50 First Dates – 2017 Edition

Okay, maybe it wasn’t 50, more of something between 20 to 30… I’ve lost count.

It was a big leap for me when I decided to go out and date again in 2017. And when I decided, I really went all out. The dating scene here in Oz was completely new to me and I haven’t really actively put myself out there in the past years. There was so much for me to learn and discover.

I don’t include speed dates in the count. Five minute dates do not really count. Nor does chatting. I’m talking about the good old “lets meet up for coffee or dinner and get to know each other” dates.

Maybe you’re asking where I find all these guys? Online. But not Tinder though. I have two online dating accounts, and I’ve found them as a good way to start.

Like someone. Say hello. Do a little small talk. If they seem decent, agree to meet up for coffee or brunch or something. Some plans push through, but some don’t. Some first dates turn into second dates, or maybe more.

The first guy I met for the year turned out to be one of the biggest learning experience for me. He was an amazing man, and at the start he also seemed keen. I thought we were a good match. Apparently he didn’t think so. Eventually things had to end and left me reeling from the rejection. I felt horrible. I absolutely dreaded rejection. I mourned a little bit (or maybe a lot). Then moved on.

I think the moving on is the most important part. I value the realisation that rejections will not kill you. So, every time something does not work out, I just get back out there and meet new people again.

Five. That’s the count of who I spent a little bit more time on. And a few more that went past the first date. Sometimes I wonder why I wasted my time on some of them.

Three. I can confidently say that three of them really made a big difference in my life. I wouldn’t trade the experience with them for anything, even if each of them left a little bit (or a lot) of heartache in the end.

Many times I’ve told myself, “this will be the last one for the year”, but I always eat my words. I wanted to stop way back in August and take a break from dating for the rest of the year and just let my heart rest, but I always ended up meeting someone new.

I am so thankful to good friends who have put up with me through the countless calls and messages, especially during times I was nursing a broken heart. I absolutely owe you a lot for calming me down during my anxious calls and crying fits. The words of advice are very valuable too. I really hope you don’t get tired of me.

The year 2017 is over. It’s year 2018 now. I’m shifting priorities this year. I’m still leaving myself open to possibilities, to meeting new people with the hope that I’ll eventually find the one I’m looking for (and who is looking for me). Perhaps I just don’t want to give it as much effort as I did in 2017. I’ll just let things happen.

I still wish though that maybe I’ll meet someone in real life, someone who does not come from an online app. Maybe this year?

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A letter to my future husband (I haven’t found you yet…)

Dear future husband,

Maybe you’re wondering where in the world I am right now. Cos I am also thinking, where are you? I still don’t know where I will find you, or who you are from the billions of people in this world.

I’m in Sydney now, been here two years. And I’m still looking for you, hoping that maybe you are somewhere near or around. Maybe I’ve already passed you on the street or have been on the same train. Have I met you yet? Or will I be meeting you soon? I have no idea.

This year has been a challenging year so far, searching for you. I have mistakenly thought that the first guy I met this year was you. I was ready to give it my all, but alas it still was not you. I was sad and disappointed, and even a bit depressed when it did not work out. But I still kept on searching and kept on looking. I am still searching and looking. Rejection after rejection I soldier on. It’s absolutely tiring and somewhat heart-wrenching, cos I do give a little bit of myself everytime I try. I am almost ready to give up, but then I remember you. Against all odds, I have to find you.

Know that every time I meet someone new, every time I get to know someone, I can only hope that inch by inch it would bring me closer to you.

Looking forward to a beautiful life with you in the future.

Quotes from “By the River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept” by Paulo Coelho

I’ve probably read “By the River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept” by Paulo Coelho at least three times before, and lately I had the urge to re-read it again, but I couldn’t find my paperback book anymore (my guess is someone borrowed it a long time ago and it never made its way back). I checked my options, buying a new paperback, getting an ebook, and trying my very first audiobook. I ended up doing the last one, and it was an interestingly different experience. I might try audiobooks of Coelho’s other books in the coming days.

Anyway, one thing I love doing with Coelho’s (paperback) books are earmarking and listing down my favorite quotes from each book. It’s just almost impossible to do with an audiobook, but I’m lucky that I already did this before on my N-th read of the paperback. Sharing my favorite quotes below:


By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything that falls into the waters of this river – insects, the feathers of birds – is transformed into rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget.

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. The winter air chills the tears on my cheeks, and my tears fall into the cold waters that course past me. Somewhere, the river joins another, then another, until – far from my heart and sight – all of them merge with the sea.

May my tears run just as far, that my love might never know that one day I cried for him. May my tears run just as far, that I might forget the River Piedra, the monastery, the church in the Pyrenees, the mists, and the paths we walked together.

I shall forget the roads, the mountains, and the fields of my dreams – the dreams that will never come true.

I remember my “magic moment” – that instant when a “yes” or a “no” can change one’s life forever. It seems so long ago now. It is hard to believe that it was only last week that I had found my love once again, and then lost him.

I am writing this story on the bank of the River Piedra. My hands are freezing, my legs are numb, and every minute I want to stop.

“Seek to live. Remembrance is for the old,” he said.

Perhaps love makes us old before our time – or young, if youth has passed. But how can I not recall those moments? That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance. So that when I finish telling myself the story, I can toss it into the Piedra. That’s what the woman who has given me shelter told me to do. Only then – in the words of one of the saints – will the water extinguish what the flames have written.

All love stories are the same.


Son los locos que inventaron el amor ~ It must have been the lunatics who invented love.


But love is much like a dam: if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure, and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current.

For when those walls come down, then love takes over, and it no longer matters what is possible or impossible; it doesn’t even matter whether we can keep the loved one at our side. To love is to lose control.


“It’s risky, falling in love.”

“I know that,” I answered. “I’ve been in love before. It’s like a narcotic. At first it brings the euphoria of complete surrender. The next day, you want more. You’re not addicted yet, but you like the sensation, and you think you can still control things. You think about the person you love for two minutes, and forget them for three hours. But then you get used to that person, and you begin to be completely dependent on them. Now you think about him for three hours and forget him two minutes. If he’s not there, you feel like an addict who can’t get a fix. And just as addicts steal and humiliate themselves to get what they need, you’re willing to do anything for love.”


But love is always new. Regardless whether we love once, twice, or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always taks us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if that means hours, days, weeks of disappointments and sadness.

The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us.

And to save us.


I also knew that from this moment on I was going to experience heaven and hell, joy and pain, dreams and hopelessness; that I would no longer be capable of containing the winds that blew from the hidden corners of my soul. I knew that from this moment on love would be my guide – and that it had waited to lead me ever since childhood, when I had felt love for the first time. The truth is, I had never forgotten love, even when it had deemed me unworthy of fighting for it. But love had been difficult, and I had been reluctant to cross its frontiers.


If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.


Love doesn’t ask many questions, because if we stop to think, we become fearful. It’s an inexplicable fear; it’s difficult even to describe it. Maybe it’s the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. That’s why you don’t ask – you act. As you’ve said many times, you have to take risks.


I loved him. With every minutes that passed, my love was growing and transforming me. I once again had faith int he future, and little by little, I was recovering my faith in God. All because of love.


If I have to fall, may it be from a high place.


I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.


I am going to sit here with you by the river. If you go home to sleep, I will sleep in front of your house. And if you go away, I will follow you – until you tell me to go away. Then I’ll leave. But I have to love you for the rest of my life.


 

A thousand thanks to Paulo Coelho for the endless beautiful quotes  🙂

How to be myself

I have always known that somehow I transform into an entirely different person when I feel very strongly for someone (note that I am not using the four-letter word here on purpose). I become someone else, someone I don’t know and I don’t like too much, and for the longest time it has been near-impossible to control it. But I have decided that enough is enough. I want to take back my own sense of self, regardless, or perhaps most importantly when I have to deal with feelings for someone special. I want to be myself again, the best version of me.

How to be myself? Can I be the best person to answer that? My close friends could also very well help me with that. Some of them have seen me at my best and worst, and I value their thoughts very much. They have been treasures these past few days, regardless of time or distance. How can I survive without them?

I have to get my life back on track. My life has been interrupted for a while, so I need to get my focus back on the important things. I have to remind myself of the high-energy, free-spirited me. Strong and feisty. I have the ability to conquer worlds.

Day in and day out I need to actively remind myself of who I truly am. Because I know that at the end of the day, it is this self that will draw true love into my life.

Time to welcome back the real Abii.

Numbers Game

Finding love is sometimes a numbers game, especially if you’re still playing quite late in the game. When you’re younger, it’s still a game of chance, of luck. Sometimes you get lucky and find your one true love in high school or university and you eventually end up together and live happily ever after. However if you’ve lost your chance when you were still in school, dating and finding a good match when you’re already out in the real world is a tough one.

I’ve honestly been searching for love for more than a decade. My last boyfriend was almost 10 years ago, and I met him at work. We didn’t really last long. But honestly, I’ve met a lot of guys at work. I’ve also met a lot of guys outside of work. I’ve been set up on many blind dates, gone to a number of speed dates, and even back-dated (i.e. dated people from my past). It’s tiring. And I was still unlucky at finding someone. It’s always either the attraction is one-way (i.e. I like him, he doesn’t like me back, or he likes me and I don’t like him back), or the attraction is mutual, but there’s something completely and absolutely complicated about it (and oh, I don’t even want to talk about it).

When I moved to Oz, the search continued. Somehow it was both harder and easier for different reasons. It was more difficult because I had a limited existing social circle, I came unfamiliar with the dating rituals and culture, and it was challenging for me to spark physical attraction because I can’t effing compete with those sexy blonde girls (not sure if this is true, but this is how it feels). I found it a bit more easy for other reasons because of so many ways to meet more people, such as numerous social events, speed dating events, dating apps, and online dating websites.

But alas, the search continues.

I do think that somehow it’s a numbers game. The more people I meet, the better the chances that I’ll find someone. As they say, the more entries you send, the more chances of winning. Of course, I also take quality into consideration. Meet more quality guys. That’s the strategy.

Again

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was right before the very first date ever in my life. Valentines dance in high school and I was only 13 (if I remember correctly). I was with my bestfriend (who went to a different school but I invited over) and we were just enjoying the day of the school fair. But as the evening approached and the inevitability of my date dawned, my insides just went topsy-turvy.

I remember it distinctly. That giddy feeling bordering on nauseous. I tried to eat a slice of pizza and finish a bottle of orange soda (Royal Tru Orange!). For some reason, I couldn’t hold it down and had to throw up everything. Everything. I blamed it on the orange soda and sort of stopped drinking that from then on.

It may have been the first time I ever fell in love. In retrospect, there’s strong supporting evidence to back that up.

Many years after, he could still remember what I wore that day. Many years after, I remember that single pink rose he gave me, the one that I took home and stuck on the ground and lived for a few years more. I still remember the songs that we slow danced to, and how much taller he was that made it a challenge to put my hands on his shoulders and around his neck.

Unfortunately, my first love never really became “us”, although the ghost of our feelings for each other haunted us beyond a decade. I guess it just wasn’t really meant to be.

I just remembered this from long ago, because I was reminded of that giddy, nauseous feeling. Here it comes again.

Between home and home

A very strange feeling this is. I’ve been away from home for more than three weeks, and I mean from my current residence in Sydney. I’m coming home soon, but I’m also leaving home in the process, and I mean our family home in Manila where I grew up in and lived until less than two years ago. I am excited to get back to my place and start the rest of the year, but at the same time feel that little bit of sadness as I again leave my original home and not know when I’m coming back next.

This trip has been a great opportunity to reconnect with people who have played significant roles in my life, both in the past and at present. I also rekindled my entrepreneurial passion and will be revealing my new business venture soon. I truly savored being able to celebrate Christmas and New Year back home like years past. Met up with my truest friends (who were in town) over coffee, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or anything in between and shared so many stories that we have missed from each other. Spent time bonding with my sister and my cousins.

I somehow feel part of this world once again. But in reality, I am not. My current life now revolves in Sydney, and this is really just a break, a holiday from it all. Back to real life for me soonest. I’m not complaining though, cos my real life is also amazing. It’s just hard to reconcile that one cannot live two different realities at the same time.

See you next time Manila. ♥