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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Let The Good Times Roll

I love my bus drivers. Yes, I met a few arrogant ones and a few that totally hate their jobs; but the majority of them are sooo nice and friendly. This evening one of them tried to make up the lateness by honking furiously at my next connection, which was on the verge of leaving the bus stop. The driver stopped to let me in thanks to the honking code, but not before he teased me by pretending not letting me in. It is 7.26 pm, I have been on the road since 6.06 am, yet I am grinning from ear to ear.

You know what can possibly topped that? A fellow passenger that said to me: "So glad you made it! I saw you running and I was hoping you can catch this bus." This was a cool unassuming African-American whom I always saw on the same bus, but never thought she actually give a damn about me. And oh man her smile! She was genuinely happy to see me manage to catch that bus instead of waiting for another 30 min. I mean come on, I got my bath waiting for me at home. And my bed too.

I think it should be mandatory for people to experience public transportation for at least a good 6 months or so. Here in LA the public transportation was pretty good, at least compared to Jakarta. Yes, there are some sketchy routes, and the transfer policy for some busses makes it expensive to ride on. But you'll learn oh so much. Last Sunday I learn that "Get off me you Trump!" could be considered as a valid insult. I learn to keep my head down when there is alterceration or shouting match. I learn to keep to myself when there's sketchy people around.

You know what else I learn? I learn that the smile on a young man's face when I said "thank you for chatting with me" was priceless. I learn that you can help people easily, from teaching them how to use a new app to finding a route with your Google map. I learn that it feels oh so great, being about 8000 miles from home, when somebody (a.k.a the bus drivers) said "Sorry you're late for work, will you be ok?". Like, the busses are pretty much my limo, albeit one that I shared with 20 something people. And don't even start with the jaw dropped gaze and various "Wow, you're beautiful!".

Public transportation is a place where you learn to be human, where you learn about other humans. Where else can you see the true face of humanity other than when you were stuck with a bunch of them inside an unpredictable iron beast. This time no cheating too, it's as assorted as Bertie Botts All Flavored Beans, ranging from caramel to earwax. And lest forget about patience and some good ol' zen exercise. Finding your zen when you are in a warm sweet smelling (yoga) studio is easy; finding it in a crowded bus with various chattering noises while trying to decide on whether you should stop at the next stop and Uber yourself instead because you are already so damn late would be an interesting challenge, yes?

We humans are annoying piece of sh*t. This much is true. No matter how good you are, no matter how sweet you are, someone is bound to hate you. But the opposite is also true. No matter how pathetic and agonizing/aggravating you are, someone is bound to love you, someone is bound to see the good in you. However, this is a matter of perception. It's back to how you want to see people, or to be exact, how ready are you to see people; not just physically, but to see them whole as human. This feat requires understanding, a big heart, an even bigger mind, combined with the smallest ego you can maintain. Will you, for instance, cried loudly (in your mind) about how useless and trashy and a waste of oxygen is the dirty (and seemingly) homeless man in the back seat who keep ranting throughtout the trip? Or will you feel sorry for him to be in such pain that he had to let it out to the world like that?

Taking the public transportation, for me, is almost second nature. I am a very social being (with extremely introverted personality) and I enjoy being with people, being amongst people. Crazy people on the bus scared me, and I have to admit there are many times I wish I could drive and own a car instead of spending hours on the bus. At the same time though, these people on the bus are my family. A sort of broken dysfunctional family in which we don't even know each other, but still a family. And ideally, that's how the world should be. We are all family. Regardless on how we are taught to think or how we look, our fear, our emotion, and our hopes and dreams remain the same. 

Tomorrow I have to get up by 5.40 am, and probably wont sleep till 10.40 pm. I could use more sleep. But hey, I could also use all those smiles and good vibes from my commute. Let the wheels on the bus go round and round, let the train on the track go clickity clack, let them serve the people and become the artery of the city and its surroundings. And baby, let the good times roll.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Winter Blues

"I'm fine. I'll be fine," I whispered to myself as I grab another tissue and furiously wiped my tears. It's not even noon yet and I was already in tears, a too-typical scenario that I thought would never ever happen again now that I am not with my ex anymore. But it happened, and this time there was no one to blame. It's just life.

A part of me was making tons of excuses: the weather swings (from heat-stroke sunny days to gloomy-ass rainy days), my period, the fact that yes it has only been 3 months since the divorce was filed and naturally I am still grieving, the new life that I have right now, me overstretching myself to be better and burned myself out in the process. Another part of me, a more logical part of me simply berate me for being weak and questioned my existence. Yeah, she's not that nice, but useful though to push me above my limit.

I get it. I know my limit. I know things I can do and things that I can't do. I can do the things that I wanted or needed to do. Yet at the same time, I am not ready. Haven't we all been there? The feeling that we just can't? I feel like walking in quicksand (not that I actually did), or in a sinking boat. It's the feeling that the end is near and there is nothing to hold on too, no solid steps or rocks to step on. I know in the end I will be able to lift myself up and save myself from whatever it is, but right now it feels so overwhelming and I can't shake off that desperate and melancholy feeling.
It is not so bad, actually. It's hard to stay depressed when you are aware how good life is. The next good food, the next genuine smile, the next funny joke, and I'll be as happy as a bee in a summer day. Normally. Yet it doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes you are so down and so blue that nothing could lift your spirit, not even your favorite things or favorite food or (gasps!) favorite person. And it's fine. You just need to ride it out.

Sometimes people don't get it, or overlook it when trying to make the other person feeling better. "Cheer up, buttercup!" "There are worse things in life." "You can do it!!". To their credit, it hurts to see the person you care about, or heaven forbid, the person you look up to, being down in the dump like that. Unfortunately, feelings don't work that way. Telling somebody to cheer up when they're down is like telling somebody to grow an inch or two in an instant. Feeling, especially negative ones, need to be ridden out; and the best thing you can do for someone is to tell them these words: "I know you are in a bad place. Take your time. I will wait for you until you are ready."

We can't change our emotion from happy to 'normal' or sad to 'normal' in an instant, just as we can't change our height or weight or skin color in an instant. We can change our emotion or feeling if there is a strong enough trigger, but even the strongest trigger won't necessarily work if we are already holed up in our own little world. Feelings, emotions, they wane off. Nothing last forever, no matter how hard you try to hold on to them (but if the feeling/emotion does stay, you might have a pathological issue). All we can do is ride them off until it doesn't matter anymore and we can 'snap' out of it.

As much as I want to say that it is a sign of weakness, it is not. Being sad, being hurt, being physically and/or emotionally overwhelmed is a valid enough reason to went into the chute, the abyss of desperation. Heck, you feel you. We don't need to explain or apologize or make excuse on how we really feel. We can talk about it to make us feel better and to not alienate our love ones, but no excuses needed. Discussion, not excuses, just as Hallows, not Horcruxes. But sometimes, when you can't even bring yourself to talk, rejoice in your silence. It is ok to be depressed.

Since winter is approaching, this might be an issue for a lot of people. I can feel myself (and my sanity) being dragged deeper and deeper in my desperation every passing day. It is funny I never realize how dependent I am with the sun, or scientifically, to vitamin D3. Some say taking additional Vitamin D3 might ease the winter blues (such romantic name for such uncool and horrifying time of the year), but do take them responsibly. Just talking to you readers like this already making me feel better. I still feel like the world is coming to an end, but I don't really give a sh*t about that anymore. Stay warm dear reader, and stay sunny. Winter can't last forever, nor our sadness and desperation. We'll be just fine.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Poison Control - Short Story

"Well?" she asked. I looked at her with both lust and contempt. Such a vain, vain woman. She has started to gain weight, and age has definitely catching up with her. Yet still she was mesmerizing. Her every movement, even the slightest one, sent me into a dizzying spiral of desire. The voice that promised heaven, the scent that promised paradise, the physique that promised your every wish will be fulfilled; how I hated her!

"Well what?" I replied casually, even though my heart beat so hard I was so sure she could hear it. She smirked. Oh Gods above! That smile! Those lips! What would I give to crushed them with mine. Berries. Her kisses always tasted like berries, as it was her favorite snack. Sometimes it would be the tang of wine, sometimes it would be the taste of miswak that she chewed to keep those pearly white teeth beautiful. It was irrelevant though, because you would always come back for more kisses; each hungrier than the last. Help me Gods, help me.

She looked right into my eyes, and to me, it felt she looked right into my soul. I suppressed a shudder. She was known as the most famous courtesan not for nothing. Regardless of your social status, a night with her means you will be king for the night: your ego stroked, your confidence boosted, your existence became the most important thing in the world. Even the Emperor himself was not immune to her charisma and accepting his fate to be just one among her many devotees. She could read your soul and made you hers, and you would gratefully accept your cruel fate. Not me, though. Not me.

I touched the gold ring around my ring finger and suddenly felt hot. The image of my wife flashed before my very eyes, graceful Amerys with her fragile physique and serene look. How dead she looked compare to this colorful creature. Amerys was so pale and so quiet, one could easily mistake her for a drowned victim when she sleeps. But unlike this creature, this horrible creature, Amerys has always been mine, all mine. That's why I had to go, I had to stop this feeling. Poor Amerys, she did not deserve to be treated like this, to be with a man who can't be loyal to her. I wanted to be a good husband for her.

"Don't do this," she whispered. Was there a hint of threat in her voice? Who knew. Her voice was lush and luxurious, like the soft animal fur that covered her entire boudoir. A scholar that I met at the bar one time told me bitterly, "Only a cruel, heartless person could live so comfortably among the slayed innocents like that." I secretly agreed with him, what was she if not cruel and heartless. Yet as I sat on her window sill a few nights after I thought I could see the scholar looked longingly at her window from afar. There he was, the innocent prey that would or has adorned her vicious parlor. I hated her for it, because I realized that I was also her prey.

The memory made my blood boil. I have to go. I have to get away from this wicked woman. "Do what?" I answered with a smile. I gently run my fingers on the side of her face and her neck, which made her smiled and purred with pleasure. "Do this?" I whispered, placing my fingers on her lips, taunting her. She grinned and gave them a quick kiss. The rush kicked in. For a moment I wanted nothing than undressed her and have my way with her, to devoured her with my desire. But didn't every other man feel the same? Day in day out, nights after nights, there was always someone new for her. There was always another man coming out of her apartments looking like he just won the jackpot or got thunderstruck or, most of the time, both. She'll have a repeat now and then, I was lucky enough to be her repeat for a while, but not for long. I thought marrying Amerys would save me, but I was wrong.

She got up from the chaise to get some drink on the table. As she stood fiddling with the decanter I could see her silhouette in the thin gown she was wearing, and my mind run wild. I wanted her, but she didn't want me. I could be good, but she didn't want to be good. She wanted to be a whore. She wanted to be a disgusting pig where any man could come and plowed her mercilessly. How despicable. And I had promised her a good respectable life, the life that she should have had with me. How gay our life would be had she accepted it, how full of passion our days would be. Instead I ended up being with that bone-dry Amerys, while she gave herself to lesser men than me. I suffered life with a frigid wife while she lived it up. I had to endure this emptiness because of her rejection, while she filled herself with many men. What a revolting, horrible creature!

That's why she had to go, and the darlings in my left breast pocket would be her demise. She came back with two crystal glasses of wine and handed one to me with a smile. "Wait," I told her and motioned her to sit next to me on the chaise. I smiled my most charming smile and pulled out the tin box from my breast pocket. Her eyes widened as I opened the box to show the little balls inside. "Compressed carbonator, oh beautiful one." In the past I had managed to procure the carbonator from the royal chemist to seduce her, she liked it so much I became her repeat for a while. I had rightly guessed it impressed her still, because she tossed herself at me and gave me a wet, sensual kiss. Her saliva filled my mouth and I suddenly felt half-drunk myself. There's a little bitterness there, almond perhaps? I couldn't care, it was filling my mouth nicely. I had always love her kisses. Always. 

After what seemed like forever she pulled herself from me and laughed heartily. Such pretty peals of laughter. I will miss that. Amerys couldn't laugh prettily to save her life. I dropped one of the little balls in her wine and like a little girl she watched it fizzed. The room felt brighter and shone in vivid colors as she laughed again and drank the wine greedily when the bubbles started to slow down. Yes, drank all you want love. So pretty, so luscious, and soon, so dead. All of the carbonators were tainted. That was a just retribution for what she did to me. Such fitting retribution. After the last gulp she looked uncomfortable. She tried to take deep breaths, but it didn't work. The potion worked by constricting her breath way. She kept gulping for air, yet still looked pretty. It was amusing to see when she finally lost her balance and fell from the chaise, her hair covered her face and her body situated as if she had just had a particularly satisfying intercourse. Why not, I thought to myself. I opened my trousers and had my way with her, over and over again. 

When I finally collapsed to the chaise I looked at her with unsuppressed satisfaction.  She was covered with my fluid, and with bruises and bite marks all over her. I have had her before, so many times; but this time she was all mine, and she will stay that way from now on. Who owns you now, whore? I sighed deeply and smiled. Free, at last. And I got to get the last laugh too. My manhood hurt, but I was too spent to do anything else. Maybe later, if she was still warm. I closed my eyes and soon the ecstasy drifted me to a peaceful sleep. Bye bye little slut, and good riddance. You wronged me and this was what you deserve. So good though, her body was just so good. I would miss that. I really would. 

When I opened my eyes the sun was shining warmly and dyed the sand of the shore golden. It also enhanced the color of the blue sea stretched in front me. Such a beautiful day, such a beautiful place. There was no sound to be heard, and I was all alone. It was good though. I breathed deeply, in and out, enjoying my moment of peace. From a far I could see a speck coming towards the shore, and it wasn't long before I realized it was a man on a small row boat. When the boat reached the shore he stretched a hand to me. "Don't mind if I do," I said genially. As I stood on the boat I felt a couple of gold coins in my trouser pocket. Now where did that come from? I shrugged and thought to myself, "It doesn't matter.". I handed the coins to the boatman and sat comfortably as he rowed us away. All was peaceful, all was good.

She looked at him twitched and convulsed as the fizz in her wine died down. With the last of the fizz, he took the last of his breath too, lying unmoved in her chaise. She stood up and poured all the wine into the basin. There was a loud hiss when the liquid hit the metal. She took a vial from her drawer and rinsed her mouth thoroughly with the liquid from the vial. When she's done, she approached his dead body, carefully closed his eyes and put two gold coins on them. "For the boatman," she said gently, "may your trip be peaceful."

At that moment her door opened with a bang and a gaunt woman stood in the doorway. When she saw the dead man her body became taunt with emotion, and colors rose to her cheek. "My husband, is he..." She looked at her and answered matter-of-factly, "Yes." The gaunt stranger let out a sob. She suddenly flinged herself at the woman, and cried in joy, "You did it my love, you did it!!" They kissed passionately, and the gaunt woman had never looked more beautiful than she was in her unbriddled joy.

She remembered the first day Amerys came to her. She had thought Amerys would be like other wife or bethroted that would cry and threaten and beg for her to leave their men alone. She never understood, because it was their men that could never leave her alone when she really didn't care about them. But Amerys was different. She could see the cold fire in her, and she admired her determination. Her beautiful Amerys, as elegant as Calla Lily yet as deadly as Belladona, she was Amerys' since the first day they met, and Amerys was hers. 

Amerys saw the gold coins and looked at her sadly, "I am sorry you have to do this."
She caressed her straight black hair and kissed her lovingly, "I have to. He has been hurting you for too long and he has killed some of my other lovers. I don't want trouble." 
"You wont get any, I swear by my family's name," Amerys answered, "The poison is untraceable and it looked like a heart attack. He might experienced some hallucinations towards the end, but that is all. Untraceable and you could even say he died happily." 
She nodded. "You are a little devil to think about concocting a poison like that, activated by body heat and transferable by kiss, how did you even think of that?".
Amerys blushed at the obvious compliment, "Poison works best when there is little to no tension in the body, so..." 
She loved the way Amerys blushed, so she kissed her again. "Should I be scared of you?" she whispered seductively. 
Amerys blushed even deeper red, "No, please don't," Amerys stammered, "I wont harm you ever, I promised." 
She smiled and wrapped her arms around her tiny waist, pulling her closer to her. "Should I love you then?" 
Amerys flustered, her mouth opened and closed until she finally whispered, "Yes. Please." 
She smiled triumphantly. "Good," she said and kissed Amerys hard on the mouth, "because I really do love you, Amerys Borgia."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pretty Girl Rocks

I am pretty. Goddammit I really am. I'm not just pretty nice, pretty strong, or pretty awesome; or, as some would say, pretty stubborn, pretty annoying, pretty aggravating. I really am pretty. I got complimented a lot wherever I go. I mean, being an Indonesian in LA is already a pretty niche position, there aren't that many of us around. We're not Philippines or Hispanic, we're just…different. However, these days the compliments were going extra strong. People actually like looking at me. And let me tell you: It feels sooo good.

This is not the first time I felt this way. I think every time I fall in love or started a new relationship I got this feeling too. You feel pretty and significant when you are in love and being loved, so naturally you will enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror more. Endorphins work wonder on our complexion and poise and our whole self in general. Our skin aglow, our smiles brighten, our eyes lit with hope and wonder; in short: we're love-struck. Every inch of our body screamed 'love' and 'affection', and since we are in (almost) constant happy mood, the world seems to be so much nicer and absolutely wonderful.

But you know what else triggered that endorphin, perhaps even bigger than love itself? Success. Self-confidence. Freedom. Knowledge that you got your sh*t together.

I want to say I got it all together, but I didn't. Or, to be exact, I haven't got it together. The euphoria of the battlefield (a.k.a my divorce) has waned and now I am able to see clearly the desolated path lies before me. I am still struggling with my new job and I am worried that I might not cut for it. I don't know how I can save enough money to go home and visit my family next summer. I am swamped with homework and online course, and I haven't had full 8 hours of sleep since July (note: people who knows me well understand how big of an issue it is for me). I miss my family, my step kids, my cats. Things honestly do not look rosy for me.

Yet I rocked wine-colored body-hugging shirt dress and black combat boots to my work meeting. I downed (free!) samples of liquors and wines at the LA Women's Expo with some girlfriends, then conclude it with the all-famous LA's Danger Dogs. I went to carved pumpkins festival and had a blast (Cthulhu for prez!!), wandering around for almost 2 hours. I met a dear friend for the first time ever, despite the fact we both living near (or in) LA for 3 years. I went to Seattle and experienced 36 hours of awesomeness of Rail Tripping (yes Amtrak, that's what I will call it from now on). I danced Balinese dance for the first time (and totally failed at it). My days are long but people has never been nicer to me, which makes the 6+ hours commute each day totally worth it. Life is awesome.

In a way, that's what makes me glow: the notion that life is awesome. What's more important is the understanding and knowledge that not only I have the right to experience life to the max, I also can do it. I am no longer the timid puppy waiting for the master to come home, I am a wolf running free in the wild. I felt like I have been pushed to run in Iron Man race (which, by the way, will never happen in real life) and so I grudgingly did and feeling like I was gonna die; but I survived and I look back in surprise thinking: "Holy sh*t! I actually did it!".  I know my strength. I know what I am capable of. I am also very, very proud of myself. It's beautiful, myself is; beautiful even though kinda chipped here and there, but I won't change it for anything because the broken bits only enhanced its beauty. Yes, I bloomed; and goddammit how I glowed!

Knowing my strength also allows me to be me. There were days, nights when the old me came back with worries and fear, questioning everything and instill doubts in me. It is uncomfortable, but it is not permanent anymore. For instance, when I get worried whether or not I am 'good' enough for my beau, I would toss my head up and said bravely, "I can always walk away". [Though with a little quiver still. I really dig him]. Not that I intend to, but the notion of what I can do gives me strength and confidence that I need. I am no longer tethered to 'What if…", which is very good, because not all What-ifs are preventable or manageable and I'll be wasting my time and energy fretting over them. As a presidential candidate said: "The shackles have been taken off me!"

No, my previous relationship was not the shackle, as tempting as it is to claimed it as one. My shackle is my doubts, my lack of self-confidence. My shackle is my own mind tethering me to 'safety' in order to get a happily ever after where I will be safe and sound. My shackle is my fear of not being accepted, of having to live by myself and unloved. There is still a good part of me shackled, especially in the manner of self-confidence, but I am looking forward to be free from it and strut my way in the world. Even now when I am only halfway (ok, maybe 2/3 of the way) freed, I can feel myself rising to the challenge, blooming and more receptive to the amazingness of the world. I am free, with my five senses spoiled and my heart filled with love. Is it really a wonder I look so different these days?

There will be times, challenging times ahead; because God likes to challenge us and Universe likes to tease us. There will be times when the mood of my writings will be more somber or even downright devastating (again). But that could wait. For now, I am enjoying my grinning face and my easy going struts. For now, I enjoy the compliments and the dreamy look from people who seen me. For now, I enjoy planning and filling my days with fun and laughter, as well as pursuing my ambitions. For now, I enjoy this feeling of self-confidence and freedom, and the pride in myself as well as the pride of knowing I got my sh*t together. And no, you can't take that away from me. Nobody can. Enjoy this smile fellas, you'll be seeing this smile for quite a while.

Monday, October 17, 2016

America The Beautiful, Again

I looked at myself in the mirror as I washed my hands: hair tousled and makeup-free, totally unremarkable except for a hint of my neon green bra underneath. (Note: it was technically called tequila-lime colored in the catalog). In the somewhat moderate Jakarta where I grew up, dressing like that could be considered a mortal sin and I would never, ever don such getup. Nevertheless, it'd be (almost) the same offense if I donned it in the so-called sin island of Bali. Both the locals and the foreigners would think I am cheap for blatantly flaunting my bra. Here, nobody even blinks an eye.

After my divorce filing, my friends and family all asked the same question: "Why don't you go home? You'll have us." True. I will have my friends and family. I will have the late night excursion to the beach on my scooter. I will have all the delicious cheap food that I want. I will have the freedom from paying so much tax. I will be free from worrying about scary presidential candidates, and the possible backlash that I would experience as an immigrant. I will be free from the questioning remarks "But honestly, maybe you don't want to admit that you come here because you want to come here?", to which I would exhaustedly explain over and over again that there is such thing as giving all your love to somebody, as absurd as it may sound. I could do that.

Yet if I do, I will lose a lot of things too. I will lose the convenience of tap water, which after my 3+ years living here I still have not taken for granted. I will lose the ease of borrowing e-books and audiobooks online from LA Central library. I will lose the good customer service that I have been so accustomed to, the underlying feeling that as a customer I will get the best service, even as mundane as getting a $5 gift card because they didn't make my $2.50 coffee fast enough. I will lose the safety of paramedics and police officers and fire brigade and other first-responder services. I will lose the comfort and convenience of managing my money easily because the rules are pretty much laid clearly, and your money is protected. I will lose the freedom of being able to be who I really am. [I actually don't mind losing the health service here, but it's a whole different matter]. If I had to choose between going and take the easy (read: more laid-back) life back home and staying here in US with all the racial tension and anger and things that is not so great about US, I'd stay.

Without siding with any candidates, America is, and has always been, great. USA is a nation builds by hope and courage by a bunch of immigrants, a nation protected and upheld by the citizens whose loyalty are undeterred, a nation that continues to grow and become better, become a step ahead. As we embroiled so bitterly in or against the presidential candidates, it is important for us to stop and think: What is, in our mind, USA all about? Is it really defined by the hateful rhetoric? Is it really defined by fear and anguish? Is it really defined by distrust and discomfort? Is USA really that horrible, horrible place to be? Is it really a country so broken that another civil war would be welcomed?

I see the greatness of USA in the pride of my friend the ex-navy officer. I see the greatness of USA in the smile and greeting I receive each day through my 6-hour bus commute to and from work. I see the greatness of USA in the ease of checking my divorce status online, and the prospect of not even having to see the judge to have it finalized. It's everywhere, depends on where (and what you want) to see. The greatness of USA is in the protest of North Dakota pipelines, dubbed as "the largest gathering of indigenous nations in modern American history", or at protesters for college rape cases, or proud supporters of LGBT. The greatness of USA is in, like it or not, the protest staged by Colin Kaepernicks and such. Here we have people who are unafraid to voiced their opinion, and to do what they think is right. Here we have people who truly believe what a great country they live in, for better or for worse. Here we have opportunities and equality. Here we have people who can choose to live their passion, be who they want to be, instead of stuck doing things they don't like because they have no other choice. Isn't that great?

US is not perfect. Nothing is. No matter how often one talks about Finland's great education system, or about Canada's free healthcare, or about Denmark the happiest country on earth, they are not perfect themselves. Instead of looking out and daydream, instead of wishing for the boyfriend/girlfriend that we think we deserve, how about looking into what we have first? USA has its fair share of sleazy politicians and greedy corporate higher-ups, a fair share of police brutality and race/religion prejudice. USA also has a fair share of inequality, poverty, and other inaccessibility of service, either happened because of lack of infrastructure/system or due to plain indifference/ignorance. It's a place where people cling to their addiction, celebrity or fast food or (prescription) drugs or even the latest iPhones. But is it just USA? Or is it the world?

There is nothing wrong in wanting to have a better place to live, a place that can embodied our principles and approve of our thought and mindset. Yet it would be wrong to simply denounce the country and fellow citizens/residents just because it somehow doesn't fit with your ideals. It's the equivalent of talking trash over your loyal wife just because you don't like the way she picked her nose. It is not that simple, I know. Yet if we want to live in a place of harmony and peace, the first thing we should do is be harmonious and peaceful ourselves, and able to see the good. For when we are able to see the good side can only we find solution for the bad things we don't like.

With the election coming near, it is easy to be swayed or even drowned in the divisive rhetoric and inflaming words. It's easy to lose hope or to think "Either win or burn the thing to the ground". Yet in the end, US is not defined by which party or which candidate wins. US is, and has always been, defined by its people. US is great because its people are great, because USA as a nation is a diversified yet solid one, because the core of USA is equality for all. Is that not why the pilgrims were here? Let's look past November 8 and fast forward 2 weeks later, on November 24, the Thanksgiving day. What will you give thanks for this year? Let's be thankful for US and its people. Let's be thankful for the promise of equality and hope and opportunities. Let's be thankful for the rights we have, and the life we live. Let's be thankful, and then let's move forward. For we are what makes America great. For we are what moves America forward. And forever more, let America be the beautiful, again.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happiness is

Happiness is…

Dipping your finger in a jar of Nutella and had a blast with it
With the excuse of testing its freshness before making chocolate bread pudding

Slurping rich thick rice porridge made from bone broth
Cooked with 3 different bones simmered for 10 hours

Dancing sexily in your underwear and sing totally off-tune
Shamelessly blaring Britney Spears' decade-old hit

Hitting the play button on Taylor Swift's Blank Space Youtube video so often
You already remember all the words, but still…

Cozily snuggle on the couch with a Harry Potter book
And falling asleep over and over again because you're so comfortable

Watching a dog enthusiastically eat a piece of bone that you brought
And looking at you like you are heaven-sent

Good night kisses. Flirty kisses. Passionate kisses. Any kind of kisses.
Plus hugs. Lots and lots and lots of hugs.

Sitting in the backseat of the car with your friend
Gossiping and navigating street of LA

Hearing your country's traditional music played live
While totally destroying the dance routine thanks to your ineptitude

Date night at a game store where you beat the store owner
"I am the King of Tokyo, all bowed before me!!!"

Laughing. Smiling. Joking. Teasing. Giggling.
Warm embrace and kind words. Flickers of lust and mountains of peace.

Sharing a burrito while chitty-chatting and learning about life
Sharing chips and salsa and enjoying the vista around you

Holding hands with the person you like. Talking to the people you love.
The feeling that nothing can top this moment. Nothing.

Yet some see happiness as…
A ray of light, easily blocked by the cloud
An uncertainty, often felt as an improbability
A luring temptress that is unattainable
A reminder of how incomplete our lives are
Something that we (sometimes) think we don't deserve
Something that made us mad if we can't get it
Something that brings out the worst in us, blinded us
Something that we think don't happen often

But happiness also….
Happens. Always. Every single time. There's no running from happiness, as it is a part of our life. Sadness and happiness, the two mistresses that run our life. The question is never "will happiness happens", the question is "how can I identify happiness". And it's not easy. I am holding on to my happiness so hard, so desperately, that I am worried I will kill it someday, or the absence will kill me. It ceased to become my source of solace, and become my cage instead. The fear of losing my happiness chained me to this world, when my happiness should have lift me higher like the wind beneath my wings. It happens, I told myself, it happens. Different happiness, different joy, different exultation, but it will never, ever completely gone from me.

The smile on people's face will still be there
The gentle words, the childish giggle
The 'Good morning' and 'How are you' will always be there
The feeling that the world is so, so fine
The love that we feel before, the memories of it
The gentle touch of time
New things to explore, new excitement to obtain
The world is grand, so very grand

Happiness is…

Happiness is… you
Happiness is… me
Happiness is… us

Monday, October 3, 2016

Really Waldo, Really?

Really Waldo, really?
Here we are on our first getaway ever, and you are nowhere to be seen. Yes, it is very nice of you to offered to pick me up from the train station; but no, I have not expected that I have to look around for you, straining my eyes just to see a glimpse of your red-and-white shirt. Your cryptic message of "take picture of the whole station" did not help either. It is sweet of you to finally showed up and whisked me away, as charming as ever. It is very cute to see how you get a kick on showing me on the picture where you really was, mere feet from where I stood before I left to take the picture. I guess that's how you are. But really, Waldo.

"Hello," you said, and I jumped to my feet.
It was when we first met, remember that, Waldo? The busiest shopping mall in the history of ever, and I can't even find the exit. Yet you found me.  You said hi to me. And since then, I am yours. I could have sworn that you materialize out of thin air, but pictures posted in the shopping mall afterwards showed me that you have always been there. I remember telling you what a great hide-and-seeker you are. It made you smile so big my heart beat uncontrollably. You were exciting and fun, and I feel youthful again just being with you. You showing off your hiding skills made me laugh and squeal in excitement. Oh Waldo, it seemed ages ago.

But excitements died pretty quick Waldo, and you should know this.
Those exes putting you away, it wasn't you, it was them. They had enough with you hiding all the time. They have had enough of spending hours of looking for you, and it wasn't even fun! People have been telling me you have commitment issue, but I beg to differ. At least until I spent one of our rare summer day together trying to effing find you. I would've thought finding you would be easy, as you insist on wearing your long-sleeved shirt and that dorky hat to a hot, sizzling beach. Nope, you are as elusive as ever, even though I am in a teenie-tiny red and white striped bikini to match your shirt and to entice you further. It was only after careful examination of the photos that I see where you were. I mean, don't you like me at all??

Yes, Waldo, I can see your good intention; and yes, I appreciate your proposal.
But no Waldo, you are not using that goddamn shirt to our wedding. I don't care if you can't be separated from that shirt. Honestly Waldo, you can always use it underneath the shirt. Why does it have to be outside and without tux too? As much as I despise your hide-and-seek tendency, black does make it easier to hide. So use the tux, please. And no. There is no way I will put "The Ceremony begins when you can find Waldo" in the wedding invitation. Yes, this is a chance of a lifetime. No, I will not do that on MY wedding. And since you propose, I get to make the call. Goddammit Waldo, just no. Can't we make it normal, just this once? I promise you can hide all you want in our honeymoon, just not on our big day.

Seriously Waldo, can we cut this crap?
I know our relationship is beyond repair, but honestly there is no need to keep hiding like this. I am pretty darn tired of spending my weekends and free-time looking for you. Yes, I was wrong. I shouldn't have torched your supply of that stupid red and white shirts; but I let you wear one under your wedding tux, and that's a compromise, right?? Okay, I probably shouldn't have tied and trussed you on a pole in front of the altar. How should I know everybody has been eagerly looking for you and you have to spend excruciating hours of people taking selfies with you and tagged it with the caption "Here's Waldo!"? I mean, you could have given me a hint. I know it depresses you, but we could have fixed it if only you didn't keep hiding in the hospital instead of laying peacefully on the shrink's couch. I need you. I need you like, now. It's been two days since I've seen Waldo Jr. Come home. Please.

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