"#30" ≠ "The End"

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

It can also mean an awesome, inspiring and new beginning.

Sending lots of love today to "I", the man who has been making my heart smile. <3 Never thought turning a year older could be this wonderful!

Adventure is out there!

We may not be "absolutely" certain (who is?!) about where we're going, and we might not know how much time we'll need to get "there". One thing I'm sure of though is how safe, secure, and loved I feel right now.

There really are very important, life-scarring changing lessons that can be learned after getting thrown under the bus... I guess life really is about getting up, trying and trusting again.

Here's to embracing and starting this fresh journey, (hopefully) sans the baggage.

Part 2: 30th Birthday Highlights "der Käse-Edition" :)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

When I was much much younger, I thought I'd have these items on my life checklist ticked off at 30--married (to a man and a job i love), mom of a kid or two, and (more or less) financially stable too.

Boy was I dead wrong.

The closer I got to "the age", the more I realize the many other things I don't know. Instead of feeling like a "full-fledged-downright-grown-up-adult" (whatever that means), more often, I feel like I'm three, at least in terms of curiosity. Truth is, sometimes, I feel like I'm ambling along; the whole process of accepting, learning, and building certain things/relationships from scratch feels like an icy plunge into the unknown.

But you know what? That's perfectly ok.

Of the many wise words I've heard about people reaching this (or any other age), I think this one really spoke to me: "I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” (T.E. Ross)

Despite the occasional qualms and questions, I've never been more excited about embracing and falling into this magical space. After all, this allows me to experience some of life's most amazing surprises: new lessons, new friends, new countries, and...

WARNING:  THIS isn't called the CHEESE (Käse) edition for nothing. Hihi. 
Share my joy and hit play if you'd like... at your own risk :D

Ayer's dreamy vocals on being "Young" just nails how I feel about 
this unexpected, but most welcome kind of love <3
We tried so hard not to smile (too much), but I guess we both failed... massively :D
Totally amazed, immensely grateful.

Incidentally, this guy, mein wundervoller Freund (gotta get used to that!), is celebrating his birthday in a few days too. <3

Oh life. You're amazing.

Paalam po, Lolo

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Salamat po sa kapeng Barako, specialty ninyong afritada, ensaladang mangga, rambutan at lansones ninyong laging hinahanda.

Salamat po sa pag-aalaga, sa pagpapahalaga na ibinuhos ninyo sa edukasyon, sa mga itinuro ninyo sa amin tungkol sa pag-iimpok, pagiging masinop, at pagkakaroon ng dedikasyon at integridad sa bawat paggawa.

Salamat po sa musika, sa mga nakakatuwa at nakakatawang kwento at mga tula, sa mga ngiti at masarap na tawanan, sa lahat ng mga taong nagdaan.

Salamat po sa pagpaparamdam na ang bawat isa sa amin ay mahalaga, at "proud na proud" po kayong makilala bilang Lolo Poncing ng bawat isa.

Susubukan ko pong hindi na umiyak dahil alam kong mapayapa naman po ang inyong naging paglisan. Mahal na mahal po namin kayo.

Pangako, aalagaan po namin si Lola.

Lolo, enjoy po sa unli-videoke sa langit ha? :) Alam ko pong lagi ninyo kaming gagabayan.

Ang huli po nating pagkikita....

Hanggang sa muli! :)

Ang nagmamahal niyo pong apo,

Part I: 30th Birthday Highlights

Monday, 10 March 2014

Overwhelmed with joy and gratitude! Even though I miss my family and friends from home, I was extremely lucky because for my week-long birthday celebration, I had wonderful new loves who made sure that I didn't feel alone.

From surprise greetings, such as this Bounty-flavored creation (oh my goodness, it was sooooo goood) courtesy of the beautiful Ms. B, and some wild, happy singing in multiple languages, thanks to my wonderful classmates...

So amazingly lucky! Another treat from the same girl who made an awesome
"kalamay" for our Christmas party. Yup, a French girl whipped up an
awesome Filipino delicacy. She's such a TCK! :D

Counting my candles, LOL :D
Check out her stories of our travels (because I'm too lazy to write details, ugh) HERE.

To the sweetest online and offline messages, and quirky gifts like this customized card sent by my sister-friend Haze from London...

Inside: A compilation of the most wonderful anecdotes from 
different people when they turned 30.
Watch out, Hallmark! This baby takes home the prize :)

To local street parties, such as this wild Karneval night in Koln...

Costumes, face paint, music, roller coaster, bump cars, candy floss, curry wurst---
what more could we ask for? :D

Warning: Video can get prettyyyy dizzying :D

To extended travels, like this weekend trip to Dusseldorf...

Can't wait for spring! :)

Finally, a weather that allows me to enjoy some ice cream!
It was a little too sunny that weekend; within minutes of 
getting my order, my dessert started to melt! 
(Good save on my part here, haha) :D

We borrowed Brenda's purple French beret to illustrate its many uses.
From L-R: Celia, wearing it as a military cap; Ian, as an artist's cap, 
and moi, as a regular fashion accessory. 

My cup overfloweth! :)

That List :D

Sunday, 9 March 2014

So this is what happened to THAT LIST. I wasn't able to accomplish everything and some details are simply not meant to be published on this blog, but overall, I'm superrrr happy.

What an amazing, exciting ride! :)

Done, but "unbloggable", haha--
#3 - Contribute an entry to Thought Catalog or Post Secret.

#4 - Cook a special meal for a dear one.

#14 - Learn an 'exotic' dance…
Did not lose flabs, but had fun anyway!

#18 - Play the piano again.

I did this but totally forgot to record it!

#20 - Relax in a royal bath…
Not quite a rotemburo, but almost! Hihi. Since I couldn't go to Japan for this purpose, I chose to go for the nerve-wracking "hammam" experience in Morocco instead.

#25 - Slow dance and #29 - Write a love letter/poem/song.

\*Dreamy sigh* :)

Saving for another season--
#9 - Fly a kite! and #17 - Organize a picnic.
Because the cold weather caught up with me (and that, unfortunately is something beyond my control).

#15 - Learn the basics of braille.
Signed up twice, and it was also cancelled twice because there weren't enough students, huhu.

#16 - Make a coffee table book of my favorite places.
Started working on it but decided against it in the end. Certain memories, (un)fortunately, are meant to be forgotten or remembered in other ways.

#23 - Sign-up for a pottery class.
I couldn't make it to the schedules offered, whether in the Philippines or the US.

It's ok to change one's mind--
#10 - Get a teeny, tiny, private tat.
I couldn't think of a design that I'd like to keep on my body forever. At least not now.

Must dust oneself off and try again--
#19 - Record a song in a real studio...and shoot a crazy MTV of it with friends.
With all the moving I had to do, I failed to get access to a music studio. Better luck next time!

#28 - Work on my family tree project.
Never imagined bringing together everyone could be this challenging. Hope to do this in the next family reunion instead.

On to the next list! <3

#24 - Sing La Vie en Rose

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hard to believe, but I only have a week left before I hit the big 3-0, woohooo. Let the countdown begin! :)

To "celebrate" (haha, notice the slight hint of denial there), I visited the historical city of Munster with the usual suspects to see impressive churches, walk around the streets, and satiate our hunger at the Saturday market and the city's oldest inn. We also bumped into a couple of my classmates along the way; I say, big yay to "free" student travel tickets and wonderful weekends!

Since we had lots of time to kill before our train back to bochum, Brenda, Celia and I relaxed for a bit at Munster's Botanical Cardens. There wasn't much to see in there (uhhh, winter?), so my travel buddies decided to help me fulfill a task on my #30before30 list instead.

Disclaimer: except Eor maybe the 5 words that I know, I unfortunately DO NOT speak French, so this was particularly difficult for me (but that won't stop me from trying, lol... afterall, I come from a country where "karaoke" is a national sport, haha, and it's all about having fun!)

Et, voila! here's the result of my quick-and-dirty lesson with my *ehem* amazing French teachers on how to sing La Vie en Rose :)

Wow. I am NOT mahinhin at all when I am laughing! Oh well :D

Thanks Brenda for helping me out with the words (love my phonetic cheat sheet), and Celia, for guiding me with the practice tunes.

Oh and...

P.S. Sorry Mme Edith Piaf, I hope I didn't murder your song, but this (mis) adventure/challenge/opportunity to learn something new is just too precious to pass up!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, lovelies. Here's to daring, trying, and having fun!

#22 - DIY 'wearable art'

Thursday, 16 January 2014

To cap my Christmas holiday in the Philippines, I got a one-on-one tutorial from Arlene, my good friend from college who is also the creative mind behind The Bee's Knees.

Just before flying to Europe in September, she gave me two arm candies as send-off gifts which became such a hit, I just had to learn how to make them as part of my 30 Before 30 list.

Luckily for me, she was willing to share her technique and guide me through the DIY process. We chose Noriter, a Korean coffee shop in Manila, as our venue for this creative pursuit.

Desserts come first!

I didn't realize that some beads could get really expensive! On my way back to the Philippines, I was bent on finding special beads that we can use for this artistic experiment. I wasn't looking for anything too fancy, but I was hoping that I'd find something that was nice enough to not have knock-offs available in Quiapo (but I have to say, the stuff there are not only pretty cute, but much much cheaper too!)

I remember walking into a shop in Khan el-Kalili Bazaar in Egypt, eager to buy some of beads they had on display. When I asked for the price, the store owner said it was around P2,000, and in my ignorance, I asked him how many pieces I was going to get for that amount. He gave me a weirded-out look and explained that it was for ONE. small. glass bead. (Whuttt?!)

I left the store quicker than an Egyptian camel on steroids. Haha. :D

Luckily, I found an antique shop run by an old Egyptian man. It was more of a hole-in-the-wall store, but when I got in, it felt like walking into a movie set full of little trinkets and thingamabobs for sale. After seeing how I've been faffing around for a good few minutes, the owner showed me these traditional Nubian beads and ankh, the Egyptian symbol known as the "key of life". He excitedly told me about the stories and the relevance of each (not as a marketing ploy, no, it was like he didn't care if you bought anything from him or not).

This, of course, made the purchase more interesting. I knew right then that I had to get these pieces, but because I wasn't too confident about my haggling powers, I saved my last bid until the end. After naming my final price, the owner gave out a hearty laugh saying "You're Egyptian now!" (in terms of my price negotiation skills), shook my hand, thanked me for the transaction, and bade me "Salaam."

Success, yay! :)

The simple black and white pattern on the Nubian beads 
remind me of a sea serpent. I also love the turquoise shade on the ankhs!

The other materials that we used for making the bracelets. 

"Chan Luu-ing" while listening to cheesy 80's Pinoy 
love songs and Korean pop songs at Noriter--
what a way to spend the afternoon! 

Quick confession here--my final product was a little big for me (haha, guess I have to improve my guesstimate measurement skills). In the end, it was still ok because I could use it as an anklet.

But of course, Arlene had clear instructions---"Isa isa lang teh, ha" (don't wear the bracelet and the anklet at the same time). :D Noted with thanks, lol.

Here's how I attempted to "model" the final arm candies. 

I promise, the bracelet is the main subject in these photos, haha.

Because we still had a few minutes to spare before my next meet up, we decided to turn the ankhs and some remaining beads into matching pieces---a bracelet for Arl, and a necklace for me. The result? Some kind of friendship jewelry, ftw! :)

Et voila! :)

Thank you sooooooo much dear Arlene for helping me fulfill one item on my list and for sharing your time and skills! I'd love to organize an afternoon of DIY session with you and my other art-lovin' friends someday. :)

To more happy chika, artsy and kikay activities, 
travel stories and beyond! :)

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