I’m a newspaper collector.

I’m a HUGE HUGE fan of collecting newspaper clippings. From when I was twelve till I was fifteen, my old house was subscribed to The Kathmandu Post, which was my favourite out of the three major English publications in Nepal. The others were The Himalayan Times, which was cluttered in design to me, and Republica, which had a clean layout but not enough interesting stories as The Kathmandu Post.

I started cutting out the comics and nice designs from the front pages and the entertainment and creative sections. I was also a football fan then, so many of my clippings were action shots and trophy scenes of my favourite team, Chelsea FC, and other teams I liked. Then, I expanded to the Op-Ed and weekly pictures of Kathmandu because I started reading the articles on them. Saturday editions had movie reviews and more artistic articles, and I loved reading them and saving the articles I liked. I think on Friday, there was a business/economics edition, and that was where I found the picture of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, and I had a crush on him because of it.

I posted the clippings on my bedroom wall with Blu-Tack. The collage grew like a virus, and from the centre of the wall, it proliferated to cover the entire wall. Posters and random notes of words also decorated the bedroom, balcony, and bathroom doors. Other walls had clippings, too. I was crazy about them.

wol

Yet, finally, I had to take all of them down because we moved houses. The wall was marked with the dirt from the Blu-Tacks. As for the yellowed clippings, I either saved the good ones for collages and threw out some of them that weren’t relevant anymore. I still have a few of them in my files here in Yerevan and Manila today.

The stories the clippings held and their artistic and sentimental values motivated me to collect them. They were a big part of my life in Nepal. After I left the main wall-collage and left Nepal, I continued collecting clippings from free magazines in Manila and Yerevan – Scout and Երեվան (Yerevan), respectively. Being youthful and artistic magazines, they don’t really compare to the newspaper aesthetic I used to love.

The wall-collage and my habit of collecting newspapers symbolises a time in my life when I manifested my love for stories and making art with them in Nepal. My heart aches, wishing I could go back to that time.

 

 

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Neighbours (written under 30 minutes)

a story I wrote straight after I got the idea, without editing it. it’s kinda inspired by Nate Punzalan’s The Blanket and my imagination while hanging our laundry. enjoy.

Ana lived on the seventh floor, and she was hanging up the laundry on the balcony. Unfortunately, it was a windy day, and before she could put a clothespin onto one of the socks, it flew away and down below to the ground. Aghast, she held onto the railing and watched where her sock landed. It fell on the sidestreet and was billowing with the wind. Frantically, she thought of a solution when she saw a boy sitting on the bench in front of her building. He was watching the sock float on top of the ground and then, he looked up.

“Excuse me!” she shouted. The boy spotted her.

“Can you please get that sock? I’m gonna go down and get it,” she continued.

The boy nodded and yelled back, “Okay!”

Then, Ana took the lift down and walked to the other side of the building where the sock was. The boy was sitting down, but when he spotted her again, he walked over and held out the sock. Ana saw that it was dusty, but took it anyway and said, “Thank you so much!”

The boy smiled and replied, “No problem.”

Remembering that she still had to hang up the rest of the clothes, she told him, “Okay, bye!” After, she walked away.

Some other day, Ana was walking on the side street. She looked up and saw that the sky was covered with grey clouds, and felt the wind let up. She also remembered the boy who took care of the sock for her. She’d just moved into the neighbourhood and didn’t really have friends there, and she pondered about who the boy was and if she’d see him again.

Suddenly, she saw a black cloth flutter down. It turned out to be underwear!

Next, she heard someone shout, and it came from the boy whom she was thinking about.

“Sorry! I dropped that brief,” the boy said. Ana couldn’t help but chuckle.

“I’ll take care of it,” she answered.

“Thanks!” the boy said.

She looked at the brief but didn’t dare touch it. The wind started to carry it, so, in desperation, she flung it to the bench, where it stuck to the seat.

The boy ran to her, and stopped to catch his breath.

“I’m sorry,” he said between heavy sighs.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Ana said. “At least we’re even now.”

They both laughed, and the boy, who was blushing, picked up his laundry.

“What’s your name, by the way?” asked Ana.

“Oh, um, Rafael,” he replied. He held out his hand and she shook it.

“I’m Ana. Nice to meet you! I live in the seventh floor of this building,” Ana said, and pointed to the building behind her.

“I live in the fourth floor here,” Rafael replied.

“It’s odd that a boy like you hangs the laundry. Doesn’t your mom usually do it?” Ana asked.

“Oh, she- she’s in the hospital right now,” Rafael said.

“Oh no. I see,” Ana replied, sympathetically. “Why is she there?”

“She’s gonna give birth to my baby sister,” Rafael smiled. “Although, she’s like a couple months early.”

“Oh, my. I hope all goes well! I’ll be praying for you guys,” Ana said.

“Thank you! Well, I better be heading back now,” Rafael said, and he shook Ana’s hand again. “Nice to meet you!”

“Same here. Next time, let’s be careful with our clothes!” Ana replied, and they both laughed and went back home.

A few weeks later, Ana looked out of her balcony and saw Rafael playing with the other neighbourhood kids, while a lady, whom she assumed to be his mother, sat on the bench, cradling a newborn. She smiled, and as she went back to her room, she saw a little doll on top of her dresser. Then, she took it and rode the lift down.

Rafael saw her approaching and he ran towards her.

“Ana!” he cried. “I’ll show you my baby sister, Lusine.”

Ana, pleased with seeing Rafael, followed him to his mother and sister.

“Mama, meet our neighbour, Ana!” Rafael said.

His mother’s face lit up. “Oh, you’re the one he told me about! Thanks for saving his underwear,” she said, and gave Rafael an amused frown.

Ana laughed and looked at the baby. “She’s so beautiful! She looks just like Rafael!”

“Oh, yes,” the mother replied, looking at her youngest child. “She’s a blessing.”

“By the way, I wanted to give this to her,” Ana said, showing the doll. “This was my daughter’s.”

“Oh, my! How wonderful! Thank you so much, Ana,” the mother exclaimed. “How old is your daughter now?”

Ana drew her eyes down. “Oh. She passed away last year.”

The mother’s delighted expression turned into sorrow. “Oh, I’m so, so sorry, Ana.” She touched her hand and squeezed it. “You don’t have to give it to us.”

“Thank you,” Ana said. “And, no, please take it.”

“If you ever need us, we’re just here for you,” the mother said. “My name’s Rosanna, by the way. Please, if you will, sit beside me.”

Ana sat beside her, and they talked into the afternoon. Rafael came and gave her a wreath of flowers and a dandelion. For the first time after she’d moved, Ana felt at home. And, as she blew the dandelion seeds away, she felt grateful for the wind that had brought her this new family.

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?