Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

During the pandemic, I spent many nights on my balcony. I remember there were nights where there wouldn’t be a single star or cloud in the sky, and all was quiet in the world.

I didn’t question it.

I just let it be as is.

Spending so much time alone, I began to explore the concept of love and if the pandemic changed my definitions of it.

It’s naive for me to say that I’ve never been in love before. I have, in the several moments I’ve been able to put my finger on, but there are the layers that…


How my father’s legacy led to new connections

Photo by Mak on Unsplash

It was a mundane Thursday when we met up for coffee and donuts. Little did I know, coffee and donuts would soon become our thing — a thing that became a “thing” in 2018 as I paced inside the Manila Airport waiting to board my flight.

“Call me when you arrive, and I’ll take you out for coffee and donuts,” he said. “I know there’s more you want to say.”

I wasn’t sure if it was because of the many years he spent as a radio host that his voice naturally grounded me, the undertones of deep assertiveness that held…


A five-line story

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Death approached me and took a seat beside me. He sipped on his coffee before finally saying a word.

“Live,” he said.

“Isn’t that what I’m doing?” I asked.

“Only when I visit,” he replied. “No one ever really lives unless I visit.”


Photo by Yasmine Arfaoui on Unsplash

Like most stories of magic and adventure, it begins with a moment of chance set in a whimsical circus.

Our decision to meet was out of the blue and spontaneously unplanned. Adam stood outside my door with a plastic bag filled with treats for the sick — a box of Tylenol, orange juice, and several EmergenC packets. I was coming down with a cold and gratefully accepted the kind care package that he hand-delivered to my doorstep. Although we both attended school in the city, we seldom crossed paths with one another. He went to school by the lake, while…


This idea always fascinated me. While 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, it’s also a much-celebrated milestone. It’s the closing of another decade. Ironically, I also turned thirty last month. That too was a bitter-sweet end of a decade toasted to my wanderlust twenties.

I remember sitting in the bathtub the morning after my birthday celebration with my mind slightly hungover not from the copious amounts of alcohol (copious for a thirty-year-old, mind you) but instead by the memories that flooded from my not so distant past.

That was when the thought hit me.

How many…


You are and will always be the author of your story.

Our personal narratives are powerful. The stories we tell ourselves is a reflection of the active role we play in our lives. Sometimes the stories we hold onto are dictated by the wounds we continue to carry from past traumas, failures, and relationships. I’ve realized that I have several unhealthy narratives that have been defining who I am as a person. In many ways, it’s like a domino effect. …


Photo by Alicia Steels on Unsplash

I genuinely believe the world — in all its beauty and vastness in culture, landscapes, food, and languages — was created with the intent to be explored.

I didn’t always understand the beauty behind traveling. When I was younger, I had a bucket list of all the things I wanted to see and do; visit the ancient ruins of the Parthenon, ride the gondolas in Venice and walk the busy streets amongst other New Yorkers with Magnolia’s famous banana pudding in hand. …


Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

I’m three days short of going into my third week of quarantine, and I’ve come to realize many things.

I miss how simple it was to go to the store and how much I took that task for granted.

I miss having my weekly Dear Gorgeous meetings with my iced americano and a week’s worth of updates for my co-host.

I miss watching my favorite band play every Wednesday night at the same local bar, which I consider to be a staple to my youth.

But more than anything else, I miss having human contact.

I never would have imagined…

Akina Marie Chargualaf

Human who likes to write about human things: mindfulness, connections, and five-line stories. http://www.akinamarie.com

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