Tag Archives: Learning

Your School Was Not My Playground

Your School Was Not My Playground

I had scarcely passed my twelfth birthday when I entered the inhospitable regions of examinations, through which for the next couple of years I was destined to journey.  These examinations were a great trial for me.  The subjects which were dearest to the examiners were almost invariably those I fancied least.  I would have liked to have been examined in history, poetry, and writing essays.  The examiners on the other hand, were partial to Science and Mathematics.  Moreover, the questions which they asked on both these subjects were almost invariably to which I was unable to suggest a satisfactory answer.  I should have liked to be asked to say what I knew.  They always tried to ask what I did not know.  When I would have willingly displayed my knowledge, they sought to expose my ignorance.  This sort of treatment had only one result: I did not do well in examinations.

I can’t even start to ponder how I finished school, though even when I was a little, I  have always knew that I will succeed, because I was crazy enough to believe that I cannot fail.

So I leave it to you to imagine how much I congratulate myself.  Thanks to Winston Churchill and Salvador Dali for teaching me that madness is beautiful!



Seriously…I’m Kidding



I woke up unusually early today.

When most (if not all) corporate people like me are finding time to slow down by spending time with family and friends, going out of town, catching up some series on Netflix, visiting art galleries, going to the beach, shopping, reading books while listening to favorite music, painting, etc.

One second…

I am not here today to tell you guys that I woke up unusually early today…

Well, right now, I am very excited to finally share with you all, one of my favorite books by Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously…I Am Kidding.

If my mind does not fail me, I have finished reading this book November last year.  However, I failed to write and share with you all, my thoughts about this wonderful book.  I have been tagging it along with me, and get to have a click of it whenever I am stuck in traffic and share it on my Twitter Account, and so far, it has been a great companion.

What I am about to share with you are some of the bits and pieces, and antics that is originally Ellen DeGeneres together with the life lessons that I found from each chapter as Ellen gracefully ended each with a wit.  I actually have a lot to pick, but I will try to squeeze them the best I can in order not to bore you.  My hope is that as I share with you all the things that I have learned from this book through words, you will also find time to realize that each and everyone of us is blessed with a funny bone, and that no matter what life is throwing at you right now, it’s not a bad idea to smile everyday when you wake up (in the case of this book – laugh).


  • I let my mind wander through some of the biggest moments in my life and then I realized what I needed to do.


  • I believed that true beauty is not related to  what color of your hair is or what color of your eyes are.  True beauty is about who you are as human being, your principles, your moral compass.
  • Our age is something we have absolutely no control over, it’s just a fact of who we are.  I enjoy growing  older and wiser and learning from my mistakes every single day.  I’m happy for example, that I no longer eat paste, like I did when I was twenty-four.  And I’m happy that in a few years I’ll be able to get a half-price tickets to movies and museums.  Considering how often I go to movies and museums, I could serve upward of thirty dollars a year.
  • I know it seems easy and breezy for me to say, but trust me – it’s okay to be you.


  • We have to take care of ourselves as we age and that includes getting procedures done that are invasive, uncomfortable, and at times what many would refer to as “third date territory.”  One of those procedures is a colonoscopy.


  • Kale.
  • …don’t look back and don’t spend too much time worrying  about the future.  Stay in the present.  There are few ways to do that.  Stop and smell the roses.  Wake up and smell the coffee.  Enjoy the sweet smell of success.  I guess just keep taking a big whiffs of stuff because it seems like the more we smell, the happier we are going to be.  You know what I mean.


  • But we should be grateful for them because without our family – the ancestors we descend from, the cousin we see once a year, the loves of our lives we see every day – life us pretty boring.  You don’t have to believe me, but you should.  I’m royalty.


  • We all spend so much time comparing ourselves to each other.  Everyone is running around trying to keep up with the Joneses.  Who are the Joneses anyway?  Why are we trying to keep up with up them?  I’m sure they’re not perfect.  We don’t need to keep up with them.  It’s hard enough to keep up with the Kardashians.
  • And who’s to say what’ better or worse anyway?  Who’s to even say what’s normal or average?  We’re all different people and we’re allowed to be different from one another.  If someones ever says you’re weird, say thank you.  And then curtsy.  No, don’t curtsy.  That might be too weird.  Bow.  And tip your imaginary hat.  That’ll show them all.


  • And I know there’s such thing as constructive criticism, but to that’s still criticism.  It’s just criticism with a jaunty hat.
  • It’s the same with every career and life decision.  You just have to keep driving down the road.  It’s going to bend and curve and you’ll speed up and slow down, but the road keeps going.


  • What I’ve realized is that people don’t care about common courtesy anymore.
  • How many times  have you held a door open for someone who walks right through it without saying thank you?  How many times have you let someone into  your lane of traffic without receiving the courtesy wave?
  • And not only are people rude, they have no boundaries anymore.


  • Unfortunately, I get labeled a lot.
  • The problem with labels is that they lead to stereotypes and stereotypes lead to generalizations and generalizations lead to assumptions and assumptions lead back to stereotypes.


  • Humans aren’t suppose to be lazy.
  • Let’s all challenge ourselves today to get up and move a little more.


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2016 went down as my tumultuous, bipolar year of some sorts: with the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  It was probably the kind of year Charles Dickens’ was thinking of when he wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” because yes, it sure was.

Physical wellness took a nose dive the very first quarter of the year.  An omen perhaps of the things to come.  That spec of dust, which changed me forever.

Then there was an emotional rollercoaster I jumped on in March.

Friendship is one of the best gifts ever.  I could not elaborate more, but slowing down a little in May spent with an angel…”my angel” I should say, was beautiful enough to restore a weary soul.  My family, my work, and my Sunrise as usual were my source of pride and joy.  My Sunrise, always shining in many, many wonderful ways than one, always leaving me wondering the next things that this life would bring in every moment.  They are always the testament of God’s  love – a covenant through a rainbow.  (Oh yes!  I saw one during the last afternoon of 2016 and early morning of 2017! 💙)

So cheers to 2016! The year I probably cried more than any other in my life. Tears of pain, tears of joy (a crazy amount of) tears of pride…you name it! It was the year of hurting and learning. It was my year of transformation and self awareness. I met the new version of myself. And if a beautiful sunrise is a good sign, well 2017, you’ve got me!

Surround Yourself with People Who Lifts You Up


Life only comes around once, so do whatever makes you happy, surround yourself with people who motivates and lifts you up.

Always humbled to be standing beside one of my best bosses ever, my CEO, Mr. Rajeev Agarwal specially during some corporate responsibilities like this, which recognizes talents and dedication of people in our company.  Good man and great leader.

One of the many things that I have learned from him is not to wait for a life changing event to ignite my journey.  Be ready to jump and find my leverage and forward without fear.  Never cease finding  what I need to know in order to grow, what books, what skills, what mentors, and what circles I need to move with, and that learning is beautiful and endless.  My boss is such an inspiration!

Counting my blessings this Christmas, I hope you started counting yours.



This David Rubenstein Show Is Habit Forming


What makes a great leader? How can leadership be developed into a force for true achievement? The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business.

Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. Each episode features an interview with one business leader.

From Bill Gates to Ken Chenault, from Indra Nooyi to Warren Buffett, from Eric Schmidt to Lloyd Blankfein, David goes in search of the fundamental insights that reveal what makes a truly great leader.

Mondays like this turns my brain juice into corporate thinker.  Like my brain literally turns!  The past weekend was a little friendly to me.  I spent some “ME TIME”.

  • Painted
  • Clicked photos of a black cat
  • Had bottles of beer
  • Abused Netflix (Watched The Crown – The story of Queen Elizabeth)
  • Lazied a lot (Just belly popped and slept a lot!)
  • Enjoyed the afternoon drizzle
  • Played with my dog (Bullet the pug)

So now…it’s Monday!  It’s a drill for me to read my Flipbaord and watch the news while I am having coffee in the morning before going to work.  You know, you wouldn’t want to be left out during morning corporate conversations with your peers, right?  Anyways, as I was playing with the TV Channels  earlier, hovering from CNN to ANC, I clicked the Bloomberg Channel and came across  David Rubenstein Show.  Indeed, very interesting!

And as a treat for you my dear followers, I am sharing with you the episode where he interviewed one of my favorite leaders, Warren Buffet.  Talking about inspirational people?  Count me in!  I guess David will always be a part of my morning drill!

Just a teaser, we both didn’t  want to go to college! 😀

Please check out the link: Buffett Talks His Early Career in Finance and Advice for Investors on ‘The David Rubenstein Show’ Bloomberg Bloomberg

Happy Monday morning everyone, or happy Sunday to whichever part of the earth you are right now!

On Learning To Prepare Chai

Okay, so today, I am busy catching up with my books and paintings after a short visit in Batangas for the weekend.

Things are getting a little bit crazy both in my personal and professional life that I needed a break and find some time alone.  When everyone else would look for company when sorrow overwhelms them – not me.  Most of the time you will find me at the roof, finding some time alone, or run a getaway to my hideaway to recharge and regain my focus.  (If you know me well, you’d know where to find me, but definitely not at the Fort.)

COMPASSION – to help you accept others whose ways may be different from yours, with gentleness and understanding, as you move with them or through them or around them on your own way.

I should say that I am blessed to have found people whom I can call my second family through the loving arms of my Indian friends – yes, they are my family.  Reasons would rob me of reasons if I will start counting the “Whys”.

India – all I know now is that it’s the sweet , sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate, and it’s the sour. stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love.  It is the smell of gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay (as I was thought).  It’s the blue skin-smell of the sea, and the blood-metal smell of machines.  Its smells of the stir and sleep and waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats, five thousand temples, shrines, churches, and mosques, and of a hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfumes, spices, incense and freshly cut flowers.  The smell of India that lingers in my mind – that welcomes me and tells me, “AJ, I’m waiting for you to come home.”

With my Indian friends who consider me as family, I can be just myself, regardless that I am different – from my culture, to my thoughts, beliefs, my liberalism (as no ordinary Filipino would think), to the way I  move, and way of living, my religion, my language, to the color of my skin, and my look.  With them, I have felt accepted and loved, without being judged.  My second family accepted me as me, and I think that is what family is all about.

Alright, so today, while I was painting, I was also trying to figure out how to prepare English Breakfast at the back of my head.  You see, I promised a friend that I will be preparing one, and I opt to keep my word.  It became a little more challenging because I have NEVER prepared or cooked for any of my friends in my life.  Wonder why I am going to cook for a friend this time?  It’s all because NONE among my other good friends have ever dared to ask me to prepare a meal for them, and here came one who has the nerve to request for English Breakfast – and I am happy to oblige.  I am unpredictable, you would never know when I will be doing extraordinary things for you. 🙂

I am a bachelorette.  I spend almost 95% of my time at work, thinking of how I would be able to expand my company, since that is the reason why I am hired and being paid for.  Most of the time, I eat outside or  have my food delivered to me at home, enough for me to survive.  In short, no time to cook or learn to cook.  I have been through two serious relationships in my life, the first man normally cooks for me, while the latter, being a licensed doctor – who also doesn’t know how to cook, was contented that we are together during the “slow downs” and have the pizza delivered and we were okay and happy.

Then again, this afternoon, I was reminded when the mom of one of my good Indian friends told me that, “AJ, at the end of the day, you are a girl, and how lovely it would be if you would learn how to cook, and prepare no matter how simple it is for your man.” and I was like, “Auntie, that is so Indian, and I am not seeing anybody right now.” and she said, “You do not need to have a man to learn to cook, you don’t do it for anyone, but for yourself.  Start by learning to prepare tea.” and I am like, “Oooowkey.”  But then again, I became too occupied at work and technically ignored her advise.

So today, I told myself, well, I would love to invite my friends at home, and being able to serve them something, which I have personally prepared, not by the nanny.  I thought, I do not need to start with the complicated ones.  Let alone learn the rudiments – let me learn how to prepare chai, but then again, I thought, I am a Filipino, why would I need to learn to prepare chai?  That is so Indian.  AJ can easily buy tea from Starbucks.  Duh?

..,and then again, that thought that auntie said,

“You do not need to have a man to learn to cook, you don’t do it for anyone, but for yourself.”

So, what I did, I messaged one of my sisters in India, Sneha, through Skype and requested her to send me step-by-step process on how to prepare chai, and because she is warm hearted and thoughtful, it did not take her an hour to send me the steps, but because she is one of the sweetest creations of God on earth, she said, “AJ, imma go show you a demo through Skype so you will easily learn.”

Then my heart melted.

Now you understand why I love my second family so much.

One thing that inspired, and made me try learning how to prepare chai is because I feel strongly about change.  I can’t understand why people aren’t  just dying to learn, why it isn’t the greatest adventure in the world – because it is the process of becoming.  Every time we learn something new, we become something new.  And so I have changed.  I am no longer the person who woke up this morning.  I’m something  new because I experienced something new.  I have tried learning how to prepare chai.  Isn’t that wonderful?

Setting aside what my Indian aunt told me that if only I would learn how to cook, with my free spirit behavior, and liberal mind, a genteel young lady, would make me a good wife.  She said, “…and yes, AJ better marry an Indian, ’cause only a man from our race can handle your tough personality, not a Filipino.” and I am like, “No Indian family would ever approve me.” and she said, “Believe me, there is.”  Well, I still do not believe her up to this time.

Well going back to Sneha’s demo on how to prepare the chai.  It is overwhelming because her mama-in-law, Aunt Neelima, helped her on doing the demo for me to ensure that I will learn to prepare it perfectly.  She was holding the pot, and showing me how to prepare it, while Sneha was explaining the steps to me.  So sweet!

You must have an idea by now why I love my Indian family – and why we term ourselves as “family”.  At times I wonder why my friends and their families love me so much.  I must have done something good – I think! 😛

I am very happy to share with you all the screenshots of the demo.




Pretty tough to figure out, but I think there is no harm if I am going to try.  It makes me more excited serving the parents of my husband to be than my husband to be himself.  Nerve wrecking, but I guess it is pretty exciting.  Hehe.  I remember, when my sisters, Pooja and Padmashree would teach me how to be graceful on serving food and how they would oblige me to practice by serving them, but at the end of the day, I am still a bachelorette, I am accustomed to being served. In short, it was always an epic fail.  Prolly in time, when I am ready to surrender, and become submissive, I would be able to perfect it, for now, let me enjoy learning how to prepare the tea.

Right now, the only reason why I giving myself space to learn to prepare chai is because it challenges me, and because I think it’s fun, and yes, I have plans of throwing tea party at my place.  That’s it.

Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.  Isn’t that fantastic?  A person has risked himself and dared to become involved with experimenting with his own life, trusting himself.  To do this, to experiment  with your own life, is very exhilarating, full of joy, full of happiness, full of wonder, and yet also spooky.  It’s also frightening because you are dealing with the unknown, and you are shaking complacency.  You can sit back and say, “Everything’s all right with me, got a good job, got a car.” but then you decide you might change, this may no longer be your value – so you are shaking complacency.  Isn’t this wonderful?

Good luck to me on learning how to make chai, and double good luck to  me on preparing the English Breakfast, and yet my excitement is overflowing.