A short conversation with a colleague, had made me mention my decision for Vancouver to be my last stop in relentlessly pursuing anything in the world. Having called myself a wanderer, a nomad who had dreams of living in one place after the other, the reality of planting seed in one had finally caught me in. The reality of living had chased after me and had won.
Vancouver, I knew, was going to be a pit stop. I had other places to see and live in, I would always tell myself. Life was never long enough to not ever want to be able to drive to the nicest of beaches or stare at the nicest of sunsets. My life’s mission, and so it seemed, was a quest, never ending, for the nicest of anything which neither I could ever explain. Otherwise, it seemed like an endless escape from that of which opposes the nicest.
I never liked the idea of permanent. In a permanent state, forceful submission to judgment and criticism is required. In a permanent state, people stare deep into your fearful soul while slicing open your fragile heart. Why I relate the permanent state to deep hurt is exactly why I do not like it. My spirit was fickle. Not to mention, vulnerable. And thus, it was never prepared to never think that elsewhere is better.
Then my spirit was trapped. And in it came the hurt and the pain that permanency has been known for. It struggled and it almost fled. But it died before it could ever do. It died a painful death. Like a crook gunned down by its prosecutor. On the ground sprawled, bleeding until it never could. Deserving of its punishment but pitiful and fragile nonetheless.
My spirit had died to permanent. It had forgotten the blissfulness of running away from a tepid mindset and seek that of which is passionate. My spirit had sought and gained freedom and was forced to be still. My spirit had stop thinking for its own, something that it thought it would never do. In death, it became weaker yet stronger, yet still. And while so, it seeks and it asks… why?
I used to be this person who viewed life as a series of mundane, ordinary circumstances lined-up to be experienced one after the other by mundane, ordinary individuals.
I never got what life was all about. That is why I preferred to travel. In travel, you can forget about the mundane and have one after the other, extraordinary if not sensational experiences to be felt, to be swallowed, and to be lived. Life becomes wonderful then I thought.
When I moved to Vancouver all I ever wanted to do was to have an ordinary job and have and extraordinary life. By that, I mean have a job and climb mountains regularly. I wanted to see my life that way, you see and not the way I viewed life. Much like most of them admired travelers out there. In that way, I was ready to live the mundane so I can escape to the sensational.
Life didn’t happen that way, so it seems.
Vancouver presented me with something else.
Life right now is something that is tough to explain. Why I got myself into this, God really only knows. And when I say that, I mean it with all sincerity. God really only knows.
Life right now is tough to say the least. There are so many things around me that I do not understand and am painstakingly trying to comprehend.
Life right now is something I need not to escape. Yet, it is not mundane by any measure.
Life right now therefore, must be extraordinary if not sensational.
There is this question that gets thrown around by the existentialists of the world regarding the person that you wish to meet in heaven once you had passed on to the after life. Not surprisingly, many would quickly answer their grandparents, their parents and loved ones who had died before them.
I sometimes have thoughts about this though I don’t really have anyone who had died before me who I wish to meet again in the afterlife. As I feel those who had left before me I would be glad to meet again anyway. But it won’t be out curiousity. They once had lived. I once had interacted with them. I am not eager at all.
My only answer to this heady kind of question would be someone who never really had a chance to become a person. When I was 13, my mother had a miscarriage. The kid would have been my parent’s third and I would have become officially a “kuya.” I am glad my mother survived the ordeal. Her life was more important than anything else, of course. But deep down, I wish I could have met the kid. I wish I could have actually become a kuya. And I wish he would have been a boy just like me.
I wonder how our relationship would have turned-out? I often find myself thinking about sibling relationships and I never could stop myself from being envious of people who have developed good relationships with their siblings. The only brother that I have I almost went as far as developing genuine hatred towards. And thus, my thoughts about my supposedly younger brother. My life would have been so different had the kid lived.
I honestly feel I would have been an awesome kuya. I feel he would have been drawn to me. I feel he would have idolized me. And If he were living today, he probably had chosen to be with me here in Canada. We probably would be having long, deep life talks over some cigarettes and beer. We probably would have the same complains about our parents and our older brother. And I am sure he would have been the awesomest brother, the one relative that I would have finally liked.
I look forward to meeting him one day. I’ll offer him my pack of Du Maurier and see how he reacts.
Friday after Work
I get a text message from someone inviting me for a sumptuous dinner of baked veal. In my mind I scream a screeching NO! I do not plan to see or talk to anyone this weekend. It was hell week at work the past days. As such, I feel no need to have any meaningful conversations nor shallow chit chats with any goddamn red blooded creature this weekend. I once again want to be nothing but alone. I need it, I think. So instinctively, I respond with a very polite “I’ll see if I can make it but I am currently preoccupied.” I will never make it. Instead, I spend the whole evening at the YMCA trying to make weight lifting happen and submerging myself in some good ‘ole chlorinated pool water, my favourite stress buster. I am glad I am back in trying to work-out. Most of all, I am glad to be back in the pool where I know I truly belong. Afterwards, I have hearty doses of Pall Mall, my new choice for cancer stick brand which makes me think how funny my lifestyle has become these days. I come to the pool to keep my lungs in check. Swimming is the best way to build superior lungs. Which afterwards, I balance off by slowly burning them. Lol.
October 31, 2014
I stare across the lunch table and there, my colleague Sharisse is sitting with her face covered-up in paint to fashion herself as what look to me as Skeletor’s bride in red. I see she’s suffering through it. But she’s holding on. Apparently, she cannot ever wash it off as it would shoo away the spirit that is living in her for the day. I don’t really get it. It’s halloween today and some people in the office decided to dress-up in costumes out of their own whim. I forewent the tradition. I find it corny, really. But because I haven’t shaved in days, I am wearing a comfy H&M sweater, a semi-faded Levi’s, my almost worn-out Vans sneakers that I bought in Bangkok a few years ago, and I reek of cigarettes, I decided my official costume would be that of a “stay at home dad who has nothing else to do but smoke.” Everyone gets a hoot as I declare what I came to office as.
It is now almost 3 weeks since I had made yet another bold move in my adult life. I had finally decided to fulfill my long standing plan of moving West. I say bold because all of my Canadian life before 3 weeks ago had been lived in Toronto. All I know of Canada I learned there. And though I have grown accustomed, nay, grown affiliation, nay, grown genuine affection towards it, I still deemed that it was time for me to leave it, said to be the biggest and most progressive city in all of Canada and 4th most liveable city in the world. My heart broke a bit upon making the tough decision. It will forever be home to me.
I see myself however wanting to try to do more things. And though Toronto had never stopped giving me the chance to see more, do more, and be more, I also felt it was finally time to seek out adventure yet again… elsewhere. Perhaps, like Manila once before, Toronto will have to wait with bated breath on what will become of me after leaving its comfortable confines. I know Toronto only wishes me well like Manila once did.
And thus, I am now in the process of making Vancouver my home. And though it has only been a few days since I have arrived it was not very difficult to learn why this city has been deemed a dream city to live in for them adventurous bunch like popular travel bloggers Nomadic Matt and Nomadic Pinoy. Aside from being the 3rd most liveable city in the world, this place certainly screams adventure. The mountains never disappear from the horizon, the beaches are at anyone’s beck and call despite it being cosmopolitan in every sense of the word. I have already climbed my first Canadian mountain on my first week here and have already checked-out the beaches at Stanley Park. I can’t wait until I get a chance to try to do more things like climb up Grouse Mountain and Whistler, and try surfing at Tofino.
March 8, 2014
I sit inside my favourite Timmy’s branch on King St. West devouring some timbits and a hot French Vanilla while reading an article about Jake Gyllenhaal’s new movie which was shot in Toronto called Enemy. I think to myself finally, another movie that will show Toronto as Toronto and not New York, Chicago, or any other North American megalopolis. Toronto ought to play itself more often in movies, me thinks really. I also just came from watching the new Liam Neeson flick called Non-Stop which is about a US Air Marshall trying to save 150 passengers on board a flight to London from a possible terrorist attack. It is one of those very shallow but nonetheless entertaining storyline that most frequently is showcased in Liam Neeson’s rakets (Google: Taken and Taken 2 and 3 etc). And why I chose to watch such vapid, vapid form of artistic produce on a day that I should have been sensitive to the events of the day prior (Google: Malaysia Airline Missing) is because I had a rough past week and having to engulf myself in nothing but insipid plots in movies would somehow help me recover which I now realize is a completely false assumption. I feel bruised from the bouts of last week, still. And as I sit here right now, I end up glancing on the computer screen of the hipster at the next table. On it is what looks like a familiar website that I seem to have frequented in my days of travels past. He apparently is typing a blog post. In WordPress. I think to myself, that must be such a nice thing to do especially in my present state of lament. I wish I too can pour my feelings onto a blog post. I wish I too owned a blog. I wish I too am a blogger. Then I think again, wait a minute, I too have a blog! I too am a blogger! For a few minutes I actually forget that I too am that kind of a loser who’d rather write on a blog than talk to a human being. So then I quickly think, what must I write? What in the vast nothingness of the vacuum that I call my life should I pick to make a story out of? I need an idea. A plan of some sort. I get myself somewhat excited and hungry at the same time. So still without a topic, I head-out the door and walk my way to Goldstone in Chinatown.
I do not have any bit of shame in admitting that I am this oddball who often tries to find the answers to life’s many mysteries in each of the films that I watch. I have this firm but strange belief that what the whole of humanity needs to do in order to stop running around like headless chickens while trying to figure-out the meaning of life is to zero in on a couple of films and make them the basis on why they must be, what they must be. Many will for sure call it weird, while I choose to call it newfangle. Lol.
In the midst of digging through several of Charlie Kaufman’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, and while Mary Katherine Gallagher was showing me how she explicitly expresses her desire to be one with nature, I found this gem of a documentary film created by a team of Canadian filmmakers that truly, truly answers the many burning questions of my soul. Who knew that while I try to relate to Gregory Peck’s wonderful performance as Atticus Finch in the movie adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in an attempt to lift my spirits of hope or imagine myself as the male version of Sissy Spacek’s Carrie (which was reprised on screen recently by one, Chloe Moretz), a documentary about creating video games holds priceless words of wisdom from a couple of nerds and introverts that the world will perhaps never want to ever to get to know personally. Surprisingly, such anti-social creatures show how highly knowledgeable they are in the true essence of life and how deeply personal and vulnerable they become while trying to perform well in their chosen profession even though it is to develop a run-of-the-mill, commercially available video game product. Something that a clueless, run-of-the-mill buyer may simply overlook. Here they show how honest dedication and love for the craft do wonders to one’s existence. What these meta geniuses go through are nothing short of torture at times. The waiting period, the long hours of work. Many of which I can for sure relate to as I had gone through pretty much the same in recent times (ie Canadian paper works). I know exactly how it feels to want to pull your hair out of frustration or binge with no end on ice cream while waiting for answers that must specifically respond to what is specifically required. Difficult situation. Like going nuts, I tell you. Which the dudes in this film will explain further.
Inasmuch as this site is a so called “travel blog”, travelers will enjoy watching this movie for its superb cinematography with some wonderful sites of Canada and the US playing backdrop.
And this film has just become one of my favourite films of all time.
Teary-eyed kind of breathtaking.
At Niagara Falls in Niagara, Ontario, Canada.
Studio Ghibli fans from all over the world will have a good reason to pay Toronto a visit this coming December as the Bell Light Box Theatre otherwise known as Toronto International Film Festival’s headquarters, will be holding a month long retrospective film festival featuring 17 of Studio Ghibli’s finest works. This is in celebration of the film company’s newest release, The Wind Rises which is now playing in the Toronto International Film Festival. The announcement of this grand event also comes in the heels of Hayao Miyazaki’s decision to retire from making films.
Being a Studio Ghibli geek for sometime now, Miyazaki’s decision to retire definitely saddens me. But I have faith however that the quality of all of the future releases from Studio Ghibli will forever be carried on with the enduring legacy that Hayao has established. This, proven already, by such movies as From Up On Poppy Hill and The Secret World of Arriety. Both of which were not directed by Hayao Miyazaki but the quality of his work can be felt through out.
And for many days now I have been painstakingly trying to score some tickets for The Wind Rises. The last showing of which will be this coming Sunday. It will be the film that will close yet another historical year of movies for Toronto’s much talked about Film Festival. Very fitting I must say and I have accepted that I will never be able to score any tickets as the film is the most awaited one in the list. I will just have to wait until February 2014 when it goes on commercial release. I am upset for sure but am still glad and excited for the upcoming film fest in December. I’ve always wanted to watch a Studio Ghibli film on the big screen. I’ve never had such opportunity before so saying that I will be excited about this is actually an understatement. Just imagine, I will finally be able to see the kingdom of Laputa in a larger than life medium and will have the opportunity to hear Joe Hisiashi’s musical score being played inside a real theatre. Sigh.
Here’s a teaser on what to expect.