Hamilton.

While studying American Government, I read that Hamilton was the guy on the ten dollar bill. Though I haven’t watched the play yet, the knowledge that he’s a pop culture reference makes me remember his historical role more.

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Travel diary: 2/14/18 EVN to DXB

An account of 2018 Valentine’s Day and our trip to Dubai in the dead of night.

I guess my clock is messed up cause it’s six AM here in Dubai AND in Yerevan as well, but I feel like we’ve moved timezones. On the plane, I only got to sleep for more than an hour, I guess. There were two noisy Armenian men a few rows behind me who were talking nonstop, so I guess they were the reason why I woke up at 3:48AM and didn’t go back to sleep.

Anyways, today has been a nice and weird day. Weird because we travelled during the ungodly hours and it has left me fazed with tiredness and, strangely, awakeness.

Currently, I’m sitting with the family at the fabulous al Ghurair Hotel. The real time of 6AM is being stamped on me, even if my body rejects it, because Deborah Murrell is sitting across the hall on one of the tables, probably doing early morning devotions. Pretty cool! We’re not friends yet, though.

And OHMAYGASH, to my left are the pictures of the sheikhs. I kinda like the one on the far left HEHE.

I think he’s the crown prince with a girlfriend who’s in a lower social class and he’s being rejected by the royal family bc of her. Anyways. I’ll list the stuff that happened today – no, yesterday (Feb 14) – till now and write some stuff about them.

Continue reading “Travel diary: 2/14/18 EVN to DXB”

The Other Sam

This is a reflection on my friend – who is probably the first person who’s gonna read this thing. Surprise! You’re important enough to me in order to be on my blog! Why am I writing this? I didn’t really write it for you, I just wrote it so I could get my thoughts out. Just leave me a comment when you’re done.

Well, to my other readers…

Samuel Noel is my classmate. I first met him when I was around 8 years old at the Music and P.E. classes at school. I recall him as a witty friend from that class. We didn’t hang out much after those classes, but I knew we were still friends. When I got a Facebook, I friended him and he became one of my links to my school and my classmates, whom I really missed, being in Nepal.

A few years later, I became a part of TMA High Unite, our high school body or something like that, and since I would join the events fresh out of Nepal, I felt like an alien. Sam was a volunteer for those events, sometimes acting as a host. He was still one of my links to the school, even though we weren’t that close of friends. And since a lot of people seemed to know him, I thought that I would get known by many others if I built on my friendship with him. That didn’t really happen – rather, I became known through my own reputation, and Sam and I just continued talking online and only exchanged a few words in real life.

One day at church, I met a mutual friend of ours – Ate Joyce – for the first time. We found out that we both knew Sam, and since his birthday was in a few days, she took a video of me cheerfully but awkwardly saying a greeting to him. Then, I told her, “We’re friends online, but when I see him in real life, I feel like we’re still just starting to make friends with each other,” or something like that. She said, “Yeah, some people are like that.” I realised that an online friendship doesn’t really strengthen a friendship as much as real life does.

A couple of years after that, he recruited me as a member of our school’s first writing club, and I’ve observed him as a leader. A few months ago, I got to join a couple of writing meet-ups which he presided, and I was really amused at his personality. I also found out that I don’t really know him that much.

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The writing club on his 18th birthday last January. Sam’s the guy in white holding the Krispy Kreme box with me.

Since I go by Sam at school, we’ve been called Sam squared and the few times people would get confused was rather quite funny, and somehow I feel it’s an honour to be his namesake.

Why do I admire him? Y’know what, I actually disagree with him on some things, like horror and the way he gets so off-track leading our meet-ups. HAHA. And, sometimes, I feel like I have to prove myself to him.

But, I respect him because he’s one of our leaders. I love his humour. I like how he can be honest about his feelings and shortcomings. He posted a journal entry from his 12 year-old self on his blog recently, which was a mirror to his insecurities during that transitional phase which we all go through as budding teenagers, when we’re so anxious to know what people think about us, we get so insecure, and we doubt ourselves. I already wrote some of my responses to him, but the topic he brought up in the blog and what I thought about it are quite a couple of deep wells.

I was surprised, knowing about how he was comparing himself with other cooler boys that time, because, back then, I thought he was pretty neat. I told him just that, as well as how I knew he was on a class of his own. He was surprised! He didn’t know people thought of him in that way. I felt sad because I didn’t know at that time what he was thinking about himself. But, I think we all have to go through that season to be refined as people, to learn how to be confident of our identity. That’s the word! Identity. That’s the crux of teenhood – that’s the time identity becomes serious to us.

Anyway, back to Sam. I guess being friends with him is valuable because we’re similar and I learn lots of things from him. I’m not sure how much he learns from me, (I do want to know), but I’ve grown better in some ways because of him. The writing club he leads makes me closer to my classmates – I don’t feel as much of an alien as I used to – and the projects he’s given me and our group are pretty challenging and fun – I guess it’s a little taste of the corporate world. I think he’s made me realise more about the subject of identity, since he’s a contemporary. We’ve thrown ideas about stories at each other, and I’m glad to have someone like me who’s passionate about stories and making them work. I like reading his stuff and watching his IG stories (which are really funny) because of the similar passions we have. In five to fifteen years from now, I envision us working together on creative projects.

As for a question that must be in your head, do I have a crush on him? Well, nah. (Sam, you can breathe a sigh of relief now. HAHAHA) I’ve considered that notion several times, but it doesn’t fit at all. There’s that deep respect for him as my counterpart, and I leave it at that. Though, I do really like his long hairdo, but then, it’s just a hairdo. HAHA.

 

Sam’s the guy in yellow. My dad took this picture, and his name’s also Sam, so I’d say there were three Sams involved with this photo.

Well, we have those friends in our lives who help us in some ways and make us realise parts of who we are. I think Sam Noel is one of those people.

A bring-me-back prayer

God, I want to start this day with you. I’ve gone on by myself for too long, and I’m already beginning to see some signs of the disrepair. But I want to thank You because I know You’ve orchestrated some events to carve my feelings to all go down this point, where I’m asking to go back to You.

Every time I go to a quiet time, distracting thoughts battle it out with You for my attention, and I feel that it’s always winning over me. Why don’t I see You winning over it?

It scratches outside my door. Or an inch near me. I’ve let it stay with me for so many days. How can I banish it from my mind?

Lord, tell me what you have to say on this. I’m losing myself little by little, I cannot focus on You anymore. Tell me what to do so You can get closer to me, please. I need You to start this day. I can’t go by myself. I can’t go by my own strength. I am nothing, I am dust, I am a jabbering mess of flesh and bones.

But You keep whispering, “I love you, though you think you are only a jabbering mess of flesh and bones. I see beyond what you see. I see My daughter. I see someone very precious in My eyes. I see someone I’d fight tooth and nail for.

Who am I to receive those words? No one worthy.

There, I’ve made another mistake. I’m not even done with You. Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned against You. I’ve let my life take more importance than in focusing on loving You. Teach me how to love You again. Teach me how to feel You here in the room with me. I want to commit this day to You, not to my own desires, not to what people are asking of me, not to anything else. Please lead me through this.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Being a fangirl: On Loki

After being an inert fangirl for several years, I’ve caught the Loki fever again after getting into the Avengers: Infinity War hype. In anticipation for the Armenian premier last May 3, we watched the Marvel movies we weren’t able to catch at the cinema – such as Thor: RagnarokAs we played Thor 3, I was feeling pretty chill and enjoying the new style brought by director Taika Waititi, but when Loki made an entrance and appeared in Earth clothes respectively, my sister and I squealed twice like a couple of pre-school girls. Our parents sharply scolded us from the living room to keep quiet because it was already 12AM.

Anyways, we watched Infinity War yesterday, and if I were to describe it in one word, it would be “shocking“. I guess I couldn’t accept what happened to Loki, so, last night, I swallowed lots of information on his involvement with the movie from the Internet. Also, I was again transfixed on the persona of Tom Hiddleston, so I looked up photos of his younger self; watched one or two of his interviews, his 2014 Comic Con appearance, and a part of his role as Randolph Churchill when he was 21 back in 2002, and doodled him twice.

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Randolph Churchill from Gathering Storm.

Today, I spent an hour painting Tom and Loki in watercolour. While I was washing the dishes and doing my math, I was listening to a couple of his interviews, which probably took an hour and a half. I couldn’t get him off my mind – oh gosh. I’m back to being a fangirl. Well, today is Sunday, so I guess this will be over when Monday comes…

I started to like Loki, not because I had an instant crush on him while watching the films (I actually hated him when I first saw him in Avengers back in 2012, though I admit I found him a little bit charming), but because of my Chinese friend, Claudia. I got to know her at a kids’ day camp when I was 12 and she was 13. We were talking about our interests, and she suddenly said, “Norse mythology.” Then, I found out she had a crush on Loki. I didn’t think much of it until I was at Singapore and found a Thor 2 poster of him at this movie memorabilia shop and wanted to buy it for her as a gift. I wasn’t able to, so while we were crossing this cool bridge to a mall I was regretting it and I was beginning to have a crush on Loki. HAHAHAHA

Thor 2 happened and I became a Tumblr vagabond, so inevitably I saved lots of GIFs of Loki/Tom Hiddleston and watched several interviews. Well, the fangirling wore off after several months, and now it’s reappeared.

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I deleted almost all of my Tumblr gifs and memes, but these are the ones that remain.

While recalling Loki’s crimes and rather corrupt character and comparing it to my standard of morally righteous guys, I wonder why I still like him. (But then, that’s to say the same for Kylo Ren.) I guess his charm, handsomeness, and emotional vulnerability still wins the fangirl in me, so I’m currently stuck in this dreamy phase. Tom Hiddleston is an ordinary guy (or in his own words, “I’m just an overgrown ginger kid from Wimbledon!”) who swears and drinks (like any typical Britishman haha), and got into a relationship with Taylor Swift, which I don’t like, but he’s an interesting person whom I’m gonna stalk on Instagram once he ever goes active. My best friend Naya and I compared him with Loki –

Me: Tom is like a cat.
Naya: LOKI IS A SNAKE.
Me: Loki’s a handsome snake.

Having this fictional/celebrity crush has taught me a few things. First, I gotta keep my head. There are much more important things and priorities in my daily life than my obsession with this dude. Second, I got to practice my watercolour skills while recreating his “period-drama face” and staring at several pictures of him.

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I’m glad I have naturally curly hair like Hiddles.

The third is a pretty interesting and thought-provoking story which he shared during his Nerdist interview (the guy who interviewed Tom was one of the speakers at the beginning of his Comic Con speech). Tom had volunteered with Unicef in Guinea, a country in West Africa, and he communicated his worldview-altering experience nicely, which I can relate to since I’ve always lived in third world countries, although generally not as third-world as the one he’s experienced.

One instance stood out to me and to Tom. He was casually conversing with the village women in French about their food, when they said matter-of-factly, “Il n’y a pas d’eau,” or, “There is no water.” It was like stating the weather, or saying, “Frère Thomas, it’s really just an everyday thing.”

Tom was so shocked with that statement, and his voice was so serious when he was talking about it. He essentially thought, “My everyday struggles and my thinking, ‘Am I doing this job right? Am I performing well enough?’ don’t compare to the suffering they’re facing there. So when I have my own problems, while I’m acting, I would always remember those women in West Africa saying, ‘There is no water.'” 

Now, I don’t know if the way I communicated that story is good enough to impact you, but for me, it taught me that I must not take God’s blessings for granted, and I should be grateful for what I have, because I know people in other parts of the world have much less. That’s the most important lesson I’m taking out of my Tom Hiddleston hype right now.

Being a fangirl isn’t just a stupid activity – although I do warn and remind you and myself that it does waste a LOT of time that could be used for better things – but, on the way, sometimes, we learn some good things that we can actually apply to our own lives.

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It’s STILL madness.

What I’d Name My Club Penguin Puffles

I’m a lover of the original Club Penguin, and my heart broke when it closed down. One thing I did on the last day, when I had membership for the FIRST and LAST time, was to buy several puffles, which I had wanted to do ever since I made my account in 2007. I was dreaming so much about getting those puffles, that, in 2013, I even made an illustrated list of my future puffles, their colours, and their names. I left the list in the Philippines, though, so on the last day I just quickly came up with these names.

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Man, I had a crush on that penguin.
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The smallest.
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There was this funny Pinoy who just visited us in Armenia, but Club Penguin couldn’t recognise his name!!!

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hoho

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Well, today, my sister played on clubpenguinonline.com and found out that everyone has membership. So I immediately made my own penguin, and the first thing I did was play the fishing game so I could save extra money (about 350 coins) to provide for a puffle. Next, I bought a white puffle and named it after a shy friend who wears a lot of white and has light skin.

I would want to get more puffles, so here’s a list of what I’d name them and why:

White – Snowden

Most people name the white puffle Snow, so why not add a suffix to make it sound cooler and reminiscent of a nerdy-hot whistleblower?

Brown – Herschel Fleinhardt

I bet that name wouldn’t fit, so I’ll do Herschel. It’s after William Herschel, the guy who discovered Uranus. Fleinhardt is after Larry Fleinhardt, the thoughtful physicist and best friend of Charlie, the main character, from the crime drama series Numb3rs.

Red – Kuya Red

Named after my friend from church.

Yellow – Isabelle

Cassatt or Frida doesn’t seem right, so I picked something close to my second name and remindful of the Melies girl in Hugo.

Pink – Katwe

Queen of Katwe – a movie about Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl from the slums, and how she discovered chess and checkmated her life’s obstacles. She’s a chess master today.

Red – Christopher

Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Blue – Mintz

Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Purple – Charlotte

If I were to choose my own name, this would be it.

Orange – Don West

Don West is the Poe Dameron of Netflix’s Lost in Space (they both have orange uniforms) and a source of many laughs.

Green – Rookie

Green like Rookie!

Black – Beethoven

My sister named hers Gerard after the dude from MCR, so I’m following her. Beethoven was a guy who suffered dark times but was fiery in the classical music world.

Gold – Voski

The Armenian word for the mineral gold.

Rainbow – Yosef

After Joseph’s rainbow coat.

Silver – Surfer

Hehe. Silver is only a Club Penguin Online thing.

LOL OK I should sleep now.

Reunion (A Sherlolly fragment)

written on January 29, 2015

Sherlock….deleted Molly from his mind.

Nine years later

Sherlock entered St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Time to check some things for his case. He walked down the hall, and suddenly bumped into someone. Books fell. Papers flapped into the wind.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” exclaimed the woman he bumped into, and he stooped down to help her pick up her books. Pathology. Forensics. Essentials of Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States. All were well-worn.

“I really need to have a cuppa!” she laughed. “I am clearly not awake.”

After they stood up and recovered, she stared into his face. Sherlock thought she must’ve seen a ghost. Her books fell down again.

“Sh-Sh-Sherlock….Holmes?”

Sherlock nimbly caught her books.

“And you are–Molly Hooper?” he said, after glancing at her name tag on her white lab coat. Now there was something in his mind, a long-forgotten memory, but he couldn’t really grasp it. What?

Kathmandu: tea and protesters (One-Shot)

writtern on September 16, 2014.

Kathmandu. The dust and the fumes envelop its valley, yellowing the newspapers that flap through the wind and the people who walk in its streets all day long. The tea on the box it was set upon has already gone cold. Cars, sometimes red Ford trucks and battered Maruti cabs side by side, honk their horns, screech their brakes, and make the dust fly all the more. Chickens in the tiny bazaar across the road wander around and the children play along with them. Above, the skies are a dichotomy, grey and blue clashing together. Black kites, house crows, mynas and sparrows make it their playground, coexisting together.

A young man to the far right across the road cautiously evades the cars as he crosses, dark, curly hair bobbing with the hands that signal the cars he is crossing. He shuffles by, stepping onto the sidewalk. Looking around, he skips towards the shops along the roads that sell khaja, candy, sim cards and other articles. His shoulder bag’s flap sways away from its body, and he fumbles to close it. He glances at the two cups of cold tea atop a box. “You’re here,” he says, his face creasing with surprise. “Ah, life is full of surprises my dear friend. Besides, you are late… again,” I utter, taking a cup and trying to remember what cold tea tastes like.

* * *

Kathmandu. The sweltering heat of the summer beats down on every monument, mandir, monkey, and man. Even though “man” is a singular pronoun, right now they are against each other: protesters versus the police. The protesters think they are defending themselves, their rights as the citizens, and they think the police is their enemy. The police think they are defending themselves, their rights as the government, and they think the protester is their enemy. They are a dichotomy, but they are all human, still they are one.

I am standing in the middle of the crush of protesters. We have heard the crackle of gravel, rocky sidewalks, torn plastic bags, and broken baby dolls under our feet in our march from the campus toward the main road. Our voices thirsty, ever screaming. Protesting for eyes to be opened, equality for the peoples. But how will that ever happen, when every human being is corrupted, drinking the cup of suffering down to the dregs? Oh heck, I didn’t ask to become part of this rally, much less this philosophical pondering.

All of the shops have been closed, because for a reason that involves the happening the next minute. We pass by one that’s open, and suddenly four radical youngsters start throwing stones into the windows. The malik and a few patrons flee with horrified faces, not wanting to see the funeral of the doomed shop, which was now heaved down with more rocks.

I myself want to escape from this throng, the action too much for my easily-swayed heart. And the stench of unwashed bodies and noise of desperate and hoarse voices too much for this upper-class toff. So I poke my head up from the sea of faces. Suddenly, one head with a shock of curly hair dashing from the edge of the people catches my eye. My young cousin-brother. He looks old enough to pass as one of my classmates, but as his cousin, I know that he is still a developing fifteen year-old. I thought he knew enough not to get involved! I think angrily. This is too dangerous for him. He struggles to get past the rally and frenzied people, as the opposition between college students and enforcers intensify. Finally, he heaves a sigh, having reached his destination.

“You’re here!” he breathes, and gasps for air. His hands reach up to his silver-rimmed glasses and continues to rub them on the sleeve of his tangerine shirt. I frown my brows at him in disbelief. “Why – why’d you choose this, of all times, to pay me a visit, Ranjan?! In the heat of a protest march in the middle of Kupondole! I thought we agreed on nine AM, you duffer!”

“I had no choice,” he says. But before he can continue the crowd heaves and pushes us forward.

The students next to us now have their fists up in the air, and in the front where there is more space, flags of red and white now wave swiftly. The chant of “Chai dai na!” erupted from the same hoarse voices that had now regained strength.

Then a whisper spread through the middle of it all. For one second, everyone stopped. No one knew why, but nonetheless we froze, feet rooted to the ground, and brown eyes searching. In the sky above us, a pure white dove glinted with the sunlight of the noontime sun. The symbol of peace. We knew not where it came from, or why it beat its immaculate wings in the centre of the heavens. I looked back down and saw the sad eyes of tired men and women, hoping it was a sign. But there was somebody at the vanguard of the battlefront who couldn’t take it anymore. And a gunshot sounded.

I formed a human shield out of my skinny limbs around Ranjan as the stampede made it impossible for us to flee.

* * *

Ranjan sat on the Cadbury chocolate storage box converted into a seat next to me. A few moments passed with us just watching the road, people passing by, just living, almost without a care in the world.

“Hm,” Ranjan finally said. “You remember that rally four years ago?”

“Yeah, and I dragged you to the hospital on my shoulders. Thanks for making me remember. You had blood all over-ooh!” I couldn’t go on.

“At least I guess it’s over now.” His caramel eyes focused on the local newspaper heralding good news.

“The peace. Do you think this will be let up for long?”

“I’m not sure, cousin. But let’s drink to the day when it won’t ever stop.”

I give him the other plastic cup of tea, and he smiles, thankful. Then he immediately spits the milky brown drink out to the sidewalk. I laugh so hard, that all the passerby stop and stare at me.

“You just gave me cold tea, you bloody idiot!”

“Oh, cousin!”

glossary:

mandir = temple

malik = shop owner

chai dai na = no more!

Rain

from August 23, 2014.

The rain is pouring so hard, and some might say life is tough because of that. Yet, the rain heralds the beginning of life, frees the seed from its bondage, returns what it has taken, beckons the adventurous and the ones with hearts of children to dance in it because no one has done it before, and is a sign from God that His blessings will arrive just as it gives itself up freely, with no bounds.