State Of The Nation

1. I left my first company.

I started out as an agent, and spent my last few months with the company as a trainer. Pictured above are cards with messages on them, which my co-trainers gave me on my last day (I think). I had some great times with them, and a handful of the consultants in my department have become more or less my family during my brief stay as a barely-competent but highly-praised shoe-in. Not everybody liked me, sure, but I came to terms with it eventually. I think I made good progress. One reason why I’ll probably never forget that time in my life.

But it was a sad time, so I’ll leave out most of the details for now. I’ll tell you all about it when I have more resources, i.e. time, silence, emotional clarity, and nothing to do.

Bottom line: I felt it was time to get going. So I went.

2. I now work with another company.

One of the main reasons I quit my previous company was that I felt like I needed a break. I was working 12-hour shifts, I was working when I got home, I was working during the weekends. And the hours I had to spend in the office felt like a battle every damn day. You could argue that I couldn’t have expected it to be a walk in the park—it’s a supervisorial role, for cryin’ out loud. Tough going for a 21-year-old brat who’s never had a job before and led a mostly sheltered existence. So I quit.

People were shocked, and of course they wanted reasons.  So of course, I said I wanted to rest for a while. That was far from the main reason, but it was a reason at least. I said I wanted to sit around for a while, think about the decisions I’ve made and how I wanted my life to play out from then on, and maybe watch TV shows and read books while I’m at it. Basically I wanted to act my age again, even for a little while, before jumping back into the cage. That much was true. I’ll lie low for a month, I told them.

Not even two weeks later, I chatted with a friend and former colleague on Facebook. She mentioned that she was currently bumming but had plans to apply to a certain company. I’ve heard about them before, mainly because of their insane pay package (and for a non-managerial post too, might I add) and the somewhat unique job description—making real-time phone call captions for the hard-of-hearing. I barely thought about working for them when I first heard of them, despite the pay. I found it shady that I didn’t know the company, and that nobody else in my immediate circle seemed to. But then it popped up in this conversation with said friend, at a time when I was jobless. Figuring there shouldn’t be any harm in trying, I applied the very next day. And I got in.

Well, sort of. But I’ll elaborate some other time.

I’ve been working here for nearly a month now. I’ve been paid once since I started, and it was pro-rated since my wave started a few days into the cutoff—but it was still more than any single paycheck I’ve ever had. My friend didn’t make the cut for the account, but she works in the same company so at least I have someone I know here. It’s been an odd month, and a lot of my issues have come out due to the changes, and the people. It’s mostly the latter, and has something to do with my angry dumb brain, and my hormones. I’ll tell you about them some time.

For now, I’m being paid a moderately insane amount of cash for a unique and monotonous job (that my mind has wanted for a long time now) which I applied for on a whim. Can’t say I’m doing too bad, I guess. It’s also a long ways away from my area, so I get to travel and explore a little bit—I’m no Bear Grylls but I like to walk unfamiliar streets every once in a while. So there’s that, too.

By the way, I took that photo up there in one of the company CRs. I just wanted to show you how shitty-looking we’re allowed to be at work. And I gotta tell you, it is highly appreciated.

3. I got a haircut, and also wear glasses now.

In case you couldn’t tell from the photo above, here’s another photo:

And another one, because why not?

I’ve been planning to get a haircut for a while now. Having to tie it up every morning and redo it every few hours was starting to get tedious. I also figured that if I was going to let my madman hair go loose, I might as well get it dyed to reduce the eyesore. So I did. As usual, it looked okay when I was in the salon, but since then it’s gone back to being a clusterfuck. I still pin some portions back with a barette or a butterfly clip, but for the most part I’m okay with the mess. Kinda looks like art. Ha, ha.

I got my glasses in Manila, and they’re for astigmatism. They make me dizzy, kinda like Manila does, except I like Manila dizziness. On the bright side, I think they go well with my hair somewhat.

Speaking of Manila..

4. I met the Berlin Wall, and the Spolarium (for the second time).

I was starting to get antsy in my city due to aforementioned-but-unelaborated life-change issues, so in a very rare moment of thoughtless wanderlust I decided to go to Baguio. There wouldn’t be much for me to do there, seeing as how most of my batchmates had already graduated. My college mate who’s been staying down here went home for the week, though, so I figured maybe I could chill with her. She’s pretty cool and doesn’t trip my antisocial alarms, so she was a safe bet. And if not, I could just meditate and get lost. That was the original plan, anyway.

But in another rare moment of whatever-it-was, I decided to ask my friend go with me. Her parents usually won’t allow her, but she said yes and so in a matter of hours we were all set. We were really excited since we’ve been planning to go there together for Ages.

But (a lot of buts in this particular part of the entry) fate wouldn’t have any of it, so later on in the day we find out that there’s a HUGE storm and that the people of Baguio have been stitching nets into the mountainface to prevent landslides. They were expecting the rain to be so bad they were literally sewing the soil onto the mountain. That pretty much put the fire out for us, so my friend just slept over.

The next day was a Sunday, so we decided we shouldn’t let the day go to waste. That was when my friend mentioned that a chunk of the Berlin Wall was on display at the National Museum. If I had any misgivings before that, I lost them immediately. And so it was that when the lashing winds and rains let up a little, we hopped into a shuttle bound for Manila.

First we went to see the Spolarium, since you simply can’t NOT look at Spolarium when you visit the National Museum. You need to pay your respects. And also because my friend currently has a thing with Philippine history and our national heroes, specifically those involved in the blockbuster history “biopic” Heneral Luna. I saw the painting the last time I was there, and she’s seen it countless times before. Still, its grandiose presence never fails to to mesmerize us.

Then we went to the next building, and made a few detours into the different displays within the wing—mostly artefacts and dioramas, all interesting and insanely detailed. Then we went straight to the Marble Hall, where Section 22 of the Berlin Wall stood before us.

POMELO_20151018155833_fast POMELO_20151018160120_fast

I was swept away. I looked at it and it looked at me. And as I stood there, as odd as it may sound, I felt like I was in a different place, in a different time, among different people. I was flooded with feelings I had long since tamped down for fear of being considered impractical and too idealistic. I was overwhelmed by this piece of history standing right in front of me, and I was at a loss for words.

You could say, “hey, you’re in a museum. Museums tend to have things like that, you know. What’s the fuss about?” And you know what, you are absolutely right. Each and every single shred of wood and shell and paint in all the museums in the world hold meaning, memories, and history in each fiber of their composition. And all of them deserve to be relived and experienced by everyone. But I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t know much about the Berlin Wall, I’ll have to admit. Before I got to read the stuff on the wall I didn’t even know what exactly it was for. But I knew it had seen things I couldn’t even dream up, and that thought stood like behemoths all around this chunk of concrete, standing before us like a mighty, knowing creature. And when I learned that it once stood between people of a single nation, dividing them, one face alive and colourful and another bland and cold—and knowing that that wall has now been taken down and brought here, man. It almost brought tears to my eyes, knowing that something this meaningful is in front of me.

So I did what any person would, and took photos. I’m a shitbag like that.

The man guarding the wall had noticed our interest and shared some information, mainly about how long the wall is going to be on display here before it’s moved to Rizal park. He said he thought that was better, so that the people outside can see that whatever divides can and does come down. I smiled at that.

It was a very humbling experience, I can tell you that. Right up there with the first time I got to listen to a vinyl record, and that time I saw a meteor shower back in college. Call me sappy, but I’ll probably keep that moment with me for a long long time.

5. I’ve been buying books again.

I bought these from Underground in Manila. I was only supposed to get Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting because tehnically that was the only thing I reserved.. And I wasn’t even supposed to get that because I’ve only ever been to that bookshop ONCE, and I had a friend with me. This time I had to go alone, and I almost noped the fuck out. In fact I did nope out for a few days, if it wasn’t for the Facebook page’s owner calling me out in the comments section (politely, though) after a few days have passed and I hadn’t confirmed anything. I decided that I had to man the fuck up; hell, I’ve been a trainer, I’ve been through scarier shit.

So with a little help from my Manila-familiar friends, I hopped into an FX bound for Buendia and asked the driver to kindly drop me off at City Hall.

Guess what? He didn’t.

So I got a bit lost, and after some loosely-masked frantic PMs to my Manila friend, I saw a street sign saying Kalaw, and a jeep bound for City Hall. In an instant I knew where I was and how to get myself un-lost. And when I got to the shop, of course, instead of just picking up the book I wanted, I went ahead and picked up more. I have no regrets.

The bookkeeper, Iris was his name I think? He was the same guy in the shop the first time I was there. He was busy then, and he only had time for a few suggestions in between rearranging books and stacks of books with his gloved hands. He struck me as eccentric (of course, running a shop like that in the middle of the Lagusnilad underpass, you couldn’t be anything but), but I never got to talk to him in length.

This time, though, he engaged me in this conversation about why people only ever seem to read the books that everyone else does, and I was quite surprised. He also asked me what I was reading right now, what I liked reading, and what my opinions on certain authors like Charles Bukowski and Murakami were. For the most part I was dumb as a cucumber, but he didn’t seem to mind. Afterwards, he even told me to leave titles on their wall so he can look for them for me. He was really nice.

I haven’t been this happy about venturing out of my comfort zone in a while. It was refreshing. And also, BOOKS!!!!!1

6. Not so new news: I now have a smartphone? Yeah.

I don’t know how I could have missed telling you this. Hell I was blogging straight off of this damn phone. Anyway, I bought it for myself on my last birthday, seeing as how I had already lost two phones(!) within the year. I wanted to get a cheap phone because 1) I still did not have enough money for the phone of my dreams, i.e. Xiaomi Mi3 (and also I couldn’t find stocks anywhere in that damn mall), and 2) I just got my phone fucking stolen, am I really gonna replace it with something more expensive?

Well, the answer to the second question is yes. I bought an Asus Zenfone 5 with my own, hard-earned cash. By this time the Zenfone 2 had already come out, so a lot of people asked me if I bought it and, upon finding out that I didn’t, would ask why not. I dodn’t really have a reason—there was a version of the Zenfone 2 that was still well within my budget, and it was the newer model that can basically do what the Zenfone 5 can and more, so what gives? I dunno. Maybe I just figured that I didn’t really need the latest model, and this was a few thousand bucks cheaper, so I took the one that would save me money and still meet my needs. I did a little research before buyin the phone, of course, so I know it’s pretty damn decent for its price. So far it has been meeting my expectations quite well.

So since I can’t really take a photo of my phone using my phone, here’s a screenshot of my lockscreen. I dunno, go figure

7. It was Joche’s 2nd birthday last Saturday.

Happy birthday, buddy. I coulsn’t ask for a better friend. I’m glad you’re still with me after two years, and I get to spend more time talking to you and doodling shit and showing you off to the people I care about. Sorry if I abuse you sometimes, and whenever I don’t talk to you for weeks, months on end. That’s also partly why you’re still with me: I barely have anything to say anymore. Or at least, none that I think would deserve a space in your pages.

I’m so grateful I have you. Humans can be so volatile—I should know. So thanks. Here’s to more doodles and shitty feelings!

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now. I’ve been itching to write this post for literally days now, but I keep falling asleep midway and remembering that automatic drafts don’t work here (at least, not the way I want it to), so I just gave up.

But I’m glad I get to post this, here. It’s been a while. I feel like a bastard sonuvabitch who only ever goes home when he needs money. That’s a bit harsh, but I probably should try to visit more often. This felt nice. I feel like a fat lot’s rolled off my shoulders. I should do this more often.