Friday, August 17, 2018


Earlier this week, Disney unveiled the first images of the live-action feature film Mulan, which will see its release in March 2020. I had been a bit (extremely) skeptical about live-action adaptations ever since Hollywood botched Dragon Ball to pieces. I had my misgivings early on (because, well, how?); but being a die-hard fan since it first aired on Club Dorothée at the end of the 80’s, I figured I would still give the film a chance. Only five minutes in, I was already cringing. It was painful. It was devastating. I had to walk out before my childhood dreams were completely shattered. Truth of the matter is that, apart from Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece, plenty should really stick to the plain old, classic animated format: that is what makes them special to begin with. Regardless of cinematographic techniques getting better by the minute, live-action adaptations simply cannot reenact the magic. That being said, I do have to admit that not all adaptations were as catastrophic as that terrible Dragonball Evolution (it left an open wound, didn't it?) I was quite pleased with The Beauty and The Beast. The excellent Emma Watson shines as Belle – and Chinese superstar Liu Yifei, in all fairness, looks superb and could do Disney’s beloved Mulan justice.  

I still recall the day I watched Mulan back in 1998. I returned to the cinema a few days later to watch it again. I took a particular liking to her – not only because Mulan was the first Asian Disney Princess, but her witty, brave and honorable personality spoke to me. Cutting her hair short (I had short hair!) and dressing like a man (I wore my brothers' clothes til I turned eighteen!) in order to join the army in lieu of her father? Love of family, love of country, against all the odds, being a courageous and independent woman in a man’s world: the fearless heroine embodied values and qualities young women could look up to. I certainly did. And without fail, of course, there was a happy ending. 

Like millions of women of my generation (rather, of any generation), I grew up with uplifting Disney movies : whimsical tales, devoted sidekicks-slash-companions and to top it all, inspiring songs everyone would karaoke to for all the years to come. We saw the appeal. The optimism was contagious. The formula, concluding on the lovebirds living happily ever after, inviting. The belief, yes, the hope of that ideal end credits sequence blatantly (even secretly) paved the path. Immediately, young girls everywhere set eyes — and heart — on living their own fairy-tale stories (though, if we think it out, children that age should not even be considering, not in the slightest, a romance): true to form, a childlike aspiration that will stick in women’s minds like a magnet, long into adulthood –– though possibly folded, reinvented, torn apart and taped back one too many times to count over time –– a hopeful aspiration nonetheless. 

Coming of age in literature, movies, pop culture and ultimately — in life — has been a cloying curiosity for many years. As a matter of fact, I suspect to have already relished the Bildungsroman genre and implications, without being fully aware of it, when I was going through mine. There is something magnetic, consuming, utterly riveting about that weirdest fucking phase: hormones skyrocketing through the roof, your body changing, your mindset keeps on changing and you pining for adults, boys and siblings to stop treating you like a child erratically… It is a well of questions and possibilities, and the roads are delicate. Most of all, there is that constant tug between the rapture of still being a child and the need to act like a proper grown-up. Young adults – what a term. What a stage. Undeniably, it is a testing time yet in my opinion, the most fascinating one. After recently seeing my niece, almost fourteen, the tables have turned. I now understand why parents, grand-parents, uncles and aunties shout of surprise once they recognize that their baby no longer is… one. Funnily enough, until your own in turn reach puberty, you cannot possibly comprehend that those hugs and kisses  –– the ones you used to duck hysterically as well –– are truthfully the highest form of love. The urge to embrace them as if they still were will quietly –– or ecstatically –– always melt your heart. I am one of them today: I changed your pampers and all of a sudden, you have a crush-slash-puppy love-slash-whaaaaaaaat boyfriend?

The transition is tricky. If coming of age was hard; raising one at that stage must be harder. That tug between chaperoning children –– adolescents really –– for as long possible and letting them grow up and make their own choices is, frankly, a distressing task. You wish to protect them because by now, you discovered that life, or love especially, is nothing like an animated movie. ’Crisis’ is certainly an integral part of the Disney recipe, as it is in reality; but you also made the experience that it will not automatically conclude on happily ever after… Not the fairy-tale kind at least. Frogs end up staying frogs. The man you believed was your prince marries another and after a while, although there are plenty of fish in the sea, aren’t you just tired of looking for Nemo? Disney animations pave the path, rightfully so, they make our eyes marvel; at the same rate however, they also set a, let us be honest here, Utopian benchmark on what your end credits should entail. Girls at the prime of their youth, as mentioned above, relate to Disney princesses instantly –– already idolize the idea of a prince even more; then to the majority, it will become a Peter Panesque aspiration. Their prime aspiration – as if nothing else worthy happens or will ever happen until –– unless there is The Happy Ending (yes, in capital letters, that is how legitimate people regard it.) Why is a fairy-tale wedding an achievement? Why is marriage the achievement? And if you did not find -- or even desired -- Prince Charming, why does it feel like you missed your chance at living happily ever after unless you have one?

At a pop-store a couple of weeks ago, I found a series of T-shirts featuring Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White & Co. covered with tattoos, piercings and dramatic make-up. The entire Princess Line with a punk rock attitude, in other words, the tops were awesome. I got myself the Jasmin one: dolled-up, holding a joint, wearing a Misfits shirt instead of her famous turquoise ensemble. I fancied how this artist revisited these characters –– not because they got the 'bad-ass', actually non-princess-like makeover; but mainly because the premise and frame of mind of being a princess was spot on. I remember why I admired Mulan so much in the first place: love of family, love of country, against the odds, being a courageous and independent woman in this man's world. It was not only about the fairy-tale ending. It was never only about the boy. However, it does come down to becoming a woman with character and integrity. Mulan lived on her own terms –– which, I reckon, I manage to apply to my own life. I am a princess. A bad-ass at that. This is the guidance I will give and the aspiration I wish upon the youngsters in my circle: make your own path. The Disney charm begets different points of view depending on whether you watch the movies with childlike innocence, adolescent qualm or mature experience; but in the end, one thing remains the same through the ages: even if life, and love especially, taught you that it is not always a fairy tale, your story can still be magical.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Past tense

She was,
She used to be,

I still startle

There will no longer be
Any new memories.

I look up
When the skies cry
When there is not a cloud in sight

I talk about her in the past tense now.

Eye on my arm
God squeezes my heart,

I remember the feel
Of toying with her
Sagging skin
’Til mine ages,
I will beam at my ink.

I talk about her in the past tense now.

On nights I cry,
On fine nights
I burst with life,

She cradles my heart.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Ironic, I know, I mumbled awkwardly after explaining to my date that whilst words command my life; there is categorically nothing in this world that makes my heart pound as much as techno does. For those unfamiliar with this genre, I will want to quote a few of the most hypnotic DJs and producers in the industry. “Techno is a group of like-minded people communing through a love of uncompromising dance music” –Jeff Derringer. "Techno is the music of now, enjoy the moment” –Ben Klock. “Machine Funk” –Ben Sims; or as the prodigal Rødhad simply puts it, techno is “rhythm”. The beat. That bass. The unending roads of a set.  The reason it is hard to define this genre of electronic music is because it often "warrants snarls and cues defensive answers from traditionalists" (Frankie Francisco, “What does Techno Actually Mean to DJs and Producers?); DJs and fans alike have truly become a bunch of elitist, scrupulous advocates. Friendly, but unapologetic. This is techno – and do not dare call that crap techno.

I will go on for hours – writing or dancing to techno music. Writing, earphones stumping. Then, my date looked at me, lightly biting his lower lip, hesitant; as if he feared my reaction to what he was about to say next: Actually, a passion for both is not contradictory at all. I was definitely intrigued. As a matter of fact, it makes perfect sense. You write; and with this music, you are not overshadowed or overpowered by anything else. It leaves all that space for your own thoughts, own concepts, own observations; which, well, you put into words. Your own. There is something quite spellbinding, liberating really, when a complete stranger gives such insight on your soul. We hardly hit it off except for that tiny window where in a snap, he managed to reverse all existing layers that, I believed, defined me. There is no paradox. He was right. 

I returned last Sunday from another magnificent, hair-raising, spine-tingling, heart-stirring techno marathon in Germany. Love Family Park, one of the most beloved festivals, made its comeback after a year break. It moved to a new location; the unsparing atmosphere, though, remained unblemished. I have been in the scene for nearly half of my life, having set foot in the darkest of little clubs to being gobbled up by thousands in the most renown venues around the globe;  after all these years, still going the distance to dance specifically to one’s set. Richie Hawtin is, and always will be, my favorite example. As the magic of Love Family Park 2018 slowly finds its niche in my routine, I can only rave (see what I did there?) about how my love of techno still – perpetually unleashes my best self.

Various factors impact a crowning experience. First and foremost, the music. The beat. That bass. When the set is sublime, and boy do we know: the longer the set, the better it can become, culminating to a higher level. Higher. Higher. Hands high up in the air, to oblivion. There are no words (see what I did there? PART II). Secondly, the crowd. In my experience, techno disciples are by far the coolest people I have ever met. Sure, we are ‘conservative’ in regards to our definition of techno; however, this open-heartedness –– effortless, unfeigned, welcoming –– unites us. Come as you are. Moreover, Love Family Park was proof that our scene now summons generations of fans, from loyalists who count a number of Love Parades under their belt to rookies who only recently started to add parties to their portfolio. There is no age for techno and for these few steady hours spent on the same premises, we become one facing this DJ who sets the tracks in our hearts. It takes two to tango; but here, you get to dance with the whole wide world. I have claimed since my beginnings that one of the things I venerate is that the scene, like the music, grants this intrinsic, powerful yet hushed connection – not only to your own core, but to your peers as well. It is not background music; we are here to fucking dance. Alone, together. Together, on our own.

It is my spirit that moves. Almost possessed, I let it all in. I let it all go. A rave is a journey. It screams freedom. And truth be told, it has to be madness. Techno means being utterly present in the moment – and this commitment to throbbing, dark ‘rhythm’ for hours on end is to bring exactly who you are, right there, at that exact point in time, to light. A constant in my life, yet it also justifies my evolution. I am my most passionate self when I dance: fluid, seriously ecstatic, at one with the world, at one with myself.

He was right. The unending roads of techno do not dispute my other true love in life at all. I write like I breathe. If anything, then, the music compliments my writing. I noticed, especially during these past months, that the more I know, the faster I may write. But the less I do, the better I write. Much better. Not to say that nothing else, in particular literature or any other music genre with lyrics for that matter, do not influence or inspire my writing at all; of course they do, they have to. Nevertheless, techno’s somewhat no vocals policy does take one on a mysterious adventure; as does a blank page. I am completely free –– and being a colossal instrument to how I live my life – rather, how I like to live my life – techno truly encourages me to find my voice as a writer. Being my own person.

Often, I pause mid-sentence, look up and review my surroundings as I let the end of my idea brew in my head. A young mother feeding her newborn, a group of girlfriends toasting with champagne, a handsome man immersed in his book, the trees dancing, the chatter of passerby. I reach for my coffee and attempt to remove the messy work of art of lipstick and stains with my thumb. With no exception, to no avail. Mark my words like the imprints I leave on my cup.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

On the porch

My grand-mother was no longer keen on traveling during her last years. Even an outing to the nearest city which, God’s honest truth, happens to be an actual and phenomenal vacation spot in the Philippines; howbeit that reality, asking her to come with us oftentimes became too much to ask. We would still encourage her of course — if only to take a few deep breaths of fresh air or indulge our cravings at one of those fancy spots. On most occasions she enjoyed our 'permanent staycation’ as much as we did, other times she would already set a countdown timer as soon as we arrived. Sometimes both.

If she did not necessarily looked forward to traveling ‘more’ roads like in her younger years, it did not cut ice with us. It certainly did not cut ice with me. I came home. We live in a world and time when traveling is practically considered a commodity. Actually, I am on a train, on a bus or on a plane more often than not. Being on the go managed to sneak in my DNA early on  –- I value it immensely, and above all, it is a life choice I am devoted to. After a short while, the itch becomes unbearable. I am a stubborn child again : do not scratch –– but then I always, always do.  Often, I have to go on a side trip to the next town, even just for half a day, only to quench my thirst. That being said, the more I loved embarking on new adventures, the more it spiked my appreciation for the slow pace of the day one can only find in the country. 

In my country. In my province. At home with my grand-mother. 

In no way am I undermining life in the province; but coming from constant traffic, noise, appointments, incoming emails –– even just the hassle of reserving a table at a restaurant, as one does, during the rest of the year; each time the car turned that street corner and I could finally get a glimpse of my grand-mother's porch, it was legitimately soothing to be subjected to less choices –– to almost none –– ruling the day. There was not much to do than just be –– and those days filled me with more life than anything in the world. To feel the seconds. To be completely free to reassess. To suspend time in order to saunter and be engulfed in the present moment. No distractions but ourselves. I am a writer. I find small moments in big city life –– but at homeI learned to have big moments in small city life; enjoying coffee, the sun skating on my skin. 

We ‘scold’ doing absolutely nothing nowadays because it would count as a day lost. We became greedy. Long have I been a victim of this reasoning; yet the older I get, the less I see it or feel that way. To add my grain of salt to Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote, finding meaning in such an ordinary day is truly the highest of arts. I had plenty of those with my grand-mother, especially during her last years when she preferred to stay at home. Right there on the porch, we did affect the quality of the day: I brought stories to her. And I would listen to hers. We would meet in the middle. For love in the ordinary is extraordinary -- the highest of arts.

In my country. In my province. At home without my grand-mother. 

I already wonder how it will be like to come back now. She loved me from the moment I opened my eyes, and I will love her long after she has closed hers. In my dreams, I am sitting on that porch again. I know she is listening.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The other side

On the other side
The truth lies
On the other side
Lives in plain sight.

Blinded by the sun
My five Euro shades
Unveil what I shun
I am paying
A king's ransom.

'Til worlds collide
'Til I crossed to the other side
He never lied,
Lived another truth
By my side.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

My rendition of love

Your actions echo love,
My rendition of it;
Why don’t they linger
Like words will.

Your actions parade love
That I applaud;
Why can I not trust them
Unless I have it in print.

I write
Poems of love
For a man of few words.

I feel
Acts of love
For a writer, is it not enough.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Monday has a bad reputation

Before dawn,
Already frowned upon.
A lousy onset
Before it even started.

Monday has a bad reputation
I am dragging myself out of bed

When I should be clenching my fists,
Going in for the kill.

The titillating hope of the beginning
The victory dance when one wins
You gave me Friday this morning.

I have been in love with you
Since that first night
I laid eyes on you;

Still turning it around
Eight years in.

You and I,
An empty bar,

Rewriting Monday's light.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Three weeks

One more time!, my three-year-old nephew exclaimed ebulliently after the nth time on the merry-go-round. We had been there for the last twenty minutes, engulfed in his enthusiasm, waving at him and cheering him on each time he reappeared before our eyes. It was a stupendous sunny afternoon; scorching under the blazing sun, and cradled by a cool breeze under the trees. After months caged in winter, the stark comeback of spring time encapsulated in our toddler’s glittering joy. We had nowhere else to go after all, loafing in the shades was the plan all along. Another round, then, was impossible to resist. Alright, as his father bought an additional stash of tickets. 

Ever since I became an aunt –– and godmother –– almost four years ago now, the very notion of growth took on a whole new meaning for me. I had been around babies and children in the past. Coming from a typical Filipino clan, practically all the members of my huge family set off to, how shall I put it, work on their offspring pretty early on – before I even hit puberty. I was an eleven year-old Auntie. However, all my first cousins lived on other continents, so the witnessing part of their children growing up was rather restricted and sporadic. It was only in 2014 that someone from my direct family brought new life into the world. I still recall the day my sister announced to me that she was pregnant. And still completely in the unknown, I was already in love. 

Yohan Angelo was born on August 5th 2014 — and even if I live three hours away from him, I have followed him from up close since the first minute. I do not want to miss a thing. I may always have my misgivings on how technology affects our modern-day society; but being able to stay updated with photos on a daily basis via WhatsApp or making a video call that stretches for hours without spending an excruciating amount of money is really something I cannot thank the tech geniuses enough for making it possible.  

I will take every waking opportunity to visit. I do – and I have established that if I wait longer than three weeks to see my nephew in flesh again, it will absolutely astonish me how much he has already grown. Indeed, the last years were synonymous to change, continuous change. For my sister and her husband. For my family. For me. Thanks to Yohan. The thing is, it was not only his big baby steps that we toasted to, such as turning on the stomach on his own or being capable of sitting without any assistance, his first time crawling, crawling fast, taking the first step, the first correct step, uttering the first word, his first comprehensible sentence. Those were positively fascinating triumphs of course; but reality is, I recognized that even the most basic factors such as height, weight, the features of the face –– even the hair; only three weeks and it was almost like hugging a different (minuscule) human being. De facto, when it comes to new life, growth is simply gargantuan, more importantly, it all happens at such a fast pace. It is cliche to say that children grow up so fast, but one still gets surprised when they do. I assure that I am. The physical aspect dazzles me, notwithstanding, it is only but a fraction of how much I profoundly enjoy pursuing his mental, emotional and intellectual development even more. How a character is made. Now he is an accomplished speaker. He is bursting with emotions: expressing happiness, sadness, fear, stupefaction, anger, jealousy or love so candidly — sometimes portraying all of the above within the same day. We are exposing him to everything that will benefit his learning curve, child-friendly naturally, and he is testing his likes and dislikes. From his taste in food to his book preference to making his first friends. He is a suction pad to his environment: everything is raw, his reactions instant. In the end, I grasp that he is discovering his own character at the same rate I am discovering his. 

Though Yohan’s growing up phase is far... further... furthest from being over, my family was blessed enough to welcome the birth of his baby sister six months ago. What I went through – and am still going through with Yohan is not only happening once more with the arrival of our latest cutest sunshine Malaya Solène, but having a (not so) older point of reference makes this constant evolution in our daily lives believably consequential. Yohan was this tiny not long ago. And I know — and appreciate that, in the most enigmatic way, it is only a matter of little time til Malaya will also blurt out One more time! on the carousel. When babies enter our lives, they disrupt everything. They change everything. They make us feel every second. One can only be so lucky. Let me have these few incredible years experiencing physical, mental, emotional and intellectual growth from this close. 

There is a photo I take with my nephew every couple of months that has become, so to speak, prototypical of us: standing side by side, holding hands, looking at each other. Same posture, new photograph. If babies epitomize noticeable change, each time we pose that way; I, too, am reminded that I grow through change as much as Yohan does. Sure, we grown-ups stop adding centimeters after a certain age. We actually work hard to alter (or keep) the number of kilograms between takes. We might also be at that stage when we aspire to cover up the maturity our faces endure. But in times when it seems that our hair is the only thing that is growing; it is crucial to remember how baby steps are, quite literally, gargantuan. It applies to newborns, and it honestly does to us in adulthood as well. We go with time. We also advance. We still progress. We, too, can change. The well, as long as we live, is infinite; and ultimately, there will always be room for surprises and stepping stones. The question is whether we can let ourselves feel like children do, wonderstruck when we go for an nth round on the merry-go-round of existence. They might be the ones looking up to us, but oftentimes, children make the best teachers in life. As it goes for baby Malaya and not-such-a-baby-anymore Yohan, growth lies in living every day as if it were our first; not our last.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


The wipes do not work
My eyeliner, smudged;
Words at war
Words when calm.

The Einstein hair
Bad morning breath;
A shadow of a smile
You standing against the light.

Ravaged by tragedy
Fresh bread from the bakery;
I lean in
For my forehead kiss.

Last night at war
The morning calm
–  Coffee is ready
Did you sleep on it?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paper plane

I opened the door with the frantic urge of collapsing into my bed; though overly smitten, I was physically drained from the past four days I had just spent in Belgrade. I could barely drag myself up the four flight of stairs, a herculean effort, only for me to trip over an obstacle on the last few meters: a large box of whatnot placed right in front of my bed. I startled before suddenly recalling that my brother decided to spring clean the basement while I was away, throwing out what no longer belonged, saving room solely for essentials. Old diaries, handwritten letters, scrapbooks and photo albumsMy first thought was to call him and ask why he would bring these up from the basement, my second was to jump over the box to land directly in bed. I did neither. I sat down, and for the next few hours, the past consumed me completely. 

Between tears, laughter and Eureka moments, I could not help but howl at the naive girl I used to be — and on some level, I howled because I am still that idealistic today. Then, turning the page, I could not help but smile proudly at the studious and disciplined student I once was – and on every level, I smiled because I still am an eager learner today. I had a harder time flipping through some photographs though – not because my sense for fashion was downright generic or because my baby fat followed me well into my twenties; but there it was, in the midst of essentials, a collection of moments I very much remembered, with faces I had nearly forgotten. 

Sure, a few of these people are not entirely out of my life if we consider the facebook friendship state of affairs. We have not seen each other, even less talked in long, long time – but I do know that you had coffee at Starbucks last Saturday. By all means, it is a vice versa phenomenon. I post a lot; and often. I am fairly certain I have been unfollowed. Do not get me wrong, I am not undermining the intricate power of social media, but it will always only be a parallel universe that is far from being a reflection of real life, real relationships and real friendships. It serves its purpose, allowing us to stay connected — or rather updated (of course the irony of it being whether we want to or not). I fully accept it, thankfully so, harmfully so. Then on the other hand, many of these individuals I dug up from this box never even made it to a digital friendship. Now I do not know which is worse.

I reread declarations that promised forever, that heralded being there in good and bad times, foreshadowing that things would never change. Truth be told, I think I have heard it as often as I have said it. We all have. And we all meant it when we declared it. Nevertheless, in time, and with a handful of bad experiences under the belt, we discover the (hard) way that forever will not necessarily last a lifetime, some friendships cannot survive the test of hardships and ultimately, things do change. 

There are various reasons as to why some friendships fall apart, partly or categorically. A monumental fight becomes the point of no return, on other occasions, it is a slow yet gradual regression. At times, the realization that shared history is the only thing keeping an alliance alive can be, yes, insufferable. As I was scanning the faces of those who were once part of my everyday life, I could actually pinpoint the exact moment I or we decided to bid farewell. I am aware that I let a few of the people go because regrettably, they somewhat morphed into artifacts of a time frame that caused me pain. The delicate downfall, unfair as it was, meant that we gave less and less news, assured one another to catch up one day, only never to fix a date. And it bothered neither of us. I grew up with some, then absolutely everything made us grow apart. I also embraced that others were, quite frankly, nothing more than on-demand acquaintances: time- and circumstances-specific. It was good while it lasted. Finally, more often than not, the answer to what happened?, no matter how trite this might sound, is really the bullshit, cheeky, by-the-book response: life happened. And you stopped caring about each other. Point blank. Is it sadder to have a reason for a friendship to go astray? Or not having one?  Life indeed happens, we spring clean our social circle: throwing away who no longer belongs, only saving room for essentials. I have learned that we choose the company we keep, gratefully so; and if there comes a time I have to put in a herculean effort to light it up, it is the sign that I am no longer comfortable, or rather not as comfortable as I used to be, in their company. The thing is, there are enough odd situations in life, a friendship should not be one of them. 

The more I analyzed when, how and why a handful of people became strangers again; flipping the coin, the more it made me appreciate why and how most of them hold their ground in my life. And I still, always and forever will want them to. For sure physical presence is not the reason: I have not lived in the same city as a number of my closest friends, since Vienna 1998, Stockholm 2004, Geneva 2006, Oslo 2008 or Zurich 2014; but not only do we "jump start" as soon as we talk, message and/or meet; in my heart, the bond is indubitably as solid as ever, perhaps even stronger, after phases not connecting on a regular basis. Furthermore, having an array of things in common is not that will make us soul mates for life: the dearest whom I am glued to, day in and year out, cannot be any more different from me. But together, we blend like a tasty smoothie, coping – accepting – where it would usually shatter. What constitutes a long-lasting, and confidently a life-long friendship, I believe, fundamentally comes down to one simple thing that applies on all premises: whether we know a friend since birth, since childhood, since university, from traveling, from work, from a night-out — or even from the most random point in time; and regardless of whether we meet every day, once a month, a couple of times a year –– or once in a blue moon, if we are still in each other's lives, it is because we grow -- continue to, are still able to -- not always together, but definitely always alongside each other. 

There was a huge black chalkboard that read "Before I die, I want to..." placed in front on the serene Ada lake in Belgrade. I surveyed all the answers. One could chuckle at absurd messages such as "... have sex in Miami" or be touched by hopeful ones such as "... love again". I had to think twice when I stumbled upon the last one that stated: "Before I die, I want to be alive". When people get to meet my boys Simon, Andreas, Daniel, David and me, they often ask us when, how and why we became friends. When is that we knew each other prior separately, but a fateful night put the five of us in the same room back in April 2012. Immediately, it seemed like a beginning we had been waiting for -- the one we were preparing for -- on the spot admitting how unique this could become. Geilovic was born. How is because our personalities, so multifaceted, so multilayered, sync. Effortlessly. The different characters utterly compliment and complete each other. And as to why? It is easy. Reality is, "some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss; but every once in a while, [we] find someone who is iridescent, and once [we] do, nothing will ever compare." (Flipped, 2010) I found that unfailing spark in these very special men and they found it in me. I have honestly never been more free or more at ease to just be myself than when I am with them -- caught in winds that change, yet still feeling like I am breezing on a paper plane. This little web we made defined –– more accurately, redefined — my yen for this kind of deep, pure, inspirational, intangible connection. Having experienced it, nothing really does compare; and I cannot settle for less ever again. Before I die, I want to live.  I want to be alive.

I am. I am alive when we are together.

We never see hardships, difficult days or fights in a photo album, but those are the ones that get us from one happy snap shot to the next. We took a million pictures during our extraordinary stay in Belgrade. More than committing our moments to eternity, it was to celebrate that we are still hereWe grew. And we continue to, are still able to – not always together, but definitely always alongside each other. Caught in winds that will change, forever flying on paper planes.