Express Life, travel

Back on track with a Seoul purpose. 

Sun rising on our farm in Northland, New Zealand. 05.05.2017

After a 9-month hiatus, I can finally say that I am back on track – back to writing and writing and writing. And writing.

As you probably noticed, my last blog post was in August of last year. A lot of things have happened and changed since then – many lessons learned, gained valuable experience in my field, met some life-long friends, made a couple of mistakes, lost an old friend in an unfortunate accident, traveled to places and most importantly, graduated with a degree in Public Relations.

However, my ability to complete my degree was almost thwarted by an apparent oversight committed by a university staff. With only four weeks left of my studies, I was presented with the prospect of not being able to graduate because of this.  I will not present to you the details or the facts but it was one of those trials-and-tribulations kind of thing that tested my faith, and let’s just say that I didn’t come through this plight unscathed. Just like any person dealing with a predicament, I occasionally found myself in dark places, which of course, hindered my ability to blog here on WordPress. But if there’s anything I learned in this experience is that miracles happen everyday and that you just have to leave everything in God’s hands. In the end, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and finished the year with a diploma in my hand.

So now that I am back on my own feet, I will be blogging here once again with the sole purpose of bettering myself- through creative writing prompts, photography, daily musings, travel reflections, poetry, opinion pieces and of course, this blog wouldn’t go ahead without expressing my love for sports – particularly football/soccer. And since I have yet to find a full-time, career-related job, what better way to hone my writing skills than to publish blogs here on WordPress, where a community of inspiration exists.

To start my Seoul purpose of getting back to WordPress, here’s a snap of a small corner I took through a restaurant window, in the vibrant city of Incheon in Seoul, South Korea (see what I did there?). Our layover trip to Incheon gave us two days in the metropolis – as well as some hot, delectable Korean ramen and kimchi to keep the cold temperatures at bay (it was -17 degrees when we got to our hotel).

Bright colours light up downtown Incheon, South Korea. 16.01.2017

Of all the Asian cities I’ve visited before, Seoul has got to be my number one favourite. From the luxurious Hyatt Park to the mega-city Seoul Special City to its greater reach Seoul Capital Area, it is true innovation on a grand scale, dismissing any signs of jetlag with an electrifying zap of awe.

I really enjoyed my stay in South Korea despite the fact that it was short. From the warmest of welcomes to the fondest of farewells, I thank you for making it one of my cherished travel memories. I will be back definitely, South Korea.

(c) jodiepages 2017. All Rights Reserved

Express Life, Now Playing

A most misinterpreted song: Push by Matchbox 20

She said « I don’t know if I’ve ever been good enough
I’m a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in
And I don’t know if I’ve ever been really loved
By a hand that’s touched me, and I feel like something’s gonna give
And I’m a little bit angry »
Well, this ain’t over
No not here, not while I still need you around
You don’t owe me, we might change
Yeah we just might feel good
I wanna push you around
Well I will, well I will
I wanna push you down
Well I will, well I will
I wanna take you for granted

Matchbox_20_-_Push

Recognize these lyrics? Yes? No?

They’re from Matchbox 20’s 1997 hit ‘Push’. It’s one of the band’s most popular (and misunderstood) songs.

Yes, as the lyrics and the song title suggest, it is a song about a man being physically abusive towards his partner. Yes, it’s about a man who wants to take a woman « for granted » and push her around.

Or is it?

With an album cover of five guys brimming with conceit in their eyes, this 20-year old song sparked controversy and outrage among feminist groups when it first came out. Labeled as a ‘misogynistic’, groups of feminists once tried to ban the song because it encouraged violence and hatred towards women. However, this didn’t stop the song from hitting the top of the Modern Rock Tracks and thus, became one of the American rock band’s most successful singles.

Upon learning that people’s interpretations of his song somehow didn’t align with his original intentions, Matchbox 20’s front-man Rob Thomas stressed the importance of ‘reading before reacting.’ He spoke in an interview that the man in the song (possibly Thomas himself or some fictional dude) is the one being abused physically and emotionally. It’s the man who is experiencing the suffering. It’s the man who is being pushed around by the girl.

What’s that, Jodie? I hear you say…

Read the lyrics again.

The guy is basically narrating what the girl said to her throughout the entire song, making it as if these were his words. Lyric-wise, this is actually a creative way of conveying a strong message to the listening public. Notice how the song starts with « She said… » This goes on for the rest of the song. Thomas said so himself that he turned around the song’s viewpoint to make it more creative and interesting. This subtle nuance, which most  people failed to see pushed the song along the long lines of misinterpreted lyrics (No pun intended there). Still not convinced? Watch the official video and you’ll see Thomas in a dark alley playing with a stick puppet, his face buried in his hand, busking, in chains and in a room with no windows at all. The video has barely anything to do with being abusive towards women. It’ all about emotional manipulation.

Now, I’m not taking sides here. Well, okay. Matchbox 20 is a classic favourite of mine, but I was also victimized by this song. I was only a pre-teen when I first heard this song. Initially, I fell in love with the melody, especially the intro’s guitar riff. In fact, it was one of the driving factors behind my passion for playing guitars. However, as I matured I, too, jumped down Thomas’ throat. I came to the point where I even questioned myself for listening to this type of song.  It was only recently did I learn the true meaning behind this controversial song.

So guys, read before you react.

Simple as that.

Express Life

Agosto dos.

Britomart Transportation Centre
Agosoto dos – 2nd of August.

It’s the second day of August, which means Winter is on its 3rd month but the ‘cold’ is yet to come. A lot of people across the country are asking weather analysts, « when is the winter weather arriving? » -not that they’re looking forward to it but having a warmer than average winter can only mean one thing. One terrible thing.

Some say it’s climate change. Others say it’s more local, with the new high-rises and recent urban developments contributing to the ever-increasing temperatures. I say, it’s both.

I took the above photo as I stood by the bus stop adjacent to the viaduct harbour. Usually, at this time of the year, nobody dares to set foot or take a leisurely stroll along the high bridge due to the icy winds, naked trees, frosted leaves and slippery sidewalks. But for some odd reason, the viaduct was brimming with people and activity today.

Anyway, back to what I said earlier. I did some research about the driving factor(s) behind this ‘warm winter’. To be honest, there’s an awful lot of explanation and jargons behind it. Weather analysts say that it may have been caused by the large highs east of Northland -whatever that means- while scientists believe such no thing and that the reasons are still unknown.

Two contradicting minds, but both are sure of one thing; warmer than average winter means WET SUMMER later in the year.

God forbid.

It’s English summers all over again.

Poetry, Word prompts

Amihan

CnzUqsfUIAACyin.jpg large

Amihan (n) – Northeast wind, breeze

A breath of wind blows in,

And shakes the first honey-coloured leaves,

Time is still,

Time is frozen,

Every moment lasts,

As I saunter across the vast, eternal sky,

But the sun returns,

And melts this dream away,

Only a cool reminder of the breeze,

On a hot summer’s day

(c) jodiepages 2016

In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words – Amihan

Express Life

Multilingual reporting #NiceAttack #BBC

Social-media-reacts-to-Nice-terror-attack

It was a day to celebrate a country’s independence. A country’s liberté, égalité and fraternité. A day to go out in the blazing sun, sing along to French tunes and get along with the rhythm of the fête as Bastille Day rolls on. A day that was transformed into a nightmare. A day whose scars will remain forever etched into human history.

A day after the attack, people flock to Promenade des Anglais to lay flowers for the dead. Families of victims deal with pain as they gather in their communities for a song and prayer. The French are united once again, by faith.

The Nice terror has been met with an outpouring of anger on social media. People around the world once again are filtering their Facebook photos with the colours of the French flag. ‘Je suis Nice’ trends online as the world reacts to another horror in France and prays for its people. Reporters from every news agency are updating us with the latest news through eye witnesses’ accounts and factual information.

One news report, though, that stood out the most is BBC’s James Longman’s coverage on the city of Nice as they come into terms with the attack in which 84 people lost their lives. Now, this is just one girl’s opinion, but Longman’s ability to speak to religious leaders in France and his multilingual reporting exude a greater level of understanding. Of sensitivity and of knowledge. We need more journalists like you!

I aspire to be like him one day.

Hats off to you, sir, and to BBC!

Click HERE to watch BBC’s James Longman’s coverage.

(Source of above image: Google Images)

 

Express Life

This Is My Love For Words And How I Wish I Could Have Few With You.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘word’ as a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, a unit of language comprising inflected and variant forms.

I love words. Words like idiosyncrasies, cantankerous, schlep, philocaly and petrichor. I love words that pique my interest, curiosity and inquisitiveness. We all use words to express our sympathy, empathy and gratitude towards others. It goes without saying that it is through words, countless sermons and discourses that famous people became, well, famous.  Not to mention Martin Luther King, Jr, Barack Obama and Malala Yousafzai. And even the worst speakers out there gain recognition through their poor choice of words.

We all started as novices in speech, with each one of us starting with mere babbles. But as we grow and develop our speech and language skills, babbles slowly turn into words and then into sentences. I was only 8 months old when I said my first word. And when I started school, I was elated about the prospects of learning more about the ABC’s, sharing them with others and most importantly, finding ways to build a solid foundation of learning for the little me. When I got into middle school, words came to me at every direction – good, bad and neutral. I learned more about nouns, adjectives, the language, the culture. Words. I learned to love words. I was only 7 years old when I nailed through every single quiz bee within our school. And when I had the privilege to go to high school and university, I learned to love them even more. I learned that embezzle is a bad thing. But I love the word because it sounds like bedazzled. Although I wasn’t as intrepid as other kids were, I still love it because it means to be resolutely courageous. I love words like oblivious, obsequious, panacea and impeccable. Deride, despot, diligent and lithe – jubilant is the word to describe my zeal for unwonted words.

And maybe, true love.

Now in my twenties, when I meet someone I always interpret their character through words– whether they are demure, modest or eloquent and feral.  Whether or not they are erudite, maverick, meticulous or venerable. But no biggie because I don’t just judge people based on my own words. My own discernment. After all, the way we talk is just the tip of the ice berg. I just love to play with words. I mean, where would we all be if there had been no words at all? Words are friends, but they are enemies too and so you ought to learn how to be careful with them.

As I grow and mature every day, I also learned that words are powerful and difficult. And problematic if not thought through. I often find myself in times of predicament and when I do, I’d become taciturn, but not impertinent. Inevitably though, words do have the potential to vex someone or worst, someone dear to you and me. And when they do, I just cannot seem to find them – or the right ones, at least – to compensate for the jarring, inharmonious and relentless words that flew out my blabbermouth like endless rain. And suddenly, I become morose and lethargic. But I remain optimistic, hoping that one day you will accept my arsenal of apologies. Of words.

And if only I could have a few with you right now.

Throwbacks

First alcohol intake: I blame the Germans and them drunken gummy bears!

NOTE BEFORE READING: Don’t get carried away with the title. The Germans are, perhaps, one of the most friendliest people on this planet. I am friends with a couple of them and love them all as peers.

++++

Tonight, I will be sharing a little story about my first alcohol intake.

Yes, the title of this post says it all. My first alcohol intake involved the Germans and the semi-transparent, multi-coloured spongy bears.

I was at a German farewell party when those annoyingly addictive sweets got the better of me.

I was 16 and before coming to the party, a German friend of mine warned me about them and their drinking culture. He told me to not get scared if I turn up at the party to see everybody, lying everywhere with a beer in their hand and singing the German National Anthem, slurring their words.

I knew he was gonna say that, for there was this growing image in our school that the Germans really are a sucker for alcohol. They drink far more than any other national in the world. However, I wasn’t totally convinced with this apparently widely-held belief. For starters, I’ve never been to Germany nor have I seen drunk Germans in the streets. So, who am I to judge, right? Secondly, aren’t we all suckers for alcohol?  Nonetheless, I still appreciated my friend’s word of warning because in all honesty, the party was to be my first drinking party, and I admit it, I was pretty damn scared.

Before coming to the party, I had a root canal and a tooth filling, and my dentist said that I needed something chewy to chew on constantly. On the way to the party, Chris, another guy from my German pool of friends, texted me, asking how my root canal went and wondering if I do drink. I told him what my dentist told me and that all was well. Also, as a girl hailing from a non-drinking culture, I simply said no to his drinking question. He replied, « That’s cool. We can do something about that. » I didn’t quite get his response but I thought I’d just wait til I get to the party so I shrugged the thought off.

Upon arriving, he jokingly handed me one icy, green Carlsberg. Thus, I beamed and waved my cell phone at him, reminding him of our conversation earlier. He rose a brow and approached me. He gave me the beer and said, « It’s water. I just spilled the content into the sink and replaced it with water. »

Really? You could do that?

I took it and made sure it was water. And it was! He really did spill the damn thing into the sink.

slide11

So some time passed and I felt as if a toothpick was poking my upper teeth, suddenly recalling what my dentist had told me. Chris must have noticed the throbbing pain in my face. Thus, he gave me a bag of gummy bears; he told me to eat them because they’re chewy and they’re good to get my teeth back to its chewing ability.

So I ate the whole bag and it was genuinely tasty! It wasn’t the ordinary stuff you’d always get from the supermarket.The Germans drank beer. I drank water. They sang cheerful songs in big groups. They did this, they did that. The party finished.

Upon arriving home, the world twirled before me and I all can remember is that my brother, perfectly unaware of what the gummy bears did to my system, picked me up from the party. The next day, I woke up, wondering how the hell I got home.

Moments later, I received a text from Chris, apologising for he didn’t know that there was vodka in the gummy bears and wishing that I do not end up with a hangover.

Well, too late now, my friend.

LA FIN.

What about you guys? At what age did you first have alcohol?