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Date a UP Dormer

Date an Iska. The reasons are obvious. Date an Iska who lives in a UP dormitory. Let me tell you why.

Date a girl who buys her meals inside UP. Date a girl who can live on less than a hundred pesos per day. Date her because she can still get excited over eating a 30-peso meal bought from the aristocart, whose owners may or may not be scrupulous inadhering to food safety standards. That is a moot point after a week or so of cart food breakfasts, anyway, because by then, her stomach has probably developed immunity against harmful bacteria. When she has tired of the cart’s unchanging menu, she has the contact numbers of all on-campus culinary establishments who boast of specializing in deliveries but somehow take morethan an hour to deliver orders to a dorm a mere fifteen minutes away from them. Still, she chooses to endure pangs of hunger and postpone meals because fastfoods, though decidedly more prompt in their deliveries, charge exorbitant delivery fees and give measly servings. On the few times she succumbs to herMcChicken and hot fudge sundae cravings, she rallies her friends to order along with her so they can split the 40-peso delivery fee. She can even live on cup noodles, oats, and instant coffee, especially during finals week. Her frugality is further seen in her jumbo-sized toothpaste and bath soap 3pid-packs, which cost far less than sachets in the long run. She won’t turn her nose up in anywhere you’ll choose to bring her to- of that you can be sure.

Date a girl who has spent the darker half of her college life in a residence hall. (The lighter half, the daytime hours, she has most probably spent in classrooms or tambayans.)Date her because she has long been practicing patience. Between the long check-in queues that compete for her time and energy against subject enlistment semester after semester to the towel-lined cubicle doors that greet her every morning, she has long since learned that patience is a virtue. Draining as UP enrolment is, she reserves enough time and energy to spend in dorm lines so shecould spend the night wearing herself out by covering her new closet and unpacking her things. There are times she exercises her wits instead ofpatience and hangs her towel in the cubicle door even before she sleeps so she can take a bath as soon as she wakes up. However, because the resident pilfering princess takes everything from laptops and celphones from dormrooms, to Toblerone bars and fresh milk  from the communal fridge, to freshly laundered underwear and sachets of fabric conditioner from the laundry room, to Pond’s facial cleanser and pails from the comfort room, a dormer runs the risk of becoming a robbery victim by hanging her towel before the morning rush. Threats of poison, biblical curses, and mambabarang are all no match for kleptomania so in the end, she prudently chooses to wakeup early to ensure her towel’s safety. If the simultaneous ringing of alarm clocks in her corridor don’t wake her up early enough, she waits patiently for her turn in the cubicle. If you still doubt her patience, try the dorm WiFi at night.

Date a girl who daily shares her bathroom with a hundred other girls. She knows how to dress quickly because much of her time is consumed with waiting and fervently wishing that those before her would skip conditioner today so they would take less time to rinse their hair. When the need arises, she can take five-minute showers and four-minute breakfasts and she can take less than thirty minutes total to transform herself from a groggy zombie in PJs to a beautifully-groomed lady ready to take on the world. On her more desperate moments, she had tried shampooing her hair in the sink so she needed only to wash her body inside the cubicle. She is as economical in the minutes of her morning as in her money.

Date a girl who has lived away from her parents for months at a time. She values her independence and considers resourcefulness as one of her assets. She has lugged large bags and boxes containing all her things to her room alone during check in. She has reassembled her electric fan in the middle of the night after she accidentally kicked it in her sleep. She has tried (probably unsuccessfully) to fix a loose bathroom faucet. She has broken a padlock after locking her key inside the closet. She has summoned herculean strength to pack a year’s worth of stuff before the 12noon deadline for checking out. She has learned to do the things she used to ask her father to do at home and  yes, she’s proud of her accomplishments.

Date a girl who has a collection of dorm life anecdotes that rivals Ted Mosby’s New York City stories. She has participated in silly dating games she had no intention of winning and revealed her embarrassingly sharp memories of G-Mik, Esperanza, Doraemon and Asian Treasure in a jologs quiz while in her classy mini-dress and heels during dorm formal dinners. She has relived her childhood by representing her corridor in games like chinese garter and agawan base , or pulled on a towel in an improvised game of tug-of-war, and maybe, even took a ball full on the face from an athletically-challenged teammate on a dodgeball skirmish- all of these during Sportsfest week. She has narrowly lost the December Door Design contest by cutting out chichirya wrapper stars to hang in her doorjamb or by pasting Christmas figures on her door, including a sheep the myopic judges intelligently took for mounds of snow. She has belted outKampana ng Simbahan  or faked dancing talents to the tune of Tuloy na Tuloy pa rin ang Pasko or got nominated for the Annual Kalabasa Awards  whose categories included Payatas Award, Alpha Kapal Muks, Ms.Acadmode and Banyo Queen on the dorm Christmas party. She has abandoned a calculus problem or a position paper to go down to the lobby and listen to frat men serenade her and her dormmates on Valentine’s Day. She has shared her academic woes to a group of newly-met people during a bible study on the lawn. She has watched Disney movies, Hollywood action films, Star Cinema romantic comedies and Japanese horror in the TV area during dorm movie nights. She has borrowed Jane Austen classics, Sophie Kinsella chicklit and Dan Brown mysteries from the House Council Library and maybe, even had her name published in the “Overdue Books” list for a Precious Hearts Romance novel (Stallion Series: Jigger Samaniego) she had been so careful to return on time. She has even shown her solidarity in the fight for greater state subsidy by joining in candle-lighting ceremonies and dormers’ camp out. She has collected bloopers and enjoyed it. She has suffered public humiliation and lived to retell (and exaggerate) it. She has lived through the dorm’s constant bustle of activity so she’ll also appreciate a quiet evening with you. She understands the efforts involved in preparing for an activity so she’ll appreciate yours in planning for your date. She is able to find fun in practically any activity so you can take her out in any kind of date and she won’t complain.

Date a girl who has interacted with all kinds of people for an extended period of time. Friends come and friends go but a roommate is a roommate for at least a sem- that is a dormer’s motto. She has come to accept that not everyone is easy to live with and even the best roommates have bad days. Diversity has obtained a whole new meaning for her because of all the people she has met in the dorm. Just trying to get along with strangers have taught her responsibility, respect, and pakikisama. She has befriended the ultra-shy roommate who spends half her life in front of her laptop. She has successfully claimed tutoring sessions from the resident GC. She has charmed the dour janitress to say “hi” back to her. She has spent entire nights fantasizing about her future love life and discussing current events with her friends. She has sharpened her conversational abilities and can now carry out discussions on a wide range of topics because of all her dormfriends, which include the varsity player, the activist, the nerd, the Christian, the TV addict, the only child brat . She has played Florence Nightingale to a roommate sick with fever. She has obeyed orders and listened to lectures on cleanliness from an obsessive-compulsive friend. She has given orders and lectures on cleanliness to a pack-rat and slob friend. She has sung second voice to a concert diva in the shower so she won’t upstage anyone. She has discovered that enjoyment is the secret to endurance, and endurance to enjoyment. She has earned a place in her roommate’s thesis’ acknowledgment page. She will earn a place in your heart.

Date a girl who posts an FB status on homesickness every start of sem.  Date her for she values family time. Because she only gets to spend a small fraction of the year at home, she has long realized how precious family bonding time is. She misses her family often and she may even succumb to tears of homesickness at times, but that only goes to show what a loving daughter and sister she is. She knows that Facebook pokes and text messages are poor substitutes for a hug and a face-to-face conversation with the people she loves. She appreciates the simple comforts of home such as homemade meals and good TV relay. She tells “I love you” to her parents whenever they call her. She devotes a chunk of herallowance to prepaid cards so she could listen to her parents’ voice, hear her younger siblings’ “I miss you, ate” and check on her aging dog. She is sweet, caring and not stingy in her affections because she has realized that life is not always generous with time with the people she loves most.

Date a UP dormer- on second thought, don’t. At least, not now. She is having a wonderful time discovering herself, making a niche forherself in college, building relationships, learning independence and interdependence that she might think she’s not yet ready for a relationship right now. She is busy balancing academics and dorm life that she might think there’s not enough time for her to spend with a boyfriend. Date her, but wait. Pursue her because a more datable girl you’ll never meet. Sweep her off her feet and date her when she’s ready. Date any UP dormer, but watch out for the kleptomaniac.

Pride, Prejudice, and Pride and Prejudice

When I was in high school, I was a book snob. Not the kind who reads only classics and turns her nose up on those whose favorite books don’t come from the bestseller list but the opposite of that. I used to think that those who claimed to love the classics were pretentious snobs. I’m not saying I was right- I definitely wasn’t- but I will try to explain why I harbored such views. You see, I grew up a book-lover. I read my sisters’ textbooks in English and Filipino when I was still too young to enter elementary school. I collected and read those little fairytale booklet freebies from Nestle Nido. I read my way through my elementary school’s collection of stories and novels before I finished grade four. (It was actually a rather measly collection.) So, when I entered high school, I fancied myself as the greatest bookworm who ever walked the dusty halls of my hundred year-old high school. What a conceited, self-centered 12 year-old I was.It’s a good thing I never voiced out such thoughts because needless to say, I was very embarrassingly wrong.

I had all these classmates who were rich enough to afford to buy brand new books from the bookstore. As for me, book sales and used bookstore were my favorite haunting places. They read these crisp copies of Paolo Coelho and Mitch Albom (not to mention the Twilight saga) fresh from the bookstore. We were a friendly bunch of kids so I got to borrow their collection and my bookshelf was open to them, too. To be completely honest, Paolo Coelho and Mitch Albom bore me. It’s just a matter of taste, I guess, (My taste still runs towards children’s literature. I’m a great fan of Beverly Cleary.) but when I was in high school, I immediately concluded everyone else my age should give them the same verdict. Those who raved about their books were clearly pretending, I decided.

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You bored me once. Will you do so again?

Those who claimed to love the classics were even worse liars. I had trouble finishing The Count of Montecristo. There was no way my classmates understood it enough to love it. And when I tried reading Sense and Sensibility, I was bored out of my brains halfway through the book. It just wasn’t possible any girl my age got past chapter 10. Or so I thought.

Come college, I met people who read the classics, discussed them intelligently and really loved them. Nobody could fake such devotion and in the face of such evidence, I finally let go of my foolish opinions, not without shame.I came to admit that the world is just teeming with readers and bookworms whose tastes differ from mine, and whose list of books read  would make mine look like a grocery store receipt from the fast lane . It’s a good thing college gave me a much-needed dose of  maturity, enough to make me half-cringe and half-laugh when I think of my petty high school issues.

I have long since accepted that there are people who do enjoy Jane Austen. Still, I continued to keep the idea that she was a boring author. Two months ago, the following line wouldn’t have crossed my lips: Jane Austen writes great and her books are just bursting with her wit! I mean every word now. Last month, while I was immersed  in shell balances, derivations of differential equations and C codes, I idly picked a copy of Pride and Prejudice to relieve my mind for a few  minutes. It was the only novel in a shelf full of old textbooks, language dictionaries and coloring books since we have a separate shelf for novels at home. Don’t ask me how it got there.

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Thanks for making me see I was missing out!

It took only “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” for me to get hooked. Before I knew it, I had abandoned my programming take home exam for Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It was with great regret that I put down the novel. It was finals week and I had deadlines rushing on to me which meant I averaged about 4 hours of sleep nightly. But between study breaks, I was able to finish the book before the semester ended.

I borrowed my sister’s copy of Emma to keep me company in the 12-hour bus ride home and I liked it even better than Pride and Prejudice. I’m not going to review either novel here but I just have to say that both books are interesting reads. I’m thinking  of visiting my sister this weekend to read Persuasion and Mansfield Park. I’ll probably try Sense and Sensibility again when I get home as soon as summer term ends. I’m surprisingly getting over my prejudices. Thanks, Jane Austen.

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I’m sorry to have misjudged you, Ms. Austen. Really, you’re great!

How to Un-Crush your Crush: Moving on Made Easy

Disclaimer: The author is definitely NOT a love/relationship expert .  She’s naive and innocent and that’s great because you get to read her notes without any pressure. She expects nobody to follow her tips but feel free to prove her expectations wrong. If you do that, please let her know how effective her method is by leaving a comment. 🙂

So, you’ve been crushing on this guy for a long time and it’s going nowhere. You’re tired of stalking his facebook wall, announcing your crush to your friends and daydreaming of a future with him.  You’re not friends- not even in facebook. He knows you enough to smile his greeting when you meet him in the hallway but not enough to remember your name. No, you’re not planning to ask him out. You know you’re too young to commit and it’s way too early to be thinking of dating.* If life had a “get over” key, you’d press it right now. But it hadn’t. What do you do instead? The following is a guide to getting over your crush.

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  1. Crush on him. Of course you have to have a crush to un-crush first. You meet him somewhere- in a class, in an org event, in a prayer meeting, etc. In that brief meeting, you develop a crush on him. You find his leadership admirable, his smile attractive, his conversation interesting, and his jokes non-stop-LOL-funny.
  2. Know him. You ask your common friends about his interests and surprise, surprise: they match yours! You like the same singer and the same books.  You hear anecdotes about him and they only intensify your feelings. One of your common friends try to disillusion you by talking about his flaws but you think they give him character, make him a bit more reachable. You stalk his wall and get blown away by how expressively he writes, or how well he plays the guitar, or how beautifully he paints, or maybe how he does all of the mentioned. You stalk his wall some more  and discover his feelings for another girl.
  3. Crush on him hard. Crush on him hard enough it hurts. It hurts when you see a  romantic tweet obviously meant for another girl. It hurts even when you see him because chances are, you’re seeing him for the last time. You get suspicious of every girl who posts on his wall. You cry because the realistic you believes you’ll never get to see him again.  You dream about him day and night. You imagine scenarios involving the two of you. You cook up unrealistic schemes of how to get to know him to notice you. You build him up on your mind so much the line between reality and fantasy blurs.  You crush on him hard enough to call him your ideal guy.
  4. Know more about him. Somehow or another, you find a way to do so. You consequently know him well enough to see his flaws. You acknowledge inwardly all his deviations from your imagined version of him. You recognize that he was never your ideal guy. You realize that daydreaming about him was a stupid pastime. He’s a great guy, but he’s just another guy and half the world are guys who are just like him. He may belong to the top 1% of the planet’s male population, but ultimately, he’s not all that awesome. This becomes a blinding flash of obvious to you. You repeatedly come to terms with the fact that he’s no one special until one day- pop! You have un-crushed him. Congratulations! 🙂

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I’ve been dying to try out my methodology but I got stuck at #3. All I want is the chance to prove my theory right (or wrong), so why do I never see him lately? 😦

*Lest anyone think that the author is being too old-fashioned or anti-feminist or whatever, it should be made clear that in the Philippines, dating is usually only done during courtship. Casual dating is not the norm among university students. And yes, here, strict parents do not belong to an endangered species.

I Learned Something Important from Lecture Today

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I came across a line I wrote on my Introduction to Environmental Engineering notebook earlier. Scrawled across a page is this line:

 Nature is perfect and it has its own way of purging itself from impurities. It is only when man interferes that it becomes imperfect.

I remember scrawling it across a fresh page because it jolted me out of boredom. It was like a sudden strike of lightning on a rainy day. Out of the blue, I heard it as a metaphor to sin, the impurities of my soul.

You see, I have a tendency to run away from sin. I fall into temptation once, I confess, then I go on my way. I fall into temptation yet again, then I try to forget I ever did so because I sometimes think confessing the same sin to God for the nth time must tire Him out because it does me. I get tired of saying sorry to God for the same sins. I get frustrated by my lack of growth.  Then I get exhausted from running away. But God? He truly does work in unexpected ways.

I never expected to hear God’s voice in the middle of a discussion on pollution. But that was what I heard. I heard God’s reminders through my professor, of all people, that all my sins are forgiven. That He has planned a perfect way to sanctify me and that plan is in motion. That running away is a response formulated by my imperfect self. That if I only confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse me from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9) He tells me that there is no nth time, only a fresh first time with Him. It is a lesson He continues to teach me.  I am slow to learn, apparently, but thank God for His patience. He will never get tired of forgiving me and of reminding me that forgiveness is by His grace alone. He even uses my classes- my usual excuse for skipping my quiet time- to call me back to His welcoming arms.

That morning, my professor dismissed us early. It was a good thing he did because I would have had trouble listening to the rest of his lecture. Running in my head was the verse

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”-Isaiah 1:18, ESV

I learned enough for the day.