Oh how things have changed

My mood has gotten much better. Sometimes all it takes is a real good cry. It’s like when you’re hungover as hell—all you need to do is throw up and everything feels improved.

‘Course, it helps when your job decides to send you on a last-minute business trip…to England! Yep, that’s what I’m doing today. Flying out to the U.K. tonight, then coming back to Chicago on Friday. I literally found this out only a few days ago. But hey, I’m not complaining. In fact, when you consider that England is my dream destination, and that I’ve been dreaming of it since high school, this turns out to be a very happy situation indeed.

And in light of all this, one thing I’ve had to start researching is frequent flyer/miles rewards programs. This will be the third time I’m flying American Airlines this year, and the travel agent who booked me on this Manchester flight highly recommended I enroll in AAdvantage. Which I did. But it sucks because they won’t apply mileage credit for flights flown when not enrolled at the time. So those trips to Costa Rica and Miami I took earlier this year? Ineligible.

But you see…the reason why I absolutely detest these programs and why I don’t rush to join them is because they’ve just been so unreliable and unhelpful to me! Before 2010 I think I had only flown somewhere about twice in my whole life. When I studied abroad in Costa Rica two years ago, I took US Airways. I signed up for their Dividend Miles program, and now my balance of 4,694 miles is due to expire in a few days because of inactivity. So those are going to waste. Last year my family and I flew Delta Airlines to go to the Philippines. When flying home, the flight attendant handed me an enrollment form for their SkyMiles program. My mom encouraged it, and since I knew she’d gotten free tickets before just for her two previous trips to the Philippines (flying there is a shit ton of miles), I signed up. But lo and behold, they never credited my flight to the Philippines and back, and my balance there right now is only a measly 500 miles just for signing up.

Just thinking about these stupid things is making me annoyed again. OK, must stop and continue packing.

Putting some things back in order

A lot of progress today! Changed the navigation around on this new layout, and I think I’m pretty pleased with the end result. It’s like I’d almost forgotten how much fun it is to design (albeit mine are rather lame) layouts and code CSS. What you see here (above) is a photo I took last summer while flying over Aklan province in the Philippines. We were heading back to Manila from Boracay, and viewing a sunset while actually in the sky and up in the clouds was actually pretty awesome. I also have some awesome photos from Koh Samui, from my fantastic vacation in the most beautiful villa I ever stayed. Can’t wait to share that with you, guys. I also updated pretty much all of the pages on this here blog, and when you consider that I only do that about every 1.5 years, I’d say tonight was quite productive. I don’t know how I used to do this all the time before when I was a student. You’d think that once I had no more homework to do for the rest of my life, I’d find more time to dedicate to this place…

In other news, I deactivated my Facebook account Monday morning. That means it’s been nearly 4 whole days since I last checked or interacted with anyone on Facebook. Reason why? I just didn’t feel like interacting with anyone anymore. A couple days ago I was very angry with a lot of people in my life, feeling abandoned and ill-used and all that. So I cut the cord. The feeling’s quite great, actually. I feel less chained to my phone now and to social media in general. Eventually I know I’ll make my way back, but in the meantime I think I’m going to enjoy this.

As for the health issue I mentioned previously, I’m starting to wonder if there’s nothing physically wrong with me at all, which is a good thing really, but in the end would also suck because then I feel like I’ve wasted everyone’s time and money. My EKG last Friday came out normal, my doctor said my blood test was normal, and today I went in to get a chest X-ray. If that turns out to be normal, well then I’m going to feel like I just cried ‘wolf’ or something. I have been having these chest pains, though, on and off for at least a year. I’m 22 years old, that can’t be normal. There just has to be something wrong with me.

I have commitment issues? Settling issues?

After several lengthy conversations with close friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like staying in one place for too long. At this rate it will have been 1.5 months since I last traveled somewhere outside of the Chicago area. That is a long time to me. When you’ve been used to shuffling back and forth between school and suburbs, school and other cities, country to country, you get used to the excitement. The feeling that you’re not going to be in the same place for very long.

I think that may be what’s wrong with me. Before I started working, I did a fair share of traveling during the three months I was living at home unemployed. My family and I went to the Philippines for half a month, and Cincinnati for a weekend. I drove down to Champaign to visit friends. Even before this year, I routinely visited other places like St. Louis. And when I was abroad—well, I was basically in a different place every weekend. I do believe it was this time one year ago I was getting ready to head off to Panama for a school field trip. I can remember those four or five days so clearly. So many memories. And yet if you asked me anything about the past couple weeks, I don’t think I could tell you. Other than that I worked and bummed around.

Used to be I wanted to live the rest of my life out in Chicago. I just don’t see it anymore. I don’t see myself staying here in the suburbs any longer than a couple more years. I’ve said this a thousand times, maybe more, but I want to see the world. I need to see the world. When my mom was my age, she was living and working in Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles away from her home. I need to go back to Costa Rica and remind myself that those four months there weren’t just a dream. I need to go to London, the city I’ve been dreaming about for years. I miss my friends from all over the world, the international students I met at school now living away at their homes in France, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Colombia, Austria.

An old friend (“old” meaning I’ve known him for quite a long time, obviously) last week told me he was surprised to see me finally living at home again. That I wasn’t already making plans to jet off somewhere.

It’s like Shakira said:

Mi destino es andar
Mis recuerdos
Son una estela en el mar

Yeah…I’m too lazy to translate.

Holy crap, I’m white

OK, no not really, obviously. I’m brown and Filipino as hell. But I did find out some very interesting things about my family yesterday when my parents decided to divulge their family histories to prove which side was “better,” haha.

  • I have German blood! Apparently my great-great-grandfather on my dad’s side was a German-American soldier stationed in the Philippines way back when (the Spanish-American War? I don’t know). That’s why my dad’s middle name (and my grandmother’s maiden name) is Brum, which apparently isn’t a Filipino surname at all, but a German one. How freaking cool is that?
  • I’m also a little bit Chinese! Now, being Filipino, that was kind of a given…lots of Filipinos describe their ethnicity not as Filipino, but a mixture of Chinese, Spanish and indigenous blood. I just always say I’m Filipino because after all, you don’t hear Spaniards going “I’m a mixture of Gaelic/Moorish blood” or Brits going “I’m Gaelic/Anglo-Saxon/French” and whatnot. Anyway, long story short, my mother told me her maternal grandfather (my great-grandfather) was full-blooded Chinese and apparently very very rich. One of the richest in Manila in his day, according to my mom. I wonder where all those riches went…
  • One of the reasons why my paternal grandmother’s family has quite a bit of land in the Philippines is because of my German-American ancestor, apparently. Since my brothers and I are the only grandchildren of my paternal grandmother (well, that’s not true anymore, I think, I have a little adopted cousin and a new cousin born just a few months ago out of wedlock; but hey, I’m the oldest), we’re the ones that get her share of the family’s land. I’d always known that I was going to inherit land from my dad’s family; it’s just interesting to know now where it came from.
  • Finally, after hearing about this, my mother tried to one-up my dad and revealed to me that her father’s family has (owns?) an island in the southern Philippines. It doesn’t come with any money though, and in order for someone in the family to claim it, they must work and harvest it themselves. My mom said there’s no point in claiming it though, because it’s been overrun by terrorists (the Abu Sayyaf group) and I’d probably get beheaded and whatnot considering I’m American and not Muslim.

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.