Posted in Personal

My Grandmother’s Story

Memory is a funny thing. It is not infallible and are often filled with mistakes. The older I get, the things I remember becomes less than the truth. One day, I may even forget all of it.

My memories of my paternal grandmother are the ones filled with most mistakes and gaps. I have lived with her for almost 3 decades, and I am ashamed to say I don’t truly know her story. I used to think she was the eldest of twelve and that my grandfather was the only man in her life. But I was so wrong, and it was only recently that I’ve learned of the many things she had done in her life.

Nanay (mother), as we affectionately call her, was the eldest sister, and probably the most motherly figure, among five siblings. She was born in the late 1920s, and she would tell us some stories about the war and the terrible things that she saw in her childhood.

She was married once, but that marriage ended for reasons I don’t know. She had been with other companions before she found Tatay (father), my paternal grandfather, who was almost 20 years her junior. They had been together for nearly 60 years until Tatay’s untimely passing in 2013.

Nanay loved babies and children, but wasn’t fortunate enough to be blessed of her own. Still, she found a way to become a mother by adopting her niece (my aunt) and nephew (my dad). She loved and raised them, and when they had their own children, helped to raise us as well.

I was still young when I learned this truth, and it was quite a shock to learn that Nanay wasn’t my biological grandmother. Maybe that’s why we had such a love-hate relationship when I was growing up. I do remember that I loved it when Nanay would compliment my long hair. She would say I remind her of her mother – which was a great praise as my great-grandmother was beautiful.

Even though Nanay and I had many differing views in life, I loved and respected her. She was strict, and probably traumatized me with all her scary stories but I learned a lot from her. She taught me how to sew, how to save money, and how to be sentimental. She taught me that blood isn’t the main point of family; love is.

At 95 years old, Nanay had outlived all of her siblings but soon followed them on May 1st 2021. She had a peaceful sleep in the house Tatay had built, with my parents and sisters. It was an expected ending, yet it was still heartbreaking.

Our family grieves, but we take comfort in knowing that Nanay is now at peace with Tatay and her siblings. No more pain, and definitely no more loud noises (she hated noises).

Sometimes, I wished I could go back in time and ask her about everything her life. But it’s too late now. And while memory is not without mistakes, I hope that by writing these down we would always remember Nanay and how she loved us. She was one of the strongest person I know, and I can only hope that I grow as strong as her.

Posted in Personal

Savings 101

Growing up, I’ve been taught that it’s important to have savings for the rainy days. It was with that mindset that my parents helped my sister and I to open our first bank accounts when we were teens.

It’s been years, but I still carry that mindset with me. I like shopping for books, shoes and artsy stuff. But I also like the peace of mind in knowing that I have money in the bank whenever I would need it.

So, I want to share some of my saving habits:

0-Balance Limit

I use this technique to ensure that there is always money in my savings account. This simply means assigning a certain amount that acts as my 0-Balance Limit. If at anytime my saving reached that threshold, I treat it as empty and I stop spending.

An example of this technique:

Bank Cash is the actual amount left in the bank after subtracting all the expenses. Expendable Cash is the amount you get when you exclude the 0-Balance Limit. It is the money to be used for other things like random shopping, take-outs, leisure coffee (Yes, I love frappuccino).  If not spent, it would be added on to next month’s Bank Cash thereby increasing the Expendable Cash as well.

Based on the image above, you could easily save Php 100,000 in a year. Within that amount, Php 20,000 is already your safety net. It doesn’t feel like a big saving, but if you don’t spend all your Expendable Cash, it could grow bigger in the next few months.

The beauty of this technique is you can assign any amount and you can adjust the increase any time you want.

Credit cards are equivalent to cash and not extra money.

I have credit cards. They are convenient and necessary especially if you like to travel (pre-covid and hopefully after). But I treat my cards as equivalent to the cash in my wallet and/or bank.

For example:

  • Item for sale – Php 10,000
  • Cash on hand – Php 3,000
  • Card limit – Php 15,000
  • Bank savings – Php 20,000

To be able to buy that item using my card, I’d check first if I could pay it back from my bank account – either immediately or within the next pay day. If the answer is yes, I’d swipe it. If not, I won’t buy it or start saving so I could buy it next time.

It could easily be tempting to think credit cards as extra cash, but that would lead to monthly debts and more payments than I can handle. I don’t like debts and I especially don’t like knowing that my next pay would have to go towards payments instead of my Expendable Cash.

I also make sure that I won’t go past my allotted 0-Balance Limit even after I paid back the credit.

Build an Emergency Fund (optional).

If you look back on the image above, you’ll see I included an Emergency Fund column. It’s the money segregated from the savings but also not spent on expenses.

Some people use piggy banks, or a different bank account just for this purpose. It can be daily, weekly, or monthly. You can increase the amount or keep it the same for the rest of your life. The point is you’ll have a small amount of easily accessible money in times of emergency.

This is optional as I usually use Expendable Cash for my spending needs. But if I suddenly reached my 0-Balance Limit for the month, having an Emergency Fund is a lifesaver.

—-

Of course, I learned early on to always plan and do research before any major transactions. Most of the times, it’s better to buy one high-quality item than to continuously replace a cheap one. And some things are more of a liability than an asset.

In the state of the world today, I feel like more rainy days are coming. Having good saving habits could help avoid the headache and uncertainty of the future.

Posted in Personal

“We accept the love we think we deserve…”

– The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

It has been years since I’ve last read the book or watched the movie. But that quote is still stuck in my head.

In the story, it was used to explain why the people around Charlie’s (main character) life chose to stay in abusive relationships. Maybe even why Charlie chose to stay in the background instead of living a full life.

People who feel broken tend to gravitate toward broken things. We believed that if we could just fix this one thing – make this one person a bit better – we would feel less broken ourselves.

But more often than not, we end up with more disappointments, crushed souls and bitter hearts.

I, myself, was a victim of this negative mentality.

Most of my life, I felt weird and less of a person just because I don’t think or act the same way as other people. I have been told that I was not normal because of the things that I like and dislike.

So, I walked through life mimicking the people around me. Putting on the façade of “normality”. I tried to do what society dictates a woman of my age and race should do.

I repressed my natural instincts – fought to keep my weirdness inside. But all I ended up with was anxiety, overthinking mind, and lots of sleepless nights.

I couldn’t be what they wanted me to be. So, I decided maybe it’ll be better if I become myself.

But even that backfired on me. I was too different, I had too many things that goes against the grain of normalcy. But I learned how to cope. Slowly, I learned to use my flaws as weapons instead of weakness. I would openly voice out all that was wrong about me, before someone else could use it to hurt me.

Over time, I just accepted that I would always be that “weird girl” no matter where I go. Even if it hurts me, and even if I felt small and unworthy from all of this, I have accepted that this was my reality. I took the burden of everything that was wrong in my life:

  • If my parents were disappointed, it was because I couldn’t be a perfect daughter.
  • If I lose friends, it was because I was a lousy friend.
  • If my relationships failed, it was because I don’t know how to be in a relationship.

I was weird, immature, introverted and weak. And I deserved all the pain and tears I had endured.

At least that was my old mentality.

We do accept the love we think we deserve. But because I thought I didn’t deserve love, I settled for any attention I could get. In the end, all I did was hurt myself more.

It wasn’t until I started therapy that I realized the only person suffocating me was me. It was my own fears of being isolated and cast out that trapped me within my mind.

I saw how people act and feel. I saw that I was different, and judged myself to be the abnormal one. But I am not.

I may be different, but I am no less than a person. I may have a million and one emotions, but it is normal to feel. I may speak and act in a totally different way than what everyone expects, but I am a human being – a functional and complete human being.

I spent so many days and nights trying to fit in with the world, trying to achieve the standards set out by culture and society. But I won’t anymore.

Because for the first time in my life, I finally know what I want. I finally have a goal for my future that was borne from my desires. And even though what I want is different from what was expected of me, I don’t care.

The voices in my head had gone down, and all the “what ifs” were erased. It felt freeing to finally know who I am and what I want to be. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone else because I am not weird, I’m just me.

And these are my realities:

  • I am not perfect, but there is nothing wrong with me.
  • I know how to love and care, and I deserve to be loved and cared for.
  • I am a complete person all by myself, and I don’t need to find completeness in somebody else.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

And we all deserve to love ourselves – in our own way and time. We walk on the same earth, but we have different roads and we have to find our own path. We are all deserving of love, happiness and respect.

I am worthy of this life and I deserve to walk this path towards my dream. I deserve to do the things that will make me happy.

Now that I’ve figured these things out, all I have to do is plan how I will reach my goal: to see the world and experience all its wonders!

Posted in Personal

My Journey to Self-Love

I was 5 years old, thin and sickly living in a hospital for the past few weeks. My mother would tease me that I was “thin as a stick” thinking it would get me to eat and take my medicine. I had no appetite, but I had no choice either.

I was 7 years old, and my sister was making fun of me because I had to use shoestrings as belt. All the other regular belts were bigger than my waistline, and not enough holes. I had to use shoestrings or wear skirts – which made me look like an “old maid” according to my grandmother.

I was 10 years old and was still adjusting to the new school. I was one of the smallest students in our year, and quite clumsy. The boys loved to tease and bully my kind. My mother insisted because I looked like skins and bones that people think I was weak. She believed I was weak, too. I think she still does today.

I was 12 years old, excited for the first acquaintance party at school. My mother insisted I wear the white blouse with the pink gauzy skirt. She said I was beautiful and for the first time, I felt beautiful. In the middle of the party, the school principal (a nun) took me aside to scold me about my dress. She said the gauzy material made me looked a “slut” and I had to cover up or go home. I had no other clothes, so I went home.

It wasn’t the first time I was called a “slut” at school. That same year, my history teacher gave me that name when my friend and I wanted to go to the girls’ restroom together. Why? I have no idea.

I was 15 years old, just a few years within puberty. My body changed, I was no longer thin and sickly looking. I’ve reached my maximum height of 5 feet (still short), but I looked healthier. People have noticed I was getting a little rounder. Some were happy, some told me to start a diet and exercise plan.

I was 17 years old, and my boyfriend just broke up with me. He said it was because I had to focus on my studies. I felt it was because I wouldn’t have sex with him. My friends told me it was because he met another girl who would (and probably did).

I was 19 years old, and my so-called friends were comparing faces and bodies. They kept saying they were ugly when they obviously were not. I thought they were trustworthy, and I loved them. So I decided to share my greatest insecurity (which I regret now): my starfish type of body. I called it starfish because my head was of average size, my ankles and wrist were very small, but my bust, waist and hips were bigger than I would’ve liked. They laughed and used that to tease me that I look pregnant every now and then. I am no longer friends with them.

I was 21 years old, a few weeks back from summer vacation at the beach. I was at a job interview when someone from the building asked me if I was not from the city. I was too dark, she said. I didn’t look like a college graduate from a prestigious university. I still got the job.

I was 23 years old, having an after-work drinks with a few workmates. We were talking about “love life” and my lack thereof. One of the guys told me that my standards were too high for someone like me. He said I shouldn’t aim too high if all I could offer was my intelligence. I had no answer to that.

I was 27 years old, and I just broke up to the only girl I’ve ever loved. And she told me that looking the way I was, she understood why guys never liked me. And that I would never find another person who would love and accept me. She was my only option.

These were not new words. These were the same things she told me all throughout our relationship. I was nothing and nobody without her. And I had to go back to her if I didn’t want to grow old alone. I never went back, and I moved oceans away from her.

I was 28 years old, I finally decided to join a yoga class. It was mostly for my mental health. A way to shut off my overthinking brain occasionally. My mother loved the idea of yoga for me. She said I was getting fatter since I’ve moved away, and exercise would help me become thin and beautiful.

I guess she was right that I wasn’t beautiful. And it was even proven true when I tried dating. I’ve met men who seemed nice and polite on chat, but totally disappeared after meeting in person. I guess they didn’t like what they saw.

But one man honestly told me that “idiot guys” (his words) don’t look beyond the surface. He told me not to waste my time with idiots who can’t see beyond my skin and look into my heart. I’ve been following his advice since then, and he’s now one of my trusted friends.

I’m now 30 years old, and I wish I could say that I’ve reached the end of my journey, that I woke up this morning loving everything about myself. But that’s not true.

I still don’t own a full-length mirror because I don’t like looking at my whole body. There are still times when the first thing I noticed are the scars on my skin or pimples on my face. I still can’t wear sleeveless shirts in public because my mother will judge how much I care for myself by the color of my armpits. People still think that my standards for a lifelong partner is too high for an unremarkable person like me.

Even so, I am doing my best to find the beauty amidst my flaws. When I hear the voices telling me that I am “ugly, worthless and undeserving” I answer back with all the good things I believe I have. Sometimes, it shuts them down, and other times it keeps me up all night.

I know being so concerned about the physical beauty seems petty. It sounds dumb compared to other problems in the world. But I’ve realized that if I want to make a mark for myself in this world, I had to start with accepting myself for who I am.

And I am trying so hard to accept myself: warts and all. It’s just hard, after years of being taught to think little of myself. So many years I was conditioned that “to be humble” was to make myself as small as possible. That I had to accept the taunts and criticisms, and words should not hurt me.

But they did. I’ve been teased for being either “too thin” or “too fat”. I’ve been sexualized for just being myself. Somehow I’ve been tagged as both “slutty” and “ugly”. Each word slowly diminished whatever self-worth I had.

And even though wounds inflicted by these words were invisible, they were still there. And they ached as much as the physical wounds I bore from a lifetime of clumsiness.

Although, it did make me believe that saying:

“what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

Because it did. I was stronger now than I was before. It’s from this strength that I fought the urge to claw at my throat after every meal, to dig out those I felt were making me uglier.

It’s from this newfound strength that I didn’t go through with “the plan” after silently suffering for so long, and I was able to celebrate the 30th year of my life. It was a difficult battle with my inner demons (it still is), but I’ve won and I’m here.

And if you started reading this hoping for a grand redemption at the end, I’m sorry to disappoint. My journey to self-love is just at the start, and the road seems way too long.

“Beauty is a construct based entirely on childhood impressions, influences and role model”

Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock BBC)

My childhood impressions of beauty and happiness was faulty, I admit. I thought that if I can make myself skinny, flawless and perfect I would be happy and content. Books, magazines and media all aided in that unhealthy concept.

But happiness is a choice. So, I choose to be happy in all my imperfectness. I choose not to listen to the whispers but make my voice louder. I still have that darkness within me, but I am choosing the light and I will continue to do so.

This journey is only beginning, and I will surely reach the end.

Posted in Personal

Watching Movies and Anxiety

There’s a post that I found a few weeks ago. Basically it says that people with anxiety rarely watch new films or TV series. They prefer to re-watch old and familiar stories. That way, they wouldn’t be caught surprised or unawares.

Well, I have general anxiety.

And yet I love watching films in cinemas, and I binge-watch a lot of things on Netflix. I thought I was the exception to the rule, and I felt weirdly proud about it.

But I recently caught myself doing something that made me realize that I, too, don’t like surprises in either movies, series or books:

I read spoilers.

Yep.

I realized that I automatically google spoilers and plot twists on the internet before watching any movies. If it’s based on books, I try to read the book first and look up movie details before buying cinema tickets. All the movies I’ve watched, I waited at least a week and soaked up on spoilers before going to the cinema.

(The only time I didn’t do this was when we watched The Last Exorcism and that movie ended up disappointing me more than anything.)

I do this especially on Marvel films. I actually waited til they lifted the no spoilers ban before I watched “Endgame”. I read everything on the internet – be it Wikipedia, IMDB, Reddit or 9gag. If it has spoilers, I’ve visited it.

Even watching TV series, I research about each season and episodes. If I get particularly attached to one character, I also read their fictional biography. It’s so that I can mentally prepare myself if they should suddenly leave or die in future episodes. I also take note of episodes with cliffhangers. I try to allot enough time for me to watch all parts of a multi-episode story arc in one sitting.

If it’s updated weekly (like Game of Thrones was), I wait a day or two before I watch the new episode to make sure some people already updated its wiki page.

Books have not escaped this weirdness of mine. I used to find books on Goodreads or Amazon books. I read their summary and reviews. Some reviews have a bit of a spoiler, and I really enjoyed that.

When I go to bookstores and browse stuff, I still google some of the titles that intrigued me. If the books are open, I’d flipped through the pages and even read the ending. Books that have solid endings usually end in my cart. Those with cliffhangers, not so much. Unless I know that I can afford to complete the series.

So, I guess I am not an exception after all. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like not knowing when the ghosts will suddenly appear. I want to know if the character I am strongly rooting for (right now that’s Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds) will have a happy ending or not.

I overthink everything before I sleep at night and I do not need the additional worries over the fictional worlds I’ve been in the whole day.

Posted in Personal

My Childhood Holidays

It’s the holidays season! My friends and I (irl and online) are becoming a little nostalgic, and a bit pensive amidst the festivities around.

I’ve seen posts on social medias with a common theme:

Why do Christmas gets sadder as we get older?

(We are from a Catholic country, so we’re mostly Catholics who seriously celebrates Christmas)

I actually felt that. As I grow older and get busier with trying to have a stable life, Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) had become less and less a joyful celebration. Especially now that I am working in a non-Catholic country, Christmas is just a regular day at work.

I still remember when I was very young, Christmas and New Year were the most exciting events of the year. As is common in our country, we’d start decorating when the calendar hits the BER months (September~). Around November (after the All Soul’s Day and All Saint’s Day), we’d start building the big tree in our living room. It’s also the time us kids would start receiving greetings or gifts from relatives and godparents – which we couldn’t open til Christmas Eve.

On Dec. 24th, we’d spend the whole day cleaning the house, preparing food and just relaxing at home. At midnight, the whole family would gather at our small dining table and enjoy the food my mother made all day. After that, we would all open the gifts we received and have fun watching fireworks from the nearby school (which has yearly fireworks).

Sometimes, my parents’ friends would come visit and have a little party with us. We’d sing karaoke, have some dance off, or the children could safely go around the neighborhood to sing carols. I usually got my new year’s money from those jam sessions. LOL.

Those were the days….

When my sister and I was in college, we still stayed at home and celebrated Christmas and New Year with our parents. Except that our parents had a new set of friends they wanted to hang out with after the countdown. Sometimes, we’d just buy some take-out food from stores, so we wouldn’t have to cook all day. And of course, the older we get, the less gifts we received. Instead, it was me and my sister who started giving gifts to our young nieces and nephews (and sometimes even to their parents).

However, we’ve barely celebrated Christmas together for the last 5 years or so. My sister lived in Cebu for a couple years and just moved back to Manila a few years ago. A year after she moved back, I was transferred to Japan for work. I tried going home for the holidays, but airfares are just too expensive!

Anyways, the holidays had lost its magic on me a long time ago. When I started working, Christmas season became a dreaded holiday at work. We had to finish hundreds of projects before the 2-day vacation (we get back to work on 26th) and more projects before the New Year’s break. As part of my job, I was also involved in organizing the company party, and fixing the work schedule.

Those were really exhausting and stressful days.

Nowadays, it’s not really stressful, but just a bit lonely. I live alone, and the few friends I made had their own work to do, and family to spend time with during the holidays. I don’t wait for midnight anymore, since I had to sleep early for work. I haven’t even decorated my house for the past 2 years.

Christmas this year, I had a drink with a friend at a cheap izakaya (Japanese bar and restaurant), so I wasn’t quite lonely. I also had dinner with some new friends on Christmas Day. But I might be celebrating New Year’s Eve alone at home (I didn’t plan any out-of-town vacation due to budget shortage).

I’m just realizing now, Christmas doesn’t get sadder as we grow older. It’s just most of the holiday magic was from the innocence of our childhood. We didn’t have such complicated lives before, and the only problem we had was choosing which gift to open first. We had simple happiness when we were kids, and money was never an issue.

Christmas doesn’t change, nor will it ever change. It’s me who changed. We changed. We are no longer the wide-eyed children who believed a jolly old man could bring gifts all over the world in a single night. Some of us even questioned if there was really a child born in a manger thousands of years ago. (I still am having some serious doubts about religion – but that’s another topic altogether.)

Maybe someday, we’d reclaim some of the holiday magic we used to have. When we have kids of our own; small children who will be as excited as we were before. If we’d look at the world with a newborn’s eyes, life might be more magical and special. Maybe, we’d find something to make us believe again. Something that would restore our faith and give more meaning to holidays.

For now, I’m just looking forward to rest from work instead of having an extravagant celebration. A quiet night at home while talking to my sister is all I need.

For those who are lucky enough to still have the sparkle and dazzle of the holidays: cheers to that! 😊🎉✨

Posted in Personal

The Importance of Being Alone

I recently had a conversation with a friend about her love life. In the midst of our talk, she made a comment about my relationship status (or the lack thereof) that kind of stuck in my head.

“Maybe it’s because you are so independent, that you can handle not having a relationship for a long time.”

To be honest, she was kind of right. My last relationship was almost 2 years ago. Before that I was single for almost a decade (college years and starting a job). After having long-term relationships, I found myself to be the happiest now, when I am alone.

I do have to admit that when I was younger, I planned of having the typical life of a girl:

  • Have a steady boyfriend during college.
  • Graduate at 21.
  • Get a job after graduation.
  • Get married at 25.
  • Have my own family before I’m 30.

But things don’t always go according to plan.

I never did have a boyfriend during college – not surprising since most of my classmates were girls. However, I did graduate on time, and got a job that allowed me to work here in Japan now. Currently, I am 29 years old, and blessedly single.

It’s actually not too bad.

Being alone right now is kind of refreshing – liberating even.

I lived most of my life with my parents and my sister. I love them dearly, but sometimes living under the same roof can be suffocating. I briefly lived with my partner a few years ago. It turned out to be a toxic relationship, and I’ve felt more isolated and lonelier than when I was actually by myself.

Now, I am alone – both geographically and in terms of romantic relationship. I had a few dates in the past year, but my heart never fully settled on one. Despite all that, I don’t feel truly lonely or isolated.

Being alone right now gave me the freedom to do the things I’ve always enjoyed, but got judged with before.

  • I wear the clothes I like.
  • Shoe-shopping is a leisure, not a stress-reliever.
  • I read books whenever I want.
  • Traveling anywhere and anytime.
  • I can either stay-in or go out, my choice.
  • Going back to my passions of writing and painting.

I’ve also enjoyed doing new things that I was too scared to do. I went on extended vacations by myself (Kyoto and Nara). I tried going to bars and restaurants on my own. I finally got to cross off “watch a movie at a cinema by myself” from my bucket list. I enrolled in a yoga class!

I am slowly honing my independence, and rediscovering myself in the process. I love my friends and family, but the many years of relying to everyone’s opinion has led me to bury my true self. I am just starting to find my way back.

And to my surprise, this period in my life has been a great help to my mental health. I can now easily express what I feel because I no longer fear judgement. I still have some setbacks because of my anxious nature, but I am trying my best to get better.

So, you see, being alone at this moment of my life is an important milestone in my journey.

I’m finally learning to be comfortable in my own skin. And I found things that make me happy without the need to rely on anybody else.

So, yes, I may be “too independent” to be in a relationship right now. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m not really in a rush to meet society’s expectation of me. This period of independence and freedom is something not everybody can enjoy, so I want to take advantage of this as long as I can.

By being alone, I’ve found comfort and peace within me. For that, I am truly happy.

Posted in Personal

Why I Think Cersei Deserves Better – My GOT Rant

Warning:

This is a rant about a fictional character in a fictional world. These are my personal opinions about a story that I have watched and invested an emotional attachment with for a long time. Discussions are welcome, bashing is not. 🙂

I am assuming you’ve watched the latest episodes at this time, if not, spoilers ahead.

Ok. Let’s start, shall we?

I know Cersei was one of the villains in the story. But Lena Headey’s amazing acting skill made her so believable and she turned Queen Cersei into one of those character you love and hate.

So, why do I think she deserved better?

I actually think she deserved a better ending than the one she got. A better death than the way she was written off.

She was such a strong character and I was really hoping that she’d go out with a bang. But instead, I had to watch her die at the crypt, trying to sneak out of her home. Yes, she had Jaime, the man she loved, with her. But I felt that it was still a cowardly way for such a formidable woman.

I mean, she survived a lot in her life:

  • She lost her mother at a young age.
  • She survived Robert’s War.
  • She was forced to stay in an unhappy marriage.
  • She kept her incestous affair a secret for a long time.
  • She outlived the Baratheon brothers.
  • All her children, the only other persons she loved, were killed or committed suicide.
  • She became queen of the seven kingdoms.
  • Her brothers betrayed her.
  • She was imprisoned and had to endure the walk of shame.
  • She was almost forced in another unhappy union (Loras).
  • She had to basically sold herself for Euron’s alliance. (And the Golden Company, too)
  • And she didn’t get her elephants. (That’s a joke. XD)

And she came out of all these stronger and scarier than ever. She took the pain of loss and betrayal and made it her armor. She knew the people of Westeros didn’t love her, but they fear her, and she used that fear a lot.

She was not a good leader, that’s a fact. But she was a cunning woman who’d use anyone and anything to get her way. And she had gotten her way most of her life, be damned to those who disagreed with her. Seven seasons of a “hell hath no fury” attitude and she goes down on one episode via a collapsed ceiling.

Where is the justice in that???

When I was re-watching all the other episodes before that penultimate end, I kind of formulated some justified way to end Cersei’s arc in the story.

I was really hoping she’ll survive Dany’s slaughter (that was not a war, it was a slaughter). And she’d be a prisoner under Dany’s rule. There may be a trial, but she’d be found guilty and sentenced to death. And she’d be burned alive in front of all King’s Landing, but she’d die with defiance in her eyes and contempt in her last words.

Or maybe Arya would kill her as the Mountain was busy with Sandor. And she would fall from the Red Keep’s balcony with every one watching her from below.

But the best scenario in my head was actually her death by Jaime’s hand (no pun intended). It would be the ultimate betrayal for her, and a redemption for him. It will be a complete circle for the two people that started everything.

These are just some of the ways she could have ended. I really feel there’s a poetic justice in any of the scenario I imagined in my head. Dying in a crypt, crying and begging is not Cersei’s personality, at all.

Some people will say that Cersei’s fear was normal for an expectant mother. She did have to think of her unborn child. But remember the Battle of Blackwater Bay? She was willing to sacrifice her life and Tommen’s so they would not endure Stannis’s rule and/or die. She wouldn’t let anyone else dictate her life.

It’s the same at Dany’s invasion. The Cersei of the past seven seasons wouldn’t go down without a fight. If all was lost, she would still do anything in her power to make sure she has the last words.

She was a Queen. She lost a lot to become the Queen. She deserved a spectacular ending.

I just really feel that season 8 episode 5 has been a let down. I know making a huge show like Game of Thrones is not easy for the writers, producers and the crew. I just wish they could have written it better. Many of the characters, not just Cersei, lost their personalities in between seasons. A lot of expectations were disappointed after build-up and waiting.

I still love this show and the books. And I will still watch the finale next week. I am just not that hopeful as I was before. Need to lower my expectations, you know.

Anyways, end of rant. Feel free to add your own opinions at the comments. Just be polite and courteous. GOT is just a show, no need to be extreme, ok?

Goodnight and talk to you again soon!

Posted in Personal

Christmas 2018

December 24th, Christmas Eve, is a big holiday for most parts of the world. In Philippines, where I grew up, most private companies and some public sectors are closed from the 24th of December until a few days after New Year. Schools, of course, have longer vacation days starting from the 3rd week of December until the 2nd week of January.

This year, however, I am working in Japan where Christmas as a religious event is not really celebrated by people. December 23 to 24 are the days Japanese celebrate the birth of the Emperor. They are also working holidays, which means that unless you are a part-timer or you’ve applied a paid leave, they’re just regular working days.

Japanese tend to view Christmas as a day for spreading happiness, mostly for children. In our model house right now, we have decorations, Christmas trees and presents for clients. We also have Santa Claus and reindeer costumes for the children. In other places, they also install illuminated displays for customers or passers-by. These displays may be viewed all through the winter season.

If you read Japanese manga or watched anime, you’d also noticed that Christmas is usually the time for confessing romantic feelings to your crushes. Couples are the target clients of shops and restaurants, and they usually offer a lot of campaigns and promos for 2. The famous menu for a Christmas date, weirdly enough, are fried chicken and strawberry shortcake. So, if you visit Japan during Christmas Eve, don’t be surprised to see KFC with lots of couples or families having a meal of chicken and cake.

Families with children can also celebrate Christmas in their own way, although gift-giving is not part of the tradition. Here, children usually receive monetary gift from parents and relatives on New Year. One of my colleague told me that she bases her New Year’s gift depending on the age of the age of the child – the younger they are, the bigger they get.

As I am typing this, I am actually at the office, working (LOL). I also have work tomorrow, December 25. Working in Japan means that I have to sacrifice some of the traditions and routines I grew up with in the Philippines. But since I am single woman, living on my own, I think it is better to spend Christmas in the office than alone at home.

New Year is the big event that everyone celebrates here and I am looking forward to that. Maybe I’ll even wear a kimono and go to a shrine! XD

For now, I just want to say:

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

I’ll be in Kyoto for most of the New Year holidays, so look forward to my tales of adventures soon. Cheers!