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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.

That One Title VII

For the 7th installment of this blog series, I would like to share the songs from OneRepublic and Augustana called Counting Stars. OneRepublic’s song is more upbeat and very catchy it would make you want to rock your head. On the other hand, Augustana’s song is slower and more emotional. I love the contrast between these two songs even though they share the same title.

I hope you enjoy listening to them like I do. 🙂

1. OneRepublic’s Counting Stars


2. Augustana’s Counting Stars

Writer’s Block V – A Lack Of Creative Juice

Recently I’ve reverted to doodling or doing simple sketches. Now I feel like I badly need to produce tons of creative output because it has been so long since I last created an artistic work or a good literary piece. I even bought a pen tablet so that I can directly make my drawings digital. But whenever I start facing my computer and opening certain programs — whether Photoshop, FireAlpaca or even Notepad — my fingers suddenly get stuck on the mouse pad making circles with the cursor while my brain tries to conceptualize what I want to draw or write. For example, a few minutes before actually writing this post I have already written around 150 words about something else which I randomly deleted leaving me once again with an empty Notepad window. Therefore I decided to just write about how I could not find the motivation to write something that would be worth reading or draw something worth seeing and sharing.

Some people tell me to just put it out there and let my creative juices flow whether or not it’s a great work just so I have an output. The point is to not stop writing or drawing until I finally get to the point when I am actually producing something wonderful. I feel sparks whenever I think about this advice. But apparently, it’s not enough to keep me bursting with enthusiasm.

At times, when people ask me why not just write something, I just give them a nonchalant shrug and say that it’s too cold for my brain to work (sure, blame it on the weather). There might be a connection between shorter, colder days and my brain’s creative juice shortage but probably that’s not the main reason why I just can’t make any creative outputs lately.

However, I am truly hoping that practicing with my new pen tablet would jumpstart my gears and make my brain overflow with creative juice once more.

***

Me: Yey! A pen tablet. Now I can do a lot of digital sketches!
Brain: Hehe… Good luck with that.
Me: T^T

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.

Empty Spaces and Goodbye Notes

Today is my last day at work. Part of me wants to scream “Finally, freedom!” but another is saying “Is this really goodbye?”. I’ve been in this job for two-and-a-half years and it has been a blast working with the various people I’ve met here.

It suddenly dawned upon me that everything that comes with today — all things existential, figurative and literal — is not just happening inside my head. Reality bit me. It bit me really hard. Its ice-cold fangs punctured my heart and made my whole body shudder. This is it. I am leaving.

All the random events of today are still floating in my head, trying to push their way to the bottom of the pit. It’s just hard to let them sink in. Our office is left with nothing but me and some of the very silent and inanimate furniture. My officemates shared a good meal to send me and one of my friends off (two of us will be leaving the office). I have finally turned over all of my tasks and responsibilities to other officemates. There is nothing left for me to do but to walk out the door and close it shut behind me. Right now I feel like everything just seems so surreal.

Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say. I’m just full of different feelings right now like a blender turning tons of different fruits into smoothie. My mind is almost blank, my body is cold and my heart feels heavy. I couldn’t even manage a sigh of relief. Maybe it’s just the mocha icing.

Probably it’s time for me to stand up from this chair and start walking to the door and finally close this part of my life. This time, I shall run free to the world outside and open myself to this new journey I am about to begin. I say not “goodbye”, but “see you later” to my friends who have become part of me in my two-and-a-half-year journey that is about to end.