November to remember

It’s two days ’til December… Less than a month ’til Christmas. This morning, I woke up to this: 

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Saddest Christmas tree ever 😦

And I couldn’t help but feel bad. 

I have always loved the Christmas season. I love the festive atmosphere. I love looking at the Christmas decors, watching the lights, and listening to Christmas carols. And yes, I love going Christmas shopping. I normally finalize my list sometime late October because I like doing my Christmas shopping early. By mid-November, I’m done setting up the Christmas tree and lights.

I am a gift giver. I relish the whole process — from making the list, to buying and wrapping gifts… I even like putting them under the Christmas tree (that I lovingly set up and decorated). This entire practice gives me a certain high.  

At nights before I sleep, I spend some time getting lost in the Christmas lights. Simply watching them relaxes me. I may go to bed exhausted from the day’s activities, but there’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I call this my Christmas feeling.

Things have been quite different this year, though. It’s almost December and our tree isn’t up yet. No Christmas decors… no Christmas lights outside. In fact, there are even several busted regular bulbs inside the house that I have yet to change.

Yup, I have been neglecting quite a number of things around the house lately. I don’t know if this has something to do with our ’empty nesting.’ Since we no longer have a little child in the house  who will appreciate the decors and the lights (as much as I do), well, it suddenly doesn’t anymore feel as exciting to decorate. Somehow it is different when you have someone — other than yourself — who admires, appreciates, and gawks at that Christmas tree you have painstakingly set up for more than half a day.

So, right now, all we have is a bare tree. No lights. No gifts. No warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.  Bah-humbug.

So what kept me busy this whole month of November? Let me backtrack a bit.

Okay, last week I was in Singapore. Again (Yey, Singapore!). You see, our Baseball Club sent two teams to play in a Thanksgiving Tournament. My husband was the head of delegation, and we pretty much spent a big part of November preparing for the trip. But unlike those other tournaments where I was on top of the travel coordination, this time we had parent leads who took care of most of the travel details. I only assisted where I was needed, giving them tips and suggestions on certain matters. And since I had no son playing in the said tournament, basically, I was just a tag along.

For a split-second I asked myself if I should still go with the team, knowing full well that I will be paying for my own expenses. Besides, weren’t we in Singapore just a month ago for the Parents’ Weekend? (Remember the previous blog?) And didn’t we extend that last time because of my son’s injury? (Remember the blog before the previous one?)

So I asked myself, is it still practical? Should I go or should I just stay home, fix my house, prepare for December, shop for Christmas?

I believe that home is where the heart is. And the heart is where the family is. My husband will be in Singapore. My son IS in Singapore. They are my home. Of course, I had to go to Singapore, as well. 

And yes, there’s also Sephora in Singapore. But that’s beside the point. 🙂

Snapshots from the Week that Was…

You’d think that since we were in Singapore, my husband and I will be able to spend a lot of time with our unico, right? Uhm, wrong! He’s in college… and the term’s about to end… he had a lot of school work to finish, papers to submit. So after seeing him and having dinner with him on the night that we arrived, well, we basically did not see even his shadow for the next several days.

Since the main reason for the trip was the baseball tournament, our days were filled with baseball games… and moments.

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The weather was not always good… 😦

We brought two teams composed of boys mostly aged 9-10 and a couple of 11 and 12 year olds. One team played in the 10u age group, while the other played up and joined the 12u group.

Unfortunately for the 10u team, all of their games started at 8am. Since they needed to be on the field an hour before for warm-up, it meant waking up and getting ready really early and being in the bus by 6am. 

3

Daybreak 

On the morning that I rode the bus with the two teams at 6am, I asked myself — Why do I still do this? I don’t have a son playing in this tournament… Why wake up early? Why even spend the day on the field?

And then I see the boys.

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Habagat represent!

I see the smiles on their faces. I see their excitement. 

I see their determination and grit.

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I see their courage in the face of bigger, stronger boys. I also see their eagerness and willingness to learn, to get better.

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Hi, Callum! Habagat 2015 

I get to experience baseball moments, however small or grand, in and out of the field. I  also get to see relationships — friendships– being formed.

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Two teams, One Habagat.

Plus, I get to meet new people, form new friendships of my own.

Incidentally, in all my 7 years of being part of the Club, I do think that this is one of the coolest bunch of parents that I have spent tournament days with. 

These parents cheered like crazy and they supported each player, not just their own sons. And you know what, the players responded. The boys appreciated being cheered on.  The parents gave whatever support they can, the way they knew how. 

What’s commendable, too, was the fact that these parents knew their boundaries and did not overstep them. They let the coaches coach and the players play. Talk about respect.

Going back to my question on why I still do this… Perhaps I still get myself involved in the sport because as I watch the boys grow and learn, I also grow and learn with them.

So that was basically how the week went. Daily baseball games, a little shopping on the side (with a lot of walking)… 

Lots of stories, fun and laughter with fellow parents. Lots of selfies, too.

On our last day, well, we got to spend it with the most important person in Singapore (at least in my book)…

This is home.

So, all that kept me busy this November.

Maybe by the time I get to post this seemingly neverending blog, well, December will be just a day away.  I think I am now ready to get that warm, fuzzy feeling back.  

I will set up our Christmas tree tomorrow, lights and all.

😉 

*********

This blog was written 28th of Nov. 2017. Photos are mostly mine.

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Happy place

The other weekend, my unico was fortunate enough to have been  invited to another College Weekend experience. Whereas last time he went to a University in Abu Dhabi, this time, he flew to Singapore.

It was an activity-filled weekend for him in another country. By himself, without nagging parents. What an adventure.

Unlike the first College Weekend that he had a month ago, this time I was not as anxious seeing him off. Perhaps it’s because Singapore is just four hours away, and he’ll be gone for just three days, anyway.

We dropped him off at the airport early Friday morning…

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Saying goodbye…

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Needless to say, I am already preparing myself mentally and emotionally for the time  when my son will leave for college for good.

It is inevitable. We have known this will happen… that he will study in another country. This has always been our plan for him, and his dream for himself. And given the opportunities that he has been blessed with, we know that this is also God’s great plan, as well.

But I guess no matter how much you prepare yourself, there will always be a feeling of loneliness that looms over, knowing that your child will be far away from you. As excited as I am with what the future holds for him, I still cannot help but be anxious, as well. Classic case of sepanx (separation anxiety).

The house was awfully quiet that weekend that he was away. Worse, I barely heard from him the whole time he was in Singapore!

At first I thought that maybe something was wrong with my phone’s signal, or with our internet connection at home. Eventually I realized — and got to accept– that he was busy. It was an eventful weekend… And he was having fun.

I also realized that it would have been more difficult for me if he kept texting and telling me that he was homesick, or that he was unhappy. I would rather that he was busy and enjoying… Even without us.

Letting go is not as hard when you know your child is excited, not unhappy, and is unafraid.

***

Alas, Sunday evening came.  We were back at the airport, this time to pick him up.

It was a rainy late Sunday evening, but the airport was still buzzing with activity. A lot of families were picking up their loved ones.

As our car was lined up in traffic along the Arrival area driveway, a thought came to me…

To people or families with loved ones abroad, THIS IS the happiest place on earth.

Because truly, nothing beats the joy and happiness one feels when you see your loved one coming out of that Arrival area.

Being reunited with someone you love = priceless. ❤️

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Okay, so he probably doesn’t look so happy… Let’s blame the hour and a half flight delay. It’s one thirty in the morning, so I’m cutting him some slack. 😉

❤️❤️❤️

Photos are all mine 😊

Macau memories and selfies Part 1

Macau

Off to Macau…

“Vacation, all I ever wanted… vacation, had to get away…”

That ’80s song from The Go-go’s just keeps playing in my head as I type this blog. Don’t we all crave for that vacation… Two or three days of being away from home, traveling to a different place, seeing new things, meeting new people, eating different food… leaving behind the daily routine. Such bliss!

I was blessed enough to spend four days in Macau with the family last week.  It was really a spur of the moment thing — Thank you, mother dear for being generous and for making the trip possible. ❤

It was a tiring trip, really. There were mishaps along the way. But in the end, the memories we made and we brought home with us were worth every aching muscle. 

I will let the pictures tell the story… (I added some notes, too. I’m a writer, of course I have to have notes…) 😉

***

Macau Moments, Day 1

We left on a Friday. The flight was supposed to be at 1:20pm… Lo and behold, we boarded the plane, well, around 1:20pm. It was okay, though. There were six of us in the group (Dad, mom, brother, my hubby, son and yours truly), so we pretty much just entertained ourselves during the wait — meaning we got something to eat while waiting.

We finally boarded… then we were off!

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my hand must have moved

Of course I had to take selfies while on the plane! I just loved the lighting. That photo is filter-free!! Happy to look relaxed 30,000 feet above the ground! 🙂

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selfie-shmelfie

Did I say I loved the natural light??

***

So we got to Hotel Sofitel around 6:00pm, checked in, went to the rooms, fixed our things, settled down a bit, then decided to start exploring downtown Macau by 7:30pm.

The universe had a different plan, though. It rained. Welcome showers and breeze. We couldn’t go out just yet. So we just decided to have dinner first at the hotel.

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First dinner in Macau

Our first dinner was a feast! Though on a perennial diet like me, my mom is not one who scrimps when it comes to food, so with her consent, we ordered away. Our first dinner pretty much felt like, well, the last supper. Like I said, it felt like a feast. Everything was delicious, too.

What made our meal more enjoyable was the fact that our servers were fellow Filipinos. They were truly so welcoming and courteous.  They made sure that we were well taken care of (we even got dessert and fruit platter on the house).  How blessed are we?! 

After that sumptuous dinner, we knew we had to walk the calories off. The rain had stopped, the air was cool. Perfect time for walking.

First stop: Largo do Senado (Senado Square). Approximately 15 minutes away from the hotel.

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where’s papa??

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too lazy to line up

The street behind us is a popular pictorial spot, reminiscent of the crooked, winding road in San Francisco, though much shorter. It was really pretty to look at, especially at night with all the lights on. But there was a line so we couldn’t take a photo on the actual street… so this was the best that I could do. (My mom’s so pretty, huh?! Thanks mom for the genes…❤ )

Second stop: Ruins of St. Paul. Approximately 5 mins. from where we were. 10 mins if you walk leisurely. 15-20 mins. if you stop by the shops that were around (Bossini, Giordano, Baleno, Sasa, etc. etc.)

And so we walked, enjoyed the cobblestones and the old structures. We walked until we reached two diverging alleys. Do we turn left or right? Surely the Ruins is not that far now.

We chose to turn right. Walked some more. Still no road leading to our destination. We checked our GPS (courtesy of the hotel phone that we were allowed to bring around). Hmm. GPS showed a route — 15 more minutes. What?! Thought the place was so near?

We trusted GPS… and ended up walking farther than where we were supposed to go.  15 mins later, we were still walking, huffing and puffing. Okay, so we were lost. We were walking towards the main road and not towards the Ruins. Thank you GPS for recalibrating.

And then just as we were about to cross an alley, we came across an angel! Another Filipino who lived there, and who was out for a jog. He must have sensed that we were lost… asked where we were headed, and very nicely offered to bring us to our destination. Bless your soul, mister!! 

After about an eternity of walking  — yep, it pretty much felt like an eternity — and climbing a gazillion steps… We finally, FINALLY reached the top. 

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Made it! Yey!

Behind me is what they call the Ruins of St.Paul’s, former site of Church of St. Paul. 

I stood in front of the large (and I mean large) spotlights lighting up the facade of the church… Perfect spot for a selfie, with disheveled hair and all. My face has never been fairer. Too bad I only took like one-fourth of the structure. Oh well. 

The group rested for about half an hour. Tried to get our bearings before heading back to the hotel. Eventually we found out that we were, indeed, 5mins away from Largo de Senado. Sigh. 

Was back at the hotel by 11:00pm. End of Day 1.

***

Let me stop here first. I still get exhausted just remembering that long walk to forever, I mean, to the Ruins.  

Watch out for Days 2, 3 and 4. Maybe next time I will just let the pictures do the storytelling… 😉

— B   ❤

*****

credits: photos used were mostly mine ❤

#travels #adventure #familytime #Macau

 

Friendship, South of France

Today was errands day.

My agenda for the day included: Picking up Les Miserables tickets (done! so excited!); Do the groceries, buy food for the family (bought more than necessary… but then, what else is new?!); Get son’s picture from the photo shop; Pay some bills (some?!); Buy salad for lunch (perpetual diet but keeps cheating with dessert)…  And the list went on.

Walking at the mall, on my way to the supermarket, I bumped into an old friend, Elle — someone I haven’t seen in a long time. Continue reading

Sky Ranch, sunset and selfie

I went to Tagaytay with family and friends over the weekend for a much, much needed vacation. Sometimes, a weekend getaway is just what one needs to recharge.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Sky Ranch, a small theme park overlooking Taal.  The main attractions were a zipline, a really big ferris wheel, a Viking ride (it’s like a boat that swings back and forth like a pendulum, going higher and higher with every swing)… there were small rides for little kids, and of course there were horses for those who wanted to go horseback riding.  But to me the best attraction of all was the breathtaking view of Taal volcano…

Take a look at this awesome sight!

This was supposed to be a selfie...

This was supposed to be a selfie…

If I am not mistaken, Taal Volcano is considered to be the smallest volcano in the world.  According to Wikipedia, Taal Volcano is a complex volcano, and is the second most active volcano in the Philippines.  Taal Volcano and Lake are located in the province of Batangas, a province south of Manila.  It is best viewed from Tagaytay ridge, and Sky Ranch provides a really nice viewing deck.

Sharing a few more photos that I took while at Sky Ranch…

I just love watching the setting of the sun.

day turning into night

day turning into night

One can’t help but marvel at the beauty of God’s creations.

The next picture, on the other hand, shows something man-made.   But it is awesome, just the same.

Sky Eye

Sky Eye

The light on this really big ferris wheel changes colors.

Now it's blue

Now it’s blue

Now it's white... i think...

Now it’s white… and blue…

I didn’t try out any of the rides — I’m not into ferris wheels much… the zipline looked quite scary (I feel too old… and yes, I’m a chicken)…   I didn’t like the Viking ride because I was afraid someone might puke while I’m up there — which will surely make me vomit, as well (unfortunately, someone does vomit at each turn).

I just strolled around, enjoyed the view,  watched the sunset, chatted with friends, took pictures, savored the cool breeze… Ah, the simple joys of life.

And of course I can’t help but take this last picture….

Selfie in the dark...

Selfie in the dark…

It was a fun Saturday afternoon spent with friends and loved ones.

Life is good.

*****

Sources:
Notes on Taal from Wikipedia
Photos from my iPhone 🙂