17 December 2012

Starting Christmas vacation

So Fall 2012 is finally over. Final exams are done. Grades are out. And most important of all, I passed all of my classes.

I have been very terribly busy during the past semester. I had three clinical rotations (Community, School, and Psychiatry), a report about the water on the island, one research paper and a research presentation, two teaching plans, one community assessment with presentation, and tons of paperwork and exams. Cutting a long story short, I have been very terribly busy (as I have said earlier).

Now I have more than five weeks of Christmas vacation on my hands.

So what's the issue then?

The issue is that I have been (again) very terribly busy the past semester, and even though it's over, my body is still in the "busy mode."

Like I just could not relax.

Like I just could not stop.

I feel that I have things to do and deadlines to meet. But I don't. I still plan my days (with the help of my trusty planner). And I still make goals to meet.

Today is the fifth day of the vacation. So what have I accomplished so far?

  • Go to a two-day training for suicide prevention (and get a certificate for it) - yes, that was how I spent the first two days of my vacation
  • Do cardio workouts on Thursday and Friday - losing weight is a priority
  • Painted my nails sort of successfully
  • Go to church on Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday evening - could not do this during the semester so I'm doing this now
  • Participate in the Sugarplum Gift Wrapping for the needy 
  • Do the traditional lunch with my friends
  • Catch up on my favorite shows, namely Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, and Once Upon A Time - although I haven't finished catching up yet
  • Clean the car - but I still need to apply the protectant on the inside
  • Cook lunch and dinner for my family
  • Update this blog - what I'm doing now
  • Read about making cake pops and cake balls and purchase the needed materials and ingredients - I want to cross this out from my bucket list this vacation
  • Finish wrapping one Christmas gift - still feeling lazy to finish all the gifts
  • Do the laundry - had my brother do all the laundry during the semester so on vacation, I'm helping him do it
So what else is missing?

Some of the things that I still want to accomplish while I'm on Guam are:
  • Practice with NCLEX questions (to prepare for next semester)
  • Finish Christmas shopping
  • Finish wrapping gifts
  • Play the PS3 and finish some games
  • Finish catching up on all my TV shows (unrealistic goal)
  • Watch The Hobbit and Breaking Dawn
  • Test out on a language class
  • Get a physical exam done, update my shot record, get TB clearance, 
  • Make cake balls and cake pops
  • Prepare for my trip to Philippines
Oooohkay. I guess you're probably thinking I need to sedate myself now so I can relax. It's Christmas vacation and I still work on "goals" and treat hobbies and relaxation like they're homework.

20 November 2012

Talofofo Falls

Warning: Some pictures are rated R. If you know what I mean.

Guam is a very small island, with an area of 541.3  km2, and a length of 30 miles. Then, for regular people such as myself (and by regular I mean not a member of the US military), a third of the land of Guam is not freely accessible. Hence, I can only freely roam around the remaining 20 miles of the island. Now you probably understand why I always, always, itch to go off island!

My point is you can go around the island of Guam in less than a day. Without stops, that is. And yes, that is how small Guam is.

Drive route from my village to Talofofo
Anyway, three weeks ago, my family and I drove to the south of the island to look for beaches and go fishing. While we were not able to catch even a single fish, we were able to take pictures on some of the nicest spots on the island such as the Talofofo Bay, Talofofo Falls / Yokoi Cave, Inarajan Pool, and Fort Soledad. Oh, and we were also able to eat some very healthy (emphasize on very and healthy) German sausages from McKraut's.

For this blog post, I will only be talking about Talofofo Falls.

The name Talofofo falls is misleading. Most falls in the world do not require people to pay for an admission fee. However, to be able to visit Guam's Talofofo falls, tourists and residents alike must pay an admission fee. Adult rate for tourists is twenty bucks, while residents pay thirteen bucks per individual. For a falls that you could not even swim in, I think Talofofo falls is pretty expensive. And that is my opinion, of course.

The first attraction inside the Talofofo falls compound is the Love Land. This is where the pictures become rated R. So kids, please cover your eyes.

Love Land Entrance
Wow. What a fancy entrance. Quite like Disney Land's entrances where you are greeted with smiling people in colorful costumes, eh? Haha. Forgive the sarcasm.

Think you need to go to Paris' Louvre to see Venus de Milo? Ha! While the real Venus de Milo is enjoying her stay at the Louvre being heavily guarded, under a nice rain-proof building, Guam's Venus de Milo is getting a tan under the sun while standing in the middle of the boonies.

Venus de Milo replica
And yes, I took more photographs inside the Love Land... Much to my parents' dismay.

Sculpture coitus

This one, I think is the funniest of all the pictures I have taken in the Love Land. Seriously, what could be better than a giant penis in the middle of this forest-like place? Hmm.. By the way, I am assuming this penis stands about five feet and seven inches. That's just a guestimate, people.

Giant Penis
There are more pictures from the Love Land, but I am not willing to share most of them. Sorry.

So you think we don't have cable cars on Guam? Ha! We do! It's just too bad it isn't as great as the cable cars in Hong Kong or Singapore.

Cable Car Station
I apologize for not taking a picture of the cable car. It would have been a very nice thing to see! Again, forgive the sarcasm.

And some photos I took of the falls itself:

Talofofo Falls
Talofofo Falls
Boring, I know. I know.

It was tempting to go on the falls and take a shower since I was sweating like crazy during the entirety of our visit in Talofofo falls. Sadly, Talofofo falls is one of those bodies of water that people are not allowed to touch or bathe in. 

I'm cutting it short right here. Will continue on the next blog post. This is kinda long already anyway. Plus it's already late and I have to wake up early tomorrow for my Psych Clinical. 

10 November 2012

Dear Santa 2012

Just a few minutes ago, I have been doing my online window shopping to see what I could possibly give as presents for Christmas. Then I suddenly thought, maybe I should be thinking of what I should give to myself.

Every Christmas, I barely get any gifts. Although I do give a lot of them. Not that I'm complaining.

So this time, just so I can really save up and purchase the things I want, I made my 2012 wish list!

Here it is:

So to anyone out there who's planning to get me something, here's my list. LOL.

Although... I know I'd probably end up buying them for myself.

By the way, this photo was taken at Ypao Beach during a high tide. And it was edited through Instagram's trusty filters. ;)

07 November 2012

To: Self After Graduation

Dear Self After Graduation,

How are you now?

Today is November 7, 2012 on Guam - a day after we first voted; hours after Obama won the presidential election. I am typing this on the study table mom got us.

As of now, I have survived two rotations this semester - Community and School. Community Rotation was a lot of fun, if only I did not have to do a forty-five paged paper. School Rotation was also fun, if only I did not procrastinate and did my paperwork on time. Anyway, right now, I am in my second week of Psychiatry Rotation in the Adult Inpatient Unit (AIU). I guess I wrote this letter to tell you about what I have experienced in AIU so far.

Before I took Psych, I was scared of "crazy people." I am one of the many who stigmatized mental health patients. Heck. I even blamed them for being "crazy."

Right now, though, I could not maintain my boundary. As usual, my heart breaks when I hear sad stories - stories I never thought people would go through. So far, I have realized that the consumers (we call them consumers, not patients) have gone through experiences that I would probably not be able to handle myself. A lot of them feel alone, have low self-esteem, have been abandoned by their loved ones, and have been physically and sexually abused. It isn't their fault that they needed help.

I couldn't help but wonder if you're still crying for the consumers. Are you still? Well, just so you know, your current undergraduate self is crying. She needs to build up her boundaries again or she might just end up being admitted in the AIU herself.

I'm currently 22 by the way. Two years past our "graduation goal." And yes, I feel like senior year is dragging. But then again, I'm not sure right now if I'm actually ready to graduate, take the NCLEX, and work as a registered nurse. There's still so much I need to learn, but I know I won't be able to know everything even if I stay in college for one more year. But then again, I don't wanna stay in college for another year.

I hope you're okay, by the way. I hope everyone in the family will be able to attend our pinning and our graduation. I hope you're happy. And I hope you pass the NCLEX.


Your Undergraduate Self

PS: I think I should write to you more often.

06 November 2012

Of Firsts: Voting

While the 2012 election has not started in the United States mainland, on Guam, where America's day begins, the election just reached its conclusion. Votes have not been tallied as of yet, but the process of filling out ballots is done and over with.

During the summer of this year, my brother and I became registered voters on Guam. Hence, this election is quite a big deal for me because this is the very first time I filled out a ballot to vote. Truth to be told, the thought of having my opinion on who I want to be in position was a little exciting.

This afternoon, at around three thirty, my brother and I drove to a public elementary school where we were assigned to vote. As we got nearer and nearer the school, I saw a few canopies with posters of names of different politicians. Then, at the gate of the school, I was able to distinguish one of the senatorial candidates. He was smiling as he proudly waved the Guam flag. He was also waving and smiling to the voters who drove inside the school grounds. It then hit me: who am I going to vote for?

It dawned on me that I barely know anything about the senatorial candidates. I heard there is a nurse or a doctor who wants to run for senator… I read on a billboard somewhere that one of them is a veteran… Who are republican? Who are democrats?

I hear more about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s campaign on television and on the internet. However, I have very little knowledge about the local candidates on Guam.

Right now, you’re probably thinking: This girl is such a responsible voter.

I digress.

To make a long story short, I ended up doing a meeny-meeny-miny-moe when choosing my fifteen senatorial candidates, and I randomly answered the questions regarding the court. But there was one vote I’m sure I did responsibly, and that was to vote for my first presidential candidate. While I know that my vote for the president of my choice might not count (Guam is not a US state so presidential votes don’t exactly count), I know I made an informed decision. So yea, today, I have first voted for my president of choice.

From this experience, I have learned that I must stay informed regarding the politics on Guam no matter how demanding my schedule is at school. This will be the last time I will do a meeny-meeny-miny-moe when choosing my candidate.

But I do hope my brother and I are the only ones who did a meeny-meeny-miny-moe voting. Everyone, vote responsibly. Be in the know.

05 September 2012

Come Back

Been on hiatus for more than a month...
But that's not so bad, right?!
Or is it?
Sorry folks. I have absolutely nothing to blog about these days. Or maybe I did. Like:

1) Guam Liberation Day
2) Finishing summer school (and missing my literature class)
3) Vacation in Philippines for seven days
4) Going back to school as a senior
5) Finishing the Furuba / Fruits Basket manga and feeling mad about the anime being discontinued (and feeling sad because I Furuba's ending was so bittersweet it makes me wanna cry)... And I miss Kyo, Tohru, and Hanajima!!! I know I'm ranting. Sorry.
Yea... I do have things to blog about. Hmm. But are they interesting enough? Well, interesting or not, I am currently drowning on paperwork, homework, and readings.

Because I finally got to become a senior student nurse, I am trying my best to work five times as hard as I did in the previous years. So NOW, I do my homework waaaay ahead of time, and I pre-read ALL the chapters before coming to class when they will be discussed. Lastly, I try not to hate writing care plans as much as I do. Scratch that. It's supposed to be DID (past tense, lol).

But yes, I guess this is my "come back" post.

Currently a senior. Drowning in work. Neglecting my needs. Stressing out (or maybe not).

Ja ne!

11 July 2012

On Kafka

Since my trip to the Philippines was cancelled, I decided to take two summer classes just so I don't feel so bored. I love learning anyway, and the classes I'm taking are pretty interesting.

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”  ~Vernon Howard

To those wondering, I'm taking a class on Women and Gender studies, and Literature. And oh how I missed reading stories and learning about various authors. Just the past weeks, I have learned about Franz Kafka and Raymond Carver. (I guess by now you can tell I'm having more fun with my Literature class than my Women and Gender class.) Both of the mentioned authors are pretty interesting. Although, between the two of them, I find myself more fascinated with Kafka's works. Raymond Carver is also a great author, mind you. It's just that I feel that I could relate more to Kafka.

From the Japanese short film adaptation of Ein Landarzt
(A Country Doctor) by Franz Kafka
So far, we've read a couple of short stories by Kafka such as: 1) A Country Doctor; 2) The Bridge; 3) A Hunger Artist; 4) A Knock at a Manor Gate; and 5) The Bucket Rider. All of the stories are full of symbolism. And I, who have very little knowledge of philosophy, could probably not understand the tales had I not been guided by the instructor. Poor me, I know.

Despite Kafka being a "difficult read," I still find myself quite, if not very, fascinated by his works. Most of them are dark, eerie, and do not end happily. I guess I have a taste for tales that are full of mystery and misery. I don't really know. Or maybe the reason I'm kind of obsessing about Kafka right now is because I still don't feel like I'm in the right path...

Nursing is a great profession, that I already know. But there are times when I just question myself if I am right for that great profession. Some people have what they call "a calling" anyway. Well, here I am, twenty-one years old, and had been trying to become a nurse for several years, and I still don't feel like I'm called to become a nurse. Wow. How pathetic.

Well... There was a time when I wanted to become a writer...

Or maybe I still want to become one. I'm not too sure. And maybe I'm bound to never be sure.

How does this apply to Kafka? Well, Kafka, according to my instructor, had always wanted to become a writer. And yes, as you see, he did become one. However, his family wanted him to follow another path. And yes, he also followed that other path. If my instructor was correct, and I'm fairly certain that he is, Kafka was a lawyer and a writer. How could a person with only one body do that? Well, as far as I have learned, he was able to perform as a lawyer and as a writer by doing sacrifices. And some of the sacrifices he made were giving up family, love, and sleep.

I wonder how it would have been if his family approved of his pursuit to become a writer. Well that, I could only imagine.

And now here I am imagining what my life would turn out after following what my family wanted me to be. Let's just hope all would turn out well.

15 June 2012

Agat Mango Festival 2012

Last weekend, I got to go to this year's Mango Festival held in the village of Agat. As its name implies, the festival showcased mangoes - lots of mangoes. And I loooove mangoes. Mango is my favorite fruit; I'll eat it regardless if it's yellow or green. Although, I prefer green.

The festival was held at the Agat community center which resembled a park that overlooked the ocean. Or perhaps, it is a park in and of itself.

The heat of the sun discouraged me a little to go to the festival, but the thought of eating mangoes overpowered my discouragement (aka laziness) to go to the festival. In addition to the heat, the drive was exhausting. If you have lived in Guam for years, I bet you'll be used to the short drives. However, Agat is one of the southernmost villages (I live in the northern part of the island), and the forty-minute drive tires me out. Just imagine if I would move to the states where the shortest drive would probably take two hours. That would probably kill me.

To make a long story short, we got to the festival safely. It was scorching hot so we quickly looked for a booth that would offer ice cold drinks.

And in light of the Mango Festival, most booths served something that has mango in it. And we got to try this delicious fresh mango smoothie that cost about four bucks if I remember it correctly.

There were also booths that served shaved ice with mango toppings, and booths that sold locally grown mangoes.

And let's not forget about the booths that sold other stuff aside from mangoes:

Souvenirs for sale
And some booths just showcased mangoes. Meaning, they did not sell the mangoes, they just teased the eyes of the bystanders - kind of a "you could look, but you could not taste" kind of deal.

As mentioned earlier, the Agat Mango Festival showcased ripe and unripe mangoes. But who would have thought they would also showcase mangoes of different colors such as these:

Yellow and green mangoes 
Red-orange mangoes
Red-green mangoes
Yellow mangoes 
Mangoes of different colors
The booth that probably had the most buyers was the booth that sold mango donuts. I swear people lined up like crazy for the mango donuts! The craze got so bad, that the sellers had to put a limit on how many donuts one buyer can have!

One customer can only have one bag of mango donuts (which cost about $1), so I had my brothers line up as well so we can get more! *insert evil laugh*

And yup, the moment I tried the mango donuts, I understood why people lined up like crazy on the booth. The donuts were freshly made and were very delicious!

Mango donuts
Probably one of the most interesting things to see is the competition for the biggest mango.

Third place
This one won the competition:

From the photo above, the mango that won the first place looks a little too small to win, right? But here's a proof that the mango shown above is really big, and I used my hand for comparison:

By the way, did you notice the watermark on the photos? From now on, I shall take copyrighting to the next level. Thus, the watermark on the photographs.

Anyway, until the next mango festival!


09 June 2012

Tintin tries baking the Angel

The baking spree continues!

Who would have thought that I, who used to loathe handling the spatula and everything that concerns cooking, is now addicted to baking! And yes, up until this moment, I still could not believe that I am actually loving cooking and baking. The high that I get when the liquid batter slowly turns into a soft, fluffy bread is just amazing. It is akin to watching a yummy miracle take place inside my countertop oven!

A week ago, I baked the devil's food cake aka "The Devil" (click here for more). This time, I tried baking the angel's food cake aka "The Angel." How cool was that?

To be honest with you, I think there really is nothing so great or impressive to say about this experience. If anything, I think baking the devil had more - for a lack of a better term - challenge, compared to baking the angel cake. You'll find out why.

Being a beginner with baking, I use ready made cake mixes. This is my second time, people. I know. I'm twenty-one and I had only baked two cakes in my life. How embarrassing.

What you'll need with baking the angel:

1. Angel food cake mix

2. Water (1 1/4 cups)

3. Angel pan or loaf pan

Procedure (I take no credit for this. This recipe was taken from the box of Betty Crocker Angel Food mix.):

1. Move oven rack to lowest position if using angel food pan or middle rack if using loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan). Do NOT grease pan.

2. Beat cake mix and 1 1/4 cups water in extra large bowl (Take this part seriously. When I beat my mix, the batter almost spilled from the bowl. So when they say use extra large bowl, use EXTRA LARGE bowl.) on low speed for 30 seconds then on medium speed for one minute. Or you can just beat it manually. Pour into ungreased pan.

3. Bake for 37-47 minutes if using an angel food pan or until top is dark golden brown and cracks feel very dry and not sticky. Do not underbake.

4. Immediately turn pan upside down onto glass bottle until cake is completely cool. Run knife around edges; remove from pan. Cut with serrated knife, using a sawing motion, or with electric knife. Store tightly covered.

 And here's the angel cake after baking. Look how imperfect it looks. :(

Note to self: research how to cut the angel cake decently without destroying it. Will definitely cut it better the next time.

One of the good things about the angel cake is that you can use anything as a topping to it. Strawberries, peaches, pineapples, raspberries, anything! And my choice of topping is strawberry!

 And here's the final product:

Happy baking everyone!

05 June 2012

I wish I have a macro lens

I'm just saying. These pictures would probably look better had they been taken using a macro lens. Unfortunately, I do not own a macro lens yet. Although, purchasing one is already in my plans.

Anyway, I'm posting these set of practice pictures that I took with my Canon T3 with 18-55 mm lens. I'm going to skip posting about working out and cooking for the time being.


Yellow get-well-soon orchids:

Red roses and stargazers from Flowers by Tand:

I hope you liked the photos. :)

Constructive criticisms are most welcome, by the way.

04 June 2012

Aqua Zumba

Ever since I got to try Zumba fitness (click here for more), I think I got "kind of" addicted to the workout. In a span of two weeks, I was able to try three kinds of Zumba - fitness, toning, and aqua. And so far, I like Aqua Zumba the best.

As the name implies, Aqua Zumba is Zumba workout done while you're in water. Zumba fitness is exhausting but fun. Aqua Zumba, on the other hand, takes the difficulty and fun in a whole different level. I guess everything you do that involves water is fun, anyway.

Just this afternoon, I got to do my second dose of Aqua Zumba. And yes, it was as fun as it was during my first try. The Zumba instructor was as lively as ever and the music she played really got my groove on. And that statement came from me - someone who just doesn't get the groove on, if you know what I mean. ;)

Like last week, the Aqua Zumba was done in the Infinity Pool at the Sheraton Laguna Hotel.

During Aqua Zumba
And yes, I know, the pool looks really, really nice. It actually tempts me to swim every time I go there. And swim, I kind of did this afternoon. LOL. It was too tempting to resist anyway!

And did I mention I went down the slide too? I may be an adult but slides in swimming pools still make me happy. But hey, we adults gotta do something for the kid inside us, right?

The Aqua Zumba lasted for about an hour. And trust me, one hour is good enough for the Aqua Zumba workout. I may not feel sore after the workout, but at least I got to get active, and I had a lot of fun too!

Here are some post-Zumba pictures anyway:

Taken using Canon T3, EF 18-55 mm lens.
Bathroom photos: Me and my Gym buddy ;)

Self portrait

First Aqua Zumba night