Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sylt


Whenever I'm near the water, everything's just right. It's like my sign and stars have aligned. And so did I start my favourite month with my fellow June baby (babies!), OG sport buddy and my now adoptive Ate - Anne. I've found a little sweet spot in my City overlooking the Binnenalster (a portion of the "Alster" lake downtown), dating myself (I think I'm gonna do this often), trying to put my thoughts together. 

me while churning this post. Binnenalster - Hamburg Innenstadt

So many events have already happened up until this very day. Did I mention I already turned 25?! And that I'm now a Barista... in training?! :) 

But first - Sylt. I'm one lucky girl to go Camping for two nights with family/friends on this beautiful island in Northern Germany. It's quite exciting for an island girl like me to find such in my new-called home which is reachable by train! According to Wikipedia, Sylt is connected to the mainland since 1927 by the Hindenburgdamm Causeway. Pronounced [ˈzʏlt] is the northernmost island in Germany famous for it's long stretch of sandy beaches and is quite a charm for both tourists and locals. Sylt's topography is filled with both hills and greens, sand and sea with occasional sightings of hares and rabbits which sometimes made me think I'm in Teletubbies'! 

We took the Regional Bahn from Hamburg, and after a missed train, a few delays and several interchanges, we happily made it to our Jugendherberge in Westerland, Sylt. I could personally go cowboy and rest in a sleeping bag or go big in a single queen-sized bed! But our Youth Hostel gave us the right 'Glamping' experience during our stay! We had 2 family-sized tents (that is, for the youngsters and the youngsters-at-heart) in a Campingplatz provided with clean showers, dressing rooms and toilets (when the banyo is good, everything is good in the hood!), amenities like basketball and volleyball courts and complete access to the beach which is basically our Camp's backyard. Check the DJH Jugendherberge here and have your accommodation, meals and excursions covered.


Living in Germany, specifically in the North, made me aware how the weather could get really tricky. But for some reason we were blessed with nice warm days in Sylt that we spent the entire day at the beach all to ourselves. And the sun not setting until 11PM in the Summer. Hence, a longer Golden Hour delight! We were singing and dancing to music from then and now, Zumba hits and OPM til midnight. Combining the celebration of Anne's birthday and her Kuya's birthday salubong. I'm glad to have been part of their family's little tradition. 



Being the Peripatetic (new word!) me after having left wanted to plan my next visit and come back immediately. I loved Sylt just the way it is and more because of the people who took me with! In hindsight, I'm always amazed by the people I have met (and keep meeting) and came into my life.  Where I met Ning and Rita, there have I also met Anne. And they're not for umsonst! Each and everyone did have a purpose and did me something - either to teach me a lesson, guide my path, make me feel, give advice, travel with, inspire or simply keep me sane! All of this was just the right beginning to my birth month in my birth place.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aloha


Aloha: a Hawaiian word used in greetings or farewells. (And apparently, in expressing love too)

I greeted 2018 the best way I could. Back home in the Motherland. New Years, a Birthday and a Wedding were awaiting and I was excited to be part of it all! Mamasing, the family's rock and our delicate flower, is strong and blooming at 90. The entire generation were hands-on from the planning, the execution, to the dancing in celebration of this gift of Life. I came flying for the summer, thus, becoming a Reunion with family, friends and the ocean. Lucky am I to call one of our country's most beautiful islands - Home!


I, together with my Pinoy Mafia, witnessed a pure, real, God-kind of love in the marriage of Nana and Dada! A love that truly surpassed distance and seasoned in time. It was a white wedding, simple yet elegant, detailed and precised for everyone to enjoy the most important day of their lives. A celebration of the gift of Love. Despite of our friendship being heavily linked through social media now,  I know them as close as a kapatid who will last me a lifetime. And for that, Volim te!


I missed using this word - Layover - in Dubai for 48 hours did me nothing but good. It felt ages the last time I'd been at home in the sandpit. This City is just a proof of what's ahead of us - higher, bigger, faster progress. But it wasn't just my eyes satiated, but my heart as well, being reunited with one of the very first people who mentored me, believed in me and doesn't judge me. That is my Lobster. A celebration of the gift of Friendship. It felt so comfortable and so natural opening up to her my wounds. And instead of giving me assurance, she taught me perspective.


My journey also felt coming full circle, as I made a quick but unexpectedly longer layover in Doha. It's been over a year now that I stopped flying. I hadn't seen it coming. I had no clue that my greatest success will also be my biggest failure (to date). I've lost my job. But that doesn't hurt as much as losing my dream (or dreams thereof). I was too ashamed and too lost to admit to anyone but myself. I was destroyed. Since then, I've been trying to put things into perspective. And Germany helped me in different ways. Not as an escape or a sanctuary. But to adapt into a foreign lifestyle and language. To get out there not knowing anyone. To get back, alone, on my own two feet. The way a mother giraffe would kick her newborn calf until it learns to stand on it's feet for the first time. To learn.



And what have I gotten so far? It's just that - I'm only human. I'm allowed to fail as much in this lifetime. I've learned to draw from strength I never knew I was capable of sustaining myself of. To fail, and fail frequently. That, also, makes me human. (continuously typing then this drops in the background)



With Easter just behind us and the sun starting to warm away the winter, it's time to celebrate the gift of Renewal. Resurrection or rebirth would have been appropriately correct, all fit in this season of making things anew. And just like the other meaning of the first word I utilized, we also bid farewell to the old, to the past... to give way to the new. Aloha!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kani


It started as a dream. Being a Waterbaby and growing up in a little Archipelago, the Maldivian Islands has many times crossed my 'Bucketlist' list. I mean - the crystal blue waters; the luxurious resort islands, which marked their freehold on a lone island; and the chic water villas standing on stilts being showcased on every ad got me sold! I just had to see that for myself.

And all that I saw. I was blessed to fly to Male for work and accompany Couples for their Honeymoon. Before landing onto Male, you take in a view of the atolls beneath you. These countless ring-shaped reefs contrasting it's turquoise-coloured inner circle against the dark blue ocean. It was a Maldivian dream come true!

Despite all the beauty Maldives can boast of (I once saw a baby shark and sting rays at our hotel beach) I wasn't exactly caught off guard or swept off of my feet. Because I know what our very own Philippine Islands has to offer. Perhaps just a little bit more tourism boost and environmental protection measures. Perhaps, just like the ads, it was overrated.  

However, there are still some truths. The significance and what this bunch of Islands mean to me has long changed since it became my last layover. Honestly, I haven't seen much of Maldives in the couple of times I've been there. Until in December 2016, days before Christmas, I flew with an amazing crew and tagged along with two of my lovely colleagues-turned-friends on a hot and sunny beach day.

Although exhausted after work, our awesome threesome (Egypt, Romania and the Philippines!) dragged us for a one day excursion. This was the first and only time I went to a Resort Island, that is the Club Med Kani, in the Maldives. We took a boat ride from the main Hulhulé Island to Kani. And Paradise it was! We had a huge buffet waiting for us, water activities to be played, photos to be taken and memories to be made. Also, Disney's Moana was a hit at that time! It was clearly a day to be thankful for. 

As I was watching the sunset from the edge of a jetty, I remember asking myself what if all of this were gone? And in my thought, I'll be happy. No regrets. Only gratefulness in my heart. Grateful because I got to spend a day in paradise with Salma and Raluca. Grateful to witness dolphins jumping next to our boat ride home. Grateful because I got to live this moment. I say, the world is my playground and I was (literally) on the swing of happiness. And as life is measured by moments upon moments, I have a lifetime of this moment that took my breath away to last. I took it as a gift. Life is a layover. Enjoy it.


Shukran! Mulţumesc! Salamat!

Club Med Kani: