“Sounds like a title of a movie!” my aunt said when I mentioned that one Tuesday in April was the start of my 127-day summer.
I was so overwhelmed knowing I’d have four months of absolutely no school, where I could spend everyday lazing around without the feeling of regret. I deserved a break—sleeping in, bumming around, with a bevy of blogs at my fingertips as I spent endless hours in front of the computer screen. Bliss, I say.
But I felt something was quite wrong. I then realized that such routine was not something I wanted to do for the next hundred days. This summer of three figures might never happen again, so I might as well spend it in a productive manner. After all, this summer’s way too long to even be doing nothing. To save my sanity, I’ve got to look for things to do!
So on the 21st day, I ended up with a list of what I ought to achieve. Today’s actually Day 100 (so fast yet so slow!), and I barely have a month to tick everything off:
Get a summer job.
I’ve done quite a few way back in grade school, like being a cashier at the neighborhood barber shop. Looking back, considering how young I was back then, to be sitting at the counter for ten hours a day, with sums of cash and a stash of coins by my side was such a huge responsibility for a kid to handle! Little talks with customers, handling daily reads to those in line, counting change… indeed, it was an experience I certainly enjoyed.
Well, I’ve been doing some ‘freelance’ graphic design on the side (this is just a fancy way of calling the layout designs for the price lists/calling cards I recently created for the barber shop), and it’s something I immensely enjoyed doing. Also, my dream of working as a barista for some milk tea or coffee shop will never fade away.
As I am entering uni life in a few, having summer jobs that equate to actual job experiences can be something I could place on my resume. I was actually this close to being an English and Math tutor to grade school students! But there was a catch: I was asked if I was capable of teaching Chinese (yes, Chinese) pinyin, but I just couldn’t give a straight yes—because, well, teaching Mandarin? That should be saying a lot of my skills, but I clearly suck, to even begin with… I can’t even teach myself the right things, so that certainly put an end to it. Okay, here’s the deal—not the wisest thing to do, because why would I teach Chinese to Tsinoy kids? Haha. Case closed.
I’m the epitome of sedentary. I do nothing to exercise, not because I don’t see the need to, but because I just don’t want. This is something I really need, but never had the motivation to even start. The only exercise that I actually enjoy is biking, which I get to do once a year (or not even). I’ve been looking for a type of exercise I’d genuinely enjoy. I’ve attended a session of yoga and I liked it. Even the most basic of movements was challenging yet so calming! I never got it right on the first try, but the simple poses aren’t anything strenuous and neck breaking (literally), so I’m hoping this would encourage me to start and get moving.
Get back on hobbies (piano, dramas, snail mail).
My tedious academic workload is what I blame for not being able to do the things I enjoyed doing. My piano skills are at its rustiest; recently, I was asked by people I’ve met for the first time to play my ‘best’ piece, and it was so scantily played I just embarrassed myself (well, what’s new?). I’d like to get back again my ear for playing. As much as I say that watching drama is one of my favorite things, ironically, it’s something I barely get to do. I remember talking to a friend who said that she was watching six Korean dramas all at the same time, and I said that the total number of dramas I’ve finished doesn’t even go past that. It’s something I need to do again while school’s still a month away. And, of course, exchanging postcards is happy happy joy joy for me. For some reason, postcards here in the country are so limited to touristy types that there aren’t much unconventional ones available. Gladly, I got a postcard book from the souvenir shop at Getty Museum and it features around 30 artwork postcards, so in the next few weeks, I’m hoping to be able to send to and receive from strangers across the globe.
This is one of my regrets as a student. I really regret not reading books in high school! Book reports aside, I never finished any novel of interest. I did start reading a few, but never got past halfway of anything. Not being able to read is what I blame my poor vocabulary (my browser history has numerous *insert word here* meaning searches on Google that add up on a daily basis, this is real) and my less polished, incoherent writing on. If I had regularly read, I’m pretty sure I would have done so much better during the entrance exams and become more eloquent. Books on hold are The Alchemist, The Joy Luck Club, and Chinese Cinderella.
Brush up on my Chinese.
I always strive to be better at Chinese. My goal was never to be fluent because that’s pretty much an elusive dream, but to be proficient at the language is quite attainable. My progress is clearly turtle slow (three years and still can’t handle a continuous dialogue, why oh why), and I try to pick up what I can, whether by channel-scanning or singing along to Mandopop. If my Chinese were much better, I could have confidently asked for discounts at the night markets to get a good bargain. But even so, I felt that my Chinese raised exponentially when I went to Taiwan, and that only means that I should engage myself more in actual conversations, letting go of the anxiety when making a fool of myself. But, errare humanum est, as they say, only from our mistakes we shall learn!
And travel, of course, haha.
As I was listing all of this down, I knew I was missing something but couldn’t really put a finger on it. And then I remembered, oh right, travel! How can I forget this one? Exploring new places is my favorite thing to do. I’m not constantly traveling, but I am always itching to be on the go. An Intramuros walking tour or Pasig River and Manila Bay ferry cruise, why not? For now I’d like to do more of local travel, as it is when I am truly at my happiest, I say again! But near or far, I’m always game for anything at any place.