With Stella

That Wednesday after the Leader Conference, Christelle and I lead the band as we planned. Not many members came that week which was easier for me to handle so everything was pretty chill. Since it’s been about four weeks since that day, I don’t remember much of everything but I do remember one thing. It was the conversation Christelle and I had on the way home. For some reason I don’t remember, she started talking about the moment Ethan left for college. She said their family tried not to cry but eventually they did when they said goodbyes. Since she talked about that, she couldn’t seem to help but relate it to the future of our friendship. She went on again about what she was going to do when I leave. Every time we have this conversation, there’s a layer of feelings we try so hard to suppress. The thought saddens us both, that’s for sure. But man, it cuts me every time she brings it up. After we talk about it, a deafening silence usually follows. It’s like both of us need some air every time it’s mentioned.

I do remember after a silence saying, “Man… I don’t ever want to say goodbye to you.”

I don’t remember anymore how she exactly reacted to that, but from what I remember faintly, she may have said, “OH. Nope. NOPE.” Or maybe a bunch of wailing while she says “We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

I actually don’t even know how we’ll be able to deal with it when the time comes. I’m a person who likes to grieve a few months before things actually happen. Her bringing it up and then putting it off kinda drives me crazy. I feel like I would be so depressed if I don’t deal with it now… but then again, I don’t even know how to deal with that sadness right now. The best that I can do really is spend time with her as much as I can. By the time this year ends, I already know that I’m going to be closer to her than ever, but Life will separate us. Oh… the thought is really frightening but still, life goes on.

Anywaayy… that Friday, my mic was oddly loud. I kinda hated that it was since it amplified how imperfect my voice was, but anyway… I had fun singing with Christelle and mashing up Vapor and With Everything. That’s what mattered right?

On the way home, her mom drove us home. As she was driving, she was talking about the very frustrating case of a parent just handing Jordan money for food right on the time of Wildfire. Since parents take part in preparing what lunch we hungry teenagers should have, it’s only common sense that they buy number of easy to eat food for us—not just give money to Jordan and assume he has enough time and headspace to buy food for 30+ people 30 minutes before Wildfire actually starts. It was so stupid on the parents’ side and it was hectic for the church staff to try and find what they can do. Hopefully, they were able to get enough food from a short amount of time, but seriously, that was just so dumb.

Anyway, as we were just talking about food, Christelle’s mom asks me if I want to go home with them and eat some biryani. Being the somewhat Christelle trash I am, I agreed to come with them. I’d do anything to hang out with her—just the two of us. Because of this, I got to Christelle’s room for the second time in less than a week. She prepared me some biryani and ate it even though it was a little spicy and I didn’t even like biryani that much. Then we jammed to some songs. I couldn’t record it because my iPod has been faulty for a while. It’s a shame but anyway, I can just write down what I remember. She made me listen to a lot of Young the Giant songs and covers of a married couple on youtube. Since she was sharing her music, I was able to share some too. I let her listen to 11:11 because I used to always play that on guitar last year. I also showed JRA’s duet cover of Like I’m Gonna Lose you and she said that we should jam to that some time. I also let her listen to the recordings of her and Vida singing together. She hated how she sounded but she was satisfied to hear them whenever Vida harmonized with her. Oh, and we took a video of our Vapor-With Everything mashup. Then an hour before 5, she said she wanted to post our Sorry We Don’t Talk mashup on instagram. I told her that she couldn’t record a whole video for her story since it was only 10 seconds. When she realized that, she then made up her mind that we should sing it under 10 seconds. So for about 45 minutes, we tried taking a 10 second video and made so much mistakes. It was the funniest thing ever to do it and fail most of the time. I think my favorite video isn’t even the one that we nailed perfectly—it’s us laughing too hard after I made a mistake. It was such a fun time.

Since it was turning late, my mom texted me to go home, so I got ready to go home. I was planning on walking but Christelle’s mom wanted to offer me a ride. Since she was so persistent, I couldn’t comply. Then she told me to wait 10 minutes for her to get ready. Feeling like that’s too much of a hassle, I called my mom to see if they could pick me up instead. After all, it was my dad’s birthday that day and we were supposed to eat dinner on Friday’s. When my mom said yes, I told Christelle to tell her mom not to worry about it. So I was able to wait for a few more minutes.

As I was waiting, Christelle said she wanted to paint on the drawing that I drew of her a few weeks back. I told her to go ahead and do what she wants cuz it’s hers. And so, she went to her desk to paint on it. While I was on her bed charging my phone, I played some English covers of Sam Kim and ohhhhhhh man. If only I had my iPod working. Hearing her just humming and harmonizing WITH Sam Kim was sooo good.

Anyway, after that, I went to eat with my parents on Friday’s. Since steak is my dad’s favorite dish, we ordered it and gahhhhhhhhhhhhhh it was soo gooood.

Just now as I’m writing this, I kinda feel like a horrible daughter. When I was about to leave Christelle’s house, I told her it was my dad’s birthday and she said I should’ve spent time with him. I said it was okay, but I’m just realizing now how bad it kinda sounds. It was my Dad’s 50th birthday, too.

But honestly, what would we have done during the day? Sleep? Watch TV at home? That’s what we always used to do after church… Anyway, I do try not to neglect my parents every day or act like they’re the most annoying people. They’re not. I try to be their energy whenever I can.

 


 

The next Wednesday, a new member joined the band. It’s Alicia. Chinaza has mentioned her before as someone who plays guitar and I do see her in Wildfire most of the time. She’s very chick and apparently she’s related to Youtuber Liza Koshy. Christelle said she has harmonized with her before and it wasn’t bad. With all the information I knew about her, I was looking forward to see how she will do. I had a good feeling that she has a potential to be good or at least doable and not poisonous.

I was right. She harmonized quite well with Sebastian and I could already hear her more than Chinaza (I still don’t know how Chinaza sounds like tbh). She’s not the best at it yet but she has that vibe to her to be good at it. Since she’s still young, there’s still a lot of time to improve. She’s not the best with guitar either—her strumming needs a lot of work—but nevertheless, what I like about her is that she wants to practice before the practice. She honestly wanted to go last week but since she said she didn’t have enough time to practice the songs, she didn’t go, and also because she had somewhere to go but anyway. But anyway, we usually just have a window of Tuesday to practice the songs when the songs are decided on late, and most of the members don’t even practice. So for her to want to practice the songs says a lot about her. I like it. It gives me hope. And even though she may not be as good as me, I think I may have found a replacement to be Christelle’s band/music friend.

Oh and by the way, since I never hear Chinaza’s voice and feel like she’s just standing there doing nothing most of the time, I lent her one of my shakers. It seems I have found something enjoyable for her to do cuz she was unstoppable with it. She’s even on beat using them. It was amusing.

The next day, Thursday, right after I finished my last Math test FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I crashed on my bed and wanted to rest and sleep. I worked hard for that last pace (and probably got the highest score I ever could after a long time of getting line of 80 lol. I only made one dumb mistake so I’m proud of myself to get a 97). But just a few minutes after I was lying there, I got a message from John Surya.

Since that guy is so predictable, even before opening his message, I knew he would be asking me for a favor. And I was right. He was asking me to play for St. Andrew’s Youth Service and that I should come to practice later that evening. I asked him if this was for next week and he said no, it was for tomorrow. Again, he’s doing things so last minute. Oh, John… What’s even worse was that he asked me to play the acoustic and not bass. That means I have to seriously learn the songs since in a way, I’d be leading instead of just being at the back doing whatever the heck I wanted with the bass.

So I debated whether I should go since practice was at 9 to 10 which is kinda late to me. I didn’t want to go to Refuge at all unless Christelle was gonna go with me… And what do you know… Just a few minutes after John messaged me, Christelle messaged me asking me if I was going. Apparently John has asked her to sing, too, and now she was asking me if I was going to go because if I go, she goes. So knowing her to be filled with so much school work all the time, I asked if she was tired or not and if she wanted to go to Refuge. She said she wasn’t and she will go with what I decide. Since I’m given the choice, I said that we might as well go since I want to see her. She then tells me I’m sweet for saying that lol.

After taking a bath and all, I played the songs that John sent and oH my gosh, there was one song, hymn, or whatever it was that just sounded SO AWFUL I couldn’t play the whole thing. The song is “We Plough the Fields, And Scatter.” I bet you, I tried to find a decent version of this everywhere in youtube but they were all just so BAD. I had zero patience to learn it at all.

My speakers were even on full blast that moment I played it for the first time and I was embarrassed that my mom could possibly hear that awful song from my room. I decided then that I do not want to play that song and John Surya cannot force me at all to do it. Anyway, as I was studying the songs hurriedly, Christelle texted me and said that she was gonna go to my place. I misread it all as me getting a ride with her and her parents, but actually, she was saying that she was going to be dropped off at my place. So then when she arrived at around 7:00, I came down a building. But since it was way too early, we had to wait ‘til 7:30 and I had to take her in my room. Because of that, I kinda panicked a little since I never told this to my parents. But anyway, I notified my dad just in case they might be dressing up or something. And good thing I cleaned my room a few days before or else my room would’ve been a mess.

So there we practiced on one song and we both talked about the awful song on the set list. She too couldn’t take it the first time she heard it and she cringed just as much as I did. She did not want to sing the song at all so we were trying to make plans on how to go about avoiding that song later.

As we waited, I asked her if she knew any kpop songs. She said her friends tell her about boygroups and mainly BTS and the only song she has liked was Blood, Sweat, and Tears. She said her friends show her pictures of them too and said they’re pretty handsome. Me being the somewhat hipster and girlgroup stan, I told her that there are very good girl groups, too. I told her that I look more on music quality than I did on appearance, and she said she figured. Trying to think of something aesthetically pleasing and somewhat westernized, f(x) clicked to me and I showed her the 4 Walls MV. I honestly debated which MV would be best to show her. I did think of showing her TaeYeon’s I or Fine but since she liked Blood, Sweat, and Tears, I wanted to show her something strong with girl groups as well. What else would be the best thing but Girls’ Generation The Boys?

Related image

Related image

SUCH ELEGANCE. LOOK AT THEM DANCE. THIS IS SONG IS AS POWERFUL AS YOUR FEMINIST PERSONA. THEY ARE THE BEST. AND LOOK AT THAT SQUARE EMBOSED THING ON MY TABLE. THAT’S THE ALBUM. After that, I showed her the Mr.Mr. dance practice. Aside from the dance being so cool, I wanted to let her hear those amazing vocals. To me I think Mr.Mr. has one of the greatest music structures for SNSD. I mean they change keys two times so smoothly. Who else has done that in girlgroup history? After that, I showed her one last MV before we took off, which was Lion Heart. I told her that’s the MV that relates to the big ass poster I had on my wall. I proceeded to tell her about the crazy good quality of the albums. I showed her the Lion Heart album and a little bit of the My Voice Sky version. She said they were so pretty and their skins are so fair lol.

On the way to Refuge, she told me about things that happened in project serve and how the adopted girls they served in Chennai were going to church tomorrow. She said that most of the girls were looking for Christelle and she was so touched that they would remember her out of all the people who volunteered. So she didn’t want to ever miss seeing them tomorrow. I hate to bring her hopes down but I told her that we’re about to go to Refuge and practice later so that we can play at St. Andrews, basically missing the ECC’s second service. And oh man, the look on her face… When she realized what she has gotten into, she freaked out. She didn’t ever want to miss seeing the kids who remembered her out of everyone. Even though she was going to meet them on Saturday, she still wanted to see them on Friday. So I wondered about how I should comfort her and told her that maybe after the set is done tomorrow she could leave early and meet them and maybe even avoid that gosh awful song. It’s hilarious that she took it as an approval rather than a suggestion.

It’s really funny how she claims how awkward she feels being in Refuge. She always talks about how she doesn’t like meeting new people as if she’s the most anti-social person. Even though she’s good at socializing, her melancholic side must hold her back in a lot of situations.

At refuge, we played a touch game, ninja, and then Jill taught us about the importance of meditation. It’s still very loosely taught as always and she just made us draw and write stuff that makes us describe or think about God. The teachings in refuge are just never enough for me so when Jill made us do these things, I took it way too seriously to actually learn something decent. I think I’m the only one who took serious effort to draw something that described that one verse and write a whole A4 list of what God is. Honestly Refuge doesn’t even come close to spiritual milk. It’s more like candy, or like a quick sugar fix. There’s nothing wrong about that, but it just doesn’t give me enough nutrition.

When the “lesson” was finished, before practicing, Christelle asked for my hand and painted a heart on it. My heart was honestly fluttering a little bit when she was painting on my hand. Nobody has ever done this to me before. She was even using purple, her favorite color. It was like she was painting her mark on me. It excited me and gave me energy to play my best for the practice.

During practice, Beth, a singer I met for last year’s St. Andrew’s youth service, said that she was 17 and I was really shocked. Since she had a somewhat Alice vibe to her appearance despite being British, I’ve always thought she was older than me. Now that I’m 18, it seems like I’m above everyone else. It feels so weird. Being 17 was the perfect age because many people were younger than me but I still had someone older than me many people younger than me. Now I look at 14 year olds like teenage-wannabes because of their trying-to-fit-in personalities. I suddenly have a clear view of how 12 to 17 year olds act like. It’s satisfying in some way to know I’m over most of the problems they go through, but at the same time, it feels weird. I have a new set of problems coming my way, but it’s less annoying than when I was a dimwitted teen.

Anyway… practice went well and Christelle and I were able to avoid being part of that awful song. At 10 we went home.

The next day, Friday morning, I arrive at St. Andrews about 5 minutes late. Everything was already set up when I got there and I just had to pick up the guitar. Since I’ve played the St. Andrews hall before, I didn’t feel nervous. I was actually pretty confident especially since Jonathan was there to play drums, John Adi was good with the keyboards, and John Surya was fairly good with the bass. There were a number of singers too so it was a pretty solid band unlike last years when it was so rough since Jorge (Sebastian’s brother) played an instrument that was not his expertise. Christelle arrived about 5 minutes after I did and she said she was nervous. She has never been to the St. Andrews mass before so she was conscious about everything as always. Either way, the band was great and we played well. After the mass, Beth got baptized. It was interesting to see her get baptized. Although I do not believe in some of their church’s methods, it still touched my heart that she was able to come to God and be baptized.

When it all ended, Christelle and I walked back to our beloved church ECC. When we reached halfway the British school building, a guy approached us asking for help (money) and showed us a gross ass wound under his sleeve claiming it was cancer. Since I had weak spots for “poor” people like those, I was almost inclined to help but as my parents say, it’s not wise to just give away money to people like that. I didn’t know what to do, but good thing Christelle was there. She said sorry we can’t help very confidently. When we had some distance from the man, I said I never know what to do when that happens and suddenly she says it is fake. I was blank for a moment because I never really thought of it that way, so then she said “When have you ever seen a gross open wound with cancer? Cancer happens internally.” That’s when it hit me. How stupid I’ve been, huh. Of course. And besides, it’s illegal to beg and they just come here to take advantage of Christians. Then she said the story of how Jonathan once came up to a guy doing the same thing and straight up tore that fake wound off and somewhat fought the guy. Jonathan has some serious guts to do that, man. I can never do that.

After wildfire, on the ride home, Christelle says she feels weird about Gabe recently. Since I have told her before that Gabe likes her, I guess she was noticing more than she should. Edwin should have never opened his mouth but oh well, I guess I have to deal with this. She says that Gabriel makes her feel really uncomfortable. She proceeds to tell me about the names Gabriel call her, such as “luv” or that time after wildfire on the church courtyard when he was staring at her for a while for no particular reason. I was there when he was staring at her absentmindedly and I was even trying to send him signals behind Christelle’s back to cut it off.  She told me that wasn’t the only time though because he was pretty much doing it the whole day. I didn’t think she would notice him staring at her but I guess she did. Since I didn’t want her and Gabe’s friendship to turn weird because of these dumb crushes, I told her that I will definitely talk to him about it.

I think this one-sided love story is much more serious than just the Edwin confession months ago. Why? Because Gabe trusts me too much with keeping his feelings a secret from her, and Christelle trusts me too much to assume that I would tell her anything that goes on. It’s somewhat stressful that I have to be careful of my words and both their feelings at the same time, but it’s oddly fun. I mean Gabe and I have been chatting often at night, and ever since he told me he had feelings for Christelle, we bring her up a lot. We didn’t really talk about it too much before but ever since Edwin came back to visit with his running mouth, it’s like we seem to find a way to start a conversation with her in mind. He comes to me for advice and I give it to him. He asks me about relationships and I answer him with all that I know. I tell him lots of things about Christelle because at least I have someone to talk to that understand my love for her. So in a way, I’m pretty much making him more in love with her, which puts me at fault since Christelle feels uncomfortable about it. I honestly didn’t think he was being obvious before—probably because his sanguine personality just makes him seem like the friendliest guy ever—but I guess he was kind of crossing a thin line that day. If Christelle didn’t know anything, she probably wouldn’t take notice, but she does know so now I have to put some kind of leash on him without actually saying that she knows everything. Oh… my life as a mediator is hard. Much respect to Jesus, the wisest and most patient mediator who ever lived.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about this matter later.

Christelle and I went to her home again and started planning what we could sing for the Open Mic night. Choleric christelle wanted to list out every possible song we could do, and we tried singing most of them. Even though we were jamming to a lot of familiar songs and also suggesting things here and there, we couldn’t come up with anything certain. Nothing really clicked with us. It went on for hours until at the last minute, I suggested, “What about Vapor?” We tried it out and it was good. It was solid since we already practiced on it. I could sing on it too. So we recorded it and it was exactly 4:58 seconds. Performances should be under 5 minutes so it was crazy that it ended with 2 seconds left to 5 minutes. We went hysterical finally finding the song we really wanted to do after hours of planning and I finally decided to go home at 5:30.

I walked home and the weather seemed cooler. The wind felt great. It took me about 20 minutes to get to my home so I got some a good exercise from that especially with the bass on my back lol.

As soon as I get home, Alicia messages me telling me she wants to join Christelle and I for the Open Mic. So I decided to create a group and we discussed it there. I was happy that Alicia would be joining us. I felt like it would be awkward to have just Christelle’s powerful voice dominating the whole Domes, so with her harmonizing maybe it would give Vapor a fuller sound to it.


 

A few days later, Jessica said that she finally has time for the band and is going to lead that week. I really loved the setlist that she picked and was excited to play guitar for it. I did not want to miss it. A lot of people said they were gonna come, including Christelle. So I definitely had to go. However, as I was preparing myself to co-lead the set with her, I received a message from Jonathan desperately wanting me to play for the girls that came from Chennai. Apparently they were planning on singing on FCC service along with JC, the Filipino guy that was a guest on our first band meeting this year. Since I had absolutely no idea what to expect from playing with children and especially at FCC, I was kind of reluctant to say yes, but I did anyway. I figured, hey, it shouldn’t even be a surprise anymore that new things happen every single week. God is putting this in my way so I might as well face it head on. Besides, a day before Wildfire’s band practice on Wednesday, a lot of members started backing out, including Christelle. I knew when I read that  Christelle backed out of the band that God was telling me to go for the FCC performance instead.

The only thing is my heart could not take it knowing Jessica would be leading band this week and the members are not good enough to be presentable without me probably saying something. And besides, Jessica hasn’t been in the band for a long while. As much as I do not like her singing, I’m still her friend and I want her to enjoy her set list with a prepared band. So, with the application of the Open Mic night to pass on to Alicia as an excuse, I went to band practice even though I wasn’t going to play on Wildfire that Friday. I helped them play the songs and coached Gabe and Alben (guitarist, brother of Keziah) with their instruments. I was able to hear Alicia’s guitar skills more that week. Rather than having trouble keeping time, she has trouble doing some chords and her strumming has roughly no feelings, especially since she was already at the tip of the fretboard. I figured that I couldn’t really fix her today and I should just let her do what she can for now. Hah, yes, I didn’t get angry for once. I guess I’ve matured a lot. Because one thing that has been really sticking with me about this leadership thing was that you can teach everyone, but you can’t make an expert out of everybody. So that’s exactly what I did. I paid a lot of attention to Alben. Alben is a pretty decent guitarist. I still feel like he has a lot to improve, but he is already competing in competitions and is way ahead of Caesius, Prasanna, and Gabe with it. I taught him ways on how to make his strumming stronger or softer, and I taught him how to strum his parts. As for Gabe, since he’s so enthusiastic about the cahon, I tell him how to do some of his parts, too. With my help, I was able to get the four of them to be confident for Friday, but I feel like Jessica did fairly well in being a leader this time as well. She had ideas that I didn’t even think of. I don’t even think she was as a bad as she was in singing before (or maybe I just wasn’t focusing on her voice), but anyway, I’m glad I came around to help them. It was the first time in the band that I just came for the sake of helping them out and not to try and carry the whole weight of everyone on my shoulders. It made me hopeful that somehow the future band musicians (assuming either Alben, Alica, and maybe even Prasanna) would be able to lead the band too someday in some way.

The next day, I was still in a very down mood for Jonathan’s request. I think part of it was because I came at the exact right time and no one was in the Refuge room so I had to wait for about five minutes or so. But I just wasn’t used to meeting new people, let alone a bunch of adopted kids. I wondered how it would go, if it would get chaotic or not as I looked down on the kids skills before I even heard them (which was honestly wrong for me to do). Other than the fact that I constantly reminded myself that this was for God, I tried to lean on the fact that JC was a good musician and that Jonathan was my drum buddy. As long as the music was good, I wouldn’t mind. Anyway, so Jonathan came with his friend that would play guitar, along with one kid from the group of girls from Chennai and their vocal teacher. For about 30 minutes or an hour, we set up the stage and instruments and I basically taught Jonathan’s friend how to play the song we were going to play. It was the song Brave by Moriah Peters. Good thing I taught him how to play it because if I didn’t, he would’ve been on a whole lot of trouble later.

After an hour or something, JC and the rest of the group finally started coming in. Finally, we were gonna play and practice. We’ve been waiting for so long. But you know what immediately threw me off and brightened my whole world? As I saw those kids coming in, another person followed behind them. It was Christelle. I can still remember the sheer happiness I felt when the door opened and she came in. I did guess that maybe she was going to come because of the girls but I didn’t lean on it much. My heart just jumped seeing her when I didn’t even expect or plan it with her. I felt like God has rewarded me again for going to something that caused me to go out of my comfort zone. So for the rest of the night, I was in such a good mood that everything JC was doing didn’t really faze me.

Let’s talk about JC. The tone of his voice kinda sounds gay especially with that strong Filipino-English accent. Even his posture and body structure looks like the stereotypical gay guy, but like oh man, he is a musician that knows what he is doing. Right from the moment he came in, he was apologizing that they were late and because of that we had to get the song all done by one hour. He immediately asked us musicians if we already learned the songs since he can’t exactly teach every single thing to us. I’m glad I taught Jonathan’s friend the chords before he came ‘cause otherwise he would have been beaten up at the first minute. But anyway, JC has a strong sense of what he wants and he will stop at nothing until all of us get every detail right. He was also very strict with the girls. Because the song was about being strong and courageous, he would give them quick lectures on how to sound strong and not sing like lousy kids as they are. I respected his leadership a lot even though he sounded a bit strict. If I was as good with words and leadership as he was, I would’ve been as strict to the band back then as he was now. He was very overpowering, but he got to make us play the song in the coolest way so I loved it.

Christelle and the rest of the women looking after the kids didn’t seem to feel the same way, though. After the practice ended and everyone left, I was waiting with Christelle as she waited for her dad. She told me about how overpowering JC was being and that he didn’t have the right to treat the girls that way. She told me that the girls’ vocal teacher was there and was trying to intercede and explain for the girls, but JC completely blocks her opinion out. That’s why she was at the end of the room with earphones, being stubborn and trying not giving a crap anymore while we practiced. I agreed that JC was being a little strict, but I understood him in a musician’s point of view. JC analyzed the song perfectly and for him to desperately want to get the same feeling of the song from the girls was the greatest thing I’ve seen so far from a music leader. And besides, they were singing for his church FCC. I understand that Filipinos are absolutely good with music, a bunch of suckers for good entertainment, and are hella judgmental as well. He was carrying that weight of leading a bunch of Indian kids and a band he doesn’t even work with often. He was also probably carrying the weight of trying to make this less embarrassing for the Indian kids as much as possible with the eyes and ears of his people in mind. So in some way, he did have the right to lead them, and it was rightfully so that he was a little strict with them.

Anyway, I met Divinia again after so long. She is the first ever leader to sign on my Awana starting book. She recognized Christelle first and greeted her. Since I’ve been seeing her on Awana lately, I couldn’t resist myself and asked if she remembers me. When I asked that, her eyes widened and she did recognize me. I felt happy that she did. She probably signed about 80% of my book back then. I’d be really disappointed if she didn’t remember me at all.

Next day, Friday, the performance with the girls went smoothly. I played the FCC church’s bass and it sounded awesome. After we played, I was able to go up for Wildfire and discuss the topics there. There was this question about “What are some examples of laws that give you freedom?” We discussed this and I had a lot to say so the group I was on made me speak when it was time for sharing with the whole Wildfire group. I said, “Restricting laws such as don’t do adultery—they give us freedom from the problems it can cause.” I was applauded and Pastor Curt even elaborated on that a little bit. I really liked that discussion a lot. Pastor Curt gave us really good questions.

After wildfire, I was waiting for Christelle and Alicia to say their goodbyes to the girls from Chennai. I waited for them for like thirty minutes and there were times when Gabe and I were just together staring at Christelle, waiting for her to finish. We’ve been talking about her again lol. Seriously, I have to make this writing material somehow.

Anyway, Christelle, Alicia, and I went to Christelle’s house to practice Vapor once and for all. When we arrived at her house, she told us to wait at the living room while she fixes her room. Since Alicia and I didn’t really know each other that well, it was kind of awkward just standing there with her. I tried hard for it not to be awkward tho. I told her that I had a lot of expectations for her in the band because I could see that she is good and has the potential to be really, really good. I don’t remember if I said it that way, but anyway… We practiced and practiced Vapor and we tried to figure out who was going to sing who. And while we were taking a break eating snacks, I said that we should have a band name. We wanted something that best described us or bonded us together. It didn’t take us that long to agree on Christelle’s suggestion which is “Chocolate Covered Pretzelz” I thought it was ridiculous at first because it was so long and “covered” didn’t even sound that good with it, but it stuck with us anyway since we were eating it. While OCD Christelle was arranging the song order and roles on her notebook, I noticed that making our band name with pretzels was such a good idea because it had three holes in it. We went crazy with the name even more because of it.

Ccp by YoMiatot

(I designed this a few days later. We ate pretzels that looked like that so XD)

By 5:30, Alicia left and so it was me and Christelle again. Since I wanted to have some alone time with her, I stayed for about half an hour or more to jam with her. After we jammed, she goes on again about what kind of crisis she will go through without me playing music with her. She said that I’m the only one who knows and understand music in a way that she does and that I know what’s good with her more than anyone else. I think I told her that she should pray to God about it—to send her someone like me. But I also told her that she’s still gonna have to suffer a bit. lol is it weird that I want her to suffer from missing me and craving my presence? Oh well…

Before I left, I made her notice the sigh that she always does at the end of a conversation. So now she goes crazy when she does it because she does it so often that she can’t stop it. And now that I’ve made it known to her, I also start to notice that I’ve suddenly been doing it because of her, so before I do it, I add an “ohh man” instead of just sighing. I’m not even trying to copy her intentionally so I startle myself when that happens. It’s weird to suddenly be acquiring a trait that isn’t even from my family… but technically, she is my sister in Christ, right? XD

 

Advertisements

Leader

Seriously, it’s crazy that God is actually making my life full and interesting these days. It’s become so clear that he put things right in front of me for a purpose. Everything that happens is not coincidental. Every moment has value. Every little detail has made the whole picture so interesting.

Okay, to start… on the previous blog, I actually forgot to add something that I’m sure was also part of God’s plan for the last chapters of my life living here in AD as a teenager. This is about Chinaza, our new and young singer for the band. Now, as I’ve said before, she is very very quiet and shy. One look, you know she’s a total introvert. Gabe is friends with her and that’s all I really knew about her. I didn’t really have any interest in becoming close friends with her since I’m not good at approaching really quiet kids. I mean of course, I knew I’d definitely approach her in band terms eventually and that was it as far as I could see.

But then… ever since the new wildfire year started, new people that were from the Forge last year got added to the Wildfire whatsapp group chat. I didn’t even know most of them—generally, I knew some of their faces but that was it. Within the week of the last post, Simon was talking about how he was writing a book. From that, topics shifted and it got to a point when we talked about how we viewed life (ex. Gabe viewed his life like a video game). We were discussing all sorts of stuff around it. I got to a point where I mentioned I wrote about spicy rice cakes and related it to life. Chinaza then becomes interested that I write stories. Since I showed Gabe A M N E S I A once, he then starts freaking out about how good I was. And Gabe then proceeds to link my damn website on the freakin’ chat for everyone to see without my damn permission. Before I could even get angry at him for posting it, Chinaza had already checked it out after Gabe says it’s about Koreans. That’s when I found out Chinaza likes Kpop and is very into Koreans. Anyway, I’m not mad Gabe sent that where everybody could see. Nobody really cared much which is good—only Chinaza was interested. She insisted on reading my story and oh my gosh… she binged read that crap and got so obsessed with it that she’d stay up late for it.

Interestingly enough, just maybe a few nights before Wildfire started, I was praying that I wasn’t asking for anymore friends. I was praying for Him to give me great memories with the friends that I already have, and that I would leave this country while still being connected to them. And then I kind of just added that “God, would it be too much if I ask for a Kpop friend that would read my story or something? Or maybe an SM stan? A Kpop friend that I can relate to or talk to in some sense… Hm… that would be nice.” I had really low expectations for this one. It was just a little request. If He didn’t give it, I wouldn’t care. It wasn’t too important. But oh nonono! God does not miss a thing! I’m telling you, I felt so spoiled by God that week.

The more I get to know her the more I find out how much of a Kpop newbie she is. First of all, she likes Red Velvet and Black Pink the most—that’s good—none of that boy group stan shenanigans. She was shocked that I had about an amount of 2000 Korean songs since she only had about 200. Because of that she calls me a sunbae of Kpop. Hearing that makes me feel awkward and cringy as hell. It’s bad enough Gabriel uses Korean words to me from time to time, but at least it’s more of like a joke (cuz everything he says usually sound like a joke). On a side note tho, I actually like it when he calls me senpai because it makes me feel respected as a senior XD. Oh and since I know she likes Yoona, I send him Yoona’s meme faces from time to time, but anyway, I’m getting a little sidetracked, aren’t I? We can talk about that another time…

Back to Chinaza, oh gosh, she even mentioned she was gonna marry a Korean and thinks Korean-African babies are the coolest (I can kinda agree on that one tbh. Korean African models are handsome af). She’s even learning Korean. She seems to be interested a lot in Korea and Kpop. But just recently, she commented on my instagram that she will live up to my outstanding kpop knowledge, accumulate 10 times more songs than I have, and have a future house that is, and I quote, “kpopy.” I guess it’s fairly normal for a kpop fan to think like that on the first years, but I just can’t help but cringe. I kinda find her cute, but it’s still makes me cringe. Besides, I don’t have an outstanding kpop knowledge. I guess I know fairly some controversial news and other stuff, and yes I’m quite familiar and interested in Korean culture, but nowhere near ‘outstanding,’ especially for Kpop. Outstanding knowledge of SNSD, yes definitely, but if you even ask me what the most popular stuff are these days, I wouldn’t even know. I’m not even so hyped up for anything or any release that much but SNSD. I’ve kind of come back to the state of just searching for the music that I really want to listen to than listening to what’s shining out in public. I mean the artist that I basically loved listening to all September was Offonoff and their album ‘boy.’ I’ve also been into SLCHLD. I bet no “Kpop obsessed” person even knows they exist. Even the other Forge kids that are now in Wildfire know Kpop which is pretty great since I don’t have to hide or be shy about liking it, but they talk about BTS, Monsta X, Seventeen, and people I don’t really care much about. In a way, there’s definitely a year gap since even EXO is somehow out of the picture for some reason. I played The Eve for Laura once and she didn’t even know what song that was. Man, are they considered old already?

Ok, so I don’t get off track again, the thing that really made me cringe was when Chinaza said her house in the future would be full of Kpop stuff or I’m sorry—it would be “kpopy.” And to say she’d have 10 times more than I have is just impossible and ridiculous. She can’t have a library of 20,000 songs with Kpop alone. I guess what she meant was just a bit of an exaggeration, but in a literal sense it’s definitely not healthy.

I get it, she’s young and she has not grasped the harmful side of this “obsession” yet. I’m assuming she does not have parents who would sit her down and talk about the illuminati and say that some of Kpop is evil, causing her to try discerning the fine line of right and wrong and healthy term of a “fan.” Being her “sunbae” in Kpop, I kinda want to tell her that she shouldn’t lose sight of what should be important, which is God. I feel like I have that responsibility towards her. Cuz I’ve thought a whole lot about the term obsession and fan, idol and fan, and that it’s so easy to dismiss it as something that doesn’t affect your spirituality even though it clearly does at some point. I mean I’m having the time of my life now knowing how to discern between those things. Ever since I’ve put God first, I’ve come to see as I’ve probably said before here that people that I am a fan of are sent by God to inspire me and make me happy, and I’m very thankful to Him for that. Also because I’ve put God above all that I look up to, it’s easier to discern the mistakes or bad behavior of those I love. Just like TaeYeon starting to swear and flip the finger more now for her performances and also in her TaengooTV. People praise her highly for that as being badass and free but I kind of stray away from that because that literally is bad ass. I came to Kpop basically to avoid those from pop stars. I enjoyed Kpop because most of the content is fairly clean and the people are great, especially SNSD. I trust that they are good people in general, and I don’t want to forget that. But they are not perfect and I feel some of them don’t have strong moral beliefs (especially TY and she’s my damn bias), and I should be fully aware and careful of that. The usual kpop dimwit of a fan wouldn’t be able to see that thin line of a healthy or unhealthy obsession and approach so easily. As Christians, I believe we should definitely know and be aware of that.

Man, I sound like a Youth leader… I’m just writing this after attending a Youth Leader Training conference. I’ll talk about that later on since I like talking about my week in chorological order, so let’s talk about Edwin next… yes. HE CAME BACK… for a week at least.

EDwI!N OHhhhh maann where do I start?

Ok so, last week, John Surya was finally the earliest person to arrive at practice. He was fixing the storage room and as we were waiting for the other members to arrive, he tells me that Jordan said there was a special guest coming. From my dumbest tunnel vision of people, I thought Jordan was gonna bring his wife to the band practice. I don’t know why I thought that of all people since his wife was not involved in church ministry at all… But anyway, thinking it was fairly a normal Wednesday, the day went on and we started setting up the equipment. As we were setting up, suddenly Gabe shouted, Seb shouted, John A shouted, John Surya shouted—pretty much everyone shouted, except Jonathan (keyboardist) and Chinaza. I turned my head and even I shouted. EDWIIIINNN—and we all ran to him to the door to give him the biggest hug. He was a very unexpected guest indeed.

To think I was just telling him about how I was missing him so much after my birthday and a few days later he shows up physically. It was so great to see him again. It’s similar to that time when I thought I would never see Centine again, but then Illuminate happened and she was there. There’s just something about seeing someone again that makes my spirit so full of God’s love. I’ve always had a fear that whenever a great friend goes away that I won’t be able to see them again. But when this happens, I get reassured every time that God really is alive and he listens to our hearts. Edwin said that he was very depressed for some time when he moved back to India, but trusting in God made him feel sure that he would be able to see us again. And he did.

I noticed that a lot of subtle things have changed in him. I don’t know if anyone noticed since they said he’s still the same, but I truly felt he had changed in some way. He was somehow more soft spoken and mature than from what I remembered him to sound like. He hasn’t been throwing as much jokes with Gabriel, too. God has definitely done a whole lot to him for those three months.

Man, Gabriel got so hyper when he saw Edwin. Gabriel is already on an energy overload all the damn time and he got even crazier like he drank red bull or something. I did, however, notice his awkward gaze towards Edwin and he would notice that I know what he’s thinking—Christelle. Now that Edwin is back, the triangle of the Christelle crush story is back. Edwin doesn’t know anything about Gabriel having a crush on Christelle. Only I know, and maybe Chinaza as he said lol, but Chinaza probably has no clue about Edwin having a crush on Christelle. Gosh, it’s bad enough that I’ve kept secrets from Christelle, now I’m restraining from saying anything to Edwin.

That was no use tho because after practice, when I asked him to sing because Chinaza was having problems with being shy and not being able to sing along, he told me he has a fresh secret. I already had a hunch what he was going to say but I still asked what. So he said,

          “Gabe likes Stella XDDDDD
So I’m done shipping both of u”

          “Oh he told you? XDDD”

          “You knew this and you didn’t tell me?”

          “Lol it’s his secret and I’m a trustworthy friend XDD. I thought he’d never say it lol”

          “*broken heart emoji*
          Well, he played by the cards
          Like first he asked me hw r things with stella
          And I was like
          What? Wdym?
          And all of that
          And then I told him that I totally forgot about that and that I wasn’t concentrating on women no more.”

          “He probably still thinks about it cuz I told him about u and Christelle like 2 weeks ago XD I told him full details of how I shipped you and Christelle that’s probably why XDDDD”

          “XDDDDDD *facepalm emojis*
          I thought I told him a long time ago
          And then like forgot about it
          Cuz she doesn’t like me in that way
          And plus
          I just wanted to stop looking at women in that way..”

          “Well there’s a time and place for everything. And a time to mature I guess”

          “Yea
          Maybe it’s just weird to have a gf at this time
          Like at a point when studies are things u should be dating”

          “Yeah”

          “What about u
          Who next”

          “Personally I think it’s not healthy to start romance and all that when there’s a huge possibility of hard communication coming. Just not wise”

          “Gabes gone
          Now who,”

          “I don’t have a crush”

          “Don’t lie Mia
          *simrk emoji*
          Jus don’t
          At least a slight feeling…
          On somebody?”

          “I’ve realized like months ago that Gabe is way too hyper and I can’t keep up with his energy. It’s too much of a turn off XD
          (On somebody?) Nah not really
          I’m more focused on trying to have good friendships rn.”

          “Aww
          Thas cute
          XD *smirk emoji*”

          Since he still didn’t seem to believe I’m over Gabe and probably assumes what I said was about Gabe, I said, “As in Christelle for example XD These days I just wanna be good to her.”

          “XD What does that supposed to mean? XD”

          “Like I wanna make good memories with my friends who I know I won’t see for a long time ya know? And Christelle is precious to me above everyone else so XD”

          “XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD *facealm and smirk emoji*
Precious?”

          “Look I didn’t have close friends that lasted more than 1 yr. Most of my close friends all leave the country that’s why I’ve been lonely before. But u know I always prayed to God for a friend that would last longer than that”

          He then proceeds to send an ugly photo of Christelle, “That’s definitely not precious XDD”

          I quoted her ugly photo and said, “Christelle is a gift from God XD”

          Then we laughed about her ugly faces and we both said we won’t ever delete her ugly pictures, especially the ugly selfies she took on my iPad. He said he had those too and were his emergency memes. After that, he asks me what’s new in the block. Not understanding what he meant by that, I told him the changes in Wildfire, but then he says,

          “Not that
          Like spicy gossip
          XD”

It still feels so weird for a guy to be so interested in gossip. I almost forgot that Edwin was into these stuff. I mean he did figure out John Surya dated Prasanna’s sister when Prasanna knew nothing of this. Man, this guy did change a bit, but his personality is definitely still the same. So since I had nothing else to say, I told him about John A and Christelle talking to each other well these days.

          “XDDDDDDDD
          There’s a potential
          XDDD
          But like
          Gabe likes Christelle
          and John Adi and Stella are idk
          And we don’t know who Christelle likes
          Wow
          Thas jus gr8

          “(Gabe likes Christelle) I’ve been teasing him a lot about that XD”

          “XDDDDD
Sad she didn’t come today.. (for band practice)”

          “(And we don’t know who Christelle likes) Ikr I don’t even talk to Christelle about this stuff. We usually discuss more serious topics XD”

          “You should’ve asked her
          She’ll definitely tell u
          smh”

          “I am trying to get the right timing to ask her XD one of these days I’ll find out”

          “You better find out before I leave.”

          So the next day after Wildfire, Edwin wanted to go to Al Wahda just to hang out. So we even planned how to ride taxi and we insisted that Edwin, Christelle, and I would ride together. Too bad Prasanna had other plans, but I’m slightly thankful he wasn’t there ‘cause man…

Okay, first of all, nostalgia flooded the three of us when we rode together. And there Edwin and Christelle were again fighting about who was to pay. I was the most amused—I was reminded why I even shipped them in the first place. It almost felt like a dream to hear them argue again so passionately about who was to pay. As always, I’m on Edwin’s side, saying that he’s only wants to be chivalrous. Christelle who refuses to understand that and relies on women’s independence, argues and goes on about equality. In the end she loses and does not pay since even the taxi driver was on Edwin’s side about him just trying to be the man in the car XD.

But here’s where the story takes an absurd turn—the part where I’m glad Prasanna is out of. Edwin opens his gossiping ass mouth and starts telling Christelle that he and I know a big secret. Christelle, who is always full of curiosity, wonders what it was and Edwin gives her hints that it was about Gabriel. I froze and I wanted to strangle him at that moment because of all times, he really had to put me through this confession shit again with Christelle? Besides, Gabriel clearly told me that he has no plans in confessing to Christelle any time so I plan to leave it at that. I respect the guy’s secret, but this other guy clearly does not. I also definitely do not want to make Christelle feel weird about someone again. She likes having Gabe around; I can’t destroy her view of him like that, too! Gosh Edwin… So on that car ride, Edwin and I spent a whole damn conversation debating whether to tell her. We went on circles, beating around the bush, and Christelle was so confused and frustrated that we were keeping something from her. I kept saying that I didn’t know what Edwin was talking about to avoid being dragged in this loop. I was trying my hardest to subtly tell him to drop it or to stop making up shit because it’s making everything worse, but he kept pushing and pulling the topic around. He even said that I’m such a good actor right in front of Christelle, and I’d just laugh it off as if it was something ridiculous, as if I think he’s just crazy. Since I was such a sucker for Christelle, whenever she asked me what it was, whenever she said I would never lie to her and trusts me, and whenever she says “Mia doesn’t even know what you’re talking about”, my heart would crush a little. I never want her to catch me lying to her eventually or betray her trust, so around the end of the ride, I got frustrated and I just confirmed that yeah, it was about Gabriel and that he had a big secret. So Christelle wanted us to tell her what it was since Gabriel was her friend too and that she had the right to know, but after all that push and pull between Edwin and I, none of us had the courage to tell her. I just told her that she could ask Gabe about it and he’ll probably tell her.

It was so damn frustrating and I wanted to kill Edwin for even starting it. How are we gonna get out of this situation now? Christelle is gonna be so curious for the rest of the day and when she finally asks Gabriel about, he will kill us both for revealing his secret.

When we sat by the food court, Christelle went to the restroom and the two of us were alone. Edwin showed me his whatsapp chat with Gabriel and how their conversation went about. We also discussed how we were gonna get out of this cuz I don’t want to be the person telling a confession again to Christelle. He said he’ll talk about it with Gabe since we did lead Christelle to ask him about it eventually.

And so, as the day went on, I ordered food and when I came back, Nathan, Gabriel’s brother was the only one in the table. I asked where everyone is and he said Christelle got some food, and Edwin and Gabe are out for a walk. When they came back, Gabriel gave me a look and I just said that I didn’t want to say it, it’s all Edwin who started it. Anyway, we did not talk about it when everyone started coming and Christelle came back to the table.

A bunch of us from Wildfire just hung out again and we were loud as ever by the end. There was a point when I was just a little bored and I was searching photos in my phone. I saw the photo of Seb, Joslin, Edwin, Gabe, Me, and Christelle sleeping on my shoulder and showed it to Edwin and Gabe. I showed it to John Surya too. As curious as ever, Christelle looked and she freaked out finding out that we took photos while she was sleeping on the bus at that time. I told her that I tried hard and blocked everyone from teasing her so that she wouldn’t wake up, and Gabe said that I really drove everyone away that time. I saw Christelle look at me and a different way and she said thank you. I guess she’s realizing more and more of how much I care about her which is nice.

When everyone was already going home, I said I have to go to Magrudy’s to buy something before Christelle’s parents arrive (since I’m riding with her). Gabriel, his brother, Edwin, and Simon were there trailing behind us. When we got near the store, Christelle approached Gabriel to ask what secret Edwin and I were talking about. The moment I heard that, I went on ahead as far as possible from them and Edwin got closer to me, too. I tried not to laugh too hard because finally it’s happening. Even Edwin said his heart was pounding so hard knowing they were having the conversation.

Fast forward to the next week, which happened just this past Friday, on the way home, Christelle starts asking me about Gabriel’s secret. Since I didn’t want to be the one telling her, I asked her if she asked Gabriel about it. And so she says that she did and that Gabe had this weird look on his face for a moment and then he became serious, saying that her grandfather was atheist or something. It didn’t feel right so she asked me if it was all true—if that was the secret that Edwin and I were keeping from her. Since my heart is so weak to lie to her, I said no, that’s not it. She then goes on to feel better about herself for figuring out that it was fishy, but then she asks what it actually is. I felt like I had no more escape routes since I basically couldn’t tell her to simply ask Gabe about it again. And she was basically begging me. “Miaaa c’mon, what is it?” Her pouty begging voice! Her serious, clawing curiosity! The trust she has for me! They’re my weaknesses. I FELT SO VULNERABLE AND FRUSTRATED. I hate to break the confidentiality of Gabe’s secret, but I hate lying to her more. So I sighed so much before actually telling her.

          “Arrghhhhh, not this again,” I shook my head. I took a deep a breath and stared at her. “Gabe. likes. you.”

          And there it was again, the same face that I saw four months ago if not worse—the face that showed a crash of confusion and shock. She kept screaming no and cringed so hard. It was so shocking that she even missed the taxi stop she was supposed to get off at.

Since we were near her house, there was no time to discuss it fully. But she did manage to ask, “And what about Edwin???”

          “Edwin got over you.”

          “OH MY GOD, THANK YOU MIA!” Obviously, she was so relieved to hear that. At least two people don’t have a crush on her at the same time. “It was probably because of the distance and stuff, isn’t it?”

          “Yeah, exactly that.”

          After that we bid goodbye. I went home but I finally found the right time to ask her the thing that I’ve wanted to know. On whatsapp, I sent to her,

          “Btw, since ppl like you, I’m curious. Do you have an ideal type?”

          “What do you mean?
          Oh like my type of guys?

          Okay first of all
          I don’t date
          Well at least at this age and you know that. I believe if we date it is to marry.”

We talked about that just two weeks before when we were heading home from Al Wahda—after my ice cream birthday treat to everyone. She was telling me that Nithin actually planned to take Jessica on a date but I came around and invited Jessica to hang out with me suddenly for ice cream for my birthday and she gave willingly adjusted her time for me. Christelle said that’s probably why Nithin was a little pissed that time—I don’t know if that’s true but she makes it sound true. Anyway, we talked about how they were gonna keep their relationship alive if both of them are gonna go to college next year. Obviously there’s gonna be distance involved. We wondered, how are they gonna handle that? As we discussed what we thought about their relationship, I ended up mentioning that my parents told me we should date with marriage in mind, if not—then there’s no point in dating. Christelle agrees and says her parents taught her the same thing, too. Anyway, back to Christelle’s answer.

          “So just making that clear. My type hmm well obviously a believer, I want him to be taller than me for some reason, he should have integrity values, be able to make me laugh until my stomach hurt. Mature but also kid like, somewhat like me and hmm so many other things but I’m hungry and the biryani is waiting for me lol so byyeee”

          Those are some pretty basic and expected stuff coming from her. But I just had to know and be clear for one last question.

          “Hahah okay so you have no crush whatsoever right now, right?”

          “Mia angelo
          Is Gabe asking you these questions”

Nope, but if I had to point fingers, it’s Edwin who wants to know XD. “No,” I say. “I’m just curious XD”

          “Lol ok no I don’t.”

          “Ok good XD
          Glad that’s cleared out then.”

BIG HUGE RELIEF that she does not have any crush on John Adi as Gabe, Edwin, and I have suspected. Now I can relax and not bother to ask that again XD.

 

Okay, rewind a bit—on Thursday morning, Simon the metal head asks what a good price is for an electric guitar. Since my mom told me that I should be able to sell my instruments before I leave this place next year, I immediately thought this was God helping me. I mean I have absolutely had no idea how I was going sell my instruments and I surely didn’t want them being handled poorly by anyone. However, I’ve prayed seriously to God about it before so I guess this is another big sign that he heard me again. I’m just surprised that he answered it so fast. So I told Simon that I had one that I might be selling. I haven’t been using my electric guitar for quite a while since I couldn’t make time for it, so I guess it was the right time to let it go. And since the guitar was good for rock songs, it’d be nice for him to have it. So I sent him a fairly reasonable price. In the evening, he finally had an answer and he said he was going to buy it tomorrow. I asked him if he was sure and he said definitely, and that he even discussed it with his parents. I honestly wished he would think about it more for another week so that I can have one week more to play with that guitar, but God planned everything perfectly. I was not going to play bass for Wildfire that week so I was able to bring the electric guitar. It was so clear to me that this was the time I had to let that 6 year old guitar go. But before that, since it was the guitar that held the beginning of my time as a musician—also with my sister—I took out the three guitars that Thursday night and laid them out on the vacant bed. All night I took so much photos of them as a remembrance for what my weapons were as an early musician.

Although it was hard to think of letting them go, I knew God was training me in life because I’m such a sentimental person. But if I was a little stressed about letting that electric guitar go, how much more anxious would I be if it’s time to let my bass guitar go? That instrument is such a huge part of me now…  Aghh… Yeah, I know, I see the problem, too. God doesn’t want me to think about an instrument that way. He gave it to me so that I could serve Him, so He will take it away from me knowing I won’t be able to fully use it for Him in Korea. God gives and takes. If in the future He wants me to serve Him again with music, He will surely provide for that, I know it. Who knows, maybe it would even be better than that my gorgeous Untouchable.

A reason though for why I wanted Simon to think about the guitar for another week was that when I was playing with it that Thursday afternoon for one last time, I was able to write a song. It’s a song that I’ve written ages ago but it was bad, so I just improved it and completed it. Obviously, I’d want to record it, especially since I have the USB-jack. The audio would be very clear coming from the electric guitar, but oh well, I didn’t have enough time.

That song, though… I loved it so much that after Wildfire when we were going to jam, I sang that song with John A playing the cahon. It felt so great to be able to sing it, especially with Christelle trying to harmonize on it on first listen.

Oh, right, I forgot to say this: John Surya led this week and I sang backing vocals with him. I really loved the background vocals for the songs which were Oh, Our Lord, Christ is Enough, and O Praise The Name. Too bad my mic was so low. For once I wanted it to be a little louder. Even Christelle was searching for my voice but it could barely be heard. Even on the recording, I could hear Christelle’s voice from a distance more than my own, and she didn’t even have a mic. I’m glad though that she was able to hear me on the last song since I really tried my hardest to be loud. AND THE HARMONY WAS PRETTY HIGH FOR THAT SONG AND I FEEL LIKE I DID SO WELL DESPITE NOT BEING ABLE TO FULLY PRACTICE PROPERLY AT HOME LOL. She said if people were not searching for my voice, they wouldn’t hear it, but since she was doing the harmony as well for O Praise The Name and was looking for my voice. And she said I did well. Yayy

Another thing that is so God-planned was that Jordan invited me to go to a Leader Training conference thing that Saturday. Since I had absolutely had no idea what to expect, I was in a dilemma for a whole day until my parents encouraged me to go. I was startled that Jordan chose me of all the other people. He invited Sebastian and that’s quite understandable since that kid really has potential to become a pastor, but me? Leader training? Well, yeah, I guess I am kind of a leader in the band, and yes, I’m a volunteer leader in Awana now, but still… why me? I asked him why he picked me and he said it’s because he wanted to bring a teenager from Wildfire but no one else is available. He was also sure that I was able to come unlike the others who are so busy all the time.

However, when I asked Sebastian on Friday if he was coming, he said he wouldn’t be able to come. That was when I felt that God is definitely shaping me for something and that he has a reason for making me the only teenager of Wildfire there. I mean I’m leaving next year, so what kind of training would I need if I only have a few months left to serve in this church? Obviously, He plans to use me a lot for that short period of time, and from those experiences He will build me to be the person I need to be in the future.

To be honest though, I was lowkey anxious because I was gonna go with adults and not teenagers. Would I be alright going with Jordan, Christelle’s mom, and some other volunteer leaders? I felt like the only person near my age would probably be Jordan so I was expecting to be close to him all day. However, as I was dropped off at 6 am in front of Christelle’s building (because that’s where we were supposed to meet), the first person I meet instead of Jordan was Christelle’s mom. I’ve always had this perception of her that she was the typical strict-sounding mom that gave me a ride home with Christelle since we often discussed lessons about what happened in Wildfire, but she was warmer than I thought. She talked a lot with me as we waited around for the others. She was good at making me feel included and comfortable. She’s quite a character because at some point in the conversations she would say witty comments here and there. I can totally see the family resemblance. Now I know where Christelle got most of her traits from. Even their laugh and the “ha~” sigh at the end of a conversation is the same.

She introduced me to this new volunteer leader in Wildfire that has been her friend for like 20 years. I don’t remember what her name is, but I do remember her introducing herself at Wildfire once and that she’s an artist. When Christelle’s mom told me that they have been friends for that long, I was so amazed that a friendship could last that long. That thought stuck with me all day.

Since I was at the lonely back seat of the car and I had a clear view of them all, I was glad that they often asked me if I was alright because I didn’t really speak much. As expected, being parents made them want to care for the only kid around. Especially Christelle’s mom. She was basically taking care of everyone, not just me. Even if they were all mostly adults, she took care of everyone like a fussy mother. Paul, the guy who gave us a ride, said that she’s everyone’s mom and we all agreed lol. So I felt like these other adults were like my siblings, and in fact, they are, aren’t they? They’re such warm and nice people who are nice to have around just like a family, and it just fascinated me that it’s true in Christ.

By the way, since I had a good view of everyone, whenever I looked at Christelle’s mom and her friend, the thought of the 20 year friendship kept echoing at the back of my head. How was that possible? How did they stay friends and still be near each other for 20 years? Isn’t it amazing how God makes that possible? Every time I see Ethan, Anthony, and Jared gather together in the states, I’m fascinated that they are still able to meet and be such good friends even outside of this country. That’s one of my dreams—to have friends here that I could still meet a few years from now outside of this country. But since I’m so narrow-minded and I’m a little anxious of the future that is so different from my friends, I wonder if that is ever possible. As I sat at that backseat alone, the thought weighed so heavy on my heart that I was holding back my tears just asking God if that was possible… if it was possible with Christelle. https://68.media.tumblr.com/78d6dc86030489db3126c2b9883dcce5/tumblr_ojb8r1s0z91rukdu6o2_400.gifI wasn’t even asking for Gabe, Edwin, or Jess, or anyone else even though I do still want to be friends with them after I leave. It’s just that the only one that mattered to me the most, especially at that moment, was Christelle. I’m just so emo that I have to say goodbye to her sooner than I know it, and of all people that I’ve been friends with, life without her feels almost strange now. I’ll probably go through major withdrawal symptoms without her once I leave because she makes me so happy. I know I have to learn to let go of the people I love, but I don’t want to fully let her go. It feels like bullshit if I take that so literally that I’d stop even talking to her (as I do with most of my close friends). Is it not possible to meet again after all this separation? I’m not even asking to be with her for 20 years because I can’t even see that far into my life, but if it’s possible to meet her again, whenever that may be, and stay as great friends… my heart would be so full of praise.

Gah… I guess it’s that time again for me when I’m so emo of letting people go. It’s the same when my sister was about to go to Korea. A few months before we separated, I felt like crap knowing she won’t be with me every day anymore. But when we actually separated and life continued, I was fine and even grew to be a better person without her so near me. I didn’t feel all that sad because I knew we would meet each other eventually. But I feel like when it’s time for me to say goodbye to Christelle, I’d feel even worse than I do now. I’m absolutely not certain when we will be able to meet each other again. The only certainty that I can lean on is that God knows what I so achingly desire. There’s no other person or thing that I can put my hope on about this situation but Him.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about this someday before I start tearing up again. I had almost forgotten that I was supposed to talk about the leader training conference thing…

We got there really early because Paul was part of the event, so we helped with setting up the venue. It was really funny when Christelle’s mom’s friend and I were given the task to set up the chairs on the big room only to be told a few hours later that “the chairs were poorly set up by some people so we have to fix it.” Since Paul said that to Jordan while we were both right there, the two of us looked at each other and laughed and panicked when Paul and Jordan left. I guess we didn’t do a good job. It was hilarious. Even though she was way older than me, I felt like she was just about my age. Adults are fun to be with, guys.

The other leader that also came with us was pretty interesting to have around too. There was a moment when the three of us just talked about our interests in art, and how the one liked reading books, but artsy leader and I both shared the same trait of being unable to read books well. I felt like their wasn’t an age gap at all. We were like friends, especially with Jordan’s slightly awkward personality, I felt like I was still in a youth group. There was a point when I was in a seminar with Christelle’s mom, and instead of feeling like she was the usual mom taking care of everyone, we talked and glanced at each other like we were friends and she joked a lot with me. It was fun. It was great to know other brothers and sisters in Christ that are not just from the same age group all the time.

There were people that I did know that were in my age range. Jonathan and John Surya were there. I was honestly glad to see them, especially Jonathan, because at least I knew someone from my youth group and can approach them easily.

Now, on with what actually happened. Basically, since it was leadership training for youth leaders, they taught the main goals of what we should do and be teaching as Christian youth leaders, and they also discussed the psychology of teenagers these days. They were all very interesting and eye-opening. Every new thing that I learn definitely made me sure that God wants to shape me into someone that can lead others. I feel kind of inadequate for that kind of responsibility compared to others, which makes feel so special that I was chosen out of all the better teenage leaders in Wildfire. As I have said before, Sebastian would perfect for this leadership training event. I feel like Christelle would also be able to use a lot the information since she also has a potential to be a good youth leader. Instead, I was the one sitting there learning about God and how to lead kids. God threw me in this position anyway even if I never expected to be one. He definitely has put something ahead of me.

The most interesting part of that leadership training was discussing the mental health and the growing anxieties kids face these days. They talked about depression, anxiety of different things from social media and school, basically the emo side we don’t usually see in kids. They also talked about the identity crisis teenagers face during puberty and how to deal with them. It was very interesting because I realize that I had gone through almost everything troubled teenagers are facing and the only difference is I’ve conquered a lot of them. I have conquered depression. I have been through a crazy phrase of identity crisis and I can safely say that I am certain of who I am and what I am like as a person. It was the first time I felt that I’m truly 18. I have about two years left of being a teenager, so I still do have anxieties, especially TCK anxieties, but I’ve grown a lot and matured a lot from who I was when I was what—12? It’s also getting easier for me to see and understand the problems teenagers younger than me are facing. Going to that event just made everything clearer for me.

There were seminars we could have chosen from. There were the typical fun youth leader seminars, the seminar for parents, and the seminar for mental health. Since I didn’t really feel like I fit in the youth leader seminar that was going to teach how to make youth group interesting, and since I’m not even a parent, I went to a seminar that discussed mental health. That topic intrigued me a lot and I wished the one who spoke explained it all better than the typical, quick-and-easy, digestible, internet definitions, but I still had a more organized understanding of mental sickness now. I definitely don’t know if I will actually use that information to help people—help a friend go through them or something might be possible—but I did generally pick that one because… writing material. What else reason would I have? XD

On the way home, my energy started depleting. I didn’t feel tired during the whole event, but it suddenly crashed on me on the car. I woke up at 5 am so I really wanted to sleep. Since I felt like they might call my name at some point, I couldn’t do it. I was able to close my eyes and rest for a moment, but I still sat upright trying not to drift off. I was so tired that I looked forward to crashing at my bed once I got home. When we got to Christelle’s building, Paul’s car was emptied of passengers and some of us will just walk home since our houses were around the area.

Before we got of the car, I was told to walk with the leader who liked reading books, but since Christelle’s mom needed help with bringing two huge thermos up to her house, she asked for my assistance. Not thinking much of it, I agreed to help her. Then she said that I can help her and leave with the leader who likes reading, or she could leave now and I could hang out with Christelle for a while. When she mentioned Christelle, I suddenly felt awake. I didn’t really expect to meet Christelle that day and I haven’t even been invited to her house before.

When we got up there, Christelle’s mom knocked on her room’s door and said that she had a surprise for her. Since Christelle was going to have a friend over that day to study with her, she didn’t really think much of it, but when that door opened, I was there, and she was surprised and glad to see me. It was nice to see her face light up and I sat on her bed staring at her with a big smile on my face. I was so happy to see her because it felt like a dream. It was like a reward to see her. It’s like God was proud that I was able to go to an event that without her in mind, and so he proceeds to reward me by letting me see her after it was all done. Now that I think about it… after being so emo earlier that day praying to God about a long-lasting friendship with her, did God just give me a subtle answer? Hm…

Her room suddenly gave me a better understanding of how she was like. She had all sorts of artworks around her walls and even had a huge paining of a unicorn. She also had a gorgeous artwork of a violin. When I saw that, I was reminded by what her mother said to me earlier that day. On the way to the event, we stopped for gas and bought some snacks for ourselves. While I was in line to the cashier to buy my milk chocolate, Christelle’s mom came up to me and suddenly told me to convince Christelle to play violin again. She said that Christelle studies way too much and she wants her to pick up her violin more. Lol it was so unexpected but I would gladly want to encourage her. So I told Christelle to show me something with her violin, but she didn’t want to because it was out of tune and apparently it was for a master level to tune a violin. She said she also wanted to get back to playing it but has no time for it. I hope she picks it up someday again and play for me.

Then she told me that I was the first ever friend from church that entered her room. That made me feel somewhat special. Not even Nina Metsni or Jessica has been there apparently. I’m becoming more memorable to her than I thought I’d be. I want to thank her mom for that.

For a moment we talked again about Gabe and Edwin’s crush on her. I don’t remember how the conversation exactly went, but I went on explaining how dumb Edwin was for opening his gossiping mouth. I told Christelle that I was so stressed when he brought it up because I wanted to respect Gabe’s wish about not confessing it, but I also didn’t want to lie to her. I told her that it is very easy for me to lie to others, but I could never lie to her and she said she thought about me the same, too. Because she said that, I didn’t want to keep anything more from her and said that I had another weird secret that I had to get out. It was how Edwin and Gabriel shipped her with John Adi and oh man, she cringed so hard. She wasn’t interested in anybody so her reaction was hilarious.

Since we were in such a comfortable place, as if we had all the time in the world than just the 15 minute rides home, I was able to let her hear TaeYeon’s Time Lapse. I’ve always wanted to let her listen to that song because it fits her style of music well, and duh, it’s TaeYeon. I’ve always wanted to let her listen to that to understand the slight lack of emotion she has when singing, but even though I didn’t explain it that day, I was satisfied to listen to it with her because I was able to see her reaction. Since TaeYeon’s voice was pretty soft throughout the song, she was surprised when it got to the high part and loved that part. I just love how when she was listening to it, she was trying to sing it right away. She even told me if she is able to sing it maybe we could jam to it. Hahaha even if she won’t sing it with me, I’m glad enough just to introduce her to that song because… that song is so goooooooooood.

After that, she said that we should definitely lead the band this week and that she wanted to do Vapor by Gungor with me. Since I can’t turn her down, of course I’d gladly do it, and even sing with her. After a while, her friend arrived to study with her so it was time for me to go. It was getting a little late to so I had to go home.

That night, Gabe teased me since I was able to go to an event without Christelle being there. I’ve probably said this before, but ever since this Wildfire year started, I said I would never go to any event where I won’t be able to be with Christelle. I won’t go to Refuge if Christelle won’t come, and I definitely wouldn’t go to bigger events if she won’t come. Of course that’s not entirely true because I came to the leadership training mostly for God and for the future God wants for me. But it’s funny because I felt like I was with Christelle because Christelle’s mom reminded me so much of her. Gabe finds it all ridiculous and honestly, so do I. But what’s fascinating is that even though I didn’t plan to see Christelle, I saw her anyway.

God likes spoiling me these days for some reason. Hmm… maybe that’s not exactly the right word. It’s more like… like I have a parent who knows exactly what I want, what I need, and what’s good and perfect for me. I’ve never felt this close to Him, like he’s holding my hand and arranging all these events just for me. Every moment just seems so perfectly written. He just keeps blowing my mind. ❤

♫ 1709

Top 5 favorite songs of the month
boy – offonoff
Photograph – offonoff
오늘 취하면 (Feat.창모) (Prod. SUGA) – Suran (수란)
Walking – Suran (수란)
춤– offonoff

Top albums of the month
Image result for boy offonoff Image result for suran walkin album
Boy. – offonoff
Walkin’ – Suran (수란)

Top artist of the month
Offonoff

Top genre of the month
K-R&B

Top beats
Good2me (feat. PUNCHNELLO) – offonoff
     boy – offonoff
I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend – WekiMeki

Top songs of the month that made me happy
Neverland – WekiMeki
1+1=0 (Feat. DEAN)Suran (수란)
I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend – WekiMeki

 

For You

This past week has been crazy. I didn’t realize my final chapters of youth group would get so wild so early.

First of all, I became a volunteer at AWANA’s trek. To be honest, I was more excited to participate in this than I was when Wildfire started. It was something new, something I’ve never really done much before—be with kids. Ever since I met my youngest cousins Daniel and Mateo over the summer, I’ve learned a lot about myself and also about kids. I’ve come to have a better understanding of what they can do, how they can act, and how they can comprehend things at their age. Since I became a teenager, I’ve been awkward with kids because I have this fear that they won’t respond to me even when I make a fool of myself. It just used to be so awkward and embarrassing to deal with them. But since my cousins responded so well to me, I was kind of thrilled to feel that again—to feel like I’m setting an example for them. So what better way to do that than volunteer in AWANA?

I wanted to volunteer for kids around the age of 9 but it was pretty cool that I ended up with the 12-14 year old Trek kids, too. Although they’re still young, they are already great at comprehending and understanding things and they’re not that far off my age. It’s easy to go down their level of fun and comprehension of the Bible. I was also very excited that I actually knew someone there. It was that girl that I said liked Seventeen in my previous blog. Her name’s Laura. She’s turning 14—she’s probably the oldest Trek kid there—and we seem to have a lot in common. She’s a cool kid. Anyway, the first day was fun. No one recited verses yet since they didn’t have their starter booklets. We just introduced ourselves, wrote on each other’s backs our first impressions of each other, and planned on 5 things we can bring on a deserted island. So far I don’t know most of the kids’ names yet so I might write something better about AWANA as I get to know all of them.

At Monday, Christelle suddenly messaged me and asked me if I wanted to lead the band with her. As we were just talking about unprepared leaders a week ago, I was thrilled and said yes immediately. So I asked her if she had songs already, but she said no. She also said if we should do two new songs and one that everybody knows. When she was saying all that, I got a little bit frustrated at her because she wanted to lead but she didn’t even have songs ready yet when we were going to practice two days later and I still have to write the chord sheets. Besides, we can’t do two new songs that only she can sing! With her excitement, she has probably forgotten that this wasn’t just for jamming and that it was worship. If she was talking about good leaders for the band, I at least expected that she has thought about these things at some point. But I guess she really is a newbie at leading since it’s her first time. If she didn’t have me who has thought way too much about the whole aspect of the youth band, oh gosh…

Also, I figured that if we were both leading, I should sing, too. (Oh, damn Ronali’s implanted leading personality on me…) I saw no harm to it since we picked Oceans and I could already harmonize well with Christelle on that song. So I also practiced the harmony of Come To Me by Bethel Music and Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher. It was kind of fun and nerve-wracking at the same time because I’ve never sung on the band before. Either way, I was doing it for God and for Christelle, so I was really determined to do well.

At practice, the band sounded great. We finished practicing really quickly even if we had little time. And circle time was back again even though it was unplanned. The band was really a sub-youth group in itself and I’m glad we’re gonna be discussing what worship is and what approach we should have in music on the next coming year.

When the practice ended, John A wanted as to come to Refuge the next day. As I said before on the previous blog, I didn’t really want to go. There was no point of me going if Christelle wasn’t going to go. But since that Thursday was going to be a holiday, she said she might be able to come, but she won’t come if I won’t go. She hasn’t been to Refuge before and she did say last week that she didn’t want to keep meeting new people. And also since she’s so socially awkward even if she’s an extrovert, she wouldn’t go if I won’t go.

Last year, I didn’t really feel like Christelle could comprehend or give back the same love that I expressed for her, but just two weeks in this year I could tell that things have come to a circle. She seems to be leaning a lot more to me now more than ever, and I’m guessing that’s because she knows our time together is limited now. There are also very few girls left from the Wildfire of last year that she knew well. There’s literally just me, Jessica, her, Sarah, and Keziah from last year’s group of girls in Wildfire. The rest of the girls now are all from the Forge last year. Since Jessica has a boyfriend and both Keziah and Sarah are not exactly from the band, I’m the only one that she sees often and clings to at the end of the day.

Whenever I think about how an extrovert like her became willing to spend time and stick with an introvert like me, I’m just overwhelmed by God. Because this… this is all I ever wanted. Ever since I was 10, all I ever wanted was to have a friend who would want to be with me as much as I would want to be with them. All I ever wanted was to have a friend that I could talk with alone about life with God and manage to be a fun pair at something we both do well—in this case, it’s music. All I wanted was to have a friend that people can look at us and say, “Oh, that’s Mia’s friend” or “She is good friends with Mia.” All I wanted was to have someone that I can call my best friend. And with the most simple plead to God, all I wanted was to have a close friend that lasts longer than just one year. She is an answered prayer. I guess that’s why I treat her like a precious jewel. She is a friend sent to me by God.

She’s been expressing more often know that she doesn’t know what she will do when I go, and she seems really troubled about that. I get that she has a socially awkward personality, but she’s an extrovert and she’s pretty good at making new friends. And even though I am the only one who can play the guitar well and jam with her with the style and songs that suit her, I’m not God’s only talented musician. If she asks for it, I’m pretty sure God will give her someone to fill my position when I go.

Anyway, when we got home, I asked her again if she was going to go to refuge. She said she was able to and so I made up my mind to go to. The next day, that Thursday, she asked me how I was going to go. Since it was a holiday, my dad was had a day off so I he was gonna take me there. So she asked me if she could ride with me and I said yes.

In the car, we talked about how we were going to go about starting the worship for Friday. There’s this thing that John Surya always did before starting worship was that he would make everyone hug at least 10 people. Christelle was strongly against doing that and wanted to make people say what they’re thankful for instead—the only problem was that she didn’t know how to say it. We also discussed who was gonna pray. I was strongly against speaking because I know that I stutter a lot and I lose thought every time I pray out loud. However, since she already had a lot on her socially awkward shoulder, I agreed to do it anyway. Besides, I didn’t want to argue anymore about it. One way or another, I knew praying out loud is unavoidable in Christian’s life who is part of the front lines.

We went in to St. Andrews together and it was funny how we came in way too early. The junior high group were still in their youth room so we had to wait outside for about 10 minutes. After some time of waiting, John A and the rest start showing up and we were able to come in. John A apologizes to me when he sees that I brought my bass because I’ve been asking on the Wildfire chat if I should bring my bass and he answered way too late. Anyway, it wasn’t a burden so I forgive him. Anyway, for the first 30 minutes or so, Christelle stuck with me. Many of the people that were there were people we knew from Wildfire, but there were also a few people that we did not know. John A introduced to us a French girl and the four of us talked (or maybe just the three of them because I felt awkward). When Jessica finally arrived, Christelle drew to her and left me alone. That did not bother me much, though, ‘cause I borrowed the acoustic guitar and jammed to whatever they were blasting on their speakers.

After about an hour or so of just goofing around, worship started, and then the Bible study. It was a very short Bible time that the point Jill (their youth leader) was making didn’t make that much sense or just didn’t seem enough. I don’t even think the whole thing lasted for 15 minutes. Anyway, I only came because I wanted to spend time with Christelle—and eat shawarma afterwards. But before dinner, we jammed along with Jonathan, Gabe, John A, and Christelle’s new friend, the French girl. It was great but I left my capo there just when I needed it for the next day’s gig… oh well, at least I know how to find chords quickly even without a capo.

While we were at Seashell, a few of them were arguing about British English and American English pronunciations. The British guy there was probably the one who tackled every damn word that is pronounced differently or has a slightly different grammar and I was honestly slightly annoyed at him. After watching Dave with his friends pronouncing things in different countries, there are really different ways to say one thing. Getting his head worked up about every single word just made him look so ignorant. Anyway, since it was 10 PM and I was already kind of tired, I didn’t really talk that much so I just listened here and there. Aside from that British guy, Christelle and John A were on my left talking by themselves. While they were talking and laughing, I stared at them for some time and a thought struck me. “Well, well, whaddya know… they do look good together.”

Now, I’ve been against pairing them for a long time, but as I was getting to know John A for the past two weeks, I was beginning to see that he was after all a nice guy. He’s kind of introverted but nevertheless friendly. He always makes Christelle laugh for some reason and their conversations always seem to be fun and nice. They also agree on a lot of things. I can even see that he is more of a gentleman than Edwin used to be. So as I was looking at them, I wondered, “Were they always this close? This oddly looks like it could turn into something in the future. All the suspicions Gabriel and Edwin used to say makes more sense now.” Because of what I was seeing, I have never been more curious to know if they had a thing for each other. Maybe I can ask John A, but I don’t know if I can ask Christelle. We always talk about serious band topics and occasionally rant to each other about how people around us act, but we never talk about crushes. We talk about how weird Nithin and Jessica’s relationship are sometimes, but when it comes to how we approach romance–it’s not at all a thing we would sit down and talk about. The last time we talked about crushes was when we discussed Edwin confession, and we were internally cringing hard during that conversation. I wonder if I will ever know her ideal type? Either way, I’ll find out even if it gets awkward… All I need to know is if it matches anyone I know. I just don’t have to mention anyone’s name, especially John A. I’d still be mad if they do start a thing while I’m still here for her. Yes, that’s me basically saying I’m lowkey her current boyfriend. Ha.

At some point we started talking about how Christelle’s vocals are really loud. They both said that many people are saying that she’s not really singing and that she’s just loud. She was a bit conscious about that and asked me about that. Since I get to hear her often with my recordings, I know her weak points as a singer. I‘m not much of a singer myself, that’s why I never spoke to her about it. But now that she was asking for it, I was able to tell her some of my observations. To be honest, she can get very loud when she is taken away by the song. She loses the emotion when the part becomes quite high and powerful. And ever since we jammed with Vida, I knew she was lacking the skill of portraying emotions through her voice. So I told her that, and we discussed it even when we went home. She appreciated a lot that I offered some constructive criticism. She told me that she has been a little insecure about her voice ever since her brother Edwin criticized her, especially when people say she’s just way too loud. She doesn’t even like hearing her voice recorded. Either way, she is good enough for me. She just needs to pay attention to some small details when she sings.

By the way, around Monday and Tuesday, my parents have been asking me what I want to do on my birthday. Do I want to throw a party? Do I want to invite my friends to have dinner at some place? Do I want to bring food on Wildfire? Do I want to bring food on band practice? I was in such a crisis because I didn’t know what I want. I know that I’m turning eighteen and that I at least have to make it memorable and special. The fact that I was going to sing in Wildfire or the fact that I was gonna help with Trek kids was already enough for me for my birthday. I never really wanted anything big. I didn’t want anything that required me to invite people and then plan to eat at some restaurant. It’s because I had a fear that I’m not really anyone special (other than to Christelle maybe) and people I’d want to be there would probably say they won’t have the time. I especially didn’t have the guts to ask Nithin (Jessica’s boyfriend) to come because I didn’t come to his birthday party two weeks ago, and if he’s not coming, there’s a huge chance Jess won’t come, too. So the only ones that I know I can officially ask is Gabriel and Christelle. If Gabriel is not available, I’d be satisfied with just Christelle because I know she won’t say no. And if it’s just with her, it required no planning. We could just hang out at Al Wahda or at any mall and I would appreciate it a lot. But of course, explaining my insecurity is hard so I just proceeded to say to my parents that I don’t really want that much attention. Because of that, they said something like, “Yes, it’s good that you’re not seeking for attention, but think of it as a celebration that you’ve come to live as far as 18 years with God’s grace. And it’s your last birthday in this country—show at least how you’re thankful for them even if you just invite like 3 or 4 people.” They had a good point. I do want to show how thankful I am for my friends. I do want to have at least some gathering for birthday. I do want to do something that I would remember for a long time. But since I was so emotionally conflicted about my insecurity, I just didn’t know what I want. I was so frustrated because I was pressured to do something I wasn’t really thinking that much about. And the morning of Wednesday, my mom has summed up why it was frustrating: “It’s hard because planning gatherings is a part of adult-ing.”

Turning 16 was kind of emotional, and no doubt, turning 17 was the best because I’m neither young nor old (And I made the greatest friends). But I can see now that it’s probably gonna be emotionally and mentally tiring to be 18 and for the next few years… If I already had a crisis just choosing what to do for my birthday, oh boy, I need to train myself to trust God better and make bolder decisions.

 I didn’t have an answer ready for my parents until I went to band practice. Since I was so frustrated with how I should go about celebrating it, I told Christelle and Gabriel, and they were ready to come whenever I plan it. Since I didn’t really know what to do, I asked Christelle for ideas and she basically told me stuff that I already thought of. I also told her that I didn’t know who to invite and she told me to invite the same amount of people that I also thought of. Either way, at least now that she knows that I was thinking about it and that I didn’t want anything big, she would be willing to help me if I thought of something.

On Friday, I sang and it was less nerve wracking than I thought. I have to credit God for giving me strength and aslo this moment for helping me control over my fears:

Image result for taeyeon i can do it gif

I probably heated up more when I prayed after worship. Praying out loud was just not my thing and man I just got so nervous. Good thing I’m good at looking calm. I’m so phlegmatic no one can tell my insides were twisting after that.

When Wildfire finished, we jammed for a while. I was really impressed when Sebastian started playing the drums because he was damn good at it! And playing bass with him while his brother was on the electric guitar was the best! It was so fun.

While we were jamming, I was already looking around for people I could invite to hang out with me for a while at Al Wahda mall. I just wanted to treat some close friends for ice cream. If only few were available, I wouldn’t really mind since Christelle and Gabe are all I really want hang out with. Either way, I was able to get some courage and ask people. While I was packing, I told Christelle to tell Jessica. Jessica then came up to me and asked if it would be alright if she just stayed for an hour to hang and then go because she had other things to do. I also asked Sebastian if he was available and he said he could make time but also for about an hour or so only since he has to study. I didn’t really care when they would leave as long as I can buy them ice cream and hang out with them for a while. That was really all I wanted so I told them they can leave whatever time they want. I then asked Gabe and he asked if he could bring his brother Nathan. Even though I didn’t know his brother, what was the harm, right? Anyone to make the place livelier since I’m not much of a mood maker myself… I also asked John A and he was down for it.

And so Christelle and I decided to take taxi, but before that, she got money from her parents. When she got them, her mom says she could take us there to the Mall instead. So we got Jessica and Gabe’s brother to ride with us.

When we reached the part of the Food Court near Baskin Robins, we waited for about 5 minutes until everyone just started arriving—and by everyone I mean a bunch of guys. I know them all but I’m not exactly close with them. Most of them didn’t even know why we were all hanging out at Al Wahda. So obviously, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people because I never expected 12 people to join. And how was I going to order ice cream for every one of them? Good thing Christelle was willing to list what everyone wants and John Surya was there to help order. All I merely had to do was hand in the money. It’s funny though ‘cause most of them, especially Sebastian, didn’t want me to pay because they think I should be the one who is treated, not me treating them. Oh well, Asian culture… If it’s your event, you pay for it. When I came back to my seat with John, Christelle, and some few others after ordering for 13 people, people started singing Happy Birthday to me. I didn’t really know how to react to that and I recall a tumblr post that says what are you even supposed to do when people sing you that song. Though I was shy, I enjoyed it still. That song has never been sung to me for ages. Then they thanked me for buying all of them ice cream. After that, they went back to their own sides of the table and talked with each other. I just talked with those near me, mostly John Surya who was at my right.

At some point, Gabriel and Sebastian wanted to buy some water from Lulu, so I gave them a bunch of my spare coins. Then they left with Jorge, Sebastian’s brother, and John A. Since there were two escalators that they should go through that we can see from where we were at the food court, we were waving at them as they went down. But Jorge and John A weren’t there on the second escalator down which was a little strange but I didn’t really think much of it. At the same time, Jessica tells Nithin to buy food for Christelle because she was hungry. Since he looked kind of upset waiting at McDonald, Jessica joined her eventually. When there were bunch of missing people, I took out the metal puzzles I got from the Philippines. As expected, it drove them all mad, especially Christelle and Walid (arab guy that was also in Edwin’s farewell dinner before). The most chill doing those puzzles was probably Gabriel. Anyway, as people started coming back and my 10 puzzles were all over the place, John A gives me something in a Borders plastic. I didn’t realize immediately what it was and even asked, “What is this? Is this for me?”  I wasn’t really expecting anyone to buy me a gift because the gift of 12 people being there was already something. When I took it out of the Borders plastic, it was the kind of 3-set Moleskin sketchbooks that I’ve had eyes on months ago, though I never bought them because they were expensive and I already had way too many empty notebooks. But anyway, I guess they knew me well after all… John A said he wished they could buy me something more musical, but he remembered that I mentioned at band practice that I received a sketchbook from God during the Christmas Party of 2015. I’m glad they didn’t buy something that had to do with music and bought that instead. At least I’d make better use of the notebooks than I ever will with something else. Oh, and apparently they gathered money to buy that when I wasn’t looking, probably when I was ordering with John and Christelle. Man all of them must’ve felt the need to buy me a present since paying 150 dhs just for ice cream on my own birthday was kind of absurd. Their conscience would probably go nuts if they didn’t lol. Anyway, I’m merely happy they enjoyed themselves.

And I’m just beyond grateful because while I was trying to plan how this event would go, I stressed to God that I’d be happy just with Christelle and Gabriel. So here He goes dragging along 10 others probably saying, “Why are you being so timid and afraid that they would not see you as someone special? I have set you apart as My faithful servant these past few years and they see that. Is that not the recognition you desire? If they praise Me for You, then You are special to Me. And why are you asking so little? I know what your heart truly wants yet you shy away from me now, thinking you don’t deserve them. How humble I have turned you! Since you are my child, of course I want to make you happy. And for the last months you are in that country, I will beautifully wrap up the great desires of your heart ever since you were 9. I going to make it all happen. Trust me.”

In a nutshell, at this point I can just see God waving at me like, “Hey ummm, I’m right here tho?!? Why u lookin down again???”

Two days later, at my actual birthday, so many people greeted me in whatsapp. My close friends greeted me with some short paragraphs about how I’m blessed I am or how they loved me—again, something that I don’t receive every year. And when I was on AWANA, I only revealed it to Laura that it was my birthday but then she told the whole Trek class so all the Trek kids sang happy birthday to me. Also, apparently John was preparing a surprise party for me but it didn’t really work out since nothing happened after AWANA. I know he’s a kind guy but I personally celebrated with friends on Friday so that I wouldn’t be a burden on anyone’s time on Sunday. I know he wouldn’t be able to pull it off well anyway since he’s John, like duhh. I guess the thought matters, at least. Oh, and my parents bought me this ring that looked like Wonder Woman’s headband. Lol it looks really nice but I can’t believe they felt the need to buy me something even after giving me 500 dhs for that weekend party. I only spent 150 so the leftover for that was enough! Anyway, I still feel like I don’t deserve most of what I received, but oh well… God wants to spoil me a bit, I guess.

Low High

Yesterday was the first day of Wildfire for this season. I’m feeling all sorts of emotions—most of them I can’t really understand properly. Right now, I’m feeling down and I have no idea why. Today was a great day. There’s almost no reason I could have to feel so indifferent with my life. I should be high on happiness. I should be on high spirits. But for some reason, I don’t. And I’m frustrated that I’m feeling this way.

Okay, so first of all, I’m falling way behind the schedule or goals that I’ve written down for my school. Because of that, I’m just so frustrated at myself. I should be doing twice as much of my school work because of the empty two month summer break, but instead I have three times more to do than what I should. I’m so frustrated because my PACEs require me at least an hour for about only 3 to 5 pages, but since I put them off, I get about twice or three times more pages to do. It’s so irritating because I feel stupid. I feel like I won’t get anything done at all. I feel like if I continue to live like this, my mom would tell me to stop going to the band. If I continue to live like this, I won’t even survive college. I feel like I’m already a failure. But then, at the same time, I don’t because I put off my work for something else. I draw, write, or organize my instagram way too seriously. I do things I want to do and when I do it, I work as hard as I should be on my school work because they make me feel alive. They make me feel like I’m actually doing something worthwhile with my brain. But then again, it all feels wrong because it’s my responsibility to do school well. I’m a student. That’s my occupation.

But how can I do it well when my guts hate Trigonometry so much since I feel like I’m wasting my time learning it? U.S. Civics, on the other hand, talks about governments. It’s great to know them and all because their government does affect many countries, but every time I’m learning it, I wished I was learning about any other country besides the US. I’m just so sick of some of the topics always assuming you to apply their American beliefs. Then there’s Art class—the class I should be enjoying. I honestly hate to admit this since I should be enjoying this subject, but it’s not always fun when it’s making you draw something that you don’t want to. It’s even more burdensome since it takes me at least one or two hours to draw what they require me to draw—and that takes up way too much time. Of course, I have to do better on that subject, too, because I’ve said to myself so many times that drawing is going to be my job, and to be realistic, I probably won’t draw what I want all the damn time. The only subject that I do well on is Old Testament because I know that’s actually relevant to my life. So is the English subject, but I kind of just skid through that subject most of the time (which is not always good).

Another thing that frustrates me is that I wake up at 8, sometimes get up near 9, and start school way too late. I should start at 9AM, but usually start at around 9:30. But there are occasions when I start at 10 AM and that’s a big problem since at 11:30, I exercise with my mom for 15 minutes. Then at 12PM, it’s lunch time, and that lasts for about two hours since we watch Running Man. So I start school again at 2PM. Around 4:30, I exercise for 30 minutes. Then I take a bath for about 15 to 25 minutes. After that, I don’t feel like doing school work anymore since it’s already at about 5:30 so I do whatever at that time until 7 when it’s dinner time. That’s why I always feel like I don’t have enough time for everything. I’ve given myself only about 4 hours of school, so obviously it’s not enough. So at night, I try to do some of my school work, but I don’t always get things done since I just want to chill at night. I feel like I’ve just lost control of myself again. I lack too much discipline because I’m so forgiving of myself. I always say I can get it done later, but I’m just getting piled up with more work. It’s irritating. Even though weekends exist, I feel like there is none for me because I have a lot to work on. I don’t think I should even be writing right now because I want to get work done, but I guess I feel like it’s more important to do this now… Again, it’s me just doing whatever the heck I want at this very moment.

Then here comes first day of Wildfire.

Rewind back to the practice day at Wednesday, I’m back to being the music manager again. Even though Jessica was leading, I was the one who wrote the chord sheets, arranged the songs, and guided everyone to what they should do even though it was already written down. Surprisingly enough, although most of them still sucked at following whatever I wrote down on first look when it’s exactly as the original song is arranged, I wasn’t frustrated. Maybe it’s because Jonathan was there that I was able to just laugh it all off with him when they couldn’t get it. But for the most part, I felt great leading again. Maybe it’s because I’ve really changed my view on things these past few months. Watching Produce 101 has encouraged me a lot. Maybe in another post, I will probably explain everything I learned there, but for now, I just want to say that Sejeong encouraging Sohye was one of the most eye-opening and inspirational things to me.

Image result for sohye sejeong gif Image result for sohye sejeong gif

If I could lead and encourage everyone like that with high-spirits, I could turn most of them into Sohye, because encouragement does work better than harsh words. Of course, I’d still be a little harsh if needed since I think it’s important to raise your voice at some occassions, too. But anyway, I was happy. It was my duty to teach all that I can before I leave, to show them how well I played, to show my dedication, and to show that I was doing all of this for God.

This year, I also personally wanted to show that I still have so much to learn and that I want to open my horizons to something more. The best option to do that was to sing. For the past three months, I’ve been trying to learn how to harmonize. I have no idea if I will ever sing in front of Wildfire because I have a lot to work on, but for now, it’s only for Christelle. I can see that she really wants to sing with someone who can harmonize well, and after such heavenly recordings of her with Vida or Nina, I’ve been inspired. Of course my voice is not as charming as theirs and it’s honestly lacking a lot, but it sounds good enough to be background when it’s on the right harmony. I want this to be a great last year for the both of us. I want to jam with her with the best of my abilities. I used to sing Good Good Father with her and I did after practice. Then I challenged myself to sing with her on Oceans and I did fairly well. I also sang a bit of When The Fight Calls with her—the song she, Jessica, Gabriel, and Sebastian had such a hard time harmonizing on. Funnily enough, I was able to do the harmony with her better than the three of them.

While I was in good spirits, when Christelle and I were about to go home, she was talking about how frustrated she was at the singers and the band as a whole. She ranted about how Jessica, Gabriel, and Sebastian weren’t doing well with singing and felt they lack so much practice. She ranted about how Jessica as a leader should know her songs well, and not come like she wasn’t prepared. She also ranted about the testimony of people last week (when they talked about how it’s okay if you weren’t good, as long as you were doing it for God) saying that even if that was the case, there should still be a strong desire to do well and improve. I was able to agree to her a lot on those things because that’s all I ever think of, too. Overall, she was just really nervous for the first Wildfire since she didn’t think Jessica, Sebastian, and Gabriel didn’t meet her expectations. For me who was so used to it, I just told her to pray about it and not worry too much because me and Jonathan were gonna be playing. As long as Jonathan and I are steady, there won’t be much to worry about.

We actually had that conversation constantly cut off because we rode a taxi that had a very talkative taxi driver who wanted to talk with us. Because of that, I wanted to talk to her more. Since I’ve been planning on going to Abu Dhabi mall to buy Mom the yellow owl cup from Paperchase, I wanted to buy it without her knowing. What better time to do that than after Wildfire? But it feels awkward going alone so if I bring Christelle with me, we’ll be able to spend time together and talk for much longer than just the 15 minutes in the taxi. So I had a really strong desire to get her to come with me after our conversation that night, but that didn’t really work out today. Maybe on some other time…

There were quite new but familiar faces on Wildfire. Some of them were probably from the Forge (Junior high group) last year. Overall the day was good—the music was great. Despite the projector not working, everyone still sang along and the energy was great. We even repeated a song at the end. Then we also jammed. Many gathered around us and there was this one Kpop fan that likes Seventeen. I called her over to show off how I know how to play EXO’s The War. I’ve seen her around before but she was at the Forge last year. Since I’ve basically said that I’m a Kpop fan, too, and that I play guitar well, she hung out around me for a while and praised me a lot for my skills. I’m pretty sure she will continue to do so now on the future. She seems to be a guitarist too, so she gets me in some way. When it was time to pack up, two girls came up to me to tell me how I was so great and amazing at the bass. I was a little flustered being approached so suddenly with those kinds of words. I swear it was almost like they were fangirling and it felt weird. They asked me which school I go to and when I told them I was homeschooled, they couldn’t believe it and seemed so amazed that I was. Since I honestly felt kind of awkward to suddenly have fangirls, I kind of just tried to casually pack up my bass, but they still hung around for a while talking to themselves, acting like fangirls I suppose. I don’t know. It just seems that way. I tried not to pay too much attention and focused on packing up so that it wouldn’t get to my head, but lol I also did that to look cooler. In the end, I’m the idiot. Popularity makes me feel weird things.

Oh, and by the way, I have been invited to play and attend Refuge again. Jonathan, more than anyone, wants me to come and play bass. He is even trying to get me to nod my head to come. With me being so unorganized with my time, I don’t know if I’m able to come to Refuge. If I do come, it takes up time and money—and it is such hassle when it usually ends late. Obviously I don’t like that. I’m gonna be participating as a listener in AWANA, which is another thing, so I don’t know if I can handle Refuge, too. Besides, Christelle doesn’t even go there so why should I? I’m just at a bit of a dilemma because I see now that Jonathan gets really hyped hearing me play bass. Everyone gets hyped with me playing bass. I do want to play with them, but I honestly don’t want to play too much instruments in one week. One gig is honestly enough since it’s so tiring. But the year has really started off quite crazy. Here I am again being needed/wanted everywhere by everyone.

 

 

 

Crush

The same night of the first Wildfire meet-up, Gabriel messaged me. He said if I was fishy because I said something earlier while we (Christelle, him, John Adithya, and I) were walking to Seashell. Someone said that “Christelle is light. I can probably carry her.” I replied, “Then why don’t you try carrying her right now?” I thought it was John A who said that and I for some reason felt insulted (maybe cuz I don’t exactly like that guy and I don’t ship him with Christelle), that’s why I dared him. There was confusion in who said it, but I think I heard right—it was John A. But anyway, Gabe said I was fishy for saying that. Then he said he shipped them. I said I didn’t, but he said,

       “Whyyyyyyyy? It’s an otp.”

       “I dunno, I just… it’s weird to me.” I never really shipped Christelle and John A. Although they joked well together and talked a lot together, I kind of hated his guts when it came to her. I don’t even know why. Gabriel shipped them. Edwin thought they liked each other and looked nice together, but for some reason I can’t see them being a couple together, or at least I don’t want to. It’s probably because I shipped Edwin and Christelle a whole lot before. And there was one time in the Wildfire chat when I blew up at John A for saying Christelle must be pretending to be innocent because she could not understand the 18+ joke that Edwin “tested” the group with. I don’t know… there’s just something about him that annoys me. Hmm… maybe it has something to do with him being John Surya’s brother, too. I can’t trust them with romance, especially if precious Christelle is involved.

I told Gabe that I shipped her with Edwin but alas, it was a sinking ship. Maybe instead of being a good detector of couples, I can detect those that won’t even work. Is this what happens when you ship tragic Taengsic??? The tragic couple radar just turns on???

Gabriel said he always thought of Edwin as a person who didn’t like anybody. So he was shocked when he found out about that crush story the first time. I told him that he obviously did not see what I see because I was always with those two.

       Then I said, “Anyway, you still have a crush on Christelle, right? That’s why you assumed I’m fishy? Or am I wrong XD”

       “No I assumed it was fishy because I shipped them (John A and Christelle). And I thought you were helping them. Tho….. The first part…..”

I haven’t written about this since this revelation happened when I was in the Philippines. It was one night when I couldn’t sleep because it was hot and there was no aircon. It wasn’t easy to fall asleep either since I slept on a small couch instead of a bed. So I decided to strike up a conversation and ask him how the last day of Wildfire was like.

       He said, “Sad haha.
       Did I tell u who I like?
       Feels like I did.
       Sad tho cuz idk when I’ll see everyone again.
       And all my other friends are gonna spend holiday away from here haha.”

His message took me aback a little because I only asked him how the last day of Wildifre was like. I didn’t say anything about a crush. So I quoted his ‘Did I tell you who I like?’ message and said, “I don’t think so.”

       “Oh ok. XDDD”

       “Who is it? *smirk emoji*” Just to keep in mind, this was during the time I had a bit of a crisis trying to know if I actually liked Gabriel or not. His reply made me clear up my mind. (And since he spammed lots of dumb things on Wildfire chat on the whole 3 months, I can honestly say I don’t have any feelings for him at all. Anyway, back with the story)

       “Wellllll.
       I trust you haha.
       Christelle.
       SHUSH”

       “OH
       REALLY??? Omg” Okay, so it was about 12:30 AM during that time, and man did I have a hard time not to make a sound! I was absolutely shocked at this confession. Christelle was the least person I expected him to like, especially since I knew before that he liked Pastor Jeramie’s daughter Sarah.

       “SHHHH XDDDDDD
       Yeah.
       Since a few weeks ago at least.”

       “Wow this is crazy, I never knew. XD” This was like just a week after I basically confessed to Christelle about Edwin’s crush on her. Now I found that another guy likes her? And I’m in the middle of all of this? How are the guys just revealing this so easily to me? Is it because I’m close with Christelle? Again, it felt like I was in a teenage novel. Gabriel, Edwin, Christelle, and I were really close. It’s funny because the guys have a crush on her, but I’m the one who wins her because I actually find her so precious and she seems to see me the same way. What is this fanfic worthy material???? XD

       “What do you like about her?” I asked. What makes her so lovable to the guys? I mean I had a pretty solid reason as to why I liked her as a friend, but I wanted to hear the guy’s perspective on her.

       “Everything.
       What’s not to like?
       The way she acts
       Laughs
       Talks
       Sings
       Sleeps
       SHUSH”

Haha, I could have thought he was funny to have fallen really deep with her since he even finds her sleeping adorable, but I couldn’t agree with him more because he said almost everything I thought of, too. She’s energetic, friendly, and boisterous, but she can be so awkward sometimes which makes her really funny. She does have a very hearty laugh. She talks very nicely, loudly, and clearly, unlike me who stutters all the damn time. As I said earlier, just hearing my name from her is the best thing ever. And don’t even get me started with her singing… And yes, I wrote a detailed log about her sleeping on my shoulders, and she was very adorable during that time. She’s a precious human being indeed. I understand why the guys like her. I wonder how many more has a crush on her? Does she even know how much people like her?

       “Haha ikr tbh she’s a real cute girl,” I said.

       “I K R ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ <3”

Then we got to some conversation about the fans and heat in the Philippines and I how I couldn’t sleep. But I was still thinking about what he revealed so I shifted the conversation back to that again.

       “Wait so what made you start liking Christelle??? I’m so curious XDD”

       “I realized
       That I liked her XDDD
       Because she’s awesome
       That’s me being lazy to type it XDDD
       Well, she’s savagely amusing XDDD
       It’s genius”

       “Omg yes XDDD”

       “And that like got me thinking what, is she like this the whole time?
       Like like what else is she like
       And
       Like I thot naw dawg
       I may get attatched if I do that cuz that’s how things work with me.
       But like apparently just seeing her as she is
       Got me thinking ‘this girl has gotta be an angel’
       And then I realize ‘ohhhh wait I only say that to girls I like’
       ‘I like dis girl.’”

       “She’s full of charms,” I said.

       “Well I can see whyyyy
       Yeah, she is.”

       “Are you gonna confess to her at some point? *smirk emoji*” I asked.

       “No.”

       “Oh ok. XD”

       “WELL DIS GON MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY TO TELL U BUUUUT IDK MAYBE U ALREADY KNOE”

       “Know what”

       “Guess who Edwin liked
       Shhh
       I didn’t say nothing.
       Don’t say I sad anything cuz I didn’t.”

       “Yeah he told me that’s why I’m so awake rn.”

       “Oh.
       HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

       “I won’t tell Edwin omg this is crazy enough.”

       “IKR
       LIKE HOMAGAH I TREMBLED WHEN HE TOLE ME”

       “He told me he thinks you liked me but I KNEW IT you like someone else but omg I didn’t expect it to be Christelle XDDDD”

       “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
       Like no offense, as awesome as you are, not my type.
       I see you as a future leading prodigy awesome successful person but not my type XDDD”

       “I know. You like people like Yoona XD”

       “Oh right. So that’s who I told you.”

       “You like loud and crazy and cute girls XD I’m none of that XDDD”

       “Ur cute m8”

       “Im smol”

       “Crazy SKILLS but true, not crazy haha
       Smol = cute (99%xtime)”

       “I have some pride to uphold, I cann’t go crazy XDDD”

       “HAHAHAHAH
       But you seem so
       Humble
       Blunt and humble”

       “Yeah, and that too, and humble and crazy is a weird thing.”

       “Yeah haha”

       “Now I’m curious as to what Christelle’s ideal type actually is,” I said.

       “HAHAHAHAHA”

       “Who do you think she likes?”

       “Wait you don’t know?
       Tbh idk.
       I ship her with John A tho
       Idk what girls that are like Christelle like.”

       “I can’t (ship her with John A). It’s hard to ship her with anyone. I feel like she’s my lil sister and I wanna protect her”

       “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

       “I’m curious tho. How do you guys ship your crushes with someone else? Doesn’t that like hurt you?”

       “HAHAHAHAHA
       When you’re me
       Naw Dawg.
       Or when you truly just wanna see that smile on her face
       Naw Dawg.”

       “Oh ok XDDD I get what you’re saying.”

       “Haha Goodie”

       “Idk how you and Edwin easily get this stuff out. It’s so interesting. I never talk about things like this with Christelle XD”

       “I’m too trusting.
       That’s it really.
       So if I trust you past like 30% I can probably tell you everything
       Maybe. I guess.”

       “Well I don’t really talk about these things so you can definitely trust me.”

       “Why not?”

       “Idk. I haven’t had a crush for a long time so maybe that’s why ”

       “Really??”

       “Haha yeah XD I was more desperate to have friends so I guess crushes didn’t really happen.”

       “Oh lol. When was the last time?”

       “Last time??
       Hmmm
       Two years ago, I guess?”

       “Long time.”

       “Yeah.”

Flashforward to present time, when we were talking about Christelle and a John A being a ship… So he thought I was shipping them with the words that I said, and so I replied, “I won’t help anyone in their  ship until they are cannon boi XD”

       “What, wasn’t it cannon?”

       “I have no idea what they feel about each other so I have no reason to push them subtly XD”

       “True…. But…. What if the push was where the spark was the whole time?”

I didn’t want to be doing that at all. The thought of it just irked me. I wrote something really long explaining how I don’t want to get involved again if it’s probably gonna end like Edwin’s situation. I didn’t want to confess for them again or just whatever happened before, because it seems people are good at detecting if they are being shipped. But then I erased all that and just said,

       “Lol if you do that, they’d notice that I’m sure.
       And if they don’t feel anything towards each other, it’s gonna turn awkward.”

       “I like the fact that your status goes typing… to online like a billion times and the msg is just like this (“Lol if you do that, they’d notice that I’m sure. “) XDDD Show’s you’re very considerate
       (“And if they don’t feel anything towards…”) Wait, it can turn awkward??”

       “Do you even want me to elaborate Edwin and Christelle cuz that ship had a bit of an awkward time and I was in the middle of all that shipping them XD”

       “Yes. I love the awkward moments. Makes me kilig.”

I rolled my eyes at the last sentence. “Bahahaha. Anyway what do you wanna know?”

       “Everything.
       All the things.
       How did someone like you ship people like them.
       I wanna know how smooth Edwin was
       How often did both of them like, just talk
       Like what did they talk about
       How did they talk about it XDDDD”

       “Idk it started at the taxi rides I think. They always argued like a married couple.”

       “BWDJDIFIEIFIEIFIF AND  I DIDN’T SEE IT?!?!?!?
       THOSE ARE THE CUTEST KIND
       Nvm the Adi Stella (John A, Christelle) died
       Edwin Stella lives
       TEELL ME MOOOAAAR”

I told him about how they argued, how one wants to help the other but gets rejected. How the argued about taxi fares. I even told him how I always laughed when they argued and how Edwin exploded at me on that one taxi ride to stop shipping them.

       “I always laugh when they argue and I always imagined they’d be a funny couple. I guess Edwin saw that on my face since one time when only the two of us rode together, he told me to stop shipping them even tho I haven’t exactly said that I did XD. He was like all worked up and told me to back off cuz she liked someone else and I’m like lol why are you talking about this what did I do?”

       Homagah how do you and Edwin see that without seeing that?
       HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
       Edwin must be really smart then and attentive.
       I do not agree tho….. About backing off because she likes someone else
       Like duuuuuuuuuude you can “steal” her-ish kinda
       That’s the term I use for the kinda situation where you like someone and somehow they end up liking you later even if they liked someone b4
       #Paasa”

       “IKR XD.
       I didn’t even know or suspect that he liked her. I just thought they looked like a married couple. But from the moment he blew up at me, I kind of had a hunch that he likes her after all, otherwise he wouldn’t have brought it up XDDD”

       “WHAAAAAAAT
       Lol him and me are very alike
       Assuming a lot of times.”

I then told him how I always catch Edwin doing sweet stuff for her but she doesn’t really see it. I told him about the time when she rejected food from him, but I convinced her enough to at least get something from him cuz I saw he was just being nice. I also told him that Edwin wasn’t exactly the flirting type. He was more of a gentleman and it just drove me mad that Christelle didn’t see that.

I also told him that Edwin thought she likes John A, that’s why he said she liked someone else. Gabe proceeds to freak out and says Edwin sees the vibe and that he sees it too. I just said I don’t or maybe I just don’t want to see it. Then he describes what goes on between John A and Christelle and was basically shipping them. But after my story he says Edwin and Christelle seems more adorable. He said Kdrama is closer to them than it is with the John A ship…

Then I also told him that Edwin made me confess to Christelle about his feelings.

       “When Edwin left, he told ME I should tell her his feelings.
       That just shocked me XD
       Like why me, why don’t you tell him yourself.”

       “I kinda get why he doesn’t wanna do it I think?
       I can picture it.
       I’m no photographer, but I can picture them together.
       Like easier said than done.
       You don’t want her opinion of you to change negatively.
       And since he assumed she and John had something, be it unknown, probably got scared.”

       “I really felt like I was in a teenage drama when those days happened XD”

       “HAHAHAHAHAHHA
       Lucky u
       Tell me you packed popcorn once.”

       “Even after the confession, they chatted and often came to me to ask what he should say hahahha.”

       “I don’t wanna assume but my brain already says ‘YEP HE WANTS HER TO HAVE A GOOD IMAGE OF HIMMMMMM’”

       “Yeah exactly that.”

       And I think this is the moment when he realizes he missed some of the things I’ve said. “WAIT YOU TOLD HER?????????”

       “Yeah, I stressed out for a whole day thinking what I should say so in a way it’s like I confessed to her hahahahaha XD

       “HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA”

      (“I don’t wanna assume but my brain….”) They actually didn’t want their friendship to turn awkward and they talked it out I think.”

       “THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT is good.
       Because you said they
       That is good.

       (“Even after the confession, they chatted and…”) See I’ve been there recently except for the part where he had someone who could tell him what to say.”

       “Lol really XD”

       “Yes
       Wait did I not tell you I liked Sarah?”

       “Everyone knew that right lol”

       “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
       NO WAY
       AM I OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE”

       “Or was it just me and Christelle who knew… idk XD”

       “Oh whew”

       “Wait so who do you even like rn? I’m confused XD”

       “I like Christelle ._.
       I liked Sarah
       I told her
       We talked but apparently I was annoying ._.
       So I died inside ._.”

       “Oh ok you confessed to her?”

       “Yes I did.”

       “She said you were annoying??” I may sound surprised but I wasn’t tbh. It’s easy to understand that he became annoying to a girl like Sarah XD.

       “Ok like, cuz I messaged her often. And THAT was annoying.”

       “Ahhhh Oh no XD”

       “Anywhooooo the point is when I’m not close to someone and I don’t think I’ll ever be like a friend because I feel like this person can’t be disturbed from her environment, I have to tell this person that I like her.”

Then he proceeds to tell me that Chinaza, the new shy band mate, who is actually his friend, knows that he likes Sarah.

       “Hahaha good for her, at least she won’t bother her on your real crush.”

       “HAHAHAHAHAHA
       But I told her I like Christelle
       Well Okay okay for a time I stopped liking Christelle then I liked her again
       *keysmash*”

       “Feelings are weird XD The nature of feelings are wild and sometimes unpredictable.”

       “Yes…
       Especially when you’re 12 and still like someone till you’re 15
       Or I was 10
       Longest crush everrr”

       “U had a crush on someone for 5 years?? Wow”

       “I thot
       All Filipinos go through that moment
       Because we ‘soft’”

       “Lol whaatt really?”

       “Idk
       Bc we ‘soft’ and we have a type of love that lasts forever-ish
       Not forever but like”

       “Is that true? Cuz I also had a crush that long at that age XDDDD”

       “WHAT HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
       Probably true idk
       Like Filipinos like ppl for a good amount of time and get attached and boom #KATHNIEL”

       “Lol I don’t even follow Filipino ships XDD”

       After a short convo about Filipino films, it goes back again,

       “WAAAAIT
       Did you confess and stay bffs till this very day?” he asks while referring to my 5 year crush. At this point I was like, wow why did I tell him that? Why am I like this? Why do I want to tell him that?

       “Lol no. But we are still friends. And it wasn’t exactly a crush but more like a friend crush.
       Like I really wanted to be close friends with this person XD,” I try to say casually.

       “Oh
       Araso”

       “The feeling was really close to a crush because I thought about that person all the time like a real crush. It was a weird time of my life XD” Indeed it was. I wondered how long I can keep referring to her as “that person.” I didn’t want to lie and refer to a  guy because it wasn’t. I couldn’t lie to him.

       “Wait
       Er
       I thought that was a crush
       Think abt her all the time
       Like
       Um
       Crave to be around her
       And to talk to her often
       And wanna make her happy”

Yes, I did like her that way, boy. “Exactly that feeling.”

       “Like I thot ‘this must be love if I’ve had this forever and feel this stroooong’
       But I kept telling myself it was a crush”

       “Hahaha yeah but in my case I couldn’t think like that and I couldn’t confess whatever I felt cuz what I felt just seemed wrong so eh”

       “Seemed wrong… That’s where we differ.
       Owwwwww”

       “Mine is a serious problem and I’m glad I dealt with it tbh”

At this point, it was already late and he needed to go to sleep. So he asked me what time I wake up and we should continue the conversation the next day. So I got ready to sleep, too. I felt like I wasn’t in my right mind as I talked about it, but at the same time, it felt almost liberating to have a friend know about that part of my life. So I prayed about it to God and asked if I could say it, because after all, I’ve seen the end of the story, and it was a huge story that glorified Him.

So the next morning, at 6 AM, he asks, “HOW DO U DEAL WID SMTH LIKE THAT”

       “What I did was something called: praying,” I said at about 2 hours later when I actually wake up.

       “Ohhhhhh
       Ok but what did you do after praying
       What was your conclusion
       You’ve asked for a solution, assistance, guidance
       Then what did you do after you got that?

       “Well… Okay. So like I’m not close with that person but we were friends so I just wanted at least moments when only the two of us were together. I really loved that person but I couldn’t let that develop into so much more. So I prayed a lot to God to help me get over and at least give me a closure and let me be friends properly and so one Illuminate, I spent time with that person like the two of us were a pair in the event and I got closure and somehow from that point on my feelings were gone. But we’re still friends so I’m happy that I dealt it with God.
       Omg that’s long XD”

       “What is closure
       Feelings were gone. GG. Good game. That’s it. It happened. End of story XDDD interesting.”

       “Like all I ever wanted was to spend time with that person, only just the two of us, and God finally gave me that. And so I eventually stopped because I felt like I got what I so badly wanted and desired… idk it’s something like that I can’t explain how I stopped having a crush. It just happened. I moved on, I guess.”

       “Moved on once you got what you wanted
       Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm”

       “Which is a big relief cuz I had that crush seriously for 5 years.”

       “Hahaha
       Hurrah now you’re free
       Wait are u free?”

       “(‘Moved on once you got what you wanted’) I felt like it was enough. Because what I wanted, more than that, felt wrong”

       “I see”

       “Free? I guess XD”

       “Free like you don’t have a crush on anyone currentlyyy
       Aside
       Koreans”

       “Lol XD yeah.
       But I don’t have a crush on any Koreans XD
       Just admire XD”

       “Ohhhhhhh
       Must be nice being free
       Waaaait wait wait wait wait were you an awesome musician while you had the crush?”

       “Hm  well I wasn’t awesome then XD
       I was more like an awkward out of place girl than anything cuz I wasn’t girly XD”

       “Aww
       You’re girly now?”

       “Kinda? Not completely but Girls’ Generation made me girly XDDD”

       “Lol
       But you don’t use makeup”

       “No haha just aloe for moisture and Vaseline lip balm XD Is that make up? Probably not XD”

       “How is that girly XDDDD Make up is foundation and everything above it”

       “Look I’m gonna wear a cute headband one of this days XD that’s pretty girly I think XD”

       “With cat ears? XDDDDDDDDD With cat ears and paw gloves”

       “No but it’s pink with a ribbon XDD”

       “Oh okie”

Then I got to some serious thinking… I couldn’t just let this conversation die down with him leaving with the thought that I had a crush on a boy. It just didn’t seem right at all. I wanted to say everything. I wanted to be honest. I wanted him to know. So I carefully wrote…

      (‘Hurrah now you’re free’) Tbh this statement is even better because… Ok now don’t be too shocked or view me differently. I haven’t told this to anyone but I feel like it’s good for you to understand since I already said so much. I was talking about a girl. That’s why I’m happy I’m free, cuz it messed me up. But I talked endlessly with God about it and He helped me go through it. In this time and age, without God, I would have already swerved off greatly from the right. That’s why I said what I said on the Wildfire group cuz I know people don’t chose to do wrong. We are naturally in rebellion against God and we have to control that. And I’m just so happy my love for God was able to conquer it.”

The bit about the thing I said in the Wildfire group was when they were discussing something serious for once and it was about LGBT. I wouldn’t have spoken up if they said the right things, but most of their answers that time were so narrowly at the Christian perspective that they sounded quite ignorant of the truths. I remember most of them just didn’t get why they would chose to do what they do. One of them said that it was proven as a mental disease. One of them couldn’t even say LGBT right. So I felt it was kind of invalid for them to be proving their points without properly knowing what the heart of the problem actually was. It just frustrated me that they kind of saw it and discussed it in such a poor way. As someone who knows how it feels and discussed it a lot with God, I spoke up and this is what I said: Our physical nature is to act against God whether we mean it or not because we inherited it from the first ever humans. Not all sins are choices but rather it just flows out of us so naturally that we are incapable of controlling it unless we truly have a change of heart. And we need Christ’s heart. We basically need to have a heart transplant so that we can take off the world’s last name on our forehead.

Anyway, back to my conversation with Gabe…

       “1) How can I view you differently when we talking about old you and now current u
       2) U USED TO LIKE A GIRL FOR 5 YEARS????????
       Very shocking
       Doesn’t change my opinion of u
       Just
       Shocking
       XDDDDDDDDDDDD”

       “I know, I know… But like the point is God gave me what I wanted which is the weird part, and because he did that, I got over her XD”

       “Niceeeeeeeeee
       That’s a good ending”

       “Ikr and I’m so thankful that I trusted God to help me go through instead of today’s mentality of ‘accepting who you are’”

       “HAHAHAHAHA
       Today’s mentality”

After that, the conversation rapidly shifts into something else. We talked about things entirely far away from crushes. I’m just glad that he didn’t view me any differently. I believed I proved my point well, that I was able to conquer it with God. That’s all I wanted to say. So I’m happy. And since I’ve revealed that part of myself to him, I feel less constricted about that secret. It’s become less of a burden. And I guess it was somewhat easy to tell him honestly because he doesn’t know who that girl was compared to most of my friends. So I’m never gonna say that to anyone else again unless they really need that testimony of conquering that problem.

New Changes

Last Wednesday was the gathering for the band before the school year starts. It kind of feels weird to be talking about this again after being away for 3 months.  So many things have happened this summer that I couldn’t write about (as I always do every vacation trip). It would be nice if I remembered all the exact thoughts I had during the vacation because I felt like I’ve learned a lot and have changed a bit from that time. But anyway, I’m back to where I was before—the band.

It’s not exciting when I thought about it at first, to be honest. When the band arranged to finally meet, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I’ve been imagining what it would be like to come back to the band and all sorts of scenarios played out, but rather than be excited, I was anxious. I’ve not had any human contact other than my parents for almost the whole month of October. My reality for the past few weeks have been school, exercise, and coming up with things to draw and I got so used to it that when socializing and playing music with others was mentioned, my stomach just froze. I was just nervous for unknown reasons. I didn’t want to go but I know I’ll regret it if I don’t go. That sort of dilemma drove me mad. I think not knowing what to expect kind of had something to do with that. It’s a new year and I totally feel like I’m a new person from who I once was in the band before, so I was just in a lowkey state of panic. And just before I left the house, I put songs in my iPod and the moment I disconnected it from the computer, instead of having the newly downloaded songs to listen to, the iPod reset itself and deleted everything so I was just not in the best mood at all.

But as I got off that taxi car, there was Jonathan at the front gate getting his drum set and he greeted me with his usual enthusiastic tone.  At that moment, I felt excited. Of course I loved that he was there since I play with him best, but something about his familiar voice just made me feel at ease. And when I got the youth room, Prasanna, Sebastian, and Christelle were already there. Before I could even grasp the situation, Christelle had called out my name and ran to me with open arms. She hugged me and I just felt so happy.

Around the three months of summer, I had crazy affection for them. Since my family went to the Philippines, I felt like I was separated from my family, even though technically, I was there to see my family—biological extended family, that is. And although it’s good to have met my cousins, uncles, aunts, and especially my sister again, during that time, I just missed my church family so much. Maybe because for the last months of Wildfire last school year, I’ve grown so close to them that I just felt like they were so much more to me than my actual (extended) family.

Whenever I listened to my recordings of the band, I would always hear Christelle calling my name. I think that is by far one of my favorite things to hear. Just her calling my name in all sorts of tones—listening to them felt unreal. So when I heard it again yesterday, I felt like I was dreaming. I was seeing her again. I was hearing her voice again.

Another thing that felt unreal was that I immediately noticed a somewhat subtle change in the three of them (Prasanna, Sebastian, and Christelle). Jonathan, who always wore some kind of dark hoodie and with those spiky earrings, didn’t really change much. He was still his old, laid back, teasing self. Since he was the first person that I saw, I thought things have come back to the way it used to be. But the three looked older somehow. Their features seemed to be more mature than from what I remember them to look like. Christelle has gotten prettier—her feminine figure and beauty becoming even more refined than before. The used to be 13 year old (now 14) Sebastian looks like a 16 year old already, and his voice seemed to sound deeper, too. And the biggest improvement of all that I’ve noticed was Prasanna. Honestly, I noticed even before seeing him that he has changed a lot since for the past three months since he was part of the spamming noise in the Wildfire chatroom. But after seeing him, his scrawny self didn’t seem to be present anymore. He seemed to be finally getting some masculine mass in his body. However, he is still crumped up when he plays guitar so that’s something that hasn’t really changed for him. The main thing that struck me is although I’m still meeting the same people, I can’t help but notice the slight change in the air. It’s really a new chapter—actually, the start of the final chapters if you will. I could almost feel the fireworks and the sadness that follows after it—as predicted from my prophetic 2017 New Year’s Eve summary. Time is flowing by so fast.

There was no doubt a big change right on the very first day. Jonathan brought his drumset—something we never had for the new-ish youth room. There were two new members, Chinaza, a really shy and quiet Nigerian girl, and Alben, a guitarist from India. I don’t really have that much info on them yet because another thing that was so new was that Jordan, our leader, brought guests. FCC people. Counterflow singers. The moment they (about 7 of them) came in the room, I think I pretty much froze because they were the people I least expected to come. I thought I won’t be seeing a group of Filipinos again for a long time after coming back here, but I guess not. Anyway, it’s nothing negative. It was nice to have them there talk about what worship was to them. I think their testimonies were good and very much needed for the coming New Year to encourage everyone do well in their areas.

And so after the testimonies, we jammed to about three or four songs. Everything seemed good so far. I had no problems with everyone yet—probably because Jonathan and I pretty much carried the whole band. There were about six guitarists, 7 or 8 singers, a keyboardist, then the two of us (who were the loudest). All was good. All was fun. I don’t know if Counterflow singers are just guests or they’re actually gonna join us the whole year, but even with that many guitarists, I don’t how we’ll manage to have that much people on the actual day Wildfire starts. Oh well, at least I have a steady position on the band by being the bassist.

When everything was finished and we were finally unpacking, Christelle came up to me and told me we’re going to be riding the taxi together. Even though we were doing that just 3 months ago, I was filled with so much nostalgia as if it happened so long ago. I was just so happy that I didn’t have to ask.  She already knew I would ride with her. That just warmed my heart.

We rode home with Gabriel, but when he got off his stop, Christelle and I started talking about things. She asked me about what I did during the summer and I said we went snorkeling. I also said that I had my period at that time, and from that point we just started talking about different kinds of period tools. I didn’t even know why she started elaborating on that. I felt awkward the whole time we talked about it, especially when she was explaining how the European’s cup tool worked. I mean it was okay if we talked about it privately, but the taxi driver was right there and he probably hears everything we say. Anyway, as I used to think before, when girls start talking about periods so openly as if it’s nothing, that means you’re pretty comfortable with each other. Anyway, as that topic died down, I gave her the bracelet that I bought on Cebu for her. She was happy to have received something from me and really liked it since she liked bracelets. I knew she’d like that so I’m pretty happy myself that I got her the right gift. Then we started talking about the band and all that. From what I remember, she was talking about how her brother doesn’t understand how John was able to look up to him as an inspiration because they weren’t really close. Because to her, everyone would understand that if she said I was an inspiration to her, they would understand because we were actually close. When she was saying those words, I felt really… I don’t know, touched, I guess? Because she was basically saying right in front of me that she looked up to me and we were close friends. Even now, I still can’t believe I’d be at this point to hear this from someone. God is great.

I don’t know how the conversation exactly went, and I’m probably wrong with the sequence of this already because I can’t remember it well. But anyway, I was talking about how I’m going to try to teach everything I knew to everyone because I’m gonna go away next year, and when I said that, she was making that paralyzed face again—the same face she made when I confessed Edwin’s love for her. My voice had gotten really low when I said that because I realized that the reality was coming sooner than ever. I can tell she was saddened by that thought, too. She didn’t want to discuss the goodbyes yet, but she then babbled on anyway about what was gonna happen when I go away. She said who’s going to play with her and know the right feeling of every song that goes well with her? Who’s gonna fill in my place—the place that filled almost every area of the band? I just told her to pray about it because I honestly don’t have the answers to that. My only goal is to pass on what I’ve learned. And with that in mind she told me, “What if I learn from you? What if you teach me?” I don’t know if she was just saying that or she was actually encouraged because of the testimonies of the Counterflow leader, but either way, I thought it was a pretty good idea. I won’t be harsh to her as with everyone else and it will be easier for me to explain things to her. The things I learned from PD 101 will probably come to light with her. I can be the Sejeong to her Sohye.

However, pessimistic me thinks she won’t actually go through with that even though I badly want to do it… If we go through with it, we’ll be able to spend more time together and we’ll be even closer than before. And if she is able to play instruments and sing and teach future band members because of me, then I’ll know my work for the Lord wasn’t futile. But my fears just get the best of me sometimes. I guess we’ll just have to see if that actually happens. And if that was supposed to happen, I should teach her before December because apparently our family is moving house and I don’t know how long I can keep riding home with her. I don’t know how far I’ll be from her. I don’t know how many days we can even be together. But I want to maximize everything this year. Wherever she goes, I will go.