Archive for ‘Miscellany’

11 January 2019

Questions the World Asks You

by misslampa

The thing about being a teacher by profession, everyone thinks you have all the answers.

And most days, thankfully, I do do have them.  Because the questions are easy: How old are you? Are you married? Are you Muslim? Can you speak Japanese? What’s your favorite food/animal/drink/whatever? Do you make your bed every morning? Would you rather be a boy or a girl if you were to be born again?


Just between you and me, though, I think it’s really Kyun Chan (the mascot of Hokkaido) who has the answers to all of life’s questions.

Occasionally, I’m caught by surprise, not because the queries leave me dumbfounded but more so because I never imagined I’d be answering them in this lifetime: What’s your favorite police car? Are you rich? What are the dimensions of a patintero court? How many bananas can you eat in one sitting? Do you poop? Do you like killer whales? What’s your favorite insect?

Ah, the perks of teaching! Kids are pre-programmed to come to you for answers to even the strangest of conundrums.

Some inquiries also come with the precarious territory of being straight and single and all of five-and-thirty, foremost of which are 1)if I’ve found the one and 2)when I plan to get married. What’s funny is, even if I answer the former in the negative, people still follow up with the latter. So to cut the interrogation short, I kid them about helping me find a wedding package that’s inclusive of the groom already.

Once, a divorcée asked me what I now think is the kinder question: Do you want to get married? I found it refreshing then and find in refreshing still, how someone who gave marriage a try only to discover it’s really not for her acknowledges that hey, it’s totally up to me if I want to walk down that path, too.

This other time, someone asked if I’ve ever considered adoption. I haven’t, really, so that’s what I said in reply. But I also said his question was making me think about whether I’d marry someone with kids, be they adopted or from a previous relationship.

I was also stunned into silence for a while when a colleague asked me to name one thing I absolutely believe in. We were mindlessly working on last year’s Halloween party when he sprung that on me as if he were only asking me to tell him the time.

For these queries, the answers don’t come easy. But I hope they find their way to me, eventually.


This one’s for non-millenials (!) Dat and Eric, who just won’t let me give up on blogging.❤️

28 June 2012

So the sssecond time wasn’t a charm

by misslampa

I briefly mentioned encountering the weakly venomous dwarf crowned snake in a previous post during my first month in Brisbane. Back then, I glossed over the details because the last thing I wanted was to remember everything. I mean, I definitely didn’t want to forget, but I was thinking more along the lines of waiting for it to turn into a vague memory. You know, kind of like your first Christmas gift from Santa Claus, when you were old enough to rip apart the wrapping paper and open the present yourself? You’ll always be certain it happened but for the life of you, won’t ever be able to recall much.

I was aiming to get to that state, you see,  but the universe had other plans. So when I returned to my bedroom after having dinner upstairs (yep, our kitchen’s upstairs…long story, don’t ask), I found this waiting for me:

WordPress world, meet my new roomie, the dwarf crowned snake from Southern Queensland.

It’s a bit longer compared to the first one I encountered in the bathroom about five months ago. But it’s just as black, just as shiny, just as agile, and just as stealthy.

One thing I didn’t expect, though, was to be twice as scared. Sure, I was more composed this time because I’ve seen this snake before and knew it didn’t have enough venom to kill me. I’ve read somewhere that it’s a reluctant biter and that if push comes to shove, all it’s going to do is rear up and pretend it’ll strike you if you come any closer. I did my research the first time it happened, you see, and I knew enough to know that it would be somewhat safe to take pictures. Ha!

All this time, I was working under the assumption that if you’re armed with knowledge and experience from a prior encounter, it would be perfectly logical to expect that you wouldn’t be as rattled the second time around.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I still ran away from the snake and repeatedly shrieked, “There’s a snake in my bedroom! There’s a snake in my bedroom!!” until all my other housemates came to my rescue. Looking back, I now find it funny that, amidst the panic, I continued speaking in straight English because it was the common language in the house. It was a completely wasted opportunity to use some expletives in my native language, sayang (what a shame).

My guy housemates, bless their kind souls, took care of everything and removed the snake from the premises. I am now about a foot away from where my roomie snake used to be and there is no trace of it whatsoever, but alas, I still feel like all is not well with the world. The shaken feeling still remains, unfortunately, so I guess it’s time to move out.

Apologies to the brave, bold race from which I hail, but I have no intention of finding out whether the third time’s going to be a charm.

Because for me, the second one definitely wasn’t.

26 January 2012

Aussie Notes: Brisbane and the Fine Art of Saying Thank You

by misslampa

I love being here. But not because of the usual stuff Lonely Planet tells you about. (Well, some of that, too. But more on that later. You can read about those things on other blogs anyway.)

So if you’re looking for a grand tour of Brissy and its tourist and even not-so-touristy spots, you’re in the wrong place, sorry.

Otherwise, let’s proceed.

1. I love the fact that people – locals, especially (I’m assuming it’s because they know the drill) – greet the driver once they get on the bus. It can be anything, really. Hey, Hello, How ya doin’, buddy?, Good day, Good evening, or a simple smile or nod. Students do it, too, and I think it’s great to grow up in a place where common courtesy is literally quite common.

2. I love it more that they say thank you before they alight. Even if they have to shout sometimes because they’re getting off from the middle of the bus. And the drivers shout back with anything from “You’re welcome” to “Anytime” or “Happy Weekend” or “Enjoy your day.” (There were some grumpy ones too, but in my experience, they’re more of the exception than the rule.) As mentioned in my About page, I am a big, big fan of the fine art of saying thank you – regardless of whether someone’s paid to do exactly what they just did for you. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of these short exchanges of “hi” and “thank you” between Brisbane’s bus drivers and the commuting public, or at least not for the mean time.Ü

3. And most of all, I love being in an international house of sorts. I have some fellow Pinays a few doors from my room, a Thai next door (soon to be replaced by a Tanzanian, I was told), and people from Chile, China, the US, and Thailand living upstairs. Because of this set-up, I speak in at least four languages on a(n almost) daily basis! It’s just the usual “Buenas Tardes” and “ขอบคุณ” (pronounced “kap-kun-kap” or “kap-kun-ka,” depending on the gender of the person you’re thanking) apart from English and Filipino, but I am thrilled nonetheless.


Our Thai housemate made Tom Yum for my fellow Pinays and me earlier this week. We found the soup too hot but still, lucky us!


Two evenings ago, the father of the Chilean girl was running around in circles in the kitchen and was obviously looking for something. He doesn’t speak English and I wanted to be considerate so I asked, “Cuchara, Señor?” To which he replied, “No, tenedor.” So I got him a fork from the dish rack and he smiled at me. I thought that was the end of it, but a second or two after, he called out, “Gracias, hija.” And just like that, I felt like the hundred hours I spent learning Spanish back home was worth it – because I can recognize it when someone’s thanking me in that language.

My housemates have told me that a Canadian has already brought his luggage earlier today, and just this evening, my fellow Pinays and I met the (cute) French dude who might move in next week. I found myself saying “Bonsoir.” His eyes went wide and he smiled and said, “Bonsoir. Yes, very good.” My friends and I were in the middle of dinner, so he wished us a good meal by saying “Bon Appetit.” And then came my turn to use my favorite word, so I went ahead and said, “Merci.”

Of course, living with two fellow Pinays allows me to say my favorite word in my most loved language of all. =)) Hay, I must definitely get into the habit of using salamat whenever I can.

And you will, Donna girl. You absobloominlutely will. :-))