Saturday, January 28, 2006


I just liked the sound of this word for today's post. A little housekeeping notes:

-> My friend Nikki is actively promoting this blog. It tickles me pink for her to do that, not because she's my friend, but because she thinks there is something worth sharing in this blog. Friends and relatives are often the harshest critics, just as the Guy Upstairs once said, "No one is a prophet in his own country."
->I'm trying to put in a few more features in my blog OTHER THAN PICTURES, as I've had trouble maintaining memberships in the various picture-hosting sites. The zealots at the KACST-ISU (the Internet authority here in KSA) have some definite ideas about such sites. I'm in no mood to raise a ruckus, I just feel sad I can't put any photographic records of my own on this site. There are alternatives - I just have to learn them.
-> I'll try to stick to the discipline of at least one entry per week, but one never knows. Things may get hairy and blogging may be the best or worst way to deal with them (internally), as matters dictate.
-> I'm grateful I didn't get to post this HUGE RANT about my departing colleague (technical problems with Blogger's servers). For reasons, both good and bad, he has been an integral part in helping me attain my goals here in KSA, so I bid him farewell and all the best in whatever job he's going to take.

(Did you catch the euphemism there? Instead of, "Good riddance, I'm glad you're leaving!" one can say, "In your own way, you have helped me become a better person." NOT! But even so, gratitude is a whole lot better than bitterness.)

I experienced a barrage of emotions this weekend (our weekend, again, to newbies here, is Thursday/Friday).

The first one was of RELIEF that my colleague has arrived back from vacation. Now, this man is a pillar of stability in our department. He is one person we will not be able to do without, and I hope he knows it (so he can better use it to his advantage). Single ladies, should a girl decide to pass up on me for someone else, I'd most gladly see her choose this man. Not for anything else, but I think he has his "relationship toolbox" all together in better shape than I do with mine. And well, some would say he's more presentable, but then again, I stopped looking in the mirror for some months now. Find him in Friendster.

The second one was .... let me think it through while I type here .... an inexplicable longing. I sometimes kid myself that I will get through the loneliness/alienation here as I have posted earlier, and in some ways I get by. Watching the Pacquiao fight, in its completeness (I did it only on Wednesday night), was like an emotional sucker punch. When he won and the flags were waving high, my eyes welled up and all the conflicting emotions generated by that flag came to surface. In a sudden burst of nostalgia, all the things I loved about home also manifested.

Put it this way - it's like coming off painkillers. I sooooo wanted to be home. I had to physically clamp myself down in order to hold down my sobbing. (Another part of my brain --- the Observer --- was processing this and was saying to me, "Yada yada, yak it up, you pathetic weasel!" Yeah, the "L" word would probably snap me back into reality.)

The third one came up while I watched an episode of "Everwood" featuring Treat Williams and Gregory Smith, that kid from "Small Soldiers" (the guy who got a kissing scene with Kirsten Dunst before she became legal, lucky schmuck). I was waiting for my afternoon appointment to come along and I was just too lazy to lift my phat behind to do my laundry. Great episode, but the show's premise was just too limited. Not enough options to percolate for great stories.

Some things that came back to me during the episode.

One, some people (including me) find it easier to drive away the people they love because of the fear of loving them too much. Being in love, and loving someone, means admitting your vulnerability. And that other person's love will form part of the solution ... and the "alloy" will make both of you stronger. I don't have all the exact words right now, and I'm rushing this entry before the thoughts diminish and disappear.

But back to driving people away - I confess to having done just that. From the petty ones like being condescending to beautiful women (as if beauty sucks out their IQ - it's the case of "rejecting them first before they reject you." It's dumb. Yup, you women can shoot me now), to the major ones like letting friends and family down. I'm not wondering why I don't have a relationship right now, I'm just glad I still have the opportunity to do something about it. Of course, I'm not taking any wrongdoing others may have done, but regardless of whatever they have done, I have no excuse for my own behavior.

Two, there's always room to start over. Always. It's the bravery the Birdie character describes in "You've Got Mail." It's the bravery of trying something new, even without a safety net to catch you. I'm sure all the self-help gurus have something to say about this. For the past two years, I've been starting over. It's been sometime coming since last quarter 2000/first quarter 2001, when I thought I hit rock-bottom. I've gotten even lower since then, but I believe I've climbed out and making steady progress.

The fourth one saw my students from our Voice Clinic perform at their demonstration Friday afternoon to determine their readiness to appear in concert. I had 10 kids ready for this, one backed out long ago and three failed to show up at the last minute. Still, the six who performed more than made up for the afternoon.

I hated, correction, hate, letting them go. But it's time: their rightful instructor has arrived and he must take over the reins. My pride kept on saying, "We can do this, let me work out the string." But there are limits to my skills and in some ways, I could have done better. So I accept this in all humility and go on do what I do better - inspire kids how to express themselves better through writing.

I'm also glad I asked one of my students to sing a very positive song, "Land of the Loving" by Dianne Reeves. The lesson here is that where there is enough love to spread around, one will belong. I have been blessed to have been found by the children and parents of SPA-TDG at such an early stage in my sojourn here in KSA. Thanking them is getting to be corny, but hey, it will remain true forever.

I'd surely hate it when my heart will be broken when these kids complete their training. I have high hopes that they will do a better job making sense of the world we're living in. As it is, I am fortunate to be playing a small part in the greater story of their lives. Don't look now, but my heart is breaking now...

ALL THINGS MUST PASS (George Harrison)
Sunrise doesn't last all morning
A cloudburst doesn't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
It's not always been this gray

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesn't last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this my love is up and must be leaving
It's not always been this gray

All things must pass
All things must pass away

All things must pass
None of life's strings can last
So I must be on my way
Face another day

And darkness only stays in night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always gonna be this gray

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

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