Sunday, April 21, 2013

Have You Ever Been to You?



So I just took the TOPIK. Again. After a year. To tell you the truth, napag-iwanan na ng Japanese at Mandarin ang Korean ko. In the beginning I was very enthusiastic about learning Korean. It is one of those languages that make me smile whenever I speak it or listen to it. Parang Italian. And then I continued my Mandarin studies at Confucius Institute on weekends, tapos Japanese sa Nihongo Center pag weekdays. Needless to say, naubusan na ako ng time for self-study ng Korean, at kahit isang taon na ang nakalipas, I think wala pa ring progress. What I did was stay up until the wee hours early today. Cramming, which is what I love to do and have proven to be an effective method for me. Nakakaaliw, kasi lahat ng inaral ko before na feeling ko nakalimutan ko na, bumalik just like that. After snoozing for two hours, go na ako sa Korean Cultural Center after a quick shower.

Okay naman yung exam. Nag try ako ng mock exam yesterday, pasado naman. Sana sa actual oo din. Kakaiba kasi ang TOPIK e. Unlike other language certification exams, sa TOPIK tatlo lang ang exams for the six traditional levels. Meaning? Kapag nag DELE C1 ka at bumagsak ka, wala kang diploma. Kapag pumasa ka may DELE C1 ka. For the TOPIK Beginners, the level depends on the grade that you get. Out of 100 points for each of the four aspects, if you get lower than 70 but higher than 40 for each, TOPIK 1 yun. If you get higher than 70 on all four, TOPIK 2 yun. It is the same case for TOPIK Intermediate (3 and 4) and Advanced (5 and 6). So anong problema? Well, may TOPIK 1 na ako from last year. Hindi ako umabot sa 70 cut off grade for each, which was still impressive for someone who has never learned the language in an institute. Pero naman, di ba? Kung kukuha ko ulit, siguro dapat mag level up na?

My grades last year were not that far from the vicinity of 70, so I am guessing if I just continued studying religiously, kahit small amounts every day, then there would be no worries now. Yun naman ang key to language learning: consistency. But consistency has never been my cup of tea. I’ve always preferred consumption by the bulk, whether it be dinner, backpacking, or language learning. Laging one time big time. Laging nagmamadali. Hindi ko tuloy maiwasan ma-emo after the exam. Ganito naman kasi lagi kapag kulang sa tulog at kapag pwede na matulog ay tinatamad ka naman. It is the most conducive time for me to reflect about life in general. Alam mo yung nakahilata ka lang at nag-iisip. Free thinking, walang iniisip in particular. Nakikinig ng music.

Inikot kasi ako ng taxi driver sa buong Bonifacio Global City at Armed Forces while his radio was tuned in to this very cheesy afternoon radio show where a letter sender shares her story, na obviously ubod ng keso at cliche na mahihiya ang mga writers ng mga teleserye sa TV. Pero nakakaaliw, at talagang sinundan ko yung story hanggang makauwi ako sa bahay! HAHAHA. They kept on inserting those annoying radio sound bites and awkward song samples that relate to the dilemma of the letter sender. Nakakatawa pero nakaka relax na rin because most of the songs were oldies and from the easy listening genre. And then after the show ended they kept on playing old songs, and this particular one played and hit me like a speeding shinkansen.

You know that song where a woman tells another woman on how she has been to paradise but never been to “ME”? I remember that song from a Desperate Housewives episode, yung nag sing-off si Teri Hatcher tiyaka si Nicolette Sheridan, and the latter sang this. Sa totoo lang, kesong keso itong kantang ito at lagi akong natatawa kapag pinapakinggan ko. Pero ngayon ko lang talaga siya pinakinggan ng buo, with matching analysis of lyrics, and I am amused and surprised at the same time on how I could actually relate to it, which is awkward because as mentioned, it is a song of a woman to another woman, on giving advice on how living it large (and wild) is not always the “paradise” that most people expect it to be.

So I said okay, let us try to analyze this as a non-gender specific piece of poetry and try to apply it to our current situation. Surprisingly, it hit me in more places than one. Weirded out. I guess in life there comes a time when you really do not know what to do, and thus, just carry on with what you think you should do or what you think you want to do, when in fact you could not even distinguish which is which. Halo-halo na kumbaga. Yung paraiso na pilit mong hinahanap ay paraiso lang in a superficial sense, na when you sit back and think about it, you realize that it is all just a sugar-coated manifestation of your escapist tendencies. Tumatakas ka lang. Ang tanong from whom? Sa sarili mo. And that is when the singer suddenly belted out, as if on cue, “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.”

Tang ina lang ang after effects ng mga language certification exams na ito no? Lakas ng tama, HAHAHA. I guess it is a defense mechanism of the brain to make up for the genocide of neurons brought about by the unnecessary stress involved in taking an exam that tells you about your supposed fluency in a language by virtue of a mere piece of glossy paper called a certificate, na nowadays e hindi na rin nga glossy. Heavy. But I love the realizations. What I hate is how I never act on those realizations and leave them just as they are. Realizations. Thoughts that are never converted into action with improvement as the imagined end product. The hesitant welcoming of the status quo that you will otherwise never accept but you do so anyway kasi it's convenient. And that is the sad thing. I have a choice. In fact, I have a lot of them, and that is what makes me crazy. Sa sobrang dami ng pagpipilian, hindi mo na alam kung saan ka lulugar. And that feeling of regret will follow you all around and tear you apart, kasi alam mo na kahit ano ang piliin mo, iisip-isipin mo pa rin yung mga what-ifs kung pinili mo yung mga hindi mo pinili. Messed up, dude.

So yeah, let us rephrase: I’ve been to Mongolia and South Korea and heck, even to Pyongyang. Flirted with danger, unleashed my anger, all ‘coz I am young. But now I’m out of reasons, and explanations, for wanting so much to be “free”. I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me. Boom! HAHAHAHA. I miss those times when I used to blog like this. No apprehensions. No rules.  No care in the world. No rigid style to follow. Anyway...

I don’t know. I wish I could reach that point when I could finally look at myself in the mirror and say with conviction what I really want to do in this life. I guess it is high time for me to accept the fact that the world around me is not the problem. That I am the problem, and that all this wild goose chase for whatever it is that I am looking for -- but have never really had an inkling as to what the hell it is -- is just a form of escapism. From myself. From my defects. From my imperfections. And the reluctance to accept the fact that my life will never be perfect. Not for the world. And definitely not for myself.

Ika nga ni Ilse: "What are you looking for?" na sinagot naman ni Moritz ng: "If only I knew..." na natapos with: "Then what's the use of looking"?  I hate how I grew up with that kind of mentality na nakatatak na sa isip ko na kailangang lagi akong may patunayan sa mga tao even if they are not really demanding anything from me. Parang tanga lang. In the end, you are your own nemesis din talaga e.

In the absence of external factors that are hell bent on putting you down, deciding to do so yourself is a gratuitous stupidity that will do you more harm than good. Let go. Enjoy. Magpatangay ka na lang sa agos ng proverbial ilog of life. Sumalpok ka man sa bato, mahulog ka man sa talon, o sagipin ng nakatakdang sumagip sa yo in this lifetime, at least guaranteed yan na nag enjoy ka naman. Kesa nanonood ka lang sa gilid, and when you finally decide to jump in, tapos na ang party. At mag-isa ka na lang sa imaginary river mo. Di ba?

5 creature/s gave a damn:

melvin said...

i enjoyed reading this

melvin said...

personal question,ang trabaho mo ba may kinalaman sa isa sa mga language na inaral mo?sana makinabang din ako sa pag aaral ko ng spanish.natatagalan lang ako,feeling ko ang tanga ko o matagal talaga ata.

melvin said...

personal question,ang trabaho mo ba may kinalaman sa isa sa mga languages na inaaral mo?sana makinabang din ako sa spanish,kaso natatagalan lang ako

ihcahieh said...

@melvin - haha, I guess nakaka relate ka rin? As for your question, well, no I don't see it as personal at all, LOL. Answer is yes. Even before I graduated from college, kumikita na ko because of Spanish. Hanggang ngayon. :)

ihcahieh said...

@melvin - wag ka mainip. Darating yung time na maa-appreciate mo rin lahat ng paghihirap mo ngayon. I suggest braving a call center position kapag conversant ka na. Win-win situation yun, laki sweldo mo pwersadong practice ka pa. Araw araw. That's what I did. Kapal lang ng mukha at lakas ng loob. HAHA.

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