taking-flight

Taking Flight

In the middle of that seemingly endless road — his jeans tattered, shoes worn out and shirt drenched in sweat — Hope stopped and let out a heavy sigh. His knees have given up on him as they fell to the ground. All energy seemed to have left him as he let his back uncomfortably touch the ground. He raised his right hand to reach for the red sky as the sun started to set. He turned his head sideways and gazed at his flat tire, and then chuckled. Surprisingly, he found himself smiling despite the dawning of weariness and nightfall. Hope found it funny that he can manage a smile and a chuckle in the midst of this sticky situation. He simply didn’t care.

As the sky turned into a deep blue, Hope stood up and sat on the trunk of his car. He stared upon the vastness of the heavens, then a chuckle broke the silence of the night. Funny how the stars suddenly become abundant when he already stopped trying to hunt for them. Life really has a funny way of playing tricks on you. Minutes passed, and as if Life hasn’t played enough tricks on him, clouds hugged each other and cried over the wide empty highway where Hope sat still. As the drops of rain trickled down his face, he felt relieved that he need not hide his own tears which started welling up in his eyes. The rain, he thought, was a blessing in disguise.

By the sound of an approaching car, Hope opened his eyes and greeted the morning sun with a yawn. He woke up feeling new and fresh. It was unusual for this to happen. Maybe he needs to cry himself to sleep more often, he thought to himself jokingly. As Hope unmounted his car, he felt a little spark of excitement as the once empty highway was now bustling with cars. A few stopped to check on him and offer him help. This time, however, he did not refuse. Amity pulled Hope’s car along as they travelled to the next city so that he can have it fixed — while also trying to replenish all the energy he exhausted.

It was amazing, Hope thought, to have another person help him. During his ride with Amity he felt differently — something vastly distinct compared to what he felt during his joyride with Bliss — but a wonderful feeling nonetheless. While in the city, he began his plans for recovery starting from his body all drained of energy until his clothes all worn out and battered. After his moment of relaxation he found a place to get his car fixed. As he waited, he stayed a few more days to explore the city.

Hope had witnessed a series of sunrises and sunsets as he explored the city and experienced all its wonders. After wandering around with no certain destination, he finally decided that it is time to leave. He grabbed his keys, started his engine and stepped on the gas pedal. As he was driving a few meters out of the city boundary, he heard some faint engine sounds from behind. In a matter of seconds he found himself driving along with Amity.

As they drove forward to the limits of the never-ending road, they have experienced a lot of amazing things Hope never thought he would be able to do. They have shared with each other stories about their journeys and made new memories along the way. One fine day, while taking a break from their long drive, Amity told Hope some plans of going somewhere far away that the only way to get there is by travelling through the sky. Amity invited him to come if he wanted. Hope suddenly felt like his mind jumped off a cliff, free falling. The idea sounds exhilirating and fun, but something was holding him back. There was fear in his heart — the fear of stepping out of his comfort zone and going wherever the winds or waves may take him. After that crossroad incident he has become too afraid to trust once again. Hope is afraid of being left alone once more.

Hope’s worried expression slowly vanished as he saw the smiling face of Amity. It was as bright as the sun shining from the sky enveloping his heart in a warm embrace. His lips curved upward without him knowing. Suddenly it hit him, it is time to leave the past behind and start a new journey. The uncertainty of what’s beyond may be scary, but Hope has decided to go for a free fall so he can unfurl his wings and learn how to fly.

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Awkward Beginnings, Happy Endings

A review of the movie, What If.

I have recently watched the movie, What If, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. Honestly, I found it quite hard to write about the film because I felt too much about it that I can’t think as objectively as I should. Therefore, I shall be sharing my comments about the story more than the technicals.

Within the first few minutes of the movie, I was already smiling to myself. Generally, the story was told quite fast. However, it was visualized in such a way that you get a deeper emotional understanding of how the main characters’ love story is progressing. Sure, the main plot and the ending was sort of expected but the tiny details that tie each major moment together were beautifully done which made watching the movie fun.

Besides the fact that the movie felt terribly relatable, I loved how it showed the harsh realities of making relationships work. It felt real and that was what made the story really engaging. How meeting someone in a very awkward situation and having awkward conversations can spark something special between two people is an interesting way of starting a love story. The way the characters moved, thought, conversed and breathed their stories to create the big picture was done fairly well.

The soundtrack for the film plus the animation were simply perfect in improving the storytelling. The main plot of the story was not really novel but the way it was told and laid out was done amazingly well. The music conveys the feeling of each moment clearly and the thoughts that the animation were expressing were also showed well. I also found their animated engagement story at the end credits really informative for those who would keep wondering how they ended up engaged after coming back to Toronto. It was not essential to the main story but it is a good add-on for certain audience — like me — who might start asking about that little gap before their happy ending.

Overall, I’m giving the story a 9/10 rating. It was amazingly done and it will surely make you feel something. The main story might seem to be considerably fair like all the other happy love stories, but the storytelling was wonderfully executed that you’ll end up smiling even after watching the movie.

gwangju-fave-cafe

Turning Korean

When friends and family tell me I look like a Korean now, I do not think they are serious. But recently I have been mistaken for a Korean by Koreans. So I guess it is kind of true.

-Exhibit A-

Last weekend after partying until late, I was going back to my dorm and a Korean from the same building was walking behind me. As I was about to put in my password to open the door, he warned me about entering the dorm after curfew. He was speaking in Korean so fast I only understood a few things. I said it was okay, and that my Korean is not so well. He was about to enter his room (which was at the first floor in front of the elevator) while I was waiting for the elevator when he tried speaking in English saying he was sorry because he thought I was Korean. But really, I was quite grateful for his concern.

-Exhibit B-

Just this afternoon during my walk around the city, there were these Koreans who were promoting some sort of event/product at the underpass. The guy nearest to the stairs where I was walking approached me and started talking in Korean about whatever they were doing. I did not quite understand what he said because of the noise. I just told him that I was not Korean and I could not speak really well. His friends seemed to understand what happened as they all chuckled and started saying some English words.

Today, before I went back to the dorm, I stopped by my favorite café downtown and had a short talk with the cashier as I was ordering. She was speaking a little bit quickly so it took me quite some time to answer her questions. When she asked me what my major was, I told her I’m still studying Korean. I explained that this was the reason why I cannot speak well, but she said my Korean sounded good. That time, I was already thinking of ending the conversation but her compliment gave me a confidence boost so we talked a bit more about why I was alone today and what my friends were doing. It was a really short talk but it made me realize something. After one semester of learning basic language, I am now more confident when it comes to speaking with the locals as opposed to my first few weeks here. My listening and reading skills also improved. Hopefully, this confidence boost will help me push myself further come the next semester.

I find it amusing that after three months of staying here, locals think I am also a Korean. Quite flattering perhaps, but it also puts a bit more pressure on me to learn the language faster. Sure, I have to go out more and practice what I have learned so far. But just for a bit, I am going to enjoy the few days of vacation and fall in love more deeply with Korea. 😉

Morning Calm Indeed

It has been more than half a month since I arrived here at Gwangju, South Korea which was enough time for me to have tons of wonderful adventures. Our classes have not yet officially started that is why we have a lot of time in our hands to go out for trips.

What has made my stay interesting so far is the opportunity to make friends who came from different parts of the world. The diversity of our group is very enriching to both mind and soul. It is amazing and fun to share different cultures with each other.

Before I came here, I always wondered why it was called the “Land of the Morning Calm.” I never knew it was somehow self-explanatory. Back in Manila, I was used to waking up at around seven in the morning and find the streets very busy. But here, even though Gwangju is a metropolitan area, I wake up at seven and find myself in a , literally, calm morning. Most places open and
most people are out on the streets at around nine in the morning. Their days start quite later compared to Manila, but their nights are just as long. Nightlife is not something to worry about if you are a party animal.

The weather is another thing that makes me love Korea even more. During midday, when the sun is at its peak, it can get hot when there are not much clouds up in the sky. But the wind still blows a cool breeze so by just staying under a tree’s shade one can already avoid the harsh heat of the sun. Or there is always a coffee shop around the corner to enjoy a cool drink or some desserts (and free WiFi of course).

Reading about South Korea having the best internet connection around the world is not just propaganda. Experiencing its high-speed internet connection firsthand is just astounding. Streaming music and videos, uploading photos and sending mails are so fast you save a lot of time to enjoy more activities. However, it is definitely not perfect so some connections — especially WiFi — can get a bit unstable sometimes.

I’m so stoked for more wonderful adventures ahead of me here in Korea. Definitely, this is a country I would recommend everyone to visit at least once in their lifetime.

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Neither Hero Nor Villain

A review of the movie Maleficent.

When people ask me how I found the movie Maleficent I always respond with a smile and a nod saying “I liked the way the old story was retold.” I wouldn’t say it is a great film because it’s fresh and filled with CG. I believe its appeal was less in the cinematography but more on the literary aspect.

Disney released Sleeping Beauty in 1959 telling the little girls then how one can find true love amidst all the evil lurking in every corner of the world. A charming prince will save the distressed princess and they will end up together and live happily ever after. However, just like in Frozen, I like how Disney is destroying that concept of true love by showing the women of today — who might be the little girls of yesteryears — that princes are not what they need in life to be saved. True love does not fall from a tree or found coincidentally in a forest. It blossoms between two people who care deeply for each other. Love is not always about the romantic type because sometimes familial love is stronger than any other love that exist.

The line that struck me the most was when Maleficent said, “There is evil in this world, I cannot protect you from it.” Somehow, I believe that this part humanizes the character. This is what made the retelling of the story more relateable. When a person accepts the fact that good and evil exists within each individual — within oneself — that person begins to understand how to live. Maleficent achieved this enlightenment which manifested in her acts of remorse and sacrifice. The movie somehow teaches us that when we find the evil in us consuming our mind and heart we begin to see the world as dark and unforgiving. But when we start to love again we begin to see the birghter side of life.

I really liked how they told the story in a different perspective. Overall, I’d give this movie a rating of 9/10. I’d recommend it to people who want to experience the story of Sleeping Beaty differently. But I guess, after Frozen, the idea of True Love was not as fresh as it was supposed to be.

A Friendly Advice

I might seem a bit off to some who would read this post but I do not intend to offend anyone. I simply wish to tell the truth to some of the teenagers and 20-somethings like me that our parents owe us nothing. It is just a simple reminder so that the next time we want to act like spoiled brats in public or spend our parents’ money as if it is our own we would think twice, thrice or even a hundred times. And I am saying this not only to other people who I might actually not know, but also to myself.

Sometimes I wonder how some kids spend their parents’ money to buy expensive things one after another even if they really don’t need them without considering how hard their parents work just to provide for them. Honestly, we were not born into this world to be pampered for the rest of our lives. Come to think of it, we are the ones who owe our parents everything. Without them, we would not even exist.

Currently I am in my early twenties, working and living independently from my parents. There are still things which I can’t afford without their help so I do ask them to provide for me from time to time. But whenever I intend to ask for something, it takes me about a year to think it through before I go to them and ask. I consider the fact that I am already capable of surviving on my own which is why I have to check and double check the reason why I should be asking for their assistance. Most of the time, I come to a conclusion where I learn that I can do it on my own saving them from spending their money or effort for my sake. It is like my own way of paying back the time they have spent in taking care of me until the time I can be set free.

It is not our parents’ job to feed us when we are hungry but to teach us how to feed ourselves. They will not carry us for the rest of our lives but will teach us how to walk, how to run, how to fly to reach for our dreams. Once again, they owe us nothing but we owe them everything.

Think about it.

Dying In A Womb

A community, an organization or an institution serves as sort of a home during adulthood. It teaches us about culture, financial independence, socializing, ethics and morality. Somehow, it molds us into who we become as a person.

This community also serves as a guide. It assists us in discovering the world beyond it and how we can cope, adapt and adjust when the time for us to step out there and stretch our lives further comes.

But wherever there is light, there is shadow. In our community, we can never find ultimate peace. We also learn that the world works both ways, a balance of good and evil should always exist. It may also teach us — either intentionally, unintentionally or both — that danger lurks in every corner waiting for the perfect time to strike.

Fear is forever instilled in our genes. We will never escape its clutches. We sometimes find ourselves playing with knives thinking everything is in our control until we cut ourselves and see blood gushing out from the wound.

Slowly we realize that the world is a sick place. We become scared of what our future has in store for us. What we must learn is to face our own fears in order to properly adapt with the way the world works. This is the reality we may ignore but can never run away from. It will eat us up alive if we let our guard down.

This is our world. It nurtures. It tortures. Living in it is like dying in a womb.