On (Slowly) Losing my Friends

I’ve been living in Canada for over four years now. I was told by a lot of people that the longer you stay outside the country, the less friends you get to keep in the Philippines. I thought that was bullocks because my friends and I promised each other to communicate often. I was a silly girl.

On my first few months, there were definitely some communications going on. It was mostly on Facebook and Viber. We would chat on FB messenger and have some group message going on. Slowly though, I realize that I was the first one that would approach them. If I don’t say hi, I would never get any message. After a year, I started to wait for them to contact me. There were definitely a few, but it started getting less and less until I don’t chat with anyone anymore. So I sort of started to reach out to them again but it was all futile because I was mostly the one handling the conversation. I didn’t want to strain any friendship I have with my close friends but this distance that they’re putting is enough for me to back off.

I’m still friends with them on FB and follows them on IG. I would like their posts but rarely comment. There’s the occasional ‘Congrats’ and ‘Happy Birthday’ but that’s it. I used to post these lengthy-ass FB birthday posts and reading them on my FB memories when they pop-up gives me such bittersweet feeling. At some point, these people were my friends, my confidants and partners-in-crime. Now, we’re mostly just colleagues with some good memories.

 

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On Turning 22

Today, on the 22nd of September, I officially turned 22. For 22 years I’ve been living in this world, gracing everybody with my wonderful existence. This birthday has been by far my loneliest and quietest birthday ever… the worst if you may. 

For a few days now, I’ve been planning things to do for this day. When I found out that I was given this day off work, I planned to watch the sunrise and go visit the Fort Edmonton Park. Maybe walk around my residence for a while and just enjoy the day alone. I would end the day with a nice dinner whilst overlooking the whole city. However, I did got up at 5 am (I slept at like 2) just so I can catch the wonderful sunrise. Lo and behold, it’s super gloomy and the sun wasn’t even out. It was rainy and cold. I was gonna just enjoy the walking trail but the signs pretty much saying ‘Keep out, the trails are eroding’ doesn’t sound super safe to me. So off I went back to the dorm and re-planned my day again.

Since I couldn’t go back to sleep anyways, my first meal of being 22 was rice with sunny side up! I wanted to have pancakes but I just got lazy to go to Denny’s (which is literally right across the street) and I didn’t want to order online and wait for 20 minutes. I just told myself that I would give myself a wonderful dinner. Looking out of my window, it’s still gloomy and rainy. I just threw the idea of going to the Fort Edmonton Park away and just got dressed for I have no idea what. I was gonna go to Michael’s so I can buy a Create 365 planner but I got lazy (again). I actually have a Create 365 planner which I barely used and still had September to December on it. I want to make a 365 days of writing special things that happened to me on that day onto a diary. However, I know that I suck at keeping a diary (blogging works better for me anyways) and all I need is a little bit of space to write a few sentences. The Create 365 planner is the perfect planner to use.
By 2pm, I didn’t know what to do anymore. I could have studied or read some books. But no… why would I wanna spend my birthday doing that? So I watched Rush Hour 2 and 3 and made myself happy. By 5pm, I was on UberEats and Skip the Dishes app trying to find some food that I want to eat. I can’t decide if I wanted some steak or fried chicken or poke or some Filipino stuff. In the end, after an hour, I settled on some ribs and chicken with rice from Swiss Chalet. I didn’t even have a birthday cake.


Overall, this day for me has been a meh. It’s definitely not how I want to celebrate my birthday. However, I am living alone in this big city with barely any friends. I feel better though when I talked on the phone with my family members. My parents of course called me as well as my aunt. My aunt gave me a gift that I didn’t expect, she’ll pay for my phone’s monthly bill! That’s already a very big help for me because that’s already a $100 less expense for me.

As for some FB greetings, it’s mostly some Canada friends that greeted me. There are some from the Philippines but I actually didn’t even expect some greetings from them. We don’t even talk anymore.

I’m 22, one year older but not wiser. Although I can say that I am more mature now and less vulnerable.

On Moving Out and Living Alone

Finally! The day that I have been waiting for has finally arrived. I’ve always thought about this for years, even when I was still back in the Philippines. I’ve always wanted to be an independent lady who can live and survive alone in the big city. This is it, a step closer to my dream.

I have been living in a small city for four years. That city didn’t even have an escalator! Since I came from a big city, moving to a smaller one here in Canada was definitely a big thing for me. I was used to big malls, traffic and noise. In GP, it was definitely less noisy and less traffic. Also, there was only one mall that’s one level and closes at 6pm. Although I was happy living with my mom, I wasn’t contented in living in such a small place. I was born for the city. I’m a city girl after all. My mom, if she has the absolute say, would prefer for me to stay in GP. But me, with my adventurous and curious heart, don’t want to stay. I want to be in a big city.

I’m currently in Edmonton, about 4 hours from GP. It’s a fairly big city and houses the biggest mall in North America, the West Edmonton Mall. It also has a few more malls and little strip malls on the side. I’ve only been here for a week so I have a lot of exploring to do. I have to do it before winter though or else I wouldn’t enjoy the walks and driving so much.

I moved out of my mom’s house with barely any money in my pocket and a shit-ton of student loan on my back. She helped me buy my necessities and my dad supplies me monthly money (yaaaas!). But since I’m a strong, independent woman, I’m also on the hunt for a job. I’ve been working for over four years now and I’m used to it already. Not working makes me feel unenergetic and super lazy.

The thing about living alone in the big city is that it’s just me. I don’t have friends here… yet. I’m hoping to meet more people in the next few days so I wouldn’t feel alone. I’m an introvert but I’m also someone who likes some good conversations. I talk a lot and being cooped up in my room with my phone in front of me most of the time is not exactly healthy. I really need to get out more (or maybe open my bedroom door?).

It’s only been a week since I have moved out. Things will happen and I’ll probably meet a lot of new people. It’s not bad, it’s also not as exciting just yet.

Seeking Help: One of the Bravest Things I’ve Done

I remember that one morning, I woke up uneasy. I sat on my bed and bad, suicidal thoughts clouded my mind. My heart felt heavy and my head was messing with me. I remember being emotional and irrational. The thought of jumping off a bridge or driving my car through a cliff kept on replaying in my head, over and over again. I was a mess. I was crying, I was in pain. I remember deciding not to to get out of the my room on that day because I was scared of actually harming myself. The sight of the scissors made my skin crawl as I imagined it piercing through my skin. I winced at the thought but it did give me comfort. Thoughts of hurting myself always gives me comfort as well as uneasiness.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The emotions were taking over and I knew that I had to help myself before I lose myself. I searched the suicide hotline and called them. It rang and I had the strongest urge to cut the call off but I knew that I had to push through. A lady answered, she said she was a registered nurse and she could help me for the time being. I was crying but she was calm. She talked me through and helped me find the nearest help center. She asked me if I feel safe from myself, I said “Yes” even though I wasn’t too sure myself. She directed me to the center and a few hours later, I was calm enough to drive and started my baby steps towards a better mental health.

I remember sitting on that chair with the lady across me. She was asking me questions, questions a counselor from two years ago have asked me too. In my head, I thought she would be the same as that counselor, with fake empathy and note-taking BS. I hated that counselor. I only had one session with her and never came back because I felt too embarrassed pouring out myself to a stranger which obviously showed me fake empathy. But this new lady is different. One of the first things she told me was, “You are very brave in coming here“. Brave is one word that I would describe myself when it comes to tackling many life challenges but I never thought that asking for help is considered a brave move. But this lady just called me brave because I finally sought help to better my mental health.

I was eventually placed as urgent in the list for day therapy sessions. I got a single-session therapy with this male therapist (probably a psychologist?) who told me that I didn’t have depression, but I already know that. What I didn’t know was that I had Childhood Trauma. No one has beaten me to a pulp nor sexually harassed me. But the way I was brought up definitely affected how my brain works. It affected my personality, my emotions and how I breath. I didn’t know that I breath differently from a normal person. Apparently, regular people breath mainly using their stomach. I, on the other had, breath mainly using my chest. When this therapist asked me try and breath using my stomach, I had a hard time doing it and I still have trouble doing it right now. He said that my way of breathing shows that I’m always on the end, that my brain is rarely relaxed which explains why my anxiety is always at the background. Also, he showed me a diagram relating to childhood trauma. It wasn’t just anxiety or depression, it’s a combination of different things but never the whole thing. I didn’t have depression just because I still have appetite with food and pleasure. However, I still showed the other signs and symptoms for it. In short, he said that I have GAD, a bit of depression, a bit of OCD and a bit of some more other things that I wish I remember because I was an idiot and didn’t just took a photo of it.

I have finally started my therapy sessions. These are free so it definitely helps me a lot. I’m looking forward in finding more about myself and actually experience emotions that I have probably deprived myself in a long time. I’m also considering taking some medicines so I’m just gonna have to wait until I meet with my family doctor.

Seeking help for your mental health is not a bad idea. It’s gotta be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You get to stop asking “What is wrong with me?” to start asking “How can I help myself?”. It can be scary at first, but it can definitely help you in the long run.

 

On Traveling for the First Time Alone

This past January, I finally decided to make an appointment to renew my passport. Since I get to have a week off from school because of Reading Week, I planned to make my trip on that week. It was supposed to be just a two-day-one-night trip but since this is the first time that I get to travel alone, I might as well make the most out of it. In the end, I went away from three days and two nights.

Because this is a solo trip, I also get to book my own flights and hotel. I used my Air Miles and More Rewards points to help me save money. It took me hours to choose which flights to go and hotel to stay at. I wanted to arrive in Vancouver as early as I can and leave as late as I can just so I have lots of time to explore the city. The hotel that I wanted has to not need lots of Air Miles and should be in or near Canada Place. Finally, I settled with an early morning flight (5:20 am) so I get to arrive in Vancouver at around 9 am and a later returning flight at 5:30 pm. The hotel that I got was in downtown Granville and was just steps away from the shopping and food places as well as just minutes away from Canada Place.

On the days leading through my flight, I would check and double check my flight and hotel just to make sure that I have it all prepared. I would read tips on travelling alone as well as packing tips. The night before my flight, I was still packing up stuff on to my carry-on. I was torn between carrying my whole wardrobe or just bring a change of four outfits plus sleep wear. In the end, I just picked whatever I liked to bring and since I was going to a big city anyway, I can just always buy whatever I would need.

On the day of my flight, I almost missed the checking in at 4:50 am because I reached the airport at around 4:55 am. Thank goodness for online check-in. Phew. Anyways, I booked a Plus Seat for that flight and it was ah-mazing. Actually, all of my flights were awesome. In 3.5 out of 4 flights that I had, I was seated next to no one. The 0.5 was my flight from Vancouver to Kelowna where I was seated next to this girl then Kelowna to Calgary where I was seated next to no one.

This was the best part of my flight to Calgary. ❤

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Since this is a trip to a big city, I decided to eat at places that I wouldn’t get at GP. So it took me over 30 minutes to find places that I would love to try. There were tons of pizza and sushi places and I could always get that here. In the end, I got to eat in Nando’s (a Portuguese-style restaurant), Guu Garden (Japanese restaurant), Congee Noodle Delight (Chinese restaurant) and Cafe Crepe (crepe place). I made sure to order foods that I couldn’t get here for me to atleast get a unique food experience.

The highlight of this trip would be my dinner at the Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. This was an experience that I loved and would love to do again. It might have been hella expensive but it was worth the price. I wish I could have stayed longer in that restaurant (I was there over an hour) because the view was just to pretty to pass.

My trip involved a lot of walking. I walked to Chinatown, World of Science and all around the Granville area. I was able to sit by a window and just observe people go by their daily lives. I was able to, in a really short while, experience what it’s like to live in this big city. This trip has enabled me to realize how I much I actually love travelling to new places. I’ve always known that I would love to travel at some point, but now that I’ve finally done it alone, I would love to do it again. This trip has helped become less anxious as I was finally able to get a rest from many stressors in this place and have a getaway to another place.

This trip has helped me relax, even for just a bit. This is what I needed and would need again. Here’s to me going to another new place alone again.*cheers*

What It’s Like Living with Anxiety

I’ve lived with anxiety for years now and I didn’t even know about it. I though that it’s normal for a person to feel scared for no reason once in a while. I thought that it was just part of survival, to be on the edge all the time. However, in 2014, I went to the doctor because I had trouble breathing and had really bad headache. He assessed me, asked if I was stress and ask me some questions about my health. He looked at me and said, “You appear to have mild anxiety. I would suggest that you talk to the counselor that we have”. I went to that counselor and talked to her. I remember crying and pouring out my heart to her and it made me feel better. However, I felt pity on myself after that session because I pretty much became vulnerable to stranger who doesn’t care about me nor truly empathize with what I was going through. That was my first and last time with a counselor.

Over the years, I read more about anxiety and that’s when I realized that it’s more than just being nervous. It’s something that I have to live with everyday and just attacks me at random moments. It’s more than just being nervous or stressed out for an exam. It’s about sitting in class then suddenly feeling nervous for no unknown reason. It’s about trying hard not to breakdown in public because I just heard a loud noise. It’s about not crying at work because I had to deal with a lot of mean customers than normal. It’s about having an anxiety attack while driving to work because I was not sure if I turned off the stove just because I didn’t triple check everything before I left. It’s about having to tell work that I’m gonna late because my car wouldn’t start instead of I was having an anxiety attack because most people doesn’t understand how bad an anxiety attack is. It’s about getting shitty grades because the stress gets to me and my anxiety levels is so up there that I can’t focus on anything and the only way to evade the scary feeling is to sleep.

There are a lot of things that I want to do: skyjumping, cliff diving, skiing. However, just thinking about these already send my heart racing. I have to take a lot of baby steps in order for me to stay calm and avoid getting those dreaded attacks. I have to keep on telling myself that I am okay and there’s no reason to cry. I had to learn how to keep living normally while the feeling of dread is always there. I have to strategically plan everything that will stress me out or elevate my anxiety levels just to avoid getting anxiety attacks (mostly doesn’t work but it’s worth the shot). I still have my McDonald’s Crew Trainer workbook with me, something that I finished doing two weeks ago. I’ve been putting off submitting it because I was scared that on the day I would get verified, I would breakdown. This is one of the many things that I have to hold back in order to keep myself together.

The thing about anxiety is that it’s not something that comes up one day and scared me shitless. It was something that I have always experienced ever since I was younger. I looked back to the many times that I have felt nervous for no reason and those times that I just cried because of the build up stress and emotions. At that time, I thought I was just being silly and a cry baby.

Day by day, I’m moving forward. My stress levels right now are up there, so is my anxiety level. The littlest, stupidest shit can set me off. I almost had a breakdown at work today, but I held it in until I went home. The thing that almost set me off was a customer shouting at his son, not me. But guess what? I’m functioning. I think I’m doing a great job in pretending to live normally.

Just Kidding Films is my Inspiration

I love browsing through Youtube and just watch random videos made by different people. One time, I was specifically looking for Asian Youtubers and ended up watching lots of videos by the Fung Brothers, Niga Higa and some Wong Fu skits. I kept on seeing videos from Just Kidding News on my recommendation list. Because the name Just Kidding News didn’t appeal to me, I didn’t care for their videos much. At some point, I got more curious about JKNews because I kept on seeing it so I decided to just open one of their videos. I wish that I can still remember that video because that is that one video that made me fall in love with the whole Just Kidding Crew.
I’ve been watching JKNews videos for a year now. I watch it every morning while I’m having breakfast and sometimes at lunch when I have no one to eat with. I love how each of the crew member gives their opinion and are very fun to watch. Although sometimes I don’t agree with what they are saying, it’s still nice to hear some opinion from other people. I love their antics and the funny edits that the editors though. I love how they kick and punch and create holes on the wall of their old office. I love the chemistry that the crew has with each other and with the guest.


Because of JKNews, I started to watch a lot more of their videos from their other channels. Just Kidding Party is my second favourite channel from all of Just Kidding’s channel. I love how they go crazy with the punishments that they do and they’re not scared to do whatever dirty or scary things that they pick in whatever games. My favourite game that they do is Mafia. I watch the one without their characters being revealed because I feel like I’m part of the townspeople. I love it when Julia becomes mafia because she got better with her lying skills and I admire Byron for being so good at this game (as well as in One Night Werewolf).
I’ve also watched a lot of their vlogs. I watch videos from Tiff & Case, Bart and Geo (The Beaws rock!) and Joe Jo (Jechika, you amazeballs of an editor). I know that Julia has a vlog channel but she doesn’t exactly update much so I haven’t really visited her channel for a while. Because of these vlogs, I feel like a friend but not a friend to the JK crew. I can tell you some details about their lives like what they did in Japan or when Geo and Bart lost Briggy (spelling?) and their journey with Meatloaf or Tiffany and Casey’s vacation in Mexico. I can tell you part of their journey from the old office to the new office and the other members of the JK Family from behind the camera.

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Bart and Joe

However, more than anything else, the reason why I’m a big fan of Just Kidding Films, especially of Bart and Joe, is the fact that they are successful. They are successful because they worked hard. They are successful because they did not give up. They are successful because they pushed themselves for more experience. They are successful because they did not stop with just one company and are still venturing on some other business (like Go for Broke with David So). They are successful because they did what they love and wanted to do.
In a few years from now, I want to be as successful as Bart and Joe, as successful as their company Just Kidding Films. I am no filmmaker no do I have the drive to be one. I want to be as successful as them in a way that I want to see myself succeed in my chosen path. I want to prove to everyone else that even though the odds could have been against me, I can still push through and be successful. That at some point in my life, people’s gonna know me because of the achievements that I have because I worked hard and did what I love.
It amazes me how big Just Kidding Films become. Joe and Bart started taking videos from one digital camera (am I right?) and now they have all these high technology camera and a new set and office. Everytime I lose sight of my goal or get disheartened or someone tells me that what I’m doing won’t amount to much (I’m studying to become a Geneticist), I just watch some Just Kidding videos to remind myself that Bart and Joe didn’t start from the top. But they managed to rise to the top from the bottom and I think that that is one of the greatest inspiration that I will ever have.