Get to Know Me: Part 3 of 5

It’s been a while, but here is part 3 of the ‘Get to Know Me’ series. I’ve hit an all too serious existential crisis so I haven’t had much time to churn out as many travel-related posts as I wanted, so here’s a quick read to tide the blog over.

If you’re a new reader and wishes to catch-up on this series, just jump on the About Me tag to get started.

Now, onto the juicy bits!

High School Non-Musical, aka LiberaTarts Can’t Sing

Funniest moment throughout school?

fiction book called Holly the Christmas Fairy

The fact that no moment stands out as particularly funny pretty much indicates how much fun I had during my years in mandatory education. There was that one time I dressed up as a Christmas Fairy during a World Book Day event – “dress up as your favourite book character, it’d be fun!” they said. Whilst I looked amazing in a puffed up Santa-inspired dress and a random set of fairy wings, the other kids in my class were flabbergasted that I dared to dress Christmas-y during early spring.

Anyway, the following year I made the executive decision to dress up as Velma from Scooby Doo. That was a fun year, considering.

How many countries have you visited?

Last I checked? 20 countries as of this November. Check out my world travel map – the highlighted areas are the countries I’ve spent at least 48 hours in.

Places I really very much want to revisit are Spain, Japan, and the USA. I’m a traveller at heart, and it’s my greatest wish to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Great Wall of China in… well, China.

What was your favourite/worst subject in High School?

FAVOURITE SUBJECT: Mathematics

WORST SUBJECT: Music

It was a mix of social anxiety and the fear of speaking in public that clued me to the fact that I cannot – and will ever not – perform well in Music class. I also can’t sing my way out of a paper bag, despite my entire Filipino family enjoying a good karaoke singalong every time there’s an excuse to throw a party.

What is your favourite drink? Animal? Perfume?

DRINK: People close to me (but not close enough to know my true niche interests) have learned to get me Starbucks gift cards as gifts. I like a good triple-shot hazelnut soy latte to get my day started, and a really indulgent matcha soy latte with whipped cream for those days I need a little pick-me-up.

ANIMAL: My favourite animals are snakes, hedgehogs, and turtles, but there’s nothing like a little kitten climbing onto your lap and napping it’s cute head off for a solid hour or so. The closest I have ever gotten to that happening was when I met a street cat in Budapest that one time.

the cuddliest street cat ever?!

PERFUME: I don’t like scents that are too strong, so I rarely use perfume outside of fancy events like an extra-social party or my own graduation (to name the most recent times). I barely even tolerate scented deodorant.

What would you (or have you) name your children?

Children? What children?

It was a running joke during college that I will name any daughter of mine Sherlock, just to mess with people. I am so glad I grew out of that – and by that, I mean the BBC show and not my penchant for naming things/people/anything strangely.

Case in point: I promised a friend just today that if I ever get a pet, I’m naming them Theodosia after the Hamilton song. I am also to name any hamsters I theoretically get Alexhamster Hammylton after the titular character.

#waitforit

What sports do you play?

I used to enjoy table tennis back when P.E. lessons were mandatory. I completely sucked at volleyball, and actual human-sized tennis was fun back when I was a child and my family were crazy enough to go to public tennis courts and play a set or two against other Filipino expats. 

Who are some of your favourite YouTubers?

I don’t have any? Sorry to disappoint!

How many relationships have you had?

If you don’t have a decent relationship with your family and all the friends you’ve met (and have chosen to keep – some just didn’t make the cut!), then you’re failing at life, my friend.

Favourite memory from childhood?

The one time my entire family and I went on vacation to Palawan in the Philippines. We were island hopping for the day and it was right after lunch, which we spent under a nipa hut on the white sandy beach, and I was taking a fortifying walk where the water kissed the land. Someone had taken a picture of me, digging my bare foot into the sand, my mother’s large beach hat covering my face.

It wasn’t a great shot of me by any means, but what that random stranger managed to capture in the background was one of the most accurate depiction of my family dynamics. Very quintessential. (Spoiler alert: we’re all complete dorks.)

Basically, my younger brother and my mother were walking down the beach as well – we all ate a lot of food, okay! – and for some reason, my brother had grabbed and ran away with the wrap/pashmina/sarong my mother was using to protect herself from the sun. My mother gave chase. Just imaging a chubby little kid who was a head shorter than my below-average height of a mother, zig-zagging across this pristine, white sandy beach in the Philippines, while I calmly took in the views of the ocean before me. That’s one of my fondest memories.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I would describe my fashion sense like a child with a credit card who was let loose in a mall. I like overtly feminine clothes, but also masculine silhouettes (though I don’t have many pictures of that); I like tight a-line skirts and midi dresses and oversized jumpers and whatever I can find at the men’s section in any given charity shop. Depends on the day, really. 


Over to you guys: Comment below if you’re a cat person! I’m a very recent fan myself, so I try to make up the years I’ve spent disliking them by being so happy whenever I encounter one. Also, where in the world would you like to (re)visit? I’m curious to find out!

Part 4 of 5 will happen once I get a handle on my existential crisis.

That Summer Intern Life

The fourth Friday of August signalled the end of my internship at a not-so-local agency, which pretty much meant that just as the temperature is beginning to cool down, my summer plans are about to heat up.

Now, I only say ‘not-so-local’ because this agency I worked for was only a few towns away, specifically a 30-minute drive if I own a car if ever learned how to drive – but that’s a whole can of worms altogether. I relied 100% on public transportation (thanks to the UK for having a comprehensive public transportation system that extends beyond the capital city!), made my own packed lunches, and got the chance to dress like the Sixth Former I could have been if only I had the budget, confidence, and wherewithal to pull off business casual outfits.

I completely regret not documenting my #OOTD these past three months.

What’s it like to be an intern?

Let’s start with the basics…

  1. Why did I choose to do an internship?
  2. How did I get the internship?
  3. What were my days like?

First up – I chose to do an internship for the same reasons most undergraduates (or fresh out of the lecture hall graduate, like myself) choose to do an internship. I wanted to gain experience outside of teaching or community outreach, which I somehow managed to accumulate billions of experience in already. In another life, perhaps I could have been a teacher. But guys, just watch me try to fight that destiny in this particular lifetime: I scored myself an internship in an agency, got myself two pairs of cute brogues to mark the occasion, and drank my Starbucks to-go every morning like a modern-day working woman.

Question number two my university has this scheme that promotes extra-curricular activities to its current students, where they assign points to each type of activity. Attending a careers fair, for example, would be worth 5 points. Part-time work held for longer than 3 months would be 30 points, and completing a course outside of your core curriculum would be worth 60 points. As these points add up, you can exchange them for work experience and internship interviews, and I was fortunate enough to jump through all the hoops and come out with a summer internship.

Most undergraduate students, I’m assuming, would choose to do a summer internship between their first and last year of study. NOT ME, THOUGH. I chose to cash in my points at the end of my final year, which put a little bit of a downer on my fresh-out-of-uni celebrations because I felt like I jumped from my graduation ceremony straight into the world of full-time employment with no summer break in between. I felt robbed, and also very stupidly spoiled because who has problems like these?

Thirdly – my days started off early. Wake up at 5:45 and out of the house by 6:55, dressed and belly happy from a freshly made breakfast. Towards the later weeks, however, I know I slept in a bit more and grabbed a breakfast at Starbucks rather than making one at home, which angered my wallet by a lot. Still, what’s done is done.

I take the 7:04 bus from where I live to where I work; for the first four weeks, this bus route doubled as the morning school run. It was as hellish as it sounds. Imagine children from three different grammar schools (plus myself!) all piled up like sardines inside a double-decker bus… you could imagine the conversations I overheard. I just want to quote Abba and say, thank you for the music, otherwise, I wouldn’t know how I would have survived.

a .gif of Spongenbob wearing headphones and snapping his fingers
Spongebob is listening to Abba, I swear

I arrive at the town where I work at exactly 8:10 if there weren’t any delays. I then grab my morning Starbucks, scan my gold member app, and then proceed to walk to the office at around 8:35. My normal walking speed gets me to the office front door about 8:55, but if I am in a rush or angry-therefore-I-power-walked, I would arrive five or ten minutes earlier.

This might all sound neurotic to most people, but keeping to a schedule pretty much saved my soul this summer. What I realised about myself, during this entire internship experience, is that I really value having complete control of my time. As an intern, you don’t really have control over what you do between clocking in at work and clocking out – at least not at the agency I worked for.

I had to spend the majority of my days – my weeks, even – with total strangers who very clearly did not share the same life experiences as myself, and therefore did not have the same values. They tagged it as a generational thing: “you’re such a millennial” was a phrase bandied about lightheartedly in the office. But it was so much more than the years between me and my colleagues…

  • I value smart work over hard work
  • Naps are not just for young children: inemuri is a lifestyle I live by
  • NOT ALL ASIAN CULTURES ARE THE SAME
  • Being gay is not a punchline to some joke and it should never be used as one

So these past three months have been a hardship, to say the least. I came into the internship hoping to gain work experience applicable to most graduate jobs I plan to apply for, and I came out battered and worn with a significant amount of money spent on food deliveries to the office… oops!

I still gained valuable work experience and a lot more doors are open to me now compared to if I never took that internship offer; nevertheless, I know that I have become less idealistic for my work-future, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some might say I needed this crash course in real life.

Adulting™ is hard, y’all.


Over to you guys: Do you have any internship adventures to lament over? Are you currently a student planning to take one? Am I being too whiny over the whole ‘millennial’ label that people my age can’t seem to shake?

I am going to Belfast next week to celebrate completing my summer internship, so keep an eye out for my first travel journal blog post!

Get to Know Me: Part 2 of 5

Are you ready for round two?

To all my new readers, I am doing a five-part ‘Get to Know Me’ series as way to get this whole blogging thing started. Starting something from the ground up is always very awkward, especially if you have no clue if the things you create – such as this blog – even get some kind of an audience. Am I just screaming into the void that is the Internet? I’ll find out soon enough.

the author standing in a meadow in Japan
The Author, November 2016

More About the LiberaTarts Author

Do you have any special talents?

There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about me, talent-wise. I can’t sing, dance, or act. I can’t draw, fix a car, or solve a Rubik’s cube. There was that one time, however, that a high school friend messaged me in a panic about her laptop – something about it displaying sideways rather than the normal, landscape way. While I didn’t have the knowledge of how to fix my friend’s laptop right there and then, I did do some quick Googling and managed to talk her through the solution.

So my secret talent? I’m an expert at Google and the way it works.

Where were you born?

In a hospital, like most people. There was a doctor, some nurses… my mom was there. I showed up near the end though, and stole all the limelight.

Geographically speaking, I was born in a town located on one of the 7,000 odd islands of this archipelago country called the Philippines. There was definitely a doctor in attendance, some nurses I’m assuming were there since I wasn’t exactly present the entire time, and there’s a high chance that my mother was there too. She’s a champion – kudos to her for going through childbirth!

What’s your zodiac sign? Do you believe in it?

I am a Sagittarius, though if I was born a day or two later, then I would have been a Capricorn. I don’t believe in astrology as much as I enjoy dabbling in it every now and again; it’s a fun thing to do and share with my friends.

What are your hobbies?

Bold of you to assume that I am a well-rounded human being with hobbies.

old guy shrugging meme

(I like watching movies and reading books and trash talking television shows. Does travelling to escape the humdrum of everyday life count as a hobby? I take pictures and can shop until I drop.)

Do you have any pets?

I sure hope not! Please refer to my previous ‘Get To Know Me’ post as an explanation, specifically question number 3.

Do you have any siblings?

I have one and he is younger than me. Being an older sister is fun, up until you end up being in charge of a younger sibling and become a pseudo-parent to a teenager because that’s just what older siblings do.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be the next J.K. Rowling. I remember having all these aspirations, back when I was in high school, about becoming a published author at 16 and just basically creating what I love: books and stories and happy endings.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’m already in my twenties. Still no book or story to speak of, but I know more about myself and I am aware that I will be a crappy author. I have no self-control and I procrastinate like a student who has a 3000 word essay due in three months’ time!

Who was your first best friend?

That would be my childhood best friend. We met in middle school and pretty much stuck together, fighting the battles that other preteens did and trying not to be trampled as we navigated our school halls – we were tiny kids and were yet to have a growth spurt. In all honesty? I’m still waiting for my growth spurt even now.

How tall are you?

Funny you should ask. I like to say I’m five-foot-something but this is a total lie because I measured my height once and it was woefully inadequate. I am somewhere in the higher end of the four-foot-something spectrum. I wouldn’t know the exact measurement because I hate to know these things.

What is the least favourite thing about yourself?

The fact that I have no clear goal of what I want to do in life. I moved to the UK to pursue my studies, which I did and this summer I graduated from university with a degree that I can be proud of. As for my next steps beyond that? I have no clue and I hate it.


Over to you guys: Did the second part of the ‘Get to Know Me’ series measure up to your expectations? What surprised you and what didn’t? Tell me in the comments below because I am a very nosy individual and I would like to hear your thoughts.

Look out for Part 3 in this quest to get to know me! 🙂

Get to Know Me: Part 1 of 5

Anyone else feel like they’re shouting into a vast empty arena, where the one friend you’ve managed to coerce is sitting in a corner somewhere with flags sincerely cheering you on?

Yeah, me neither.

Reflection image of a closed barbershop in rural Japan
The Author, January 2017

Get to Know the LiberaTarts Author

I’m going to do the real narcissistic thing and assume people want to know things about me, so what better way to kick things off than have a quick quality questionnaire about… anything and everything, really.

I just Googled something along the lines of ‘get to know me challenge’ and clicked on the first thing that caught my eye. Not the first link on the page (thank you very much!) but it was right near the top so it’s not that much of a difference.

Are you guys ready? Here goes!
Are you named after anyone?

Funny story. I was not named anyone specifically, nor was I named after any real people my family knew in person. However, I was named after this really, really obscure video game character and I guess it has taken twenty-odd years for me to come to any sort of peace with that information.
When was the last time you cried?

I was watching a video clip of a Korean television show called Return of Superman on social media. The little toddlers were being cute and adorable and they were crying because that’s what young children do when something inconveniences them slightly. It was cuteness overload.
Do you have kids? If no, how many do you want?

No kids, no pets, no plants that can die on me.

no children traffic sign mock-up

Bold of you to assume I want children in the first place.
If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

I don’t know. Maybe? I sure do complain a lot.
Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Sarcasm? What’s that…?
What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their clothes and how they carry themselves. I put a lot of thought into the way I look and the way I express myself depending on the situation, and it helps alleviate some of that anxiety of ‘am I fitting in?’ ‘do I look okay?’ into people-watching and taking in what they look like and how they behave as a means of calming myself down.
What is your eye colour?

Dark brown, like a fudge cake with layers upon layers of cake and icing.
Scary movie or happy endings?

Happy endings. All the way. Life is horrible enough already without me having to seek them out in movies.
Favourite smells?

Freshly mown grass. A forest after a long hike. My grandmother’s cooking.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

I think a better question to ask would be: where is home and how do I find it? That is essentially the very premise of this blog. I hope I find home along the way, but most of all I want to have a lot of fun finding it!


Over to you guys: Take some time and ask yourselves, when was the last time you cried? What is your favourite smell? Did I enjoy this post enough to subscribe to LiberaTarts?

Look out for Part 2 of 5, coming to a blog near you.