스트레스 때문에 약해졌다.

시험 며칠 전 여러 복잡한 일들이 끝없이 계속 생겨서 미칠 정도다. 너무 심한 스트레스 때문에 몸이 완전 많이 약해져서 입원해야 될 것 같아. 머리카락이 평소보다 많이 빠지고 갑자기 어지러워서 쓰러질 뻔할 때도 종종 있다. 스트레스 때문에 그런가? 아니면 더위 때문에 그런가? 어쨌든 스트레스 받는 이유는 주로 토픽 시험 때문이 아니다. “시험 본 다음에 뭐할까”라는 질문은 요즘에 스스로에게 자꾸 물어보는 질문이다. 시험 보고 고향에 돌아가서 뭐할지는 모르겠다. 지금도 거기서 상태가 안 좋다고 들었다. 여기 떠나고 싶지 않아. 여기 있는 한국문화원에서 5월부터 8월부터까지 한국어 레슨을 받을까 했는데 갑자기 고향에 돌아가야 돼서 이제 레슨을 받을 수 없다. 에휴. 슬프다. 슬퍼. ㅠ ㅠ

하이얀 생존자의 이야기

It’s Christmas morning. I woke up a couple of hours ago and just had a plate of leftover spaghetti and ice cream that my mom, my sister and I had last night for our Christmas dinner. This is the first time that we spent Christmas away from home, away from my dad and brothers. It saddens me that we didn’t get to celebrate this year’s Christmas as a family.

You see, our country has been hit by Typhoon Haiyan (more commonly known as Super Typhoon Yolanda) and our city was the most affected one. Yes, I came from the city called Tacloban. A city that no one knew of unless you live there, have been there or have someone you know who lives there. After the horrific typhoon, our city became the talk of the country and now, there’s no one who doesn’t know where Tacloban is.

The typhoon did not only destroyed homes and other structures, it also took lives. Thousands of lives. Luckily, God spared me and my family. Our house only suffered minor damages like leaks but everything is intact.

Looting started. Mall, business establishments and warehouses have been robbed empty. Looters took whatever they could take even though they have no use for it. The city was chaotic. It was like we were in a time of war. Some people were stealing food and medicine to survive; the others who came from nearby towns took advantage of the situation and came to steal to satisfy their greed.

There were no poor or rich. Everyone was hungry, everyone was thirsty. Even if you had money to buy food, there were no stores open. My family prepared ahead of time. We had food and water but our supplies were dwindling.

When the President declared that our city was under a state of emergency and there were rumors that the looters’ next target were houses and subdivions, my dad thought that it was best to send us away temporarily until things get better and my neighbors adviced my parents to take me away because of my condition and there were no hospitals or pharmacy. We were sent to a city that was a 3-hour drive away from our house. It took us 15 hours to get there because the roads weren’t entirely passable yet and the traffic was heavy. We stayed in a hotel. We were supposed to move to Manila after a week since staying at a hotel wasn’t practical. But each week, something bad happens that we had no choice but to postpone the trip. I was so glad when it finally pushed through.

Because of work and one of my brothers who was left behind to guard the house with our maids, my dad had to return the day after we moved out. Each night, I couldn’t eat properly nor think straight because I was so worried. I always waited for a text from my dad saying that he got home from work safely. There was a night when I got a text from a friend who said they could hear gunshots at night and that the house on the corner of our street got robbed, the owner got killed while trying to protect his house. The former was true. The latter was only a rumor spread to scare people.

It was so stressful. Even if we were in a safe place, we couldn’t help but worry for the ones who got left behind.

Back home, things are a little better now. I can’t wait for things to go back to the way it was before so I can finally go home and get my normal life back.

Even though there are reasons that makes my Christmas a little gloomy, I still have reasons to celebrate it and one of them is that my family and I made it through the typhoon alive. That’s all that matters.

To my friends and relatives who lost their lives from the typhoon, may you finally find peace wherever you are. I feel sorry that you had to experience such a horrifying death.

To my friends and relatives who sent help and prayed for our safety, thank you so much.

A Taste of Android

I’ve been asking for a new phone from my mom for quite some time now. Ever since she got her Note 2 on contract, I was dying to have one as well. I’ve had my 4th generation iPod Touch for 2 years now. I used it everyday to do various things online since I’m too lazy to go online using my laptop but I needed to get a replacement because the battery dies faster than it charges and apps crashes frequently. It was driving me crazy.

I’ve been going around Youtube watching ‘What’s on my Android’ videos and reviews of Android phones and it kinda led me to wanting an Android phone. I was fully aware of the neat things that I could do with it which I can’t do on an iPod or an iPhone such as customizing the look of my phone by installing cute themes. I decided that if I ever get a new phone, it’d be an Android. iOS is nice but it’s not for me. I needed something more and iOS wasn’t the answer.

I had only expected to get a Note 2 or at least an S3. I still am on contract and I still have about 5 months before it ends so getting a phone on contract was out of the question and the prices of Note 2 and S3 were pretty much reasonable. I wanted an S4 because the screen is better and it’s a much faster phone than the S3 but it came with a price tag that my parents wouldn’t approve of. I also wanted the Note 3 but the S4 already seemed impossible to own so I didn’t count on it. I have waited for months and I almost gave up. I thought I was never going to have a new phone until my birthday next year. But then I saw a flyer of Globe’s latest plan offers and it just so happened that one of their offers included a Note 3 phone.

I went to the mall with my mom to inquire about the contract on Friday afternoon. My mom talked about it with dad and she was able to convince him. Don’t ask me how she got to convince him. It’s kinda funny. Anyway, he approved which was quite surprising to me so on Sunday morning, I went back with my mom to apply for the plan. My dad gave me cash to pay for the phone’s down-payment. I went home with a brand new 32gb Note 3 phone. I got the white one and it’s the LTE version. There are three versions of the Note 3: SM-N9000 (3G version), SM-N9002 (dual sim version) and SM-N9005 (LTE version).

About my previous contract, I’ve decided not to terminate it just yet. I’m gonna wait for the contract to be over before I ask for termination.

It is big. I’m not gonna lie. A small part of me regrets choosing Note 3 over S4 but I still love it to bits despite being too big for my small hands. :3 But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Samsung has this Multi-Window feature where you can use two apps simultaneously so this is where the big screen comes in handy. I tried reading a Korean webtoon with the Naver dictionary app on the bottom part of the screen. It was a sweet experience. Now I don’t have to jump from one app to the other just to get things done. I activated the Korean language keyboard since I plan on using this to study Korean. Thank God I have unlimited data plan. I can now use Naver dictionary even if I’m out. But the thing is I rarely go out. XD

Here’s a screenshot of the Multi Window feature using the Naver Webtoon app and Naver dictionary app:

I am not a fan of Samsung’s UI called the TouchWiz so the first thing I did when I got home was to download Dodol Launcher and changed the theme to something cuter. Since it’s hasn’t been that long after Note 3 has been released, I couldn’t find a case or a screen protector for it which kinda sucks and I’m impatient so I ordered online instead. I’m expecting the package will hopefully arrive next week.

One of the things to look forward to about the Note 3 is its 13MP camera. It’s so good. I have no complaints about it. It’s not DSLR quality of course but it takes pictures that are decent enough for Instagram or Facebook. At first glance, the back cover really does look like leather but it’s not. It’s plastic that’s made to look like leather. It doesn’t even feel like leather. However, I’m still scared that it might turn yellowish in time so I’m gonna use a case for it to keep it clean and white. When I got to feel it in my hands, the first thing I’ve noticed is that it was much lighter than Note 2. It felt like Note 2 minus the battery. I’m impressed that even though the screen and the battery has gotten bigger, Samsung still managed to make it lighter and thinner than the previous one.

Note 3 uses a USB 3.0 cable which some people said it’s good for faster charging and transferring of files. But you can still use a micro USB cable. I haven’t used the S Pen that much yet since I was too busy customizing my phone’s look. XD The speaker is now at the bottom instead of the back like in Note 2 and S4. The sound quality is good but I don’t have much to say about it since I prefer to use the earphones more. Watching videos on this device is a joy with its huge 5.7″ 1080p screen. I like watching videos on it so much that my battery drains fast. Haha! But I don’t mind at all. It lasts me about 12 hours and that is already impressive for me considering that I’m a heavy user. I cannot wait to transfer some of my movies from my computer. And my Korean ebooks!

Note 3 has the same Smart features that S4 has but I turned it all off because I just didn’t find it that useful and it doesn’t even work all the time. It was fun at first but at the end of the day, you get tired of it. I’ll probably find a use for it someday but for now, I’m keeping it disabled.

Anyway.. I need some app suggestions since my phone is kinda empty right now. I don’t even have my songs loaded on it yet. If you have any apps that are worth downloading, please tell me. Whether it’s a game app or photography app or Korean related app, leave a comment below and I’d love to check it out.

Photos were taken using a Sony HX30v camera.

뭐라고? 군대 갈 필요가 없다고? 이유는?

I just learned something new today. I met a Korean high school student and I asked him if he had been to the army already. Stupid question, I know. I forgot he was still in high school and he’s not yet supposed to go to army until after he graduates high school. He said not yet and that he doesn’t need to go. I can’t help but be curious since I was told that every Korean men has to go to army. No exceptions. So I asked him again. Why? He said because he’s a 여호와의 증인 (Jehovah’s Witness). I was baffled as to why he doesn’t have to go to the army just because he was a 여호와의 증인 so I asked him and I was quite surprised to find out why and what consequences they have to face for not going to army. I also looked up Naver regarding this just to be sure. Seems legit. Sorry, it’s April Fool’s Day. I just had to check if he’s telling the truth. Haha!

All this time, I believed that every single Korean men go to army except for those who are severely ill. But I was wrong. Korean men whose religion is Jehovah’s Witness don’t go to army. Not because they’re exempted from it but because they refuse to because practicing violence is against their belief. Instead, they spend a year and 2 months in prison for breaking the law. And not going to army is considered as breaking the law. That is just so sad being imprisoned not for doing a serious crime such as murder or robbing a bank but for refusing to go to army because of their religion. I just find it absurd to say the least. But on the other hand, I understand why the Korean government doesn’t give them an exemption and send them to prison. Because if they do, every men will want to be a Jehovah’s Witness just so they won’t have to go to army. If that happens, who will go to army and protect their country? XD

Week at a Glance: Feb. 25 – Mar. 31

Note: This was supposed to be a “My Week at a Glance” type of post with more pictures and less text but it ended up the other way around and being longer than I intended it to be. Nonetheless, I’m still gonna use the title “My Week at a Glance” XD

I was planning to blog about this a few days ago but I was brought to the hospital on Friday night so I couldn’t. My copy of 2012 Big Bang Alive Tour in Seoul DVD arrived on the 25th of February. And now, I’m broke. Haha! But I doesn’t matter. I originally planned to save up first before getting this but I wanted the poster and I didn’t want to ran out. I find it odd that I’m always after the poster and yet I don’t even hang them up on my wall simply because there’s just no space to stick it on. ㅡ_ㅡ;;

I got a text message from someone I know who works at the post office telling me that there’s a huge box waiting for me there. I run an online shop. I sell kpop albums, Korean cosmetics, Korean textbooks etc. for young Filipinos who don’t have credit cards to use on Korean online shops. I’m selling stuff from Korea so I have money to spare for fangirling purposes and I am also paying for my phone bill. 헐.

I had ordered this concert DVD along with 10 copies of BAP’s One Shot album and 20 One Shot posters. One of the albums was supposed to be my copy but I had to give it to a buyer since she wanted to get her hands on the album as soon as possible. It’s okay. My copy will be arriving sometime this week or next week together with 20+ kpop albums. Heavy package, I know. TT__TT I just hope I get my favorite member’s photocard.

I didn’t get to watch the DVD on the day when I got it. I had to pack the other albums so I could ship them the next day. When I finally got around to watching the DVD, I started squealing even before I hit the play button. I was really that excited. I didn’t care if the maids could hear me from the kitchen. Believe it or not, my throat went sore by the end of the concert. I think I’m gonna end up losing my voice when I get to go to a real kpop concert. Well, that is if I don’t faint halfway through it. XD

I squealed for Daesung and Seungri. I screamed a lot for TOP but I screamed the loudest for my baby boy, Taeyang. I hated it when TOP appears on the screen. You gorgeous creature, why are you seducing me? Haha! I have high respect for G-Dragon. Although there are some people who aren’t really fond of him because of his attitude, I don’t care. Just because a person is not as nice and as innocent as a saint doesn’t mean he’s not worthy of any respect. Not everyone can be a great songwriter, composer, producer, rapper like G-Dragon. Hating on G-Dragon won’t make you a better person and it definitely won’t stop him from being the awesome person that he is.

When I say “I like [insertnameofidolhere]”, it’s most likely because he or she is really good at something like dancing, singing, rapping, playing a certain instrument etc. Or they have great fashion sense. Or they’re just simply handsome or beautiful in my eyes. I have never liked an idol for their personality. Why? Because you never really know what kind of personality they have behind the camera. I like idols for their talent, not because they’re nice, cute and adorkable human beings when in fact they’re secretly not even like that in real life.

I got sidetracked there. Sorry. I just needed to get that out of my chest.

Anyway, on the day I was brought to the hospital, I watched the Korean movie called “71: Into the Fire” or “포화 속으로” in Korean. For someone like me who fancies movies that were set during the World War II, I wonder why I didn’t watch this movie sooner. And on the top of that, TOP plays one of the lead roles in the movie! I should have watched this as soon as the English subtitles were released. BUT WHY DIDN’T I WATCH IT? Oh well, it doesn’t matter now. Haha!

71: Into the Fire is now my new favorite Korean movie. Prior to watching it, it was Sunny (2011) that was on top of my list. But everything changed since Friday. TOP or Kwon Sang Woo being in the movie doesn’t have anything to do with why I like this movie so much. Believe it or not, I had my serious face on the entire time I was watching the movie. No fangirling, no spazzing, no squealing. I was so engrossed with the story. I even shed tears at some point. Since this movie was based on an actual story, my thoughts were filled with sympathy for those young untrained student soldiers who died during that time. Can you just imagine your teenage self going to war without any combat experience or knowledge on how to use a gun? In the movie, the 71 student soldiers were left behind to protect Pohang Girl’s school from the North Koreans while the other soldiers went to Nakdong River to battle it out with the North Koreans with the help of US Forces. My hands and feet got sweaty when they were goofing around instead of training. I was like “You guys are in a war, your superiors are in danger in Nakdong River, you guys are gonna die in a while and you still have the nerve to goof around?”

TOP’s character was a wimp during the first half of the movie. Why didn’t you shoot that dude? You could have saved that officer if you had just shoot the guy who was attacking him. But how could you shoot him when you couldn’t even load the bullet inside the gun because your hands were shaking. Ugh! *rolls eyes* Hahaha! Kwon Sang Woo’s character was a jerk who refused to do things according to orders. He did whatever he wanted to do. He never listened to TOP. He shot the North Korean kid who was giving out an impressive patriotic speech while standing on a boulder even though TOP told him not to. He had a fist fight with TOP. Okay, that scene was heartbreaking. They were all losing hope because first, there were only 71 of them and about a thousand of North Koreans were against them. They were severely outnumbered. Second, what do they know about going into battle? Most of them haven’t even experienced firing a gun. Third, serious lack of equipments. I was speechless I could only just shake my head in frustration. Haha!

After watching the movie, I was brought to the hospital because my head started to ache and the pain was almost unbearable. Both of my doctors were out of town (Fantastic. -.-) so we had to look for another doctor. Long story short, I’m okay now. Haha! Don’t wanna get into the details.