Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Presents Presents Presents!

I just love surprises.

My Mom just came back from New York and it’s been presents galore for the last month or so. I got one package when she was still there and I was more than happy to see some makeup, a merino wool jumper and half a dozen pairs of shoes sitting snugly in the box.

Today, I found 2 more packages sitting at my front step. See a quick stocktake of the pressies below:

- 6 pairs of shoes
- 2 knitted tops
- 1 cardigan
- 3 knitted jumpers
- 3 handbags
- 3 tubes of lip balm
- 1 pair of gloves

Thanks Ma for thinking of me while you were away on holidays. And thanks to my Titos, Titas and cousins for all the wonderful things that you sent. Special thanks to Tita Violanda for FedExing the packages. Hope to see all of you soon. I really miss it there! :)

Yay is all I can say. It made my day. Yay! :D

*** Thank you God for the nice surprise.
*** Thank you God for Desperate Housewives.
*** Thank you God cos the fish are still alive even if I didn't feed them over the weekend. Hehe.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Postie Bike Diaries, Part 1

So what’s the deal with the postie bike?

My daily routine includes bussing to work everyday. And even if the bus stop’s just a 5-minute walk from my place, it’s still such a pain cos buses are either too late or too early. Therefore, it leaves me without a choice. I have to leave my house a bit earlier than necessary to make sure that I don’t miss my bus. Of course it doesn’t work all the time. In fact, I’ve missed my bus a few times:

Example 1: I sleep in for a few minutes. I give myself enough time to walk to the stop. The bus comes early and I see it driving away before my very eyes.

Example 2: I’m on time. I wait for a good time to cross the road. Too many cars try to catch the green light. By the time I finally get to cross, the bus had already gone past my stop.

Example 3: I realise I’m quite early for my bus. I decide to fit two more things in my morning routine: I have breakky and then take the rubbish out. I walk to my stop… Surprise! Surprise! I missed my bus.

I don’t really mind waiting at the stop. My only problem is it’s winter again and I absolutely abhor freezing in the cold. If only I could drive… But as discussed in my earlier post, the system here is just too bloody complicated. I’d get around to doing it someday… not just yet, I suppose. I’m just thinking of alternatives at the moment. I’m after a quicker way of rectifying my issues with public transport.

We had a bbq at Csaba’s on the weekend and some of the guys were playing with one of Dan’s toys… a postie bike. It’s not too big. It’s not too fast either. It looked fun, actually. Adrienne, Jess and I were watching Deirdre and Gareth take off with the postie bike when I thought of my new action plan. Luckily, Jess knew enough about postie bikes to build my interest up and leave me with a good impression of postie bikes. They’re called postie bikes cos they’re used by postmen to carry and deliver mail. Apparently, only the postal service can get them brand new in Australia but second-hand ones are sold at auctions. They’re quite cheap and are usually in good condition too. Also, I learned that it’s not too difficult to get a license for driving a bike… at least it’s not gonna take forever to get one. There aren’t too many restrictions either. I can bike without being supervised by a fully-licensed driver. And the point system is more lenient as well. Plus Jess said that other cars are generally nice to people with an L plate on their bikes. This can be cool, hey.

Deirdre and Gareth returned with the bike soon after Adrienne, Jess and I concluded that I should get a postie bike… after I learn how to drive one anyway. Well, they didn’t let me waste any time as I was told that it’s my turn to use the bike. I was really nervous cos I haven’t been on a push bike for years, let alone a motorised one. Dan showed me the basics, Csaba hopped on next to me and off we went to go around the street. At one point, I felt the bike wobble and it scared the sh** out of me. Not knowing what I was doing, I gripped the accelerator harder as the bike sped off to the wrong side of the road. We would’ve crashed if Csaba didn’t take over the bike. Needless to say, balancing the postie bike was harder than I thought. I’d need to practice heaps more before I can drive it on my own. And yes, I do get scared easily so I’d have to work hard on my confidence level as well. We’ll see how I go… until the next update on my postie bike diaries!

l-r: Csaba, myself, Jess, Dan, Adrienne,Cam, Tommy and Joseph

*** Thank you God for a good night's sleep.
*** Thank you God for Tigi Bedhead's Manipulator. It works wonders on my fringe! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Me Can't Drive

Everyone who knows me knows I can't drive. It's not like I don't want to learn. In fact, I'd love to get a driver's license so I can finally say goodbye to bussing my way around. I'm still waiting for the perfect time to learn though. I just can't seem to fit it in my busy sched... Am I procrastinating too much? Possibly.

I've only driven a few times. My first go at it was in 1998. We were bringing my brother to soccer practice and my parents let me drive the car. I did pretty well, hey... no fines, no injuries, no damages to the car... just one nervous Mom at the backseat. I never got to touch a steering wheel again until after I graduated from uni in 2003. I told myself that I'll spend some time on learning how to drive while I'm on holidays.

My brother agreed to teach me a bit before I go to a driving school. Here's what happened on our first lesson...

Ragee: Ate, that's the clutch. That one over there's the brake.
Den: Yep, cool...
Ragee: This is how you change gears... blah blah blah... Ok?
Den: Pano ulit? (Ragee shows me how and lets me do it.)
Ragee: Ok na?
Den: Sige kaya na.

A few minutes later, while happily driving and thinking that I'm winging it...

Ragee: Ok, brake, brake, brake!

(Being the good student that I am, I promptly stepped on the clutch.)

Ragee: Sinabi nang brake eh! Labas!

I learned one lesson that day. Never ever mess with your brother's car. He probably loves it more than he loves you. ;)

Later on that month, my Mom got me an old car that I can practice on. It was automatic so obviously, it was also much easier to drive. I had a few tries at driving it to church... no big improvements cos the church is only 5 minutes away from our house. But at least I felt like I was heading somewhere. Not long after that, I got the job offer here in Australia. I suddenly had heaps of things to do before leaving. And to make the long story short, I had to put driving aside.

I could've started learning again when I got here. So why didn't I? Apart from right hand drives and millions of roundabouts, the whole process of getting a driver's license in Australia is also heaps different. You have to take a few lessons, get a Learner's license and keep that license for at least a year. While on your L's, you can't drive without a fully licensed driver in the same car. It sucks, I know. From your L's, you have to take exams to qualify for a Provisional driver's license. Once you have your P's, you can drive by yourself but a few driving offenses can easily lead to suspension of your license. Oh, and not only that... You'd also have to stay on P's for 3 years, I think. I was just thinking to myself... By the time I get past L's, I'd probably be back in the Philippines. Great huh?

I guess the whole driving story's turned around since I'm staying here longer. Who knows? I might actually get around to learning how to drive sooner than everyone thinks. But for now, I've come across a seemingly good enough alternative...

postie bike

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pieces of Me

I never thought I'd start my own blog but here I am… attempting to spark the knack for writing that I used to have.
You see, I used to write a lot. I wrote for the school paper. I expressed myself through poetry. I kept my own journal. I'm no writer extraordinaire but I was quite comfortable with putting my thoughts on paper. I can't really remember when I stopped but I'm no different from people who tend to get too preoccupied with the daily grind. It shouldn't be an excuse, I know. Thus, I'm trying one more time…
Let's see how I'll go with this one...
50 Random Things:
It's a start, hey. ;)
50. I don't drink soda (or any fizzy drink for that matter). It makes me throw up every time.
49. No bad vices either - I don't drink and I don't smoke.
48. And I can't drive (so I can't take my friends home after a late night out… what a waste hey?)
47. It takes me ages to understand a naughty joke. Csaba said it's not even the case... cos most of the time I just don't get it at all.
46. I eat a lot… probably more than a regular guy does. I find it really hard to put on weight though. I've been skinny all my life. :(
45. I get really grumpy when I'm hungry. So yeah, you've been warned. ;)
44. I have 3 bestfriends - one I've known all my life, one who's a total opposite of myself and one whom I was practically glued to during my last 2 years in uni.
43. I've always wanted to go skydiving. I finally did it in March 2004.42. I love to cook. My cooking philosophy: Make something new and try at least one new recipe every week.
41. I've always been independent.
40. I love shoes. I've had this love affair with shoes since I was
12. I think I got around 60 pairs just from the last year.
39. I dress from bottom to top. Gotta pick the shoes first. Weird hey?
38. I generally appreciate most genres of music... except for techno and heavy metal, I guess.
37. I like getting away from it all and spending time by myself every once in a while (going to the movies, grabbing a bite to eat, etc.).
36. I like giving children's books to people whom I care about.
35. I love reading the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paulo Coelho and Pablo Neruda.
34. My first crush was Prince Philip from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
33. I was in denial about Santa Claus' existence for the longest time. I only learned to accept the truth when I reached 5th grade.
32. I love the beach and I feel lucky to be eternally tanned. :D
31. I love to travel. I want to see the world and experience as many cultures as I can.
30. I feel like I'll never get used to cold weather.
29. I <3 Gael Garcia Bernal.
28. Incidentally I have 10 of his movies on DVD (only 5 more to go… leave a message if you want to make me happy on my birthday hehe).
27. I have mild scoliosis and a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse . They actually sparked my interest in yoga and pilates.
26. I'm a very sentimental person. I find it hard to let go of things. I keep heaps of junk from special occasions (concert tickets, candy wrappers, etc.)
25. I love photos - taking them and being in them.
24. I'm quite vain actually… especially with my skin.
23. I didn't used to wear makeup. It took Len more than 4 years to convince me to give it a go. I must admit… I couldn't have found a better teacher. ;)
22. One of the best presents that I've ever received was a charm bracelet with 17 charms that supposedly describe what the person who gave it thinks of me.
21. I dream of having my own restaurant someday.
20. I dream of studying shoe design and fashion merchandising. I also want to get an MBA.
19. And yes, I might just be an entrepreneur in the future. My product? Take a wild guess. :D
18. I love watching old movies and foreign language films.
17. I'm learning Spanish at the moment. Maybe I'll live in Spain or South America one day… just for a couple of months to speak the language more fluently.
16. I learned how to speak Japanese in uni. I forgot all about it after a semester without practicing.
15. Audrey Hepburn's one of my icons.
14. I'll never ever get sick of Thai and Japanese Food. I've even learned how to make them! :D
13. I love New York! I won't ever get enough of it either.
12. I'd always be thankful for the friends I've made through the years.
11. I love basketball. My favourite players are Penny Hardaway, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker.
10. I'm not very athletic but I like watching sports.
9. I believe in karma.
8. Everything happens for a reason. Everything works out. Everything falls into place.
7. I keep a gratitude list. I believe that there's always at least one thing to be thankful for each day.
6. It's healthy to be homesick every once in a while.
5. I may not be as religious as others but I have a strong faith in God.
4. I miss my Lola but I know she's happy where she is now.
3. I love the Suarez Family. They've provided me with all the love that a person could ask for.
2. I've got the best brother in the world. :D
1. I love my Mom and my brother. I miss them every single day and I wish they weren't so far away.
So yeah, this is it. This is me.