it’s in the name

The usual ice breaker for many of my first conversations with other people is answering their inquiries on how I got my name. They think having a guy’s name is weird but spelling it in manner that most people from my side of the world can’t pronounce is even weirder.

A-R-C-C-I

Unlike many fateful stories of how the were named, mine’s pretty last minute. You see my parents believe that they should wait til I was born to find out whether I was a guy or girl. That would have been okay if they prepared to have either a boy or a girl but they didn’t. In their gut, they were just so sure I was gonna be the second Nikko Paolo in the family. My older brother who had the same name passed away a year before I was born.

When I was finally welcomed into the world my parents started scrambling for a name. I remember dad’s stories of how mom agreed to a name right after her surgery then when she woke up again didn’t like it anymore. She thought it was so lame that I would get picked on in school for having that name. Dad had to get my birth certificate redone, buy books upon books of baby names, bring it back to the hospital and scour those pages for the LUCKY NAME.

name

Turns out it wasn’t so lucky, mom just couldn’t settle with a name even after 3 hard bound baby name books. I guess out of desperation my dad blurted ‘ARCHIE’ out. It’s a guy’s name- the lead guy from a comic book. He meant it as joke but it stuck so my mom suggested to run with it. A masculine name for their first born girl should portray her as tough and independent. Well, that worked. *claps incessantly*

My mom had this fascination for unique names so she spelled my name differently- after a designer brand she likes, Gucci. She thought it’s the feminine flair that my extremely macho name needed thus my name, ‘ARCCI’ was born.

My name may have been unplanned and so spur-of-the-moment but I actually love it, well the story more than the name. I’m sure all those people I’ve met because of my weird name would agree.

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what my sister asked me

I have the sweetest little sister anyone could ever ask for. She’s a diligent straight A student who hates confrontations and shies away from compliments so imagine my surprise when we had this conversation last night.

HER: Maybe I should be tougher, meaner.

ME: Why? What’s up with you?

HER: I just think that people always expect me to do everything because I’m too nice. I don’t scream when I ask them and don’t make scene when they don’t do anything.

ME: Never stop being nice to accommodate people being rude. People will always try to corrupt the good that you have; don’t ever give in to that.

worthit

Being tough and strong is different from being mean and rude. You don’t measure strength by the decibels of her yelling in an argument nor do you see it when he seemingly doesn’t care about anyone else. In fact, I think you’re stronger when you have enough courage to retain a good attitude and continue to care even in the worst possible circumstances, even when people take advantage of it.

Anger every once in while is not a bad thing but allowing it to take over you so people would listen or do what you ask of them isn’t healthy. If you allow people to bully you into changing, even if that’s to becoming a bigger bully than the other person is, that becomes your default. Your go-to is giving in and being mean to people when you’re stressed.

You thought you solved the problem by elbowing someone into submission, what you don’t realize is there are bigger bullies out there just waiting for the their next target. If you grow into a louder, angrier, meaner person every time you encounter someone abrasive or uncaring, you’ll grow callous and probably so much worse than every bully you’ve ever encountered.

Frankly I just don’t think it’s worth it.

In the short run, you may have gotten what you want but in the long run, you will have lost an amazing outlook in life and attitude towards people. You lost out because you changed the good in you to respond to the bad others show you.

 

 

***

My  little sister and I love taking pictures especially when we’re together. These are some of the photos we took while having this conversation.

with Kayle

 

CHEERS BRENT

In life you meet people who absolutely just changes it. At first you can’t explain it, at times you don’t even know it happened but then you’ll realize your life isn’t the same anymore. It’s better. It has more meaning; YOU have more meaning. 

Today one of those people is celebrating his birthday and I wanted to take this opportunity to finally thank him because I don’t think he knows. I’ve never said it, not that I’ve never tried. I just don’t know how to because the influence he has made on me isn’t exactly tangible nor is it sudden. It was subtle. It compounded all throughout the years that I’ve known him.

a 4 year old picture of us

a 4 year old picture of us

Brent Lorenz Guiriba, you are one of the most creative, sincere and courageous people I know.

You did not only make me a better debater, a better writer and a better friend but also someone who is brave enough to keep trying even when life keeps dropping the worst possible chapters. This past year has been the absolute worst of my life but your stories kept pushing me to fight harder and to continue to appreciate what I have rather than focusing on what I don’t have anymore. I know you may not be doing it on purpose but you helped me, thanks B.

Happy happy happy happy birthday B.

I wish you the absolute best in every aspect of your life especially your health. Know that even if my faith is not as strong, I pray for you everyday. Love you B.

***

BTW, he too is an amazing fashion and lifestyle blogger. If you’d like to subscribe to his blog here’s the site:  http://foldedpants.blogspot.com/

healthy conversations

One of the many reasons why I love coming home is the amount of time we spend still sitting on our chairs around the table long after we finished breakfast.  I was raised by two academe-loving parents, with a dad that always encourages discourse so imagine how that translated to my extra curricular activities all through out school.

breakfast

Just this morning we started talking about the PDAF Scam, arguably the most embarrassing issue plaguing the  Philippine Congress today. We discussed facts, what we thought about them, where the government should go from here, how this issue affects legit foundations and so on. It’s a frustrating topic considering how much casually the accused are taking it and how fearful the witnesses are for their lives, WHAT A ROLE REVERSAL. Shouldn’t the crooks feel the least bit ashamed or distraught if not afraid? Shouldn’t the witnesses feel more relieved and hopeful? That’s clearly too much to ask in a society where thieves are put on pedestals while the rest of us look up to see their bum excreting billions of stolen money. (See how hyped I get because of this? It’s almost funny.)

*calming down* Anyway, it’s reassuring to have people around you who you can discuss absolutely anything with and not feel as if you’re overstepping or acting like a total dork (which I am, by the way). I don’t know if many people have this with the their families or friends but if you do then you know how important it is to feel heard, to feel understood. Those long breakfast conversations may seem like boring routines we can get rid of but to me they’re boosts I need to get me through many more discouraging days.

So here’s to being heard and being understood.

justifying genius

I read this article about J.D. Salinger today regarding his malicious relationships with women not even half his age. The article was written by Joyce Maynard, one of the women who claims to have been with Salinger at the tender age of 18.  Here’s the site just in case you too might want to read it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/was-salinger-too-pure-for-this-world.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&smid=tw-share

In summary, the article delves deeper into the much private life of the renown author praised for the purity of his works and devil may care attitude towards the literary standards of his day. Maynard exposes his attempts to woo women, still very young and susceptible to suggestion through his genius. She was one of those women, one as easily disposed of as she was welcomed into his home. She concludes with the suggestion that we live in a society where the genius of a man justifies the cruelty and abusive nature of his actions.

DOES THE GENIUS OF A MAN TRULY EXCUSE HIM FROM HIS WRETCHED WAYS?

Rather than blogging solely about Salinger and his relationships, I would much prefer to blog about the idea of ‘saving qualities’– those we often hear as kids when our parents describe some problem child who went off the rails. Do we really live in a world where the good we’ve done justifies the bad we continuously do? If we do, then do we wanna keep living that way?

Looking at pop culture and the stars they cultivate, we can see a lot of wrongs like people dropping clothes here and there, an actress confidently and explicitly seducing a married man on set, doing illegal drugs and convincing their fans to do the same, calling people ugly and stupid or even randomly distributing sex videos. These doesn’t even cover half of it and yet people continuously fall to their feet and would even go to the extent of defending their obvious and gross mistakes, excusing them because they somehow contribute to our entertainment. It’s almost insulting.

I personally don’t think that reprehending a man’s actions makes his ability to write, sing, act or perform well any less great but it makes a society which forgets or ignores all his misgivings because of his amazing talents one that cares very little for true value, one that’s willing to compromise morals for the superficial. That’s not a community I wanna be a part of, neither should you or anyone for that matter.

Look at it this way, we’re treating people like balance sheets. If he’s a great asset we disregard all other assets that might be depreciating because of him. We’re too focused on what he’s giving that we turn blind to what he’s destroying. Life and the values that we learn from it are not plus and minus operations. You can’t erase one with the other so don’t go about life thinking that you’re excused just because you contributed a great deal of pluses to the world especially if those pluses have nothing to do with the hell you’re putting other people through.

This is not exactly a condemnation of Salinger and especially not his works. I will forever be a fan of Catcher and the Rye and will continue to look up to the man for his amazing contribution to literature but if he indeed did what the article chronicles then I am one disappointed lass.

I don’t believe it to be fair for his genius of a mind and his talent for the written word to excuse him from establishing basic moral distinctions and this goes for every other brilliant soul still confused by what they can and cannot do, should and shouldn’t do.  

not just feeling 22

In the words of Taylor Swift (Yeah, yeah, I know I said I don’t listen to pop music that much. My sister loves her though.),

‘I don’t know about you but I’m feelin’ 22.’

feeling22

When I was younger I always imagined what it would feel like to be older, someone with a job, bills to pay and places to be. I guess this is what it feels like. It’s not much different if you ask me. I walk with older, taller, more complicated-thinking people but the dynamic, it’s the same.

You take their cookie, they either pull your pigtails or tell on you. Try wearing that neon cape to class and everyone laughs at you. Get into a fight and you get some time out. It still sounds familiar, right?

Well today feels like that. I know it’s another year but for some reason I’m that little girl again-giddy because some boy gives her flowers, excited to gorge on fatty fast food, overeager to give her best friend a hug and never forgetting to say thanks for all those who showed they care.

Maybe today isn’t just about growing up. Maybe it’s also about NEVER FORGETTING I  was always amazing- pigtails and all.

***

I really wanna thank everyone who made the extra effort to make me feel special today. For the flowers, gifts, food, visit, greetings and well wishes, thank you so much. This newly 22-yearl old appreciates it so much.

Flowers may not be my kryptonite, still getting them is flattering.

Flowers may not be my kryptonite, still getting them is flattering.

greetings

from me facebook timeline

And Erwin, you should know that you’re the absolute best friend/ big brother anyone could ask for. Love you Kuya!

with kuya

the only one he let me post, due to ‘cough cough’ his stressed physique. haha

an act of random kindness

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=1392936030935563

This made me feel uncomfortable in the best possible way. I’m not sure if I can ever make that big of an impact on anyone but I sure could try. You can never really tell whose life you can change by one random act of kindness so make a habit of it.

ROAR by Katy Perry

This is the new anthem of all those who lost their voice, their identity and their vision. It’s time to claim it back with all gusto you guys can muster. Time to ROAR!

ROAR by Katy Perry 

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’ll hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me ROAR…

Roar-or, roar-or, roar-or, roar-or, roar-or

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’ll hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me ROAR…

Below is Tyler Ward’s cover of this song which I thought was pretty  amazing as well.

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family lunch: pork asado

Originally I was gonna call this post ‘HUNGER GAMES’. It’s an inside joke my sister and I came up with when we know we PIGGED OUT BIG TIME or when we’re planning on it.  While I was taking pictures, my little sister devoured 3 servings of this. She cautiously filled her plate with more food without us noticing. When we realized she ate almost a third of the food, we all started laughing. Had we been busier, we wouldn’t have had anything for lunch.

Our family’s secret recipe for Pork Asado

Pork Asado is a very common dish among Philippine households but like many of our national dishes, its recipe always varies from family to family. Basically, it’s tenderized pork marinated overnight in soy sauce, lemon or lime, tons of onion and pepper. Fry the pork then add the sauce made of pineapple juice, soy sauce and sugar. Simmer and wait for it to thicken and then serve with rice.

asado

Because my sister and I are not big fans of sweet dishes, (I know, I know. It’s weird that we hate sweet food and are not big dessert people.) our recipe is low on sugar and pineapple and high on lemon and onion. And to add that extra kick, we throw in some lightly charred chili. YUM! Makes me hungry just writing about it.

***

A while back, hypersensationalism asked me to post a family recipe for a Filipino cuisine. I was originally planning to make a video of me cooking Adobo or Sinigang but the lighting in our kitchen is just not conducive for it. For now, I’ll be posting this one but I promise to really try and work on that lighting so I can show you how we make Filipino home-cooked meals. *excited*

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doing the right thing

A fellow blogger, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, shared this on Facebook a few minutes ago. I thought it was a story worth telling so here I am on my blog, writing about it.

Photo from Brent Tzu’s facebook account

Meet 98 year old Dobri Dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war. Every day he walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.

Though a well known fixture around several of the city’s churches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and the utility bills of orphanages, living instead off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.

Sometimes you just know you’re doing the right thing even when no one else affirms it.

Because we live in a world where meritocracy is the rule of thumb, we forget the greatest contributions that we make to society, to people we hardly know are the things we do out of selflessness and utter disregard for social image. Here is a man who may have little financially and in material possessions but he chose to live a life that still cares about others. I’m not encouraging the rest of the world to crowd the streets and beg for money they can donate rather I’m hoping I can convince you to care. 

Our gestures don’t have to be big. They don’t have to change the world. We at least have to care enough to move towards a gesture, an action, a vision that involves making other people’s lives easier than they are now. This has a very special place in my heart because I’ve done humanitarian work since I was 13 and I’ve loved every minute of it. Because I love it so much, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday, the 18th of this month, with my dad on a gift giving mission. It will be my little contribution to world.

I hope one day helping others out will be a part of everyone’s habit, something they do not as a burden but a vocation even when there are no cameras snapping, no cover stories and no obvious reciprocity other than fulfillment.