13 February 2013

Leavings: Liebster Award

Lance tagged me in a meme called the Liebster Award, only neither Lance nor I really know who's giving the award and why, so let's just go with it. Anyway, it's been a while since I've filled out a meme.

Share 11 facts about yourself.
Answer the awarder’s 11 questions.
Ask 11 questions of your own.
Tag 11 people.


I like to sing. I sing a lot when I'm home alone. I am shy about performing on a stage, but if we happen to be at home watching American Idol, Glee, or a musical movie, or if a song I like comes on the radio, or if someone has a guitar and starts to play, I will sing along if I know the words and you are someone who will not judge me for it.

As my friends Nina and Vikki can attest, I'm not a hugger. The only people I make it a point to hug are my parents, my lola, Cris, and, occasionally, my brothers and cousins. The circle of people whose hugs I reciprocate is only a little bigger.

It's not you; it's me.

I attend church with my brother and consider myself a Christian, but I also consider myself agnostic. For all my belief, I still disagree and question, and for all my disagreeing and questioning, I still, somehow, believe. I just don't like to talk about it much, don't blog about it, avoid talking to conservatives about it, and have never talked about it with my parents, because I don't want anyone worrying about me going to hell.

Mostly, I hope no one back home reads this and blames my parents. They raised me well, but my faith is my own. If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, and if there's a God, then I'll work it out with him.

I like watching bad TV, but it has to be "good" bad TV. The Kardashians, Gossip Girl, and America's Next Top Model are "good," for instance, but I can't sit through The Millionaire Matchmaker, True Beauty, or TMZ without wanting to throw something at the screen.

I love green things and grew up in a really green place; my mom is an excellent gardener. I don't think she passed her green thumb on to me, though. Every plant I've been given to personally care for has died.

I love to bake, but an oven won't fit in my apartment, so I just use Cris's when I can. I love baking cookies in particular, but I'd like to learn to make bread.

I prefer old hymns to contemporary worship music. Singing hymns somehow makes me feel closer to the community, while contemporary worship music seems very much a very individual thing. As it is, church is one of the few community things I do, and my involvement is minimal at best, so it's nice to have something that makes me feel a little more connected to other people at church.

I learned to play the ocarina late last year. I bought a four-hole pendant ocarina in Beijing just for fun, but if I'd known just how much I'd enjoy it, I would have splurged a little on a 12-hole sweet potato ocarina so I could play songs with more than one octave. I might ask someone to get it for me if they go to China or Taiwan this year.

I write, eat, and use my craft knife with my left hand but use scissors and kitchen knives with my right.

I like nice things, but I hate shopping. I also hate being badgered by sales clerks; I prefer clerks who let you browse in peace and help you only if you ask. I actually leave stores with badgering clerks even if I like the things inside. My idea of going shopping is wandering around, looking at things, and telling myself (and the clerks!) that I'll come back some other time. This is partly why very little of my wardrobe has changed in four years.

If something needs replacing, I spend a long time agonizing over whether to replace it with something durable but expensive or to just get something cheap to tide me over till I feel more ready for a costlier purchase. When I run out of time, because I spent so much of it being indecisive, I often end up buying something that is neither as cheap nor as durable as I'd like, and my dislike for shopping only deepens.

I wish I could have a dog, but no one would take care of it while I was at work. Besides, look what happened to my plants.


1: Do you dream in color?
Yes. I read somewhere that this depends on what kind of television you grew up with. I'd be more surprised if someone told me that they dream in black-and-white.

2: What did you do with your first salary?
Spent it on food, transpo, and books. I know you're supposed to send it home to your parents, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea. It's not that I wanted to keep the money for myself, it's that sending the money home would have meant asking Dad for money for two more weeks.

3. What are the books that you've read more than once?
There are a lot; these are just a few favorites.

American Gods
Good Omens
The Graveyard Book
Brief Lives
— all by Neil Gaiman; Good Omens was co-written with Terry Pratchett. Gaiman was a favorite author for a while, and I still like these books.

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, and the rest of the series

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, and the rest of the series (but not the Eoin Colfer continuation)

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; a recent reread, because I've been following the Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

4: Your dream job?
The protagonist of Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson, makes a living off a strange physical sensitivity to branding. In one scene, an agency flies her to London to show her a logo on a piece of paper. She takes one look at it, says, "No," and then spends the rest of the day enjoying the city (and spending her money).

Unfortunately, I do not feel physical revulsion upon seeing pictures of Bibendum, so something else will have to do.

I'm actually pretty happy with my current job, but if National Geographic or LEGO came calling, I'd be out in a second.

5: What's the greatest moral issue of our time?
I think human rights will be a big deal for as long as humans somewhere are denied them. It sounds generic, but really, when you talk about causes like women's rights, gay rights, children's rights, or ethnic minority rights, you are talking about human beings not being treated the way human beings deserve.

6: Describe how you look to a blind man.
I am an inch or two over five feet; I don't really measure because most other people are taller than me, anyway. My face is heart-shaped, with bony cheeks and chin, and I don't weigh much, but my body is starting to go soft from lack of physical activity. My hair is short. The skin on my face is uneven because of some mystery problem that comes and goes. The skin on my legs is a bit rough because of some parts that I scratch, stubbornly. I still think I'm pretty, but you know, that's just me.

7: Name three words you have a hard time spelling.

8: What are the places you like to visit someday?
Incomplete and in no particular order:
New York
Singapore (again)
Beijing (again)
Davao (it's been a while)
Sagada (again)
Mt. Pinatubo
Vigan (the last time didn't count)
Hong Kong
California (again)
and Kalsangi with kids, before my parents retire and move out.

8: Your greatest frustration?
That I didn't have a sport or sustained extracurricular activity as a child.

When we were in the US, I never asked my parents if I could go to gymnastics, be a cheerleader, or join something like Brownies or Girl Scouts, because they seemed like things only American girls could do. I didn't explicitly think that then, but it was something I felt deep down. Finally, when I was in the fourth grade, I joined the track team on an impulse and was kind of good, but then we moved back here.

I had piano lessons both in the US and here in the Philippines, but they stopped because we couldn't find a teacher who could teach me and Mikko after school on weekdays, and I didn't want to give up Saturdays doing other things.

9: How do you cope with loss?
The last time, I listened to some sad music (Adele, anyone?), then some great music (Ceremonials, by Florence + the Machine). I cried and wrote in my diary a lot, and wrote blog entries, semi-cryptic and not. I prayed. I worked on some crafts. I just kept working. I realized I could now enjoy people, activities, and ideas that, before, I'd felt compelled to make second priority. I looked for friends both old and new. I hung out with my brother and saw my family a little more. I learned Mandarin.

I'm thankful I haven't had to deal with the death of a loved one yet.

10: What's the next language you want to learn, and why?
Probably a southern Chinese language, like Hokkien or Cantonese, or Spanish. I think I should learn Spanish because it seems important to being Filipino (though I won't think you less Filipino if you only know one language), and I chose the Chinese languages like I chose Mandarin; they might be useful to me one day. But at this point, studying any language is more out of nerdiness than any actual career plans.


What is your favorite cheese?

Do you have a favorite building?

Any plans for Valentine's Day, or is it not your thing?

Tell me about an interesting scar or blemish.

If you were to go out without any identification and suddenly die, how would it happen, and where should we start looking for your body?

Regardless of whether you actually regret your major, if you could go back in time, what would you study instead, and why?

Complete this sentence: "When I was 10 years old, I thought I'd be __________ by the time I reached my current age (__)."

Describe your ideal dwelling.

How do you keep your current place tidy?

What's the most important decision you've made in the last five years?

If you had the country's or even the world's attention for one minute, what would you say?

Audrey T.
Eush T.
Petra M.
Nash T.
Zoe D.
Dom C.
Carina S.
Nina D.
Joey R.
and anyone who comments and is not on this list (and not Lance).

If I've tagged you, it's either because you're more likely to actually blog or because I'm just curious. Kindly leave me a link to your post if you accept this award.


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