Year Ender

Couple of hours to go and we will finally bid our さようなら(goodbye)to 2014 and say 今日は (konnichiwa /hello) to 2015.

This is a bit tedious and I will appeal for your patience: (wink). This year has been good to me, I’ve learned a lot, by all means about life, career, realities, being open minded and etc so let’s start the countdown!

  • Not meant to be a Lawyer- the realities of being a lawyer made me think- I love the profession, yet I think I am not that prepared to become one. I could still remember why I wanted to be a part of a firm – I want to become a full-pledge Lawyer and help migrants around the world (too idealistic isn’t?), but lessons about the legal profession were endless, they taught me a lot about the realities, the trips, the value of hard work, and professionalism.
  • Mountain Climbing is always a test of character- Before, I thought my health status would restrict me for doing things that is beyond the usual- but I was wrong. Together with a very outgoing university friend, we just did what we wanted- climb mountains and it did really test our character, we were tired of the routine – hike a mountain, stressed out, go backpacking!
team arayat

Last Mountain to Conquer for 2014-Mt. Arayat

  • I Volunteered!- it was not a fancy thing for the fam and the rest of the people around me, but I just wanted to search for myself, no expectations, come what may and I’ll gonna bang it on, rather than having thoughts of what if’s and regrets. I had to bargain on some issues before I finally got their “yes”!
  • Development world is not all about money- I thought once you explore the other side of the globe (I mean career in dev. World) it will be about grants, donations and community works. I could say that yes, there are loads of community works, grants and donations but it is the effort of one that makes a difference. I am not a good conversationalist, a skilled, a technical expert in DRRM, but what I have done together with other volunteers made an impact(N.B: not yet done with the translation though 🙂 ), it is once in a lifetime experience to see things in different perspective.
  • Failure is Essential- like anything in this world, no one wants to fail, but being afraid of failing makes an individual more vulnerable (think so J ). No one will judge you for failing and committing mistakes, it is you who will judge yourself (so don’t be too hard to yourself). J
  • Don’t use your head too much- it gives you pain all the time! Sometimes, learn to decide based on what you feel (don’t over rationalize things), and it will make you feel more free and positive!
  • Seek Answers- I just read some chapters of “Sophie’s World” by Gaardner, and it made me realize that “all I know is, I know nothing”. Let us admit, even we had nth number of degrees from respective universities around the globe, we can’t learn all the lessons in one degree, it takes a reality shot.
  • be Adventurous (A.K.A : Out-of the- Box)- this is what I loved most! Grab your backpack and hit the road to nowhere and face that unusual feeling that you have! 🙂
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  • Never stop to share stories- I also love this one, never get tired of talking to random people about random things in life.
  • Culture is very dynamic- yes I realized that there are people who are really unconventional and conventional, and I respect them for being who they are.
  • Make a BUCKET LIST- it fascinates me when I opened my planner and saw that almost 80% of what I’ve written on my “bucket list” came into reality. It can be a small thing don’t make it as complicated as explaining how insects multiply, just as simple as hike a mountain, or go to someplace alone for the first time, trust me, it’ll be unforgettable facing your “first time” jitters.. 🙂
  • Never burn bridges, highways or even a staircase- this is really true, you’ll never know who will to call in the middle of the night when you are starving, badly ill, or even need a shoulder to cry on. 1555468_10200525452897317_952020067_n
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This is quite a tedious list (I know), and there’s more to add to this list yet, I reckon and stop here, as if I am waiting for the next bus trip. 🙂

3 Years over 3 Cups of Coffee

It has been 3 years of not seeing each other and I thought there would be strange feeling of being left behind from their routine and the topics being discussed; yet, I find myself in total awe- not because of being left behind, but because I found myself in total open discussion.

The Chatty and the ice breaker

When I was in university, I could count in my fingers the persons that I could share personal stories with. These group of people thought before that I was a bit conservative in my perceptions about life, career and etc; but it was not. Perhaps, I was not that open before about discussions about career and reality, what I’ve got was the utopia- like the republic of Plato.

After series of experiences that I had (in my work and exploring the other side of the coin), I just realized that life is not about the “big picture, but of the small details that makes it”. I was having this kind of discussion with a very chatty friend of mine as well, – by all means, chatty as I am; yet, as idealistic as I am(before). There was no dull moment, random things about life has been talked about, no more no less which I enjoyed the most – aside from the sumptuous meal that we shared.

Reality v. Utopia

Having the chat with these ladies (no longer little girls who roam around the university campus discussing about why the oil prices gone down, what’s next after Arab Spring, or practice speaking in Japanese); but more of having a chat about life, about careers, my volunteer experience (I am proud to share my volunteer experience with them) my work, their work, our moans, angst about life, our love lives, our goals, trips and a lot more.

We are no longer living on the ideal hype- I should be in this industry, or I should be working if not being engage or traveling, or just enjoying the NOW if not still searching for answers.

Keep the Reel Rolling!

There are still bits of something that pulls everyone back- and it differs, I don’t know the reason why, but I think it is more of the “norm” rather than the personal perception of how you live this life over 3 cups of coffee:

  •  Who cares if someone is working and the others are not? – no one really cares and no one does.
  • Step out of your own comfort zone- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (why bother dealing with the latter if you can enjoy the former?)

It is strange- and it will be for the next few days, weeks, months and even years, but what matters? It is not about the perception of the people around you; it is more of how you see things in different perspective – like a kaleidoscope.

Coffee Date at Bag of Beans

Coffee date at Bag of Beans

Week After

After almost 7 days of not seeing each other, all I could think of is how to move on.

It was a challenging, emotional and again-out of the box week not only for me but I think for all the volunteers.

Debrief Please!

We were given a week to say proper goodbye to our counterparts, to the team, supervisors and the programme; but what have we done during debrief was an extension of what we’ve done for the past few weeks.

Basically, we, the ICV’s, allowed ourselves to indulge on proper drinks! (note: it was on debrief) every night. It was not a way of saying goodbye + the heartache, but, perhaps, it was our way of saying-cheers for the friendship, for the good and bad times, for the crazy things we did, for the trust, encouragement, for the moans, the goals, foods that we shared and most of all -for the relationships that formed if not built that would last a lifetime.

The first 3 days on our debrief was an intense, hard core days of my life (sorry for exaggeration) due to mixed emotions, stress, pressure, unmet expectations and other external factors.. Perhaps, I was moody at that time because, I can’t reconcile in my mind that the wonderful journey this programme provided me would come to an end.

‘every chapter of a book must end, so you can enjoy if not write a better chapter’. These were the words that my counterpart-Katie told me(not in verbatim though) when I cried in our room before we leave for our debrief. I cried every morning the week before debrief, as if I am a little girl being left behind by her mom, no one wants to take care of. I cried not because I am weak but perhaps, it was an indication of preparing myself for a better journey.

When we hit the last night in Pangasinan, my HHC and I had proper talk (it was remarkable) since we arrived at the venue, we haven’t talked that much.

I worry of not seeing her again, not to hear her disney like voice, go for a hike with her, no one to chat with when I’m down, no one to be with when I blog, sharing sachets of cafe blanca (our bestseller coffee) in morning and after dinner, sharing fruits as snack, having bottle/s of beer when pissed off with someone, share meals and bed time stories, (personal and professional ones), and most if not all- pushing me to do out of the box things in life.

After few days of crying and contemplating while staring at the windowsill, I realized that:

A. I am no longer the same Sofie – you read it right! The first 3 days when I got home, almost all of the members of the fam were surprised the way how I speak, the way I act, the way I hate watching tv shows and how I love to do out of the box things!

B. I got matured (mentally and emotionally speaking)- I find myself taking more risks and responsibilities as an individual, yet, members of the fam, still considers me like a little girl wandering the globe for the ‘big shot’.

C.I don’t care what my society tells- practically, it will give me a headache if I will try to conform to the norm of my ever heterogeneous+complex society. It is as if I am trying to please nth number of people in this country, which in reality, I can’t -even the President can’t do it, so how can I?

D.English communication skill is all about practice- I think this one really marked my entire 3 months! My English communication skill has been put into test. I talked to my counterparts in English and Filipino to the members of the community and the host-homes. The first time that I talked to my counterpart, I was ashamed if not shy to initiate a nice conversation, I easily got intimidated of her “British English” accent, yet, at the end of the day, it is me who is willing to take challenges and even speak more rather than contemplating if my grammar is correct or not. Sometimes, it is far better not to think of the rules (in grammar), since it gives you the liberty to express what you really want to say.

E. Active lifestyle is not about being vain- basically, since I was in Cabiao and doing field works, most if not all the time, I walked to my work; it gave me the sense of being “fit” by not conforming to the “gym” standard of the society. I no longer enjoy the comforts of staying at home for the rest of the day. I see to it that before the day ends, I would walk at least 500m if not a kilometer or as long as I can walk.

F. Missing someone is not a life or death thing- I really cried a lot, I even asked a good friend how to “detach” from someone and even ‘debrief” myself. All she said was, grab all the comfort foods that you have, have more sleep, have someone to talk to- and it all paid; in a sense that in a matter of 3 days I was able to recover from my ‘separation anxiety’. I guess, it helped me a lot when I cry and tell straight to the person that I’ll surely gonna miss him/her/them, and speak what is on my mind. It may look and sound funny at first, yet, I think that is the best form of coping up and moving on.

It was hard to say goodbye, yet, goodbye does not really mean an end, it is just a start of a new beginning, it is up to you how will you work on your available resources.