Tag Archives: sasha lim uy

Kids and grief and plane crashes

As the whole world learns that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 “ended in the Southern Indian Ocean” and “all lives are lost,” some little kid will be learning that he/she no longer has a mother. Or a father. Or a brother. Or an aunt.

No one can explain how or why. I definitely can’t. Until now, I can only say that the C130 my father was riding almost 21 years ago was blown away by the wind.  As proper authorities try to unweave this mystery, understand this: you will be okay. This is what I’m sure of. You’re going to be fine—if you choose to be.

It’s going to be sad. You’re going to cry. As go through time, you will have moments of wistfulness: proms, weddings, family affairs. Moments when you can’t help but wonder, “What if?”

The beauty—because there’s no other word for it—of losing someone at an age when any loss is like leaving behind a doll at a mall is that there is only one choice for you. To pick yourself up. Cry then continue living. Because you’re here and your life is not lost.

Life will sometimes feel like there’s a gaping hole that can’t be filled, but you’ll move on. Because you’ve moved on from something much more difficult. And with the love and support of the rest of your family and friends, nothing will ever be too insurmountable.

*This is just my two-cent sentiment. I grew up with a really supportive family and for me, I never lacked in the emotional aspect. Context here. I find it quite peculiar that, at 24, I know two people who died from a plane crash. One of them, of course, was my father. 

 

**Until the actual plane has been found, my fingers are crossed that my Langoliers theory is true. 😦  #thisiswhatstephenkingdoestomylife!

Of losing and finding love

I wrote about this a lot time ago. In a stupid, emotionally driven post on a deleted social network where my fingers worked faster than my brain. Looking back, I don’t really remember much of it except for the numerous typographical errors I made as I burned through the keyboard. This is a much happier, more optimistic version.

When I first fell I love, I made plans. By 24, we’d get married; by 26, we’d move out of his parents’ house; by 28, we’d consider having children. Everything was penciled in and we were fully booked until 2057–that’s when I stopped and realized that by then, we’d probably be cloned and my copy would be doing the scheduling.

But like most harebrained schemes, the plans fell through barely a year into them. The ink on my notes began to fade; clear one second and blurry the next. Save for hiding under the sheets for days at a time, nothing seemed to make sense.

It was a beautiful summer day, I learned later–much later. I slept through it. I slept through most of that summer actually; eyes too heavy to keep open and too tired to even try. Eventually the sheets had to be changed and I reluctantly had to leave the 2×4 comforts of my bed. Right foot, left foot. Turn knob, shampoo, rinse. Pick up spoon, open mouth, chew, swallow. Days were accomplished in motions, slowly and one at a time.

Maybe it was God finally taking pity on the pathetic little girl who was slowly withering away. Maybe I just maxed out on sleep. Maybe a ghost shook me out of my revelry. Who knows? Suddenly, the world seemed terribly different. And without thought nor question, I erased everything, bored holes in the paper, ripped through the pages, crossed out words. When I was done, I looked outside with my first real smile in weeks. The sky was a dusky shade of gray. Summer was, regretfully in hindsight, over.

More than the pain of heartbreak was the pain of realizing a future I had stopped considering. And a past that had, in a blink, become useless. I had to switch gears and re-consider. C’est La Vie. Nothing too serious, with decisions centered only inside myself, emotions behind a shell, and foresight that only lasts until the next few weeks. Life armored and in tiptoes.

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On to the next leg of our adventure! Happy anniversary, bossing! Thank you for keeping me head-above-water sane for three years and counting!

But then I met you. A person who’s innately programmed to look only at the bright side. A person who has long dismissed failure as an option. A person who makes me believe–in reality and in dreams and how they can be one and the same. A person who makes me stronger despite the cracks of my own frail system. A person who can recite a decade’s worth of economic fluctuations but can also do a mean Katy Perry impersonation. A person I can just foretell myself with. And when you wore those ugly plastic clogs, stayed with me to clean up sewage flooding in my house, and helped me wipe every tile dry with tissue, I knew. I took my pencil and started writing.

When you love someone, you take the risk of losing yourself for the other person. And when you truly love someone, you know that even if you do lose your whole self, you’re strong enough to gain back what you lost. Chos!

Written on December 26, 2012

I’m famous!

Incidentally, I don’t like posting anything more than once everyday whether in Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or WordPress, but I seem to be making all kinds of exceptions today. As of 11:13 today, I have posted around five things on FB, sent over 10 tweets, and blogged twice. I’m close to being a spammer, but who can resist when something like this happens?

I’ve been feeling only slightly crummy lately, but this cheered me up immensely! I was browsing through my feed looking for foodie discounts when a photo of Italianni’s new Four Seasons salad caught my eye and I thought, “Hey! It looks like one of mine!” Thankfully they appropriated credit otherwise I might scream bloody murder. That salad’s delicious, by the way, a smorgasbord of textures, flavors, and practically every salad ingredient you can find.

Lesson learned: There are always little sources of light amid great darkness. A little silver lining in everything.

P.S.

To learn more about Italianni’s new dishes, check out my story here.

Hey it’s you!

Hey stranger! Yes you! You’ve been left alone so long, it took me a full five minutes to bat the flies away. I’ve been positively busy, but now I think I can spare half an hour to give you a report on myself (haha) on the past two months. That I can compress 60 days of my life in 30 minutes is terribly pitiful…

Highlight 1:

Sixteen days until the Big Day and I am absolutely terrified. Early this week, Jason had a fever; everything he’s done the past year finally took a toll on him physically. It was bound to happen, and I’m very grateful that it happened now than in the weeks surrounding the Big Day. It’s tough, you know. There’s enormous weight on his shoulders and it’ll keep growing bigger and bigger until we receive  that anticipated e-mail–which won’t be for months. It’s tougher knowing how hard this is and you can’t help lighten the load. Not really, anyway. You can perform silly antics, surprise him with breakfast, massage his shoulders, but those are really just sneaky tactics that distract and delay. Oh well. God knows how to reward hard work. 😀

Highlight 2:

A lot has to be said about eating for a living. Literally and professionally. We eat to survive, but I pretty much eat for my the heck of it. Me eating is equivalent to a mound of paperwork for someone else. People misconstrue my job as fun and breezy. Well, let me tell you, eating is a cinch, but tasting is a different, difficult matter. I’m not complaining though; I’d rather stuff myself than wear blazers and fill out balance sheets everyday (no offense :D). It’s not exactly healthy to sleep every night with a bursting belly, especially when it’s loaded with pizza, pasta, burgers, bone marrow (!). Wala man lang fruit! My job sounds incredible, but the after-effects of over-eating aren’t desirable at all. Plus, you have to make sure every review, every write-up gives justice to what you just ate. Suffice to say, I have gained seven pounds and counting. 😦

Highlight 3:

Saturday, May 19, marks the first anniversary of my becoming an official SPOTter! Clap clap yay! My birthday is also right around the corner and I’m excited! So many many plans. So many things I want to do! 😀

It’s the new year!

Something Pretty

I’ve been wanting and hinting for a satchel for about five months now, ever since I saw my old officemate Din-Din carry one during the Seussical press launch. Since then, Monique (who also wanted her own) and I have been canvassing prices, looking for cheaper but nonetheless pretty alternatives. In August, she purchased a gorgeous genuine leather, handmade “FV (hahaha) original” (it arrived in October though) leaving me sorely tempted to buy one too. But because money’s a little tight (the FV is thrice the price I’m willing to pay) and I was hoping someone would give me one for Christmas anyway, I held out.

Lo and behold, like a true mind reader my sister understood my hints and got me a lovely yellow-green satchel from Cole Vintage. 😀 Thank you Achi! I LURVE it! It’s almost as beautiful as you!

Merry Christmas! 😀 😀 😀

18 years :)

Today, someone is probably getting ready for her 18th birthday party. Her first pair of high heels? Check. Mani and pedi? Check. Gorgeous designer dress? Check. As long as everybody comes on time and brings the right gifts (no figurines, please) her debut is sure to be a blast.

But while that nameless debutante is preparing for one of the biggest nights of her life, here we are celebrating a loss that happened 18 years ago–probably around the hour of her birth–when a C-130 plane crashed in a Libmanan rice field. The past is riddled with holes and every now and then, we wonder how different life could have been if we slipped inside a different one. Sometimes, I wonder: maybe, just maybe, if the skies had been clear that night, would I be here right now? Would I be allowed out of the house in this short a miniskirt? In my life, the biggest hole is really the hardest one to get into.

It’s always hard to talk about loss, even one that’s so long ago. But for me, it’s plain hard not because it rubs a closed wound raw but simply because I find it difficult to remember anything. It’s borderline tragic that I remember someone’s death more than his life, especially when that same person gave me half of mine. It’s also slightly depressing that I don’t even have a photo with my dad (maybe I do but I’ve never seen it). Sometimes, it feels like he barely existed but then I remember that I’m here, with four happy siblings.

I could go on and on, complaining about what could have but didn’t happen, but that’s not really me. So allow me to re-post a little something I wrote last year about my dad. It’s the first time I ever talked about him and funny enough, it got published in the paper! One-time-big-time, ika nga! My brother said today is a time of prayer but I think this essay is especially apt for today. Because for me, this is the reminder that he lived. 😀

I HAVE exactly five distinct memories of my father:

1. Him helping me throw cabbage at the giraffes in Manila Zoo.
2. Me pushing him as he hugged me when I slept.
3. The long curly hair on his legs that looked like tree trunks.
4. Him slipping on the bathroom floor.
5. His death.

My father died on Dec. 15, 1993 in a C-130H plane crash caused by a typhoon.

Whenever someone learns that I lost my father when I was 3 years old, the initial reactions are always the same: “You were so young, do you remember him?” “?What was it like growing up without a father?” and “How did your mom handle it?”

Well, let me tell you, my mom handled it perfectly well–with the grace and determination any young mother with five little mouths to feed should have in a sudden crisis. I can write an entire book about her methods, but that should be left for another day.

I do remember my father, even though it was 17 long years ago when I last saw him. I remember him lifting me up on his shoulders, gently instructing me in our native Bicolano to throw the cabbage heads high at the expectant giraffes. My throws were too weak and he ended up feeding the giraffes himself.

I remember choosing to hug Mama instead of him whenever I squeezed myself in between them at night. I remember how as a toddler I got annoyed when he asked me to massage his feet after a long day’s work and how I would pull the curly hair on his leg in revenge. But he barely noticed since he would soon fall asleep.

I remember the smell of the bathroom after he used it and the anger on his face when he blamed everybody for leaving the floor wet after he slipped.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night with two of my uncles huddled around our bed and telling us that my father had died. I even remember the night shirt Mama was wearing at the time.

So to the people who will ask me in the future: Yes, I do remember my father. But no, I never knew him. Neither do I know what it was like growing up without him.

My mother never married another man. Instead she married us, her children–a commitment just as unwavering and hard-wearing, if not more. Never in my life did she make us, especially me, feel less loved and incomplete because we no longer had a complete parental set. She attended every play, dance recital, presentation and award-giving ceremony without fail. She became the addressee of the Father’s Day letters English teachers assigned every June. She took over my father’s construction company (and more). She fulfilled both roles of breadwinner and housekeeper simultaneously.

And then there’s my ever-reliable brother, our eldest. Between us was a seven-year gap that felt like decades. He seemed to be old enough to deserve my reverence but young enough for me to always turn to. He taught me about superheroes, wrestling and video games. He wore my father’s shoes during father-daughter dances. He stepped into the places where my mother wouldn’t fit. He even sported a daddy belly. Between him and my mother, I had an unconventional father.

I sympathize for my friends who lost a loved one at a time when they actually knew what sadness felt like. But it’s hard to miss someone or something I never really had.

This whole setup has been the norm for more than three-quarters of my life. And as far as parenthood is concerned, I don’t know anything lacking. This has been my life as I know it.

Apart from those five memories, everything else I know about my father comes from stories told by others and photographs as well as his tennis and bowling trophies. Most of them are secondhand information, given from a perspective that is obviously not my own. Learning about him is like writing a research paper: it’s interesting but rather too formal and technical. My father is a far-away concept, an object. Sometimes even calling him “Papa” is a tad awkward because it seems too personal.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an ungrateful, insensitive child. I’m not as detached as I might seem. Sometimes my mind does trail off to what life could have been had he lived. My sisters and I would probably not be allowed to have boyfriends until we are well past 30. My brother would probably have shown more interest in basketball (father’s favorite sport, I heard) and engineering (his profession).

Sometimes my imagination runs wild, and I would launch into a soap opera where he would suddenly come knocking on our door, the sole survivor of the crash, still recovering from a bout of amnesia and relearning that he left a family behind.

But even with these stories inside my head, that’s all they will ever be. And that’s all I want them to be.

Looking back at my almost fatherless life, I don’t want anything changed. I’m wistful that I have forgotten the timbre of his voice. I’m sorry I never learned how it felt to see him in the morning. I feel guilty that I was too young to actually feel bad over what happened to him. But I’m not longing or itching to turn back time and alter everything. Life has been good to me. I can’t consider a life without the close and supportive bond that my family developed after my father left us.

To my father who gave me one-half of my life, I lovingly carry those five memories forever. To me they are proof that even for a short time, you existed. And that’s enough. Because you’ve done your fatherly duties and you’ve done your part in keeping us tightly together all these years.

(Sasha Lim Uy, 20, is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and works as an editorial production assistant in the Inquirer.)

“Memories of father “
By Sasha Lim Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Young Blood section
10/05/2010

Gone With The Wind: The Land of Tara

Honestly, I think that I’m a traitor to my own generation. During reunions, I would always find myself at the grown-ups’ table–giving a curt nod to cousins my age all while fascinated at the talk of premature osteoporosis and crow’s feet. I’m an old soul trapped inside a 21-year-old body which could possibly explain my yearning for the vintage:

As promised, more GWTW posts.

Scarlett O’Hara, 16, telling her father that she loves Ashley Wilkes and intends to marry him.

I wish I was back in a time when people wore ball gowns while drinking tea with milk in the afternoon. Look at those intricate lace tiers. That pop of color. Hem the skirt up several inches, get rid of those pigtails, and maybe deflate that balloon skirt a bit and she’d fit right into the 21st century.

Vivien Leigh in her first dress in the hit film. Scarlett wore the gorgeous white and red tiered gown in the opening scene when she is courted by the Tarleton brothers–yes, both of them.

Oompa Loompa Doo Ba Dee Doo

Have I mentioned that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* (Tim Burton adaptation) is one of my favorite films? It was the first original DVD I ever bought. The fact that I actually paid 600 pesos for something I could’ve gotten for a fifth of the price is a show of integrity that proves just how important it is to me.  It was worth it though:  the classically haunting cinematography, the Danny Elfman songs, even the added Wilbur Wonka (Christopher Lee) bit all fitted together like pieces of a puzzle. When I was a freshman in college, my brother and I memorized all the songs and had a dance-off in our condo. Four years later, we still haven’t agreed on who won.

The launch of Candy Corner’s Wonka Imaginarium at the Shangri-La Plaza atrium earlier today brought back a surge of those memories. I grew up sucking on Gobstoppers, chomping on Nerds, and singing “Pure Imagination” after all. It wasn’t exactly the Chocolate Room Roald Dahl envisioned but the entire idea was sweet (literally, too!). In this rendition, the Wonka world is an enchanted factory that harvests dreams and turns them into candies. I don’t know about you but that sounds Freddy Kreuger-ish to me. We had to course through a “magical forest,” talk to a mysterious tree, walk past the tunnel of lost wishes, learn magic from a witch–all in search of a missing rainbow (the dream that makes the happiest of all candies)… and all while snatching as much candy as we can possibly fit into our pockets.

I just wish they put in a bunch of Oompa Loompas to add to the effect. But on the positive side: FREE CANDY. I ate so much taffy that only one thing was running through my head after we found the “rainbow”:

“Augustus Gloop, Augustus Gloop, the great big greedy nincompoop.”

“Augustus Gloop, so big and vile, so greedy, foul, and infantile.”

The three girls supposedly portrayed the different flavors of Wonka Laffy Taffy.

Happy first day of the month! The Wonka Imaginarium is open from today until December 4.

*The first movie starring Gene Wilder is titled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and was released in 1971.

Feels like Whoville

Wound up in Mandaluyong City Hall for an assignment. 😀 It was an accidental find. 😀 The terrible photos are equally accidental.

I love looking at Christmas decor–the more elaborate, the better! Marveling at blinking lights with cheesy Jose Mari Chan songs in the background never fails to put me in a holiday mood. Christmas isn’t exactly my merriest season: my dad died around this time almost 18 years ago. It’s good to see little signs like overly ornate trees and embellished buildings to remind me that there’s always a reason to celebrate no matter what.

This year (and I’m guessing a year and a half more) it’s all about work. Even visiting these places. But it’s Christmas! It’s a time of joy, a time of peace, a time when hearts are then set free. So let’s heal the wounds of division because it’s a time of grace and hope! Thank you Jamie Rivera for teaching us this.

I find the tiger emblem a little weird; it’s like a logo for camphor .

It’s Christmas time in the city.

Siopaos the size of my face!