foreign music week: shakira monday

alrighty it’s foreign music week. for the next week, i’ll be posting some of my favorite music from around the world. why? just because i feel like it. also, it makes me happy. 

 

today’s foreign performer is shakira. i first came across shakira as a senior in high school when juan, the kitchen guy from freebirds, used to blast her album ,dónde están los ladrones?, while he worked. i loved walking into the kitchen and hearing the eclectic sounds of ojos asi. he eventually gave the cd to me and i probably listened to that song a million times that week and practiced my hip drops and lifts in front of the mirror years after i graduated high school. later that year, shakira came out with her english album, laundry service. after finding out from a customer that there was an english version of ojos asi on it, i had to get it on my way home. unfortunately, it didn’t match the original, which has been a staple on many of my playlists even now.

besides, who else can make a veil or rope as sexy as shakira can? 

enjoy the videos!

 

 

…i know i do.

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gmail makes you big and fat

eeburrah: ugh i’m craving some german chocolate ice cream

jerrigirl: i’m obsessed with coffee hagan daz

eeburrah: haha

(5 minutes later)

i could go for some german chocolate cake

jerrigirl: from where?

eeburrah: i just like german chocolate

jerrigirl: i’m hungry for pizza

eeburrah: oh me too

eeburrah: i think i’m just hungry

(2 minutes later)

jerrigirl: thanks to you i have ads in my gmail advertising chocolate

eeburrah: HAHAHAHAHAHA

eeburrah: male enhancement pills!

eeburrah: male enhancement pills!

eeburrah: male enhancement pills!!!!!!!!!!!!!

first friday fast…first

This past Friday was the first of my First Friday Fasts. The night before, I put aside some time for some prayer and meditation. It was a good way to help me get in the right mindset for my fast.

The next day, I woke up unusually early and figured that sleeping in during my fast wouldn’t be the best use of my time. I spent the day studying, running, and whenever the mood hit, I would think about the world, its people and God. Friday was a particularly good day for this because I found out that morning that two of my friends have relatives going through major health problems at the hospital. Rather than just having a general prayer for the world, I was also able to think of specific people in mind at the same time, which I believe helped me more than I helped them.

During my prayers, I thought of how millions of people around the world go through unbearable hunger and that this was a way of holding out my hand to them and sharing in their experience. I was also humbled by the thought that for me, this was strictly voluntary and would only last for a day. Unfortunately, they do not have the same choice.

I also thought of the importance of sacrifice and discipline. I read somewhere that while people think that suppressing one’s sexual desire is the hardest thing to do, it is actually the desire to eat that can prove to be the greatest challenge. The reason for this is that unlike one’s sex drive, whose onset is around the teen years, the drive to eat has always been there from birth. Learning discipline and sacrifice, I believe, is essential to gaining humility. Understanding that the only right one has is the right to live is a product of discipline, sacrifice and humility.

The last thought I had was one that came as a surprise. Around late afternoon, when the pangs of hunger were at their greatest, I suddenly realized that this body will give up. With no nourishment, it will die and the only real strength I have is one in spirit. I quickly became aware of one of the greatest aspects of what I’m doing: fasting will reveal the truths in me and about the world.

I can’t wait until next month!

my road to damascus

Even though my church did not require it, I participated in several of their fasts. In addition to that, I also held personal fasts in the past as a way to strengthen myself spiritually. When my church proved to be a place that was ill-equipped to provide me with what I need to continue on with my journey, I made the choice to turn my back on it. And as I turned my back on my church, I inadvertently and unknowingly turned my back on my fasts.

It’s just as well, fasting should never be practiced unless one has perfect clarity for its reasons. Unfortunately, for the past few years, this clarity has escaped me and I have taken a detour from my spiritual journey. It is probably no coincidence that in the years since my fasts were put on hold, I have grown into a person that, on occasion, I do not like. Even this morning, I thought to myself “I don’t think I can be friends with myself.”

Perhaps my lowest point came this past Christmas when I was completely bogged down with everything in my life. Over the past month, I have done much self-reflection and I came to realize that, among other things, I have become sullen, malicious and self-destructive over the years… at least by my own standards. Luckily, with this realization comes some house-cleaning. Because I have become aware of my current state, I have been able to purge certain things from my own life and I can move forward.

Moving forward for me requires that I fast. Starting this month, I am going to hold First Friday Fast to move me along on my journey to becoming who I want to be. More specifically, I’ll be doing it with the following things in mind: God; the sacrifices of others; and the understanding that in this life, I am but a mere speck of dust who is no better or worse than anyone else. I am fasting for humility and compassion. Ultimately, I hope to hold fasts that last for weeks. However, I understand the need to be careful that I am not fasting for repentance, forgiveness or for self-punishment. Once I realize that these thoughts and feelings have entered my heart, the fast will be put to a halt and will be resumed on the first friday of the next month.

These ritual fasts will first begin with some prayer and meditation either the night before or the morning of the first Friday of the month. To ensure that I’m doing this safely, I will first have liquid fasts allowing myself to drink water and juices, which will give me the energy to go about my day and my studies. I will also fast during the time when the sun is up. That is from sunrise to sunset, no piece of food will touch my mouth.

I will chronicle each fasting experience through here and I hope that in a year, I will be able to hold fasts for a couple of days a week. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to go through this experience with me, let me know.

This is going to be good.

the customer is not always right

I made a quick stop at Walgreens today to pick up some creamer for Haley before going over to her place to pick up the key to her apartment. Actually, the trip to Haley’s was on my way to school so I actually stopped by Walgreens so that I can stop by Haley’s on my way to my Anatomy and Physiology class over at the Southeast campus of HCC (ugh). As you can imagine, I was in somewhat of a hurry so I was glad to see that there were two cashiers open: one with 2 guys who both had carts and another with 2 women who both had a few random items. Golly gee, the obvious choice would be, of course, to get in line with the women right? NO! For the second time in two days at that Walgreens, I was held up by people ahead of me trying to cash in on some sort of coupon. I didn’t really mind because I’d alloted enough time for me to do everything I need and get to class in time.

Rude Customer Rings BellWhat I did mind was the way the first lady customer was treating the cashier. It was obvious that the cashier, a nice Indian lady, was having some issues with the register. As someone who’s had a number of part-time jobs working in customer service, believe me when I say that those systems can get complicated and having an impatient or rude customer prodding you while you figure it out can be frustrating. Have you ever worked the cash wrap at Abercrombie with a million teenage girls and their mothers in line yapping at you about price tags, returns and receipts… during the Christmas season? Let me tell you, it’s no pic-nic. So immediately, this poor Walgreens clerk had my sympathy. And it wasn’t like the customer was just being impatient, she was flat out telling her how to do her job! “Enter 33 cents and scan it, enter 33 cents again and scan it and enter 33 cents again and scan that.” YES! All of this just so she can get 3 packs of gum for 99 cents! When I realized this, I suddenly felt horrible that I’m just standing there watching all of this happen but I knew that if I reacted, my good mood streak would just be ruined. 

So I decided to wait it out and figured that it’s only a few minutes out of everyone’s day and it would all be over soon. Indeed, it all got figured out and the lady went on her way. The Walgreens clerk shot an uncomfortable smile to her co-worker on the other register. Next was the Asian lady in front of me… and wouldn’t you know it, she was rude to this lady too! Now, I don’t know what it is but I just get really bothered and embarrassed when I see another Asian person acting a fool in public places. I mean, it’s not like I’m related to them. This ho does not come to Friday night dinners at my house. I don’t call her Ate. And I certainly do not care that the pack of cigarettes she’s purchasing might very well kill her. She wasn’t even Filipino! So even though my initial thoughts were “Oh heck no!” I had to suppress that and instead, I decided to be extra nice to her when it was my turn. Who am I to be judging the two ladies in front of me for their actions? For all I know, both of them could be having the worst days of their lives.

Spread a Little LoveSo when I walked up to this nice Indian lady, I made a point to ask her how she was doing and give her a genuine smile so she’d know that the rest of her day can get better. It was a nice awkward moment we shared since in my effort to make her feel comfortable, I completely forgot that it was her job to ask me how I was doing. We ended up asking and answering each other at the same time, which I thought to be funny. Our 30-50 second encounter made a big difference in her expression and I saw the stress and panic disappear even if for a moment. I hope the rest of her day was ok because she definitely made my day.

confessions of an ex-romantic

What do you get when you take a romantic idealist, extraordinary circumstances and a series of disappointments?

Everything that comes in a bouquet dies, no matter how much pruning or watering you do to it.

Everything that comes in a bouquet always dies, no matter what kind of pruning and watering you do to it.

Over the past few years, I have come to the resolution that waiting for someone to be my better half is not only futile but foolish. It is absurd for me to sit around expecting someone to walk into my life and deliver a fresh bouquet of happiness. Everything that comes in a bouquet always dies, no matter what kind of pruning and watering you do to it. And while this may seem like the words of a pessimist or a cynic, these are also the words of someone who can turn this entire situation into something positive.

But before I explain that, let me start from the beginning.

statistics and studies show that the love-based marriages that all Americans are rooting for are not better, and in some cases, they may be worse.

...statistics and studies show that the love-based marriages that all Americans are rooting for are not better, and in some cases, they may be worse.

All of our lives, we are inundated with the idea of love and marriage. From fairy tales, television/movies and literature. Even the medium of the internet is being exploited by sites like eHarmony and match.com, urging people to become members in order to find love. But the concept of marrying for love is a relatively new development in human history. Until recently, marriages were motivated by politics and business. Make no mistake, I’m not making an argument for arranged marriages but statistics and studies show that the love-based marriages that all Americans are rooting for are not better, and in some cases, they may be worse. Nowadays, getting married comes with the given understanding that there’s a 50% chance that it will end in divorce. I don’t know about you but that is a huge risk to take.

Now, at this point, some of you may be going “life is about risks” or “have a little faith” or even “you can always get a divorce.” That’s just not good enough for me. If I am to get married, it will most certainly not be a risk; it will definitely be a sure thing; and divorce will never be an option. Why enter into such a serious commitment knowing that you have doubts or if you have an exit strategy? That is not a marriage; that’s something with which you are passing the time until something else better comes along.

Vanessa and Nate from The CW's Gossip Girl

While in circumstance, I might be more like Vanessa, the free spirit born outside of Upper East Side society, my Nate may never come.

So I bet I am sounding more and more like a cynic. On the contrary, I am a romantic. Like other people, I get that warmth in my chest when I think of growing old with someone but that’s just it: I want to grow old with someone; I don’t want to gamble. As much as I like to think that I’m Serena van der Woodsen, with her preppy yet hippie chic tendencies, I’m not. Serena has Dan who, despite a number of break-ups, always comes back. That is definitely not me. While in circumstance, I might be more like Vanessa, the free spirit born outside of Upper East Side society, my Nate may never come. And every minute I spend waiting for him is a roll of the dice that always comes out snake eyes and I’ve got more than my money to lose.

So this is how it becomes positive: I grow up. I outgrow all of this romantic idealist conditioning that we all experience from infancy and come to terms with the idea that I am my own person and I make myself happy. No other person can give that to me and I should not expect anyone to. I am forced to look at my life and decide for myself what makes me happy: my spiritual journey, my family and friends and understanding who I really am. 

Rather than trying to see that particular societal ideal be reflected in me, I am choosing to break the mirror and instead, I am putting myself together.

Rather than trying to see that particular societal ideal be reflected in me, I am choosing to break the mirror and instead, I am putting myself together.

Now am I being negative or a defeatist? Surely, those faux-romantics may read this and think that it may be too much of a hassle to get involved with me. To this I say, whatever happened to “take a risk” or “have a little faith”? I’m not completely dismissing the possibility of finding someone. I am merely saying that it is not my life’s purpose to do that. Simply put, if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesnt. I’m devoting my life to those who are already around me. Rather than trying to see that particular societal ideal be reflected in me, I am choosing to break the mirror and instead, I am putting myself together. And that is definitely not a gamble.

things that make me smile

last year, i began the process of figuring out where my life was headed. this process began by making a list of things that make me smile. me being me, i couldn’t just make one big list but instead, i divided it into five different sections. i just happened across it and i think it’s interesting to know how my life has changed thanks to this list. anyway, it just feels like share time (that and i’m having a severe case of writer’s block and i’m desperate to get out a new post) enjoy!

 
Things that Make Me Smile

  1. babies and toddlers
  2. old people
  3. randomly remembering Tagalog words
  4. my family
  5. my friends
  6. walking barefoot on soft grass
  7. playing in the water
  8. making the people around me happy
  9. looking at old photos
  10. the man at the park that feeds the birds and squirrels and talks to them
  11. my youngest cousins
  12. looking at pictures from the Philippines
  13. the simple and humble life in the Philippines
  14. when my mother hugs me
  15. people who live outside of the box

 

 

grass

mom

 

 

Things that I Like

  1. Disney Movies
  2. cartoons
  3. kicking around a soccer ball
  4. Frisbee
  5. a nice tan
  6. driving with the windows down
  7. my offbeat sense of humor
  8. drawing
  9. learning to singing
  10. learning to dance
  11. water balloon fights
  12. smelling good
  13. my hair
  14. going to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night and playing around
  15. Saturday afternoons with my mother
  16. lazy Sundays
  17. Sharbat Gula’s photo in National Geographic
  18. writing
  19. hackey sack
  20. going to the movies
  21. shopping and sushi sessions with Thuy
  22. board games
  23. board game night
  24. remembering something from my childhood by smell

 

 

 Things that Resonate with Me

  1. Theory of Evolution
  2. Faith
  3. realizing that there’s more to the world than what I see in my day-to-day life
  4. realizing that my parents are just people
  5. realizing that people are just people
  6. my heritage
  7. my grandmother
  8. the courage of immigrants

 

Things I Want to Do

  1. Finish my website (it looks like this will remain unfinished)
  2. write a book of short stories
  3. help my family in the Philippines
  4. take voice and/or dance lessons
  5. help re-define what it means to be Filipino living in America
  6. take up photography
  7. find my place in the world
  8. get through an entire week without wearing make-up
  9. travel
  10. learn a new language or be fluent in French
  11. live in the Philippines for one year
  12. skydive
  13. see snow and learn to snowboard
  14. go to Africa
  15. Start a learning program where young Filipinos can learn about their heritage and culture
  16. visit the San Diego Zoo
  17. go to Disney World

skydive

Things that I’m Looking Forward to

  1. the rest of my life
  2. having a family
  3. my next trip to the Philippines with my mother
  4. my mother coming home
  5. the last three Harry Potter movies
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia movies
  7. Trang coming home
  8. Yvette passing her NCLEX and moving here
  9. Christmas