All These Things (3): October Edition

Cliche, but let me say this: where did October go?

I realized today that the last time I blogged was when I released my book (ongoing blog tour this week, yay! Also, you can pre-order the print edition here if you’re not fond of ebooks :D), and a lot has happened from then until now that I should write about. I should, and I really want to, but work has been especially draining the past two weeks that I kinda just want to lie down and sleep when I get home.

That, and a lot of new things happened, like:

  • Last international trip for the year – Bangkok and Siem Reap! What a lovely, lovely vacation. I promise to blog about this one weekend this month. :)
  • My sister-in-law gave birth! I have a nephew! ♥ Most of my spare time goes to him (when he’s awake, anyway), so there. Isn’t he a cutie?
  • Work. Oh wait, that’s not new.

October was a pretty fun month, though, and I’m not complaining. November, on the other hand, seems like it will be busy. Up until February. But…that’s not so new anyway. This kind of busy is good. :)

* * *

But look, it’s NOVEMBER. Last two months of the year! Last week, at our sisters’ household, the question was, What’s something you want to do (this year) that you haven’t done yet?

My short answer: cook a dish. I can bake fine, but I can’t cook. Or I just haven’t tried. Next goal: cook something for Christmas/New Year dinner.

Oh, but when I reviewed the goals I set for 2014, I realized that I have actually fulfilled most of them. Wow. And there’s still two months left! A lot can still happen. :)

My longer answer for that question, in one word: study. Let’s pray about this more.

* * *

To be perfectly honest, though, there’s a lot about the next two months that I feel a bit apprehensive about. Maybe it’s because I already saw a forecast of the first two months of 2015 for work, and the worrywart in me is glad there’s stuff to worry about again. Sigh, not good. But I don’t want to get lost in the busy-ness of the next two months. I don’t want to. I refuse to. Lord, give me the grace to take it slow and to breathe, and – in her words – count the thousand glittery things You’re giving me.

I felt God saying, “This is life, my girl. This is life. You don’t need to be somewhere. You don’t need to hustle. You don’t need to hurry. I just want you to suck this moment in good. You’ve come a long way. A long, long way. Be thankful and keep going. You’re so okay, my dear.”

That’s all God is asking of us at any given moment: To suck in what is what right before us– what He has placed there so intentionally– and then say thank you. Because it’s simple. And it’s true. And it’s a gift we forget to find the gratitude for. And it fills us so much more mightily than the fears and worries we stack inside ourselves when we think this day-to-day is about getting “stuff” done.

* * *

Yes, I’m also one of the many, many people caught up in the Taylor / 1989 mania. Couldn’t help it, really. Shake it Off helps in keeping me sane – shake off all the stress, I say!

Here, have an earworm. ;)



When I was a kid, I fell in love with the Sailormoon series. I loved it so much that everyone in school associated it with me, and I even cried several times when I missed it, or when I watched a particular episode where they all died and such. It was my first introduction to anime, and I thought that because I loved Sailormoon, I would probably like other anime, too. Eventually, I watched some, and then because I was such an otaku (or so I thought), I found this how to speak Japanese booklet at home and started trying to learn it, because I thought it was cool and all that.

Then I just lost interest, and never really looked back. (Except when I catch some Sailormoon episodes that they air here every now and then.)

Here’s the thing: I never had Japan in my bucket list. I have friends who love everything Japan and Japanese – from music to food to TV shows and all that, and every time they talk about it, I just nod politely and listen. It’s not that I didn’t want to go – I just didn’t have it in my list of places I wanted to go to. I wasn’t as fascinated with Japan as I was with New York City, or Europe.

Then late last year, a friend called me and asked if I wanted to go to Osaka because there was a seat sale and they were about to book a flight. Being a Yes-girl to a lot of travel stuff like that (which is how I got to go to Jakarta last year in the first place), I said yes, and then ta-da! I had a ticket to Japan!

I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t do much research until a few weeks before the trip when we were working out our itinerary. We had five days there – less, because we arrive in the evening on our first day – and there was just so much that everyone in our group of 9 wanted to do. In the end, after we got our visas, we decided to go crazy over it: Osaka – Tokyo – Kyoto. All in five days.

Let me tell you: it was ambitious and achievable, but prepare for aching feet, long rides, and very quick stops. Because friends, three cities in five days = crazy. Even more so, Japan in five days = NOT. ENOUGH.

Time to let the pictures speak for themselves! (Photo dump!)


It was raining on our first night, and we got lost on our way to the hotel. :D
First group selfie at the hotel! :D
The next morning, near the Osaka Castle. :)


That one place

I was deep into making an Osaka-Kyoto itinerary the other day for our upcoming Japan trip this May when I realized that I was actually falling in like with the country during my research. I’ve always been curious about Japan, but I’m not one of those people who just really want to go there. I mean, sure, there was a time when I liked my share of anime, and I tried to learn some Japanese words, but those faded away, and I didn’t really put Japan in the places I really must go to.

Then my friends booked us a flight, and as with almost all my travels, I just went, Hey, why not? Let’s go. 

So there. I started planning an itinerary so we had options, and as I did my research, the excitement grew. I know nothing about the country except for what my friends who have been there told me, and as I read and read and read and figured out their train systems (I loooove trains) so we could get from one point to another, I started looking forward to it. So much that I was already thinking that I would probably go back, just so I could go and experience the other things we might miss.

And then I started thinking about how some people I know have that one place. You know, the one place they keep on going back to, the one place they would always visit and come back to. It doesn’t have to be another country — it could just be another province — but it’s their place. Their own place, the one that feels like home even if it’s so far away from their real home.

Then I wondered: where is my place?

Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard's Wanderlove
Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard’s Wanderlove

Sometimes it feels like I’m so late in the game, especially since I know of younger people who really pursue their passion to travel. It’s not that I’m really old, or that I didn’t travel when I was younger. I mean, if there’s any time that’s easier to travel, it’s now, with all the seat sales and travel blogs and such. It’s just that sometimes, I feel that maybe I should have started a few more years back — perhaps when I started at my first job or something like that. Which wasn’t really that feasible, now that I think about it, because I didn’t earn much back then. I only get to travel now because my job pays me well. I just wish that I could have been to other countries and places when I was 23, 24. That I was brave enough to go on my own, or that I could have dragged friends and family to go with me wherever back then.

But then again…it’s never too late, right?

Ramble, ramble. My point is, I want to have my place, too. That place where I would always go to, the one that feels like home even if I didn’t grow up there. The one I would always return to, and the one that would be my default place to travel whenever I feel the itch to go and still be amazed at the new things I discover despite the number of times I’ve been there. I want to have that.

I wonder where it is. That place. My place. Could it be in Japan? Could it be Thailand, or Cambodia? (Hello, October Indochina trip! Thank you, Cebu Pacific seat sale! :D) Australia? NYC, perhaps? (Haha, why not. :P) Or maybe it is in Europe? (Oh, I would go back in a heartbeat, if I can!)

Or maybe it’s just in the next province? Palawan? Batanes? Davao? Ilocos? Dumaguete?

Hmm. I guess the only way I’ll find out is if I go there. :)