Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Pampanga... and then to Idaho!

I'm so excited! Five books will be traveling quite a bit in the next coming weeks. I dropped the books off at the Air21 counter this afternoon at the Alabang Town Center. By Wednesday, they should be in Angeles City in Pampanga. By mid-May, they should be somewhere in Idaho.

I got an email last week from Claire, a teacher, part-time writer for the Idaho Press, and on-the-way mom. What a surprise! I haven't quite traced where she heard about the Yellow Paperclip, but she says she is on the constant lookout for new Filipino books for her kids to teach them about being Pinoy. I warned her that the book is hardly a Filipino folktale! Yet she still ordered five books. She asked me to send them to her mom in Pampanga who will be visiting Idaho in a few weeks. Wow, these books will be some of the most well-traveled ones!

Claire, I hope your family, especially Benjamin and his baby brother, enjoy my story!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lost (and Found) Paperclips

I see these paperclips as I walk to work, in the short distance between the parking lot and the Philippine Stock Exchange Center. I know I'm probably one of the few, if not the only person who has seen them. And I've been seeing them for several days now. Can you see them?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

El Clip Amarillo del Papel con Puntos Púrpuras Brillantes

That's The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots in Spanish! (Well, at least according to a quick free translation on the web!) No, it hasn't been translate YET but thanks to a new friend, my story just might be in Spanish someday in the future.

I had dinner with two new friends from the Powerbooks Megamall Book Club tonight after we had our book discussion on Pride and Prejudice. One of them, Zoe, will be flying to Barcelona in June to take up a three-month Spanish program. I knew her from the good ole Ateneo days, but I think I only really got to know her tonight over a three-hour non-stop gab fest. She's a writer (yet like me, was also intimidated with literary groups in college), closet kikay-girly-girl, a language buff, and a true romantic (I can still remember her argument when we discussed The Time Traveler's Wife: "There are worse things than waiting. I'd rather wait than settle.") I think it's cool to get to know people outside the confines and expectations of college.

Thanks to Zoe, she got me thinking about trying out for a French language scholarship. Perhaps I can dream and work for Le Trombone Jaune avec les Points Violets Brillants?

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Yellow-and-Purple Merienda

To share my happiness with my DDI family, I thought of having a simple but yellow-and-purple merienda this afternoon. Can you guess what yummy food I bought?
A big thank you to our resident photographer, Wacky Salazar, for these awesome photos of butter macaroons (yellow) and an ube cake (purple) from Goldilocks. Here are more snapshots of our little celebration.

I wonder what our merienda will be for next quarter's royalty check. Any suggestions for fun yellow-and-purple food?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Gets its First Paycheck

Yahoo! I got my first check yesterday from Adarna based on September to December 2005 sales of The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots. It can't buy me a house (just yet) but I'm still one happy kid. I have to share my happiness...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One Red Paperclip = A Dream Come True (Almost)

Wow. Kyle has sure gone a long way since he posted on my blog last year. His dream of trading One Red Paperclip for a house is almost fulfilled. After a cross-continental trading trek involving a fish-shaped pen, a town named Yahk and the Web's astonishing ability to bestow celebrity, MacDonald is getting close. He's up to one year's free rent on a house in Phoenix. This, according to a recent report on CNN. Read the full news article here.

One red paperclip, something so small and seemingly insignificant, can bring you so much. Kyle shares his biggest lesson: If you say you're going to do something and you start to do it, and people enjoy it or respect it or are entertained by it, people will step up and help you.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Meets Fr. Stein, a Jesuit Friend

Fr. Thomas B. Steinbugler, S.J. is a dear friend from many years back. After a wonderful prayerful and paperclippy Holy Week, I dropped by this Easter Sunday to give Fr. Stein a copy of my book as I had promised.

ur friendship started sometime around 1998 or 1999 in my sophomore year when I went to confession at the Gonzaga Chapel in the Ateneo. I don't remember what I had said, but it must have been significant enough for the kind Jesuit priest to slip me his calling card through the confessional box and invite me to breakfast the next day. I remember being pleasantly surprised. He read my mind (How will I know who you are...?) and reassuringly said: "I'll be the only old Caucasian fellow there."

Fr. Stein and I had breakfast at Pancake House along Katipunan Avenue the next morning. We shared sausages and pancakes, and thoughts about life. I can recall him saying that all Jesuits wish it were like the good ole days when they could have regular one-on-one talks with students, when they could build friendships with all of us. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. We took a tricycle back to campus. I remember the feeling of happy disbelief: Wow, did I really just have breakfast and share life stories with a priest? We became email buddies after that, with a healthy exchange of questions and stories about God, relationships, books and love. But eventually, we lost touch...

Until I tracked him down more than five years later (it was on my To-Do-List) and paid him a surprise visit in November 2004, just weeks after I found out about winning the PBBY-Salanga Prize. He is now with the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) house in the Sonolux Building in Ateneo. I was the more surpised when he remembered me and our email conversations! After telling him my happy news, he gave me a practical, one-liner piece of advice: KEEP WRITING. He also told me to come back into his life every couple of years. I will.

As strange (or pretentious) as it sounds, I really think The Yellow Paperclip is meant to connect and reconnect people from different worlds. One of my mom's best friends, Tita Vicky Faicol, had worked with Fr. Stein at EAPI for many years. Tita Vicky's six-year-old nephew, Elijah, reads my story almost every night and named the Paperclip "Lorenzo". When I told him about the PBBY-Salanga Award, Fr. Stein asked if the prize is named after a certain Freddie Salanga. The late Alfrredo N. Salanga turns out to be an activist and archenemy of many American priests during his time in the Ateneo. How strange and cool is all this?!

Fr. Stein, I look forward to seeing you again soon. I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you for your friendship throughout the years. I promise to keep in touch.

Prayers (and Paperclips) this Easter Weekend

I spent the long weekend in glorious silence at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches for an individually guided Holy Week retreat organized by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality. Prayers, yes, of course you can expect that... but paperclips?

On the first day, mid-morning of Maundy Thursday, I saw a yellow paperclip on the side of the road. Later that day, as I walked in silence around the beautiful grounds, I saw a blue one, then a red paperclip. Three paperclips. One for each full day I'm in this sacred place. (I think it might be too much to link three paperclips with the Trinity. Hee-hee.) The three paperclips stayed with me, happily clipped onto my cool prayer journal from Yelle. I couldn't help but smile though; thank you, God! Imagine: three paperclips in one day! Wow! In the deep silence of my heart, You make me truly happy... with or without paperclips.

On Good Friday, I gave my spiritual director a copy of my book. Bro. Charles is an angel: in his earnest, most authentic self, armed with a ready smile and a generous heart, he helped me articulate my feelings and identify God's footprints in my life. My storybook was a symbol of God's love and desire to realize my own deepest desire. My big dream came true, and for that I am completely grateful. On Black Saturday, I saw another blue paperclip near the Main Hall's garden. But I used it on a note for Bro. Charles that afternoon. (So it's now a Pilgrim Paperclip. Hee-hee.) On Easter Sunday afternoon, I visited my old Jesuit friend Fr. Stein at the Sonolux in Ateneo and gave him a copy of my book as I promised during my last visit in late 2005. (This story is for another blogpost!)

Lines from one of my favorite e.e. cummings' poem capture my Easter weekend: i thank You God for most this amazing day... this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings... (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Model for a Day

Today was the photo shoot for the magazine feature. Eeeep. It was awkward and unnerving. It was so intimidating to be around so many pretty skinny girls with flawless skin and clothes that hugged them in the perfect way. It was uncomfy sitting in a high chair, feeling underdressed in just a white t-shirt and jeans. I got transformed by the expert (yet kind and patient... and funny!) make-up guru Ara Fernando. I announced from the start my honest disclaimer: This is my first photo shoot! I was so happy to hear her reply: Don't worry, you're in good hands.

Oh and I sure was! An hour (or two?) later, after sharing some laughs with Ara and realizing we have common friends (more connections!), we headed to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf next to The Ortigas Park. There was just the round table, a chair, me, my paperclip... and my smile. I didn't realize how hard it is to look and feel naturally happy when 1) there are people staring, 2) it's windy and so my hair kept getting messed up, 3) it's mid-afternoon and I felt my face was melting (it wasn't though), and 4) I was upset because of not-so-good news at work that morning. I hope my eyes weren't sad in the photos. Oh well. We'll see.

I haven't seen the photos and I haven't read Nikki's article. I'll post them both once I have them. Eeeeep. I hope the magazine turns out great.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

5,000 Paperclips = 5,000 New Adventures

Adarna House ran an initial 5,000 copies of my book. According to their marketing department, all copies are out in bookstores around the country... and they have no more copies in their stockroom! WOW! And just when I was thinking of sending it to Oprah... Hee-hee. I hope we'll print some more copies... especially since the mag feature will be out by June. Hooray! You can just imagine: it's another my-heart-is-bursting-happy kind of happy time. I'm one happy kid.

If you're one of the 5,000 with a Yellow Paperclip as a new friend, pause to think: if you have a paperclip, what colorful adventure will you start today? Let me know so I can include your stories in the sequel. (Yes, thanks to an impromptu brainstorming session with Papa last month, it looks like we have a sequel... and possibly even a prequel! I just need to get it out... and write.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

GOAL: 100 Spots in 2006 (and More)

When we set goals in DDI, we want them to be SMART objectives. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. When I pitched to blog for, I needed to write my goal in a SMART way too. So I wrote: By December 31, 2006, I want the Yellow Paperclip to travel to at least 100 unique spots.

Here are our bright purple spots since August 2005:
  1. Anaheim, California
  2. ATD Street Library
  3. Ateneo de Manila University
  4. Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Blue Eagle GK Village
  6. Boise, Idaho
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Cagayan de Oro
  9. Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. Davao
  11. De La Salle Zobel Library
  12. Delaware
  13. General Santos
  14. Gunalda, Australia
  15. Gurgaon, India
  16. International School Manila Elementary Library
  17. Jakarta, Indonesia
  18. London, England
  19. Los Angeles, California
  20. Malate Church
  21. Melbourne, Australia
  22. Milpitas, California
  23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  24. Montreal, Canada
  25. Muenster, Germany
  26. New Jersey
  27. New York City, New York
  28. Newport, Kentucky
  29. North Carolina
  30. Norway
  31. Ohio, Cincinnatti
  32. Oxford
  33. Park Ridge, Illinois
  34. Peru
  35. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  36. Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  37. Queensland, Australia
  38. Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches
  39. San Diego, California
  40. San Francisco, California
  41. San Jose, California
  42. Seattle, Washington
  43. Seoul, Korea
  44. Singapore
  45. Slovenia
  46. South Cotabato
  47. Suffolk, England
  48. Texas
  49. Toronto
  50. Vancouver
  51. Victoria, Australia
  52. Xavier School
  53. Zambales
If you have my book and you're in a unique spot that's not on this list yet, do let me know! In the next nine months, where in the world will the Yellow Paperclip go?

But what is it really all about? Ultimately, the goal is to make the world an even smaller place, to connect people and places and things like they've never dreamed possible, and for people to realize that hey, we're not so different after all. I want to do this one Paperclip at a time. Yeah, I know, it sounds idealistic and almost foolishly childish... and that's what I love about it.

I've been tagged as the Princess of the World Cafe. Let's see if the world agrees.