Major Life Update!


I have a happy and exciting news of love!


This is the part when I get to do a giddy dance and a head bang at the same time!

Or not really! But I did celebrate, more or less into a happy dance! haha

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Well, well, as this blog post say...it's a major life update!!!

Because....


#Frenchieatpinay are engaged!!!


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It happened during Frenchie's recent trip to Brazil last month. (I had to take some time to keep this engagement, more or less within my inner circle first, before I am now announcing it to cyber world.) There are some things, like engagement that needed some time to just be a personal, private, special moment. And Instagram story doesn't count! haha

Also because we had a death in the family. My Tatay's (father) eldest brother died on just the same weekend as this engagement. :( So I opted to mourn him than celebrate this engagement, so to speak.

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As most of you know, #Frenchieatpinay are very much in a long-distance-relationship and if there's any way we were able to pull off our relationship this long--- almost five years now, it is really because of our travel mileage! haha

Kidding aside, it really is because we're just perfect for each other. Awww. I don't think I could find someone like him. And he couldn't resist someone like me. End of story. :D


DID I KNOW HE'S GOING TO PROPOSE?


Well, honestly I pressured him to propose.

And I'm not kidding. Here's the thing. I'm not a desperate girl who wanted so badly for an engagement ring. BUT, Frenchie and I have been long talking about of getting married and making everything proper since I came to live in Brazil. The fact is, we were already looking into the paper works of it all, because eventually I will have to move to France with him. I even wrote my dilemma about it. Because in this day and age, interracial marriages are still a loooonggggg process to do. 

Somehow my girly side told me that if we really have to do everything properly, he has to propose and give me a ring. So yeah, I did pressure him. ;)


HOW DID HE DO IT?


So I always know at the back of my head that on his visit to Brazil, he's going to propose. I just don't know when. There was even a moment when he gave me a small wooden box, and I thought it was that. But nah, he was just being cute!

For weeks, we traveled to the south of Brazil, even crossed Paraguay and Argentina, went to Salvador, spent several days in Vitoria, made a short trip to Santa Tereza--- and he didn't show any gestures of "popping the question".

It was on an unguarded moment, when in the private space of our hotel room in Rio de Janeiro, on a Saturday morning, on his last full day in Brazil before going back to France, while I was dressing up for a long day of excursion in the city--- he calmly told me he wanted to give my (late) birthday present.

At that time, all my expectations were not hinting of a proposal.

I honestly thought it was just his sweet act of giving me my birthday (in March) gift. He gave me a wrapped gift in blue--- my favorite color, and I giddily opened it. The gift was Elizabeth Gilbert's book: Big Magic. It's the book that I mentioned to him that I wanted to read (and buy).


When I opened the first few pages, I noticed the heart cutouts, and that was really the moment when it dawned on me what was happening!


Then I saw the ring in the book. My eyes started to be teary-eyed, and Frenchie said, "Wait, you need a bookmark to read it." And I was like, "How can I read this when it has cutouts?!" I kind of laughed and then he showed me the bookmark...

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So lo and behold, in his sweetest gesture and full Frenchie cuteness, he asked me if I wanted to marry him...


And I said YES!!!


I loved it!!! Because it was soo him. It was soo us. The "bookmark" had a back story to our first trip to Paris. And it has something to do with my all time favorite French movie, AmelieSo all the details are very personal and well thought. Nothing grand. Just us, two. And I love, love, love it!

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We have not set any wedding dates yet. Because again, it's going to be a loooongggg, arduous process at the time being. It will most likely depend on the accomplishments of paper works and requirements! #interracialpassports


And oh, I'm staying for another FULL year in Brazil, so that's also another thing to consider, when it comes to planning the wedding. I have a feeling this is going to be a long engagement. Haha.


For now, I'm just taking it one day at a time. Frenchie and I always have a Bob Marley mantra that has kept us sane in our LDR madness: "Baby don't worry, about a thing. Because every little thing's gonna be alright."

That really keeps me feel relieved. ;)


Side note: How does a boyfriend "know" his girlfriend's ring size, if he's trying a surprise proposal?!? In the movies or in engagement videos, the ring always seem to fit perfectly. Mine was one size bigger, so Frenchie has to give it back and have it customized to my tiny finger size.

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THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS SPECIAL,

HAPPY MOMENT WITH US!

Would I Love Living In France?


When we have to choose between love and career, what's the best answer?


This has been my dilemma for the past few months now. I honestly thought that when I get to this point, the answer would be an easy one. But I was wrong. I still don't have an answer to this.

And I literally have to give my decision to my boss at the end of this month, if I wanted to stay in Brazil for another year or not.


I'm really trying to weigh in my reasoning: if I'm just trying to make excuses, or if I'm just not ready to settle down, or if I don't want to move to Europe.


Today, Frenchie and I spent the whole day talking about ALL the possibilities of our future, specifically my move to France sometime soon. It was a tough one for the both of us. I mainly have to blame our passport differences, of course, my third-world-passport is going to make it even more complicated for us. 

I wish things are really easier said than done, but we're two individuals that continue to support each other's dreams no matter what. Aside from visa slash passport problem is our main concern, it's somehow deeper for me...

The thing is, I don't think I would really be happy living in France. That's from own point of view.

Don't get me wrong. I have dreamed of living in Europe as far as I can remember. When most people from my country dreamed of the American dream, I didn't join that bandwagon. Europe became my favorite continent because of their culture and history. That's why I dated mostly European men in my 20s because I wanted to settle down in Europe eventually. Wink. Wink. 

Then things (kind of) changed when I finally got myself into France. I saw, tasted, breathe, and experienced Europe for the very first time, and I was kind of disappointed. (I'm still actually having a hard time writing my France travel experience simply because I can't get around of what to write.)

To say the least--- I wasn't smitten, unlike most people. And that's what I'm so afraid of. Will I end up loving living in France or not?!

Coming from Asia and having lived in South America, I was so used to a culture so welcoming, so open, so warm, so happy, so relaxing, so carefree, so engaging, so friendly, so generous, so family-centered, and so spiritual.

And somehow, I feel that I will never get that in Europe. Am I wrong? Am I just overly thinking? Or am I a prejudice?

I, of course had a GREAT time when I was there. But it's really different when you're just visiting or being touristy. It'll be a completely different ball game once you start living a life there.

I'm afraid that it'll be like living in the US once again. I was borderline depressed when I lived there. I felt like I don't belong in the sense of their community. But to be fair, I really never wanted to live in the US on the first place, so that made me miserable from the very start.

This time around the problem is, Frenchie would be assigned in the outskirt of Paris, far from his family and friends. I would have to deal with finding a job which will take sometime, learning French which I really HAVE to, and hopefully be able to make new friends which I pray wouldn't be too hard. I know I've done this many times before, when I chose a nomadic life. But I've never really done a HUGE move for a guy. My nomadic choices were primarily my own decisions, so to speak.


Honestly, adjusting and adapting to a new city or environment

was never a problem to me.


Somehow though, France is giving me a different vibe that I can't seem to fathom. I don't know what it is. And I hope I'm wrong with all of my assumptions. I hope I will have the best time of my life in France just like how Julia Child has made hers. 

Maybe I will make her my spirit animal on this difficult decision making in my life. She seems to have been on the same shoes as I'll be. 

But then again, how do I get to walk away from a career I love (maybe for a year) and also be with the man I love?

Because when I walked away from teaching for a year and a half when I left China for good, I didn't feel like I was doing something noteworthy for myself, although I was traveling and discovering the world. I realized then, that as an individual, we need to be doing something that is giving us a purpose and that we are really making an impact. 

For me, teaching is what I live for, every waking day of my life! Just to make it clear, it would mean that when I move to France, I have to wait for everything to be legal (on my end) in order to apply for a job, and hopefully, it wouldn't be too difficult to find a Preschool English teaching job. And the way we look at it, it'll be at least a year to wait.


Has anyone been on this situation as me? How was your decision making?

The Art of Letting Go

 

A poem written by Consrael.

To all those who have loved and lost...


It's over. He's gone. 

Why do we have to part while
the love is still there? 
Why do we have to suffer? 
Why do we have to cry when
somebody bids goodbye? 
Why do beginnings have an end? 
Why do we have to meet
only to lose in the end? 

There are questions left unanswered, 
words left unsaid, letters left unread, 
poems left undone, songs left unsung, 
love left unexpressed, 
promises left unfulfilled. 

In a relationship, 
one of the hardest things to do
is saying goodbye and letting go. 
It is as hard as breaking a crystal
because you'll never know when you
will be able to pick up the pieces again. 
More often than not, they who go, 
feel not the pain of parting: 
it is they who stay behind that suffer, 
because they are left
with memories of a love
that was meant to be, 
a love that was. 

At the beginning and at the end
of a relationship, 
we are embarrassed to find ourselves alone. 
Unfair as it may seem, 
but that's the way love goes. 
That's the drama, the bittersweet
and the risk of falling in love. 
After all, nothing is constant but change. 
Everything will eventually come to its end
without us knowing when, 
without us knowing how, 
without us even knowing why. 
And we must forget not because we have to
but because we have to. 

In letting go, sorrows come
not as a single spy but in battalion. 
It seems that everywhere you go, 
everything you do, 
every song you hear, 
every turn of your head, 
every move of your body, 
every beat of your heart, 
every blink of your eye and every breath
you take always reminds you of him. 
It's like a stab of a knife, 
a torture in the night. 
Funny how the whole world
becomes depopulated
when only one person is missing. 
Just imagine, 
there are billions people on earth
and yet it seems you feel lonely
and empty without the other. 

I don't know if it's worth calling an art, 
but letting go entails
special skills sparkled
with a considerable space and time. 
Time heals all wounds but it takes
a little push on our part. 
Acceptance plays a part. 
Not all love stories end with
"...and they live happily ever after." 

Sometimes we have to part because of
circumstances beyond our control. 
We have to suffer if it would
mean happiness for others. 
We have to cry to
temporarily let go of the pains. 
Every beginning has its end
like every dawn has its dusk. 
It's something we can't control, 
something we had to live up. 

It's over. 
He's gone. But life has to go on. 
Goodbye doesn't always mean forever. 
There will always be a place and time
where questions will be answered, 
words will be spoken, 
letters will be read, 
poems will be recited in the night, 
songs will be sung in harmony, 
love will be expressed in solitude and
promises will be fulfilled. 
Somewhere. Somehow. Someday.


Have you mastered the art of letting go?

Why I'm Not Married---Yet!

 

Why I didn't take the marriage bandwagon-- yet?!


At almost 35, my mother thinks I'm crazy!

My married friends think I'm late for the baby-party.

And my sister thinks I'm her solid rock (being unmarried herself at the age of 40).

I'm no expert in relationships and most of all, marriage. But I had years and years and years of looking back to many love-life experiences that made me laugh and cringe for my stupid actions.

So for all the good intentions and my own prerogative, I decided to write about this, hopefully to shed a different light...


Here are my sensible reasoning(s)--- or so I hope:


Don’t fall for the norm.

Just because you’re expected to be married at a specific age (in the Philippines, when you finish college) that you really have to live up for that expectation. Good thing for me, nobody was really interested after I finished school, except for a boy, ten years my junior. But maybe, if I didn’t live abroad, I would’ve been married with children in tow by now!

What also prompt me to write this, was when I met a 47 year old Filipina, who is now struggling with her own relationship because she fall for the norm! She thought that being with someone and creating a life with him and their children is what will ultimately be her happiness. Like many women, she thought she was ready because everyone else around her have done it. But the sad truth is, she came in a relationship when she expected that everything will come in smoothly. So now at almost 50, she's at lost because she doesn't know where to start her life and do things she was not able to do first or on her own.

Just because all of your girlfriends are married, it doesn't mean you have to prepare and pressure yourself that you should too!

Ahh, peer pressure (at any age) is given and there is nothing more anxious about being surrounded by married friends. In my case, I am certainly and genuinely happy for all of my girlfriends who are married now. I admired their strength, sacrifice, patience, courage, and commitment. They seem to be doing just fine and they make marriage life look very easy by the way. But it’s not just yet, for me. ;)

To be married means to be with someone else other than your self, are you ready for that? 

And this is my best excuse. Really. I know it’ll be too much of a cliche to be saying-- know thyself first. Sure there’s a simple definition with this, such as I know my favorite dress, my fave food, or my fave nail color. But truly knowing yourself involves a lot of self-examination and self-discovery. And in your 20s you’re still figuring out who you really are!

You really have to ask yourself, what are the things that you love doing on your own phase at your own time?? Take my own self discovery for example: bookstores and stationary stores keep me calm. And I buy cooking books, travel magazines, blank notebooks, and lots of pen with a 0.7 fine pointer-- out of impulse. I also learned that as I pay attention to small details, it gives me inspiration for the things I wanted to achieve on that day, or that week, or that month. I also make a point that I get to go to a new place-- alone, once a year, and experience something extreme. For next year, I’m really looking into trying-- skydiving! As I already did: skiing, bunjee jumping, scuba diving, surfing, and rock climbing!

As much as I wanted to share the things I love doing with Frenchie, there is such a liberating and fulfilling feeling to do some things on my own. And he’s feeling the same things, too. Believe it or not, his friends are envious that he gets to go out at night to see them on his own or go to other new places without me. Key words: trust and space.

And oh, If I’d be completely honest here, I have many times change my answers to my fave dress, or fave food, or fave nail color. That alone, can say so much that I don’t know what I want sometimes. Just saying.

Are you really marrying the love of your life or your ideal man?

I can certainly say that I am in a very healthy and loving relationship with Frenchie. Our love story can be condensed into this: We met at a book club that our common friend organized. Two years after, on Valentine’s day no less, we started dating and we’re inseparable ever since. Sure, he was my type because-- he’s bald, tall, and skinny. But aside for my physical attractions towards him, what really drawn me to him was our common interests. We love reading books-- well, we met at a book club after all! We love to travel and really engaging ourselves to the real experience of it. We love meeting inspiring people. We love doing new and valuable experiences together. And the most important of all, we openly communicate with each other especially with our conflicting ideas and situations.

The best relationship journey we had was when we did our three-month-long travel in China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the US. It was such THE BEST relationship strengthening power that I advise every couple should do before doing something drastic and regrettable. Being able to travel with Frenchie has given me so many lessons, opened my eyes to new things, and we’ve really gotten to know each other better-- both the good and the bad sides.

As my good friend Alain said, “If you went on a backpacking trip with your partner and survived each other at the end of your journey-- you’re meant for each other.” I truly believed him because there is nothing more worth knowing your partner when you only have each other to rely with, at all times. In our case, it also became a huge solution for our communication gap issues. And in all honesty, we are more than happy to have each other now and we know too well that there’s a right time for us to settle down.

I know a lot of women are being blind-sided by their own idea of what kind of man do they want to have in their lives. This is seriously dangerous. And will really make you very miserable if you’re only in love with the idea of his achievements. 

Don’t fall in love with a seaman when you really needed a man who’ll be very much present in your life everyday.

Don’t fall in love with a doctor or a law graduate when he’s a notorious womanizer.

Don’t fall in love with a rich guy who always abuses and manipulates you with his words.

Don’t fall in love with a handsome guy when he only meets you for sex.

Don’t fall in love with a Westerner guy who’s most likely 20 years older than your age, just because he promised he can take you to his home country someday.

Girl, generation gap is real! Very real! And reality will bite you, BIG time in the ass when one day you will wake up in a foreign land, unhappy, and you have no one to run to. Because aside from generation gap, there’s cultural gap. Stop stereotyping that foreigners have a lot of money and you will eventually have all the material things you want. The truth of the matter is, the only reason they’re looking for women online is because they can’t have a normal conversation with a woman offline. And most of the foreigners (especially the ones who have no stable job) choose to live in Asia is because they can’t afford a good and stable life in their home country. Asia is after all, ten times cheaper for them-- currency wise. So do the Math.

What I’m trying to say here is, you should really be able to know the person very well and who he is. You can’t make an excuse that just because he is a somebody or an achieverhe’s automatically a nice personLook very deeper into his character-- meaning, how does he treat you when you’re both alone, or the people around you when he is upset? Is he courteous? Is he respectful? Is he honest? Is he forgiving? All of these qualities matter. Women were gifted with instinct, so for God’s sake listen to it! That’s His own way of saving you of years and years and years of misery. If your instinct is telling you to run away, do it!!!

A wedding is a few hours of ceremony and celebration. But being married is a lifetime commitment.

Is it just me, or do you also see that a wedding has been regarded bigger than the importance of the union of two people?! And somehow the wedding has become more and more expensive, with all the prenup photo shoots and the what nots. Sure, I love seeing the details of the beautiful gown of the bride, of the whole entourage, and the glamorous hotel for their reception, but has anyone taken noticed of how beautiful the words are in their wedding vows or how emotional the groom was when he received his bride, or how many times the couple looked at each other on a special way on their wedding day?!? Honestly, I’m sad that most people can only comment about the food and the wedding souvenirs. And nothing more.

Are you really ready to take this route, as this is a life-changing decision?

Not yet. Here’s my personal reason: I’m a dreamer and a nomad. I dream to live in a nice sunny country, so foreign to me-- that rhymes with Brazil, France, and Australia. ;) Perhaps, I was a gypsy in my past life that I’d like to see the world first and be the most adventurous that I have ever been. I dream that I can get to the ends of North Pole and the safari of Africa and the cold mountains of Zermatt and to watch the gorgeous sunrise in Machu Picchu and sunset in Santorini and go on a pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago, Holy Land, and Our Lady of Fatima.

I am also financially short at the moment to be able to contribute to a family I’m going to have. So give me two years. In the meantime, I will continue dreaming-- BIG and slowly fulfilling them before settling down. I dream I will be able to live in a decent house, that I can eventually turn into a home with a rustic feel to it. I dream that in my home, I will have a big kitchen with a long wooden table so I can cook hearty feasts for family and friends. I dream that I can grow my own herb garden. I dream that I can get a pet dog and a pet cat (for Frenchie). I dream that I can keep doing what I love doing most-- educating children in a significant way. I dream that I can work on fulfilling my long time project. I dream that every chance we get, Frenchie and I will continue traveling to new places and learning new cultures together. I dream that we will be able to fulfill our own dreams first, before being able to take care the dreams of our little ones. Because…

Being a mother is another HUGE responsibility.

As a preschool teacher I came across a good number of parents that should have NOT been parents at all! These parents have continuously push their children to live their own frustrated dreams. Whose definition of love is reciprocating their presence with presents. It’s heartbreaking to see that our children of today, are becoming more and more materialistic because of the kind of parenting they are being provided with.

Let’s start providing real love and connection to our children by truly being there for them, for doing priceless activities together, and for showing them that happiness starts within us.

That is why it is very essential to know thyself first, so that you will be able to teach your children from your experiences and through that, you will become a true ROLE MODEL for them. You can’t teach what you don’t know, right? But when you know better, you do things better. Because if you truly look deeper, everything that we are and what we have become as a person was a product of our childhood upbringing, environment, and influences.

If you don’t want your child to grow up disrespectful then stop raising/screaming with your voice. If you don’t want your child to grow up being lazy, then show him how he should do his chores. If you don’t want your child growing up hating you, then genuinely listen to what he likes-- do not push what you like all the time. To be a parent means to be selfless, that you need to put your children’s interests first before yours.

Bottom line is, if your goal is to truly become a good parent...be a good person first. To be a good person means to be a good role model. And being a good person is knowing YOU, first and foremost. Don’t get married because you needed to be saved or supported-- financially by a man. As a modern woman of today, we are given all the options and opportunities to save our selves.

Get married because you’re properly ready and genuinely see yourself to spend a lifetime with the love of your life. Okay?!


Are you married or not yet? What are your reasons?

Moving Forward!

 

HOW TO SURVIVE A BREAK UP?


That's the MILLION DOLLAR question, really. Right???

If only there's a secret potion for this, then we will all have a better life.

It is difficult, I know, been there done that, even countless of times! It's most likely the most devastating feeling one will ever have in his/her lifetime. It's literally ripping off your heart into this very unusual pain.

It's the kind of pain that you want to run away from. If only, you can auto off all the memories in your mind. If only, you can erase every small and big details about him. Then maybe, just maybe, you don't have to go through crying yourself to sleep at night.

But as a former active member of the Broken-Hearted Club, I have only this advise, the best way to move forward is really acknowledging the pain, the hurt, the betrayal, and the agony that comes with it. Because as cliché as it may sound, this will only make you stronger and better as a person. Touche!


They say there are 5 stages (DenialAnger, BargainingDepression and Acceptance), even 7 (Shock, Denial, Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) to be able to move on from a break up.


Me?! I have a LIST...as in a looooong list..... ;)

There is no exact time when to get over someone. Especially if you're the one left behind. Geez, my longest was four years!!! So you just really have to understand that they really mean it, it takes time. And time will heal all wounds. And the best analogy of this?! Just look at the wounds in our body, the only time we don't feel the pain anymore is when it was totally healed. And it took days, sometimes even months to heal. So give yourself the time. Take as much time as you could on this healing process. 

Cry and cry and cry and cry if you must. I used to wake up to a wet pillow in the morning. There's nothing wrong with crying and just being alone. Cry until you can't cry anymore. Recognize that pain. Wallow as long as you want, as long as you can, as many times as you can! Yes, cry it out tonight, cry it out in the early hours in the morning if you must!

When you're done crying, get a pen and a paper. Write all of your anger, your frustrations, your what if's, your what not's, your what could have I done to make it different, your hatred towards that person who broke you and even about yourself. Because trust me, when you have no one who will listen to your bitterness, having to write it all down, will somehow lighten the heavy burden of your broken heart!

Call a friend and talk to that person. It may be your sister, your mother, your closest girlfriend. Just tell her that they need to listen and understand that you really feel awful...and somehow suicidal because a stupid(!) boy broke your heart. Tell them you don't need their advise, you just want someone to be your sponge. No comments and judgement needed. :)

Find comfort in songs. And take some of that message to really help you. That is if you still want to cry at night. Or if you're good as Adele you can channel that sad feeling into composing a song...or a poem. Who knows you'll be the next youtube sensation, eh?

 
Here are my go-to-break-up-songs...

I'm Moving On by Rascal Flatts

I'm moving on...
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me.
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone.


Letting Go by Sozzi


I still recall the words you said to me
It's what you did not say that sets me free


Art of Letting Go by Mikaila
 

Try to say it's over
Say the word goodbye
But each time it catches in my throat

 

Get up and do something about moving forward!


These are very basics but trust me, as normal as they seem they are...these things were VERY helpful to me...

  • Get a new haircut. Or buy new dresses. Or put on some new stilettos. Just effin' do something that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you're more than beautiful! And TELL YOURSELF, "I am beautiful."
  • Buy a bucket of ice cream or one box of chocolate and eat it while watching, The Little Rascals. Find a time to be happy. Find a time to comfort yourself with laughter. I repeat, do something to be HAPPY. 
  • But what is it that you really like doing that makes you happy?! I found comfort in the kitchen, so I cooked a lot. If you like photography, go and take some pictures and write something about that picture on your Instagram. Or paint or sew or plant or bike or whatever...basta, do something productive of your time! Period.
  • Re-arrange your closet, your room, or your whole house. Sometimes a new scenery of your surrounding helps a lot.
  • Go out with your friends and go to the beach or a hike in the hill, not in club. I repeat, not in a bar club! Quality time is the key.
  • Just really be proactive with your life. Do a new project or a new adventure. I did bunjee jumping, I did scuba diving, and I went travelling. And trust me, I was liberated and it completely changed me.

Let's jot down the circumstances...


  • If he dumped you for someone else...and was cheating with you the whole time. HE'S AN ASSHOLE. IF YOU FORGIVE HIM, YOU'RE A MORON. YES, NOT JUST STUPID...A MORON!
  • If he dumped you for someone else...because the other girl is better than you. YES, IT HURTS. SCREW HIM! BUT YOU ARE AND WILL ALWAYS BE SPECIAL TO SOMEONE ELSE, WHO TRULY DESERVES YOU.
  • If he dumped you because he doesn't love you anymore. THANK HIM, HE'S SAVING YOU BOTH FROM WASTING YOUR TIME.
  • If he dumped you because you're not giving him what he wants because you're not readyIT'S HIS LOSS, NOT YOURS. HE'S A DOUCHE-BAG. AND KUDOS TO YOU FOR NOT GIVING INTO WHAT HE WANTS.

Please, please, please for the love of God...remember these things..

 

How did you survive a break up?

Love Yourself--- First!

 

Before you really love someone deeply, love yourself.


I have to admit that I had a hard time figuring out myself for the longest time--- of who I wanted to be, or being REAL as I could possibly be! 

Growing up, I thought that my only purpose in this world is to simply live by the rules to the norm of my conservative society. That my life has to be in these exact orders:

  1. finish school
  2. get a job
  3. find a man
  4. start a family with him
  5. raise my children
  6. provide for them till they finish school (and make them do the same exact pattern as well)
  7. and wait for my dying days, thinking what I could have made different or what I did wrong along the process.

What I didn't know is that, the universe has actually provided limitless possibilities to help me achieve the tiny voice in my head--- otherwise known as, DREAM.

My dream (or wish) was to run away, as far away as I can from home. (I have a very deep reason why, that maybe one day, I'd be comfortable of sharing.)

Coming from my humble beginnings, in a small town from central Philippines-- I am now thousands and thousands miles away from home, living the utmost adventure of my life, and fulfilling my OWN dreams!

I'm not telling you to be like me. This is about helping you to figure out, that you should not waste your life--- trying to live up to other's expectations of you, trying to fulfill other people's dream from your own dreams, trying to please everybody for acceptance, and trying so hard just to get a man in order to be saved and be loved.

So let's talk about how to live and love your own life, shall we?!


1. KNOW YOURSELF

Get a piece of paper. Write down all of your natural talents and gifts. Write down your strengths and your weaknesses. Be completely honest. Ask your closest friend or the people around you--- what do they love/like about you? At the same time, what they don't like about you? LISTEN. Don't be offended. You will grow maturely if you open your mind to their opinions about you. 

Because in knowing yourself, you will know your capabilities and how far can you take any challenges in your life.


2. FIND YOUR PASSION

What is the very thing that makes you feel happy? At your best? The very thing that you always look forward to do. And where you can express yourself creatively?? What are you most excited about when you wake up in the morning?

Mine are two things: writing on my blog (and journal) and teaching children. Both have given me an avenue to be my whole self, to be creative, and at the end of the day--- HAPPY! 

And aside from that, I'm also happiest when I find meaningful activities to do: reading a book, cooking any dish, going out for long walks, exploring a new place, talking to a friend who inspires me, and finding a spot where I can be at peace--- a beach or a stationary store.


3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GIRLS, LADIES, AND WOMEN WHO INSPIRE YOU

I remember what my Nanay used to quote us, "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are." 

It's true, you become the person who you spend most time with. Because you imitate them-- subconsciously. That's why surround yourself with people that truly inspires you and who will encourage and support possibilities. The people who will give you wisdom and ideas.

In short, find friends who will bring out the best in you.

I'm lucky enough to have met and came across inspiring women, who are very empowering in their chosen careers, with their families, and with what they advocate in life. My huge influence comes from the women in my family, who are all individually strong, go-getters, career oriented, and have good spiritual foundations. I also continuously look up to women who are making a difference in their own lives and fields-- that transcends to many, the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert, Daphne Paez, JK Rowling, Trisha Velarmino, Ina Garten, and Bianca Elizalde to name a few.


4. LEARN SELF RESPECT, MORE THAN ANYTHING

Respect should come from you first. Be cautious of your words and of your actions. Because your words and actions will speak volumes about your character. Express yourself without hurting someone else's feelings. Learn to dress appropriately, in any occasions. Be sensitive. Don't dress provocatively just because you need the attention. Men will only see you as an object-- not a person, when you do that.

Know when to walk away from people who abuse you with their words, abuse you of your kindness, and the most important thing: when they are emotionally and physically hurting you.


5. LOVE YOUR BEAUTIFUL BODY, INCLUDING ITS FLAWS

Whatever your size, shape, or skin color--- tell yourself that you are beautiful. 

YOU ARE AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!

Never ever take your body as a reason of your insecurity. Do not believe social media's definition of beauty. Their definition is called, consumerism. BUT, make sure that you are in your healthy state. 

Obesity and being very skinny are not flaws, it's called a sickness.

Your body is your very own soul, too. So treat it sacredly. Or to put it better, treat it as your most treasured possession in your life. Get to know every detail and corners of it, so that you can really take very good care of it. And when you do--- you will realize that you'll never allow anyone near you, who will not treat your body with utmost love, care, and respect as you do.


6. NEVER, EVER PLEASE A MAN WITH SEX

At the same way, never, ever allow a man to have sex with you--- when you strongly don't like to. This is why self-respect is really important. This is why you need to treat your body with love and respect.

Always listen to your gut feelings. Even with your fears.

When you are not ready--- YOU ARE NOT READY. 

When you are scared, then don't do it.

Always remember that your body is yours--- not his! Don't you dare forget that!!!

If he insists, THAT IS TOTALLY AGAINST THE LAW, WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD! It's called sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape! So be very cautious and mindful.

Sex is very beautiful when shared with genuine love and respect. 

That is why it was beautifully named as, making love.


7. FULFILL YOUR OWN DREAM

Not their dreams. Not even your parents' dream. Not your family's dream.

I understand and I admired people who said that they always think best for their families--- by doing what they are expected of them. But there's a fine line between having them as an inspiration and being controlled by their (selfish) ambitions. Because at the end of the day, it is your own feelings that mattered. Your own fulfillment mattered. Your own hard works mattered.

Don't call me ungrateful nor hypocrite, because the way I see it, if all of us will start realizing what we really wanted to do in life and being able to do it, then our success will equal to our HAPPINESS, and that happiness will be visible in our day to day interactions, it will then transpire to everyone around us, including our loved ones. However, I understand that this is somewhat a vague statement or analogy for most of you to understand that needed further explanations from my part.

But I mean, would you agree with me that the happiest people you know are the ones who are really doing the work that they always wanted to do and dream of doing their whole lives?! Again, your OWN passion in life. On my experience, these kinds of people I know have not only been doing the very thing they love to do in life, but they also just aspire the simple things in life.


8. MAKE IT HAPPEN

You can make it happen. You know, deep, deep down inside you--- that you can make it happen. Make it happen even if no one believes in you. Make it happen because you can! And you will always find a way to make it happen-- no matter what

Every challenge in our life's journey is giving us answers and solutions, so why not use that as a driving force every waking hour of your life?!

I do.

When I left China, for good in 2014, to travel and move to South America--- specifically in Brazil, I know I'm in for another challenge in my life. Initially, I didn't have enough money to have this very bold move, that even lead to misunderstandings, complicated issues, and conflicts within some of my family members (who were not even in the position to question my own decisions). But because I'm a hard-headed, adventure seeker, I-don't-care-what-you-say-this-is-my-life-anyway, and very ambitious girl, I ended up staying in the US for awhile-- to pause, but never, once, did I gave up on my dream that I'm moving to Brazil. Of course, I am eternally grateful to the people who have helped me, who adopted me, and who have supported me in making that dream of mine to come true.

But if there's really one thing that I learned and I know is right from this experience--- that once you believe in yourself and in your own personal dream, everything is going to be okay, and it will really happen. Even if it will take months, even years to make it happen. 


Just lift up everything to God and know within your heart,

that it will come true.


That's what happened to me. I believed in my dream and I made it all happen, because at the end of the day, the people who didn't believe in me-- didn't matter. All I know is that, I didn't want to wake up one day, feeling sorry for the things that I didn't even try to do, just because someone told me I can't. And it it was in fact not going to happen as I hoped it would be, at least I tried, rather than feeling sorry that I didn't. 

I had a dream of living in Brazil. I believed on that dream. And I made it happen, despite the fears and the obstacles I faced of getting here. 

 
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What ways can you love yourself? Share your thoughts?