Planning Without You Knowing It

Having dinner one night the guy I am seeing asked me a very serious question “how is your life?” followed by more profound question “are you happy?”. Not understanding, I asked back what he meant by those questions, which he elaborated by asking what my plans are? Knowing myself, I gladly obliged and listed my plans at least for the next five or so years.

Curious, I asked back about his plans and having a slight idea of what he will answer me, he simply said: “I have no plans … just wake up, go to work and come home tired and the day repeats.”  Then he went on saying he likes to live in a small house in front of the beach so he can just swim all day and fish for food.

I asked about money, and said: “I don’t need money, will just have to use some of the fish in exchange for what I will need.” The conversation eventually led for him to tell me he will raise sheep for meat and milk, and he will get at least two sheep every year and give it to people in exchange for anything he needs, even sex. Well, I guess the last part was a bit of a stretch, but then I told him, “you just laid out your plans without you knowing them.” And he was quiet.

For some people, planning is daunting especially if you don’t have all the cards in a row, situation and life circumstances can easily thwart well thought out plans, but that’s just how it is. When it happens, you just go back to the beginning and start over or start from where you left off.  Haci, the guy I am seeing (he insisted I put his name because he said he has one), knew well that when I say something or schedule an outing, it can change at the last minute. There are times he will just go along and wait until it happens. That means the world around me – mostly my work evolve and I go along as it does and try to be sane until I get to where I need to be.

But in spite of the uncertainties, it is good to know what you will do tomorrow or the day after or next week, month and years. It gives you a little bit of guidance where you’re heading, and like Haci he thinks he doesn’t make a plan, but he does.

I know that he wants to start his wedding dress design studio or shop abroad, but he also knows he’s not yet ready. He uses his current work to get as much training and experience as he could including learning how to saw using the high-speed machine to eventually do what he wants in the future. Because I know eventually he will not want to work for someone, instead, he wants to be on his own, earning his own keeps and gaining good reputations for his creations, and I know too that he has a way of achieving them we just don’t think alike for him to believe me. In his mind, it’s not a plan, they are just thoughts because the opportunity presents itself.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, so next time when someone asks me what I want to do in my life, I’ll remember the small house by the beach with sheep in the other room.


Clara Falling Hard on Love

When she left the comforts of her home to work overseas, Clara left behind a boyfriend. Not exactly the kind you tell your parents because before the invention of Facebook relationship code “it’s complicated” Clara already had hers that way.

It was though the real one for her. She fell hard for him to give everything up. She thought she was of age and was ready for it, so she gave in, and the relationship flourished until it is time for Clara to leave.

The sad part though is that Clara, because she’s very ambitious she thought she doesn’t need anybody telling her what to do – she went ahead and accepted the offer and told the boyfriend weeks before she has to leave. He didn’t like it of course, but he accepted her decision – he loves her, and it’s all that matters.

Clara in her new place and new life thought that nothing has changed between her and the boyfriend she left behind, but she was wrong. The guy found another love – someone that was there when Clara was settling in her new life. It hurt her, she confronted him but what can she do, so she let him go, and they both went their lives, but Clara didn’t forget the first love she had.

As she continue to work and now had moved on to other countries, Clara met different men, whom she thought are the love of her life but it always ended her getting hurt. The one time she had her first long distance relationship it was not easy. The Internet during those time was not yet as friendly as it is now, they struggled and met one or twice a year was the only ideal and economical way for them to be together but not more.

She came to the age where marriage was the next best thing. Clara has a good job, a career rising the ladder and the new boyfriend was also an established jeweler in Canada so life can be good. Oh, so she thought.

Back in the 90’s random blood check for infectious diseases was not common in Canada and Clara’s boyfriend contracted Hepatitis C when he received transfusion after an elbow surgery back in his diving days, and it only manifested decades after. Soon enough, the proposal of marriage was canceled and Clara was left alone again far away from the man she thought she would marry until he passed away because of his disease.

Another broken heart but Clara continue to live as if love is not all that matters to her now. She’s still as ambitious as she was when she was younger and because having a family has taken a back seat, Clara pursues to continue to climb the professional ladder and pretend that life was good.

Years after being heart was broken and an imminent move to another continent, Clara decided not to fall in love again. She decided, no more commitment but can still enjoy when the situation presents itself. But a month after moving in, Clara found herself again falling in love with someone within her new circle of “white” friends. She enjoyed the attention, Clara being based in the bush most of the time, having someone in the city ready to lay the red carpet for her was something to look forward to.

She eventually accepted the new man in her life, and she felt she’s in-love again. The new man was very passionate, persistent and ideal in the category of being attentive to the needs of Clara including shopping for her and preparing food. Clara was showered with love, attention, travel, and gifts and she enjoyed it as much as she could.

It was a dream come true for Clara, and she doesn’t want to leave him behind, and even when they moved apart, the relationship lasted for several years but not without bumps. Clara realized during the time they were together that she lost her identity and became submissive to what the current boyfriend want. She cannot enjoy the same freedom she has in the bush when they are together; she always has to abide by his wished which was not Clara, being the stubborn brat she was.

Eventually, they parted, as circumstances would have it both of them cannot cope with the distance and the cost of being apart even if money is no object. The lack of communication was too much to handle for both of them, but it was also a welcome break for Clara.

Falling in love is the next best thing to happen to any women at different stages in our lives, and Clara had shown us that we could have a different experience and come out strong from it or not – our choice. When she was younger, her ambition led her to leave someone she loves but later realized he doesn’t love her as much as she did. Years later, the proposal was overshadowed by death which devastated her but still came out strong and eventually loved again.

Unfortunately the last true love she thought she had was not the ideal one – when she lost herself and became submissive something was wrong in the relationship, and I think Clara is a strong woman to be able to distance herself from an abusive relationship in the making. Which is not always the case for many women I know who in spite of knowing the red flags still continue to be in it hoping tomorrow will be another day, a better day.

Love is an unyielding emotion and when we fall in love we should always keep the balance between ourselves and the other person at all times so that when something happens we don’t fall hard that we stay down, instead we fall, and we come back up as soon as we can.

Article first appeared at 

Clara on being different … is she really?

Clara was young and thought she was not naïve.

Coming from a big family, she thought she knew the different stages of life by observing her parents, siblings and many aunts and uncles go through it. So when it was time for her to be in the world she knew she’s ready to let go of the home she feels protected and venture into the unknown.

Life was very good to Clara. She’s given responsibilities she knew she could do and eventually proved to herself and others that she is ready to move up the ladder and maybe move to another country. After several years honing her skills and getting her network bigger, the offer to move came. Although when asked by the HR department months before she already expressed her desire to experience new culture and challenges.

The new place was unknown to her, but she read a lot about Africa. There she felt coming from a small island in the Pacific; the continent was a mystery. In fact, she only thought all the people living in Africa are darker than her – called it even “black continent” and she got the scolding she never had from a dear friend.

She was assigned to a country in the sub-Saharan region and was given the responsibility to oversee three projects in the middle of the bush – an exciting prospect she knew she can do but how was another question.

Clara thought she was the only Asian girl in the country. She experienced first-hand how it is to be discriminated, to be stared at and called many names other than her own. They never guessed where she’s from so they always assumed she were from China and talked as if Clara can understand cling, clang clung!

Until she met others – other than the dark skinned African people she had worked. The new group of people are not so much like her but also different. They are white – European and American white but there are those also from the Pacific brown like her. She was happy to know other “different” people, and she doesn’t feel so much alone.

The clamor to be with her kind was strong. Being based in the bush weeks before she sees other people made her want to go back to the capital more if work allows it. The travel took 12 hours and to stay the weekend was not practical, so it was always planned around official trips to enjoy the luxury of being with what she called her kind.

Clara starts to question her motives when going back to the capital; it doesn’t seem right, but every time she meets others she goes back to work in the bush excited and ready to tackle the work and the loneliness of living alone until she meets her kind again.

But it still doesn’t seem right?

The problem starts when we set ourselves apart from where we are, in the case of Clara is from who she’s with. One will think they are immune to life’s tragedy because they with their kind but it’s not true.

Being different opened Clara’s eyes to the reality of how it is in the world – outside her comfort zone, being with people other than who she knew.

When she moved to Africa, she experienced what many people she knew experienced from where she’s from, and it didn’t felt good in the beginning but eventually accepting that we are all different even if we have same white, brown, black colored skin we still are different. Even when Clara thinks she’s with her “kind” there still exists discrimination for many other reasons than her skin color. 

Article first appeared at

Clara Opens Her Heart to Love and Lost

Clara is back, and she has some sad news.


Clara enjoyed her singlehood – no attachment, no commitment, only responsible for herself but she’s never selfish especially when giving out love.

Some time ago in one of her trips she met this man through a friend. A friend she was dating, so the meeting was nothing until the friend left. She didn’t seek him out, but Clara’s friend left her something for this man so eventually, they met again and became more than friends several months after.

The new friend turned lover was more than what Clara hoped for; she was not particularly looking for love but because of his persistence in coming over and bringing pizza the friendship blossomed into something special. The two became inseparable and made sure to be together every chance they get.

Their relationship lasted for over two years until his mission ended, while Clara still has some years to finish off her project. They promised to continue to be lovers long distance and see how much the love could endure living poles apart. Clara was not very keen, she had long distance relationship before, and it never lasts no matter how much both try to make it work, the distance was just too much to bear. With very limited opportunity to see each other at their whim it really couldn’t work, but they tried, they kept the faith for almost five years, and both would continue to hold on to what they have for each other – love.

Yes, the “L” word was spoken in the course of their relationship, and it didn’t come very easy especially for Clara. Her heart had been broken once before by a man she thought love her more than anything in the world because every breath was punctuated with the words “I love you.”  She, thought, being young and naïve that if a man utters such words means he does love you – and she was very wrong.

An angel in the form of a taxi driver made Clara realize that in life when you want something or mean something you’re careful to get it or say it. Having ridden his taxi crying the driver was kind enough to give her time to cry in his car until she’s ready to go home. It gave her time to vent her frustration and pick up the pieces of her young heart. Made a promised to herself that next time it would be different.

The experience left Clara mindful of what she wish for and of what she tells people – be it friends or lover especially when it comes close to investing her feelings.

So yes, finally the “l love you” was uttered in the heat of the romance and was reciprocated by Clara though a little skeptic at first and enjoyed every minute of it. Until now Clara didn’t regret her show of affection because it was the kind of love worth sharing – the man was worth it.

The long distance began earnestly, too excited to let go of each other, missing each other on end and continue to declare love to each other via social media. 

They followed each other’s life. He knows what she’s doing, who she’s been with and sometimes feeling jealous for not being there with her and her friends. The same thing for Clara, but she’s more jealous of his work than being with other women.

A year had passed since the last time they saw each other, and both of their careers had blossomed. Clara was given wider responsibilities by her company while he got promoted to be second in command of his force with more serious responsibilities and this scared both of them. Him because he knows the danger he was in and her because of what he tells her about his job and the people he made an enemy of and they can be nasty and get back at him.

Eventually, the frequency of chats and phone calls decreased and often when they can they are reduced to leaving voice ao short messages. When possible one would return call and chat quickly. The love was still there, Clara knows. He still tells her everything when he can, and Clara did the same. He often closes the conversation with “I will never forget you mami rica” and Clara’s heart would flutter and would be enough to keep her going until he calls or leaves messages again.

Months passed without a word; Clara saw photos of him traveling outside his country with his family. Not jealous but annoyed for not being told about the trip – that he will be out of reached, so don’t bother to call or leave messages. Nobody in his family knows about Clara; the same goes with her – his name never floated in any of Clara’s conversation with her family or friends. The affair was so private only very few close friends were aware that they are a couple.

Then she found out he died.  

Clara found out online – through a common friends post in one of the social media site. At first, she was baffled, her Spanish was rusty, but she managed to understand something about someone saying goodbye to him. Couldn’t believe what she was reading she translated the page and was angry, sad and confused.  It dawned on her that he will never pick up his phone, nor send her photos, no more “I love you, and I miss you” on the other line.

Clara couldn’t contact his family for fear of being rejected. She couldn’t exactly ask how everything happened – she just saw smiling photos of him and the next day he’s dead? Days after, an article came in the mail with the story of his death – an ambush from one of the gangs they were pursuing while he was on his way to work in his jeep. Such cowardly way to retaliate, he didn’t have time to defend himself and be the hero, Clara’s hero.

She kept the article and all the memories of their relationship. The man she gave her heart out is now gone to the heavens bringing with him her love that she’s very selfish just to give to anybody. Clara is grieving his death; she felt she lost the one person she thought she could end up. It will take time until she opens up her heart again to let another love comes and take hers.

Often when we lost someone, there’s always some form of regret – we didn’t say it enough or show it enough. But if we truly made a mark on one person’s life, I think there is no reason to regret what was missed because you live at the moment when you were together and celebrated the life and love you have – being happy, being sad, being passionate. So there should be no regret instead accept death as part of life and be glad that you had the opportunity to share it with someone, however, short it is.

Now is the time to live, don’t waste it.

I hope Clara’s love is happy now where he is and is looking out for her until it’s time to move on.