Snippets

Today, someone told me that my style (at least for today!) was “Modern Audrey Hepburn.” I like Audrey Hepburn. 🙂

I generally don’t like reading fiction. It’s not because I don’t like it, but because I get too invested. Characters are going through dilemmas and heartaches and conflicts too close to real life. I always end up an emotional wreck.

There are two exceptions — young adult fiction, and Jonathan Safran Foer. I just finished his latest novel, “Here I Am.” Some say it’s overindulgent, self-important prattle… maybe it is. But what I like about his writing is that it echoes the sometimes incoherent rambling in my head.

There is a sense of melancholy with watching how things fall apart, how people say things they don’t mean and mean things they don’t say. I like thinking about these things, too.

The saddest thing someone told me:

“I regret not making my marriage work.”

From a woman in her 70s. Last Saturday.

I ran into Malcolm. (Also last Saturday.)

I used to volunteer as a dance teacher assistant for adults with mental disabilities. I stopped last year because I couldn’t commit to the regular classes anymore with my work schedule.

“Malcolm! Do you remember me?”

And he looked at me, and nodded his head vigorously, and moved his arms. I knew he remembered me, I could see it in his eyes. And that made me happy, that even if he hadn’t seen me in nearly a year and a half, he hadn’t forgotten me. I chatted with his carer briefly, while he stood in front of me, nodding, telling me wordlessly that yes, he remembered me.

I always wonder, with these random encounters… was it somehow meant to happen? I’m not usually at that shopping centre. But I had to buy some materials, so I was there. I hadn’t meant to go at that time, but I had woken up unexpectedly early and decided to run my errands in the morning instead. Even being at that spot (by the travelators, at the ground floor), at that specific moment had been a fluke. I had already started to leave, but decided to go back to Woolies’ because I thought I had missed one of my bags (I didn’t). Or maybe everything in life is an accident?

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Fitness & style goals update!

It’s been a couple of months since I started working on my 2017 goals, namely, being more fit and being more stylish (hehe). 😛

Fitness

I’ve definitely upped my exercise, what with the new dance and Krav Maga classes. I feel like I have so much more energy. Admittedly, I’m paying a bit more money now, but I realised that it’s worth it for me. Previously, I would do a lot of exercises at home via Youtube videos or a weights program. (I’ve been following “Smart Girls Do Dumbbells” for close to a decade now.)

What I lacked was the ability to push myself. I was way too comfortable doing the same videos over and over again, and not pushing myself out of my exercise comfort zone. I found that I was a lot more likely to push myself in class, when there was a real live person encouraging me, and me getting energy from the people around me.

Of course, I’m still going to work out at home or at the nearby park, but I’m going to seek group environments a lot more.

I’m happy to say it’s been paying off! My neighbour told me last week that I’d noticeably gotten fitter compared to last year (“You’e always been slim,” she’d said, “but now you have a better figure!”) I’ve also gotten trimmer. Whereas I used to always say that I was a standard Australian size 8, some new clothes I’ve bought are now a size 6…

My problem area is still my belly, though. I like sweets and carbs too much.

Style

(Ok, the title of this section sounds so pretentious. But I digress.)

The past few months, I’ve been getting compliments like, “your outfit looks really cute today!” or “you put together your clothes really well!” and even, “oooh, do you have a date tonight?” (HAHA.) I’m not going to say that I’m now some kind of fashionista, but I can tell that I’ve been putting together my “look” better. I just feel more polished stepping outside of my apartment. It only took me waking up an extra ten minutes earlier each morning, and actually considering if my clothes went together with my bag, shoes and accessories.

I’ve finished reading a bunch of style-related books (check out my reading list). I’ve decided to stop reading for now and start applying the concepts I’ve learned. Fortunately, a lot of the books had similar tips — namely, make an assessment of everything I have, get rid of the crappy (whether ill-fitting or badly-made) clothes, shoes, and accessories, be more aware of what remained, and wear outfits that made me happy. I’d already done the bulk of that last year with all the decluttering I was doing, so now my task is figuring out how to put things together.

That’s also helped me identify gaps in my closet, so I went out and bought a few things. (That’ll be in my next post, because I wanted to take photos but left writing this too late, so now the sun has gone down.)

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Jason Statham broke my phone*

I was out on Friday night, and my friends were telling me about how Jason Statham was their ideal male type. I’m not too familiar with what he looks like, so I searched for him on my phone.

“Look for ‘Jason Statham body!'” they exclaimed, when the Google search results came up with headshots and clothed pictures. ‘Jason Statham body‘ was one of the suggested searches, so I clicked on it and —

My phone died.

And it has refused to turn on since then.

So that’s how I find myself using my ancient Samsung Galaxy SII. It’s funny how old and clunky it seems, but I remember being perfectly happy with it a few short years ago! I’m going to send off my bricked phone to the LG Service Centre this Monday, but I’ve already researched and know what I’m going to get if it can no longer be revived.

I’m a bit annoyed at this unexpected expense. But that’s life, hey? I’ve actually had several appliance breakdowns the past few months. My six-year-old laptop started gasping for life, my clothes dryer broke down, my dishwasher keeps throwing up an overflow error… ah, well.

A fortune teller told me last year that he saw me with a new phone. “Soon or in a few months,” he’d said. I remember scoffing at that suggestion, not just because of the randomness of it, but because I’m not one of those people who insist on getting the newest models when they’re released. I tend to use my phones til they conk out. But yeah, anyway, this happened. So maybe I should write this experience off as fate? Haha!

* Thanks to my friend T for coming up with the title when I was telling her this story!

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Asking for directions

One of my mini-resolutions this year is to give directions to anyone who looks like they’re lost (as long as I’m relatively familiar with the area…)

Today, on my way home, I came across an older American couple standing at one of the funny intersections in the Sydney CBD. The man was fumbling with the map. I asked if they needed help with directions. Fortunately, their hotel was near my workplace, so I tried to explain as best I could.

(As with all direction-giving I worried that I didn’t explain myself properly, but I figured that at least I steered them in the right direction, and if they were still lost, they could ask someone else on the way!)

Every time I give someone directions, I can’t help but remember when I was confusedly standing in front of one of the ticketing machines in my first year in Sydney. A young man, unbidden, asked me if I needed help, and explained how to use the machine. It was at Town Hall, I remember, and he had been with his girlfriend. Funny how I haven’t forgotten!

Wherever you are, random stranger, thank you for showing me how friendly Sydneysiders can and should be!

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Trying to be badass

One of 2016’s best lessons for me is that unexpected things can happen just like that!

Take, for example, one of my goals last year. I really wanted to get into self-defense. When 2016 started, I had an informative chat with a former coworker of mine who has a black belt; he recommended a few schools to check out. I did my research and asked around in online forums. I didn’t get far, unfortunately. I think I sent an e-mail to one of the schools nearby and, when I didn’t get a reply, didn’t feel compelled to follow up.

Then, when I was overseas last December, my dad mentioned he knew someone who knew someone who gave self-defense classes. Did I want to go for a one-on-one session? Hell yeah!

So, one hot and humid afternoon, I found myself in a studio in Makati, facing Roland Isla of Isla Mandirigma Kali. What I liked about it was that it was focused on self-defense… he didn’t just teach me how to strike and kick; he taught me about how to scan the environment for threats and about the mindset I should have (fighting shouldn’t be the first resort; and the aim is to get as far away as quickly as possible, not a fighting showdown.)

We went through several scenarios and basic steps I could do to defend myself. I learned about some simple “routines” that would hopefully incapacitate my attacker enough to give me time to flee. It was tiring, but it was super fun! I felt stronger and (cheesy as it sounds) more empowered that I was in a better position to defend myself.

If I was still in the Philippines I’d definitely be attending his regular classes. However, I knew that I’d eventually forget what I’d learned and that I’d likely panic if placed in an actual situation without regular practice. So I decided that self-defense would be my “thing” for February and started looking around for similar schools in Sydney. I came across 360 Degree Self Defence which was, fortunately, a quick drive from where I live.

I had my first session yesterday and, like my other class, it was also super fun! It was just an hour, but one day later and I’m definitely feeling the effects. We practiced some sample scenarios and I got into some basic moves. There is definitely a lot to learn! I can tell that I need to improve my upper-body strength. I also need to build my muscle memory as I found myself panicking during one of the exercises.

Hopefully I won’t be placed in a situation where I actually have to use these skills, but I’m feeling a bit more confident now that I’m taking steps to learn how to defend myself!

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