It’s that time of the year again, when people strip down to almost nakedness in a public park to tan and display their Crossfit/Running/Zumba/Barre Method/Insanity/P90X bodies. Then there’s the people like me, who arrive with a blanket and picnic basket, and stay the hell away from the sun. We all have a good time.

Oh, summer.

This was taken while relaxing in the park with Ate Jaye, Jill, and Aristeo. In the background, there was a man playing the saxophone. A perfect day to be in the park.

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This is a fast-forward version of May 2014, which I’m happy to say I was too busy living to write about. Over the course of two months, I’ve been surrounded by people constantly, which makes me happy, because people are awesome and I love (most of) them, but it puts me in dire need to recharge. One week into June, and I basically said NO HUMANS and crawled into my happy little hole marathoning Game of Thrones, The Mindy Project, and The New Girl. Back off humans, it’s sanity time.


Like a long time lover and boyfriend, my best friend Isa flew over for my birthday. If there’s anybody in the entire world who knows me, Isa is one of the top people on the list. And if anyone could ever be mistaken as my girlfriend, it would be her. The last time we saw each other, we didn’t know that we wouldn’t see each other for a year, so this was such a sweet gift, to say the least.

From the moment she landed, it’s almost like we continued from where we left off last year, after we hauled her huge-ass luggage then braved the rain for a midnight pizza run. In spite of the year that’s passed, we’re still the same old pair that’s only too easy to talk into eating, too much obligatory selfies (mostly Isa), and just, I don’t know. The Isa and Barby dynamic where anything can happen, and we’ll probably be laughing or amused.

Chillin’ at Bryant Park.

A ton of photos after the jump!
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Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life.

Last Sunday, Tim Keller gave the vaguest anecdote (says the queen of extreme cross-references and name-forgetting) about a scene from a movie where a doctor tries to perform a delicate but urgent procedure to save a man’s life. They were in a war, and there was no anesthesia. He told the man that it would be excruciatingly painful when he removes the object inside, especially since there’s nothing to dull the pain. But while he’s doing it, the man may not flinch. If he does, it will kill him.

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It’s been seven days since my birthday, and since then, I haven’t touched my birthday messages, I’ve had a near heart attack due to the discovery of a strand of white hair, and panic because of a friend’s comment that there are fine fine signs of aging on my skin.

Hello, twenty six.

I’m too young for the onset of these, or even if it’s just the right age when time become more apparent on the face, it still sucks. I was comparing stress dreams with a friend and learned that there can actually be levels to these things. Level one finds her taking an exam, level two finds her with a baby in her arms that she has to take care of (which is ridiculous and funny), and level three places her in a world without sun (where everything is just faintly perceivable like when your eyes adjust to a dark room). Her worst dream yet was when she found herself taking an exam in a world without the sun. My stress dreams find me looking inside the mirror and seeing myself, but with so much white hair. The other week, not only was there white hair, but a bald patch. Que horror!

The strand of white hair, fine lines… they are a blunt reminders of my mortality. Time is passing, and passing quickly. My body is reaching its peak, and just like flowers in bloom, their best is followed only by visible decay. Like the rest of humanity, I am dying. We’ve all known this for a while, but I’ve never felt such a poignant shortness of life until recently.

I’m only a breath, a wave tossed in the ocean. Can You make this vapor count? Could you remember me, and make me count where it matters?

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Last year’s May 29th found me as a tourist, wandering around New York city with Isa. When we weren’t out, I’d be researching my next best option for classes in Seattle or Boston because my farming arrangement didn’t push through. But it was great. The freedom and lightness were bothered only slightly by the anxiety of not ending up with a class, and the worry of wasting my short time in the USA. Even if I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, it was a good place. If I knew that I’d have to plant myself in New York then, I would have been so focused on getting everything together that I probably wouldn’t even have left the Philippines, with all the preparations to be done.

It feels like the time to talk about the glorious year that was. It’s about time. Maybe I need to remind myself of it because of where I’ve been the past few weeks, and it hasn’t been a good place. I realize, though, that when it comes to things like work and resource-related situations, I have to fight for it, but I can be hopeful. But that struggle is nothing compared to the difficulty in being hopeful with people. With relationships. Right now I’m just not hopeful about many things, or I’ve just trained myself to not think about them. I’ve been happy, genuinely happy. And I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing year where questions that were so… Ultimate to me, were answered. And yet I choose to stay down these past few weeks. I can’t write about one of the best years of my life so far, because I don’t feel like myself.

I’m in a dark cloud again, and it gets harder to convince myself to get up each time. It’s been the plague of my life, and it’s brought about a sadness that’s forgotten for a time but never really goes away. I keep trying to get past it by considering it differently, letting go, forgiving… But nothing has changed. It’s still the way it’s been. I still smell the smoke, hear the same old words, and can’t help feeling the pain/anger/exhaustion/exasperation. When it comes to relationships, how can you ever be free? I don’t know what I’m doing right now, but I can’t untangle myself.

Here are some things I’ve been thinking about lately:

Why are we so selfish?

Why is hope the way to overcome pain?

Why are faith and hope so important, and what distinguishes them from the other?

If we know that the other person is also selfish, like us, why bother?

Why is it so difficult to focus on what’s true? To hope in a living hope?

For as long as we’re in this life, will there always be groaning?

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.

Timothy Keller (quoted from his book, The Meaning of Marriage)


Photograph by George Hoyningen-Huene


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