KitchTen Minute: Chicken Honey Adobo (Classic Filipino Adobo with a Twist)

image Okay, so my housemates L and D came from their annual training and decided to make chicken adobo for dinner and I just woke up from a flight, tired and feeling lazy, my mouth watered at the thought of the famous Filipino staple. However, being not a part of their house budget, and my picky eating habits, I usually make my own food. For those who are foreign to this kind of food, adobo is a Filipino dish of chicken or pork stewed in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves, and peppercorns. While pork is a no-no in the Middle East, chicken adobo is what we always make. So, with the delicious smell of garlic, onions and ginger enveloping our whole living room, I decided to make mine in less than ten minutes. (I know, lazybelle mode.)

Here’s how I made my ten minute adobo with a twist brought about by my impulse to create drama in my food making. ❤

I have learned not to waste food, so I did not open a new pack of chicken and I used the last 3 pieces of chicken breasts instead.

You will need:

  1. Chicken parts, preferably breasts and thighs but you can use any parts you like.
  2. Soy sauce
  3. Lemon, or you can use the local Philippine lemon
  4. Chili powders
  5. Honey
  6. Oil
  7. Onions
  8. Garlic
  9. Sugar and pepper powder

What I did:

I placed 3 pieces of chicken in the pot and I added six spoonfuls of soy sauce, squeezed half of sliced lemon, chopped onions and garlic, chili powder, pepper and a pinch of sugar. I added 50 ml of water and I let it bring into a boil through medium fire. I kept checking the chicken if it is already tender and cooked while I constantly made sure that it will not go dry because I am avoiding it to become sticky and bitter. Once I found the sauce semi dry, I put a little oil to fry the chicken in a bit, and poured three spoonfuls of honey and stirred them well making sure that the chicken is well coated with honey and let it stay in the fire for a while to allow the honey to seep through the meat for two minutes. And I ate it like I haven’t eaten in two days. Haha. PS: To be honest, I think it took me 15 to 20 minutes but hey, it was done and it turned out deliciously edible. So go ahead, create your own. Enjoy loves! ❤

Conflict 101: 10 Lessons I Learned in Dealing With Conflicts

I currently work in an airline company of approximately 600 people where constant meeting with each other is unavoidable. We are rostered into flights where I get to fly with some crew as many as eight times in a month. I enjoy flying, and I like my flights especially if the people I fly with are nice, friendly and diligent. We are a multi cultural community thus; we deal with different nationalities with different social and cultural backgrounds. Given the fact that it’s a multicultural environment, conflict is always unavoidable, no matter how insignificant, irrelevant or minor it was.

I have been with this company for over four years and I had my fair shares of conflict where in the end, it is either closed and forgotten or settled and we all go on happily with our lives. I have also seen girl fights over the social media, read harsh exchange of taunting and insults. I have heard girls gossip about other girls, no matter how untrue or factual it was, girls devour it like some well prepared meal. I have also encountered boy’s mudslinging others, and its quiet vicious. I rationalized that perhaps, because all we ever do is fly, go home, sleep, stare in the television, play with our phones and majority of us have nothing quiet productive to do, gossiping and passing untruthful stories about each other is the best recreational past time there is. And when fight comes into the picture after it has reached the intended party, everybody enjoys being the spectator. After all, having bottled anger and that desire to fight back is always unsettling.

My friend S, who is the inspiration of this post, recently became a victim of cyber bullying where other girls posted cruel things in the internet and maligned her. To make matters worse, S herself was just a victim of an unknown game of staged and well played pseudo relationship. Too many posts, too many insults being thrown at her, too many untruthful stories being shared from flights to another by the so called other victim and her friends and name callings, S decided to fight back unthinking. She posted the same kind of crap being thrown at here. She fought back just exactly how that very cruelty was inflicted on her. Understandably, her actions were justifiable. In this world where dog eats another dog, one must fight back to survive. In S’s case, she fought back for her honor. But then, S was cautioned by her friends to simply ignore the senseless fighting since she sincerely knew she was not guilty of anything and none of those accusations thrown at her were true. So, in an instant, she let go and simply walked away from such chaos. I admired S’s conviction to continue with her life peacefully. In the end, she might have won it proving her claim to be right but I choose to believe that she has already won it when she walked away.

In light with S’s experience, I learned the following valuable lessons.

1. I don’t have to be always right. I do not need to assert that I am right all the time. I strongly agree that being peaceful is much better than being right.

2. I have to choose my own battles. I do not need to be always in the front line of any battles, neither fights with anybody just to prove my point.

3. The person who apologizes first is the bravest. When one acknowledges his mistakes and apologizes, he displays admirable strength and maturity.

4. I need to count from 1 to 10 before I talk back. Similarly, I need to stop from rushing head first into the fight and reflect whether this will help me or further create conflict.

5. If confrontation is inevitable, I need to keep a calm demeanor, my words carefully chosen and my responses less threatening.

6. Before I engage in conflict, I need to ask myself three things; will this matter five years from now? Will it cause me sleepless nights if I do not confront my offender? Will it help me become a better person if I win this argument and hurt the offending party?

7. I need to have concrete facts before I get react. I need to know my enemy well before I charge in to the battleground.

8. I should try to verbalize what I feel to friends I trust the most. I know that they can enlighten me at some point whether a matter is worth attending to. My friends can also help me realize that sometimes, senseless conflict is a total waste of time.

9. I shall avoid using social media to vent my anger or to taunt my opponent. I should refuse to post, comment or create scenarios to further ignite the raging fire of conflict.

10. When I know I am right, I do not owe anybody an explanation. An angry person will refuse to listen to my explanations anyway. I should avoid stressing myself over unwanted dramas by simply walking away from such trouble.

Be kind. Be peaceful. Let go of what drags you down and remove yourself from the toxic environment. Life is meant to be lived with happiness, compassion and maximizing your full potential. A happy heart is a happy life.

 

Baby Steps Away From Heartbreak

A heartbreak is a heartbreak no matter what the circumstance is. It will always be the same sharp stabbing pain when you inhale as you drive yourself down the memory lane. It will always be the same painful yet numbing feeling of your eyes as you have cried bucketful of tears during those dark, cold nights where you find yourself alone in the bed. It will always be that indescribable lurch in your stomach when you create a scenario in your head where your partner will come back to you or when you imagine a moment that you will bump into each other in the street, or in the workplace. Always, a heartbreak is the one of the most unwanted feelings in the world along with rejection, loneliness and loss of purpose.

How do you move on then, specially if you are the aggrieved party? How do you survive the first few days of the loss?

I decided to create this post to help my very dear girlfriends S and S since their experiences are exactly similar to what I had experienced way back. I bet some, or most of you can actually relate to this since I am sure you have also explored endless means to survive a heartbreak and move on. Between chatting with them, and drying my nails, I have listed several ways to get by on the very first weeks of a break up from my own experience and well, from the others through internet. Maybe too generic for your taste, but hey, if it can help, why not, right? You can also help my friends, or any other girls who may stumble in this post by putting in your ideas and experiences in the comment section.

So, let’s take some baby steps, shall we?

1. To move on is to decide that you have to move on.

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I know you will go through several times beating yourself between letting go or to wait for some days or weeks because you are hoping that your partner will eventually hit his head in the pavement and realize that he made a bad decision and he will come back to you. While sometimes waiting can actually give both of you a chance to reconcile, it is much better to use that waiting time to decide to completely walk away when you have gone through a period of reflection and evaluation of the relationship why it has ended.

2. Be nice to your body.

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While chocolates, bucketful of ice creams and cookies are actually some “feel good foods”, you need to limit your intake of these calorie laden munchies. You need to take a small portion of food, real food that is. When I was going through my bouts of depression, I actually lost the appetite to eat no matter how hard my friends or family tried to make me eat. I seriously lost a lot of pounds and looked sickly. It took me a while to get my healthy weight back and which included different vitamins and appetite boosting supplements. Take some sandwich, take big bites and take big gulps of water afterwards. You do not need to actually sit in the table and take the three course meal your mother has prepared. Just try to eat some good food rather than drown yourself with empty calories. You can also use your anger to turn your “beast mode” ON by going to the gym, and work your way to a sexier and healthier body. Go to a salon, cut your hair, or dye it. Get facials, have a body massage or indulge in a spa date with your girlfriend. Do anything to help improve your physical appearance as it will help you feel good about yourself too. It will also open doors for you to meet new potentials and it will boost your confidence. Oftentimes, when you physically feel good, it helps ease your pain.

3. Be kind to yourself.

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In every ending of relationships, there will be too many questions. Why us? What happened? What went wrong? Where did I go wrong? What did I miss? What is wrong with me? STOP. While it is good to seek for some answers, try to minimize the self questioning. Evaluate your relationship when you have slept well and when you are calm and thinking rationally. Do not fall into the blaming cycle. What has happened, has happened. It will not happen if it was not meant to happen.During my heartbreak, I went through an endless search for answers of some questions where neither I, or my friends cannot find. One of my good friend in the flight AK even told me that sometimes, it is better not to know the answers since it has the power to hurt you further instead of making you feel better. And eventually, I stopped searching, and by the time I have decided to close the chapter, all my answers came openly. If you insist in understanding what has gone wrong, talk to your trusted friends. They can help you think better and rationalize since they are not the ones directly involved. But no matter what, try to be kind to yourself. Do not be cruel by blaming yourself constantly even when you are not entirely responsible for it. After all, it takes two to tango. (You may also check my other post about searching for answers in my blog under the Love archive, titled What Hurts You The Most?)

4. Verbalize.

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Venting out can actually help you release stress and emotional pain. Talk to trusted people in your circle. Do not just go and blab to any colleague or casual friends. And never, ever vent out to his best friend. Chances are, whatever you have told him will be relayed to him in verbatim and if your ex is an asshole, it will help inflate is ego. You can also write. I can feel emotional release when I write and blog but I do not publish all of them. Avoid posting lame quotes in your Facebook page or picture quotes in your Instagram. It is not good to let the whole world know your relationship woes and you will become the main course of office lunch gossip. Do not stalk his new girl or you will end up with self-esteem issues by comparing yourself to the new squeeze. Do not be a psychotic ex girlfriend stalking them, or lambasting them in the social network. Do not lash at anyone in the social media because no matter what has happened, when you are the bitter ex girlfriend, whatever your actions will clearly justify the breakup. When you go “psycho mode“, you will definitely appear as the loser. Instead, accept what has happened with grace and always strive to be the better person. And do not wish them well, because we both know how badly you want to strangle his new girl and it will only make you look pathetic. One helpful way to release your anger or pain is to write it in a piece of paper, pour all those hurtful, unspoken feelings and burn it afterwards. It has some kind of significant effect similar to letting go. And yes please, delete, block and unfollow. You can also discard his gifts but if it is too hard to do, you may ask a friend to box them all for you and store it away until you are ready to either throw or donate them.

5. Know that this too shall pass.

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I always remember the line from the song by Semi Sonic, Closing Time, “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” In time, the pain will eventually subside. The memories will also fade. You will remember the person, but you wont be able to recall that exact magical feeling he used to invoke in you. And you will laugh at yourself years from now when you recall your past. Of course, along with the experience comes valuable lessons. The painful heartbreak will teach you so many things that you will use with caution in your next relationship. Do not be bitter. It is not the end of the world. Life will always go on. And sometimes, I swear, that very person who broke your heart will someday find his way back in one way of another to either provide closure or another second chance. Just recently, my first love who shattered my young heart to pieces ten years ago came back to my life unexpectedly. An awkward exchange of “how are you’s” and catching up led to a serious conversation where he asked for a sincere apology for breaking my heart. I felt great, I felt elated and I had my final closure. I felt better knowing that the break up was meant to happen, because our immature concept of love cannot withstand the challenge of commitment and that there was nothing wrong with me or him. We were just young,and so in loved but our love consumed and burned us to ashes. Do not hurry and never rush into the next relationship. Instead, take it one step at a time, baby steps towards forgiveness, healing and acceptance. Forgive the offending person, and forgive yourself as well. Do not challenge what has happened. Rather, slowly accept them and let go of everything that is making you sad and preventing you to have another chance to be happy with someone new, and allow yourself to be healed in time. ❤ Hang on my loves, you will eventually get there.

 

 

KitchTen Minute: Buttered Bean Sprouts, Corn and Carrots

I am passionate about food. I love trying new dishes, and I am brave enough to try foreign cuisine. Oftentimes, I am the spectator while magic is being performed in the kitchen either by my mother, or my father or John. I love cooking too, although my creations are far greater than my brother John who is considered the family chef. John is the most creative person I always look up to when it comes to cooking. I just hope that he will continue his great passion for food and enroll himself in a culinary school. He can create new meal from leftovers and he was the one who taught me to be patient when cooking. He emphasized that, in cooking, I should be patient, and to be very attentive to fine details. He taught me to taste the difference between spices, smell between various aromas, and feel the texture in leaves or flesh of the meat.

But to be honest, given the nature of my job as a flight attendant, I do not have the time, nor energy to make meals that require a lot of time. At the end of my flight, I feel as sluggish as the octopus being hauled out of the sea. I feel extremely tired, sleepy and hungry, specially on those days where I do killing pairing flights. At the end of the day, all I ever want is to clean my face and crawl to the cold, welcoming arms of my bed -tired and hungry. I also do not like the meals on board since they meals are highly saturated with fat and they do not taste good. (Promise.) I also do not have the time to make sandwiches and bring them with me on board. Call me lazy, but seriously, I am based in a place where going to the grocery store is not as appealing as you think which includes trying to find someone to accompany you because its not safe to go out alone and leave your house wearing a certain garment which covers your entire body. I will rant about it someday. 🙂

So, when I had the chance to complain to my brother how I wanted to make healthy meals without taking me a long time, we came up with some recipes and ideas how to make my tummy happy.

Here is the first recipe of my KitchTen Minute episode.

Please know that these are simple meals intended to help those who are in a rush, or does not have time to cook. I am no MasterChef but I try to make foods that are healthy and filling in a short time frame. ❤

Buttered Bean Sprouts, Corn and Carrots

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Ingredients:

1.1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts, washed and dried.

2. 1/2 cup sliced carrot sticks.

3. 1/2 cup whole sweet corn kernels, drained.

4. 1 small sized onions, diced.

5. 2 tablespoon butter

6. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Procedure:

In a medium sized skillet, place butter to slightly melt. Saute onions until it caramelizes, and add carrots. Stir for a minute and add corn kernels. Add bean sprouts and season with salt and pepper while continuously stirring for another minute and remove from fire making sure that the bean sprouts is still crunchy. You may serve with leftover rice, or bread.

Time needed for preparation and cooking takes less than 10 minutes. Enjoy! ❤

What Hurts You The Most?

You will never feel complete until you find something that you are looking for. It is also the same with trying to get answers. You will never be at ease knowing that there are some unanswered questions. And so you try searching and searching, until such time when you are about to give up, the answer that you have been wanting to get comes in freely.

What hurts you the most? Is it knowing that are not enough to someone that is why he left you or not knowing anything at all and being left in the dark? Will you be brave to look for answers even if pain is inevitable? Or will you just come into terms that some things are not just meant to be?

What will hurt you the most? Is it doing everything for the one you love and you are left unappreciated or having done everything and still those were not enough?

What hurts the most? Is it when you realized that you are not worth the truth or when you found out that the person simply does not care to let you know the truth and you eventually find out from someone else?

What hurts you the most? Is it when you are still hanging to the remnants of memories and the hope of getting back together or when you realized that you are the only person holding on to the little thread of rekindling the relationship?

What hurts the most? Is it when you made plans and dreams together hoping one day they will all come true, then only to find out that those dreams were created just to lead you on to something else or for the other person’s selfish gains?

What hurts the most? Is it when you realized that even the closest friends you both have cannot tell you the truth that you deserve because they have pledged their loyalty to the other person or simply because they too, do not actually want to take part in the most anticipated unfolding of a breakup drama?

Sometimes, the answers that we are looking for are actually just right under our nose. Sometimes, the questions we throw are already THE answers. It hurts to know to repeatedly go through the cycle of braving the quest of answers and then giving up and continue with your life having them unanswered. I personally find people admirable when they are persistent and courageous enough to seek the answers they have been longing to get. No matter what the consequences are, or no matter how painful it will get. After all, truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

How do you deal with the answers when you get them? Do you gratefully accept them and go on with your life? Do you prod further to justify the could haves, would haves, should haves and what ifs?

For awhile, I have been seeking for answers to a relationship that has gone wrong. I was too obsessed in getting answers why it did not work the way I wanted it to be. I have asked friends of friends, throwing the same questions over and over. I poured over stale messages, memories and events that led to the ending of such relationship. For a while, I blamed myself, thinking that all has been my fault. I had battles with self doubt and endless maybes that tormented me for sometime. Until such moment where I stumbled with the truth. It hurts, specially when you find it so late. It hurts, when you felt like you do not deserve an ounce of explanation. It hurts when your friends cannot tell you what they found out because they felt the issue too delicate, too personal and sensitive to delve their hands in. It hurts when all the while, you thought everything was for real, only to realize that you were actually led on for some selfish purpose. But at the end of all these betrayal, I finally found the answers to all the nagging thoughts in my head. I have finally found the ultimate reason to let go, move on and never look back.

What are you afraid to find out? And will you be brave to search for answers, no matter how long will it take you to get them?

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Dreams, Expectations and My Reality

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Way back when I was young, I used to want to inspire people from all walks of life, and all ages. I wanted to influence people in ways I am not even sure how. Whenever I was requested to write in my friends’ journals or  in our high school year book, I always give two answers of what I want to become. I want to be a world’s renowned cardiologist someday and I want to inspire people to be better. Few years later, I faced several hurdles in life, grew up, and realized that the world is not all about beautiful colours and laughter. I came across the different forms of betrayal from different people I have grown up with and look up to, heartaches in different levels, disappointments in dreams and promises and a game of tag with death at some point. From those rollercoaster rides of emotions and changing views about the world and people around me, I have simply forgotten that I wanted to inspire people. And to top it off, I am still far from being the world’s most renowned cardiologist.

Among the two dreams that I have nurtured over the years, becoming a doctor has been the most difficult to achieve. Well, let’s be honest, I wasn’t born with a golden spoon in my mouth, much more a silver or a bronze spoon. (No pun intended here.) I worked my way to where I am now. Work my way to the top meant a difficult climb with huge sacrifices I made just to become one success story. I gave up meaningful relationships, family time, friendships and opportunities just to be able to provide for my family. After all, my success story is about my family. Let’s put the career story sometime in the future. I just hope it’s one successful happy ending. But seriously, until now, I am still traversing to my dream career path. Some have said that I won’t be able to make it, and age and financial issues were constantly raised. Sure, I have already included that in the equation. But I always trust in author Paulo Coelho’s most moving and powerful mantra in his book The Alchemist. “When you truly want something, the universe will conspire to make it come true.”

I was once told by someone keenly observant that  I am a type of woman who knows what I want. At some point, I yes, I know what I want. However, getting to what I want is somehow unclear yet. Sure, there are ways, there are hurdles, there are opportunities and help offered but to me, it is still a portrait waiting to be painted. I have made plans, that in the end, they just crumbled right before my eyes. I have prayed hard, although at this point I felt that I need to pray harder. Until such a time came when I felt tired of planning and praying that I decided to keep on desiring what I want and work for it without expecting too much in the end. If my dreams will fail, I can easily get a rope and tie it around my neck. HAHA. Kidding. I am aware that it is still a long way to go. So I just keep on moving forward. As the saying goes, “ I am still be far from my destination but I am closer from where I was yesterday”.

I know I will be able to go around hospitals in white coat and a stethoscope in my neck someday and be called “Doctor” but I just realized that in the current place I am in, I am already a successful story in inspiring people from different walks of life. Don’t get me wrong. I never wanted to be another Saint Theresa or any other established personality like Oprah or Ellen DeGeneres. Hell no. Since I was little, I was raised to believe that when you do good, people will look up to you. And you will earn respect. It was a very compound, enormous, and immense counsel that I took quite literally. During my childhood, I never knew poverty, disdain, anger, hurt, disrespect and betrayal. All I knew is respect, mutual love, love for family, fierce protectiveness towards family and everything positive and colourful in my surrounding. Until bits by bits, the beautiful world I was in was replaced with turmoil and constant saga of physical, emotional, psychological and verbal abuses in different forms. Growing into adulthood is a beautiful transformation, but mine was enforced at such young age. I gathered wisdom not because I wanted to but because it was necessary so I will grasp the severity and the complexity of the situation I was practically thrust into where I was an unwilling participant.

Continuing my growing years in a bittersweet environment propelled me into different directions. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill people responsible for my misery.(Kidding! I don’t want to be a murderer after all.)  I wanted to ran away. I wanted to quit moving and just go on as how life was prepared for me. Yet in the end, I knew what I truly wanted. I wanted to see the light behind the dark brooding linings. I wanted to continue my dreams and continue living. So, I took courage from the eyes of the people I loved desperate for my help being the only salvation they look up to and brushed my bruised knees. I quit asking why and how could God do this and that. Instead, I started to look around and ask how will I be able to change our world and do something about the crisis we were put into. But then, life itself is a cruel player that doesn’t play fair. When I finally had the courage to go into the battle zone, I was again shoved in to another painful yet beautiful face of hell. I had a brush with death itself where I was forever branded that I once belonged to death but I was snatched at the right time.

All those years while I tried to go on with the few remaining battles along my journey, I have discovered myself in a different light. And people whom I allowed to have a glimpse of my journey had been able to see me in a different beautiful and intricate personality. And I am humbled when strangers I have talked with become more appreciative of what they have or what they have gone through.

Perchance, I met someone evanescent  and ambivalent who by any means created a ripple effect of influence and respect. It is not all the time that I allow myself to become a story teller and will ask for a moral learned after wards. Sometimes, I become the listener and self introspect at the end of an enchanting story. Most often, it is a trade of narratives where we both collect significant life’s lessons and various play of emotions – gratitude, self worth, self appreciation, disgust, or caution. Over the fine and exquisite air of expensive dining, I was given a chance to know another beautiful soul. Although time did not permit a thorough opportunity of knowing and acknowledging this being, I was given a few period to understand the complicacy of this person’s bearing. I felt an immense sense of appreciation to be allowed to peregrinate into this person’s life, dreams, ambitions and dislike of the conforming society with regards to being true to oneself and be an island or to harmonize with the vicious cycles of sham, facades, and superficiality. I have disagreed over the conclusion of pseudo paranoia just because I tend to anticipate events prior hand and agreed over several facets of our conversations. I basked in the circumstance of intelligent and factual conversations such as economy, prominent government figures, and I travelled in some places through this person’s depiction using metaphors and exact words that I have read only in books.

It is true that we should not judge people by outward appearance. There is more than the physical attributes and the superficial interactive personality they tend to show.

 

Credits to the owner of the picture:thetravelhack.com/monicastott

 

How Do You Define Your Own Beauty?

 

“. . . sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?”

“Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”

― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Confiding your greatest pain or perhaps some of your secrets to a stranger is an exhilarating experience and liberating as well. I find comfort in the idea that a stranger can offer you the most genuine emotions of sympathy, amazement, appreciation or wonderment from the stories that you chose to share and also because they do not judge your character the way we judged ourselves but the way they see from what we have intimately unraveled to them. The play of emotions from their eyes will tell you that they see you completely different from how YOU and other people from your surroundings judge you. True, we ourselves are our worst critic. One advertisement from Dove encouraged finding confidence in your own skin through describing one’s physical attributes to an artist and it clearly depicted our typical judgmental nature. The women were asked to describe their physical features – hair, birth marks, wrinkles, scars, eye shape, facial contour and everybody shapes while the artist furiously drew their description of themselves. Then, the women were tasked to take turns describing each other’s features as the artist was drawing what was being described to him. The drawings were pinned on the wall side by side with the woman’s self description and how she was seen by others. There was a clear surprise on their faces and some even became emotional because they never thought that they possess a certain kind of beauty in them. Lesson learned? People see things differently in you. And when you open up and share some intimate details of yourself to someone you haven’t known very well, you will be surprised as to how they see you as an individual.

I have always regarded myself as a strong, self sacrificing and sometimes selfish person. And at some point, I saw myself as a failure and a victor altogether.

I had a chance to share a part of myself to a complete stranger I barely met. For what it was worth, it was one of the best validating experience of  having someone unintentionally assure you that you are a completely different character from how you saw yourself and how others, through relationships – may it be friendship, familial or fleeting love affairs have judged you and expected you to behave in a conforming society. Over intoxicating clouds of smoke, tiny goose bumps from the cold blow of the air conditioner, coffee, apples and my seemingly unquenchable thirst over water, a stranger to a stranger conversation lasted for over a long time. It was way too long knowing that one is allowing a stranger into the deepest recesses of one’s subconscious, of repressed memories of hurt, shame, betrayal and profound love for family and way too long to finally give in to the urge to allow someone I barely knew see my greatest insecurities and the scar I bore that nearly cost me my life.

Unconsciously, bit by bit, like a therapist to a client with frequent swapping of roles, I became a client to this pseudo- therapist and this stranger became a patient to me as well, sharing stories we would normally never open to people we don’t know for fear of judgment, diagnosing each other’s psychological behaviors in a comical manner, and finally in self admittance, I know that we have come to realize how blessed we are and how we are totally different from how we perceived ourselves. In my end, I have came to see that this happy, easy going individual whose facade is quite attractive to the opposite gender possesses a grateful and humble spirit.

Those shared conversations will shortly be forgotten. In this current social environment we are in, we meet different people and for sure have swapped some little details of ourselves to others. I never expect to see the stranger again.  But what will remain to me was the sincere appreciation that I saw in this stranger’s beautiful sea blue eyes, and how this stranger saw me as someone stronger despite my tiny physique. As I concede that this stranger is physically beautiful, I was also given an appreciation that I am beautiful despite the physical disfigurement. It is indeed true that the superficial appearance becomes more beautiful when we get to see and know the person better. I felt beautiful because I was allowed by this stranger to walk with me in my journey for over half a day and experienced my failures and triumphs, pain and joy, anger and struggles and simple happiness from watching the rain pour over the verdant lush greeneries amidst the beautiful architectures and watching eagles flew freely above. I don’t know how did our conversation affected the stranger, neither know if it helped the stranger in retrospect to evaluate the blessings, the extreme luck and the wonderful experiences that happened in that stranger’s life.

Yesterday, I saw myself as a plain Jane. Today, I smile at the mirror because someone saw me as colorful, crazy, and complex yet beautiful. I know I have used the word “beautiful” several times. And that’s exactly what I feel. Inside and out.