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Expectations vs reality

8 Aug

What’s the key to enjoying life? Or at the very least, what is the key to a non-shitty existence? 

I think it is having the ability to be happy by yourself. 

There are many things that can be sources of self-fulfillment: work perfomance, an artwork, a personal goal that you are able to reach. It makes a person happy in the sense that for something that they spend time and effort on, there are tangible or at least conceivable results, which can be a source of pride and feelings of fulfillment. 

But often we need other people to reach happiness and self-actualization. We want someone to appreciate our efforts, comment on a job well done, made to feel that our achievements also make them proud and happy on our behalf. Someone to do things that make us feel special. Especially in an age of oversharing, our desire to be noticed and appreciated even gets more intense. Like posting something on social media and waiting for the “likes” to pour in. 

It is this desire that often lead us to feel underappreciated. But we have to remember: everyone has their own lives to worry about. Just like how we fidget about something great (or even just mundane stuff), so do other people. Maybe if we care about others genuinely, we might get reciprocation. 

Or maybe not. Expecting something in return is a recipe for disappointment. Even if it is, and especially if it is, from people we care deeply about, if our expectations are not met, it tends to hit us hard. So while we must also appreciate these people (because we genuinely care for them), we must not be thinking that they owe us something back. Or that it is their duty to make us feel special or loved. Lowering your expectations also diminish the possibility of disappointment. We can all live happier lives if we slowly disengage ourselves from the need to be noticed and appreciated by others, and instead find more contentment loving and appreciating ourselves. 

I think that in this world where the idea of not being in control of your own life is a possibilty (often more so for people who are trapped in unfortunate situations not of their doing such as extreme poverty, natural disasters, political instability or war), it becomes all the more important to be able to depend on onself for validation than to seek it from other people. If you expect it from others, then you must also be prepared for the harsh bite of reality. 

They closed down all the 711s in Indonesia

15 Jul

I flew back to Indonesia Tuesday night. Before that, I had to drop Blitzy off to the vet because she was scheduled to be spayed that evening. She had been diagnosed with pyometra days before, so it was decided that she will get fixed to prevent re-occurence of the infection.

My mom will be picking her up from the vet’s later this afternoon.

I came back one day before our two-day conference, which ended yesterday. I had booked a suite at the usual place in Menteng. I invited a friend to come with me and we will be going back to Semarang on Sunday.

This morning we went out to buy breakfast at the 711 across the street. It was closed. We went up instead and found an open Bakmi GM branch. I googled if there were other 711s close by and I was shocked to see that all the branches were listed as permanently closed. I looked it up and found a wiki entry that the 711s in Indonesia had all closed because of a failed acquisition. So sad.

So far, very relayed except for some annoyances at work. This year is going to be very interesting because of certain personalities. Lol. But anyway, I hope that this year will be much better than the last. I have a favourite class and this is their senior year. I intend to do all I can to ensure that they will get the best results for their external exams… I just hope that said personalities will not be an impediment to that. Hah.

I have more preparations this year, although I still have the same number of assigned teaching units. Somehow I am eager to start already. Somehow.

Summer

2 Jul

Past my second week here back home. It’s been relatively busy compared to other summers past. I finally got to visit this flat that I purchased, and am slowly furnishing it with my year-end bonus. Lol. I don’t want to take a loan so a real bed will have to wait. 

And then something happened early last Saturday. My sister came home half past midnight, and she noticed that our dog Blitzen was sitting among the bushes and wasn’t coming to her. She realized that she couldn’t raise herself up with her hind legs. She woke me up, then I went to see Blitzy. She came to me, struggling to get up and walk, but she did go up the patio, where she typically sleeps, and lay down. 

I woke up before six to look for her. I found her by the bushes again. I called to her but this time she couldn’t stand at all. She looked so weak and refused water. I was already freaking out because of the apparent severity of the matter. I asked my dad to go contract a jeepney (we don’t have a car) so we could take her to the vet. Then we had to struggle with how to get her to the road. Our house is about 200 meters away from the main road, and half of it is narrow and elevated. Blitzy was very heavy, and neither my dad nor I could carry her all the way, so I held a sling to support her hind legs and my dad pulled her in front. When we got to the stairs, my dad and I took turns carrying her, which was very difficult because it looked like she was trying to make herself heavy because she didn’t want to be lifted. 

The vet clinic was in the next town, and we had to wait another half hour till the vet arrived. When she got examined, the vet noticed that she had pus coming out of her vulva. I didn’t notice that at all. She had just finished menstruating and I thought that white liquid that I noticed a few days ago when she walked away was just some normal post-period discharge.

So anyway, the vet diagnosed it as pyometra, which is a secondary infection due to the hormonal changes female dogs undergo after their period of heat and they did not get pregnant. Blitzy’s is of the open variety, which means that the cervix is open and that is why she has pus leaking out. The other type, closed, is more dangerous as the pus that builds up in the uterus can rupture and cause blood poisoning, much like appendicitis in humans. 

Blitzy was admitted, hooked on an IV drip and given antibiotics. This morning I visited her and she was very pleased to see me, if her almost knocking over of the IV pole is any indication. She can stand and walk now, although she still has pus leaking out of her. I spent a couple of hours there hanging out with her at the waiting area at the confinement room while the vet attended to the other animals that were brought in. It is a Sunday and they were only open until noon, but there were a lot of patients coming in. 

Blitzy wasn’t so excited seeing the other animals and was just there on the floor by my feet, eventually sleeping while I patted her. She was even so comfortable that she assumed her favorite spread eagled position. Goes to show how she has improved overnight. 


I just felt sorry having to leave her there again. I asked the vet to just have her fixed when she is well enough for surgery. (The best treatment for pyometra is an ovariohysterectomy.) I only have a week before I fly off again. And if she is to have surgery, then at least I will be around to keep an eye on her when she recovers at home. Let’s see how it goes. 

I won’t be able to see her tomorrow as I have to go to the flat to supervise the installation of the air conditioner and the TV. Perhaps before I go home on Tuesday I will come over and visit her again, unless she is sent home earlier sans getting spayed. 

Seeking a friend for the end of the world

19 May

My brother sent me a text last night, “Chris Cornell is dead.”

Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t thought of Chris Cornell or Soundgarden or Audioslave in years, but the information didn’t really shock me. The news was just breaking, and my brother suggested it could have been an overdose. I was thinking it was suicide.

I have a cassette copy of his solo album Euphoria Morning, from when I either just graduated high school or just started college. Back in those days money was really scarce, and even if there was Limewire I didn’t have the funds to buy a cheap MP3 player. So it is one of the few records that I bought during my lean years, and it was one of the albums I often listened to on our old karaoke/cassette player.

I was struck with how melancholy his songs were. The cheeky lines: “I only love you when I’m down… I’m down all the time.” The lonely hopefulness of “Preaching the End of the World”. I listened to it again just now (on YouTube), and as with feelings long hidden and forgotten, it suddenly came to the surface. When I first listened to that song, it was years before a major depressive episode, but somehow the words were prescient, like a person I was bound to meet later on. Okay, maybe I was just an angsty teenager like most teenagers were then, but the words evoked a familiarity akin to a stranger that you somehow felt like a friend.

Wave goodbye, now. Before I uglycry. Lol.

New year. 

3 Jan

As is typical in the Philippines, there are loud firecrackers and bright fireworks displays in neighbourhoods. Although the practice has been largely discouraged by the government due to accidents that result in injuries and amputations, there are still private individuals who buy fireworks in the belief that the loud noise will drive away evil and bring good fortune (although that is doubtful if you lose one or two fingers or worse); also because fireworks makes the new year more festive (this I can agree with).
Anyway, that being said, New Year’s Eve is the bane of our pets. The loud noise scares them. Neko hid in the walk-in closet. The other cats, with the exception of Basilio who stood chillaxed by the laundry, scampered away in search of a nook to get away from the explosive noise. One of the kittens, called Long-Tailed Ugly (yes), was missing for a couple of hours and came through the window that I left open at past 2 am.

But Blitzy was a revelation. Our labrador, who turned two as the clock struck twelve, seemed unbothered by all the racket. Perhaps she was appropriately named. Perhaps she is already deaf. Lol. We had to tether her to her leash because we were afraid that she would run to the firecrackers, because all night she had been running towards the direction of the noise. While we were having our midnight dinner, here she was by the door:

She seemed unperturbed by the firecrackers last year, too, according to my mother, but they had been proactive and let her inside the house. They thought that it was because it was her first NYE, she was still unafraid. New Year and Christmas had always been a stressful time for our dogs and cats. So it was a great thing to know that Blitzen is not scared of all the noise. I feel sorry when I see them scared shitless. 

Holidaze

30 Dec

It’s been almost two weeks since I came back home. This pretty much sums it up:

I have at least managed to meet my 2016 Goodreads Reading Goal (16 books) due to a feverishly paced reading of All the Light We Cannot See and me remembering to add a book I probably finished this year. 

Right now I am halfway through Sophie’s Choice and I’m hoping to get it done by reading around a hundred pages per day. That aim had been foiled for the last couple of days, but I’m determined to achieve momentum so that it’ll be the first book I finish in 2017 with much time to spare so I can read succeeding books at a leisurely pace. (The natural choice for the next book is Primo Levi’s memoir The Periodic Table.) I have no illusions for when work resumes in January: definitely I will be immensely busy preparing graduating students for external exams. Thankfully I wasn’t given any test setting duties for the internal exams this time around, and will only serve in vetting a couple of tests. 

I have one week here, and due to my laziness and procrastination, I have to sort out my affairs within three days. Or two, ideally. I still have to collect documents and see my flat, which I have not laid eyes on at all yet, and then ask about having it leased for a couple of years because I lack funds and time to get it furnished. I have yet to see a rheumatologist to speak about an alternative to the oral corticosteroids that I have been taking to manage my auto-immune condition. I have not much hope in the latter, because the probable alternative – immunosuppressing anti-organ rejection drugs – just might mess up with my egg cells. I don’t plan on having kids yet,but I don’t want to have to come to a point where I have no choicr about my own fertility either. But still it’s something to discuss with a specialist. 

It’s New Year’s eve tomorrow. How quickly time passes. 

Slice of life

1 Nov

Only four periods of teaching today, although I do have an extra class later. New student, came from a national school, had been receiving after-school (and weekend) classes to make up for that year he missed (they didn’t have chemistry in his previous school). We’re almost halfway the second term but he is almost done with all the things that we needed to cover: one year of classes. He’s doing so well, and he likes the challenge of the subject, and it’s gratifying for me as a teacher. 

Not so much for marking. I’ve got a ton of papers to check. It just so happens that when I start on another pile I get distracted and I want to do something else. So it just keeps piling up, along with other teacher grunt work like lesson plans. 

Later my most senior students will be sitting for their last exam in chemistry. It’s a multiple-choice test. Ironically it is the most difficult for them. I’m just happy that it’s gonna be over soon. The stress. The emails. Okay, I didn’t even receive a lot of questions or clarifications about hard to answer items except from a couple of my most diligent students. Had I given my number, I’d have been bombarded with even the simplest queries on instant messaging, at all hours. So nope. 

I’ve recently re-installed Neko Atsume on my phone. My LG G4 had a bootloop problem and when I got it fixed, the technician had to obliterate my files. So yeah, I have to work once more to get back all my cats and my yards and my goodies. Sighs. But Neko Atsume is such a great stress reliever. 

Not that I’m stressed out. Surprisingly, I am not. I’ve had worse, definitely. Everything is actually peachy. That’s why I don’t understand why my eye keeps acting up. Last week was particularly terrible. The pressure on my right eye was too great. I couldn’t do anything but gobble 24 mg of methylprednisolone per day. It’s the only thing that keeps the pain at bay. Too bad for shit side effects. 

Holidays are in a few weeks. I already booked tickets to and from Manila. Definitely will be home for Christmas. Germany likely in June. Let’s see.