On the Gifts of Randomness


(NORWAY, Hordaland) A view of Oppheim Lake. (Photo taken by the author.)

(NORWAY, Hordaland) A view of Oppheim Lake. (Photo taken by the author.)

It was a random stop. Unscheduled. Just a brief gap in the eternity of travel to give passengers a chance to stretch their legs.

I stepped down. Looked up. Felt my heart stop (and possibly break) at the sight of the mountain admiring itself in the lake.

If not for the yellow flowers growing near my feetif not for the fact that I had feetI wouldn’t have been able to tell up from down (that’s how discombobulating it was).

No one else seemed as stunned. I stumbled back into the bus, speechless, stupefied, and only remembered several kilometers later to ask the driver what the name of the area was.

He shrugged his Viking-like shoulders (even paradise can get monotonous if you have to drive through it everyday). You mean Oppheim Lake? He asked me in Norwegian-accented English.

I’m not sure what I meantif we were talking about the same thingbut as we hadn’t ventured near any other bodies of water, I said yes.

He nodded. It’s very pretty, ja?

I nodded back.

It was very pretty. Pretty enough that even if nearly seven years have passed, I can still smell the breeze that wafted from the lake.

The memories are returning. The past is returning.

And with it, beheld for the first time in a long while, the future.

On the Utility of Grass


(NEPAL Chitwan) The green, green grass of not-home. (Photo taken by the author.)

As a terribly nearsighted and astigmatic child, I grew up with gentle rejoinders from my parents and doctors to rest my frequently strained eyes by looking at green things.

Fortunately, I grew up in a neighborhood that had its fair share of grassy vacant lots (presently no longer the case in said neighborhood). To this day, I associate the sight of green grass with all that’s calm, soothing and reinvigorating. (It feels good underfoot too.)

We should all have our little patch of grass. Literally.

On the Ascent of Woman


(JAPAN Tokyo) The Ascent of Woman. (Photo taken by the author’s friend.)

It’s only appropriate for me to go back in time as I start writing backwards in time.

(Yes, this is me, filling out my missing blog posts in reverse order.)

As the date on the lower right corner indicates, the photo above was taken a little more than seven years ago, in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills. And yes, that’s my silhouette on the very right. (K., on the left, is now in London; J., in the middle, is now in New York.)

This was back in the day when I sold bath soap, J. sold laundry detergent and K. sold cough drops. We’d all been sent to Tokyo on business trip as fledgling soap/detergent/cough drop peddlers with the expectation that we’d come back as slightly-less-fledgling soap/detergent/cough drop peddlers.

And like all fledgling peddlers sent on business trip, we spent every free moment imaginable rampaging through Tokyo Godzilla-style.

(One of my favorite hair-raising memories: J. gracefully inserting an arm between the closing doors of a subway train while the rest of us, already safely onboard, watched aghast. The doors parted: a phenomenon that would have been highly improbable on Philippine subway trains.)

Gad. I was…so young then. We were all so young then. (Only youth can explain the brazen lack of dignity in the above photograph, which was taken with a lot of glee.) And now, the three of us are on different continents, doing unexpectedly different things.

Funny how life turns out.

On the Persistence of Sun


(FINLAND, Rovaniemi) Slanting sun and brooding skies over the tiny island of Kotisaari. (Photo taken by the author.)

What I loved about this picture when I took it: how the sun could shine so brightly and strikingly against a house and tree while the rest of the sky brooded in a bluish-grayish gloom.

Life, love and happiness can be the same.

Thank goodness.