I love dancing now. I still can’t dance for shit but I’ve stopped caring. If the music is good, I’ll dance to it. If I need to get out of my head, I’ll dance it off. I probably still look like I need some oiling in my joints but now I’ll dance anywhere. In the club. In grocery aisles and parking lots too. And when I start feeling stupid, I’ll just remember Wolf and how it was fun to be in her head for a while.


The One With The Checklist

A friend told me yesterday that I’m too pre-occupied with the next item on my checklist that I’ve completely forgotten to enjoy the item I’ve recently ticked off. She can’t be any more correct.

I’m too overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to make the next thing happen that I’ve overlooked the many important things I’ve accomplished lately. I found a great job in a great city. That’s 2 things I’ve managed to get done: Find my dream job and live outside of Manila. And I did all that without even breaking a sweat (well I did sweat. buckets even. during my job interview). So I got to bask in that for now. Before moving on to the next thing that I have to do.

So I will. Other people could only dream about what I’m about to do. I’m flying out in less than a month. Everything is awesome.

I’ll worry about the next item on my checklist once I get there — now if only I can convince myself to follow through.

The One With The Girl Who’s Got Nothing To Do

I’ve been pretty behind lately on the “positive vibes only” campaign I’ve put myself on since the start of the year. I guess boredom doesn’t become me. Idle minds are indeed the devil’s playground. Moved back home, gave up my apartment, no work routine and work problems to solve, and pretty much away from all the fun I’ve gotten used to having — pretty much sucked the optimism out of me. I’ve become more short tempered than usual and insufferable. Really.

And I guess being a big brat’s pretty much called for all of the shitty things that’s been happening lately: Delay of my move and consequently, my work – which is slowly eating away my savings. I haven’t been this broke since college! I’ve gained 10 pounds in 3 months which is horrific. And all the little things that’s been causing me grief lately.

I’ve lost focus. I’ve lost focus of the fact that there are still so many things to be grateful for. I haven’t gotten sick (not even a single day of sniffles) since I’ve come home whereas I used to always get sick last year. The growth in my thyroid seems to have gotten smaller. I don’t need surgery in my ear anymore. And the weird pain I’ve been feeling for the past few months in my right breast has disappeared too! The delay in my departure means that I get to spend more time with my family and my friends — and my mom won’t be alone when our current house help leaves and we’ll have time to look for a replacement. And all the other little things that have been making the wait easier for me.

So I’m going back to my happy place again. Because it’s easier there. There’s hope there. And reason. All the good things that I’m looking forward to happened while I was in my happy place. And I want more of that. So I’m going back… starting today.

There are so many things to look forward to for the next 7 days: My work permit’s coming out on the 19th. So that means I can finally apply for my visa, get the OEC stamp from POEA, book my ticket, pack my bags, and finally start working again. And speaking of work, I won’t be coming in empty handed. My old boss, asked me to help out on one of her projects so I’m getting some research in which I’ll be able to use too when I start working again — plus it’s fun. Found a boxing gym walking distance from our house. I figured I might as well sign up again for Muay Thai classes and lose the extra pounds I gained. Plus I’ve been running 6k lately so I thought I’d push it up to 7. Somebody’s finally getting one of my cameras that have been for sale for a couple of weeks now. The next ones should be easy to sell after. And all the other little things that I’m super excited about for this week.

All the bad things that have been happening? They happened because I made it ok for them to happen. Not anymore. I got sidetracked for a bit. But I’m back in the game. Nothing but good shit from now on.

Ok Universe, let’s dance.


The One With The Birthday

It’s midnight and I’m now officially 30 years old. And to celebrate, I made myself a Nutella sandwich and green tea.

I’m still trying to work up an excitement over my birthday. I used to love birthdays. I wonder what happened there. I did get myself a pretty cool gift though: a new job and an adventure. I just have to wait a couple more weeks before I can get my hands on both.

So for now, I’ll spend time with some of the people I love the most (I say some because there are a couple of people that I love the most too that I won’t be able to spend some time with) over the next few days. Have a good meal and a ton of laughs is in the plan. Of course Beer is in the agenda too. I wasn’t born St. Patrick’s day for nothing.

Meanwhile, I’ll have my sandwich and wait a few more hours for things to pick up.


The One With The “No Longer Needed” Word

I went to HongKong last week. I needed the break. The breather. But all it did was to remind me of how sad I’ve been lately. I couldn’t help but compare it to the last time I was there, which wasn’t even a year ago. The last time I was quick and generous with the laughs. This time, my chest hurt from struggling to smile. The last time I felt like I had everything. This time, I was grasping at things to feel as if I was full.

And so I walked like I usually do until I was too tired to feel anything else. And I told stories and listened to some until I no longer had words to say anything else. I put on my mask and played my part well. And I was glad for when sleep finally came.

I’m looking forward to the day when I no longer have use for the word “sad”. For when it’s overused its purpose to me. Someday. For now, I’ll borrow words I can’t seem to come up on my own. For now, I will hope.



The One With The FRIENDS Reference

Sometimes I wish I just got off the plane. And walked back to the apartment.

Then I remember that my life isn’t a TV show that ran for 10 seasons. So here I am. Trying again today. Woke up much earlier than usual, and fresher than I’ve ever been in the past few months since I left the last time. I’m going back again in April and it really does feel like going home. Except there’s something missing. It feels like somebody moved a furniture in your apartment but you’re not quite sure which and how — it’s just that there’s something wrong now. Out of place.


The One With The Weird Things That Need To Be Operated On

Blogging about these because it’s hard to talk about it, really.

I went to another doctor of ours today. An alternative, holistic doctor. Sceptics are going to raise their eyebrows at this and traditional medicine purists will as well. But I did. And our doctor’s advice was not to get the surgery.  Everything she said was the exact opposite of what my godfather said yesterday (who is a Cancer surgeon). Thyroid operation is a high-risk procedure. And one that will require for my very healthy thyroid to be sliced and halved — just to remove a 1cm nodule.

Since I’m scared of going under the knife, I’m siding with our alternative doctor on this one. It makes sense, to me at least. Surgeries should be last resort and not preventive. What I need is a change in lifestyle. Nodules, lumps, etc, get smaller and smaller everyday for other people once they’ve chosen to embrace a healthier lifestyle. And I will now.

My dad died after he went after the knife when he didn’t want to. I don’t want to either. So I won’t.

The One About Setbacks

Because I just can’t win at life completely:

I went to my godfather this afternoon to have 2 things checked. My ear, which has been needing an operation since 2 years ago to remove a nodule in the anterior part of the outer ear. And my thyroid, which has recently developed a nodule on the lower right lobe. Nice right?

So now I have to have 2 operations. One for my ear. And one for my thyroid. Both to remove nodules.

Oh well. I think this is the universe telling me to step up my game when it comes to manifesting only good things. I’ve been slipping.

The One With The (FINAL) Decision

So I guess I’m taking the job in Barcelona. So I guess that means I’m moving to Barcelona too. In April. Holy shit! I can’t express my excitement into words.

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It was a difficult choice though. All 3 jobs were exciting. Both cities were tempting. And the offers were all pretty sweet. So I spent the last few days really mulling over this (both sober and over beer). But ultimately, Barcelona won. Factoring in that I already know a couple of people in the new company and in the city made it a little bit more practical too. But just thinking about how they speak better English in Berlin compared to Barcelona is making me nervous. I guess I need to level up my language skills. Learn Spanish and Catalan at the same time? Why not?

I have to avoid some places though in Barcelona, lest I end up a bawling mess everytime. Lols. While trying to “window shop” for apartments online, I found one that was reasonably priced at Gracia… right beside Plaça del Sol. Haha. Ok nevermind. No, thank you. Memories are going to be a bitch when I get there. But I’ll probably be too busy to realize they’re there. I hope.

But holy shit! I’m super excited!