No attachments

While Jogs and I are having our random conversation during our Sunday jog (which is really difficult to do), she mentioned a thought which supported an idea I had before. She mentioned that one of her mentors doesn’t have any attachments to all the people, including his family. According to Jogs, her mentor’s reason is that happiness comes from within and not to any external forces. Fair enough.

It was a foreign idea to the both of us. But I realized that the wisdom made sense especially in my life now as a 20 something. The more I think about the “no attachments” idea, the more I realized that it is already what I am doing or what I’ve been doing, effortlessly. I have to admit that I only have few people in my life now. I have my parents, grandparents, a couple of friends and that’s it. I have been thinking if what I am doing is wrong because the people I used to care about are not here with me anymore. Am I a bad person? Am I pushing them away? To be honest, I don’t know. What I know is that I love my life now, that I am happy about it, and the people that are with me now (with no strings attached) are destined to be with me in this period of my life.

The people I have lost doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. It’s just that they were there during a certain season of my life and most of the time, we have to witness the end of every season. We grow. We change. We move on. Sometimes we don’t have to think too much about these things because life has its way to end things. Loving is not attaching. Loving is about letting go.

And I still love all the people I once had.

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Thrift Stores, Buying Expensive Shoes and Repair Shops

Modesty aside, I realized that my salary is actually a good one especially for a yuppie like me. Unfortunately, I haven’t realized it because I tend to spend a lot on things that doesn’t matter. Now, I have entered a frugal lifestyle…frugal but reasonable.

Allow me to give you some tips on how to at least save a whole lot of money (allow me to do this because I need to write them for myself…):

1. Go to thrift stores. If you are from the US, this is not a new tip. But if you are in the Philippines, be open to these kind of stores. We call them ukay-ukay. Thrift stores are becoming more like 7-11s. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. I live near the largest thrift store in the city so the opportunity doesn’t even have to knock. All you need to do is to at least be patient and PERSISTENT until you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Here’s my pot of gold from my last stroll at the thrift store:

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A statement shirt that actually makes sense.
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Whew. A branded item.
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A good exercise shirt.
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Perfect for church events

TOTAL COST FOR 4 SHIRTS: P320. That’s just an equivalent of one shirt in the mall.

2. Buy expensive shoes. What happened to BE FRUGAL? I know that this advice is an irony to what I was talking about but let me give you an example. 

4 years ago, I bought two pairs of leather shoes. They are not just shoes but they actually have a hidden heel inside in order for me to cheat my height. Embarrassing as it may sound but when you are desperate these things become rational. Anyway, I bought the quality leather shoes plus the magic height features for P3,000 each. I have been wearing them ever since and never bought a single leather shoe after them. I walked miles and miles with these shoes. Imagine the savings for not buying shoes for 4 years. That’s almost half a decade.

Unfortunately, everything came to an end. The sole became brittle and they cracked. Do I need to buy new shoes? No. Here’s my tip # 3

3. Repair shops. Because the shoes were made from very fine leather, I just need to take them to the local shoe shop for restoration. I just paid 400 for both shoes.

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Almost as good as new.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, some tips for frugal living. See you next time!

ΠΟΛΥΤΡΟΠΟΣ – Polytropos

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Polytropos is a greek word meaning “of twists and turns.” This is a new word for me but I think I am already in love with it. It is actually the first adjective used in Odyssey by the the famous Greek poet, Homer. Polytropos is a general “ancient term” which could also mean well travelled, resourceful, and crafty. Bad news is, it’s a Greek term, so saying it out loud like “Hey, I am a polytropos” is a big no-no. It’s up to you though.

Anyway, why is it that I sounded like I came from a Greek Mythology class and suddenly quoted Homer. Well, it’s because I just did. It’s an 8-week online class at University of Pennsylvania about Greek and Roman Mythology. I love mythology but I was more focused on Ancient Egyptian myths. It’s a bit mainstream for me that time to be interested in Greek and Rome because practically most of my classmates are in to it. But I guess there is a time for everything (and taking up an online course from Penn is one hell of an opportunity…so thanks to Penn for your free online courses). Aside from the fact that I am gung-ho for history, I am also aware that cultures today in general was based from it. Whatever your perception towards myths, it definitely has an effect on how we behave/what we believe during this contemporary era. That is why I took this course. I want to validate if studying history, mythology in this case, is relevant nowadays.

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Some of the insights I have learned so far:

  • Both ancient and modern ideas about Greek and Roman Mythology are usually conflicting because MYTH is based on one’s interpretation. Plato believes that myths shape cultures. Xenophanes believes the other way around. Melrodus believes that myths are allegorical while Aristarchus believes that myths should be taken literally. They are all great thinkers but with different paradigms.
  • For the modern era, myth was taken as a support to science, or as a foundation of enlightenment or probably a religion, a language or an art.
  • There is a theory that Homer (the guy who wrote Odyssey and Iliad)  is not just a guy but they are a group of people. I still stick with Homer as a one-man team.
  • I have learned to love the character of Odysseus because he is an open minded guy. Let me quote Homer (translated by Samuel Butler):

…and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted

Odysseus neither judged nor enter into an argument about one’s beliefs. He respected them. That is why I believe he was described as “POLYTROPOS.”

Mail’s Here! Part 4

Hope these postcards will brighten up your day the way they were able to brighten up mine!

Here’s a card from France. A week before I have received this card, I met Luke (a couchsurfer from France) and he actually told me about what France is famous for. The Hermes heart-shaped stamp is also nice.

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When I received this card from Germany, I was actually sick because of a flu virus. The card made my day. I recalled the time when I was a kid and bloody sick, a bowl of chicken soup while watching my favorite cartoons will always be better than drinking my medicines. I think even the kids in Germany share the same sentiments with me.

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Here’s a card from Russia. It’s a temporary relief from the burning weather in the Philippines.

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Here’s a card from Japan. I like the cherry blossom stamps–it’s very Japanese. I would just like to acknowledge Miho because she was able to send this even though she’s currently suffering from an injury.

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Of course, a postcard from my friend in Indonesia. Check out the post about her.

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My second postcard from Poland.

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Did you know that William Wallace is one of my favorite history heroes? This postcard means a lot to me. Thank you Wency!

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A card from Lithuania! Although I am not sure what the card is all about; but I know it’s relaxing and there’s this feeling that I want to go inside the card and stare at the poles. 5 Star for the stamps!

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On Being Awkward

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We live in a society, therefore, we live in a world dictated by standards. It could be in the form of government, laws, religion, culture or just the general public. Unfortunately, being in the society is a bit tiring especially if you are asked to do things which you do not really believe in. The real essence of democracy is gone. I am not a non-conformist. That’s a different story. Fads can be amazing too. But at the end of the day, what is important is that you were able to express yourself and do the things you believe in.

In order to that, we should accept that being awkward is the new “cool”. Recently, I have deleted my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Mr. Standard shouted at me and told me “Hey, you need to communicate. You need to be updated.” Well he was wrong. I believe in authentic communication; being with the people I love, walking with them around the city and actually write them handwritten letters.

Earlier this day, I went to the post office to drop some postcards. To be honest, i felt a sting of awkwardness, God knows why. But it feels good after that. I believe that Deltiology (postcard collecting) is a lost art and needs revival. As long as I believe in something, awkwardness will turn out to be my best friend and it will just be another emotion.

Carrying my backpack made from indigenous product is also a “freak show” for some, but I believe that we should promote local products to alleviate poverty in our country. I believe in Small and Medium enterprises. Although this is my job’s advocacy, it became a personal advocacy too. (I am actually searching for a nice sandal pattern and ask a manufacturer to create one  made from Water Lilies..I need an alternative for my Fitflop)

The list goes on…

My point is, don’t be afraid of doing what you love just because it will leave you in an awkward situation. Don’t fall in the trap of this world’s standards. Create your own. At the end of the day…it’s just you..regardless of how awkward you have been.

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What do you think of these alternatives?

1. Ride a calesa instead of the tricycle.

2. Eat raw/organic foods instead of processed foods.

3. Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags.

Can you suggest other alternatives (not yet accepted but brilliant ones) to live this beautiful life we have?

Lost

While I was on the plane traveling from Cebu City to Clark, I suddenly had this weird thought:  “What if the plane will crash on an island and I will be with strangers from this plane?”

Call me weird or abnormal, but it was actually a good thought (at least for me). Sadly, it is hard for us to actually communicate and get along with strangers. How long can you survive being with strangers on an island? Aside from the fact that you have to hoard for food or hunt for wild boars, you also need to be with high-maintenance people from different cultures.

Going back on the plane, I suddenly recalled a famous series called Lost. It was actually my Dad’s addiction so I didn’t even bothered to watch it with him years and years ago. So finally, because of that realization I had on the plane, I gave the series a chance. I am, after all, a late bloomer.

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That was a month ago.

Today, I am hooked. I spent countless weekend hours trying to finish the entire series. And now, what was left is only 10 episodes before the finale. Imagine that! I don’t even want to finish it yet because “I don’t want to leave the island” and “the island is the only thing I have.”

What is it all about?

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The series started last 2004 (when I was in junior high) and ended last 2010 (when I resigned from my 2nd work). It’s a story about a group of people whose plane crashed on a magnetic-timeshifting-weird-haunted-holy-evil-paradoxic-ironic island. The characters had their own flashback stories which affects their present decisions; flashforwards to track whether their decision is the right one; and flash sideways (my favorite) to include probable theories and new stories if the plane landed safely on the airport.

Why I got addicted (or why I like the show sooo much)?

1. It’s a mystery show and I firmly believe that everybody love mysteries.

2. It’s actually about people; they are ordinary people with extraordinary stories. You will actually learn that every person has a story to tell and sadly, a dark secret to keep–which is the story of us all.

3. Although the characters came from different backgrounds, they were able to work together to survive. Yes, they had frequent quarrels and mini-wars, but at the end of the day, they are still one. They often hurt each other in order to protect each other. Ironic, but beautiful.

4. It teaches the viewers that everything happens for a reason.

5. It is about science, faith, travel and TIME TRAVEL.

So if you are a late bloomer like me, you have all the time to watch this series. Give yourself a month to finish 6 seasons. Trust me, it’s worth it!