Monday, December 31, 2018

eventful 2018

I decided to do this entry ahead of time – it’s Christmas Eve – since my family will be flying in tomorrow for the holidays. My condo would be a war zone for two weeks and I don’t think I can scour the mindset to do an end-of-year post. Besides, I checked in a nice hostel nearby just to free my mind for the next 24 hours. Agenda is to do my laptop stuff with no distractions (hence white stuff all around). This is my last treat for myself since I need to recalibrate (been using that term A LOT this year) before going back to work.

So, how has 2018 fared for you? I scrolled through 2017’s year-end post and I apparently wished that I was less restless this year. I think I fairly accomplished that since there were a lot of STUFF that happened that I barely had time for idle thoughts and be restless (maybe that’s why I did this brief staycation haha).

Main reason for un-restlessness: MY UK TRIP HAPPENED THIS YEAR! It was a tiring and awesome two weeks with my bestfriend. Thoughts of the Scottish Highlands (it was beautiful, I have no words) would be there every time I space out. I made a daily vlog during the trip but my sd card got corrupted (I swear, when will I ever learn! Argh) so as of now I have no England clips (Scotland clips are still alive…for now). Hopefully I get through my vlog backlog and finish all of them by next year.

For other trips that happened this year and contributed to my state of poverty: Went to Korea in April (which contributed to my friends’ itchiness for Korea in the fourth quarter), and as part of my connecting flight to London in October (good idea, since I didn’t miss Korea as much as my friends did haha). Finally went on a waterfall hike trip in Laguna – hit three waterfalls with Ris in a span of three hours (productive to the max). Then went to Caramoan and Albay with my Metrobank girlfriends, which was tiring and fun at the same time. The adventures during that trip were endless, buti na lang taas ng tolerance ng friends ko for trip mishaps haha. Managed to squeeze in a Dive n Trek snorkel trip last August (should’ve added another one to end the year huhu), which includes a solo province bus (strangely relaxing and liberating?) ride to Laguna for Ris (si Ris na naman – dami pala nating trips together…?). And FINALLY had a trip abroad with my complete college barkada (in Hong Kong). We just drank alcohol more than 50% of the time. Which is how all vacations should be to be honest.

Funnily though, I didn’t realize that I went to THAT many trips this year. All of them (maybe except the UK trip) were obscured by the other life stuff this year. I was hospitalized and underwent an operation last March, and already cleared last August as of my last ultrasound. Thankfully that turned out well for me. Glad that my mom happened to be in my condo during that time and it was not that serious (in the grand scheme of things). I also went to an epic concert last month probably the best kpop concert I’ve been to as of now. Money well spent haha.

Also went to (and passed) the Korean Elementary 1 course (ang hirap ha) in KCC, and unfortunately (fortunately?) was not able take the TOPIK exam because the date is during my UK trip. Not sure if I'll take the test in 1Q2019 (why do I have to make my life complicated?). Also got to finish a certificate course in Economic Diplomacy! Haha what is productive.

There are lots of adulting moments during this year as well for me and my friends. Suffice to say, these are the times that I’m happy I have a condo to myself at a strategic location so that my friends can swing by anytime (preferably with a beer bottle or two) and be sounding boards for a night.

Kinda ironic that I’m talking about adulting moments now that I’m already 34 (overdue adulting) but this year has sorely tested how much adulting I can take. While this year has been emotionally taxing, I am grateful for the shallow and deep (‘cause both have equal standing) conversations with my friends on whatever is the topic of the moment. I have no idea if I have become wiser or more clueless from all the blessings and shitstorms this year, but I know in the future I’ll look back at 2018 and think to myself, what was a beautiful yet crappy year, next!

And so, I enter 2019 surprisingly with more optimism compared to previous years because 2018 was such a weird year and I don’t know how 2019 can top it LOL. And dammit, I’ll be 35 next year and I have no time (and money) to go on a midlife crisis *nervous laugh* so here’s to optimism!

So yeah, cheers for a crazy 2018 and hopefully a positively crazy 2019 ahead. Thank you to the people in life for still keeping me sane. I hope I can make it up to you next year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

who tells your story?

Watching Hamilton in West End is definitely one of my highlights of 2018. Since I’m a musical geek, I already told my friend that we have to watch a show – any show – in West End during our UK trip. 

At first, I’m not that interested in Hamilton (!!!) despite its popularity in Broadway (and despite the ball of positivity that is Lin Manuel Miranda). Watched their performance in the White House and I’m like, uhm, ok, not too drawn to the songs (I’m gonna regret that months later).

But then I found out that there is already a London run for Hamilton in time for our UK trip and I thought that maybe we should try watching the 2016 hit since we’re there anyway. Seats were sold out (as expected). Fortunately, my friend went to England around July and told me about the line beside the theater for the return tickets. Basically, they’re tickets that were already bought prior but are returned on the day because they won’t be used. The seller gives it to the staff and the staff will go to the line and sell it to the one in front at face value (which was lucky for us coz reselling prices in the US are insane).

And so come Monday afternoon, October 21, we went to Victoria Palace Theater. I inquired the staff, who showed us where the chance ticket line is. We were the first there (around 4:30pm) and I told my friend that we can afford to have early dinner at a nearby Shake Shack. Don’t want to get take out ‘cause it’s really cold and we need the toilet before our vigil lol. By the time we got back, we’re already eighth in line. I was already nervous that our decision to stay in the restaurant cost us our chance to watch the show. But it all paid off well – because when my turn came, the guy (I didn’t get to meet him though T__T) just wanted to give his ticket away! FOR FREE!

I got in first and I’m literally shaking from excitement to the point that I don’t care if the show was crap. I’M IN VICTORIA PALACE THEATER! I’M IN WEST END! I’M IN LONDON WTF! My 16-year-old-self-watching-Miss-Saigon-in-CCP would cry at this point. The 34 year old self just planted her chin against the railing like a kid, eyes misty while waiting for the show to start (and waiting for my friend to message me and confirm if she got in – which she did 😊 )

Mind you, my only exposure to Hamilton at that point was watching “Alexander Hamilton” being performed at the White House, and a recording of “Helpless” by The Regrettes (from the Hamilton Mix-tape). Which was a good thing because OMG THIS MUSICAL IS AMAZING! No elaborate sets, no fancy production numbers. Just these talented people and the songs. My god the songs – perfectly written. Came close to crying (my friend bawled a couple of times apparently hehe) during the second half. Usually I struggle in the post-intermission portion of musicals – they’re usually less interesting than the first half. But Hamilton didn’t disappoint.

I just love the whole theme of trying to make your mark – being a part of history, making a legacy – and the danger of losing sight of what essentially matters. To those having an identity crisis, this is the perfect musical for it. And you get a fascinating exposition of American history (most likely not entirely accurate). If I listened to the entire Hamilton OST before the show, I probably won’t get to appreciate this musical as much as I did. So everything paved well in the end.

So well in fact that we watched Hamilton AGAIN three nights later. Thanks to being eighth in line, we just split the cost of my friend’s ticket and we can afford to go on another round. Also managed to buy merchandise (because I was stupid and didn’t buy the first time around). This time we got the producer’s seats, which are the fancy boxes at the back and we get a butler! Surreal!

I hope that Hamilton makes its way to Manila at some point (maybe in a decade…?) so that more people will get to watch it. And we have two Filipinos already in the London main cast so this should be a no brainer.

I cannot expound on the show anymore ‘cause I’m running out of creative words now haha. Anyway, it’s amazing. I’m floored.

“And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story? Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

revisiting the bucket list

Before I embarked on this 10+ years of international trips, I already knew that at some point I have to go to Scotland because it is THE bucketlist destination I have set for myself…in grade 7 haha. So when that epic trip happened last month, I scoured through this blog because I knew I posted a list of some sort regarding going to Scotland before I die. Well I finally found the list! I posted it in 2005, so two years before I finished college, i.e. I’m still ignorant enough to DREAM BIG!

Apparently it’s more of a “wish list” than a bucket list (hence, a lot of crazy items). At first I was just planning to post about crossing off that item and leave it at that. But this list is too amusing for me so might as well take this opportunity to comment on each one:

Wish List / Things I Want to Do Before I Die: (with comments 13 years later) 

1. Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef --> let’s change this to snorkel because I don’t want to invest anymore in diving
2. Go cherry blossom viewing (o-hanami) during the cherry blossom season in Japan. --> DONE!
3. Meet Oprah --> what are the chances?
4. Meet Nelson Mandella --> RIP Nelson Mandella
5. Have dinner with Johnny Depp --> again, what are the chances?
6. Own a Scottish castle (preferrably wid no ghosts) --> I don’t think I’ll be rich enough to do this. Which means I should marry an heir LOL. BUT I was able to stay in one! I think that counts!
7. A boat ride in the Amazon river --> hmmm need to save for South America trip
8. Swim under Angel Falls --> mukhang malabo na to (is it even allowed?)
9. Ride a motorcycle by myself --> have no idea why I would write this (must be watching an asian drama with motorcycles lol). counted ba super small scooter? may balance factor naman din sya. in which case, DONE
10. Dub an anime or an imported telenovela --> hmmm also unlikely?
11. Watch Les Miserables and Cats in Broadway. -->hmm, watched Les Miz and Cats here in Manila. Hamilton in West End. So pwede na.
12. Jog in Central Park --> hmmm soon…doable pero low priority haha
13. Join the Amazing Race --> let go haha
14. Get all the tulips i can get in Holland. --> I’ve been to Holland but I forgot that this is in my list haha
15. Stroll anywhere in New Zealand. --> maybe this year!
16. Wear the crown jewels (even for 5 seconds) --> so I doubt this is allowed, but I got to see the crown jewels in the Tower of London!
17. See the setting of Anne of Green Gables (Prince Edward Island) --> whoa, Anne of Green Gables nostalgia. Hmm I don’t know if I can still manage this 
18. Perform in a rock concert, preferrably wid L'arc en ciel or Ricard Samborra (Bon Jovi guitarist, tapos kakanta kami ng Livin on a prayer hehe) --> well…saw L’arc en ciel twice! I think that’s good enough.
19. Tour Ireland and Scotland --> Scotland DONE! Ireland in a few years!
20. Sing with Clay Aiken --> wow this list is so dated, kamusta na kaya si Clay Aiken
21. Meet Won Bin and Vic Zhou --> eto kahit na dated gusto ko pa din mangyari hihi
22. Ride a horse ala Marlboro commercial --> hmmm pano kaya to
23. Own a deserted beach cove --> still not rich enough!
24. Use different colored contact lenses (although I don't need them) every week. --> I wonder why this is in my list, but I guess this is doable haha
25. Own a Siberian husky --> awww my favorite dog. Malabo din to haha

Saturday, June 23, 2018

siem reap travel video

FINALLY done with my travel music video backlog! This is four years delayed. Good thing my best friend has WAY more important things to do than pressure me to finish. Drove myself to hurry up because we (hopefully) have another (more) major trip that this year.

Next on the to-do list: edit clips from four trips this year ala travel vlog (why am I doing this to myself again?)

Friday, June 22, 2018

happy birthday...

34. crap. (^__^)