Life is about to get incredib-effing-ly busy

If 2012 was a year in which nothing truly remarkable happened—I continued working two jobs, living at home, hanging out with friends—then 2013 is about to become the exact opposite.

March 2013 in particular. I’ve already established that I’m going on a 5-day solo trip to London, with a quick St. Patrick’s Day stop in Ireland. My parents recently announced that we’re moving from this house to another one in town, with plans to rent it for at least the next two years until my youngest brother graduates high school. Then, they will look into moving out west—more specifically, Las Vegas or somewhere in California. Talk about big moves. As for me, I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing in two years, but at the moment I’m focused on the next two weeks, in which not only will I have to continue working my two jobs while packing for my trip, but also packing up my entire life (I mean, bedroom) for this new house. Yikes. According to my dad, we can start moving our stuff there next week but we won’t be actually living in there until April 1.

Which leaves me to this next bit. While packing up stuff I found a couple of my old journals from high school. Read through one from 2006, the year I was 16 and a junior in high school. It’s a strange thing, encountering a previous incarnation of yourself. It’s like…you can still feel every morsel of pain and teenage angst that that person was going through, but at the same time you want to show her the light at the end of the tunnel. What was I like at 16? Well according to my journal—and let’s remember here, I seem to be the type of person who only writes when angry and alone and confused—I was a very angry and alone and confused girl at 16. Not many friends, no boyfriend, nothing exciting going on.

Seven years later, here I am at 23. What’s changed? I noticed that for the most part, the fuel to my fire in high school was the tension with my dad. Back then, he would never let me go out. Like, ever. Pretty much every other entry consisted of me crying about how I was trapped in this house with no life and no prospects. But to say my dad has lightened up now would be an understatement—he no longer calls me at 11 in the evening on a Saturday night, demanding I be home within the hour. No questions asked if I say I’m sleeping over somewhere (although only God knows what he’d say if he found out I’ve been sleeping over at a boy’s house as of late). It’s funny how things magically change when you turn 21 and have a car, a full-time job, and a college degree.

But the part that slightly concerns me was, and still is, my anger. A lot of entries began with “Am so depressed” or “I’m so fucking furious” or something along those lines. The scary part is, I know I still feel those emotions today. Sometimes I wonder if I do have a serious problem. Even my newly minted boyfriend (still feels really weird to say that!) has pointed out I have a lot of passionate anger bottled up inside. Hell, I even had a Xanga username once that was called savetherage. I know I get feisty and mad a lot. But I like to think I’ve done a magnificent job not letting it overcome my life. I have passions. A lot of those journal entries also consisted of me writing to do lists and declarations that “I will be productive with my life today.”

And that’s just who I am. I’ve learned that I need to constantly feel busy and productive with my life. I don’t like feeling useless. My life is so filled with activity now, with jobs and friends and hobbies and trips. While I tend to whine a lot, I know that in the past near 2 years since I’ve graduated college, life’s been a lot easier since those hellish high school days.

London calling

Wow. No idea how it is I let more than a month slip by like that. Makes me feel like November was quite exciting when in fact, it was…well, maybe it was.

Thinking about it, I was stressed out a lot in October. So I drank a lot to counter it. Not a good thing, I know, but it was always with friends at least, and during social situations. Although the time I threw up in my kitchen after a girls’ night in my basement did make me really reconsider my consumption habits. But any rate, after Halloween I was determined to A.) Stop drinking so much, and B.) Stop wasting gas and money driving to the city all the time. And it worked…for about 3.5 weeks. During that time I finally read This Is How You Lose Her and re-watched all my favorite Colin Firth movies (mainly Bridget Jones and The King’s Speech—oh, and Girl With A Pearl Earring!). I also started on NW by Zadie Smith and did some housecleaning.

Perhaps the biggest news I have to share from November is that I’m finally, actually, really going to London! (Yes, that sentence warranted some serious bolding and italicizing.) The decision was, mainly, spontaneous. I was surfing travel websites as usual and came across some decent $824 round-trip fares in March. Thought, why the heck not? So I booked. Four nights in the city I have dreamt about going to (with a passion) since high school. At the moment I’m going completely alone, since I cannot seem to find friends who have the money and desire to go with me. They either don’t have the money and want to go, or do have the money but don’t want to go. What a dilemma. But I don’t mind going alone. I’m seeing this trip as a complete and total solo adventure.

I also haven’t told my parents about this trip yet. Pretty sure my father would have a heart attack if I told him I was going to a foreign city all by myself for a few days—for fun. It was different when I flew into Manchester for work. This time…I have no plan. Hence, I kind of do want to find a traveling companion. If only to alleviate the pain of the lectures I’m sure to get once I share the news with my parents.

Only…four more months! Aahhhhhhh.

Somebody finally believes in me!

After 3 months of lazying around, doing absolutely nothing but eat food, sleep, and watch a shitload of TV all day, my life is about to get real hectic again. I’m trying to remember what it was like earlier this year, when I had a full 18-hour courseload, a part-time night job, and an internship, because that’s the mindset I’m going to need to be in again in a few weeks. And it’s funny, because there I was a few days ago, feeling sad that the beginning of the school year was coming up and yet I didn’t have to get ready for it anymore. At any rate, the reason why I need to put on my workaholic gameface on again is because I was offered a paid editorial internship! A real, legit adult full-time grown-up job (well, not permanent job, obviously). After months of dead-end interviews and absolutely near-zero callbacks, I finally caught a break. Although I’ve been looking for more permanent employment, there’s always a possibility this could lead to that. Anyway, I absolutely loved talking to everyone I met during my interviews, and I’m so happy they liked me too, so it’s all very much an improvement over being completely unemployed.

There was a little snafu, however, when I announced the news to my parents. Though they knew I was interviewing for something, their reaction to my getting an offer was more or less along the lines of, “Well, it’s better than nothing.” At that point, I kind of blew up at them. There was no “Congratulations!”, nothing. I was beyond pissed and gave my parents an earful. You see, my mother has been on my case lately about finding a job (and a “real” job too, she’s so dismissive of the retail job I was recently hired for) and basically last week told me to go to law school or else. She’s even told others that I’m pretty much doing nothing with my life and can’t seem to find a regular job (again, she doesn’t consider my retail job a real job) on my own. She’s also been pressuring me to call the son of one of her mahjong buddies and ask what his office is currently hiring. And then, when I finally achieve something (on my own) and get an offer to work at something I’ve been working toward for 2 years now, she just goes, “Well, it’s better than nothing.” And I know why. It’s because I haven’t decided yet on whether to go to law school. I wonder if anything else would please her. The funny thing is, I actually would like to become a lawyer someday, but the more she and my aunt tells me to do it, the more I don’t want to. It all seriously infuriates me, and even though we’re on speaking terms again every time I think about my career choices and her fucking reaction I want to yell some more.

Anyway, this means I’ll be working both full-time and part-time soon; during the day at my internship, and during the nights and weekends at my retail job. I wonder how my body will handle this. More importantly, I wonder how awesome my wallet is going to feel from now on?!

I don’t think I could get used to this

I have been living now without hot water for over two weeks. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but damn now I know what a luxury hot shower-able water is. The heater broke a couple weeks ago while we were away for the weekend in Cincinnati, and I’ve been bathing myself in icy cold water since. We have resorted to boiling a giant pot of water on the kitchen stove, and mixing it with the cold shower in order to create a more tolerable stream. My mother likes doing it, she says that’s how it always is in the Philippines (totally not true, either we had hot water or lukewarm/cool ocean water there, not icy cold!).

In other news, I got the part-time retail job. Despite the minimum wage and part-time hours, I’m actually looking forward to it, as I’ve never worked in retail before. And it’s a well-known company and one of my good friends already works there. So I have that and my office job (and one of the advantages of working for my dad is the incredibly flexible work hours), as well as a new unpaid internship that I’ve recently started. Oh, and I’m also hoping to hear back from a work-from-home job. Yay, getting busy as a bee again. And earning some money while at it!

I also made a visit to the gynecologist today. For the last month I’d been pressuring my mom to make me an appointment, mostly because I need a new prescription for birth control pills and obviously I can’t get that again through my school. And aside from the awkward “Why, do you think you’re pregnant?!” questions, she grudgingly agreed. Funny thing was, at the doctor’s I kind of played it off as if it were my very first gynecological visit. They kept asking me if I’d ever had a pap smear, to which I kept saying no. But I think I have, when I visited the women’s health clinic at school last summer. >_< Anyway, I got some much needed testing done and reassurance that I'm all normal down there. Hurrah. Oh, and one last thing: I finally changed the language on my iPod back from Spanish to English. I had set it to Spanish while I was in Costa Rica, and have been too lazy ever since to change it back, much to the chagrin of my family and friends (14-year-old brother: "Can I play on your iPod? WHY IS THIS IN SPANISH?"). If it weren't for the fact that I nearly got lost trying to follow the Spanish map directions on my iPod a couple weekends ago, it'd probably still be that way. But my Facebook's still in Spanish, heh.

Dang, I use parentheses a lot

While I haven’t necessarily been in the same reading frenzy as I used to be in the past (read: before college), ever since we returned from vacation in the Philippines I’ve been trying. I haven’t read much, but I’d like to comment about some of the titles I’ve recently read (except for titles I’ve been re-reading [such as HP7] and titles I’m almost ashamed to say I read [i.e. the Shopaholic series…I hate the Becky Bloomwood character but for some reason I can’t stop reading the damn books]). (Whew, parentheses are nuts.) I was an English major, after all. Anyways…

Self-Portrait Abroad by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

I discovered this author through my internship this year, and picked up the title because it sounded interesting and so me. The (translated) writing style was a bit too rough for me, but I liked reading about this person who travels around the world to random places and has random adventures. In other words, I wish I could be the person in this book (albeit with different places to travel to and less scary adventures).

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

For those who don’t know, I’ve been obsessed with Latino cultures for a while now. But recently I think I’ve been entering a new phase of cultural fondness: Arab/Muslim. I picked this up at the library a couple weeks ago in the Young Adult section. It’s about a teenage girl living in Australia; her family is Lebanese-Muslim but she has to deal with quite a bit of anti-Muslim and xenophobic sentiments at her high school. As a result, she dyes her hair blonde and anglicizes her name in order to fit in and not feel stigmatized. Aside from this, she also has major conflicts with her strict father, a widow who pretty much smothers the girl, Jamilah, because he feels he has to.

At first I hated the book while reading it. Probably because I was the total opposite of Jamilah when I was in high school. Me, I was proud of coming from an immigrant family and didn’t give two shits about fitting in with the ‘popular’ crowd. Granted, I can’t ignore the fact that I’m not white and can’t necessarily “pass” myself off as an Anglo. But I hated Jamilah’s attitude in the book; she was so weak. It was all part of the story, though, and eventually everything wrapped up in the end, of course. I did love the relationship she had with her dad; all the fighting and arguing was definitely the same things I had gone through with my dad when I was her age. I feel kind of inspired to write my own version of the first-generation-angst story now.

Splendor by Anna Godbersen

I finally finished the Luxe series! I bought the first book, Luxe, a couple years ago when the Waldenbooks at my local mall was closing down. I thought the book cover was just so pretty and smooth, so I bought it (Young Adult fiction is just so much more affordable than regular ol’ fiction, heh). Anyway, the series is basically Gossip Girl set in the very late 1800s/early 1900s. It’s got rich girls, handsome boys, snobby parents, poor folk, etc. I think I liked this book a lot better than the last (Envy), and best of all — SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!! — Diana leaves Henry behind in the end! Just goes to show you, sometimes love isn’t always enough. I highly recommend this series for anyone who likes Gossip Girl/Sex and the City/Audrey Hepburn/classic Hollywood-type stuff. The author does an excellent job of recreating the New York of old; the writing style isn’t too bad either.

Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

I saw this book while randomly browsing at Borders (how incredibly sad that I won’t be able to do that anymore soon!) and finally checked it out of the library a couple weeks ago. You see, growing up, my parents would tell me stories and tidbits about the country Saudi Arabia, which is where they lived as young adults, met and first married. To me, Saudi Arabia is a fascinating place. It wasn’t until I was around 12 that I realized most Americans actually had a very different opinion about it — and in fact, I was 12 when the September 11 attacks occurred. Anyway, like I previously mentioned I’ve been into learning about Arab & Muslim cultures lately, and this book taught me a lot. For example, habibi means lover/loved one in Arabic! This totally makes sense now because I remember my dad once listed my mom’s cell number as “my habibi” at one time. Err, okay, back to the subject.

The novel revolves around four Saudi women, all of whom come from upper classes and are educated well enough. A couple even regularly travel to Western countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Told through e-mails an anonymous narrator sends out, their stories involve many familiar subjects such as family, marriage, love, school, and more. In fact, I will say this — it taught me a lot more about how to view love and marriage and courtship than most Western chick lit ever did. The translation wasn’t too confusing, and the stories of the four women were very refreshing and realistic. Although, I didn’t know how I felt about the e-mail framework. It just didn’t roll with me.

Anyway…what are ya’ll reading these days? Got a recommendation for me?