3 months, 12 days

Has it really been that long? It seems like it was just yesterday when I left Southern California, northbound and hopeful, ready to face whatever surprises that will come my way.

And San Francisco is indeed a beautiful surprise. I knew that I fell in love with this city on those few visits that I came here but it was more of the gushy oh-its-so-pretty-here kind. Now that I actually live here, its a different kind of feeling. Something inexplicable, like a sudden affinity, a recognition of being "home".

I've always believed that there are places in this world that one can really call "home". It doesn't matter if its an impoverished village or a posh neighboorhood, what matters is how you feel, or rather, how the place makes you feel. San Francisco is one of those places for me. I don't know, there's something about this city that touches my soul, inspires me to create, and compels me to look at things more closely. I've filled pages and pages of journals and taken hundreds of pictures since I got here and I'm slowly beginning to realize that this is what I've always wanted to do all along.

When, in my vaguest dreams, I pictured myself and who I'll become, I think that this is what I dreamed about - me exploring a city, sitting at corner cafes, taking random pictures, browsing little shops and bookstores, watching independent films, listening to literary readings, writing outdoors, walking around with no plan whatsoever, and a world of endless possibilities stretched out before me. For the first time in a long time, I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

It wasn't a smooth transition, nor is it easy living here. In fact, there were times when I felt like pulling my hair out and crying in frustration, times when I even wondered why I moved to this city in the first place. I was completely broke on my first month here, my car was towed away because of a parking violation, the apartment's bathroom floor was flooded due to leaky pipes, my computer crashed and I lost a lot of precious data, I didn't know anyone to ask for help - to name just a few. There's also the weather, which at its best can be described as moody and at its worse, 'schizophrenic' (as one writer puts it). You can wake up to a warm and sunny morning and you drive across the city to say, the Richmond District, and you'll be absolutely freezing. I am such a weather wuss and I get cold very easily so it took me a while to adjust to the unpredictable weather here. And let's not forget the challenge of finding street parking, or the fact that half of my paycheck probably goes to the ridiculous amount that I pay for a parking space and those (in)famous parking tickets - I already had three since I got here!

But even the most difficult times is still a blessing, for I always end up learning a little more about myself - the stronger, more independent side of me. Six months ago, who would've thought that I'll be driving all the way to Sonoma County by myself? I've also learned to accept help from new acquaintances and to let go of whatever preconceptions that I had of people or groups of people. Most of all, I've learned to trust in God more, because I believe that He brought me here and that if everything else fails, I know that He will never let go of me. For all this, I am thankful.

more thanks

In the spirit of this Thanksgiving holiday, I just want to say that I wouldn't have survived my first months here without these people: Kuya Bill, my bestest best friend and cousin in one ~ thank you for everything. Moira, Gracia, Neeha, Mayee, Ate Faye, Tia, Dae, Lori, Jane, Grace, Vanessa, Irish, Farrah, Bobby, Carl ~ many thanks for tolerating my endless chatter and neurotic episodes (haha). Jethro, Marjo, Poipoi, Ate Jude, Ate Tina, Lola Tasing, Tiya Mameng, Tiya Masing, Jean, Jewel ~ thanks for your undying love and support. Leah, Iray, Machai, Bachang, Christela, Rachanz, Samia, Monica, Chanda, Leanne, Ruby, Audrey, Melissa, Elaine, Carrie, Jayna, Rennie, Janice, Frank and Ele ~ thank you for keeping in touch. Ma and Pa ~ much love.

And to all that I forgot to call, e-mail, text, etc. - thanks for understanding.

journal excerpt

San Anselmo, CA.

"Its funny how one teeny little thing, one seemingly random act, can change your day so completely. And all that carefully contructed balance that you thought you somehow achieved will come crashing down, just like that. Once again, you see yourself lost, anxious, waiting.

The waiting, perhaps, is the hardest of all. You start torturing yourself with if onlys, creating scenarios, changing outcomes. But in the end, you're back to where you started, back to the waiting.

This afternoon I decided that I needed a break from it all. So I walked. I walked without even knowing where I'm going, past quaint houses with dependable SUVs parked in their front yards, past young fathers teaching little girls how to ride their scooters, past streets named Meadowlark and Morning Side, past retirees reading newspapers in their porches. I willed myself to stop thinking, just concentrate on the walk and the rustle of autumn leaves beneath my feet. But even if I wanted to, I couldn't stop the questions. Or the mass of confusion that followed. How can this happen? Why now?

Sometimes, I wish we can arrange our lives in neat little rows, like those quaint houses and tree-lined streets that I passed in Meadowlark (or was it Morning Side?). No surprises, no messy consequences.

No queasy feeling in your stomach as you wait. And wait..."

Edited 11/27: Last weekend's mishap was eventually resolved and all is good now. This is another lesson learned.

i love holidays and fridays!

Today is Veteran's Day and school is out. That means another day of writing and walking around in my adopted city. Or make that just plain wandering. My mind is too relaxed to write, too much in a holiday mode. The words will follow later, I promise.

For now, enjoy these pictures. Mere glimpses of the what I saw today:

Rows and rows of Victorians

...and a breathtaking twilight.


Click on image for a larger view

"We live in a beautiful world", sings Coldplay's Chris Martin. And looking at these amazing shots, I couldn't agree more.
I found them at Flickr, this wonderful world of pictures that I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago, a community to which I am now *small voice* addicted. Hehe.

I hope someday I'll get to take pictures like these ones, but for now I'll find inspiration in all the beauty and talent that is out there. And if you haven't signed up yet, maybe you should too.

Then we'll all have fun exploring Flickrland!

A special word of thanks to all my new Flickr friends who graciously allowed me to post their photos here (click on each to visit their site):
Daniel, Lauri, Chany, Keith, Angela, Cat, Thomas, Lou, Alex, and Kevin.