Good riddance, 2012.

Hello again lovely readers!

I hope your holidays have been nothing short of amazing and that you all celebrated with your nearest and dearest. Christmas was quite the event at home, and I swear that if I must have leftovers again for the rest of my life, I will choose to starve instead. Which also reminds me that I must get back to exercising to shed off all this holiday food and sitting around… fun!

Can you believe that in less than 48 hours, it will finally be 2013? We have all survived December 21st without any major natural disasters, or invasions of zombies, and wow… I still cannot believe how quickly 2012 has flown. As cliché as this sounds, looking back on 2012, I could definitely say that it’s been one heck of a learning experience and a year of personal growth. It’s been a humbling year that’s taught me to grow a bit of a backbone and not focus too much on people who don’t make a genuine effort to be in my life, and instead, to move on and be thankful for those who do make an effort.

2012’s taught me that although I feel absolutely broken and torn up about my life, there will always be a silver lining and a valuable lesson learned. Although I have gone through some of the most horrific incidents in my life thus far that have scarred me, I learned to look past them and focus on what I could do to move my life forward. Prior to the end of this year, I was all about self-pity parties and taking a small negative situation and turning it into an unnecessary big one. To be honest, to say that I am really, really, REALLY tired of all negativity in my life is a huge understatement, and I am glad that I have a better mindset to be able to move forward in life, even if the path of moving forward isn’t exactly how I had pictured it.

I am nervous, excited and relieved for the arrival or 2013. 2012 just seemed to be one long and arduous year and I am really glad to be leaving it behind. I am anticipating 2013 to be a year that will bring me and my loved ones amazing blessings, and I cannot wait for it to begin!

I hope that you all have taken many valuable things away from 2012, and that 2013 brings you wonderful memories, experiences and most of all, I hope that 2013 allows you to live your life the way you deserve. Readers, I have learned/am still learning to always look at everything in a different perspective, a perspective that is much better to look at. This quote that I read somewhere online describes perfectly how I try to live my life now:

“You can choose to let your past define you and confine you, or you can choose to learn, grow, and leave it behind you.”

Have a safe and amazing NYE, my lovely readers! And may 2013 bring you all of your life’s dreams and more. 🙂

Love,
p

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Re-Inspired

Hi everyone!

School has been kicking me in the butt as of late, and to be honest, I have been feeling so exhausted and worn out that I no longer find the joy in my education. My plan at the moment is to pursue my dreams of being a Social Worker, or being some sort of counsellor (whether it be advising, therapy, etc). I guess it’s due to the midterm season that I have been feeling so tired and unhappy about school, but I am definitely needing a pick me up.

This evening, God answered my little prayer.

As I was about to head home after mass, I heard a little voice calling my name. I turned around and looked down to see one of my former students that I had taught in my PREP class at church. She has grown up so much, and I can’t believe that it’s been three years since I’ve taught her. She was just as I remembered her last: wide smile, adorable dimples and beautiful blue eyes. Just as I was about to ask how she was doing, she started going on a little rampage of how much she’s missed me and how I was her favourite teacher.

You cannot believe how much her words warmed my heart.

Then, her mother and another person I had volunteered with at PREP came up to us and we began to catch up. They began telling me how much I had grown since my days of teaching (I had left the position 2 years ago) and how they didn’t even recognize me since I apparently look like a young woman now! 😛

I also told them of my plans after school, and they both said one of the nicest things I have heard in a while: “You would honestly be the best person to be a social worker. I can really see you doing that because we need more people like you in that field.

Wow. To hear those words was just so humbling and just lifted up my spirits so much. I’ve been so stressed with school that I am beginning to lose the bigger picture, the reason why I have gone into what I have chosen and am still working hard to get to where I want to go. But to hear those kind words really gave me a much needed boost of inspiration and motivation to do well.

Anyhow, that was just my little blurb for the day. I just wanted to share my little burst of happiness with you all. I hope you have enjoyed your weekends and that you also find little bursts of happiness and inspiration to keep you going through tough times.

Love,
P

Thanksgiving!

Wow, long time no post, dear readers! My sincerest apologies for that two month hiatus. School, work and life was just kicking me to the curb, and I honestly have had no time to really gather my thoughts and be able to express them here on my blog. However, I finally have the time to post a quick blog about a bit of my life these past two months.

Today marks Thanksgiving Day in Canada and I took it upon myself to finally let my parents sit back and relax and plan and cook Thanksgiving dinner all on my own. Surprisingly enough, I managed to cook everything really well and I got some major kudos on my cooking! Thankfully I didn’t burn the chicken (turkey is my next challenge), and the rest of my dishes turned out great. I am definitely more confident in my culinary skills and cannot wait to cook more often for my family. 🙂

 

Here are a few snap shots of the food I served my family and closest and dearest friends today:

My kale and baby spinach salad, roast chicken, and home made mashed potatoes with all the fixings.
My Filipino Spaghetti – first time making this on my own and it turned out great!
D & I all semi-fancy for Thanksgiving dinner.
My “brother” of 13 years, Kyle and I.
Look at how proud I am of myself!
Ohana.

As I was prepping and cooking everything, I found myself to be in very deep thought about my life and where I am now. School has been really tough on me, adjusting to the whole new experience of being at UBC, as well as just trying to get into my niche there. Work has been busy and tiring, but very fruitful. As for my personal life, I have been all over the place. These past two months have taught me to be more solitary and enjoy my independence and truly appreciate the friends who are still in my life and make a conscious effort of being in it. Thanksgiving has allowed me to realize that every single aspect of life should be shown gratefulness, and I truly do appreciate not only the good times in my life, but also the challenges and difficult times that I encounter.

God’s truly blessed me with an amazing support group that I cannot even begin to explain how grateful I am for them. With that being said, I still have been through many losses in terms of old friendships as of late, and  for a while, I have been feeling that weight of loss bear heavily on my shoulders. However, each day, I am slowly learning to let go of friendships that are no longer there, and make room for those that are still left and those that are coming in to blossom and flourish. I am so, so thankful for all these little blessings and more, and I do my best to remember to show that gratefulness whenever I can.

Thanksgiving was a really great experience this year, and cooking everything myself (with help from my trusty sous-chef D), I finally truly appreciated all the hard work my parents and family members put into providing good food on the table. I am so blessed to have been able to share this time with some of my nearest and dearest, and although I am pretty worn out from it all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I hope all of my Canadian readers have had a very blessed and fruitful Thanksgiving! Remember to show your appreciation not only one day a year, but every single day of the year. May you all stay well and happy despite all the tribulations life throws at you.

Filled with an full stomach and ready to succumb to a food coma,

P

Alexz Johnson Live at the Media Club, Vancouver, BC

Hello lovely readers!

My apologies for not having updated recently. I was so swamped with a music theory exam that I hopefully passed *fingers crossed* and doing music for a friend’s wedding. So in a nutshell, I was terribly busy. Now that I have finally had some time to sit down and breathe, I would just like to take a moment and say: “AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! EKA;FIJOASKLFDSJFA!!LK#)(@*%!”

Okay. I am okay. I am a composed and sophisticated young lady blogger. Sort of.

Anyhow, my apologies for the random burst of capitalized letters (and numbers and symbols…), but D and I just came back from the Alexz Johnson Skipping Stone Tour concert. The reason this is so significant (to me, at least), is because Alexz Johnson, a singer/songwriter, has been my number one musical inspiration since I was twelve. Since her days on Instant Star, I have been a loyal fan of hers and meeting and seeing her perform was one of my things to check off on my bucket list. And guess what blogger dudes/ettes?

I can proudly and happily say I can check that bad boy off. 😉

Credits to: http://alexzontour.tumblr.com/

Her set was freaking amazing, and I cannot believe I was so blessed to have heard her. Alexz’s stage presence was just so energetic and had the crowd so mesmerized or pumped up along with her. Her vocals were beyond phenomenal, never missed a beat or note and just so unique in itself. Perhaps I am a bit biased, but you honestly have to see her live to really understand what I mean.

Just meeting her, I felt like a complete dork not knowing what to say… she was kind enough to sign both my CD and poster that I bought from her merch. Plus, she happily took a picture with D and I. 🙂 Wow, there are so many more things I can say about this evening, but I think I shall just go to bed filled with very, very, very, very, very happy thoughts and feelings.

I will definitely post a few pictures of tonight’s event that D and I snapped with our cameras. Oh, and please take a listen to her on her YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdiTwjbRWQo The more Alexz fans, the better. 😉

Still in shock and filled with quality music goodness,
P

Edit: Here are a few pictures I managed to snag up (I am still awaiting for the ones D took). Enjoy!

Alexz Johnson with D and I. Can you tell how happy I am?
D and I were concert ready!

Know Your Worth

Dear readers,

I am going to take a break from my very happy posts to post something a bit serious and something that has been on my mind these past few weeks. So my apologies if this post seems a bit melancholy after my string of positive posts, because to be quite honest, that is how I am feeling now. Melancholy.

In a romantic relationship, sometimes people ask themselves if they feel worthy to be with the person they care about. What deems a person worthy of being with somebody? Do their qualities in terms of looks, personality and all that like determine if they are a “worthy” candidate of someone else’s affections? I have heard often times my girlfriends telling me throughout the years, “He is so not worth it” or “He is really not worthy of you.” During those times, I was almost always sitting on the couch with them, box of kleenex in hand, bawling my eyes out. Now when I really think about it, what really defines a person’s worthiness in a relationship?

These questions are coming from my own personal experiences in my previous relationships that have led me to feel for the longest time that I was not worthy of the person I was with. After being hurt so many times from these relationships and losing bits and pieces of my self-esteem, I felt that I was no longer good enough to be with somebody and had concluded that all males were the same: nice at first, but later turned into ruthless and heartless jerks.

Of course, that conclusion isn’t always true, but from my own painful experiences, I had come to be quite bitter, cynical and really doubtful of the opposite sex and their true intentions when it came to relationships. What was it that lead to my former break ups? Was it because I wasn’t pretty or smart enough? Was it because they finally woke up and saw the light that they could have any other perfectly great girl other than myself? These break ups had led me to believe that I simply was nothing of value and I continued to wallow in self-pity and my silly insecurities.

This all changed very recently.

When I began dating D, I was a very broken person. Many terrible events in my life had turned me into a person that felt so small and fragile on the inside. Since then, D has tried faithfully every single day to teach me how to know my worth and to be fully content with what God’s graced me with and just live life. Unfortunately, time and again, my insecurities have gotten the best of me, and in turn, hurt both myself and D. It was just a constant cycle of negativity and it wasn’t until very recently that I realized my worth and truly made the efforts of waking up and changing things.

Day by day, I learned to appreciate myself and what I do. I learned to not seek the appreciation from others as much, and instead, be content with what I contributed in life and just move forward. I constantly told myself that I am a wonderful person and really do deserve happiness. Even now, while feeling a bit melancholy due to a stupid argument and misunderstanding, I told myself that just because I inadvertently hurt somebody I care about, that does not make me a bad person. It simply makes me human. And yes, I am worthy of all the happiness that graces my life, simply because I realize my own faults and do my best to be a better person every day.

So how does all of this tie into my first question? Well, I think that we define our own “worthiness”. Sure, there may be some mean and negative people out there who constantly bring you down to their level, but at the end of the day, we are responsible for how we feel and how we think of ourselves. I learned the hard way that wallowing in self-pity and entertaining my own insecurities were not going to get me very far in life, so why stay in that mindset? I learned to love myself for who I am rather than changing myself so to please other people in my life. Though I still have some massive insecurities (heck, who doesn’t?), I know better now that I am a pretty darn awesome person, but I do make mistakes and am quite the oddball. But hey, that’s part of what being human is all about. Learning to accept your strengths and weaknesses and realizing that you can’t be perfect, no matter how hard you try. No matter how much make up you put on yourself, no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how many clothes you have in your closet, no matter how many flashy new things you own, they will never amount to how you truly feel on the inside. Your worthiness is determined by how happy and content you are with yourself and how you strive to be a better person every day. So just be happy with what you have and go out and do great things.

With these things in mind, every day I feel like a better person. Even though I do have some bad days, I have learned that I am worthy of all the good things God has graced me with, and all of the things He will continue to grace me with.

I hope all of you readers are having a better day than me. I promise to go back to my happier posts once I am feeling better from a good snuggle with my big bear, Albert.

Love,
P

5 Things That We Love About Each Other

A month ago, I was inspired to write a post about the top 5 things D and I love about each other. Now that I have returned from my vacation, my boyfriend has so graciously given up his time to help me with this blog post. I hope you all enjoy him guest-starring in this post! 🙂

These are D’s 5 things he loves about me (that he wrote!):

Hi my name is Dinel Ulpindo. I’m Paula’s boyfriend. She asked me to write 5 things I like/love about her. Well here they are: (No Particular Order):

  1. How you act so nice towards people. You are a very friendly and down to earth person. You are so humble whenever you speak to people and that’s one thing I love about you
  2.  Whenever you tell me you’re my soulmate. I know we are only in our teens, but we’ve also grown in our relationship and it shows whenever we call ourselves ‘SOULMATES’. You make me smile so much whenever I hear that word and it’s one thing I like about you.
  3. How you can still make me smile whenever I’m sad/angry. Somehow only you can do that. Nobody else can make me smile when I’m sad. This ties back to number 2 because it shows you really are my soulmate.
  4. I LOVE your nose. It’s one of the features I like about you and you know that it’s true. I always touch your nose whenever I can because it’s so cute!. Since our kids will have that same exact nose I will cherish the one till more pop up for me to feel their noses haha!
  5. I love how you love me. No matter the circumstances. I really am grateful for your love. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You make me happy. Always.

P.S It’s our 18 months tomorrow!

These are my 5 things that I love about him:
  1. How he has a big heart. Even when D is being quite mean to me, deep down, I know that he is still the same person I fell in love with. Since I met him, he has always been the type of person to enjoy giving back to others simply because he finds it fulfilling and worthwhile. He does the things he does out of his heart and never fails to remind me that the reason why he works hard is to provide a good and happy future for me and our future family.
  2. He does the little things to make sure I feel lovedFrom opening doors for me like a gentleman to leaving little love notes for me, or just driving me to places, the little things D does makes me feel so loved. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do the big things. Oh no. D does big and special things for me. For instance, he helped my friends from school surprise me with a free ticket to the Bon Iver concert held in Vancouver a few months ago. He told me to get off work early, blind folded me, and drove me to the venue to surprise me. If that doesn’t say romantic, then I do not know what does. He is such a sweetie. 🙂
  3. He is straight up and honest with me, because he knows me better than I know myself sometimesI’m the type to want to be coddled and comforted. However, D is more of the type to be up front and straightforward, which keeps me grounded and strong. He never fails to let me know what is on his mind and heart, even if I do not agree or like it at first. He knows me better than I know myself, and this quality about him helps me grow more as a person.
  4. He is a positive role model/teacher in my life. In our relationship, I am the negative Nelly. D is the more positive of the two of us, and more realistic. He has taught me so many things about life and has changed my outlook on it. He’s taught me to appreciate God’s blessings and just accept life as it is and do my best to be content and move forward. Nobody has never done that for me, and for that, I am truly blessed.
  5. He is real and my soul mate. D and I have different views on what paths lead to success. He and I fight a lot and bicker like an old married couple. Recently though, he and I have come to a mutual understanding and my heart feels so much more at ease with us. He is real and I honestly never believed in soul mates until I met him. I don’t need him to have a numerous degrees or have a fancy title to his name. He is just himself and that’s why I love him.

And there you have it! Thanks to my man for guest starring in this and writing such beautiful words. I love you! /Cheese. I hope you readers enjoyed this little cute post. 🙂 I suggest that those with significant others do this every once in a while. It is a healthy exercise for couples that let’s them know why they appreciate the other and fosters love and growth and mutual respect.

Oh, and aren’t we cute here? 🙂

Filled with much love,
P

Life in the Motherland – Pictures

Hello everyone! How are you all?

Now that I have gotten over the jet lag, as promised, I can finally show you guys some of the pictures I took during the trip!

This photo was taken while waiting for our connecting flight to Kalibo, Aklan.
Tricycles are one of the primary modes of transportation in the Philippines.
This was taken at the beautifully kept mangroves in Aklan, in a city a short drive from Kalibo.
I didn’t even have to edit this one. It is so beautiful.
Here I am enjoying my morning stroll in Boracay.
The last night of Boracay, my cousin and I had a few drinks to celebrate. Pictured here is the very first Red Horse beer I have ever tried!
The sun setting had a beautiful effect on the skies at Boracay. It looked like the skies were littered with cotton candy!
This picture was taken while I was riding in the back of the tricycle on a rainy day in Kalibo.
I finally went for a change from my usual long, black hair to mid-lengthed, brown hair. How does it look?
Meet our family dog, Bruno. He is so loyal and absolutely adorable – even if he is ridden with fleas!

And there you have it. I hope you guys enjoyed a small snippet of pictures from my trip! Have any of you been to Philippines? If so, where have you been to? I’d love to know where my readers have travelled to or where they would love to travel to. There are so many places I have yet to travel to, but I intend to see much of the world when my schedule and budget permits it.

Take care, everyone and happy summer!

Love,
P

Life in the Motherland – Manila/Makati

After nearly a month in the Philippines, I am now very unhappy to update that my family and I will be on our way home to Vancouver. We just spent a few days in Makati, where our hotel was and wow, I couldn’t believe how highly populated and how busy it was. The traffic here in Manila is insane and I give major kudos to those brave drivers who have to put up with hours of driving here!

Here in the capital of the Philippines, all my family did was shop, see some sights, go through very long drives and eat out. As much as I enjoyed the cheap shopping sprees, I would rather not put up with the exhausting and heavy commutes every day. Now, I appreciate the traffic better in Vancouver and promise not to complain too much about. 😉

The shopping districts here are very busy and travellers should be wary of theft which occurs quite often. Luckily, none of my family and I had anything taken from us. Vacationers will also have to put up with the heavy rains that literally flood the streets and have travellers knee to waist deep in water.

As much as I enjoyed the shopping sprees, I prefer the more laid back atmosphere that Aklan had. I will definitely miss my family here so much and I’m glad I got to spend some time with them, since it isn’t often that we get to come back here.

On my next entry, I will be posting up some of my favourite pictures from the trip. I hope you enjoy them!

Thanks to those who have liked my posts recently, I am very much flattered. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves and are safe and well. 🙂 Oh, and please pray for a safe flight for my family and I! I’m quite the paranoid person when it comes to flying (the result of watching way too many shows about airplane crashes…)

Saddened to leave the Motherland and filled with a lot of family love,
P

Life in the Motherland – Aklan

I am sad to update that my family will be leaving for Manila and Makati this Thursday, leaving behind Aklan for another few years. It has been a pretty busy couple of weeks here with my huge family, (many of which I still have yet to meet!) and it is going to be bittersweet getting on the plane at Aklan International Airport and saying ‘see you later’ to my family here.

At first, it was difficult for me to adjust to the life here in the Philippines, especially here in Aklan. The extremely early wake up calls courtesy of the roosters and the very late nights were not things I was accustomed to. What’s more, I was not used to the long drives to different municipalities to visit family, friends and constantly being offered food and drinks! From travelling several hours a day, my tailbone has certainly been mistreated and I am certainly paying for it now. Another thing I wasn’t used to is the way Filipinos simply do not stop working. From the crack of dawn until the end of the night, you will see the people here working hard so they can provide for their families and think very little of living luxuriously and entertaining things we North Americans like to indulge in every day. From this trip, I have gained a bigger outlook on life here, and more importantly, life in general. I have so much respect for the Filipinos and my family for working so hard to make ends meet every day.

What surprised me the most, however, was the overall general kindness and hospitality of the people here. Growing up, I always knew that Filipinos are considered to be quite the hospitable people, but coming back here, I really discovered a whole new horizon of that hospitality. In our home here in New Washington (a small municipality in Aklan), my family was treated with so much care and it made me feel so pampered to be waited on hand and foot 24/7, always being offered something to drink/eat or if I wanted anything or if I wanted to go anywhere. I have truly been spoiled rotten here!

Culture shock aside, I was blessed to have been able to catch up with my enormous family, and go back to my roots. Although I was born here in Philippines, my parents and I had immigrated to Canada when I was three, so I basically have lost almost all of my Filipino roots. These past few weeks have helped me get back some of those roots and now, I am left with very valuable lessons and memories that I’ll certainly cherish.

I will miss so many things here in Aklan that found very endearing. I will miss one of our family’s dogs, Bruno, who never failed to greet us when we came home in the tricycle and would adorably follow us as we drove away, barking up a storm until he saw the border signalling the end of New Washington’s perimeters and abruptly stopping his chase to sadly trot back home. I will miss the feeling of wanting to adopt every single cat and dog here in Aklan that roamed the streets and were most likely ridden with rabies and fleas. I will miss coming out of the shower feeling refreshed, only to go out and come back smelling of pollution and feeling unclean. I will miss the sense of community within my family, travelling from municipality to municipality, being greeted like old friends and being told almost all the time that I am a spitting image of my father. I will miss Boracay and its beautiful scenery and its bustling lifestyle. I will miss the cold showers, only being able to use a tabo (a small bucket) instead of a shower head.  I will miss the delicious home cooked Filipino meals that my extended family spoiled us with. I will miss my cousins, all of whom have treated me as if I had never left those eight years ago. In particular, I will miss my kuya (older male) Martin, who “baby sat” my sister and I throughout our entire stay, and helped keep things together (don’t worry, kuya, I will save up enough money to send you to Vancouver!). I will miss my naynay (grandma) here in New Washington that took care of our house and of us, making sure we were well fed before she was, did our laundry and cleaned the house daily. I will miss my aunties, uncles, grandpas, and grandmas, all of whom told me stories of my childhood and a bit of family history, and of course, never failing to remind me how much I look like my father. 😛

Most of all, I will miss the life experiences I have made here. Although I was at first not enthusiastic about spending a month here, things turned out a lot better than I imagined they would. When I get on that plane on Thursday and bid my loved ones here farewell, I probably will be holding back tears because I am such a big sentimental baby. Fortunately for us, we now have Facebook/e-mail/phone and the like for means of frequent communication. Those things however, simply cannot compare to actually being around my family and being able to talk with them whenever I like. So I will definitely be coming back to Vancouver with a heavy heart from missing everything and everybody here.

All sad farewells aside, I am so grateful for this trip. I was blessed with so many things and would not trade this experience for the world. I aim to be back here in the next two years to check up on the newly built hotel my father, his sister and I co-own and of course, to be with my family again. Till then, Aklan – thank you for the memories and love.

Hopefully the next time I update will be in my family’s hotel room in Makati. If not, then hopefully I will be updating safe and sound in Vancouver!

Till my next blog post,
– P

Life In the Motherland – Boracay

Hi everyone!

I am currently typing this up in our very beautiful hotel room at hotel Royal Park, in Boracay. If you don’t know, Boracay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in world. It is everything you would expect out of the perfect beach: white sand, clear blue waters, a nice breeze, endless palm trees… it is breath-taking. My family will be staying here for a few days, and so far, it is wonderful.

Yesterday, we toured around for a bit and later on in the evening, my cousin and I had a little … excursion. Let’s just say that I cannot recollect any memories of last night and woke up with the biggest headache. Teehee.

Today, my family and I went to watch a presentation, then went island hopping! I would definitely recommend island hopping if you are at Boracay. We managed to go snorkeling – I was a bit scared, but it was soooo worth it. Being able to see the unique and beautiful fish and the coral reefs was absolutely spectacular. I would definitely come back to do that again! After that, we went to a few other beaches on the island and just walked around.

Everything here is pretty commercialized, but I still would recommend vacationing here once in your life! The night life is extremely busy and the day time is teeming with activity.

Tomorrow will be my parents’ 25th-year anniversary with their college classmates. Since they will be occupied, hopefully my cousin and I will be able to have fun with the night life Boracay has to offer. 😉

Have any of you readers been to Boracay? If so, how was it? If you haven’t, would you like to?

I hope your summers are going well – nice and toasty. Go get that tan on!

– P