Sunday, 12 November 2017

Of fishermen and fish

 Back in 2013 I graduated with a Master in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University. My last assignment, my thesis, which built on the work of biologists, veterinarians, and other scholars at my institution, sought to find the rightful place of fish in the moral compass.
Since then, I developed a stronger care for these wonderful creatures, and honestly believe that it is of urgent importance to protect the oceans.
Recently, there is a lot of talk about the new environmental law, which protects several native species of flora and fauna, and it is quite totalitarian.
It comes as a ban on fishing a bunch of different species, and the fishermen are in uproar. That is understandable. But here’s the thing, Rona, fishermen are grown men, not teenagers. We shouldn’t have to give in to their demands in the name of preventing an uncomfortable week for Daddy Government. We are currently way past the point of negotiation with this issue. Sure, let’s protect the traditional way of the fisher, all the way until there isn’t a single fish to fish anymore. Let’s pretend that there isn’t illegal fishing, hunting, and logging going on around the world, which already puts immense pressure on the global ecosystems.

Fish are incredible animals, and there is actually so much variety in what we call “fish”, that it sometimes doesn’t even make sense to group all these species together. They are not just a product to be pulled out of the ocean for a quick buck or a tingle on your taste buds. Particularly for those of us living close to the waters, species that live in the ocean “filter toxins from the water (,) protect shorelines and reduce the risks or algae blooms such as the red tide.”

This isn’t an issue where talking about it will help. We’ve been talking about the oceans since I myself was a kid, and we are still talking about it, and in the meantime, it is predicted that by 2048 the entire world’s oceans will be empty of fish. Oh, sorry, did I say predicted?
Nicola Beaumont, PhD from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK said in a news release “This isn’t predicted to happen, it’s happening right now.” She added that this decline in biodiversity means the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life.
This isn’t even about exotic species, but actually, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have already seen their numbers decline by a whopping 90%. It is not a gradual decline, either. It’s happening fast and getting faster.

Giving them more time is not a solution, not for the fishermen, and not for the fish.

Ok. So what can we do?

We can turn the fishermen into farmers! Yes we can. Growing food locally will not only leave the oceans in peace, but the reduction in transport costs for a portion of our food consumption will all-around help the environment. We can even set up a farm-to-table restaurant called “Former Fisheries”. We could teach the fishermen a new skill, like leather tanning, shoe-making, landscaping. Let’s support the fishermen in finding a more sustainable way of life.
It is not uncommon for professions and skills to slowly become obsolete. Think of all the people who lost their manufacturing jobs in the wake of the industrial revolution and yet, no one ever stood up and said we should stop introducing machines.

We are now once again at world-changing cross roads. “It’s not too late. We can turn this around. But less than 1% of the global ocean is effectively protected right now,” said Boris Worm, PhD of Dalhousie in Halifax and author of the study I’ve based this post on.
Sorry fishermen, but you will survive. The oceans will not.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Open letter to our “BanCuMichael” team

I wanted to take the time and write something before we go out to vote and enter which ever stage the elections results send us through.

Looking back at how it all started now fills me with infinite pride and wonder, from being in front of the cameras, exchanging ideas to calling and visiting the people of Aruba, going to so many different barrios I had never seen before. I got to listen to so many different opinions and stories from a wide variety of people and for that, I am humbly thankful. To the many people who opened their homes and their minds up to our team, I am once again humbly thankful. I am especially thankful to those who let me pet their dogs 

This experience was everything I thought it was going to be, and then some. I have learned so much about so much in such a short period of time. I got to experience and get to know aspects of Aruban culture for the first time, and my life is the richer because of it.

Most importantly, I sincerely believe that we all started on this together because we believe in the same vision, and we want to keep working to achieve this vision. I also believe this will not change, regardless of election results. With only a few days ahead, I believe we can make it! Working with each of you the past few months has been a true privilege, an invaluable learning experience, and an absolute pleasure.

~Pilar ^_^

Sunday, 16 July 2017

I'm older than I've ever been, but I'm younger than I'll ever be again.

The older I get, the younger I feel. I realize more and more that in the vastness of time and history I am indeed very young, insignificantly young, and faced with the infinite knowledge that has passed through the minds of mankind I know very little and still have much to learn.

Some days this fills me with hope and determination, thinking of all the things I can still learn, all the marvels yet undiscovered. Other days it fills me with anxiety, questioning why I have to struggle to make nothing out of nothing. Dangling from one side to the other, constructing and deconstructing my own experience time and time again, like the rising and setting sun.

I keep going back and forth between jaded and naive; trying desperately to hold on to that childish belief that everyone is inherently good, that we're all just hurt little children who can be cured with kindness while the concrete walls around my heart grow thicker and taller and the barbed wire expands. I want to remain open, innocent and loving, but I also want to remain, to be whole and not broken.

I want to forgive but I want to learn from the experience. There is a sort of resistance, a rebellion, that forces me to crack my own walls and let whatever is outside leak in, whether it's healing tenderness or corrosive aggression. Whatever seeps in causes some sort of reaction and transformation, no matter how many times concerned loved ones tell me to "not let it affect" me.

I let it affect me, time and time again, I let it break me down or lift me up in pieces, and then I put myself back together somehow in a different way. Again, trying desperately to remain the same but changing and transforming with every little encounter. It's the blessing and curse of being sensitive, of being aware of every little detail, of experiencing the mundane as sublime. To love without dying knowing you will die without love. To take on every risk even if it will destroy you, and hiding out when the monsters are too scary, but only to catch your breath and come back out.

With every battle, the truth remains that it can be my last. Every day can be the last, eventually one day will be. Perhaps the anxiety of this day motivates both the courage and the fear, no matter how much I think in my head that I do not fear death.

This is the human condition.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Hermit

"If you ever happen to go outside of your house, do you think you could run this errand for us?" - my boss, during a meeting.

It's safe to say I am always at home. Mainly because I'm at home every time I don't have something I have to do, that is to say, if I am free to choose where I want to be, I will choose home every time.
But why?
I've been thinking about this a lot, for the past few years, trying to pin-point the exact moment in which my abnormal sleeping pattern stopped being the only reason I wasn't engaged socially as much as everyone else in my circle.

Part of it is being a highly sensitive person (HSP). I don't know how canon HSP is as a diagnosis but I can say I definitely relate and thinking about myself as a HSP has allowed me to understand myself better and find solutions to my particular challenges. Basically, being a HSP is not necessarily about sensitive in the sense of feelings, but more in general, all your sensors are more fine-tuned and can pick up lower signals than average. For me, it means that I can find it hard to focus, and I tend to note everything that goes on in a room to the point that I miss the main event because I was making note of how all the people walking in and out.

Another big part of it is that I tend to overthink everything, and have a running anxiety that constantly weighs on all my attempts to do anything. So, as I go about my HSP life picking up very many signals, I also happen to overthink each and every little signal, leaving me with a very busy brain. And after a while, I feel really tired. Especially after a long day of social engagement, I feel exhausted, I need to retreat seemingly for long, long days. Yes, I am an introvert. I am also just a little bit shy, but that hasn't really been a problem.

Come to think of it, most of my favorite activities are solo activities or quiet-time activities as well, such as reading (number 1 favorite!), coloring, researching/learning, watching movies. The best companions for all of these activities are my little housemates, Eggy and Mimin, who are cats. Even so, no man is and island. And as I grow and mature, I'm starting to be a lot more grateful to all the people behind the scenes who have supported me all along and helped me succeed. I'm putting a lot more value on interpersonal relationships, because now I see that even though I am happy being alone, I still love, like, need, and want people in my life.

So it has come time to lose the identification with the hermit in me. The hermit is just another facet of my personality, but it's not who I am. If I'm a little bit more honest with myself, I will also talk about how much I loved hosting dinner parties when I lived in Scotland, how I traveled for a week with friends, lived with friends, and how much I enjoy going on walks and even, occasionally, I love parties. I suppose, being completely honest, that a personality is more like breathing, oscillating between extremes as you learn and adjust and try to find a happy balance where things somewhat make you feel complete. I spent the past three years on the inhale, isolating myself, taking in experiences, reflecting and hiding inside my own self. But I can feel it already, the exhale has begun. I am now ready to come out, like the proverbial butterfly all changed up, to show the world all what I can do in my new form.

So yes, boss. I will run that errand. I will run it today.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Grow the fuck up

About two months ago I took a two-week trip to my homeland Guatemala, and it was everything I thought it was going to be, and then some. But (very) long story short, I returned renewed and with a major attitude adjustment, and figured I would nag at the poor souls who wander into this blog for a little while.

Man, I cannot begin to tell you how difficult life's lessons have been for me growing up. Life is hard as a woman. Seriously, it is. Society throws so much shit at you all the time that you end up with a really convoluted mind and sense of identity, and that in turn keeps affecting everything you think and do. So all through my teens I couldn't wait to be in my twenties, and then all through my twenties I feared the approaching end of the golden age. Because for a woman, you are rarely ever worth as much as you are in your twenties.

Spoiler alert: I am no longer in my twenties. When it happened, I hated it so much. I moved back to the island on the last of my golden years, and it truly, honestly wasn't at all how I wanted to spend that last moment of true joy. I felt I had been robbed of my one final happiness. But it wasn't all about the twenties, to be honest. While I was in Europe, I had a chance to develop as a person, away from everyone who knew "me" as I used to be. I used the opportunity to begin a change in habits and to try and crack my mind open to understand and patiently consider conflicting realities. I was happy there, but of course all that head cracking plunged me into a borderline suicidal depression.

So that when "the event that shan't be named" (okay, exaggeration) occurred, I sort of just gave up. I had always thought I would peak in my thirties, mainly because I was a late bloomer who only got interested in boys and Guess jeans until I was like, fourteen instead of like, eleven like the normal girls. But when I moved back to Aruba, it felt like a set-back, and it automatically translated to "that thing back there that just ended was the peak." Uber-bummer. Society was right, my best years were behind me.

Despite the tragedy, life had to continue being lived I supposed, and having not too long ago learned the benefits of pop-Buddhism, I was determined to learn whatever life was trying to teach me asap so that I could move on. I sincerely encourage this approach. It took me about a year (during which I worked hard and succeeded at my job) to get over the shocking turn my life had taken, but with the help of the patient, ever-loving world, my attitude started improving. I purposefully looked for lessons in everything and tried to learn them as hard as I could, emotional toll be damned. And then life threw me a little support in the birth of my niece.

I started realizing that I didn't want to work all the time anymore, that I missed my family, that I was going to be a stranger to that baby if I kept working in retail. I started filling out job applications, but it took a year of only a couple of interviews here and there to finally land a job offer. I hurriedly quit my job, only to have the new job offer rescinded. I had only ever had one full-time job up until that point, and I had no idea that people could take the job offer back. Regardless, I had made up my mind and communicated to my previous boss that retail wasn't the life for me, so I was determined to not fall back.

I went on a couple more job interviews before I was given the chance of a lifetime at my current job, but even that hasn't been without it's challenges. The more I pushed myself, the more I saw how great the effort you have to make is when you want to change your life. I addressed my depression and started treatment. Even so, I was still struggling to adjust and to find a rhythm and a purpose within it all.

Then I went to Guatemala, and I found myself telling friends and family about my life, my apartment with my cats, my job, my relationships with my family and friends in Aruba. And just talking about it and hearing myself, I started realizing how truly blessed and lucky I have been this whole time. It was just that I've always surrounded myself with happy and lucky people that I had started to think my own life was lacking. But it's not.

And I promise you, your life is not lacking either. We've all heard "count your blessings" but how many of us actually do it? How many times a day, a week, a month, do you take time to actually think up all the people and things you really love and are thankful for? So stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know it's hard, but stop it. Take responsibility for the things you can change, get over the ones you can't, and start being grateful for all the things you're taking for granted. In a moment, it's all gone.

Every cloud has a silver lining, make that silver your crown.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

How free life would be if we stopped measuring time.

How free life would be if we stopped measuring time. Our youth would be defined by our vitality and our eagerness to meet life. We would match up with people in terms of experiences, or points in life, rather than the times the earth has orbited the sun.  We wouldn't start feeling angst over a youth lost as soon as we turn 29, we wouldn't worry when to get married, we would take that trip when we're ready. We would work on a task for however long it took, or until we got tired, or bored. We wouldn't obsess about working exactly one third of the time it approximately takes the earth to rotate on its axis. We would go to sleep, and wake up when rested, or when the sun came up. Things would take however long they would take.

The Greeks had two words for time. One is profane time, χρόνος chronos, the time-keeping of watches and dates on calendars and alarms. The other is καιρός kairos, the spiritual time of the seasons and the natural rhythms. And ever since the dawn of chronos, I think that's the moment humanity began falling apart from nature and the earth.
I once somewhere read a story* that said, that humans are the only animals who count the passage of time, and therefor the only ones worried about their own mortality. I wish we could lose the bondage of time, of appointments, alarms and deadlines. That we could just live out our days in the raw intensity of nature where you live each moment as it comes, instead of being constantly a ghost in the past or the future.

Then again, the grass is always greener.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Yes, but... No, but... You're asking the wrong question.

Growing up, I always felt a little bit out of place, stuck in perpetual monachopsis mainly due to the fact that I had two home countries. I was too Arubian to be Guatemalan, and too Guatemalan to be Arubian. Because of this, I often surprise people, either because they perceive contradictions in my personality or my least favorite one, “I didn't think you'd know that!”.

In any case, recently, one of the most interesting responses I've been getting is in regards to my religious beliefs. With strangers, it's usually just asking if I'm going to be a pastor when they find out I have a theology degree. But with acquaintances and new friends, I always get met with surprise.

I call myself an agnostic, mainly because to me it is the only honest philosophical position to hold regarding religion. I can have a pretty good general idea of how I think it seems things are, but at any given moment, something can happen and I want to be willing to re-assess my beliefs when confronted with new information. That aside, when asked if I am a Christian I would 8/10 say yes. Why not 10/10?

Back in university, one of my favorite lecturers was Dr. Tuladhar. He taught us that in an exam, there would never be yes or no answers. That the best answers would be “yes, but”, “no, but”, and “this is the wrong question to ask”. And this is mainly why, sometimes, instead of “yes, but” I end up going with “no, but”.
My answer is yes, I am a Christian but I am not part of any denomination, I don't attend a church nor follow any organized worshiping. You could say I am an anarchist Christian, but I'm not sure on that yet, and honestly, I am a philosopher so I will probably be unsure of exactly what kind of Christian I am until the day I die or our Lord returns.

No, I'm not a Christian but I actually do believe in Jesus, what he stood for and what he was trying to do. The Bible has actually a really cool story and you can learn a lot, and Jesus was wise and had a poetic streak and a bit of sass. I'm here for all of that.

This is the wrong question to ask because these days, the word Christian has been charged with too much meaning and distortion, and there is too much attached to it beyond the original “follower of Jesus Christ”. It now carries a meaning of judging, meddling, corrupting and being corrupt, elitism, hypocrisy. Calling yourself a Christian nowadays will more often than not be heard as “I am on the right path, and I will be saved and live in the gorgeous rich new world with God while you burn in hell, because I am good and you are bad”, and honestly, I don't think this is what Jesus was trying to do at all.
It's so hard to even try to live in society while being a good person, and we're all sinners and don't deserve to go to the new earth with God and that sucks. But actually Jesus is trying to help us by giving tips on how to not be an asshole, and anyway we should show mercy and forgiveness to one another because we sure hope Jesus will show us mercy and forgiveness if there is an afterworld.
That's where I stand.
So my feelings where floored when a past romantic interest asked, incredulously, “how can someone as smart as you believe in that!?”

I don't want to preach. I don't want you to be a Christian, or read the Bible, or do anything. One thing I do believe is that each person is on their own path, learning what they need to learn, and I can't presume to know what is best for them.
Perhaps the best way to bring everyone to God is not by religiously converting them, but by showing them the way through example. Don't force people to say the words, just quietly show them how to live the life. Sort of like being a living gospel. You know, kinda like how Jesus did it.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Bird privacy

Oftentimes, I will be thinking about an issue concerning animals and think, "someone should write something about it", only later to realize, I should write something about it.
Why me? Well, first of all, I don't have anyone I could order to write things for me on command. Secondly, people have written extensively about most animal (rights) issues, so really, I just want someone to write out my opinion for me. Thirdly and surprisingly... I'm qualified! Legit, real-World qualified to speak and write (correctly or wrongly) on these issues.*

Anyway, let me get to it. I have one passion and two main hobbies, although honestly I like dabbling in almost everything. My one passion has consistently been writing, and my hobbies, at the moment, are Kpop** and photography.

Within photography, I particularly like fashion and birds. Most birds are not that into being approached or photographed. The city birds like pigeons are easy to photograph, but the cooler birds are usually hidden in trees, moving around, or will run away if you get within range. Bird-watching is an intrinsic part of bird photography, but I honestly have very little patience for it. Probably because I cannot see outside during daylight without sunglasses, and with sunglasses on trying to see through the viewfinder or even the screen is surprisingly difficult. I did buy a camera lens solely for the birds but, it was on the cheaper side of lenses because I am an amateur. So basically, my style of bird photography is just to spot desired bird, stalk carefully, and then shoot and shoot hoping I get a good shot.

Sometimes I manage. But, as I pick a target-bird (they gotta have that bounce in their step or something) and proceed to stalk and then photograph, I become increasingly aware of how... creepy? the whole thing is. Especially when the birds are hiding in the trees and kinda give me that look that lets me know they're uncomfortable.
And I convince myself by saying, I'm actually not doing anything to harm them. Just friendly human taking pictures.

But what if friendly bird was taking pictures of me? Sometimes, a bird or iguana stands by the window when I shower, and it is a bit weird but not too bad. But what if they were taking pictures? Not necessarily in the shower but like street photography, or you're out with your family and some birds start taking photos of you to show to their friends. Or if it got so bad, and so many people were harassed in this manner that people went off running if a bird arrived at a site.
I don't know if the bird cares about privacy, but this is making me realize that I do. But then, if I truly believe I shouldn't be photographed when out and about during my daily activities (AHEM!!!!!!!) then the birds and all fauna of the world probably shouldn't either.

And besides, birds do become nervous upon seeing people. When stalking them to photograph, I am, indeed, stalking the birds. Isn't that weird? And it sure makes them nervous, alert. It might even inconvenience them by making them changing their destination or current activity. Anyway, I get the sense that most birds in particular don't really like being photographed.

So why is the issue of privacy not even considered within animal ethics? Collective laughter aside, it is because even their right not to be enslaved and tortured by a human cannot be guaranteed at this point. Chickens are one of the most abused animals on our planet, both by the numbers in which they are killed and by the ways in which they are mistreated. Cockfighting is still an issue, and bird-mills (like puppy-mills used to breed exotic bird species in captivity) and the pet industry cause suffering and death to countless animals each year.
And don't get me started on how reptiles and fish literally do not have any rights.

I honestly believe (and it was an issue I explored in my master's thesis about fish) that part of the cruelty with which humans treat animals comes from misunderstanding or willfully ignoring the capacities or capabilities of animals, alienating ourselves from them, exaggerating the differences that separate us. So perhaps if we start thinking about whether the bird is feeling harassed by photography, whether it is wrong to stalk a bird to photograph it, who knows? We might start thinking it's wrong to keep a bird in a tiny cage and feed him hormones that disfigure him. We might begin to think it's wrong to destroy literally all the entire habitat of many beings, and then complain when they shit on our roofs. We might start thinking that hey, we're not the only ones living in this earth after all, and perhaps we're not really the center of it, either.

*See my credentials.
**If Sports fanatism is a hobby, Kpop fanatism is a hobby.

>All pictures taken by me.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


"Awe! Awe!" a young woman chants, with her fist shaking in tandem, watching the protest through the screen of her cellphone. This despite the fact that the prime minister was a couple of meters away.

I'm watching this unfold through Facebook. Some people gathered there to demand that the PM stops the parking fees (it is unclear to me if everywhere or just around the main street), and that transit be allowed back on the main street.
The scene is a caricature, and the PM fails to hold in his laughter more than once. Everyone there knows, to some degree, that having either of those demands met will represent little change to the economic situation of the island. But impotence breeds anxiety and so I suspect people just felt like the situation is becoming unbearable and they just had to do something.

Store-owners are adamant that parking fees for visitors (through a system of parking meters) and the prohibition of traffic for the main street has resulted in no customers visiting their stores. This is resulting in the loss of jobs and the rise in criminality, a retail employee explains.
While these are valid points, the scene reminded me of current day United States, where a lot of people who used to work in the mining business and factories lost their jobs mainly to globalization and the technological revolution, yet blame immigrants and socialist movements for the unemployment rates.

In Aruba, people are protesting the parking fees, because it's better than just accepting that a lot of people want to buy clothes online these days rather than at stores, because a store will never ever have the width of selection than the entire internet does, and because it is simply cheaper to buy online. Instead of yelling at the PM, how about the merchants themselves come up with some solutions to target the challenges the ever-changing world is throwing at them? Probably because that would require listening to their workers and their customers, and in my experience, they would rather listen to corporate. Anyways, the only workers still working are the ones who keep their mouth shut and agree with management. While I'm at it, let's point out that oftentimes, the manager got that position by default rather than by merit.

But I'm not gonna stop there, because it's not just the causes of the decline in shoppers that seem to be misunderstood, but also the consequences. Since we started paying parking meters, criminality has risen, ladies and gentlemen. Like we all believe what we're dealing with is honest people turning to crime to feed their families.

Not because kids are joining gangs and partaking in criminal activities from a younger age. It's not because we are working longer hours than ever for less money than ever, or that childcare is mediocre and overpriced, or that breastfeeding is still an issue all over the world that parents can barely educate a child. We are all sitting here pointing our overindulgent fingers at the poor parents (and the parking fees!) for the poor children turning into criminals, all the while ignoring that the reason both parents have to work extended hours is to support the materialistic lifestyle we are all subscribing to. The lifestyle that gives people the same worth as items, where money is God, where you literally spend the majority of your time doing things you hate just so that you can flash that purse or piece of jewelry. And then we expect that same kid who grew up watching his parents leave him every day in the pursuit of money to "have a better life", who saw that "better life" translate to things, we expect that kid to value morals or family or whatever above money?

Absurd. I really think it's time we stop deluding ourselves and start addressing the real causes of our problems. Such as, why is there nothing for people to work at other than the refinery, the hotels, retail, banks or law? Or, why does the owner get 8x more than the worker on average, compared to 3x about a decade or so ago*?
Now that the parking meters are being removed, let's focus on these important things and get to action.


*I remember I read this a while back on a newspaper here, but don't take it as a solid fact. But go look it up anyway, and then talk about it with people.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Day 25: dating- would you rather

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 25: Would you rather date someone plain with an amazing personality or someone beautiful with a plain personality?

At this point, please just leave me alone.

Day 24: repetitive thoughts

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 24: Seven things that cross your mind a lot

7- Life of animals. If I see an animal around I wonder about his or her life, and if there are no animals around I start thinking about animals I read about or saw before.

6- My purpose in life. Or the entire purpose of life. I think about how to make life meaningful and what that means.

5- Family. I am very close to my parents and sisters, and their comings and goings occupy a big chunk of my thoughts.

4- Destiny. Whether things happen in a pre-destined way or not, whether the choices we make are the direct consequence of the person we believe we are based on our past, determinism, etc.

3- To-do's. I try to think about the day and what the plan is, and arrange and re-arrange the plan constantly. Sometimes I overthink this and end up confusing myself, and it's very frustrating >.<

2- Day dreams. All types of scenarios involving all kinds of peoples and worlds.

1- Anxiety. General anxious and mild paranoid thoughts, re-living social interactions and cringing, blaming myself when things don't go as plan, try to envision every possible scenario to be best prepared for everything every time...

Day 23: A letter to someone, anyone

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 23: A letter to someone, anyone.

Honestly, this entry is the reason I stopped the challenge in the first place. I don't generally leave things unsaid, preferring to make my peace.

But it all happened in the literal blink of an eye and I just sort of clamped shut with the same violent speed with which I had opened up.

I kinda did see it coming, can't lie, but what the fuck, you know. How does one even make such a decision in one day. You know what? I don't want to know these things. I don't see how any details about the situation are going to change the impact. We joked how you didn't give a fuck but the truth is that I honestly knew this side of you was going to hurt me. I'm not reckless because I'm fragile, and I think that's one of the things I liked about you so much. How you just went for it without even considering. But because of that I am now sad and disappointed.Before you crashed into my life I was doing quite well and content. It even took convincing from others to give you a chance, you goddamn idiot. I'm sorry, you're not an idiot. The truth is that I understand, I mean, what else could you do? There's nothing more to it, but it's still the thorn in my eye. No matter how loud I try to be, I cannot drown the thoughts that said I'm a fucking Monet, beautiful from a distance but a mess up close. And I think probably you never even thought anything like that, but you did pursue me first and made a lot of the first moves, so what gives? Up-close disappointment, am I right?Fuck.I hate that I have so little control over my own self-image. I hate that I thought you'd give me a warm lovely memory but you gave a bruise and I fell back at least three steps and I'm fucking sad but I have to pretend that I'm not because fuck you. You be sad. No, be happy.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Day 22: ootd

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 22: a picture of what you wore today

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Day 21: good and bad

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 21: turn-ons and turn-offs

cute face
can handle adulting
gets my sense of humor
makes things less awkward
shows a lot of interest
good with hints
dorky but cute

no physical attraction
lack of enthusiasm
bad jokes
unaware of others/surroundings
afraid to be silly :3

I guess I like people I vibe well with, who I find easy to talk to and interesting to get to know. I am quite insecure and anxious already when talking to people so I prefer genuinely confident people because they tend to be more comfortable. I dislike if they don't consider me their equal in any capacity, but also dislike if they're disinterested in helping when I need. Same humor is essential, also I don't like people if my family doesn't like them XD It might seem harsh but my family is a big part of my life, we're close and I spend a lot of time with them or talking to them, so I won't like people my family doesn't like.

Finally, I am enthusiastic and want people to come along for whatever I come up with at the moment, and people who don't at least some times feel the call for adventure will quickly be dropped :/

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Day 20: Concerts

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 20: Concerts you have attended

Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Mindless Self Indulgence, Deftones, Serj Tankian, Good Charlotte, The Rabble, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Twin Atlantic, We The Kings, Sum 41, The Matches, 30 Seconds To Mars, Reuben...

Off the top of my head, I think that's about half :3

Day 19: History

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 19: A list of all the places you've lived at.

I'm sorry but since my blog is public, I don't think I want to divulge much. I'm already quite personal (to my standards) so I wouldn't want to put myself at risk.

I'm skipping this one.

Day 18: Television

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 18: Name the TV show you have become addicted to.

It would have to be three of them. I finished them super fast, and waiting intensely for following seasons:

3. Mr. Robot
2. Black Mirror
1. Humans

Day 17: the future

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 17: what do you want to be when you get older?

I would want to be more confident, more calm, and more organized. Particularly more focused, and still working on something I believe in. Hopefully I get better at what I'm doing while trying out other new ventures. All you need is someone to give you a hand.

I want to be more understanding, more patient, more knowledgeable and more helpful.

Most importantly, I want to be more present.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Day 16: at the world's end

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 16: If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you do with your remaining time?

Talk to the people I love, while petting my cats, and if I have a whole day, probably go outside, to the beach, and also listen to my favorite songs.

And be thankful, so thankful, because I walked on this earth, and I tasted its fruits, and loved all its living creatures, and saw many great things. And probably cry a lot.

Day 15: someone you fancy

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 15: A photo of someone you fancy at the moment

Sorry but no XD
That's kinda creepy? If I wasn't an introvert for whom everything is awkward and awkwardness is the bane of my existence then maybe someone I fancy would be aware of this and it wouldn't be creepy but...

Me being me and all... just no.

Day 14: Celebrity crushes

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 14: provide pictures of 5 celebrity crushes

Image result for ben barnesImage result for hunter parrishImage result for lee hyun jae

Image result for jared padalecki

And the king himself:

Day 13: Three confessions

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 13: Three confessions of your choice

1- I feel awkward and a little guilty about how much I love my skin. My pale skin. I think it's good to love yourself, and especially take care of your body and to love the literal skin you're in. And I do love the slight iridescence if the sun catches me just right, and being able to use the palest shades of foundation (hello Korean makeup!), and how pretty pale skin looks against basically any color. But at the same time, it's sort of like a mark of the oppressor, like I feel I can't even say I like my skin without sounding racist, aryan supremacist, ignorant. I think all skin colors are beautiful, and I really wish I could love my own skin freely.

2- I hold grudges and I will never let them go. I try to be cool and chill and get along with everyone, but if you wrong me... I will never forget it. Not ever. I may or may not choose to sort of forgive you (as much as you can forgive without forgetting) but I will not let time heal the wounds. I will keep ripping the metaphorical scar and never ever forget how you wronged me. Ever.

1- One time, when I worked as a waitress for one week before I moved to Scotland, I dropped a piece of bread on the kitchen floor. The kitchen was kind of open-air and the floor was dusty and dirty. But I just picked it up, with my hands, put it in the foam container, and gave the meal to the customer. Didn't even feel guilty about it because everything about working there sucked. But I'm sorry now, innocent customer whose face I forgot. I'm sorry now.

Bonus: I slacked the challenge and I'm doing day 13, 14, 15 and 16 today. At least I didn't give up!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Day 11: Crazy antics create beautiful things

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 11: What is your favorite quote?

It's not a quote, but a lyric: "Crazy antics create beautiful things".

I like it a lot because I firmly believe that the most beautiful moments in life come from the times when you live from the heart. Granted, mind must lead most of our decisions if we are to achieve anything, but sometimes, letting go and just going for whatever you're feeling in the moment is the most beautiful thing. It's sometimes tragic, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes magical, but for sure it will be beautiful.

I guess I can tie it with another quote I like from Tom Robbins: "Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious and immature." It's from the book Still life with Woodpecker, which I haven't read, but I stumbled upon this quote (literally) and, although I might be misinterpreting it due to lack of context, it stuck with me.
When I first came across this quote, I had just moved to the Netherlands and didn't have my life quite figured out yet. I was sort of just winging it, which is completely against the Dutch way of life (plan, plan, plan). I don't plan a lot, mainly because my life has never gone quite according to plan, and I figured out sometimes, if you're too focused on your plan, you end up missing wonderful opportunities that are outside of your comfort zone.

So for me, these quotes summarize my outlook on life, even though I don't consider myself a risk-taker as such. But constantly people will try to push me into planning, into worrying, into acting a certain way that just doesn't befit me. And in those moments, I comfort myself with the beautiful things my crazy antics have created.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Day 10: one food and one beverage

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 10: If you could only live off of one food and one beverage for the rest of your days, what would they be?

-Drink: water. Plain old H2O. I don't drink as much water as I should (these days I'm getting better at it), instead drinking coffee, tea, and artificial low calorie drinks like Zuko or Tang. But if I can only drink one thing for the rest of my life, it would have to be water, the source of life. Honestly, do you imagine not being able to drink water? You're really thirsty but you have to drink tea? Or coffee? Nah...

-Food: brown rice and black beans. I'm Guatemalan, I'm a vegetarian, beans are basically my life. I also always loved rice, although since I made the switch to brown rice when I moved back to Aruba, I don't love white rice as much as I used to (prefer not to eat it but ok). However, brown rice and black beans is a delicious, healthy, nutritious, and filling meal. I read you can survive on this food for months without much damage to your body. So while I would miss all the fresh fruit, pizza, salads, pasta, etc... I would probably feel a lot better with this classic.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Day 9: pet peeves

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 9: Pet peeves

I have so many >.< In this sense I am definitely a difficult person to be honest.
I don't think I can think of them all but I will try as many as I can:

  • chewing sounds
  • ticks. not the animal, but like if someone is doing repetitive (small) actions
  • hesitation (especially when answering a question)
  • being touched multiple times during a conversation
  • being asked again after I already said no twice
  • staring
  • when people stop walking randomly in the middle of the street
  • when I'm trying to get somewhere and someone blocks my path
  • not getting service quickly 
  • when you ask something to a group but people just stare at you
  • sneezing, coughing
  • "You need to"
  • "People need to stop (doing x)"
  • unsolicited advice
  • morning people. (sorry, i know it's not your fault. but hyper people in the morning just...)
  • diet and fitness enthusiasts.
  • when you're the only one who knows how to do something, so everyone expects you to just do it all the time without them having to learn it
  • favors that take a long time
  • when you go to a job interview and then they never call or email to let you know you didnt get the job
  • when there were other available seats, but the person sits next to you
  • girls who think you want their man
  • men who think you want them
  • when someone brings someone unexpected to hang out
  • abrupt change of plans
  • people who make excuses a lot
  • cold salsa
  • lukewarm food
  • passive-aggressive
  • cars with loud music
  • cars who slow down when they pass you as you walk
  • when you meet with someone but they don't talk to you
  • people who eat too fast
  • when you did something, and someone says "if you were going to do that, you should've"
  • people who don't silence their phones when they're having a chat (ping! ping!)
  • when celebrities I follow retweet their fans
  • people who make you ask a lot of questions to get to the point instead of just saying it/ when they try to bait you to ask a question
  • couples who go out with a group but then ignore the group
Bonus: when meat eaters in a group order the meat option, but then proceed to eat the vegetarian option first

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Day 8: three things

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 8: Three things you want to say to different people

Hm. I don't have anything lengthy and angsty that I've been keeping to myself all this time or anything. I think mostly with people I've said my peace. So.

3- To my parents, thank you and I love you.

2- To my sisters, you're my world, my blessing, I am so thankful you are in my life. I love you.

1- To my friends, thank you for your patience, love and understanding as I stumble through life. Thank you for not leaving. I love you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Day 7: favorite books

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 7: Do you read? What are your favorite books?

I have a reading compulsion. If there are words on something I have to read it, from labels to signs to pamphlets, I must read at least a large part of it (if not all). That's where my vast shinfo knowledge stems from.

However, I'm not deep in the habit of reading books since I started a dependent relationship with the internet. Still, having spent a whopping total of 24 years in the education system, I have read a vast amount of books in my day.

Still, I can never focus on one or even a few books to say they are my favorite. There are simply so many books which I have enjoyed and which have helped shape my mind throughout the various stages of my life.
So, here are a few highlights.

  • Leon Uris - Exodus. Growing up and looking back, I had a strong interest in history and religion, and Uris' historical fiction simply fascinated me. I stayed up all night for days on end and carried the (bible-thick) book around with me, reading during breaks at school. I learned a lot about how Zionist Jews thought of themselves, and the creation of modern Israel.

  • Gloria Cecilia Diaz - El Sol De Los Venados. My mom used to reward good grades at the end of the year by buying us children's books from the series Torre de Papel. I have a bunch of loved books from this series (Los Escorpiones, Un Marido Para Mama, Por Favor Vuelve A Casa), but this one really stood out. It presented tragedy and loss in such a nostalgic, accepting and deeply emotional way, that I think to this day it's hard to mention without a lump in my throat.

  • Miguel Angel Asturias - El Senor Presidente. I read this book more than once as I went through school, but the first time was when I was starting High School. My older sister told me there was a scene in the book where a bird eats a dying man's eye, so I picked it up for the gore. It delivered, but I fell for this book for entirely different reasons. The writing style of Asturias is, to Guatemalan capital citizens is comfortable and familiar. The stories feel authentic and personal, and the impact the history of my own country had on me was immense.

  • Tablo - Pieces of you. I first knew Tablo as a solo rap act when he joined YG Entertainment. I fell for his clever poetic lyrics, so when I found out he had released a collection of short stories in English, I had to check it out. The stories explore various relationships between people, society and the surroundings. Each story is moving and some are very surprising. I was inspired by Tablo's writing style to this day.
There are so many more books I could talk about, but these are some of my favorite ^_^

Monday, 6 February 2017

Day 6: music

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 6: What band or musician is most important to you?

I could answer this with one word, but I'm sure it's no need. Anyone knows which musician is most important to me (haha... ha), so I guess I'm just going to take the opportunity to talk about them because, I wouldn't even need an excuse.

And if you didn't know... it's

So it all goes back to when I was studying in Scotland. I had moved away on my own and started a whole new life, on my own. I was in the process of defining myself as a person. Before I moved away, I was going through one of the toughest periods of my life, which had sort of took some of my joy away from me. I was angry, sad and confused, and it reflected on everything I chose to surround myself, from clothes and food to movies and of course, music.

But by the third year of uni, I had considerably healed, I loved my classes, my teachers, the friends I made, and the country itself. It was literally as if color had returned into my life. So when my house mates introduced me to Kpop, it really resonated.
The happy vibes and positive messages of some of the songs really helped me stay positive. I quickly took to SHINee, and started following them. I did have a previous history of being a fangirl (#sorrynotsorry), so I fell right into it.

Seeing how hard SHINee worked, inspired me to work hard too. I felt if they could work so hard and have discipline to achieve their goals, and I admired them for it, that I should also work hard, have discipline and achieve my goals. My grades were the best by my last year, and I got a first (9/10) for my dissertation.
By then, I was convinced that SHINee was a positive influence on me, and fangirling was actually helping me do better.

I got the chance to see them in person in London, literally for like 5 minutes, but for me it was worth the travel. As my (bad) luck would have it, my bias wasn't feeling well and left early without greeting us, but the rest of the members did come to say hello and no matter how long I live, I will never forget how they literally glowed.

Soon after, I moved to the Netherlands, which somehow ended up being one of the best and simultaneously worst times of my life. But through the good and the bad, still, SHINee's music cheers me up and makes me feel happy.

I see now that my happiness returned around the same time I found SHINee, so they are always connected to that part of me.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Day 5: tourist

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 5: Five places you want to visit

5- Morocco. Honestly, for the beautiful architecture, the mosques. Only down side would be the heat.

4- Norway. Northern lights anybody?

3- S. Korea. Eat the food, walk the streets, see my faves...

2- New Zealand. Nice people, snow, beaches. New Zealand just has that majestic vibe.

1- Guatemala. Yes, it's my birth place and home town, but I never really got the chance to visit all the beautiful enchanting places, or learn about all the different people. There are so many places in Guatemala I still want to visit like Tikal or Semuc Champey.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Day 4: tumblr

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 4: The meaning behind your tumblr name

As I mentioned in Day 1, I have three tumblr accounts. One is pilarintechnicolor, which is a handle I use for most of my social media. Technicolor is considered a color revolution in movies, celebrated high saturation colors. I like it because it brings back a sense of retro, nostalgic bright saturated colors which match my colorful, retro personality quite well. I have been using the technicolor handle on social media since my first myspace over a decade ago.

My other tumblr is technicolorgrapefruit. This is a fan blog for my favorite idol. It's based on an inside joke with my idol, a play of words his group members coined which basically means he is short and stubby. Grapefruit is a cute nickname for my bias.

And my last tumblr is fuckyeahasianguyswithlonghair, which honestly, has the most obvious meaning XD

Friday, 3 February 2017

Day 3: how was your day?

30-Day Blogging Challenge

Day 3: Your day, in great detail.

I woke up today earlier than usual, because I had a breakfast date with a good friend and former colleague. One of the things I care a lot about is the clothes I wear, so I spent considerable time picking a cute outfit. I went for a black circle skirt, tights and blue shoes, with a blue and white top. I was happy because the top fit really well after a while of being quite small. I wore the watch this friend gave me.

She picked me up and we went to Arepados. I asked about "queso de mano", and it turns out its just like home-made mozzarella. I ordered arepa with fried egg and queso de mano, and a papaya smoothie (no milk). It was delicious!
After eating, we went to search for candy, with a short stop at the pet store. We saw little turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, and they even had a chinchila! A few years ago I really wanted to have a chinchilla, but now I have cats, which are sort of an exclusive pet when you live in an apartment.

Afterwards we looked for some makeup and then she dropped me off. I worked for a bit, but ended up falling asleep around 1pm. These days I fall asleep randomly. When I woke up, I started watching a discussion about the rise and fall of the European Union, but then my mom came home and she wanted to watch it too. We ate dinner and watched the show, and then we watched a few more things before she eventually had to go to bed.

And now, I am blogging.
I don't know if it was in great detail but...

Day 2: likes and dislikes

30-Day Blogging Challenge
Day 2: 10 likes and dislikes

(not in order)


10- Phone calls. I am an introverted communicator. I want to communicate efficiently, and that is best done either in person or by writing. In person, you can use body language and tone cues to read another person, and by writing you can edit what you're trying to say so that it reaches the best form. Phone calls are the worst of both worlds, really.

9- Sweating. I am going to assume that everyone dislikes sweating, but I particularly dislike it to the point of avoiding sports. It's one of the most difficult things for me about being on the island.

8- Abrupt changes of plans. Ah. I mean, I do want to think of myself as someone easy-going and chill, but to be honest, I hate it. I will shut up and put up with it if it's work, but if you're close to me, and you try to change the plan at the last minute... better try cancelling.

7- Sexual harassment. Okay, yeah. But it needs to be on here because it's one of the things that actually makes my daily life difficult. Being approached on the street, cat calls, sexual jokes at the workplace... Men, just cut it out. That shit aint cute.

6- Extreme sports. I am by no means an adrenaline junkie. I had my fair share of adrenaline when I was younger growing up in civil war, thank you very much. I get an adrenaline rush whenever my phone rings, anyway.

5- Comments about my piercings. Seriously. It's my face, man. Leave it. Unless you're giving a compliment, your opinion is worthless to me. Just don't.

4- Mosquitos. Probably the most disliked on the list. They are so obnoxious. I try to live as peacefully as possible with all kinds of creatures but mosquitoes just... They attack you, transmit disease, bother your ears in your sleep...

3- Dishonesty. I don't mind so much if people withhold information, but if you look me in the eye and outright lie to me... It's hard to forgive. Not only lies, but if you present facts to me in a way intended to deceive me, trust me, I will know. And I will not like it.

2- Honestly, I don't know what more. I even asked people around me to tell me things I don't like, but we came up empty.
1- So I guess I'm quite positive? Ha... moving on to...


10- Dresses. There's something so nice about throwing on the equivalent of a long t-shirt and looking awesome. Dresses are the easy way of wearing clothes. No need to match them, and looks polished and good with minimum effort. Jeans girls are sleeping.

9- Walks. Walking as exercise is probably my favorite form of exercise. Going for a walk with a friend as a form of hanging out is also pretty great.
8- Green leaves. Leafy trees and plants, and vegetables and grass. Green is my (and most people's) favorite color, it's so peaceful and refreshing and happy. Leafy greens, to me, are a sign that things are good.

7- Coffee. A lot of people like coffee, right? But for me it's also a part of my identity, sort of a daily ritual of sorts. There's few things better than a good cup of coffee.

6- Makeup. It's like painting a beautiful picture, but on your face, and you carry it around and show it to everyone and it makes you feel gorgeous <3

5- Friends. Listen, I'm not the easiest person to befriend. I wait days to reply to texts or call back, never answer my phone, and I'm a hermit. I will probably tease you quite a lot. Friends, I'm so thankful to those of you who make an effort to stay in touch and hang out and try hard to be my friend even against the odds. You are the true heroes. (You too, family <3)

4- Youtube documentaries. From Al Jazeera to Black Child Productions, I watch them all. So many different and contrasting views, for a critical like me, is a gem. So much to learn about so many things.

3- Night time. I'm a true, honest night owl. Sunshine? Not for me. Take me to the beach in the middle of the night and watch me flourish. Also, I can see better at night.

2- Books. Books are the solace of the hermit, it's my main socialization and form of communication. Now that the internet is upon us, I admit I spend more time looking things up and watching documentaries, but there's a connection that only books can provide.

1- Cats. My cats are the ultra best, they're hands down the cutest, loveliest, funniest cats to ever bless the face of the earth. But other people's cats are also quite amazing. Cats, dogs, and all kinds of animals are truly the joy of my life.

There you have it. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Day 1: the basics

30-Day Blogging Challenge
Day 1: Write some basic things about yourself

"There's nothing basic about myself", I want to answer.
But if I can be a little more honest, I can be quite basic I guess. Do I realize that's not the intention of the question? Yes, I do.
Listen, I am a trained philosopher. I have an obligation to consider all possible interpretations for a prompt.

So here it goes.

I love coffee, the internet, and cats. I have not one, not two, but three Tumblr accounts. I have an iPhone, lots and lots and lots of selfies on snapchat and instagram, I post my food, my cats, my hair. I talk about my hair and spend a lot of time on it. I love to take amateur photographs, editing them, and posting them with lots of hashtags.
I rooted for 1D on the X-factor.
Leggings? I have about 5. Which is 5 more than the jeans I own. I can quote Mean Girls to a T.

Then again, I never bought any ugg boots.

I'm doing this.

In the effort to start consistently blogging and writing again, I decided to take on this 30 day challenge. Granted, February is not the best month for 30-days stuff but what does it matter? I will finish this on the second of March. So be it.

DAY 10
DAY 11
DAY 12
DAY 13
DAY 14
DAY 15
DAY 16
DAY 17
DAY 18
DAY 19
DAY 20

Monday, 23 January 2017

An argument for the mythical importance of Dia di Betico

Dia di Betico is hands down my favorite Aruban holiday. This is because in my opinion, Betico Croes is THE most important cultural marking for Aruban identity. In my bachelor's dissertation, I argued for Betico Croes as Aruba's lone social hero, and proposed that celebrating Dia di Betico is a fundamental practice anchoring the national identity of the Aruban people.

When I moved back to Aruba and started my first full-time job, I was disheartened when I found out that we did not get a day off for Dia di Betico, nor were we allowed to leave early to participate in the celebrations.

It might seem like something inconsequential, but not for me. I did not write my bachelor's dissertation merely as a thought exercise. I wrote it because I realized what the story of Betico Croes meant for the identity of Aruba and wanted to explore this relationship.

The general gist of the argument is that, every time people gather in a group at a specific location to re-enact and remember specific events, it helps the new generations feel personally connected to the event. The energy of the crowd, all focusing on one thing, as well as the location (transformed into sacred space) serves to create a memory, one that is as if one had experienced it oneself from the start.

So, by going to the plaza together, wearing Aruban flags and singing our anthem, while listening to Betico Croes' speeches on loud speakers and watching old films on big screens, we all feel like it was happening right now. We feel connected. The myth of Betico Croes comes alive in all of us.
It translates our current struggles into the language of our origins. It's once again, us, the strong but small island, fighting bravely to defend and demand what is ours by right, out of love for our country and our people. It is a single most defining moment for every Aruban, the time when we got to call ourselves Aruban, and wave our own flag.

There is no other single event that can serve the same purpose, socially, for Aruba. It is essential that we honor this tradition and celebrate Dia Di Betico faithfully and consistently. We must do it to renew our patriotism, to renew our identity, and to create a strong social anchor for the future generations. I don't think it is a responsibility we can take lightly.

Ideally, we should all get the day off to celebrate and remember. The more people attend the celebrations, the stronger the myth. Is this something we should fight for?
I'll let each of you decide.

Felis dia di Betico!