Summer Fling

“There’s something that always sends us hurtling head over heels. Travel. Regardless of whether you’re married, dating, heartbroken or happily single, if you’re traveling, you can have that beautiful feeling of falling in love all over again, again and again.” – Revati Victor

He was able to articulate what I wanted to say, “Traveling is the closest to the feeling of falling in love. It is the feeling that you do not want to end.” If you are someone who likes romance but not so much on relationships, traveling is your best companion. Every place you go is like a summer fling. You get so excited at first and heartbroken once it leaves you too swift. But right now, I want an endless summer fling. I want to keep my feet moving until I reach a new destination. 2014614105143Traveling is ephemeral.  The value of fleeting moments becomes more apparent in traveling. Nothing lasts forever. Every moment is fleeting. Everyone is leaving. Everything is depleting. We don’t know the extinction of every bird, and every plant. We don’t how long we can swim the seawater.

Traveling is ephemeral. So take a camera with you
Traveling is ephemeral. So take a camera with you

I just realize how wonderful God made the world and I realized I have not seen half of it. I want to do stargazing in the woods, and write in my journal Pablo’s Neruda’s famous lines “Tonight I can write the saddest lines.” 11013561_10153072428592906_111947654101653172_n I can never measure the words infinity, abundance, grandeur, borderless, and unlimited but when I travel, it is the only time that these words have real meaning. When I walk near the sea, I see infinity. When I reach the mountain tops, I stand in awe. When I reach a foreign land, there is just too much to absorb. When I get to know people and culture, there is just too much to learn. You will always use the word “too much.” 2014614104943 10703802_10152650144587906_8935474558117179334_n I also want to see the works of people all over the world including handicrafts, paintings, and old and modern architecture.

Singapore
Singapore
Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Market

We appreciate history. We appreciate stories if we see their remnants in monuments, in artifacts, in museums, in tradition, and in places. While books can tell you when and why, traveling reaffirms what we know about the world and makes us discover what we haven’t known for a long time.

Cavite
Cavite
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Corregidor

When life is just too dry, I dream of cherry-blossoms, maple trees, and long bridges. I want to touch snow, see Taj Mahal, climb Mt Pulag, and maybe get a tattoo from Kalinga. I want to ride a bike with basket of flowers and pretend I’m in a Korean film. Traveling makes life look like movies. I want to travel as often as I can, partly because I want to escape the truth that some things have to be permanent. As what most people say “walang forever” (there is no forever). But there is always a feeling of forever, maybe in small infinities or in bigger infinities.

I only have two dreams: To go as many places as I can and to eat many kinds of food. The rest is negotiable.

Batangas
Batangas

If “True Love” is True

Disney Maleficent Movie
Disney Maleficent Movie

My professor in one of my MA classes asked us, ” What do you think about romantic love?” I said, “I think romantic love is overrated.”

I was bitter but I was able to validate my opinion when Nicholas Sparks just filed a divorce. It was the worst heartbreak ever. If swallowing more personal heartaches could save his marriage, I would just to keep that fantasy.

If I am going to use my feminist lens, I think romantic love is used to oppress women. In fact the romantic love we know characterized by euphoric feelings is too modern. This true love is that kind of love that is pushed by Victorian era. The bourgeois ensured their bloodline by picking one woman for one man. It makes women long for male validation. It makes the ideal kind of love unattainable, inaccessible. It makes love an achievement when it should be free. As stated by Janis Ian, love was meant for beauty queens.

My academic reading reflects real life drama
My academic reading reflects real life drama

I don’t want people to think negatively about love but I am selling the principle of love in its basic and universal form. There are principles that are worth fighting for but the principle of love encompasses all principles that is good for humanity.

But what is love? My idea of love is theological and philosophical. They say love is a social construct. It means many things to many people. We are living in a world where we like to deconstruct ideas. But when someone tells you “I love you,” it’s one truth that you wish is absolute.

heart
found this on my way to school

I look back at the book of 1st Corinthians 13 and other passages in the Bible that show love to figure out if I am loving. I have heard this many times. When I was a kid, I whispered, “Oh that’s no-brainer! Isn’t it natural for a human being to love?” But growing old, watching people come and go, gaining experiences, losing trust, I just come to a conclusion love is expensive. I discover that only a few people can love me that includes my mom and dad and that my capacity to love others is also limited. And I have no problem with that. Knowing that only a few people can truly love me sets the bar on how I love people.

What I’d like to highlight in 1st Corinthians 13:  “It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” “Self-seeking” means that we should not try to seek what we will gain or benefit from people. We love for the purpose of loving alone. If you are counting the rewards and perks of gaining people to love, that is not true love.

Love does not keep records of wrongs. Love does not have quota for how many mistakes the other makes. You just love and forgive those who make. We love not to prove that we are better, more righteous, smarter than the other. We choose love not to please ourselves but to please others.

Nothing is written in the book that love is mutual. As what Shakespeare said, “Love is not love that bends with the remover.”

The most beautiful and most difficult in the biblical view of love is the principle of sacrifice. Love calls for a sacrifice. When soldiers put their lives at risk, that is love.

Photo from Michael V  instagram
Photo from Michael V instagram

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. “ – John 15: 13

The way Christ demonstrates love……

Photo from: heiscomingblog.wordpress.com
Photo from: heiscomingblog.wordpress.com

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we laid down our lives for our brothers and sisters. “-1 John 3: 16

Love is expensive. Love is not as shallow as giving extra food, extra cash, extra time. Love is not giving what we have in excess. Because when it is just an extra of what we have, there is no sacrifice. In Mark 12: 41- 44,  between the rich people who gave large amounts of money and a poor widow who only gave two small coins as offering, the poor widow has put more treasury than all others.

In the course of love, we make ourselves vulnerable. Christ made himself vulnerable. He became human and died for our sins. We love the unlovable. We love even our oppressors. We love the ugliest. We love the people who exploit us. I  have to agree if people say that Christianity is a religion of death and martyrdom.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?– Matthew 5: 43- 48

It does not matter who we love but how we love matters.

When Jean Valjean was dying , he and Cosette in Les Miserables, sang : “To love another person is to see face of God” There are many religious people who are vigilant in criticizing others but they forget how to love.

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. “-1 John 4: 8

So….Are you just a clanging cymbal?

Photo from Versifylife.com
Photo from Versifylife.com

Most of the time, I am.

Postcard from Thailand

If I meet you in Thailand

one that got away
Wat Pho Photo by Rima Granali

I will make your feet sore
You will receive many smiles.
But One will be the brightest

Maybe from a Thai, maybe from a farang

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Wat Pho

We will take motor rides
in highways
in alleys
There is danger
But there is liberation

We will ride a tutuk
It will take us to many places
including a jewelry shop
And if they know you have no money
Just tell them I’m here
to find an engagement ring
Then I’ll pretend and say
“I change my mind”
Trust me,
It’s a scam

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Grand Palace Photo by Rima Granali

If you want to have a sign from heaven,
ask for a bird to come near you
I will take you to the nearest park
and call a flock of pigeons to gather around you
Then..

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I will ask you, Have you heard about the movie The King and I?
There’s a line, “Will you be my new romance?”
And I will point you to Grand Palace.

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Grand Palace Photo by Rima Granali

We will travel along Chao Phraya River
we will survey the Old Bangkok
and notice it is a city of rainbow
where red, orange, yellow are alive
where the person next to you is pale
and your driver is made of bronze

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We will visit Jim Thompson’s house
If you ask me if I want to live there
“No, I don’t want to live in the past.”

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Jim Thompson’s House

If you want to cry but you just can’t
I will let you eat the spiciest food
If looking into the elephants’ eyes hurts you
Just look at me
and you will laugh

jack by rima3

We will climb the highest temple

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Wat Arun

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We will climb all the temples of Ayutthaya

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Photo by Rima Granali

We will never stop climbing

photo by ted dy
Photo by Ted Dy

until I hear you catching breath

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Wat Phra Mahathat

There, we will wait for the sun to sink
for the ruins to be at peace
like scratches of pain healed

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Wat Phra Mahathat

We will see ruins and say they make a beautiful disaster

jack by rima4
Wat Phra Si Sanphet Photo by Rima Granali

We will smile at the camera without thinking that this sight
is a place where many have rebelled and died
we will not think at all
We will not be weary
even if our feet will tell us
even if our stomach will grumble
We will just be happy

jack by rima5
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol Photo by Rima Granali

If you ask me, Why Thailand?

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Wat Phra Si Sanphet Photo by Rima Granali

My reply: “I just want you to be enlightened”

jack1 by rima
Photo by Rima Granali