Enter time machine now.
So I can own these wonderful, white loves …
grateful slice: white things and looking ahead (please don’t tell my Nikon)
There’s nothing like being aimless in a huge airport. I got here four hours ago and seriously, I just happily walked around, puttered about, took random pictures of airport things before I decided to sit down and write.
I always liked the Bangkok airport. It’s huge, there’s lot to see, eat and buy. Right now though, I’m sitting in Whittard of Chelsea (of all places; yes, I resisted Tom Yum Soup) killing time before my flight to Mumbai. I need to manage the ADHD and keep this short though, lest I miss my flight all together. That wouldn’t be cool. I guess I just want to be vigilant about documenting every step of this trip. It’s my way of being totally present, paying attention in gratitude mode. Case in point. On my way here, I met the nicest man on the planet. He was a businessman from China, who lives in Bangkok, who visited Manila for the very first time for business. I usually meet a lot of random people during these flights who chat me up but this guy has got to be one of the friendliest people I’ve come across. He told me the only Filipino sentence he knew (Ikaw ay maganda. Choz.) and acted like we had known each other for years. He was a complete gentleman too, who felt deep concern for the many heavy bags I was carrying. LOLz. (Yeah, experienced world traveller, my ass. Pack rat eez eet.) I think he wanted to hang out during my layover too but after the three hour flight, I started to feel a little uncomfortable with him being in my personal space so much (airplane seats are tight) so I begged off and became cryptic when he asked me what I was going to be doing for the next five hours. I didn’t mean to be rude and I wasn’t. I really just felt like aimlessly walking around the airport by myself and like I said putter about with no pressure. It was nothing personal. Anyway, right by the fourth walkalator thing and sixth painting, a stone’s throw away from immigration which was where he needed to go, I stopped and said I needed to pass by the loo. That’s when he reached for my hand and hello, kissed it like Sir Galaad (and no, not Mrs. Whitaker…that would make me a lola), amidst a sea of people. Ppshhhaw. I was like, erm, okay. Then he proceeded to say something about perhaps getting together next time he was Manila. I said a quick, sure thing, thanks and goodbye (very Mabuhey! of me, I know) and walked away. I waved to Mr. Cheun and that was that. Anyway, you know what happened next, right. My puttering about aimlessly. Right. Have to go. 20:05 Flight 9W67 bound for Mumbai is calling.
grateful slice: Traveling and really nice people
Erm, I know.
It’s a photo taken in Bryant Park, NYC (Nikon D90), May 2010. Hardly wildlife, if you ask me.
But he was pretty wild and free, this bird. 🙂
Oh well. It was either him or Mr. Marsellus Wallace and hello, he is like the king of all domesticated, indoor cats. Haha.
grateful slice: a nice afternoon in Bryant Park, NY
Proud proud moment for any teacher.
grateful slice: being a teacher and well, poetry and photography
Sometimes lifting one foot in front of the other feels like you have grand pianos in your shoes. There is a desire to get some sun and put an end to the cabin fever but you think of the weight of the grand pianos and stay put. There are days you want to get up and do a downward facing dog but stay glued to the couch instead, the skin behind your legs slowly merging with the ecru upholstery. You know it takes six weeks for muscles to atrophy, and hello, you tell yourself, it’s only been a day. Later, you try to justify the many times you’ve watched this or that episode of ANTM because you know the blonde/brunette/redhead/pixie/tall/thin/wide/lesbian/girl-next-door/girl-with-dead-eyes will get eliminated but your shame slowly eats away at your brain and gnaws at your reasoning so you just smize to yourself instead. You then change positions and wait for another rerun of another show you already saw. You do this with a lot of gumption until 2:30 am.
Repeat for two more days.
On the third day…you attempt a To Do List.
Sometimes writing a list or a mindnode of things to do during a “free” week feels like writing a final will and testament. You know you need to do it, but postpone it for some other time. You manage to convince yourself at that moment that just the thought of it is too ominous and depressing; which then makes you think of the grand pianos and the little buggers gnawing at your pituitary gland. Where did these little creatures come from, you wonder. Weren’t you fully functional a week ago?
The seconds, minutes, hours, days disappear, like sand between your fingers and you see your mindnode of things to accomplish swallow you whole. Then POP…you become the purple branch of different things to do to avoid the different things you need to do; your breath connected only to the periwinkle circle in the middle of the web. You cling for dear life and have temporary amnesia.
Sometimes writing a blog post feels like jagged finger nails screeching against an old school blackboard. Your fingers bleed profusely and still, nothing. Not a single word worth a damn comes out. You say to yourself, meh. What can you do? So you let it go.
When you realize you have a day and a half of vacation left, you snap out of your amnesia and let the panic rise to your throat. You gasp and gag and realize the familiar drowning feeling is back. Soon, you know that adrenaline will seep through your veins and make you move again. At that moment, relief sets in but at the same time, you feel overwhelming remorse as you stare at the corpse, which used to be an entire week free from any immediate obligations, beneath your feet. You can’t help but notice that your feet are back to their normal size and that’s when you take one baby step at a time towards your To Do list.
It dawns on you that your neglected To Do list has now turned into a To Do or Die list. And your mindnode’s colorful branches are wrapped snugly around your neck waiting for the perfect moment to squeeze.
And squeeze tight.
Well, well, well look do we have here: A pile of papers so tall you slept on it and failed to feel the pea; a generation’s early work to be sifted through, edited and compiled (litmag 2010-2011); and the inspiring and mind-numbing preparation involved in doing the work you are so grateful for and love to do. Everyday.
At the corner of your eye, you also notice that the yearbook is done and ready for printing, you have a new blog set up for a different audience and for a different purpose, you have managed to properly document your most recent workshop and already have all the documents you need to apply for another visa to India for your next workshop. You also allow yourself to acknowledge that you have beautiful pictures of your favorite people in the world and that because you weren’t working, you spent quality time with family. Nothing can ever really compare to that.
The remorse decompresses a little.
Sometimes the season calls for rest, silence and hibernation. You heed it with great respect and gratitude. You honor it, otherwise your ankles swell up. You embrace it because, more often than not, it saves you. At some point though, and at the right time, you also need to recognize it is over, even before it is over. Or else, the panic will consume you until you can’t do anything but wail the workaholic’s cry as you try to convince everyone you love and who love you back that you are alright.
And so it begins, always, with a blog entry; and one day left.
grateful slice: rude awakenings and panic attacks that jolt you back to the reality of the daily grind.
Kiteboarding 101 with the Juans.
Photos taken by a Nikon D90, Caliraya Lake
grateful slice: sports and skills
So, with the workshop behind us, Stu and I debriefed a bit, shared resources, had coffee and biscuits then walked around Kodai like tourists instead of workshop leaders with a lot on our minds. We dumped our computers back at our hotel, shared a Kingfisher and headed towards a nearby store to buy my rings before dinner. I had found them on our first day but wanted to delay gratification. I said I would buy them for myself after the workshop and that’s exactly what we did. Check them out…
Then we met up with Barbara (Assoc MYPC) and Graham (MYPC) to have dinner at The Carlton. It was really awesome of them to take us out on our last night to celebrate in such a nice place with lots of food and great conversation. Something tells me I will see Graham and his family again in this lifetime. I think this, but I don’t tell him. 🙂
Our last day was spent tying loose ends, checking our emails in the faculty computer suite, and eating dosa at a random restaurant on our way to the elementary and middle years campus. All in all, it was leisurely goodbyes to an awesome place and people and preparing ourselves for our long trek home. 36 hours to be exact.
The car ride was standard. We repeated stories, tried to take pictures of wild monkeys and slept most of the same way back. Upon reaching the turn toward Coimbatore we decided to stop at the Palani Murugan Temple (the same one we saw on our way up) to check it out. It took some negotiation, 3 hours instead of 1 to go up, go around and come back down but all in all, we were glad we removed our shoes and took the detour. Mommy, our guide up the temple, was great. I gave her a warm hug before leaving and after she handed me two of the yummiest bananas I have ever tasted. In the end, we were sticky and exhausted but happy.
Anyway, from there we still had three more hours on the road before hitting Coimbatore. We needed to do a bit of shopping (mostly for Stu and his family), grab a bite to eat before catching our plane. Shopping in Coimbatore must be similar to shopping in Divisoria or Baclaran. My goodness. It didn’t feel unfamiliar at all except for the parts where random parents would send their kids over my way to say hello, shake my hand or kiss my cheek. It was surreal but warm and trusting of them. I guess for this leg of the trip, that’s what it taught me. That traveling always opens my eyes to how different and the same we all are. And it never fails to teach me to always be compassionate, be more open and hopeful.
Saying our goodbyes at the Singapore airport was bittersweet. Stu gave me valuable advice (about what to do next regarding my career) and told me exactly what I needed to hear as a colleague and friend. Like I said, I’ve been lucky with my partners. Thanks, G.
Well, I’ll never forget my first taste of India, South India more specifically. It was a feast for the eyes and ears, the heart and my palette. I can’t wait for my trip to the Northern part end of May. Did I mention that already? I must have … Gujarat end of May for my next workshop. On my own now and since it’ll be summer, I will be able to extend, take a train and check out Agra and Mumbai (to visit my friend, S). I wonder what will be in store for me then.
Right now though, thanks, G. I am grateful beyond belief. A thousand times over, thank you.
grateful slice: unforgettable places, humbling opportunities, answered prayers