Secrets of the Universe

The latest book I finished is Benjamin Alire Saenz’ Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  I bought this book out of curiosity and due to the number of awards in the cover while in provincial fieldwork last December.  But, it was only in my trip to Korea a few weeks back that I found time to read it.  I finished it last week (April 24) during my downtime after participating in my 2nd clean-up dive.

This was too close to home.  I related a lot to Ari’s sentiments throughout the book that I sometimes had to put it down just to re-think his realizations. A lot of truth. A lot of maybes. A lot to think about.

“We all fight our own private wars.”   – Ari

Ari was growing up and faced with a lot of issues.  But more than the secrets of the universe, he discovers and comes to term with himself in the process.

“I don’t know Dante.  Sometimes, I think I’ll never understand myself.  I am not like you.  You know exactly who you are.” – Ari

Angst was throughout the book with love and patience from a friend and his parents as its antidote. It was amazing how his family came together in the end.

“You’re not alone, Ari.  I know it feels that way but you’re not.” – Ari’s mother

Love wins.

“Maybe everyone loves differently.  Maybe that’s all that matters” – Ari

I would probably read this book a second time.

 

Quick Notes: Seoul, South Korea

I visited Seoul last 07 to 12 April 2016 primarily for the cherry blossoms and it did not disappoint.

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Luckily, we were still able to catch the last few days of the cherry blossoms festival in Jinhae…

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… with trees scattered in Seoul also still in full bloom.

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As a bonus, we were also just in time for the Tulip festival in Everland.

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It was a successful trip overall and here are my additional notes and thoughts:

Favorite place among those visited: Nami Island

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Favorite food I tasted: Street foods, especially the fresh strawberries with chocolate (runner-up: banana chocolate crepe with cereals)

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Favorite experience: T-Express ride in Everland

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Pleasant surprise:
– Streetfoods in Myeongdong
– Yeouido park

Other notes:
– Efficient transportation system
– They love to walk (trip involved lots of walking)
– Loads of beauty products

I think we still missed a lot of stops so might visit Seoul again. After all, Nami deserves a return trip.

First Time: Sitting through an 8-hour movie

My family loves to watch movies. Our mall trips during weekends generally involves setting aside time for a movie. It is a shared experience and our means to bond.

Personally, I am inclined towards animated movies. Aside from being colorful, imaginative and playful, there are lots of lessons (and quotes) to be picked up in every movie. Not to take anything away from other movie genres, I just want the message to be delivered in a lighter way.

Curiosity got the best of me, however, upon hearing about Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby of the Sorrowful Mystery), which runs for about 8 hours (NOTE: 20 minute break was provided by the cinema after every 3 hours). First of, I was surprised that it was shown in cinemas given its run time! Thinking it will be a unique experience, I grabbed the opportunity and went for it. Prior to this one, the longest movie I watched ran for just 3 hours.

The experience

The first 2 hours was manageable, which I think was purely because it is the average runtime nowadays for a movie.

3rd to 6th hour was the struggle. Aside from being in the middle of the plot, my mind was already starting to wander elsewhere. It was almost as if my brain is telling me I have other things to do. Food is running low. Legs were getting tight. Thankfully there was a break in between. My friend was already inviting me to leave early.

7th hour felt like the longest especially since I knew it was about to end. Suddenly I almost become impatient and felt like minutes started to slow down.

8th hour was bliss. I knew the movie was ending and my brain was suddenly alert.

The movie

It was a black and white film with two key narratives: the search for Andres Bonifacio’s body and events after the failed attempt in El Filibusterismo.

Admittedly, I felt lost for around 5 hours of the movie. Its strength came in the last 2 hours, especially in the conversations between the two protagonists (Simoun and Isagani) and Simoun and a priest. The Kundimans (traditional love songs) at the start were also stunning.

Takeaway

Overall, I’d say I am not meant for this type of movie given my attention span, which has significantly grown shorter through time. Personally, I need to mature as a moviegoer to engage myself in this kind of movie both length and theme wise.

Nevertheless, it was a good experience and I am proud to say I was part of the 7 who finished the movie out of almost 20 moviegoers who started.