The Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Ahh. The classic debate. The perennial mind-boggler. So what be the answer to this feathery riddle?

For me (theologically speaking), the chicken would have had come first. Well, I imagine it came first. Unless eggs popped out of the air and then hatched into fluffy yellow chicks when God spoke the words “let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky” as He did in Genesis 1. Come to think of it, that would have been a cute scene. But anyway, it’s more likely that those words formed full-grown chickens, not hatchlings.

However, culinarily speaking (i.e. relating to my oh-so-fabulous cooking skills) – the egg did, the egg did, the egg definitely did. Haha! I learned to cook eggs before I learned to cook chickens properly, as the rest of this tale would tell.

One time, a friend asked me to tell him what particular thing did I not – definitely did not – do. He said, for example, people would never find him playing basketball. So what was it that they wouldn’t find me doing? After racking up my brain for something (I’m a Jane of all trades), I finally gave him this answer: I didn’t cook.

Me cooking would involve me heating up a frying pan, breaking an egg into the pan, and exclaiming, “Viola! Sunny side up!”

It’s not that I don’t know how to cook. I just didn’t have much of an opportunity to do so, having had to live in several dorms for several couple of years. I did go through a culinary season from 2005 to 2006 (my housemates and I took turns cooking meals). But after that – kapoof! It was back to eggs, instant noodles, bread, tuna, cereal, and everything and anything that you can prepare in a jiffy.

However, in an effort to learn something new (and since I’ve exhausted all the possible methods of cooking up an egg), I decided to try my hand at real cooking once again.

Thus, one not so haggard day after work, I bought a whole chicken.

Guess I was a bit haggard still though. Because I forgot to ask the guys at the grocery store to chop the chicken up.

Uh-oh.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Like that chicken would manage to magically divide itself into smaller pieces when I’d put it into the refrigerator, right? Good thing our kitchen had a butcher’s knife lying around. Okay. As if I knew how to use that kind of knife.

For the remainder of that night, I was faced with the challenge of trying to chop the chicken up. On the floor. With a small chopping board propped on top of a larger tray. To keep the blood and flesh from splattering over the floor. Most of the blood and flesh anyway.

Long story short, I did manage to cut the chicken into good-sized pieces. Our kitchen floor looked like a scene of a crime though. And afterwards, I was so frustrated that my dinner consisted of two mangoes only and no poultry. I had decided to cook the detestable fowl the following day instead.

When I finally decided to face the poultry, I discovered something – I CAN cook! Cook pretty well, even if my tastebuds do say so themselves. I have no idea what to call the dish that I cooked up (chicken + oyster sauce + mixed  veggies) but – breakthrough of breakthroughs and miracle of miracles – it was the first real meal I cooked up since 2006. Hurrah!

Hunger = Lack of Presentation. Good food still. :D

And so for the past two weeks, I’ve been cooking up decent dinners and decent packed lunches for myself. Yipee. My future children would have happy, happy tummies. Haha.

And the moral of the story?

Don’t be so comfortable with something that you’d keep yourself from risking out to try.

Really. If I didn’t have that initial battle with the chicken, I’d probably have Egg Recipe No. 56 for lunch right now.

Bon appétit! 

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Grand Adventure

Blame it on Disney. Blame it on all the Sweet Valley High books I devoured in high school. Blame it on all those silly love songs. Blame it on –

Well, blame it on Mari.

Hello world. Forgive me, but this topic has been swimming around in my head lately. Lately being equal to forever-lately, maybe.

I am a huge fan of romance. Romance and love worth waiting for, love worth fighting for. I get teary-eyed when friends who’ve gone through the fire get engaged to the tune of Take That’s “Rule the World” and then tie the knot a year later to the tune of heaven’s rains. My heart goes soft when a beloved friend shows me a solitaire on her left ring finger as she gives me that familiar side hug. And my eyes turn to fountains when I watch “yes, sasagutin na kita” videos.

Really, I’m just a hopeful romantic (quoting Miss Lisa Concepcion) with a heart full of mush (quoting myself).

Mush and cheese. So if this entry turns out to be overwhelmingly cheesy, please forgive me.

I believe this life is a grand adventure where we all play great roles like the heroes and heroines who burst into song in well-loved Disney movies do. And when I mean great, I mean great. I honestly don’t see myself as a damsel in distress (well, not anymore) nor do I see myself as a hypersomniac who can only be awakened by true love’s kiss (also not anymore).

I see myself as this warrior princess who fights for the Kingdom, in the name of and under the blessing of her Mighty Father and King. A fighter who’ll do that occasional song and dance number but will do that timely steal from the rich and give to the poor thing as well.

But what grand adventure would be complete without a prince? Or a dashing knight in shining armor?

Really, it gets awfully lonely battling all those hideous giants, walking all those untrodden roads alone. Yeah, even with all the affirmation from the Loving and Omnipresent King, even with all the support from fellow royalties…

Truth is, it’d be nice to have someone to share those adventures with. It would be great to really walk with someone who has the same heart and battle cry.

And it would be amazing to feel that exhilliration of romance and enter that whirlwind of learning and discovering as well.

Damsel in Distress, I am not. Hopeful Romantic, that I am. :)

Oh but I’m rambling and babbling this fairy tale dream of mine. Forgive me, once again.

Well, it took time before Prince Eric finally kissed the girl and several bouts of courage before Aladin shed off his Prince Ali facade and finally became real to Princess Jasmine. And Simba had to kill Scar before he and Nala could move on with the rest of their lives.

So..

So Princess Mari’s got to do some more giant-slaying on her own, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if I’m insecure, dissatisfied, angsty or anything like that.

I’m just…

Hopeful. : )

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Money doesn’t grow on trees. And, contrary to popular belief, it never really got-slash-gets handed to me on a silver platter.

I’m blessed to have grown up in a family who never knew lack (or who did a pretty good job of hiding it, if we ever did). I am also “lucky” to have inherited the Ilocano way of managing money. I went to high school where the yearly tuition fee was less than Php 500 and went to UPLB under a scholarship that allowed me to pay just Php 45 every semester. Don’t get me wrong – those Php 500 bills let me experience competing in the National Schools Press Conference, join national broadcast journalism workshops, etc. so the quality of education was never compromised. As for my university dues, even if I didn’t get a UP Presidential Scholarship, I’d still finish in UPLB. But I might never have been able to make monthly trips from LB to LTB (read: braces adjustment appointments) if it weren’t for that huge slash from our family’s semi-annual expenses.

Of course, these are all from my own frugal points of view. Who knows what my parents were thinking when they sent me to BSU SLS. Who knows what was running through their minds when they encouraged me to apply for all those scholarships for which I took tests and sent applications to. If ever they did those things to indirectly teach me lessons about money, I’m grateful that they did. (If they didn’t, hey, I’m grateful still.)

My parents were never stingy. They are, in fact, two of the most generous people that I know. I think they just budgeted things properly so that we could all be extravagant in all the things that we wanted to be extravagant in. (I’m like that, even now.)

When I convinced them to let me take up my Masters in Malaysia, I presented to them a budget plan as to how I intended to pay for my tuition fee. There was a huge, huge difference between that and the Php 45 we paid for in college. And I felt that this Masters thing shouldn’t be included in the “Parents’ Handbook of Things to Pay For” anymore. But because my calculations showed research assistance money couldn’t fully pay for the tuition fee, my parents agreed to fill in the gaps if ever there would be any. See. Generous, like I said.

It was a miracle how I got the research assistance project that sustained me for my two years here in Malaysia. Really. Would you believe it if I said that I got locked out of the dorm room in my pj’s, well, ten minutes, before the project interview? Thank God the interviewers were late. And thank God for the favour, because they immediately accepted me, thus giving me a thesis topic and an assurance of two years worth of a steady living allowance.

Well, more or less steady. Sometimes there were delays in the contract renewal process. So sometimes (a lot of times) I had to stretch last month’s allowance and find other sources of income.

Thank God for prayer. And thank God for friends of friends who needed to have papers edited, children tutored, and so on and so forth. I think I must have shed a whole pool of blood trying to edit this one paper about bananas, though. Ahh, the things I did for extra cash.

I even tried doing an online job. There was a season (pre-thesis season) when I re-wrote articles for a news site. Hey, those hours of mulling over tech, health, world, entertainment, and travel news taught me a lot (about writing, copyrights, etc.) and bought my capo, new guitar strings, and that orange book that a friend is reading far, far away. (And oh, that extra cash for Tagaytay)

In the season of transition between my VIVA and my current job, I also found myself creating simple websites and designing simple graphics. Looking back, it was real divine intervention that those jobs came up. I never asked for them, but I guess God must have known that I would need them. Truth is, the amount I got from those projects paid for my initial office wardrobe and for the last leg of my June office transportation.

So now here’s another project. I never asked for this one. After all, I’m quite confident that the pay that I get from my day job would be more than enough to pay for the bills, transportation, what have you in the month(s) to come. But since I need taxi money (like crazy) and thesis-binding money – Okay, Lord, go ahead. Plus, it’s going to be interesting working on this project. I never worked with a partner before. Well, never worked for money with one. I wonder how this would all turn out. : )

So… going back to my first statement – money doesn’t grow on trees. God has a funny way of bringing them to the laps of His children though. It may not be handed on a silver platter, but He hands them out anyway.

10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:10-11)