22 May 2014

Life’s a b*tch and then Juanderkid dies.

by misslampa
Amer, more popularly known as the blogger Juanderkid was all about finding and spreading light and love.

Amer, more popularly known as the blogger Juanderkid, was all about finding and giving light and love.

 

The week former Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo passed away, you wrote what remains to be my most favorite Amer Amor quote of all time:

What does [death] tell us about life? That it is indeed fleeting. That we should always be grateful. That a life well-lived and well-served will be remembered long after we’re gone. And that we should not delay love. We should not delay love.

You simultaneously touched on loving and living a full life and being grateful for everything – things we relentlessly talked about whenever and wherever we wanted to indulge our patriotic, hopeful, dream-big selves. It didn’t matter whether we were exploring the cobblestone streets of Intramuros together or simply exchanging messages on Facebook or WordPress at two in the morning; we’d find a way to feed off of each other’s positive energy, love of travel, and addiction to stunning sunsets.

 

We were supposed to have a repeat of this soon. I guess this means we're gonna get stood up.

We were supposed to have a repeat of this soon. I guess this means we’re going to get stood up.

But I don’t know how to proceed from here, now that it’s you who’s gone. I’m sorry, but right now, I couldn’t care less about all the prose and positivity in the world.

Alam mo, I just find myself really, really stumped.

I was so certain I’d see you again sometime this month or the next, you know. So much so that I had the gall to repeatedly say no whenever you asked for details when you found out I’ve fallen for this awesome guy while I was living overseas.

Anuba! ikuwento mo na kasi, Donna. May malalim kang pinaghuhugutan.

Saka na ‘pag nagkita na lang tayo, Amer. Wala namang masyadong ikukuwento. I think hinayaan ko siyang matapos bago pa man masimulan.

Kahit na. ‘Yan ang mga the best na love story.

And so to make you stop, I’d laugh and tell you I miss you and I love you and I’d tell you about it in time. It was the only time I remember saying no to you because for the most part, ours had been a giving relationship, of supporting each other’s dreams and simply letting the other be. Of not sweating the small stuff whenever meet-ups got cancelled or promises weren’t kept. Of poking fun at each other’s quirks and sharing our intense hatred for incorrectly used expressions and phrasal verbs. (I can still hear you ranting about why people keep using “touchdown” to announce their arrival in a city or town when they didn’t even take the plane to get there. Wala namang gulong ng eroplano na nag-touchdown, ano kaya ‘yon?)

I was looking forward to years and years of our crazy little talks and adventures, dude. :(

I was looking forward to years and years of crazy little talks and adventures with you. :(

I don’t even know why I said no and chose to delay love that one time, Amer. But if telling you all about it now could bring you back, I’d bore you with everything I can remember about that non-love story. I’d break our journalism code of ethics even and throw in some details that never happened if that would mean I’d get to hear you laugh and see your face light up again. Anything to undo the motorcycle accident that took you. Anything to keep me from having to grapple with the reality that you are gone too soon, and for good.

Because in all honesty, of all the plot twists that could ever happen in this life, this having to dream and do and explore and love without you from here on out was something I never saw coming.

Which is also why exactly a week after you’ve left, I’m still bereft of whatever life skill or mindset can get me through this grief. I’m just really, really sad that you had to go.

I still can’t bring myself to say goodbye, Amer. And I’m not sure how long it’d take until things start to make sense. But I’m hoping you’re happy and at peace wheresoever you are Juandering now. I imagine the sunsets we’re so crazy about look even more magnificent from where you’re now watching them.

Also, I bet there’s no one there to infuriate you anymore by using “touchdown” incorrectly. And because I love you, I’m going to try very, very hard to at least be happy about that.

 

 

 

 

—–

In memory of Amer Amor aka Juanderkid (23 Oct 1982 – 15 May 2014)

I miss you, I love you, and I'll see you on the other side. <3

I miss you, I love you, and I’ll see you on the other side. (PS: I took some of your pictures for this post. I hope that’s okay.)

20 March 2014

One day

by misslampa
Bliss.

Bliss.

Note to self: don’t fret.

One day, it’ll dawn on you that you’ve been inexplicably drunk-happy quite often in this life.

That you’ve been giddy like a kid about nothing in particular, while you’re in the middle of nowhere, with no specific someone to hold responsible for your smile.

I know you’ll bless the day you realize you’ve known true joy, and on the occasion of this year’s World Happiness Day, I wish that day will be today.

And every awesome day after that too, of course. :)

 

 

18 February 2014

Whatever you want it to be :))

by misslampa

I came to Australia thinking I went there mainly for the degree. And to a point, this was true. Anything that had something to do with studies was always given priority (okay, almost always Ü), and the world stopped whenever assessment period came around. It was clear to me that I wanted to learn as much as I could and finish the program well and on time. So those are some of the things I made sure I did.

After reading way too many journal articles and downing way too many cups of coffee, I earn the right to rock this academic dress.

After reading way too many journal articles and downing way too many cups of coffee, I earn the right to rock this academic dress.

 

But the thing about putting your life on hold and leaving the comforts of home for a while to accept a scholarship overseas is that you can – if you choose to – turn your time abroad into anything you want it to be. I mean, you’re already going out of your comfort zone anyway. You might as well make it worth the trouble.

 

And so I learned about various education systems with classmates from all over the world. I spent hours asking questions and comparing notes after class or over dinner or coffee. Besides, I’ve always been in awe of how much you can learn if you’re willing to ask.

It won't be an exaggeration to say that no less than 5 countries were represented in each class I took at the University of Queensland.

There were always at least five countries represented in each class I took at the University of Queensland. I’m not exaggerating.

 

I got introduced to other Filipinos from all over the country who remain as hopeful about the future of the Philippines, and who are choosing to stay here despite the opportunity to earn more abroad.

Of course, you can count on me to find a way to not have to wear the baro't saya. :))

We were asked to don our national costume. But of course, you can count on me to find a way to not have to wear the baro’t saya. :))

 

I tried so many things for the first time – from something as tame as eating kangaroo or camel meat to something as terrifying as jumping off a perfectly working plane. I volunteered to teach young Aussies how to read, and I put in some hours as a research assistant, too.

I really just wanted to touch the clouds, so I jumped and did just that.

I really just wanted to touch the clouds, so I jumped and did just that.

 

I picked up good habits like running and snacking on celery sticks. But lest you think I’ve turned into such a goody two-shoes, know that I learned how to flirt with strangers and enjoy wine in Australia, too.

Hardly anyone left on the course but I because well, I’m a slowpoke like that.

 

I also felt my heart beat for the first time in a very, very long time while I was there. I’m beyond grateful, actually, but that’s all I’m going to say about that. :)

 

And I traveled. Like crazy. It’s expensive, yes, but you learn skills which will continue to serve you well long after you’ve come home. There’s time management, spatial intelligence, packing lightly, budgeting, following directions, carving your own path, being okay with being lost, enjoying your own company, living in the moment, and I’m just going to stop here because the list goes on and on and on.

Don't do selfies. Just travel with photography enthusiasts who are more than happy to take your picture!

Selfies are for amateurs. What you need to do is travel with DSLR-lugging photography enthusiasts who are more than happy to take your picture!

 

All these, I owe to the fact that I chose Australia Awards – or maybe it’d be more apt to say that Australia Awards chose me. Either way, I am very grateful not only for the last two years of my life and all that’s been epic about my time there, but also for the opportunity to come home and make a difference. Armed with a master’s degree, I know I can be more instrumental in improving basic education in this country, and in proving to the world that we are capable of greatness.

AusAID no longer exists, officially (the program's now under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). But it will always be real to me. <3

AusAID no longer exists, officially (the program’s now under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). But it will never be nonexistent for me. <3

 

I’m very excited to see exactly how the universe will make that happen for me! Ü

 

 

—-

Donna Rasalan Lampa is one proud Pinay who took up her masters in Educational Studies from the University of Queensland in Brisbane under the open category of the Australia Awards program. Months after, she remains thankful for the two-year joyride.

 

Also, shout-outs are in order for Mylene, who took that shot of me during my graduation… and for Rod, for that breathtaking panoramic shot at Kings Canyon! :)

 

And hey, if you’re keen on starting your own Australia Awards journey, click here.