Sunday, August 06, 2006

Silence Before the Plunge

If someone had told me a week ago that I would find myself running across a football field in a skirt and sneakers, with fresh gashes from a recent tumble across my palms and knees, I would have laughed outright. Me? Play a sport? Kill me now.

But somehow, the experience with John V. and his team of insanely amazing soccer (football) fanatics encapsulated the experience here in Singapore so far. While most of us were Filipino, we had several Eurasians in the group, a Vietnamese named Thai, and a fifty-something Singaporean man we called "Uncle" - because nobody found out his real name. On the playing field, as the shadows lengthened and a cool breeze sifted through the grass and dried the sweat off our bodies, everything was suddenly leveled. There was only you, your teammates, and the ball. Oh, and John screaming, "Defense! Bantayan mo yung bola!." My legs hurt and I knew it was quite silly of me to be wearing a skirt, since I was woefully unprepared and had no idea that I would be playing in the first place, and I had next-to-no knowledge of the damn game. But watching that ball arc gracefully across a twilit sky and have the entire world pause as it succumbed to the call of gravity is something that is close to sacred.

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Despite my repeated pleas to myself to stop buying books, I couldn't help but purchase Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales from Kinokuniya the other day, and to avail myself of their membership discount card, which gives me a 10% discount on all of the books I buy over there. And I also discovered San Bookshop near the Novena MRT station, which lets you buy paperback books at a discounted price and then, after a certain period (two months or so), if you didn't like the book, you can sell it back to them. I got myself David Eddings' The Elenium trilogy, just to see how it compares to his earlier works, which I loved.

Still waiting for my other books from Manila to arrive, so I can start setting up here. Next projects (when my stipend arrives): a bookshelf, a rug, and some throw pillows for the floor, all courtesy of Ikea.

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Last night, I went with several members of the UPAAS to Ministry of Sound because (a) I haven't been clubbing here at the "hip" places, and (b) I really don't go clubbing (exception was a couple of years ago with a rather inebriated friend of mine, where we found ourselves at McDonald's Philcoa at three in the morning because he couldn't go home until six, and I was keeping him company) and (c) I figured it was better than staying at home on a Saturday night.

I learned that (a) I have yet to learn how to "dance" in clubs, (b) that everyone will always look better than me, and (c) everyone's either lost or wanting to be found.

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My school is a surrealist nightmare in terms of architecture and geography. No, you cannot walk around the campus or you will die, or your legs will go on revolt and leave you for dead. And while the internal shuttle bus is free, the price to pay is the fact that the driver is a wannabe BMX driver in control of a bus who, sometimes, never stops at the place where you want them to stop.

Case in point: it took me 45 minutes to find a lecture theatre where the international graduate students' orientation was going to be. And I was already in the right building! @_@

Still, it was nice to see the turn-out. We filled the entire place, and then some, and I finally got to meet the other Pinoy grad students. Most of them were taking their MBAs, and it seemed that I was the only UP student in the group. Ended up hanging out with the only Ph.D students there: two Ateneo instructors from the Sociology department, also there on a research grant from NUS. Nino and Andi were just fun to hang out with: we killed our legs walking back to the bus stop, then killed them some more going to my flat first before exploring the lenght of Orchard.

I must admit to having a slight crush on Nino - more for the charm and conversation rather than anything else. However, as circumstances would have it, he does have a girlfriend that he loves very much. Sigh. Ah well. Pana-panahon lang yan.

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School pretty much starts next week - I have a meeting with the graduate coursework coordinator before the department orientation to discuss the specifics of the course and what my options are regarding classes and concentration. I'm hoping that my piddling background in lit crit is enough to jumpstart my brain into MA mode. And I do hope to finish within the year.

Still. The panic begins.

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