Music has always been a huge part of my life. It has inspired me, entertained me, and sustained me. Some of my earliest memories involve music (mainly, The Beatles), and this is a direct influence of my parents: they both came of age in the hippy era…my mother comes from a very musical European family, while my dad got to attend concerts in New York City during his youth, seeing some of the biggest names in 60’s rock perform live.
So, while growing up music was always around me, and it didn’t take much time for me to set out to discover my own tastes as a child. After a steady dose of 80’s radio hits, and a brief foray into rap, I discovered heavy metal around 1985. Since then, it’s always been a part of me…I also learned to play guitar and played in metal bands myself.
To those who don’t know metal, or can’t stomach the roar of distorted guitar, it likely sounds like a cacophony of noise. In fact, metal has come to be one of the most diverse genres in all of music. Metal has come to incorporate several different influences from other styles, often with good results.
This will be the first of (hopefully) several posts about music; I’ll often focus on metal because it’s my favorite, but I’m quite eclectic when it comes to what I like to listen to, so there will be some surprises as well. These first few entries will focus on “Love Songs”, specifically songs that I attach some significance to in terms of Cecille. So, prepare for a mix of warm fuzzies and thunderous grooves!
Here, I will focus on a specific album by one band, Deftones. This particular album holds a special significance to me in terms of my romance with the lovely curator of this blog; first: the timing – it was released 12 days before I flew to Bangkok and met Cecille. But more importantly, the theme of the album and the mood of the music.
The title of Deftones’ most recent album is Koi No Yokan, which is a Japanese phrase which means “Premonition Of Love” 恋の予感, which fits the lyrical and musical theme perfectly. Of course, it didn’t escape my notice that this American band chose a Japanese name for their latest release, because my love is in fact ¼ Japanese herself! More synchronicity thrown at us from the Universe? It certainly feels like it to me!
Deftones has a musical career that spans almost 20 years, and through their releases they’ve become quite adept at creating an ethereal atmosphere which is created by the layered, lush production, space-pop and trip-hop influences, but mostly by vocalist Chino Moreno’s unique and instantly recognizable crooning. They ensnare the listener by taking them on a journey between adrenaline-fueled catharsis and soft and subdued soundscapes. Chino’s voice can tranquilize like a lullaby or screech like a banshee, but his phrasing is sublime and his placement is perfect. This most recent album showcases some of Deftones’ best songwriting to date, and quickly became the perfect soundtrack to falling in love.
So without further ado, the first Deftones song I’m presenting is called “Romantic Dreams”
Even the very first line brings Cecille to mind:
“I process your constant changing phases”
Yes, nothing simple here – my love is a complicated woman. She keeps me on my toes…it takes some “processing” for sure 🙂 But this is a Love Song, so things are about to get a lot more romantic:
“So why wait to discover your dreams?
Now here’s your chance
I promise to watch and raise your babies”
Ah yes, a chance to discover love, the kind of love where the male protagonist entices with dreams, and promises of procreation born from said love, and steps up to the role of fatherhood. I imagine that for many women, this is about as romantic as it gets…Amirite?
“I’m hypnotized by your name
I wish this night would never end”
These words were echoing through my mind during the last hours I spent with Cecille before having to leave Bangkok and return to the US; I really wanted those moments to stretch into forever. They were full of smiles, tears, whispered promises and passionate kisses. Some of the most profound memories of my life so far.
Another song that’s grown close to my heart as Cecille has is called “Entombed”
This is a very mellow, atmospheric and moody song. Chino’s voice sounds like honey as he makes the following declarations to his love:
“From the day you arrived
I’ve remained by your side
In chains, entombed
Safe and sound”
“On the day you arrived
I became your device
To name and soothe”
The theme here is fairly obvious, and to me, it echoes the promises I’m making; it’s an expression of caring and devotion, even shackled to those notions, promising safety, definition, and “soothing”.
When I listen to this song I think of the future, of my Cecille arriving here…and beyond the promise of being her future husband, I acknowledge the challenges she’ll face in a new land and a new culture. My love, I will remain by your side, soothe you, and keep you safe from the moment you arrive. I promise.
And last for today, but certainly not least, is probably the most atmospheric and emotional track on the album, “Rosemary”
This was the PERFECT song for me to listen to as I was hurdling 30,000 feet in the air towards Bangkok. Musically, it begins with a slow, building, spacey intro which ultimately becomes a thick, droning, groove based guitar riff, and the song alternates in this manner throughout, analogous with flying, lovemaking, intimacy, travel, and discovering “other planes” through all of the above. I remember leaning back in my airplane seat with my earbuds in, listening to this song with my eyes closed, feeling the throb and hum of the engines as I thrust through the sky:
“There’s no sound
But the engine’s drone
Our minds set free
We discover the entry
To other planes”
You know those moments when the “soundtrack” to what’s happening in your life is just sublimely perfect? This was definitely one of them.
And then in the very end of the song, which I interpret as the destination (“Just stay with me”):
“Stay with me
As we cross the empty skies
Come sail with me
We play in dreams
As we cross the space and time
Just stay with me”
Yes, in that moment I was still “playing” with a dream, while crossing space and time (it’s true, I crossed the International Date Line) towards that very dream, making it real and extending an invitation to The One I was about to rapidly fall in love with…come sail with me…let’s play in our dreams…just stay with me.
They say that monthsaries were invented because some people don’t even stay together long enough for them to celebrate an anniversary. One may choose to see it that way. As for me, each milestone is worth celebrating. Every single day you and your loved one are together is a blessing.
Although, I’m not really into Daysaries. That’s just too much! 😛
In my previous entry, I repeatedly pointed out how tired I was of waiting for the day when I would finally be together with Ian. Together as in: living in one house, one city and most importantly in one country. Ian is my fiancé of – wait, how long have been engaged? It’s hard to tell, really. The truth is, we were officially a couple for only a week when we decided we wanted to get married. In less than a month, we managed to gather the official documents we needed for Ian to send his petition to the US government to marry me, an “alien.” Two weeks later, we received our first Notice of Action (NOA1) letter: Our petition is now officially in a special government box waiting for the lucky bureaucrat to pick it up and move along the process. Some people may say we’re moving too fast. Maybe, but I don’t mind one bit. When it’s real, you just know it.
Phew! What a relief! I know that I kept complaining last week about being away from Ian and all of this waiting we need to do before I finally receive my visa. Come to think of it, I am far luckier than other people. I mean, at least I already know who I’m going to end up with, what my life is remotely going to be like, etc. Yes, I don’t know all of the details for sure but I’m guessing it’s going to be an exciting life filled with fun and challenging happenings. Meanwhile, so many people out there still exist in a limbo state, wondering what’s going to happen, who’s it going to be, where they would meet and exactly how it’s going to happen. Most importantly, how do you know when he/she is “The One”?
Ah! The One.
Today’s musings aren’t just a product of new relationship smugness (occurring when you begin a new relationship and you feel like it’s the best relationship ever) although I really do think I’m in the best relationship ever (possibly second only to my future in-law’s). Lately, watching re-runs of my favorite show, “How I Met Your Mother”, also made me think about this. In the episode “As Fast As She Can” from season 4, that’s exactly what they were talking about – Finding The One!
In the show, Ted Mosby (the protagonist) is a proud New Yorker in his 30s. This fellow appears to be a good catch: he’s cute, an intelligent professional, he has a healthy sense of humor, cares for the environment, and speaks French! Ah, he speaks French! (Ian, you should really start watching this show!!!) Yet he never seems to get it right in relationships.
Now you’re curious. Tell you what, he’s not a jerk. He’s also not a freak. Let’s get that out of the way. In fact, he’s sensitive, caring, sweet, and a big romantic – possibly everything a girl could ever wish for. The women he has been with could surely attest to that despite the fact that his affairs with them failed – including the most recent one, which failed miserably. So what is this guy’s problem? After watching countless episodes, I have come to realize that this guy’s biggest hindrance to finally settling down is: HE DIDN’T WANNA SETTLE! He didn’t just wanna settle for growing to love someone he was with. He wanted to fall in love hard: fireworks and all!
Yes! He is such a big romantic that he actually believes that True Love exists. That The One is out there, also wondering and waiting for him to arrive.
Perhaps he got it all wrong.
Maybe, what he failed to realize was that while he was desperately searching for this woman (or man, LOL), she was actually rushing to get to him too, AS FAST AS SHE COULD!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Universe plays with us mere mortals sometimes. Have you ever heard the saying, “We plan, God laughs”? Story of my life.
All of this time, I have been obsessed with my stupid timelines. My timelines are, yes, my guidelines to what I should be accomplishing within a specific period of time. Allow me to give you some examples:
|My Timeline||When I was 8 years old:|
|Be a lawyer||I don’t know when! Just be a lawyer!|
||When I was 15 years old, by this time I already had an idea of how old I would be when I finished college
|Be a Certified Public Accountant||By age 21|
|Then, be a lawyer||After I finish law school, of course, which I’m guessing would be when I’m 26|
|My Timeline||When I was 18 years old|
|Finish nursing school and be a registered nurse||By age 21 (Aha! Now that’s a twist!)|
|Be a lawyer||Any time before I’m 30!|
|My Timeline||When I was 24 years old:|
|Finish my Master’s degree||By age 26|
|Get married||on or before I’m 27|
|Start law school||after getting married|
|Deliver my first child||before I’m 30|
|Deliver all planned children||before I’m 32|
|Get back into shape||after delivering children because by that time my lawyer husband would make Partner in his law firm and all of the secretaries, paralegals and new, young lawyers would be swarming around him!|
In early 2012, I was right on track with the latest version of my timeline. It seemed like I was on the brink of achieving it all. It seemed nothing could go wrong with my perfect little plan. Come mid-2012, some cosmic power, God, or maybe The Adjustment Bureau (I’m borrowing this idea from my friend and fellow blogger, Abi. Darling, I read the entry you linked me to) decided he/she/it/they did NOT want my plan to succeed, and so went ahead and destroyed it, popped my protective bubble and crushed my dreams in the process! Tsk tsk tsk! Mean!
What I did not know at that time was that this in fact was a blessing in disguise. The Universe didn’t want me to have what I thought I wanted because it wasn’t for me to have. When Ted Mosby’s fiancée, Stella, dumped him, he thought the Universe was conspiring against him. Isn’t that what normally happens to us when we encounter a crisis? The crisis converts us. We lose faith. Ted Mosby and I, for a period of time, became love skeptics. Suddenly, the sky is gloomy. Suddenly, you can’t trust anybody.
Seems like a stump, eh? But wait for it! Love skepticism is not a condition without a remedy. It only takes one person to heal the wounds, make the pain go away and the heart start beating again. It only takes The One.
I know that now. Months back, I never would have thought it could happen to me. That’s the beauty of it: Love happens when you least expect it, and when it does, it hits you like the Big Bang explosion which you couldn’t mistake for anything else. That’s how you know it. You know it because suddenly the skies light up and the world becomes a much better place to live in. It’s like, for lack of a better word, magic!
In a lot of ways, Ian is like Ted. He’s a wonderful man too: lovable and very marketable (my appraisal is both biased and true). And he’s also in his 30’s and unmarried. Ian’s dilemma is the same. He didn’t wanna settle. And I’m glad he didn’t. Nobody should, anyway. He/She/It will come. As Barney Stinson from the same show would always say, “(Just) wait for it!”
Ian came to me when I least expected it, screwing my new and updated timeline in the process (for reference, read my first entry “Paunang Salita”). Love came to me as fast as the rush of blood I felt when I felt it. Love comes in different packages. In my case, it was delivered as quickly as FedEx. But who cares? Who keeps track of how long we’ve been together anyway?
I do! And today, on our 2nd monthsary, I’m as sure as ever that Ian is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Unsuspecting, on that fateful day of July 3, I crossed paths with The One. My One. The stars were aligned in a special formation that day and it looks like the Universe knew what he/she/it was doing after all! One day soon, Ian will tell his kids the story of how he met their mother and it’s going to be LEGENDARY!
P.S. Happy Monthsary, Mahal ❤
The Universe has spoken. I am fated to be yours. Nothing else matters now. Just Me, The Space and You. I Space You!
This week, I started watching SUITS. It’s an American legal-comedy-drama TV series about Mike Ross, a smart but not so lucky kid until he stumbles into a job interview for a firm which is searching for an associate lawyer. That particular firm happens to hire only Harvard graduates and well, Mike didn’t attend Harvard. In fact, he’s not even a lawyer. Senior Partner Harvey Specter hired him nonetheless based on the fact that Mike has an eidetic memory, is an avid reader (he has read all law books and perfectly remembers every word), and because he mirrors Harvey’s characteristics in a lot of ways.
Anyway, I’ve had the first season episodes in my laptop for over 7 months but I’ve only just begun to watch it now. And watch I did: watched it on my free time, on the way to work, 30 minutes before I start my job, after working hours and until I fall asleep. Yes. That’s what boredom does to you.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not some dreary cat lady. In fact, so many things are happening in my life right now that you could even say “Wow, that’s fast!” But the thing is, I feel like I’m not exactly living my life, like this is not how it’s supposed to be right now. Allow me to explain:
You already know the story about Ian and I first meeting back in July. We’ve spoken all the time since then, and in November we sealed the deal: We became a couple. In December, we decided we wanted to get married. While that was going on, I had just moved to and started a new job here in Thailand. My current position in my company allows me to make almost full use of my skills and talents. I am in the verge of many more learning and career opportunities to come. In fact, only three months into this job, my company is already sending me to Singapore next week to train for one of the latest operating room techniques in lung disease and cancer diagnosis and treatment. My boss told me so the day before my probation status evaluation. Today, it’s official: I am a full-time employee. What a wonderful welcome gift!
While that all seems very enticing, the truth is, I just want to get out of here as fast as I can. I know, I know, my job is amazing, my family lives here and Asia is the next economic tiger if it isn’t already. Right now, I am in the best place to be. Thailand is on its way to conquering the global arena side by side with Singapore, China and Malaysia. And with the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), things are looking up for every Asian. BUT I DON’T FEEL LIKE I BELONG HERE ANYMORE.
Going back to SUITS, like Mike Ross, yes, I feel like I’m living a double life. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is call Ian, ask him how his day went, what’s keeping him busy at the moment, and after a few minutes of idle chit chat and endless “I miss yous”, I jump into the shower, get dressed as quick as lightning and hurry for work.
All I want to be doing first thing in the morning is wake up next to the love of my life, see his handsome face the moment I open my eyes, plant soft little kisses on his nose and forehead, jump into the shower with him, make us both breakfast and give him a big wet kiss before we both leave for work.
That’s how I should be living my life.
I know that in possibly less than a year, fingers crossed, I could actually be doing it. But really, I feel impatient – I can’t wait for it to finally happen. I can’t wait to be with Ian.
I once was a big believer in long-distance relationships. Well, granted that I am still technically in one now, I have to continue believing. But I must say that I am not such a big fan anymore. It used to work so well for me before. I am the type of person who enjoys a lot of time alone and away from my partner. I feel like it allows me more freedom and consequently, more personal growth.
But what happens now, when my partner’s presence actually nourishes me, feeds me, sustains me, and cultivates me? With Ian, I can be in a relationship without compromising my individuality. I can truly be myself without the fear of judgment and/or rejection. In this kind of environment, I can be the best that I can be. I have never felt this before and IT IS awesome! Sometimes I wonder if maybe it’s not really about the circumstance, but the person you are with. What I thought I was really excellent at doing before, these days just drives me crazy. Now, I don’t like long distance relationships at all.
Of course, Ian constantly tells me that the long distance part of this is temporary. Sure, but while we are both still waiting, I am unceasing in my prayers that the hours may be shortened, the days will fly by quickly and the months will just speed past us so fast that I would hardly even notice.
Right now I am living a double life because instead of Saturday Skyping with Ian, I should be going to the farmer’s market with him to pick out vegetables for our lunch that we will cook and enjoy together. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, I am ordering lunch from restaurants every day. I am living a double life because instead of getting recommendations for a good fitness center from my Thai friends over here, I should be checking out the jogging/running routes in my New Paltz neighborhood. Ian tells me there’s a track on the college campus just across the street from my would-be house.
I am living a double life because instead of snuggling with Ian on the couch, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows on an unforgivably cold winter afternoon and playing footsie, I am buried deep under my double comforters because my roomie just turned the temperature down to a degree my skin-and-bones physique can barely handle.
It’s all wrong! And I just want this to end. I may eventually end up unemployed my first few months in New York, my driving could be awful, I could burn the toast or screw up Ian’s favorite Angel hair pasta, or my skin might adjust poorly to the temperature. Hell I could freeze my butt off! On top of it, I wouldn’t know anybody besides my new husband and his family. But we would live in our own little world, living the life we should be living and that would be enough for me.
If I am being desperate, I would say Mike Ross from the show SUITS is better off. I mean, sure he is living a double life pretending to be a rookie associate. But can another double life get any better? He is working in this prestigious firm, earning the big bucks, being mentored by the best legal minds and he gets to attend those fancy Harvard alumni soirees. Not to mention his name is actually on the Harvard alumni website. He has a fake Harvard diploma for the love of God. On the other hand, I don’t even know if I could still get to pursue law school. But that’s another story.
Oh well! Too much of this pity party: Let’s liven it up a little bit.
I am not only writing this for catharsis but also to express my admiration for the people who are in the same boat as me and my Ian and kicking ass at it. This is also for my dear friends Racel and Krishna, who both got to spend only a week or two (after their weddings) with their new husbands before their men had to fly back to their respective jobs and residences. Racel works in Saudi while her husband is based in Singapore. Krishna had to wait 9 months or so before seeing her husband again last November. Joan, my big sister based in Canada, is about to embark on a long distance relationship with her adorable man next month.
If they can do it, so can I. It is tough but nothing is too difficult for two hearts strengthened by each other. As I told Ian after our less-than-traditional Skype pamamanhikan (which is usually the awkward first meeting of the two families of the soon-to-be bride and groom to discuss the engagement), seas and continents may divide us both, but I am okay when he is okay. It doesn’t matter where we are because my heart is his home and his is mine.
And to all those couples and families loving each other across the miles, I dedicate this to you. May we all keep inspiring each other. Keep the faith! Keep Holding On! Double life or not, may the love keep us all alive.
FUN FACTS! New Paltz to Bangkok: HOW FAR IS IT REALLY?