Sunday, August 2, 2015

Me Being Unnecessarily Reflective

My first night in our new apartment downtown did not come without a haze of uneasiness. Having lived in the suburbs both in Ireland and in the Philippines my whole life, I've always associated being present in town as a sort of "daytime" event. Spending the night in the centre, two minutes walk from High Street, was very strange to me. However, the presence of familiar things- my books, my clothes, my own bed, and my own desk- soon erased my uneasiness, and the sounds outside my window, of talking and singing (mostly from the pubs), of car engines starting and dying, eventually became nothing more but background noise.

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't romanticise living in the centre of the city. I have images in my head of writers such as Hemingway or Orwell penning their greatest novels in a dim apartment in the centres of Paris or London. But I've always thought that I would do well living downtown, and having now spent my first night here, I can vouch for that, and say that it is very true. Being here genuinely gives me a sort of artistic inspiration, as ridiculous as that sounds. It is the reason why I'm writing this right now! Being here, existing here, knowing that there are people who are awake outside my window at any hour, hearing them perform their everyday jobs, or sometimes even hearing them drunkenly stumble from one corner of the street to another, gives me a sense of... I don't know what exactly. Belongingness? Probably. Whatever it is, it is enough of an inspiration to push me to write creatively about something other than fashion, an activity that I haven't done in months.

This morning, my mother sent me out to the shops to buy breakfast. I ended up being way too early- all the shops were still closed- but I have to say that the morning walk wound up being one of my most favourite activities so far in the city. There is something both unsettling and fascinating about being in the centre with hardly anybody in there. No pedestrians, no cars, just you and the closed-off shops. It is a feeling of liberty mixed with a strange sort of exhilaration, as if I'm doing something that I shouldn't be doing. I didn't feel scared, as I thought I would if I should walk down High Street only a few hours after the drink-filled frenzy in the pubs from the night before. No, at the contrary, I felt very at ease. Content, almost. For a few minutes, I've forgotten my own worries (the results, the results, the results), but instead, I paid particular and undivided attention to the buildings around me, some of which I never paid any mind in the last 6 years that I have been living here.

Our house itself is, in every sense of the word, lovely. We were lucky enough to find an apartment in the city with three spacious bedrooms with built-in storage, a balcony, and two bathrooms, for only a relatively small price of rent every month (it is 100 euro less than our previous rent price). The only downside is the small kitchen and the non-existent dining room, but I think it is a price we're willing to pay in exchange for the amenities I just described, as well as the accessibility of the place. As well as that, the ceilings are quite high, even higher than what we had in the suburbs. The placement of my window, too, is quite delightful. I can look down on one of the streets branching off High Street and see all sorts of different people. Even now, as I am writing this, I see a woman in heels and a pencil skirt walking quite briskly with coffee in her one hand and keys on the other, a knitted mustard scarf wound around her neck and the sound of her heels reverberating throughout the street. I see a gentleman with very ginger hair, dapperly dressed in an all-black tuxedo, one hand in his pocket (I wouldn't be surprised if it contained a pocket-watch), striding down the street with an air of quiet confidence. There's a tourist, an elderly Asian man of about 60, wearing a green scarf and a navy raincoat. He is taking pictures of everything around him, from the street on which he is standing- a bird's eye view of his runners- to the tops of the buildings. He just looked up at me, smiled, and pointed his camera straight to my direction. I waved at him and grinned.

In a way, I feel a little resentful knowing that I will not be able to spend as much time as I would've like to in this place. I will hopefully be going off to college soon enough and most of my time will be spent either in Dublin or Cork, possibly in a place that isn't as good as this one. But I still feel very lucky to have been able to spent as much time as I will here. It is one place that I'm sure I will remember when we finally move on from it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reflections on the Leaving Cert and Other Things

Summer is finally officially here! The Leaving Cert have wrapped up about two weeks ago and after that I was terribly busy helping my cousin with her 18th birthday! If you are a Filipino then you know how big a deal 18th birthdays are, or debuts, as we call them (you can see mine here.) Right after the Leaving Cert I jumped right into helping her with the cotillion (formal dance), which is actually quite a lot to undertake. But the people involved were very cooperative and made the whole thing an overall positive experience! I was also involved in photoshoots for the birthday. The theme of the party was Hawaiian Luau. Here are some pictures!

Aside from the debut, I was also preoccupied with finalising my CAO application form (closes tomorrow) and applying for my SUSI Grant. To be perfectly honest, the Leaving Cert exams affected me more than I thought it did while I was going through it. No joke, nearly every night after the exams finished, I have been dreaming of things Leaving Cert related. Things like being late for an exam, or sleeping during the exam, or having to do the Chemistry and Maths papers at the same time (nightmare). I think the exams went worse than I thought they were going to go. I am not at all confident that I will get the points I need to do the course that I want to do (General Science, and then Neuroscience. I've given up on Medicine upon receiving my HPAT score and realising that I don't have enough points to get in.) Waiting for the results of the exams is a very difficult time for me. It's having to deal with the anxiety and the stress and the feeling of probably disappointing half the people I know, including myself, that keeps me very on edge these days. I still have about six weeks to go before I receive my results, and I cannot shake anxiety feelings at all, and will probably have to deal with these feelings until I get my results.

That's what I have been up to lately. If you want me to do a more in-depth post on the Leaving Cert and my experience of it before, during, and after, please let me know. Same goes with applying for grants and finalising my CAO application form. I think talking about these things will help me feel better about them.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Shameless Sporadic Scribbler

I have no shame.

One thing they don't tell you enough about your senior year is this: YOU ARE GOING TO BE BUSY AS FUCK. And in the rare occurrences when you have time, you're going to be too tired to even be arsed to write another piece of writing. But enough with the excuses. I've done this act enough times. You know the drill.

I really REALLY wanna blog more from this point forward. I'm going to be in college in just a few months and I want to document each event. In the earlier days when I was first figuring out this whole college thing, I was desperately looking for somebody who have come before me, someone I can ask for advice. And since I found none, really, I have decided that that person is going to be me. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that. This blog post is going to be a mixed bag of sorts. Let us begin.

First of all, if your school has a Guidance Counsellor, please please PLEASE avail of that service. I know in my experience, even when I didn't know what to put down for my CAO, even talking to the guidance counsellor about how I didn't know what to put down for my CAO helped so much! In my school, we are lucky enough to have such a trustworthy counsellor who really has all your best interest at heart. We had a meeting with her for forty minutes every couple of months and she helped and still helps us not just with stuff like college applications, but also in terms of scholarships, loans, accommodations, societies, and everything else. She's our go-to person, in short. so I highly recommend availing of the service yourself if it's available to you! 

I decided to go for Medicine, with the 5 colleges in Ireland that does Medicine on top of my CAO list. It is a restricted course however, and to be able to get Medicine, one has to sit the HPAT, and obtain a good enough mark. So last February, the 28th, I sat the HPAT exams. On the run-up to the exams I signed up to do a HPAT course for two days. One of those days is dedicated for the students to learn how to answer the questions in the test; tips and tricks and such. The second day was a mock exam in which we all sat a full HPAT paper to see how well we would hypothetically do on the test. I did this course with Career Services and I highly recommend it! ACER (the company who does the HPAT exams) will tell you that signing up for a revision course and getting a good mark in the exams have no correlation, but from my point of view, doing a course is invaluable. It gives you a good sense of how to approach the paper timing-wise, it gives you tricks in figuring out what the answers are (especially for Section 3- Non Verbal and Logical Reasoning), and it gives you a piece of mind. To come in on the day of the HPAT and to see and to sit a full HPAT paper for the first time would've given me a fright! But with the course done and the layout of the questions familiar already, it was much easier for me to be calm.

Repetition is key for the HPAT, so practice, practice, PRACTICE!

Having said that, there is no way of knowing how well I did in the Exams until June, so I'll keep you all posted!

In other news, I have been quite busy these past couple of months not just with academia but with extra-curricular activities as well. I entered the Poetry Ireland competition last November, and was lucky enough to be chosen as a finalist! I was also lucky enough to be asked by a Swedish film crew to film a little documentary with them, on the subject of my being a finalist in the competition, to be aired in Sweden. It was a lot of fun! If the documentary goes online soon, I'll let  you all know!

Stemming from the Poetry Ireland competition was the opportunity to record poems in a recording studio for a text book! It was an amazing experience for me! It was my first time at a recording studio and the whole day was just so magical!

As well as that, my school choir, of which I am a part of obviously, has been joining and winning competitions left right and centre! We took part in the Kilkenny Music Festival and won the Smithwicks trophy. And just this week took part and won the  Alice Yokely cup for the Feis Ceoil in Dublin, and won the Best Secondary School Choir Award, and won the Top Overall Choir of the Competition Award! Most of the 6th years in the choir have been in it since first year, and we are quite happy to end our turn with a bang! Next week, we are going to be singing in the National Concert Hall for the closing of the Feis. We're all very excited! I'll document it here, don't you worry!

I also took part in the St, Patrick's Day parade in Kilkenny with the Filipino Community! It was exciting, but it also took a lot of my time!

I think that's pretty much it! Other than that, I've been quite busy with the Mocks. I'm not as yet comfortable disclosing the results I got, but maybe when I get my Leaving Cert results I'll share it with you all! But on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being INCREDIBLE, it was a 3. I was happy, but not quite.

So anyway, I think this has been long enough! I hope to talk to you guys again soon! GOODBYE!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On Fashion

I've always been very zealous about fashion. When I was younger, my best friend (who is my cousin) would come over in the weekends to my house. We did everything together back then, including plan our outfits, even when we had nowhere to go. We would also where the same type of clothes, as in, if I wore a pair of shorts, she would too, and vice versa. As I grew older, my love for fashion, and my confidence with it, diminished a little bit, but moving to Ireland and growing up in general not only brought that confidence back but also made my voice -in regards to not only my style but in my opinions and values as well- louder.

It's kind of strange how in the five years that I have been blogging, I never wrote about just fashion. A lot of people would probably find my style from time to time eccentric, or "out there," but I can guarantee you that I am 150% comfortable in whatever I wear, whether it be as basic as a pair of skinny jeans or as erratic as a pair of bright orange tights under a black tulle skirt. This, I think is what fashion is all about. Not fitting in, or looking like another person's idea of "cool," but in showcasing who you are in clothes that you feel the most comfortable in, that you feel the most you in. I always feel like my voice is most heard when other people sees what I wear. Whether people like it or not, I am confident in it, because whatever I wear is always me.

Which is why I have decided to create my very own fashion blog, which you can visit it here. This idea has been playing in my mind for, like, two years now, but factors like time and effort and "do I even know how to blog?" kept getting in the way. But last night, I have decided that I'm just going to for it. Although I haven't been blogging as regularly as I used to, it is still one of the main things that makes me happy, and perhaps a new fashion blog like this would re-ignite the passion that I had for blogging three or four years ago.

You can visit the blog if you so please. I have put up pictures of previous outfits that I have worn on it, which you may have already seen on instagram or twitter or facebook. I look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

I cannot tell you guys how happy I am that it's finally October! I started the month off in the right foot, I went on a retreat with my friends to a retreat house in Laois where we talk about positive mentality among other things. We even discussed the idea of having a sort of "Pouch of Happiness," which something that one can hold on to when the going gets tough. We sort of "made" our own one, but less real and more primary school craft with paper and stickers:

I'm thinking of maybe making a real one for myself!

I've been very stressed with school in September that I'm very glad to be leaving that month behind, and I feel like because of the retreat I'm ready to take on October!

To me it's a really special month because it's my birthday month, it's when it starts to REALLY feel like Autumn (my second favorite season), and last but not the least, it means Halloween (and with that, midterm break)! I'm so super excited. This year I've decided that I'm going to dress up as Cleopatra. I've already experimented with the make up:
The only thing that I have to organise is the costume itself, which, provided I have the right materials will hopefully not be too hard!

I hope this month will treat me better than September! And I hope it treats you all well too.


P.S. Here are some more pictures related to October to make everyone feel a little bit more inspired:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rambling Again

I should really be writing my English essay right now, but I got very distracted by gorgeous pictures of Rome. As you may or may not know, I went to Rome in a school tour about a year and a half ago, and I fell head over heels in love with the place. The atmosphere, the food, the culture. It may be because it was the first time I've ever really been to a foreign city as big as Rome and I may be biased because the people I was with were amazing people as well, but to me it was perfect. To me it was so perfect, in fact, that although I want to spend some time in Rome and living there is a fantasy of mine, I don't think I would ever really go and stay there. I don't want to ruin the perfect memory I have of Rome. I don't know. I'm just rambling.

And since I'm here already anyhow, let me take this opportunity to apologise again for the lack of content these days. Sixth year has really made looking for the time and even for the motivation to write on this blog a really difficult thing to do, especially during the weekdays. On the weekends, the only free day I really have is Sunday, and writing is the last thing that comes to my head because I'd much rather stay in bed or spend some time with my friends (which actually rarely ever happens). But I still don't want to completely abandon blogging. This was my release when I was feeling stressed. This was my instagram and my snapchat and my facebook. So many memories tucked away in files from 2010 and I don't want to just delete all of that. I still like writing. And I love story telling. So maybe my motivation to blog will come back again. I don't even know if this makes sense. I just feel like there are so many thoughts on my head at the moment and I need to get some of them out.

I went to my very last Open Night in my secondary school about a week ago, and it made me very emotional. I suddenly realised that that was the last time I was ever going to sing with the choir at the open night, the last time I'm ever going to show parents and future students around, the last time I'm going to experience that kind of chaos and that feeling of surrealness when you're in school during the night. It got me reeeeeal bad. I know I complain about school every waking moment of my life, but I really had very good experiences in my school. I made amazing friends, met amazing people, and learned so much not just in academics but in other things like debating and leadership and of course friendship. I deal very badly with nostalgia, although it's one of my favorite emotions. I just know I'll be crying pretty bad when the last day of school comes. Help.

Let's see... what else what else. I think that's pretty much it. I have literally so many things to do I barely have time to breathe. I'll do my best to keep this blog cause I have actually plans for it, but I don't know if I have time. We'll see won't we.

Hopefully I'll see you soon.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer's Nearly Over...

And so is my life.

Not really.

So it's been around two months since my last post, and I do apologize for the readers (if any) of this blog for not having heard from me for weeks and weeks. However, it has been a great summer for me, and it was really nice to just sit back and be present, in the moment, instead of having to worry about what I'm going to write a blog post about that day. Granted, I haven't been nearly as diligent in blog-writing as I was or I should be, which is why, from that angle also, the two-month off was beneficial. It gave me time to miss my blog, time to miss writing. And I do miss the days when I had a little notebook and I would jot down whatever idea came into my head that I thought I could regurgitate into blog form, but with instagram and twitter and snapchat and everything else that has to do with my iPhone, it's been pretty difficult taking an idea to a blog when I could just write a tiny note about it and put it on other social networking sites. Having said that though, I really do miss writing and I do want to put more of an effort writing in this blog. Back in 2011, which I always think was the peak of blogging for me, writing here gave me two things: (1) an outlet from where I could forget/rant about my problems, and (2) a project which kept me in check, by which I mean it prevented me from procrastinating too much. Over the years, as my blogging habits worsened, so did my procrastination. And with my last and most important school year approaching, there is nothing more I would like to avoid that procrastinating, and so blogging could only be beneficial for me.

I don't want to make a plan, or promise anything about blogging, because they never really happen for me. If you're an older reader I'm sure you have seen me try and fail to restart my site. So let me just say that I would do my best to come in here every week or so and rant to you, give you tips, tell you a funny story, and the like. Okay?

Anyway, as I was saying, summer was a lot of fun this year. A few days before leaving for the Philippines for vacation, I saw my favorite band, Arctic Monkeys, perform live in Marlay Park in Dublin. It was my first concert and it was incredibly memorable. The crowd was a bit to the rougher side (I was thrown into a mosh pit at one point, it was an experience), but I still enjoyed it very much. My friend Kate wrote a blog post on her blog about her experience but I make so much of a cameo on it that I feel like it speaks for both of us.

And then I left for the Philippines with my mom and brother Josh (my dad followed us a few days later). We were originally not going to go home this year, but since I was very insisting, I guess my parents were forced to take us home. Philippines was very... Philippine-y. There is no other way I could describe it. The weather was hot and humid, the people in equal parts welcoming and rude, and the food gorgeous. I celebrated my 18th birthday in there, although it's a few months early, because it's a Filipino tradition for a debutante to have a grand and fancy 18th birthday. I was in a ball gown and everything, it was kind of crazy. My parents also met my Friend for the first time (I pulled some strings to make sure that he was my last dance, which may or may not have happened without my parents' consent), which resulted to a very awkward albeit pleasant conversation with my dad about the future and my role in it, all coming down to "don't think about relationships first." Of course me and my Friend did meet up a couple of times still and it was heeeella fun and I'm definitely planning to come back again next year to do it allll over again. Going back to Ireland was a challenge in itself, too, although one that I did enjoy. I travelled on my own for the very first time! I felt very adult.

I think that was about it for my summer. I go back to school in a few days and this school year, I'm sitting my Leaving Cert exam. Here's hoping for the best, but I will keep all y'all posted.