on Hot yoga

Yesterday would have been the day of Kristin's raincheck day for our second session of rock climbing, but I texted her that I was still wheezing from asthma. The most strenuous activity I could have done yesterday would have been yoga.

It was truly a disappointment for me because I really really wanted to go rock climbing again with her.

Which was why, to my surprise, she texted back that we can just go again next week...

And then she asked me if I wanted to do hot yoga with her that day.

Was that what I think it was?

It was!

For those who don't know, hot yoga is the type of yoga that is done in a steaming hot room set to a temperature of 104 F.

So after work, I drove to her apartment which was located a bit north from my office. Then she always offers my fave chocolate every time I come visit her place which was really nice!

Then we talked for a bit before we went together to the yoga studio. By the time we finished the hour-long yoga session, we were both so drenched wet that our shirts looked like they were soaked in a bucket of water! I changed shirt at the yoga studio though, because I did not want to stink her car with my sweat.

During the yoga session, I noticed how surprising with how much energy she has, considering the fact that the hours she spends doing surgery at the hospital is pretty brutal.

But for what it's worth, I am happy that she shares similar passions for bouldering, hiking, and yoga!

So after showering at her place, I asked her if she wanted to go to my alma mater's gym sometime next week, because over there we can do not just bouldering, but also swim afterwards.

She said she hasn't done swimming for a while, but she is definitely interested in going bouldering and swimming together, so this is something I am looking forward to!

Read more...

on Rock climbing for the first time

Last Friday I went bouldering and rock climbing at the climbing gym where I have a membership, and Kristin came with me because I have a free guest pass.

For those who don't know, the difference between the two activities is that bouldering requires no ropes (done on a shorter wall) while rock climbing does (because it is done on a much taller wall).

It was Kristin's first time in bouldering, and to my surprise she was pretty good at it as a beginner. Then we went rock climbing.

To enter the rock climbing area and use the rope and harness, we needed to be instructed first on how to belay (because one person would need to be climbing while the other belays the rope from the bottom).

She was better at tying the knots because of her surgical skills. It was probably the most strenuous exercise I had done all year, but I'm glad I did it with her!

She is good with her hands.

The next day (Saturday) was another day where the climbing gym gave away free guest passes for members. I asked Kristin if she could come, but she said she couldn't because she had other appointments.

So I decided, on a whim, to see the musical Singin in the Rain by myself. It was a lovely musical, actually!

Read more...

on Weekends

Yesterday marked exactly one month after I started my new job near downtown, and I have a few things to write here.

My commute to and from the office takes around 35 to 45 minutes each time, and I tend to either go to the gym to exercise a bit after work, because sitting on the desk for eight hours could be so dull sometimes.

Since I work on a Monday to Friday schedule (7:30-16:30) now, I check my Weather app daily and constantly wish for a sunny day outside on the weekends.

Because there has been a string of rainy weekends lately.

Which sucks.

In another news, Madeline (my most recent crush) had been somewhat avoiding me lately, presumably because she is being betrothed by her parents to someone else from her home country (which I won't name here, but it does have a population of 1.5 billion).

I was surprised that someone as highly educated as she is prefers to follow the tradition of her parents, especially since she has graduated with a doctorate degree after nine years of education in two separate states in the U.S.

But hey, that's her choice.

I was planning to bake a cake for her 30th birthday (which falls on the week after Mother's Day)...

However, with the excuses she makes to not hang out with me anymore, I grow tired of pursuing her already.

I just shrug and move on.

Anyway, still glad I discovered a new passion for baking though...my parents and sister are definitely delighted to try out my (usually) tasty baking experiments!

And maybe....just maybe, one day I'll find a special someone to bake a surprise birthday cake for!

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So as of this point, I do not have a crush or love interest in anyone in particular.

For the first time since 2012, my heart is finally free from being hurt!

That being said, it is nice to finally have other friends to hang out with.

Just because I no longer hang out with Madeline does not mean I no longer look forward to my weekends.

If weather permits, I still hike with the hiking club every Saturday morning. Afterwards, I'd join some folks from the club hanging out at a nearby Starbucks.

The demographics of the hiking club tend to be 40 years old and above, so I do meet quite a sizable number of divorced people in our group.

It is amazing how much wisdom I gained by talking to some of them.

Maybe I'll share one of their stories in this blog sometime.

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Anyway, last weekend happened to be the nicest weekend I have had in a while.

I went with Kristin and her mother to see a live classical music concert near downtown.

Kristin's mother did not seem to be a huge fan of classical music, but she wanted to accompany us simply because she was visiting the U.S. for only a few weeks.

Kristin's family members live outside the country. And because of Kristin's work schedule at the hospital, her mother wants to maximize the time they spend with each other.

Kristin herself seemed to be very knowledgeable of classical composers despite barely playing a musical instrument, and I found myself impressed. Even her Spotify playlists were filled with classical music albums!

There is actually a reason why she knows so much about classical music, but I don't think I am at liberty to write down the things she told me (because it was a very personal reason). So I'll just leave it at that.

I'd love to go see a classical music concert with her again though.

So it is to my dismay that I found out that the Symphony Orchestra's season is coming to a close this week. They will commence their next season in September.

Oh well.

Nonetheless, this coming weekend the three of us are planning to go out again, to see the Asian food festival in downtown.

Unlike the previous years, I am looking forward to see this one because I finally have friends to go with, who happen to be people outside the family!

However, the weather forecast for this weekend does not seem good so far.

It is predicted to rain this coming Saturday and Sunday.

WHY.

I do hope that it would be limited to light showers only though...

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Read more...

on Productive Lent

Hope you had a very happy Easter, everyone!

This past Lent was....tough at first.

However, it had also been one of the most productive months in my life.

No kidding.


I did the following stuff:

  1. joined more clubs than I could count, 
  2. visited Mexico for three days,
  3. got a new job with a career projection that matches my university degrees, 
  4. got myself a new car,
  5. broke the cycle of an odious addiction,
  6. gained confidence in talking to strangers,
  7. started new sports, and
  8. tried baking


Every single one of them were impulsive decisions.

It was like I decided one day to just change my life trajectory into something totally different altogether.

Let me elaborate on some of them...


1. Joining clubs

I found a website online (not dating site/app) where I could find clubs and groups with people of like-minded interests.

There are two clubs that I have been attending somewhat religiously since mid-March: a French-speaking conversation group and a hiking club.

As for the other clubs, I only attend them whenever my schedule allows it.


2. Visited Mexico

It was an impulsive last-minute vacation trip. The buildup that led to this impulsive decision deserves a whole blog post of its own.


3. Got a new job

For this one, I did not expect to get the job.

I got the job offer through e-mail, and I just said, what the heck, might as well.

So I accepted the interview offer, half-expecting to fail it. 

Had I failed the interview, my plan was to leave the country to pursue Master's degree in Marseilles, France.

But hey, because of my nonchalant attitude, I came to the interview with a totally calm composure......and somehow I got the job.

So basically I started my foray into the world of 8-5 career job because of a relaxed attitude during interview.

Go figure.


4. Got myself a new car

It's a silver Honda Civic. Hurray for 5-year-contract!



5. Broke the cycle of an odious addiction

Because I don't know who might be reading this blog entry, I will not name what kind of addiction that had been plaguing me all these years.

(It's not drugs or alcohol though, in case you're wondering)

But last month, I just decided to suddenly quit cold turkey.

Just like that.

It has been more than six weeks since I quit this addiction, and though there had been temptations for me to go back into that cycle, two of my confidantes had been very helpful in supporting me constantly in this battle against my inner demons.

All of a sudden, I started having more time for things that actually do matter.

And I started meeting people who do matter.

Which brings me to point no. 6.....



6. Gained confidence

I wouldn't say that I turned into a charming Casanova overnight, because it certainly is a process.

I still am not a Casanova and have no intention to become one.

The thing is that: I was once an introvert who barely ever spoke two words to strangers unless they ask me a question.

Then, quitting my addiction from No.5 above also seemed to turn all the other "switches" in my brain from "OFF" into "ON" mode, especially in terms of confidence.

As of now, I am still a shy introvert.

But after meeting many new people in the clubs I attended, PLUS the fact that I had been able to quit my addiction, I have no problem in talking and connecting to people I meet for the first time.

Even with people I had almost nothing in common with.

One of the methods that seemed to work very well is to ask them open-ended questions (i.e. not seeking one-word answers). Once they start elaborating about their life details, I can usually find a connection that perhaps he/she and I share.

This method worked...really well....because I happened to find my new crush Madeline that way.

We just hung out one day after the club meeting.

While sitting on a park bench, she started sobbing while telling me about her relationship with her parents who live in a different country.

Upon her sudden outburst, I did not try to hug her or try to comfort her by doing anything physical because I had a feeling that her culture is not the hugging type.

But it was from that moment that I started having feelings for her.

Unfortunately, she would always remain merely a crush because there is no possibility of me ever dating her.

More on that next time.



7. Started totally new sports

I started by doing Aquaclimb. In case you don't know what that is, it looks like this:


Then I evolved into bouldering, which looks like this:


Of course I can't do the steep part of the bouldering like what that man in the picture is doing, but so far I have found the adrenaline rush to be a great "fix" to help distract my mind from my tempting addiction which sometimes still haunts me every once in a while.

For those who are unfamiliar, the difference between "bouldering" and "rock climbing" is the fact that the former does not use any ropes or rappels. Bouldering also tends to be done on shorter walls too.

~~~~~~~~~~

I also started snorkeling recently.

This was also partially inspired by Madeline.

Snorkeling will serve as a segue into the world of scuba diving, which is my actual goal (and hers too, coincidentally...)

I have inquired the local scuba diving school in Cincinnati for a four-week PADI scuba-diving certification course, and so far the earliest date I could join a class would be either June or July.

Which gives me plenty of time to practice my swimming skills.

We'll see.

8. Tried baking

I actually started this new hobby because I wanted to bake a cake for Madeline's 30th birthday in May.

Now that I know I have no prospect of dating her, I most likely will not bake her anything.

(Again, I will write about why it is so on a latter blog entry)

But along the way, I discovered that I like baking after all!

So far I have only baked:

  • pouding chomeur
  • matcha cookies
  • coconut cookies
  • coconut macaroon
  • bibingka
  • matcha steamed cakes
  • chocolate steamed cakes
The only real full-sized cakes on the list above are the Canadian pouding chomeur and Filipino bibingka. 

All the rest are cookies or cupcakes.

Madeline did find it fascinating that I was able to not make a mess on my first attempts at baking (she only saw pictures but did not get to taste though).

It was an encouragement that really made my weekend.

But anyway, this is a skill I never knew I would ever end up liking!

I started the learning experience to impress a crush but end up sticking to it as a hobby, even if my original goal changed.

Oh well!

Read more...

on Having trust issues

After Sophie left my life, I did end up having a new crush on someone else in Cincinnati area (not Alice) after I joined like millions of clubs (not Tinder/dating apps) and socializing with people in the offline world, but the story about my new crush is for some other time.

This post is going to be about how Sophie had the audacity to ask for my heart back (after I respectfully broke up with her) only to throw my heart away to the trash can when she no longer needed it.

First, a little bit of a background here.

After Sophie and I decided to cut off communication for good on March 8th, I still stalked her for a few days.

Then I realized that apparently, she asked me to let her go simply because she wanted to date her new crush in peace.

Whaaaat....

In case you're lost, let's go further back in history.

Do you remember Alice?

In August 2018, I broke up with Sophie, as I had decided to cancel my moving to Chicago.

It was a dignified breakup. 

I did not demean her in social media whatsoever, and I told her that she could tell her friends that it was all my fault that we broke up.

In truth, the breakup was because we have always had different visions: that she needed career stability while I wanted to be able to travel the world.

Even after we broke up, I still told her about our different visions and she said yes, she agreed.

And then sometime in the first week of August, she discovered the existence of my new crush Alice.

Which of the following actions do you think Sophie did, folks?

a. Stalked Alice and tried to follow Alice's private Instagram (which was rejected, fortunately).
b. Commented snarky remarks on Alice's comments on my posts
c. Made fun of me, laced with profanities, on her own Instagram stories and Instagram picture
d. All of the above.

Take a gooooood guess.

Yes, she did apologize for the actions above, but I never forget.

Just a week before Sophie's 29th birthday, her Indonesian best friend Andrea asked me to block Sophie on all her social media accounts.

I said yes, I would, but before that, I mistakenly told Sophie first, as a courtesy.

Sophie ended up asking me not to block her at all, and afterwards she berated Andrea for such a request.

This action, I believe, ended up ruining my friendship with Andrea (whom I had known since 2009). Andrea and I had never spoken since.

Then, Sophie did the following actions:
  • begged me to come back to her, because she has "tried everything" and yet she still could not move on from me.
  • promised me that she would follow me wherever I went: even if I worked at Walmart or Amazon, it was okay for her as well.
  • visited me twice: once in October and once in November for my birthday.
I mean, at this point, it seemed pretty clear that Sophie was dead serious about following me in moving to southern US, right??

Wrong!

All of a sudden, she took 180° reversal in early March, because she discovered that men started to take an interest in her.

Especially one guy she described as particularly "smooth".

This time, she "wanted to be treated like a lady", she said.

Wow.

I mean, wow.

I had taken Greyhound back and forth to her hometown.

I had always tried my best to be there for her when she needed someone the most.

I had planned to move to Chicago to be with her and even almost applied to her friend Wina's job until Sophie started to pester me with a lot of bullshit.

And one thing that made me start wondering was:

How come all these guys wanted to ask her out on dates? Did they not know of my existence?

I mean, I knew that our relationship status never reverted back into "in a relationship" after our August breakup, but how come Sophie seemed to be so free in receiving attention from admirers while she berated me and did her best to sabotage my chances with Alice last summer???

The things she said, after discovering that one particular guy whom she described as "interesting", were as follows:
  • "I am looking for stability. I had not found it in you. I know it will take time"
  • "I want to see other people. People within the vicinity. I want to explore."
  • "Why don't you ask Alice instead of waiting?"
  • "I don't want to think about the future with someone who I don't see frequently"
I mean, FYI, that "someone who she doesn't see frequently" happened to have forgiven her multiple times for the hurls of verbal abuses she launched at him, before and after the August breakup.

Also, if I am nothing more than "someone who she doesn't see frequently", then why did she not leave me in peace to pursue Alice in August???

The thing that really hurt me the most was the fact that Sophie intentionally sabotaged my chances with Alice when I was totally head over heels for Alice.

Guess what? 

Even in February 2019, Sophie still got upset at the mere hint of Alice.

An example was when Alice shared an Instagram story about her eating papaya for the first time in her hometown in the Philippines.

I found it curiously unique that Alice just tried papaya for the first time at age 25.

I told Sophie that "apparently some people has never tried papaya lol".

And Sophie.....got....mad......!!!

At that time, I did not even mention Alice's name. My text to Sophie said that "some people never tried papaya" and somehow Sophie guessed on the spot that I was referring to Alice.

Sophie said, "You know what, Toshi??? I told you multiple times already since August, that I DON'T CARE about Alice. I think you still like her Toshi...you only said that she's too close to her half-brother as a mere excuse".

Ummm calm down, there! Haha.

I had not even flirted with Alice anymore after Sophie's first visit to Kentucky last October.

Once I felt that Sophie was serious in pursuing a future in southern US with me, I tried my best to keep my distance with Alice at work.

And that was totally fine for me, you know?

In early March, all of a sudden, Sophie kept pestering me to "ask Alice out instead of waiting".

I mean, what the hell?

I wanted to pursue Alice so badly from August to October when I had just broken up with Sophie, and yet Sophie could not let me pursue Alice in peace.

And on March 8th, when Sophie was about to date her new guy, all of a sudden she took 180° reversal and pestered me to ask Alice out.

At Sophie's urging, I ended up asking Alice out on Facebook messenger because Alice had been taking nonstop continuous stretch of paid time off from work for the prior two weeks and I had no idea when Alice would return to work.

Alice ended up saying that she was too busy with her online degree and thus has no time for me, but I was not disappointed.

My infatuation/love for Alice had mostly disappeared by November 2018.

Why did Sophie think I still have a crush on Alice in March?

I have absolutely no idea.

I even asked Alice out on Facebook messenger because I was really depressed and lost. 

My no.1 trusted person outside of my family turned out to have faked her affection for me for so many months since August, and I was lost...directionless....so when Sophie told me to ask Alice out on Facebook messenger, I followed it without hesitating (even though I did not really want to date Alice anymore at that point).

I used to want to date Alice so badly, though.

All I needed last summer was just pursuit of Alice in my own time, at my own pace.

I am not the type of guy who likes to rush things when pursuing a new lover. I like to take my time to make sure that the girl's feelings for me are firm.

But for Sophie, it is always about FAST ACTION, do THIS, do THAT!

GO to the gym!

RUN marathon!

COOK meals!

DRESS better!

Ugh.

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I gave up my pursuit of Alice in November because I saw that Sophie was finally starting to think about a future with me in the southern US, even though it is "with someone who she doesn't frequently meet".

Until one day, my position was totally replaced by someone else.

The fact that I was not only her lover, but also her closest friend, her most trusted confidant, no longer mattered to her.

She acted as if I never existed.

When I broke up with Sophie in August, I asked her closest friend Salena and Andrea to keep an eye on her if I am gone from her life.

Did Sophie extend the same courtesy to me in March??

Nope!

It was as if I never existed at all.

Nobody among my closest friends or family members were ever asked by Sophie to look after me.

So apparently, from August until February she only wanted me back as her lover so that she could keep me around as a temporary placeholder.

Until she could find someone else who has that career stability she had been dreaming of...in her own hometown.

Very interesting indeed.

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This is exactly why I have trouble trusting people.

I mean, I thought I knew Sophie.

But apparently, I never really did.

How could I have been so naive??

FYI, I only wrote this blog piece as a reminder to the future me (kansai2kansas) to be a little bit more careful when trusting people and letting them in my life in the future, especially potential lovers.

Let me be honest here though: 
I was resentful at Sophie for a little bit in early March. 
However, now I know that she does not deserve to take up any mental space in my mind anymore. 
Not in my future, not in my present, and not even in my past.

Sophie had taken so much of my time, tears, and energy...not only before August 2018, but also after.

Which is why I decided to extend her the courtesy she never gave me: even though she tried her best to trample on Alice's privacy and mine last August and sabotage my chances with Alice too, I would never do the same to Sophie.

I sincerely wish Sophie the best in her life, and that she has learned from her mistakes.

Because I definitely learned from mine.

Read more...

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