Friday, January 14, 2011

Are you the bully or the victim?

While watching a re-run episode of America's Next Top Model (I didn't even know what cycle it was), I saw several of the contestants ganging up on one of who the contestants who they perceived as "weak" when in fact, in reality, she's actually one of the strongest ones in the competition so far. This just proves that bullying can be done anywhere by anyone, regardless of it being shown in public or not. I want to acknowledge the presence of bullying in everybody's life merely because once upon a time, I was an ugly duckling too and I was bullied for being so. It all started when I moved into a new school and a new country when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I left everything behind in the Philippines, thinking that my life will be a lot better when I get to where I was supposed to go. I was on the verge of becoming a teenager and for every young person, friends were like treasures. I value my friends a lot and I craved to have more good friends when I went to my new school. Sadly, I wasn't able to do so. I think it's not just in the movies where you can see a group of mean girls or a mean boys. They are not merely fictional characters that writers create out of their imaginations. They are real and I've dealt with some of them. For someone as young as me at that time, I felt the need to be with the "IN" crowd. I belonged to one when I was in my former school which only made me think that fitting in would be easy for me later on wherever I may be but I was dead wrong. I found out that no matter how hard I try; I'll never be a part of the more popular clique. It was then when I resorted to doing favors for them, even doing errands for them and for what? Merely because I wanted to be a part of their group. I remember that for every single thing I did to them, they made me hang out with them but that did not spare me from the pain that I felt whenever they would say bad things about me. I was foolish to still want their friendship afterwards. I remember the times when I would go home and cry to myself because of all the humiliation that I felt. I even thought of telling my parents about everything at that time but I tried to be strong and I knew that if I'd get through a year of ordeal that things will get better for me. Sadly after all my attempts of being a part of their group, I ended up fruitless. It was then that I realized that real friends can't be bought and that sometimes you don't actually need to earn friends. It's magic. It just happens sometimes. I felt used. My point is young people don't really know the meaning of friendship until they get older and that bullying is a mere fact. You can either be the bully or be the victim. In my case, I was a willing victim to all the bullying that happened to me. I don't blame them for doing it to me. I could have prevented it otherwise. I would have if only I knew that what I was doing was bad for me. I just wish that other people wouldn't go through the same thing that happened to me back then. I've gotten over everything now for I always say that what won't kill me will make me stronger. There are many ways to help others who are being bullied and there are also plenty of ways to stop people from being bullies. As for victims, it's always better to have a support group. Your parents, your relatives, your other friends and your teachers are actually good people to talk to regarding incidents of bullying in your school. I was lucky to have lived through my teenage life without feeling the trauma that bullying should have given me. I was a lot stronger than I thought but I know not everybody is. So, seek help if you're a victim of bullying. You don't have to pretend that you're strong enough to deal with it. If you can't bear it any longer, talk to someone and let it all out. As for all the bullies out there, someday you'll realize that what you did to others did not just almost ruin their lives but also helped traumatize them for the rest of their existence. That you have been the reason why some kids never reached 18 or never got to date the person that they had a crush on. Someday you'll know that you were hated and someday you'll see what you brought on to yourself. You'll hope and pray that karma never gets back at you for all your wrongdoings and you'll feel guilty and pretend that one day those you've wronged will forgive you. If there is one thing I know it's that bullies rarely remember the people that they actually bullied in their growing years and that if ever they do remember the people that they bullied, they either try to make amends for it or pretend that nothing ever happened between them. I am already turning 26 this year and I am way pass that part of my life but even if I was able to get through with it, I still believe that because of that experience I am a whole different person now. Let's just say that it was a learning experience and therefore, I have learned a lot from it and that even if I had a time machine with me right now, I would never go back and change the past. What happened, happened for a reason and perhaps it happened because it had to happen to me. There is always a reason for everything and I always believe that God only gives struggles to those he believe are capable enough to get through them somehow. I was there once but I lived through it. Hopefully, others will be able to survive as well. My parting note for everyone is that you don't have to be a bully to become a winner. Even when you are a victim, you can become a winner too. It doesn't matter if you belong to the "IN" crowd or not. What matters most is what you try to do with yourself when the bullying actually happens and learn to rise from it. Some them what you've got and through that you can have your sweet revenge. It may sound too peace loving really however, it's the best way to both feel good about yourself and getting even with those who have made your life a living hell. Trust me, your life doesn't end here. Stand up and make yourself proud. Always believe that you are what you are and not what others say you are...
My Kindergarten Class Photo. I was always used to being one of the most popular girls in school but I guess some good things never last.

My Kindergarten Graduation Photo

During my elementary years - The time when I was bullied. I was truly an ugly duckling back then.
My High School Graduation Photo - Finally, the ugly duckling is slowly becoming a swan

Never piss off a woman with a period who got on the wrong side of the bed

The alarm on my cellphone woke me today. I felt irritated when I heard the familiar sound that I know will never stop not unless I get up and press the stop button on my phone which eventually I did. I ended up waking up looking a zombie with red eyes. And you think you don't look good in the morning, well I think I looked like anybody's worst nightmare at that point. I decided to go to toilet to do my usual routine of washing my face, peeing and brushing my teeth. I got back to my room and fixed myself up. God! I was a mess! I didn't even smile as I combed my hair in front of my mirror. Clearly, I was pissed today. Why? I don't know. Maybe for no reason at all. Well, I have this condition sometimes and it gets worse whenever I get my period. Must be the hormones kicking in or whatever they call it. So, I get myself a cup of black coffee and as I was finally enjoying my moment of peace while to condition myself to a day ahead of me, I realized my peace wouldn't last long. The laundry folks have arrived and I didn't even call them. Well, my neighbor did. They were kind enough to ask me if was ready to give my stash of dirty clothes to the laundry folks too. I appreciated the effort for doing so but clearly, I wasn't in a good mood for everything at that moment. I tried to smile in front of them but as I put all my dirty clothes inside some disposable bags while writing an inventory about them, I mumbled a bit. After a few tantrums, I gave my laundry away and went back to my cup of coffee. Sadly when I got back, it had already gone cold but since I didn't want to waste good coffee, I decided to just finish drinking it. Then I realized it's already 11 and that means I should be cooking lunch soon. I don't know why but I still feel a bit cranky which makes me feel like I don't want to do much today but I know I have a schedule to keep. So after, cooking a meal that I half-heartedly cooked for everyone, I decided to just write about my day so far. My day hasn't been pretty, I know but I always take comfort in the fact that writing about it can help ease my discomfort somehow. Blogging to me now is sort of like having another outlet to let my feelings out. This way I wouldn't actually be able to hurt anyone and since there is freedom of speech, I can just go on ranting about anything and everything without naming names of course. So, here I am doing just that. Hopefully, before my day comes to an end, I'll stop being in this bad mood but seriously, this is how women are sometimes. We're moody, we're cranky, and sometimes we don't really why. So, don't ask us to explain how it goes for sometimes were as clueless as you all are. So, the next time you find out that a woman you know is feeling this way, I suggest you back off for a while and give her some space to do her thing. Otherwise, you might end up being in a situation you don't want to be. Women are unpredictable and I am one so here's a confession. Now you know.

My First Starbucks Planner

Call me impractical but I have been a huge fan of Starbucks since 2005. I’ve had so many memories in many of its’ different branches nationwide. Starbucks to me is a very special place that I go to when I want to hang out with some of my friends and reminisce the past. It’s also a good place to stay in when you are alone and you want to relish in the fact that you have nothing to worry about but yourself. Or perhaps when you are broken and nursing a broken heart. Starbucks not only offers delicious drinks, sumptuous snacks and many other original items but their branches also offer a place of comfort and solitude for all their customers. I call it a haven for many different purposes or perhaps, a second home. I’ve tried their lattes, their brewed coffee, their famous oreo cheesecake, their signature hot choco and most of all, their fabulous frappuccinos. They may not come cheap but to me, nothing compares to the quality of their products. No matter what you order, they never fail to provide you with only the best. Call me biased but that’s the way I see it. But in all my years of patronizing their products, I have never experienced getting their yearly planners yet. All that changed last year before Christmas. I’ve been trying my best to fill the sticker slots in my coupon for quite a while now and I was already thinking that it would be hopeless for me to actually get the remaining stickers for the missing slots. Luckily for me, after attending a friend’s wedding last December 11, my wish came true. The wedding ended really late that night and before we know it, it was almost midnight already. Before deciding to go home, my friends and I decided to drop by Starbucks first. I started to panic when we reached the place and realized that I didn’t bring my coupon with me. Little did I know that I could actually get another coupon for my new stickers. Good thing, one of my friends told me about it. As we were all discussing what we would be ordering, one of my friends brought up the SB planner as a topic. I then found out that most of them either have it or are merely not interested in getting one. I smiled and took advantage of the situation of giving them a hint that I really wanted one. Actually, they knew about it since I have been posting status messages on Facebook about it all week already. They decided to give me all the stickers from their purchases that night. I was ecstatic and I was really thankful that they helped me complete all the stickers that night. The following week, I was able to get my dream planner. There were three colors available: Dark Brown, Velvet Maroon and Silver. I ended up choosing Velvet Maroon because it had texture and it certainly looked classier in my eyes. This year when I went to one of their branches, I realized that there were still a lot of people who didn’t get their 2011 Starbucks planners just yet. I was blessed to be one of those lucky people to finally have one. Until this day, I am still thankful to those who helped me get one. Until next year, Starbucks, I will be back to collect my next batch of stickers and will again hope to get your much coveted planners. To those who never got their 2011 planners, better luck next year. Hopefully, you will all be able to get one by then. 
Starbucks 2011 Planners to choose from: Dark Brown, Velvet Maroon and Silver. (Actual Photo)

I need to complete all the stickers in this coupon to exchange it for an actual planner. I ended up filling out two of them since I forgot to bring the other one the day I completed all of them. (Actual Photo)
                                           Finally, here's a photo of me holding my chosen Starbucks planner. Isn't it just lovely?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Sbarro Experience

Sorry for the late post. This experience actually happened last Saturday, January 8. We ate at Sbarro - SM Fairview today thinking that it would help satisfy my craving for something salty. As we were looking at their menu and the food that they had on the counter, we couldn't help but get overwhelmed with the numerous servings of orders being made by other customers. So I really couldn’t choose which one I wanted. Luckily after pondering for a couple of minutes, I decided that since I've already tried most of their pizzas in my previous visits that I should opt for something different this time. I am a pasta lover as well as a pizza lover so I decided to just get a Meaty Lasagna instead while my husband decided to get a Sausage Stuffed Pizza. It was my first time to try out their lasagna while for my husband; he has ordered Sausage Stuffed Pizza in some of the Sbarro branches that we ate in before so obviously, he has high expectations. Unlike me, I limited mine to none because I didn't know what fate awaited me. As we finished ordering and waiting in line, we noticed that the place wasn't really filled with people. There were still some empty seats here and there but nonetheless there were still some people enjoying their meals. I also noticed something strange.

Sausage Stuffed Pizza (Actual Photo)
A lot of people may have ordered Meaty Lasagna and other pizza variants however, not all of them were able to finish their orders. I wondered if it was because of the huge servings being offered by the store or if it was because of something else. I didn’t let what I saw cloud my judgment or ruin my image of a perfect lasagna meal. With that being said, I decided to look for a spot to enjoy our own meals. The crew was very friendly and accommodating. The place looked very cozy and welcoming. We were lucky to at least have had a table with a soft couch since we all know that people love hogging soft couches in almost everywhere. As we prepared ourselves for the feast that was laid before us, I couldn't help but take a picture of the food that we were both about to devour. So after taking a few shots and giving thanks for our meals, it was chow time. The aroma of the food was delectable and mouth-watering. We immediately had our first bites. Our excited faces changed after having our first bites. My husband couldn't help but complain how hard his pizza slice was and that it was a bit difficult to chew while I, on the other hand, struggled to eat one of my most favorite pasta dishes in the world. Why you ask? Let me give my two cents. A lasagna is made of many layers of pasta. The upper half of it was cooked perfectly - it was soft and it felt just right when you chew it - while the bottom half of it felt like it was a bit chewy and hard. Sad to say it also did not live up to its name. I thought it was called Meaty Lasagna because it had at least a little more meat on it. Unfortunately, the only layer that had tiny bits of meat was it's lower half so technically, I ate a lasagna made of lots of pasta, lots of tomato sauce and lots of white cheese as it's topping. The last thing that disappointed me in the said dish was the fact that the meat in my lasagna was slightly undercooked which made my stomach ache after the meal. So those were the reasons why I never got to the point of finishing my meal up to the last morsel. We both were disappointed with the poor quality of products that were served to us earlier today but since we were in a hurry to eat and leave due to our busy schedules, we were not able to complain and have a word with the crew about the food that we ate.

Meaty Lasagna with Garlic Bread (Actual Photo)
I think it's only fair to say that I am not blaming a certain person for the poor quality of the meals that were served to us and that Sbarro is one of the most popular pizza and pasta store in the country however, that doesn't mean that every branch that they have should be complacent and just hang on to the brand’s name while not maintaining the quality of their products. I have eaten in several of their branches and I think that not all of their branches have retained the so called high quality of their dishes. However, I must admit that there are still some branches that have totally lived up to the brand name and that some of their products have been quite exceptional. My observation is simple. The crew may have had proper training but I think they might have lacked proper quality control. As a consumer, I demand to get the right equivalent for what I am paying for. I am not saying I am not going to eat there anymore or in their other branches because of the said incident. All I'm after is improvement which is why I wrote this blog. Not everybody may have had the same experience that I did but I am just here to say what my experience was like. Hopefully this entry will promote change instead of wrong assumptions, judgmental comments or hatred.

Today was a learning experience. I just realized that I may not be an actual chef or someone who works in the same industry but I love food and I am a self proclaimed foodie which is why I want to dedicate some of time to say something about my tasty adventures. Today’s meal may have failed me but I might just be wrong. Maybe I just didn’t like its taste but maybe others will and maybe we were just unlucky today because we experienced the situation that we were in earlier. Who knows? I just think it’s safe to say that in the end, I believe I shall eat there again one day with a new found hope and enthusiasm. I shall wait and observe and then, I will criticize again. I’m hoping for the best. Until next time, I shall continue my tasty adventures and write about them some more. Watch out sumptuous dishes! I am hungry for more!