Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Going Back

Versaille, March 2013

I’ve been out of the writing and blogging loop for quite some time. There were highs and lows and everything in between. One thing’s for sure, I felt stuck. I simply couldn’t write. Then I decided to just not to take it too hard and take life as it comes. And it did come. Maybe I couldn’t write because I needed to experience all the things that I experienced. I let the experience take over, I let life take over. And it was wonderful. For now, this is my attempt to go back. Maybe I can write again. Maybe I give to breathe and life to the past year or so that was experienced, but remained unwritten.

Barcelona, April 2013

In a nutshell, though I don’t know how I could fit stuff in a nutshell, I’ve been around and just experienced new things. There are some things that will no longer be included in the narrative because some things are just better left unsaid. Also, words can be often misconstrued, and to avoid that, silence is just simpler. So there are words, and there are silences.

Berlin, March 2013

Ruins of Angkor Thom, November 2013

Sunset by the River Seine, Paris, March 2013

Travel. Literally and figuratively. Earlier entries hinted heavily at travel, and such travel experiences are something that I would always carry with me. Some are unexpected destinations while others were dream destinations that at some point I have doubted if I will ever reach them. But I did. The first wave was in Chinese territories–Taipei and Hong Kong–both for conferences. The next wave was central Europe. I received a grant to participate in a conference and I simply asked the organizers if I can get my ticket booked a month after the fact, after all, it fell on vacation time in Manila. So it happened–Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Pisa, Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome, and then back to Berlin– five weeks, four countries, ten cities, and it was wonderful. I fell into deep sadness after that, as I am no longer surrounded by art and history, coffee and pastries. Every city is asking for a story that I am yet to write. I still am hoping that I will. After that was my long-awaited Thailand travel. I explored Bangkok, the capital, and with different stories and circumstances, reached the North East–Nong Khai, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani, and the North–Mae Sai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai. I saw the Mekong River, crossed the land borders to reach Burma or Myanmar (depending on your political standpoints) and even Cambodia. I even got to travel locally. I reached the Visayas for the first time–Boracay and Bacolod. I did the easy traveling and lounging in Boracay while I ate and relaxed in Bacolod. Writing about this makes me feel so overwhelmed. And honestly, a tad sad. I want to be on the road again. I always want to be on the road again. This is why writing about travel is difficult, it makes me long for my home in transit.

ARSENAL Playgroup, Kira’s Birthday, December 2013

But being home is also just as great. I picked myself up and managed to let a number of people into my life. Friends became family and at the same time I felt closer to my family. The university felt like home since I first stepped here in 2001 and though there were challenging times, it still feels like home to me. I’ve had difficulties in some places I’ve stayed at but I’ve stayed a year in my current apartment and I haven’t faced any serious issue so far. Except maybe that the rent is a bit steep and really cuts through my monthly budget, but that’s how it is in the village. At least I am near work and I can walk to the jeepney stop or even all the way to the university, if I feel inclined to. The neighborhood is great and food places are popping all around it, which is important since my partner and I love to eat. We just do.

Pahiyas, 2014

Yes, I do have a partner now and I am grateful for his presence in my life. I’ve always been told that I am just too smart to be able to sustain a romantic relationship. But when it came down to it, my partner told me that what first attracted him to me was my mind. And though it was far from instantaneous attraction, he told me that he knew he’s never met anyone like me from the first time we met. And vice versa. I do my best not to divulge so much of our personal life, but sometimes, I can’t help my own writings.

DAS Junior Faculty, 2014 (Photo from Eloi Hernandez’s Instagram)

Career-wise, I felt that I sped-up, then slowed down. Neither of which is bad, just different. I was able to write essays for an encyclopedia we are all working on. I did some very interesting interviews, details of which I might or might not end up divulging. I wrote for a gallery exhibition for the first time and was asked to curate a solo exhibition (of which I am currently working on). I stopped running after international conferences so I can sit still and work on my thesis, something that I really must do. It was frustrating and challenging, but a lot of times, also very fulfilling. I passed on some great opportunities, such as trying for a semester abroad and going for a prestigious art writing contest, simply because I didn’t feel like it was time. I am still trying to sit still. Even as I write this blog entry, it is challenging.

Inside the Musée d’Orsay, March 2013

I want to reach a balance. Whether or not I will be able to do it, I have absolutely no idea. Will I do great? I hope so. Though I don’t think I can feel too bad about life even if I tried. I hope the universe doesn’t take that statement as a challenge. It has been challenging, but I think the difficulties led me to a path that I need to be in. I still am grateful that this life is such an adventure. Where it would lead me to is still a question, and I am more than happy to find out.

The illusion of passing time. Inside the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, March 2013.

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2014 by in Diary of a Grad student, Portia's Narratives and tagged , , , , , .

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