My new home:
We’ve heard the songs. We’ve read the poems. We’ve seen the posters. But when we say that we believe the children are the future, what exactly are we doing about it? What steps are we taking to make this belief an actual reality?
Needless to say, the role of education is very important in shaping society. Children need to learn in order to lead. But our country is challenged in terms of giving her kids the education they deserve—this is the problem that Friends of Hope, Inc. aims to address.
Water is a basic necessity—we cannot absolutely survive without it! More so, given this crazy summer heat! Friends of Hope, Inc. has hinged on this simple idea in order to bring about a lasting change in our country. Therefore, HOPE in a Bottle was created!
When you are in need of a quick sip, or basically just in need of H2O, drop by any of the following retailers and grab a bottle of HOPE!
- Rustan’s Supermarket
- Krispy Kreme
- Seattle’s Best Coffee
- Jamba Juice
- South Supermarket
- Kenny Roger’s roasters
- Super 8 Grocery Warehouse
- Robinsons Supermarket
- Suy Sing
- The Landmark
It still strikes me as amazing how a company can be bold enough to launch a product where 100% of all profits are donated for a cause—and in this case, it’s education! Yep, you heard it right! 100% of all profits made from HOPE in A Bottle go to the building of more public schools in the country. How awesome is that?!
The choices we make in life reflect the things we believe in, and by simply choosing HOPE in a Bottle, you make a stand for education. When you choose HOPE, you are choosing CHANGE. Your simple act can help write the story of many children who are caught in a standstill because they do not have access to formal education. A small step goes a long way, and such is the case with HOPE in a Bottle. When you invest in HOPE, you invest in the Filipino.
I’m feeling HOPEful about this, are you?
Today, I talk about Bucket Listing and Growing Up.
I have been meaning to compile and write down 30 things that I want to accomplish before I reach the full, ripe age of 30. I admit, I have been a lazy-ass, but my cousin Tricia made me realize that I should quit stalling and start writing! So today, I finally took the time to craft my list.
See, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really have a career plan in mind, but I have goals that I want to cross out. I understand that a lot of people would frown upon this mindset, but we only have one life to live, right? I just want to make the most out of it.
Financially, I know that this will be a challenge. Being a girl, I have unnecessary but (excusably) necessary expenses such as clothes, nail polish, etc etc etc. And because of this reason (among many others), I know this will entail me to juggle a day job with a few sidelines, but it’s okay. The determination mustered from daydreaming about reaching these goals (!!!+!) has fueled me to just do it. So, let’s go!
Mikka Wee’s 30 before 30:
- Swim with the whale sharks (butanding) and experience the firefly boat ride in Donsol
- Go to the Burning Man Art Festival in Nevada
- Visit the 38th Parallel & the Locks of Love in Seoul
- Kiss Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
- Go to the Color Festival in India
- Witness the Northern Lights and visit Alexander Supertramp’s Magic Bus in Alaska
- SECRET GOAL. I will divulge when the time comes!
- Witness the Sky Lantern Festival in Bangkok
- Climb to the peak of Mt. Pulag
- Visit Calauit Island in Palawan
- Go spelunking in Sagada
- Have my cookie business up and running
- Ride a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey
- Hop on the train from Bangkok to Vietnam
- Carefree in Santorini!!!
- Launch a project/movement for the art community
- Finish the Bible
- Find a pen-pal who’s willing to correspond the old school way
- Bungee jump in Macau
- Go backpacking alone in a foreign land
- Meet a panda bear and visit the Great Wall
- Read at least 200 books
- See (and hopefully touch) a polar bear
- Go skydiving
- Throw a Harry Potter-themed dinner
- Re-learn the art of watercolor and fill up at least 3 sketchbooks
- Complete a 365 photo project
- Write at least 375 blog entries
- Be an active member of a community with a cause I firmly believe in
- Find myself.
One of my favorite quotes in the whole wide world is François Rabelais’s I go to seek a Great Perhaps, which were his last words. It can be quite cryptic, subjective, and open to interpretation. But here’s how I see it: I like how the word “seek” connotes a perpetual search for something…capitalized, akin to a quest of sorts. This comes in the form of the Great Perhaps, which, according to some people, implies Death or Paradise because the Renaissance writer said it as he breathed his last. But for me, I’d like to view it as a constant adventure. Not really along the lines of demise, but more of a journey towards Something Bigger.
So as of today, April 7, 2012, I, Mikka Wee, 22 years of age, have exactly 7 years and 9 months to make the aforementioned list HAPPEN. The clock is ticking.
Let’s get started!
March 26, 2012. It has been 2 years since I graduated from college.
Yup, 17, 280 hours ago I was in my friend’s condo prepping up for that big day known as Graduation.
Some memories include:
- Waffles at Pancake House
- That grueling 4-hour grad practice
- Our last lunch as students in KFC
- Settling for a ponytail because of my awkward hair length
- Rushing in heels to hail a tricycle driver (that overcharged, yet we complied because we were that desperate)
- Risking my valuables’ safety by stuffing them all in a duffel bag and into a random locker without a lock
- Again, the heels
- Photos with friends
- That 5-second diploma walk
- A Song for Mary with my fist lifted high in the air, filled with so much pride and promise
- Throwing our graduation caps
- Missing the after party because I got too full after dinner and passed out on the couch
Seeing my Facebook feed filled with graduation photos makes me feel immensely nostalgic. I felt a gravitational pull towards that pit that contained all of my thoughts during that day. It was a pleasant mix of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go and my whiny self complaining inwardly about my hair and my heels. See, I never wear heels, and as much as I wanted to leave them behind and walk in my worn-out Sanuks, I knew it would make my mum proud. To see her 20-year old daughter in heels. It was that big of a deal. Anyways.
The feeling of graduating from university embarked a new beginning. Thoughts along the lines of a new chapter has closed, a new one has begun! Or time to turn a new leaf. Or this is it!!! engulfed my mind. For me, well, I guess I was still getting used to the idea of having to enter the real world, and earning my own dough. Part of me was ecstatic, knowing that I was going to be a “young professional”, but at the same time, I didn’t want to let go of the familiar environment I was leaving.
One thing that sort of umbrella-d all these thoughts was the idea of hope and promise. I was pompous enough to think that I had everything going the way I wanted. I had a college diploma and I had what I thought of (then) as my “dream job” waiting for me. It felt like I had a jittering time bomb inside me, waiting to explode at my command. I had the world in my hands, and everything would sail smoothly hereon.
But the ugly truth is that life did not turn out the way I expected (as with most things in this life). To be brutally honest, I remain to find myself at a standstill. That’s just how life has been rolling for me right now, but don’t get me wrong. I think being stuck is the perfect place for me at the moment. Two years after graduation, I am still ardently searching for my little corner in the universe. I guess it’s just different for everyone. I have friends who instantly found what they were looking for, and good for them. It just means that the ball rolls at a different pace for everybody—unique and special. And that’s perfectly fine.
I think that right now is the perfect time to get lost and explore. There are a lot of times when I write about how I need a break to think about life again, and again, and again. Sometimes, I get frustrated and wonder why I haven’t figured it out yet, but today, I realized that it’s okay. This is the time to try new things, and if they don’t work out, it just means that it wasn’t meant for you. It’s kind of maddening, yes. But if we didn’t know what wasn’t meant for us, then we wouldn’t discover what we were meant to do.
Graduation is such a beautiful anomaly in the sense that you are released with some fine furnished skills and talents, and a clearer idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life. But it’s also taking your first dip into the ocean of uncertainty. The end is just the beginning, and sometimes, that path towards the right direction may take a while to discover. That’s where I am now, figuring things out. And I am taking my time in doing just that. I am still holding on to my Great Perhaps close, and someday, somehow, I know I will reach my destination. It’s only a matter of time.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
- Dr. Seuss
Photos from my corner of the room.
Death Cab for Cutie Live in Manila Setlist:
- A Lack of Color
- I Will Possess Your Heart
- Crooked Teeth
- We Laugh Indoors
- Doors Unlock and Open
- Long Division
- Grapevine Fires
- Codes and Keys
- What Sarah Said
- I Will Follow You into the Dark
- Title and Registration
- You Are a Tourist
- The New Year
- Company Calls
- Company Calls Epilogue
- Soul Meets Body
- We Looked Like Giants
- The Sound of Settling
- Home is a Fire
- Meet Me on the Equinox
- A Movie Script Ending
Time has been flying so fast, I can barely keep track of it.
From what I thought was a slow and steady rewind became a sudden fast forward. Things have been changing and so much has been happening.
I was clearly mistaken for what I thought was one of those Monotonous Streaks. It took me a while to piece everything together, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past week. I noticed that my dramatic and melancholic self has been resurfacing, and my mood and my thoughts have taken a ride of ups and downs. I’d like to think that things are also starting to look up despite everything that has happened in the past year. I am also thankful in the slightest bit that even though I learn most things the hard way, I still learn anyways. Here are some of those things:
1. Love hard when there is love to be had.
I think it’s safe to say that falling in love, or rather, investing in relationships is hard. And I think it’s also safe to say that no one wants to get hurt. For the longest time, I have been afraid to love fully and be completely vulnerable simply because I didn’t want to run home crying and heartbroken. In my earlier years of puberty, when I was stupid and still in high school, I took the line from Death Cab for Cutie’s song out of context and always found a reason to validate why “fear is the heart of love.” I made up so many excuses to defend my insanely flawed logic, which put me in a position where I thought I was safe. Looking back, being in the safe zone not only protected me from the hurt, but also from the happiness.
I feel like such a hypocrite sometimes since I always talk about being brave and strong and courageous. Because when it comes to love, I realized that I was such a pathetic coward and deserved the loser award for it.
Two Saturdays ago, I gave a talk about LOVE, and how it is BRAVE enough to ENDURE. As I was crafting the message, I felt like such a fool. It was the message I needed to hear for myself. Fear is not the heart of love, and it never is and will be. A lot of it has to do with faith, and a huge chunk of it has to do with hope and trust. Courage plays a part in deciding to faith over fear, no matter how hard it is.
Love is about opening your heart to all possibilities. It’s probably the biggest risk most of us guarded ones will ever take. It’s about being vulnerable to pain and hurt, but also welcoming happiness. At the end of the day, it can be a gamble, but it’s always worth the risk.
2. I don’t have a career plan; I have goals. And I think that’s okay.
I was never one who envisioned herself as a CEO of So-and-So Company in x number of years. Coming from a business-minded family, I never picked up the need to climb the corporate ladder. I also remember having my future boil down to only two career paths: law or medicine. I wanted neither so I chose a different road.
After graduation, I thought that a career path was absolutely essential in life because that was what every successful person was doing. But right now, I don’t think that a position defines who you are. I think it’s more of how you act when it comes to doing the things you do.
I know not a lot of people share this perspective, but for me, I think crossing out goals is what makes me feel happy and fulfilled. Living in a constant state of wonder and being in an environment that keeps me inspired is what motivates me to carry on with life, even though it has the tendency to be quite lame sometimes. And what happens when you cross all your goals? You make new ones. I find this very exciting because there is this uncertainty that doesn’t reveal any clues about what’s next. Life surprises you all the time, and the best thing you can do is to embrace these surprises—whether they be good or bad.
Recent events have made me realized how much of a blessing it is to have a family. There were times when I just wanted out and run away. There were times when I felt completely deviant from my family, and there were also those dark moments when I wished I were born with a different surname. But I guess there really is a reason why we were born into a family, and not given the opportunity to choose. No matter how annoyed we can get because of our mothers’ menopausal moments or our fathers’ shortcomings, we shouldn’t discount the fact that we wouldn’t be breathing right now if it weren’t for them. I’ve been learning to appreciate my family more, not take them for granted, and try to show them more love. Even though it can be tough sometimes.
4. Know when to let go.
It’s hard to let go of some things in life because of various reasons. There are a lot of considerations to be made, and we let our common sense or impulsiveness guide our decisions in a heartbeat sometimes. Relationships, security, convenience, and many other things become the reason for staying even though we know that our growth has already been stagnating. Letting go is hard, but sometimes if we choose to stay, we’ll never see what better things lie ahead.
5. It’s never too late to start something great.
There was news recently about a 60+ year old topping the bar, and this made me smile. These little things remind me that it’s never too late to exhaust your talents on something you care about. Whether you’re 20, 40, 60, or even 80, if you know deep in your heart that you want to make something happen, then just do it. Don’t let your thoughts about external factors overshadow the things you know you can control—your thoughts and actions.
I know it’s easier said than done (aren’t most things?) because I myself have been struggling with this. I always fall into that trap when my thoughts seem to go out of hand, and instead of doing something, I just don’t. Just because I feel like I’m gonna be “just another _______ (fill in the blank)”.
My friend said something along the lines of “the worst wars are the ones waged inside your head.” And me, being someone who overthinks too much allows things to get in the way of my determination. I don’t want that anymore. I’m already tired of making excuses.
I’m still trying to get my life in order and set my goals straight, but time is fleeting, and more so our lives. If we keep holding back, I guess we’re never getting anywhere. The odds of life are crazy. In fact, it’s even a miracle to be breathing right now. What we have is now. And what we do now, defines what we stand for. Why wait? Don’t put off what you can do today. Love more, risk more, take that leap of faith, and fly.
Nothing has been what I’d guessed so far.
Unforeseen, this most sweet, beautiful change.
When the high noon heat is scorching and sweat starts to trickle down your nape at 10 in the morning, then you have experienced the Early Summer Bliss. And if you feel like hitting the beach A.S.A.P. instead of rotting in the office, but have no means to do so, then you can just settle for the next best thing: ICE CREAM (lots of it!).
I am very picky when it comes to my food. I’d separate the carrots and peas from my fried rice, and peel off the pineapples and bell peppers from my slice of pizza. But ice cream? Now that’s a different story. I am a SUCKER for anything Cookie Dough. I love vanilla, berry flavors, and exciting out-of-this-world combinations that reading them alone can make my mouth water in an instant. Yes, Cookie Dough will always have a special place in my heart, but when it comes to choosing the best VANILLA ice cream, I rest my case. Nothing beats New Zealand Natural (NZN) premium ice cream.
My childhood friend, Trufferson, brought the brand to the Philippines last year, and he gifted me last Christmas with 2 hand-packed pints of my choice of ice cream flavors. When it comes to judging ice cream, I have taken into heed my Dad’s number 1 rule: taste the vanilla. So I got that, and White-Chocolate Raspberry. What was intended to be a “one-spoon-taste” ended up in a pigfest as my cousins Aika, Arvy, and me finished BOTH pints of ice cream. In one sitting.
Last week, Truff told me that they were opening a temporary stall in Glorietta (!!!). Which meant that it would be extremely convenient for me to get my daily ice cream fix since the current NZN stalls were located way up North! So I happily dropped by their store and took a peek at their offerings, and I was overwhelmed with their choices! Lucky for me, Truff was generous enough to let me sample ALL the flavors available, and fed me more ice cream after! Ah! So much for my meager attempts to lose weight! But it was superduper worth every calorie.
What I love the most about NZN Ice Cream (aside from the really pretty colors!) is that they aren’t too sweet. The consistency of the ice cream is pretty true to its creaminess—meaning, it’s not runny when it starts melting. Which is good because this means that more milk was used than water (most commercialized ice creams tend to be runny), therefore validating its claim to be a premium standard. The sorbets, on the other hand, were very refreshing. The texture was very smooth and it wasn’t icy!
Flavors clockwise from the left with my side comments muahaha:
- Strawberry – One of my childhood favorites! I love how the sweetness of this ice cream was punctuated by a bit of tanginess, thanks to the generous bits of real strawberries!
- Vanilla – A timeless classic made from REAL, LEGIT VANILLA BEANS. I immediately gave my nodding (and wanting for more) approval after tasting this for the first time last December. Plus, you can see the itsy bitsy seeds. BEST. VANILLA. ICE. CREAM. EVER. Take my unbiased word for it. I love this so, so much.
- Boysenberry – For ice cream, this variant packs a lot of bold, berry flavor! Bits of berry in berry ice cream. Berry good.
- Chocolate Ecstasy - Super-rich-but-not-super-sweet chocolate ice cream! The counterpart of vanilla, but wth, it’s my kind of chocolate ice cream! This definitely brings out those childhood carnival days.
- Cookies and Cream - Now this, folks, is the Cookies and Cream that will get the grown ups’ approval. Again, it’s not too sweet as compared to store-bought ice cream. The cookies are also quite delicious themselves! The sweetness of the cookies’ filling wasn’t at all overpowering. Yummeh.
- Superfruit Sorbet – Super tangy sorbet bursting with loads of fresh fruit flavor! I think this one really nailed my expectations of the ultimate summer treat! Eating this made me think of the beach. This is the perfect summer flavor if you’re looking for a sunny melange of different tropical fruits and berries. Mmmm.
- Walnut Butterscotch – I am not a fan of nuts, but this made me change my mind. IMHO, this was the sweetest amongst all the flavors (yes, even sweeter than the chocolate). The caramel ice cream was a tad too sweet for my tastes. (I suggest adding a touch of salt!) But they were generous with the walnuts, so that kinda compensated for that.
- Berryfruit Sorbet – Mmmm I go boinkers for berries, and this really made me swoon! I expected it to be a bit tangier though, but nevertheless, it was really good! Berry bliss fireworks in my mouth.
- Matcha – Simple and exotic. Earthy green tea flavor with a hint of Matcha.
- White Chocolate Raspberry – One of their bestsellers (and I couldn’t agree more!). White chocolate ice cream loaded with white chocolate chunks (!!!) balanced out with tangy notes of raspberry. MYGAD. I remember fighting over the last spoon of this with my cousins. Very, very yummy.
- Café Espresso – And there has to be That Coffee Ice Cream. I never choose coffee-flavored ice cream simply because I like its liquid state better. Well, it tasted like coffee in ice cream form. DUH. How else do I describe it. I’m not really good in describing coffee, but it’s as Coffee-ee as Coffee can get. Strong coffee.
- Hokey Pokey – NOW, THIS. You have to try this!!! Aside from the Vanilla and White Chocolate Raspberry, this is GOLDEN. Honey Ice Cream (what even!) and hints of butterscotch make this ice cream heaven sent. Just add some bits of honeycomb and you’ve got an ice cream flavor that even the grizzliest of bears will not be able to resist.
Aside from the Vanilla and White Chocolate Raspberry, I obviously enjoyed the Hokey Pokey (again, HONEY FLAVORED ICE CREAM WITH BUTTERSCOTCH!!!) and the Superfruit Sorbet.
New Zealand Natural ice cream is made only from pure and imported New Zealand milk, and everything else is natural—a purist’s dream ice cream. I’m not surprised that it has been consistently winning New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association annual awards! The prices are pretty reasonable for ice cream this delish (Regular Scoop – Php 95, Additional Scoop – Php 50, Hand Packed Pint – Php 320).
Their store can be found in the Upper Ground Floor of SM Fairview, but they’re bringing the love to SM Megamall and Robinson’s Place as well! I hope they also include Makati in their expansion plans, and I also cross my fingers that their branch in Glorietta will stay for good! Otherwise I’ll keep coming back until March 15.