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Hello sun, sand, and shawarma!

“Ms. Alyssa, ok na po ang visa ninyo. Ayos na din lahat ng documents. We can schedule your flight as soon as possible.”

‘Te. ‘Yung totoo.

Kumbaga, hindi siya nausuhan ng intro-body-conclusion, ano. Wala nang mas se-straight pa sa pagka-straight to the point ni medem.

Nagpawis agad kili-kili ko. Summer pa naman.

 

***

Teka weyt. I can smell your confusion – and your last meal charot hahaha – sige, konting  “professional background” (bullet form na natin para ‘di hassle. Time is gold!):

  • March 2014 – Gumraduate ako, BS Physical Therapy, with…feelings. Without high honors, pero with honor, dignity, and feelings. “Mamee, hindi mo na ako kelangan pang bigyan ng baon everrr!”
  • August 2014 – Nag-board exam. Pumasa. Napadasal ng mataimtim kasi diba ano pumasa ako eh hahaha THANK YOU LORD!!!
  • September 2014 – Oathtaking. Yey! Lisensyado na ako! PWEDE NA AKO MAG-TRABAHO! TAO NA AKO!
  • October 2014 – Yehey! Naghahanap pa din ako ng trabaho! Hahaha. Ang hirap maging employed owh mhy goolay God bless the Philippines!!! “Mamee… Enge baon.” (kinain ko yung sinabi ko nung March 2014. In fairness, nakakabusog)
  • November 2014 – Nag-Hongkong kami ni Mamee. Nararamdaman niya ata na unti-unti nang tinatakasan ng katinuan ang unica hija niya kaya pinaranas niya sa akin ang aking first international trip. R&R daw muna bago ako magpasabog ulit ng CV sa mga clinics at ospital.
  • November 2014 – SA WAKAS!!! I am officially an adult…volunteer!!! Yes, yung level ng galak ko pang-managerial position, pero part-time volunteer palang ho ako niyan. Kumbaga, count your blessings, however smol. ehe ehe ehe.
  • May 2015 – Moved on to a new hospital for *career growth* Naks! At hindi na po ako volunteer, ganap na akong full-time empleyado na may sweldo at SSS at PhilHealth at PagIBIG. Waw dat glo-up!
  • May 2016 – Celebrated my first year as tao. Hahaha! Felt so blessed in all aspects of my life. Ngunit, syempre, of course, bilang nasa Pilipinas tayo, alam naman natin lahat na dugo’t pawis talaga kumita ng pera. Gayunpaman, nakakapag-kape pa din naman ako paminsan-minsan sa coffee shop na may mermaid, at nakakapag-buffet pa din naman ako kung kinakailangan, kaya ako pa rin ay lubos na nagpapasalamat.
  • June 2016 – Hindi ako mapakali. Nangangati ang paa ko. I wanted to go somewhere. I needed to go somewhere. Kaya tinry ko mag-apply…somewhere. Hahaha (may mas ilalabo pa ba itong post na ito?)
  • April 2017 – Isang taon din ang lumipas at bago ako mag-celebrate ng 2nd anniversary sa aking trabaho ay may natanggap akong message:

“Ms. Alyssa, ok na po ang visa ninyo. Ayos na din lahat ng documents. We can schedule your flight as soon as possible.”

Ayun na nga. Ang galing. Nag-collapse yung lungs ko in less than 120 characters.

Ginusto ko ‘to, diba? Hindi lang nasama sa bullets yung physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional rollercoaster na pinagdaanan ko bago makarating sa puntong ‘to. Pero, sa wakas. Ito na. To quote one of the most influential people of the 21st century, “WooOoOHh go go gooo toDoH nHa tuUwwoOOhhh!”

***

Finally said goodbye to my work, my friends, my family, and my comfort…

This is it.

  • June 2017 – A massive bucket of tears and 2 months after, HERE I AM! In the land of sun, sand, and shawarma… The country with “baha” and “rain” sa pangalan pero wala naman gaano sa totoong buhay…

 

HELLO, BAHRAIN. NICE TO MEET YOU ❤

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This is the start of something new (the 13yo me is shakinggg hahaha go wildcats) and I can definitely feel that this is the start of something great.

Kabado si cyst sa first-ever work experience niya abroad. 4500 miles away from home. Pero sabi nga nila (sabi ni Charice actually), it can only get better.

Keri.

From Here in Bahrain, thank you!

Love, Nicole

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Para Sa Mga Nang-Iwan

[NOTE: This was something I wrote 2 years ago. 2017 was an interestingly rough patch for me. It was a year of catching feelings, and letting go of some. A lot of things happened. And this word vomit was one of them]

 


 

Kamusta ka?

Oo, ikaw. Kamusta ka?

Ikaw, na nang-iwan. Ikaw, na nakasakit. Ikaw, na humakbang ng unang hakbang papalabas ng pinto. Ikaw, na nagsara ng pintong ‘yon at hindi na lumingon pa.

Kamusta ka?

Bakit ka natatawa? Hindi ka ba makapaniwala?

Naiintindihan ko naman kung nagtataka ka pa. Dahil minsan lang talaga mangyaring may mangamusta sayo ng sadya.

Minsan lang may makaalala na, ikaw din, lumuha.

Ikaw din, nasaktan.

Minsan lang may makaisip na ikaw din, nag-isip.

Ikaw din, nawalan.

Ano nararamdaman mo tuwing makikinig ka sa radyo? Tapos puro kanta tungkol sa mga naiwanan lang ang maririnig mo.

Pare-pareho lang ‘yon ng mga salita, diba? Magkakaiba lang ng tono.

Sumasama ba ang loob mo?

Pagpasensyahan mo na.

Alam naman natin na ang mundong ‘to ay walang simpatya.

Naaawa lang ang mundong ito sa mga biktima.

At sa kasamaang palad, sa kwentong ito, ikaw ang kontrabida.

Umiiyak ka din ba? Twing kelan?

Gaano kadalas?

Gaano kalakas?

Minsan lang may makaalam na may pumapatak pa palang luha galing sa mga mata mo.

Luma na yung palusot na “puyat lang ako”.

Hindi kita masisisi, kung ayaw mo nang ipagsabi, sa takot na baka masagot ka lang ng “ang kapal naman ng mukha mo. Ikaw ang umalis, ikaw ang nang-iwan, tapos ikaw pa ang iiyak?”

Ang saklap.

Pero wag kang mag-alala.

Pwede kang makaramdam ng lungkot. Pwede kang makaramdam ng sakit.

Kung may magsabi man sayong wala kang karapatan, huwag kang maniniwala.

Ihanda mo lang ang sarili mo, dahil medyo maraming tao…

Maraming tao ang hindi makakaintindi sayo.

Maraming tao ang magagalit sa desisyon mo.

Maraming tao ang magtataas ng kilay kapag nakita ka nilang nakangiti at tumatawa.

Maraming tao ang magsasabi ng masasakit na salita.

Tanggapin mo lang. Lunukin mo lang.

Huwag ka nalang magsalita at namnamin mo nalang lahat.

Parang hampas lang naman yan ng alon sa dagat.

Malulunod ka. Oo, may mga gabing hindi ka makakaahon. May mga panahong hindi ka makakahinga.

Pero papatag din naman ang tubig pagsapit ng umaga. Labanan mo lang ang lungkot sa gabi at makakapagpahinga ka din sa laot mag-isa.

Makakahiga ka din sa buhangin, masisilayan mo din ang langit.

Makakahinga ka din ng malalim, makakangiti ka din ulit.

Alam mong uulit nanaman ang lahat sa gabing pakiramdam mo mag-isa ka lang, laban sa napakaraming bibig na bumubulong sayo ng mga kasinungalingan.

Huwag mo lang silang pakinggan.

May puso ka. May kwenta ka. At may karapatan kang maging maligaya.

Balang araw, magiging maayos ka na din.

Balang araw, hindi mo na ‘to iisipin.

Balang araw, hindi mo na kekwestyunin ang sarili mo kapag masaya ka.

 

Dahil may karapatan ka din naman, tulad nila.

 

From here in my bed, wrapped in a warm blanket, feeling all these feels, thank you!

Love, Nicole

To my constant,

You brought a child into this world after carrying her in your womb for 9 months. No breaks, no rest periods, constant back pain, constant headache, and peeing. Lots of peeing. It was tough, but you handled it gracefully. You are enough.

You loved and cared for that little girl who’s in and out of the hospital, while working a 9-5. You almost tore yourself in half just to be present. And you were. You were always there for that girl. You are enough.

Life should’ve been easier if you had someone by your side, but he left. You were young, on your own, with an even smaller human being to raise. It was too much. Times were hard, almost drowning, but you surfaced. Times were tough, but you were tougher. You took care of everything and made it look like a breeze. You did amazing. You are enough.

Years passed, and that little girl grew. She’s a lot older now, a little bit wiser. But deep inside, she will always be your little girl. She has this smile on her face, all the time hoping that she looks as wonderful as you. For her, you are enough.

The world can be cruel sometimes, showing you a list of things you lack. But for that little girl, you are enough.

You taught her simplicity and kindness and patience and forgiveness and acceptance and strength and resilience and contentment and love. Most of all, love. The selfless kind, the one you are so good at.

That girl will forever strive to be just like you. And that girl will always try to make you proud.

You are the constant that she will always look up to. And you are more than enough.


Happy Mothers’ Day, Mamee Daisy 💋 i love you so much!

From here in my bed, wishing that 4000 miles is just an arm’s reach away from you,

Love, Nicole

OCEAN

(inspired by Sleeping At Last’s “Hearing”)

I’ve always been afraid.

Afraid,” I heard myself snicker. The mildness of the word amused me, as if downplaying the turmoil in my gut whenever I sit on the shore. Terrified? Scared to death? The strongest word still hasn’t come to existence.

I never understood why. A lot of people I know love deep waters. Those who call the ocean their home.

How nice it must be, I always thought, to swim in the depths of the deep blue, with miles and miles of nothingness around and below, and still feel safe. Still feel at home.

I want to feel that, too. That strange calm. That great amount of confidence, of trust.

I sat in front of the sea, facing my sweet antagonist. I hugged my knees and dug my toes deep in the sand, anchoring myself. The ocean is peaceful, I noticed. But that observation did nothing to stop my heart from pounding. My whole body is aching to stand up and run far from the shore. “Don’t run away,” I chanted. Over and over and over again.

They say that in order to overcome your fear, you have to learn everything about it, to understand where it’s coming from.

I breathed deeply, once. Twice. I slowly felt my body ease up.

What am I really afraid of?

The fear of not being able to breathe? The horror of being pulled down by the weight of my own body?

A tear found its way to my lips. My mouth instantly recognized the familiar taste: salt water.

I smiled.

It is not the water that turns my insides into molten ore, I finally realized.

To feel your lungs begging for air, with every kick of your feet leading you down into vast darkness. The loneliness, drowning out my existence, my every memory. Drowning out everything that makes sense, everything that matters. The reality that I am nothing. Nothing, against this cruel beauty.

The fear that in the middle of the infinite, I am irrelevant.

That with every wave of the ocean trying to engulf my very being, I will let it.

I’ve always been afraid.

***

From here on the shore, safely eyeing the horizon where the sky kisses the sea, thank you!

Love, Nicole