On why I write

Why do I write?

I write to organize my thoughts.

To calm the chaos, to quiet the waves, to tire myself out, to stop me from thinking too much and too loud.

To break it all down into tidbits I can chew on, to put to little boxes I can carry around.

I write to understand.

To empathize with someone, to discover where they’re coming from, to put myself in another’s shoes.

To try to rationalize, to try to think what they’ve been thinking and feel what they’ve been feeling.

To see what could’ve been done.

I write to reveal myself.

To unravel deep secrets, to discover hidden strengths.

To find out the core reason for what I’m feeling, to drill down on the root cause and the explanations.

Most of all,

I write to remember.

To serve as a reminder to how I got here, to teach myself “this is how it is done”.

To immortalize the feeling of the moment, to capture all the details, to save what is worth looking back to.

To imprint a memory never to be forgotten. To keep it close to my heart.

I miss writing. My mind is in a million places at once.

Writing is rest, and I am tired.

Taiwan, 2018/2019

I guess this doubles as a yearend review post, which is something I usually do in my previous blogs that I intend to still continue in this blog.

Since I have deleted the blogs containing the yearend review for 2016 and 2017, all comparisons I will make henceforth will be from memory. I remember that 2016 was a good year for me and one that will be very hard to top, since my life was in a great place then in all aspects. And there’s a stark difference between that year and 2017, which was a dark year mostly due to the “breakup”. This is not to say that 2017 has been all bad, since I got to travel a lot that year, but all I could remember that year was the dark place I was in.

And then we got to 2018. I prayed for a better me this 2018, which didn’t quite feel like it. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed this year, battled with this illness for a few more months and struggled to be okay with my relationships, with my work, and with my life. I had hoped that 2018 will be brighter than 2017 but as we got nearer to the end of the year, I couldn’t help but think how in 2018 I probably had it worse.

After the trip to Korea in October I realized that I’m still not feeling as better as I hoped I would, and I found myself bothered that 1) I don’t feel like spending the holidays in my hometown, and the usual holiday we spend there is welcoming the new year; and 2) I don’t have plans on my ex’s birthday on January 2, and I guess I’m still scared that if I’m not occupied on that date I would lose it. So I decided that I wanted to welcome the new year somewhere else, somewhere more distant to what I’m used to. I thought I should spend it outside the country, and also I wanted to spend it somewhere cold πŸ˜…

Japan and Korea were the first places I could think of, but it’s much too expensive and much of a hassle to go to since I have to apply for a visa. I almost gave up planning the trip until I remembered Taiwan, which is more accessible. So in an act of sheer impulse and rebellion, I booked my plane ticket and accommodation and decided that my parents would allow me since the flight and hotel are both in place.

What would have been my first solo trip became another kind of first: first trip with the boyfriend. Around the time when I booked my tickets, I have started going out with one of my friends from grad school. After casually mentioning the trip to Taiwan, he told me that he wanted to come with me and so it’s not a solo trip anymore.

And as clichΓ© as it sounds, the decision to date this friend of mine was probably the biggest plot twist of 2018.

We both agreed to keep it light and chill since we feel like we’re both not ready yet to get in a relationship. But life had other plans, and soon after we have decided that we’re making things official.

It’s been going great since; it’s not perfect as we still have our issues and disagreements, but I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. While I still feel anxious at times because of work, I’m glad to say I’m feeling better overall. And to kick things off this 2019, I also got to talk to my ex again. Talking to him resolved a lot of my baggage, which I guess also helped, so I’m starting the year lighter because I’ve finally let go of some things.

We celebrated our first month in Taiwan πŸ˜„

So the Taiwan trip was probably the celebration of one chapter of my life ending, and a mark to signal new beginnings. All of the foreign travels I have shared here all hold a special place in my heart: Hong Kong was where I decided to leave my emotional baggage, Korea was where I discovered what’s in store for me if I don’t give up and give in to my dark thoughts, and Taiwan is where I can finally say I’m already happy again 😊 and a little bit more ready for another year.

To more meaningful (albeit highly emotional) trips this 2019! Hopefully things do get better from here. Cheers! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

On Teaching

Let me share with you something personal (as if I haven’t been sharing personal tidbits of my life in my #traveling posts!). Outside of this blog, when I’m not traveling or writing about makeup and my skincare purchases, one of my real life responsibilities is I actually teach at university.

Okay, I’m making it way bigger than what it really is. I teach part time in our department in the university. Part time, because I am still in the process of getting my masters degree, so while I’m doing my thesis, I am also handling at most two classes every semester.

During my first week of teaching, instructors were supposed to inform the students if they are planning to accept any more students in their class, so I posted an announcement in the college group. Only a few people commented something relevant to the actual post, and majority of the comments were from my friends, org mates, previous professors, etc, and they were all shocked that I posted as an instructor.

I was quite offended by how shocked they were, so I asked another friend, “Do I not look like someone who’d be an instructor?” to which my friend answered, if he didn’t know that I had plans to teach, he would be shocked himself. So I shouldn’t take it too personally.

Looking back, I don’t really remember why I wanted to teach. I just realized before graduating that I wanted to get a masters degree so I can go and pursue a career in the academe. It’s like I have just decided that that’s what I’m gonna do. I couldn’t really tell you why I wanted to teach, even now. But it’s one of the few saving graces that I’ve had in my life. I might not want to get out of bed on some days, but I remember never missing a teaching day.

It wasn’t the ultimate solution to what I went through, and I’ve had a phase where I didn’t want to go to class to teach. But it was and still is enough to keep me going. It had been a real lifesaver to not think about my problems for a while and focus on this responsibility. Until now, whenever I feel like I want to quit studying for my postgraduate degree or even take a break, I always remember my why, and my why is that I want to teach. Now that I’ve found what I want to do, the only thing left is to do everything to achieve this goal. Fighting!!! 😊 #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

Transitioning to Zero Waste

Admit it, you’ve probably heard of and seen metal straws being sold in countless instagram accounts and shopee stores. Most probably these shops also sell other ‘zero waste’ things, such as environmentally friendly bags, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, among other things.

The metal straw was the starting point of this journey of mine to minimize my plastic waste and to start living ‘zero waste’. But here’s a disclaimer: I AM NOT EVEN CLOSE TO LIVING LIKE THIS YET. But since it’s a lifestyle change, it would take a long time to adapt to this and to actually commit. I still have lapses, since sometimes plastic straws are automatically placed in my drink, I forget my tumbler at home, I use plastic bags, and the skincare products I consume come in single use plastic containers and I can’t just stop getting them since I’ve come a long way to curate my current skincare routine. But there are small steps that hopefully we can all start doing to reduce our plastic wastes. 😊 Here are some of the baby steps I’ve taken to reduce the waste I leave behind, and some things you can follow if you’re considering to make this lifestyle change or if you simply want to help lessen our plastic waste.

1. Use a tumbler! Invest on something that you can bring literally anywhere, is spill proof, and can hold your hot drinks if you are a slave to hot coffee. You also won’t have to buy plastic water bottles all the time. Tip: also look for something that is easy to clean up if you’re planning to hold different kinds of beverages in your tumbler.

2. Bring your own cutlery sets. I know some people who refuse to use the metal utensils in restaurants because it’s not washed properly or may get you contaminated with diseases so they opt to use disposable utensils. I understand their sentiment, but you can just go and get a pair of utensils at home and bring it everywhere. You may also buy metal straws if you really can’t stand drinking from the cup. Ready to level up? Bring your own lunch box, or when dining in, ask the servers if you can have your food in washable containers.

3. Consider using toiletry bars. You know, soap bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and feminine bars. So you wouldn’t be throwing away their plastic containers all the time. I have relied on the convenience of using liquid bath things as it is very easy to pack, but I realized how much plastic trash I’m using with the containers and everything. Most bars you can get with paper packaging so it’s good. Also, I’ve looked for lotion bars and there are a few shops that sell those too! Right now I’m using bar soaps, a shampoo bar, and a feminine bar and so far it’s not a lot different from their fluid counterparts. (The shampoo bar, however, you probably need to try a few or research a lot as some are not lather-y enough or drying to the hair. It needs some getting used to.) Or use products sold in glass bottles or containers, so you wouldn’t be using much plastic 😊 there are shops agreeing to sell refills of their products so you wouldn’t have to throw away the old packaging. Looking for the right products for you just takes a little bit of research!

4. Start building your own eco-brick! For your small plastic wastes, you may put it in used water bottles to create an eco-brick, and donate it at a donation place. I’ve heard that Robinsons malls exchange your eco-bricks for something (a metal straw if I’m not mistaken) and this is a good place to send your small, not usable plastics anymore. Tips to start your eco-brick can be found here.

5. Refuse! Refuse straws, disposable utensils, and cups when you can. Drink straight from the cup, bring your own straw and/or utensils, opt for a mug when you’re not taking your drink to go, refuse the plastic packaging when it can fit in your bag, or always bring a reusable bag with you.

That’s what I’ve been doing so far. Just a reminder, I’m not forcing anyone to make this change! These are just some tips to hopefully get you motivated if you’re planning to make the switch. I’m still in the baby steps, and while some might argue that this does not really solve the problem of plastic production, I’d like to believe that there should always be a start and if enough people do it, it might make a difference. Cheers! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

This is my cat!

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to my baby:

What is your pet’s name?

Kkukku! I named him as such because currently I am obsessed with the Song Triplets still and the nickname of one of the triplets given to him by his brothers is Kkukku, and I found that to be too adorable, so Kkukku it is.

What kind of pet is it and what breed?

Obviously he’s a cat. As for the breed, the seller indicated that he and his siblings are Persian Siamese, but I recently found out that he’s probably Bombay.

How long have you had your pet friend?

We’re just hitting one month together!!!

How did you get your pet?

TIME FOR A STORY WITH A REALLY LONG BACK STORY. My brothers and I were talking about bringing one of our dogs at my dorm to keep as a pet, and my brother asked if I wanted a cat since his co-worker’s Persian cat just gave birth. I told him yes, since I’ve been looking for a cat to adopt. He asked if he can get me a kitten, and I checked how much a Persian kitten typically costs just in case my brother’s co-worker agrees to sell it. I found Kkukku online and not knowing what a Persian Siamese cat is supposed to look like, I thought Kkukku was cute.

The deal with the co-worker didn’t push through, and I was already hyped at the idea of having a cat, so I just bought the cat I found online. Basically that’s the story HAHAHA

How old is your pet?

Three months! He was born on June 3rd.

What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality?

Honestly I don’t think I have found one yet since we’ve only been together for a short time but he usually greets me everytime he finds out I’m already awake. Like he would be quiet for the rest of the time when he knows I’m asleep but then he’d be really talkative once I wake up. Such a considerate cat (even though most times he doesn’t really let me go to sleep)

What does your relationship with your pet mean to you?

It’s a love-hate relationship with this bb but a few days ago I realized it’s mostly love (even if I get really annoyed that he wouldn’t let me go to sleep) when he caught his foot in his cage and accidentally bit and scratched me while I was trying to remove him from where he’s stuck. I was more concerned with getting him to the vet for his foot than with me getting to an animal bite center to get my vaccine. And I worried the whole night if he would be able to walk or sustain worse injuries if I didn’t take him to the vet soon. Is this how being a cat mom feels like

What are some of your favorite past times with your pet?

He likes to hang around whenever I’m doing my skincare and makeup and quietly watch or take a nap, and sometimes I throw things that he could chase and play with then throw it again whenever he gets bored. Also sometimes when I’m lying down he likes to go up to me and smell my face and it’s kind of annoying for me so I annoy him right back by blowing on his face or squeezing his head or hugging him tight and then he leaves me alone for a few minutes then the process repeats itself.

What are nicknames that you call your pet?

Variations of his name Kkukku, such as Kkukkubee, Kkukkubear, and Kkukkubells. Sometimes I call him bb (as in bibi) or bubu

Probably my favorite picture of him hehehe what a clingy cutie 😻 never thought I’d be a cat mom since I have been more of a dog person my whole life. *sighs* so there you have it! I’ve actually just watched a furry friends tag video on youtube and since I have been oversharing cat content like crazy on my instagram account, might as well include this baby on the blog. #

Love, Lady πŸ’›