February 3, 2014

You May Say I'm A Dreamer

I am a big dreamer. I am contented with what I have but there’s something about dreams that make it such an inspiring experience.

If you don’t get what you’ve dreamed for, my attitude is that it should be ok because it was just a dream anyway. But if you do get something that you only imagined in your dreams, the effect is that of a humbling experience more than a triumphant feeling-- as if you do not deserve such luck or such blessing.

Then you thank God for the grace you have received. A great husband. Wonderful kids. A fulfilling career. Family vacations. Little indulgences here and there. And you find yourself in that place where you can say that life is indeed beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that it allows you to dare, hope and wonder and yes, to dream big dreams.

Life is wonderful. I celebrated my birthday last month and in the light of recent events in our country—stories of sickness, tragedies, political strife, corruption, Typhoon Haiyan (!)- I thought I should be thankful for everything that I have and for the protection and grace I get each day.

October 1, 2013

When Girls Cry

I am a crybaby. I cry when I read a perfectly worded line in a good book, a nice, emotional reveal in a story, a well-hit note in a song. I cry at weddings and I tear up watching my kids’ school programs. I cry when I listen to a friend’s sad story. I cry when I see an emotional moment in a video.

My little girl Laila, easily tears up, too. Sometimes, we’d watch a movie at home and when an emotional scene comes up, we’d just look at each other and laugh as we wipe our tears.

 My eldest daughter, Unna, on the other hand, does not easily get affected. She does not cry at sentimental songs and movies. I was therefore mildly surprised when we watched the DVD of “Les Miserables” and saw Unna cry twice. It wouldn’t have been surprising if it had been Laila who shed tears at the heart-wrenching scenes in the movie but Unna….it was just so not her.

She cried when Jean Valjean went down on his knees in front of the altar, riddled with guilt at the Bishop’s insistence to give him the silver candlesticks along with the other stuff he stole from the church. She cried at Fantine’s “I Dreamed A Dream” scene (and let it be said that I cried copious tears at those scenes, too).

Then I realized that my first-born does cry easily after all. But it does not come from a wellspring of sentimentality. It flows instead from sympathy and from compassion. Sure, she’s not like me and Laila, who cry over everything----from merely being witness to pain and anguish, tenderness, and even from observing the beauty of art in its many forms.

But tearing up from compassion is probably the most honest emotion one can ever feel. And I am glad my kids both have that gift.

September 16, 2013

Hardcore Lover of the Printed Word

I have books on my Ipad and these are mostly the classics that can be downloaded for free. But for me, reading books online is like replacing food with pills (let us assume for arguments sake, that there is now an option for us to just take pills for sustenance so that humankind does not have to go through all the trouble of shopping, cooking, then ingesting food). Sure, it is a more convenient option but it deprives you of the enjoyment of the whole experience.

My eldest daughter is a bookworm, like their mom.

My youngest loves to read, too.
I feel the same way when reading books on my ipad. There is something artificial about the whole thing. I do not feel it.

Compare that to the feeling of buying a brand new book (the joy actually starts from searching in the bookstore), ripping the plastic off, feeling the cover, flipping the pages, smelling the paper, reading it page by page, bookmarking it, tugging it close to your chest when you get to the part that brings you to near tears.

Speaking of near-tears, a beautifully written sentence can drive me to near-tears, not just a sad scene.

I wish I had the time to write a review of the books I read. Maybe soon, I will.

September 3, 2013

On Broadway

When I first went to New York, I only had the chance to watch one matinee because I didn’t have the time and all the money to watch the major shows at night. I ended up watching “Rent”, which was not a bad alternative at all because it was on my must-watch list anyway, plus the song “Seasons Of Love” is like our anthem in my old office in HKM (and funnily enough, now resurrected as a theme song in our present office).

A bonus experience was seeing Telly Leung play Angel and I was so enamored of his performance that I had to wait to get his signature after the show. He would later appear as one of the Warblers in “Glee”.

The second time I went to New York was with my husband and this time around, I made sure we would get to watch the big productions-- “Phantom Of the Opera” and “Lion King”. “Phantom” was nothing short of spectacular. And the guy who played the Phantom was a debuting actor but he was soooo good.

25 years since its debut and it is still attracting droves of people.

 “Lion King”, on the other hand, drove me to tears on its very first scene. It was just so magnificent. If you’re familiar with the movie, you would wonder how it can be translated into a Broadway play. But they were able to do the complete story (including the stampede) in ways you would never have imagined.

Inside the Minskoff Theatre, the home of "Lion King".

Times Square at midnight. 

Watching “Phantom” and “Lion King” meant we had to forego “Wicked”. It was already too expensive to watch a third Broadway play so I had to sacrifice this with a heavy heart. When we came back to Manila, my family and friends asked what we watched on Broadway and when they found out we missed “Wicked”, they gave me this I’m-so-sorry-for-you or how-could-you looks that made me feel all the more miserable.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that “Wicked” is coming to Manila! And what’s nice about it is that I can get to watch it not only with my husband but also with my two girls!!! Truly, there was a reason we had to pick “Phantom” and “Lion King” over “Wicked” back in New York.

Our seats are booked, our tickets bought (even if the play starts January 2014). We’re ready to get Wicked!