My JLPT N4 Journey

For the last two years after i passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N5, i kept trying to pass JLPT N3 thinking that if I passed N5 with studying Japanese for just barely 3 months, maybe I can pass N3 as long as I study hard everyday. I THOUGHT WRONG. 

The first time I took JLPT N3 was in July 2016. I know I barely studied then but you know fool as I am, I still hope to pass even without much effort. I actually did not read the whole grammar/reading section. Well, I did try but I was not able to comprehend so I just shaded a random number all through out that section. When I got my results then, I don’t know if I should be happy, sad, or surprised. I got 94/180. The passing is 95. I though then, maybe if i studied a bit more, I will now be able to pass it.

So I decided to take JLPT N3 again December of 2016. My studying a bit more is really just that. I studied just a bit more (which means barely still) for the December 2016. I hoped I pass but still I did not. My score went down to 78/180 even.

Come July 2017, I decided to take another shot. This time I prepared more. I reviewed more this time. I reviewed the vocabs, the grammar, I tried to practice reading a bit but I was still having a hard time trying to comprehend paragraphs. Still, I am hoping that this time was it.  But no, it was still not it.

After I failed the first try, my friend actually suggested to lower down the level to N4 but I keep on saying no. That maybe if I do this, or do that, I will be able to make it. After three failed attempts though, I finally decided to take N4 instead of N3 last December 2017.

Since JLPT N4 was lower level than N3, and covers lesser Kanji and grammar, I just reviewed part of what I reviewed for N3. I did not review hardcore but I made sure to at least be refreshed with the cover topics that might appear. On the day of the test, I am surprised. It was my first being able to understand (or at least I think so) 95% of the reading material. Haha. I was so happy. Vocab section has always been my strongest suit in my opinion. The listening part thought, I was kinda hesitating if i did well or not. I think I understood but then I’m not sure. Results came end of January 2018. AND I PASSED! I actually don’t know what I’ll do if I didn’t. I only know I’ll feel super incompetent.

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I am trying to get to pass JLPT for possible work opportunities in Japan. Hopefully, this year will be the year for it. I will once again take N3 but I’ll take it December 2018 since I really don’t have much time til July because of the coding bootcamp that I’ve decided to participate in for 6 months.

The road won’t be easy I know and I need to incorporate Japanese in my everyday conversations and communications. Hopefully, by God’s grace, I’ll be able to do so.

2018 is THE YEAR!

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2018 GOAL BOARD

I said that 2017 was not THE year nor were the years before it. I do believe though that 2018 will be THE YEAR!!! Yes, I have faith in this. I firmly believe. 2017 was the stepping stone year, the laying of the foundation year, the getting the act together year. And now, 2018 will be  THE YEAR to tie everything together and produce results. I’m not off to a good start, to be honest, but I believe I’ll pick up the pace and start running to the finish line of my goals this year (though my destination is really not clear still).

New year, same old resolutions, haha.  This time i’ll make sure that i’ll follow through.

Here are my goals for 2018.

FITNESS, BEAUTY, HEALTH

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2018 Fitness Goal Board

1. Love my body and accept who i am. 

I want to change, yes, but before I do so, I have a goal of being comfortable in my own skin. Accepting who I am, loving myself will be the first step for change.

2. Have clear face and skin.

I have bad skin. It’s been one of my insecurities for the longest time. I get acne a lot and they leave marks for a long, long, long period of time. Also, I don’t like wearing bikinis because it will show the stretchmarks on my butt as well as the dark side of my bikini area. I’ve been trying to resolve the issue for a couple years now but still to no avail. Recently, I’ve started using organic products for my facial wash, toner, moisturizer, cream, shampoo and conditioner. I’ll continue seeking the best way to handle my skin problem but my goal is to find it this year.

3. Have a fit and lean body.

This has been one of my most used resolutions but one of which I’m always falling. haha. This time around, I won’t let it be a failed one. Step by step, day by day, I’ll try to go ahead and achieve a fit and lean body. I’ll chronicle my journey as well which hopefully keeps me going.

 

CONTINUING EDUCATION AND CAREER GOALS

4. Enroll and finish Programming bootcamp (Tuitt).

This will actually be very challenging coz enrolling in the bootcamp  means that I will lessen my hours of sleep, travel to and fro my work place, enduring long queue in the train as well as a sea of people. I hope I’ll be able to survive 6 months of this and complete the course with flying colors. The fee is a lot so I really need to make this work.

5. Finish myTEFL course and get certificate.

So I finally purchased myTEFL 120-hr course last January 2. However, I haven’t had the time or energy to actually start focusing on completing it. I only have 3 months to work on it, pass the courses and get my certificate. I will work on building a habit to a lot at least one hour of each day on it and make up whatever I missed on weekends. I really hope I’ll be able to stick to this because I spent a fortune on the course.

6. Get accepted into an online teaching job in April.

After finishing the TEFL course, my goal is to find a teaching job online as a part time. It will put my skills to test and at the same time learn from the experience that I’ll be getting which will be necessarily when I apply for a teaching position in Japan by August.

7. Apply for US J1 VISA.

I got to know from one of my new co-workers how she interned in the US where she was able to earn money so she can visit Japan twice. USA, amidst all the political controversies going on, is still one of the places that I want to visit and live for a while. There are places I wanna visit and relatives I wanna meet too. So, I decided that I’ll save money and gain the qualifications needed so I can apply. My target is to apply by August.

8. Get a job in Japan/USA/Vietnam.

The future is unclear. I’ve been trying to go to Japan for almost three years now to no avail. This year, by God’s grace I will be able to go to Japan. Back up plan is to apply for a teaching job in Vietnam. The USA is another matter since I’ve allotted a year of preparation to go there but I really wanna work there too. Basically, I just wanna get out of my comfort zone and travel the world. Target date is September.

 

JAPAN GOALS

9. Get accepted in the PJ Link Scholarship Program.

PJ Link is a language center that periodically screens applicants who wants to go to Japan to work or study. I’ve applied twice for different programs but to no avail. Just this week, I’ve applied to yet again another program which is a scholarship program this time. Hoping this time, I will pass and be able to participate in the program and finally go to Japan. Well, interview’s next Saturday and I’ll be able to know if i pass or fail within the month. Hoping for the best.

10. Finally pass JLPT N3.

I’ve taken JLPT N3 thrice already. THRICE. AND I FAILED THRICE. Miserably. Lol. So I finally relented and took JLPT N4 last December 2017. Hopefully, I passed N4 so I can focus 2018 passing N3. I’ll get to know the result around 4th week of January. Praying that i pass.

 

PERSONAL GROWTH GOALS

11. Travel solo abroad.

It’s been one of my life goals to travel abroad. Coming from a lower middle income family, I decided that once I started working I’ll save up money so that I can go ahead and achieve it since it wasn’t an option when I was a kid. Four and a half years after graduation though and I still haven’t gone outside the country even once. This year though, I’ll really make it work. I had booked to Japan and China before but wasn’t able to apply for visa and got rejected  respectively. This year, I already booked a trip to Singapore in August. I’ll save money for the trip and make it one for the books!

12. Have devotion time everyday.

I’m a baptized Christian but I don’t see myself as one which makes me feel guilty. Following Christ is not easy, especially since I’ve prioritized the world for too long. But i’ll make it through. One day at a time. Having a devotion time every day is one of the goals, for reflection and meditation.

13.   Blog more.

I really ought to blog more. Express more. I started a number of blogs before but I always stopped updating them along the way. I won’t let the same fate befall this blog. I started this blog as a platform to where I can share my thought, what’s up with my life. A really personal one. It seems though that it’s like a book/movie review blog only. haha. I love books and movies and will definitely post reviews of things I’ve read and watch but I’ll go ahead and also start posting more about my life, my journey, reflections, and my goals, hoping that this blog will be able to touch at least one person.

 

I know that there are overlapping goals and no specific time limit there. I know that goals without deadline are just wishes. But I’ll strive hard this year to achieve the goals I’ve set. I can only plan but I lay everything to God.

HERE’S TO 2018! LET’S CONQUER 2018! 🙂

 

 

2017 LOOKBACK

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2017 was not THE year. I guess no year ever was yet.  It was not the year where #DreamsFulfilled happened which was my goal hashtag for 2017. It was not the year where I was able to achieve much or save much. It was actually a year that I lost a chunk of my savings. It was the year that was almost. I almost grasp my dream but then i was pulled back down by gravity. Almost, almost. But almost is never enough. However, for everything that 2017 was not, it still was a good year.

It was the year where I finally took a step forward (even if I went back and forth throughout the year). A step forward change. A step forward to becoming peace with myself. A step forward my goals. It was a step forward. It is a small step but it’s already a lot.

2017 was the year I bought my netbook and even though it runs in Celeron, i am still proud of myself that I was able to buy a working netbook. It’s a great milestone for me since I never spend money much (but I keep on losing it for some reason, prolly is food lol). But I bought my netbook in cash! It cost me Php13,000 which is a lot for me already.

2017 was also the year that I was able to read the most books. I have read around 170 books in total which was more that the number of books I have read all my life. It was a good year to get in touch with discovering my like for reading, writing, novels, and poetry. I discovered great authors and poets! 🙂

It was also the year where I started to really make effort in taking care of my physical appearance. I am not pretty nor did I became pretty after making effort. haha. But 2017 is the year where I started making effort in making me decent. haha. Before last year, I think I only bought clothes for myself around 5 times for my whole 23 years of existence. I never did like shopping. But last year, there’s a huge improvement. I spent money on clothes! Even though mostly are just tops, that’s a great achievement for me already. I also started spending money on beauty products, not make up per se, but like the products that will make your face clearer (though I haven’t found the right products for me yet). I will keep in trying stuff though til I found the one. I also purchased underarm laser diode treatment which helped me save a lot of tiring trips to the salon. It was also the year that I finally decided to get braces! and the year where I did a major change in my hair when I decided to have it digitally permed.

2017 was a year that my savings run stale. My savings were not much to begin with but last year it ran stale and most of the time I was dipping into my savings to cover my expenses. I got a lot of expenses. The netbook, the braces, all those clothes, the beauty products, the failed plane tickets, the failed unfortunate ForEx scam, etc. However, 2017 also taught me that saving is good but it does not have to be the only thing you do. 2017 taught me that it’s okay to spend as long as you enjoy what you bought and it will give you much more than its face value.

ONE IMPORTANT LESSON that 2017 taught me is that NOTHING COMES EASY. This lesson cost me a lot to learn, literally. So i was very into the easy, quick rich scheme. Like be a millionaire overnight type of thing. I lost money before investing in ventures or platforms that might make me more money but it was not until I lost Php 10,000 (approx $200) that woke me up from this belief. So I attended this Forex seminar. I was interested in learning Forex so this opportunity was hard to pass up. The speaker was good, really good that it convinced me to invest $10k right on the spot but then after the seminar, I checked the reviews and boom! I got dragged down to reality that I just lost my $10k to a scam. This time, I really learned my lesson “In life, what you really want will never come easy.” You must work hard and smart for the things you like to achieve.

2017 was a year of learning, of trying out new things, of downfall, of being able to let go. It was also the year of being able to dream, of trusting God, of taking a step forward. 2017 is an almost year. Hope 2018 will be THE YEAR!

 

A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith

DISCLAIMER: This post is more about realizations than the book review itself. haha

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What do you do when you’re in a party and you’re bored af? You download the 1st book your limited data plan allows you. lol. That’s how I came to read A Scottish Lord for Christmas.

I thought nothing at first. You know just a random read of a romance from the early 1900s with lords and debutantes and all those. The story is pretty simple and straightforward. You know, just your average pocketbook romance. It’s a story about Rowena, a young girl who just had her debut in the society and Quinn, aka Lord Forres, who’s 10 years older than her. Quinn is a Scottish widower with a young child who went to England to look for his next wife. Enter Rowena, the young debutante who save Quinn’s daughter from falling into the ice cold water. She fell in love madly, deeply, and very fast with this handsome Scottish lord. Within weeks of meeting, they were engaged then married. All the while, Quinn was fighting hard from falling in love with Rowena as he does not want to experience the pain of losing a loved one all over again, and Rowena, fighting to gain her lord’s love fully.

However, what made me enjoy the book is that I can ‘somewhat’ see myself in Rowena. haha. I can identify with Rowena in the sense that she has no prior sexual experience (well, i still don’t have even now) and because of this, i feel the detailed scenes strongly like i’m the one in the situation. lol. I thought to myself that what Rowena experienced on her first will be similar to my reactions. And who wouldn’t fall in love with a lord with an accent? ***swoons***And I love that they got married first before they did the act (yes, i am a prude).

Rowena, in so many levels, just wants to be loved and her love to be reciprocated. Much like the rest of us. Much like me and we are all just trying to be loved back. I am a hopeless romantic which is why I enjoyed the book even with all its cheesiness and oh-so-cliche scenes in glory. hahaha.

Reading the book made me just want to fall in love more. I’m willing to wait but reading all these romance novels is just me torturing myself. ahhahaha. The book is simple, straight-forward, linear. There’s not much deepness going on here. Just a quick, fun read for an afternoon leisure or, in my case, if you’re bored in a party you went to.

 

To The Boy Across the Globe

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You’re 18, I’m 25
God, if I’m committing a crime, help me, stop me, save me
I don’t know much about love
As i got zero, nada, no experience romantically speaking
But maybe someone could save me, help me, I’m falling.

I don’t know much about love
Only about heartbreaks, and pain, and suffering
And maybe that’s why I’ve avoided it for as much as I can
Never thought one day I’ll be entangled in one

I know the rules about love, that much is pretty etched in my heart
You know, I didn’t spend all my days reading mangas, novels, watching dramas for nothing;
I know we’re not meant to be; we’re not even supposed to be
So i don’t know what I’m doing, why am i falling… for nothing?

It started out with a chat
A “Hey there….What you doing?”
You asked if I had a snap, and I told you I have
“I told you I have” means I don’t have one right now but am willing to download one if that’s the only we could continue to talk

I am app-phobic but you made me search lessons on Snapchat101
We’ve exchanged snaps, and i got now 282
But still I don’t know your name and I’m afraid to ask
I’m afraid to ask your name because then it will get personal
Knowing your name will feel like there will be a chance, a hope, and i don’t wanna go there;
I don’t wanna prepare my heart from falling to the abyss when it is already on the edge of a cliff

A few hours became days and days became weeks
And now we’re red hearts for each other, keeping the fire burining;
We’re time zones apart but we still match as you go about your usual day and I work during the night

I don’t even know how or why it started;
We’re practically strangers and strangers we still are
But somehow you’ve brightened my dull days and made me look forward
to every vibration of my phone for it means you’re now free to talk
I’m feeling foolish feeling the feelings I mock all those years;
But maybe that’s just the way love is, intruding and all-consuming

So to the boy across the globe, and yes you’re just a boy,
I guess I am now on the process of loving you, even when I don’t want to.

My O.K. Experience

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Let’s start this blog by saying that I consider myself as an introvert ever since forever. I don’t necessarily have a problem with it but sometimes I just wish I was outgoing and friendly coz most often than not, I think I’m missing out on the fun (which is not necessarily true). This is my thinking especially regarding dating and relationships. I’m 25, never had a boyfriend, never been kissed. Again, it’s not a major problem for me since I believe that the right person will come when God says it’s the right time, but you know you can’t help wishing you’re with somebody at times. Haha.

This is where my online persona comes in. I take on a slightly different persona online. Maybe due to the fact that the other person can’t see me but I am more forward and friendly whenever I’m connected to the internet. I haven’t done much flirting online though until recently. A friend introduced me to Omegle. I decided to try it. I have nothing to lose and it’s easy to disconnect. This was two and a half weeks ago.

I didn’t really put much hope that I’ll be able to find a decent guy to go into a relationship  with when I tried Omegle. I know that no such thing can come out when you can lie your way all through out your interaction since you’re just basically strangers. What I did wanted was some interesting conversations and maybe possible kinda lasting conversations. However, it was really hard to find what I’m looking for.

Omegle, a platform where two strangers can talk to each other, and wherein you can just disconnect when you don’t feel talking anymore, is a horny person attractor. Whenever I was lucky enough that the stranger did not disconnect onset of the convo, I will later find them to be just horny and looking for a hook up. Then, it would be now me that will disconnect. I did was able to have interesting and fun conversations a couple of times – one with a nurse who’s gay, one with a gay who’s in love with his classmate, one with a weird guy with interesting theories about why the world is the way it is now, and one is with a grandfather who has interesting stories about the time when he was still a firefighter.

Usually, the stranger will also ask if you have Kik. I was not familiar with the app but downloaded it nonetheless. Kik is a messaging app where you cannot be traced (hopefully). It’s also easy to block someone. Messages are also not saved and older messages are deleted from the conversation.

I had some fun interactions, some I went along with their kiks, played with the game, enjoyed while it lasted. I sent some pictures but when it’s getting too personal and I can’t keep up, I immediately block the other person. Two and a half weeks later since I started, I have been conversing with three guys (but soon I think only one will be left). I enjoy especially talking to this one guy, we haven’t exchanged pictures at all and it was only after a week and a half of talking did we know each other’s names but I think our conversation will soon halt, since I’m not that good in keeping up with conversation.

Over all though, my Omegle-Kik (O.K.) experience is a good one. You just need to know your limits and don’t be persuaded easily by the strangers. My experience boosted my confidence and happiness these days. Hopefully, it continues.

Perfect by Maia Mayor

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Now, to all those expecting this is a book review, sorry to disappoint, but this slam poetry deserves its own post.

I’ve gotten into slam poetry after reading Slammed by Coleen Hoover. It re-introduced me to the beautiful word of poetry and I’ve been a follower ever since. It introduced me to poets like Olivia Gatwood, Neil Hilborn, Sandra Benaim, Maia Mayor, and many talented others.

However, across the poems I have viewed so far, Perfect by Maia Mayor resonated with me the most. The first time I heard it, I could not unheard it and I needed it to be replayed again and again so badly. That is how bad it hit home. It’s like Maia is describing my entire existence in under four minutes.

Let’s take a look at the verses. Here is also a link to the poem: PERFECT by MAIA MAYOR

Is there something wrong with you?
A lose screw or two that loses you’re ability to function?
Why…are you always so tired.
You’re life is uninspired and small. All you do is sprawl on the couch with outstretch limbs like a sloth in slow motion.
Where is your devotion to succeed Maia?
Did it drift out your window with a smoke from your weed? Do I have to force feed you discipline til you finally concede I cook and I clean and I don’t stop til the soles of my feet bleed
But I’m fine…
I’m perfect.
Be perfect Maia. Be perfect like me.

Stop wearing those god-awful ripped pants and that lipstick like a whore with double D implants.
You only get one chance. Stop acting like a cat with 9 lives left. Stop committing youself to songs and stories and spoken slam bullshit in a world where degrees and PhDs impede the need for poetry.
And stop chewing on your nails.
No wonder you never attracted any males.
Why do you do thhat? Do you like the taste?
Are they sweet?
You can’t eat sweets Maia. You’re ruining your teeth like you’re ruining your life.
My teeth are perfect.
Clean and pristine. They glean like a golden halo above my perfectly conditioned head.
I don’t need sugar Maia. I am above sugar.
Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other.
You’ll never be up here Maia. You act as if the act of listening is a crime or you would have hear me, the six hundred and sixty sixth time I told you to stop chewing on your nails. stop chewing on your nails like a goddamn piece of trash. You can’t be trash Maia.
You have to be perfect. Be perfect like me.

I get up at 5 in the morning everyday. I start my day the same way, worried that I’ll collapse as my bones start to decay from cleaning up your scraps. Why is your room such a mess? The clothes go in the hamper Maia. Not displayed on your bed like your lack of morals. Not littered on the floor collecting more dust than my withered expectations. You disregard my rules in a stubborn contempt in a substandard attempt at teenage rebellion. But you can’t be a rebel Maia. You can’t be interesting enough. you need to obey and say yes and okay. you need to do it with a smile on your less than average face. You need to try harder Maia. Make it wider Maia. Why don”t you know how to smile?
You disappoint me Maia. You never appreciate what I do for you. You never try to be a winner and you never eat your dinner. You never eat the dinner I consistently provide for you as I constantly remind you of the life I set aside for you. That meal doesnt pay for itself. I don’t care if it’s ideal. Stop telling me how you feel. You need to eat it. Eat it all. Eat it at a reasonable time with a glass of milk. You need milk Maia. You need calcium like you need a catalyst for growth. You’ll never grow to be tall. Be tall like me, I drink my milk Maia, drink your fucking milk.
Be tall. Be perfect. Be perfect like me.

You need to pay more attention Maia. Stop the daydreaming Maia. Stop staring at the ceiling as if you’re one redeeming quality lies hidden in the plaster. You need to organize your life, your life is a disaster just like your room. Just like your teeth. Just like your future which will soon come to an end if you don’t put down that pen. You need to stop writing Maia. Your life is not a book.
Don’t give me that look Maia. I’m just trying to help you. I’m just trying to love you. I’m just trying to love you. You have to let me love you so you can be perfect. Be perfect like me.

The poem is a direct reflection of the thoughts of my mother when talking about me, or so my feelings tell me. This is one of the major reasons why I feel that I am not good enough and never will be.

You see, I graduated with honors at the top university in my country. I didn’t like my degree though. I just graduated for the sake of getting out of the system which is sooo wrong. Just so wrong. Don’t follow me.

And now, I am working in a less than stellar (but mind you, stressful) job – call center – which is like looked down upon by most. Every time I go home, there’s always THE SPEECH. “You’re asleep again?” “Haven’t you just slept a while ago? You might not be able to sleep at night already.””Why are you always so tired?” “You can’t even do your own laundry. I am not your maid.” So yeah, I am guilty of being such a lazy ass. I wanna scream “Why can’t you understand that now that I’m working at night? Of course my body will feel tired than average. Why can’t you let me sleep as much as I like on my days off? Don’t you know how hard it is to sleep during the day?”But of course, these are all just in my head.

I’m also guilty of the nails biting, the not eating the dinner, the messed up and dirty room, the not being tall enough (coz I only stand 4’9″even at 24. I’m so damn guilty about a lot of things that the poem is talking about that it makes it feel much more intimate. Much more personal to me.

The verse “Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other,”  really gets to me. Not only do I hear a similar voice from my mother, but it’s also my voice hunting me with the same thought every damn second. And it’s just so tiring, not to mention futile.

I know it’s not healthy to compare yourself to others but you know you just can’t help it. Call me immature and all those crap but this is still the way I’m feeling. I have failed to convinced myself time and again to not care what other people think especially when the people you call family are the ones making you feel this way the most. It’s like there’s a constant reminder, especially from my mother and younger sister, that I can do much better if only I try. Why am i in the call center? Why am i wasting my smart mind in a job that’s so not needing much brain. Why am i rotting away when my colleagues, high school classmates, cousins, are all soaring high with their careers? Purchasing houses and cars, travelling to all these gorgeous places? DON’T YOU THINK I DON’T FEEL THAT? DON’T YOU THINK IT HAS COME ACROSS MY MIND AND THOUGHT OVER ABOUT IT?

I know that you might say that maybe I am probably not trying hard enough, not working hard enough, not looking hard enough. Enough. Maybe indeed i am. But who are they to judge? It just lowers my about-to-hit-the-floor ego. And it freaking gets me depressed every time. This will then get me into this bad habit of mine watching indecent and inappropriate things which will further make feel guilty (coz i’m a Christian, or so I want to really become one), which will just repeat the cycle on and on. It’s not helping.

It’s hard to fight your battles alone. It’s even harder to change, to fight for life, and for the future when the ones you expect to fight along side is you is fighting against you. Some do succeed even when they’re on their own. But I am not strong enough yet. I just hope the day will come when I’m strong enough, strong enough to overcome all this mind crazies I have.

Perfect is one slam poem I will never get tired of watching. It makes me feel less alone. Hopefully, someday, I hope, when I come across it, it will only serve as a look back of the past I had once, far from the current one I have.