Thursday, March 31, 2016

10 Years

It's been ten years since I embarked on the journey with Google and what a ride it has been.

Ten years ago I applied to be the country consultant for the Philippines on a whim (actually more out of frustration over a former boss). It took me almost six months to muster up the guts to send in my application. It was a huge surprise that I got a response from recruitment within 24 hours. After months of deliberation, background checks I onboarded on a new journey on my birthday.

A few weeks later I found myself on my first plane ride to the US. I was so scared and promptly cried when I stepped out of the San Francisco Airport. When I arrived at the hotel in Mountain View the hotel reception said my sister called several times already and she had sent me a package. It was a thick jacket since she knew I'd be cold. I knew then that I'd be okay.

I still remember my first day at campus. I entered the building with much trepidation as I did not know what to expect. I was telling myself, "What have you gotten yourself into?" After passing through reception I was told to have a snack at the micro-kitchen and there I met Francisco from Colombia. Eventually the other scouts arrived and we were ushered in a room where we had countless trainings and throughout the two weeks we met product managers, big bosses (i.e. Alan Eustace and now CEO Sundar Pichai) and we got a glimpse of Sergey Brin zipping around on a segueway.



It was like being in a dream (a seriously jetlagged dream) and I now remember only bit and pieces. That two weeks though forged a fellowship and friendship among seven people. We all didn't really know what exactly we were going to do. All we knew was we had a big mission to fulfill. Throughout the years we only see each other sparingly, but we'd get on calls every so often to check on each other. And whatever we've been through, we understand each other the best.



Now it's been almost ten years since that fateful year that brought us together. I'm the only one left from our batch in our region, but that special sibling bond is still there and will be there for many years to come. We are planning to do something together, but let's see how long it takes to do. We'll probably get to it on our 15th year as you know how we always try to iterate things. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

What has this World Come To?

Easter has come once again. A great time for redemption (more than new year!). I sat in church yesterday thinking about what I could improve on. I know I need to learn to be more patient. Be more forgiving. Be more thoughtful, more loving. Be stronger. Be accepting of who I am and my weaknesses. I was sad because I feel I had made some choices that have severely affected my family. I could've done things that could have corrected things much earlier.

That's me. My life, but with the chance to change. To correct. To fix. I can move it to a better path which means love would still win.

I read about what happened in Pakistan. Innocent children died because of hatred. It is so sad. I have been trying to understand why this is happening, but I do not have an answer. To those who have a conscience this is horrible. An act against humanity. But to those who do this, they do not have a conscience. They do not respect life.

What can we do? As an individual there's very little we can do except to be mindful of our surroundings. The Singapore MRT video reminds us every day to be watchful and to report anything suspicious. Today's world is really scary and as Superman said, "Man has built a world where no one can remain good." A great philosopher once said, "Man is good" and I believe that. There's good in all of us. We can just hope and pray that those who are lured to do evil would let the good in them come out.

And that is what Easter is about. Be good. Make the right choices and help make this world better. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Darth Vader, the Most Evil Villain in the Universe

Did you ever wonder who the actor behind Darth Vader was? I must admit that I always thought that the actor whose face was shown when Darth Vader died in "Return of the Jedi" was the same actor who played Darth Vader throughout the series. He wasn't. The real Darth Vader is David Prowse, an English actor who's also a body-builder and weightlifter. Darth Vader's voice was done by James Earl Jones (who guested on Big Bang Theory).

I learned this from watching the documentary "I am Your Father". It was a film made by a director who is a huge fan of David Prowse. He wanted to show the real man behind the mask. The documentary detailed the life of David Prowse who became known from being a weight lifter and an Olympiad. Eventually because of his physique he became an actor and portrayed characters like Frankenstein and other monsters. It was because of his physique that he was cast as Darth Vader.



The feature showed the other side of "Darth Vader". He's really kind and a family man in real life. It's quite sad to see though that he hasn't been given the recognition he deserves being the most evil villain in the whole wide universe (well in film). After all Star Wars won't be what it is without "Darth Vader". Apparently there has been a standing 35+ year old misunderstanding between Mr. Prowse and Lucas Film. Because of this he hasn't enjoyed the same recognition that other original Star Wars actors get. Mr. Prowse is the same age of my Mom so I wish that they could just bury the hatchet and revel with the success of the film as one big happy family because I'm a big Star Wars fan!

*Sorry I don't have an Darth Vader photos as I've always been scared of him since I was a child and that's one of the reasons I collect Yoda figurines hehe. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Did Nanay Come from Taiwan?

Being the youngest in our clan has its drawbacks. I only managed to meet my maternal grandmother since by the time I was born my other grandparents had gone to heaven. On my father side though we never met our paternal grandmother since she passed away when my Dad was just 7 years old.

Ever since I was a child I always wondered about my other grandparents since I always had an awesome time with my Mama Lola. My elders say that I'm a lot like her, bit eccentric, creative, moody and hated parties. I treasured the time I got to spend with my Mama Lola and still miss her a lot.

A few years ago I chanced upon a museum somewhere in Laguna. The place had this huge painting of a woman who seemed very familiar to me. My maternal grandmother had very few photos, but the woman in the painting looked a lot like her. I asked the museum staff if they knew who she was. They said she was the aunt of the owner. They didn't know her name though and said they had no idea where she was already. I wondered a lot since they had barrels in the compound that had my Dad's middle name printed on it. I showed my Dad a photo of the painting and he said it qas Nanay. I've emailed the museum a couple of times, but they have not responded.

My paternal grandfather and grandmother had eloped since during that time it was unheard of for a Filipino and Chinese to marry. So my grandmother essentially left her family and moved to Lucban. I am not sure if she passed away before or after my Dad's family escaped to the South (coz the Hukbalahap used our family name as an alias).

I'm usually wary when I travel since I have to take special care of my health. Last year was the first time I managed to visit Taiwan and the place just felt very different. It was like... Home. All the food i eat here is very familiar and I don't feel different. And well I definitely blend in like a local (I just unfortunately don't speak Chinese).

And then I remembered Nanay. I showed her photo to a few friends and they said she looked Taiwanese from the olden days. I wrote the museum again but they haven't responded and I don't think they will. I'll probably need to go visit the place again when I have time.

In any case if anyone of you would know anyone from the Sulyap museum. It would be nice to know if that was indeed Nanay in the painting and if there's any family I should meet.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lili Elbe, Be Yourself

The only time I get to watch movies is when I'm stuck inside a plane with nothing else to do. I normally watch (and re-watch) favorite episodes of Big Bang Theory, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and other favorite shows and select popular movies (I re-watched Star Wars VII recently).

"The Danish Girl" looked interesting and I finally got to watch it the other day. I watched the movie without reading the summary, but was pleasantly surprised with how the story went. The movie was set in the 1920's and was a love story inspired by painters Einar and Gerda Wegener. It showed the journey that they went through where in the end Einar became Lili Elbe.



The film showed the struggle that Einar went through as he transformed into Lili. I have seen a few of my friends go through the same struggle back when I was in college and best thing one could do is be like Gerda, supportive and loving. All of us struggle in just being ourselves since there's so much pressure from society to conform to expectations.

Lili Elbe just wanted to be herself and eventually lived her life the way she wanted. She lived during the era when society was very strict about the role a man and a woman should play. She was diagnosed as mentally ill/schizophrenic/homosexual and was almost put in an asylum. Despite that she showed how strong she was and pursued her dreams.

One can pick up lessons on love, being true to yourself and understand the struggles of others from the film. By being understanding to others we could probably make earth a better place to live in.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Battling Jetlag

I haven't blogged for over a week. I'm blogging now because I am slowly losing the battle against jetlag and I have to keep awake so I can adjust much faster. Historically though it takes me at least 2 days of coma-like sleep after coming back from the West to get up. I hope to battle this though since I need to travel again by Monday.

Here are some tips that my friends have given to battle jetlag:

1. Stay out in the sun for a few hours.

2. If your arriving at night, don't sleep on the flight so you can sleep at the proper time.

3. Take meds (I'm scared of doing this though).

4. Never give in to a nap if the sun is still out.

5. Just keep busy.

I've unpacked, did 3 loads of laundry, bugged my son most of the afternoon, nagged Sweetie, drank coffee, Coke and milk tea (okay too much caffeine isn't really good), but so far the best deterrent to falling asleep is putting a lot of stuff on my bed so I can't lie down. Ahh, maybe I should listen to Madonna to keep me up for at least a few more hours.

What do you do to fight jetlag?