Never too late for a resolution

It’s March and I’ve got a resolution! And am writing it down to make me feel like it’s official.

I’ll be on social media fasting this month, and the next, and hopefully I can call it a habit than fasting very soon. I’m not saying goodbye to the social media world though! I have to connect with my family and friends and I also would like to update them with pictures and happenings in my life, but as much as possible I would like to focus on other things first than investing time on updating myself about them and updating them about me.

Since I started living alone in a foreign land, I learned a lot of things and I realized that I can do more than what I thought I could possibly do. I’m at this point in my life that want to learn more, be wiser, meet new people, experience a different culture, visit more places, speak more languages, live healthier, and a lot or more things.  But I know I can’t possibly be more if I waste time scrolling feeds, reading posts, and browsing pictures. I have to admit that I spend a lot of time browsing through a variety of social networking sites that I no longer have enough time to invest in what is truly essential.

I’ve realized that I’m not living fully for I’m too busy capturing moments. It’s either I’m capturing moments or browsing moments of other people. I think it’s about time to invest more time in my health, my studies, my work, my travels, and or my aspirations in life than tiring my eyes and exercising my thumb by endlessly scrolling feeds.

Let’s see how far I can go in this resolution. I gotta go because I’ve got some priorities to do.

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To the unknown future

People assume that I had it all figured out, but I’m as lost as anyone else. Yes, I’m lost, but not really. I’m lost, but that’s part of my life plan. I’ve thought about what will I become in the future for hundreds of times, but I just can’t figure it out. I’ve been asking myself, what do I like to do, how do I see myself in 10 or 20 years, how do I want to spend my life, and hundreds of questions that I cannot answer. But then, some questions are not really meant to be answered by just contemplating about it.

I’m in my twenties, I just graduated, I’m currently working, and I have lots of things I want to do in my life. One may assume that after college, one should already have an idea of what to do in the “adult life” because university life should have prepared you for that. Yet, life doesn’t always work like that. Some people are lucky to know what they really want to be when they grow up, so they have a plan to follow and they’re bound to chase their dreams. Some people, on the other hand, have this idea of being successful in life where the definition of “successful” is unknown that’s why some people have to do the math to define it and we all know that not everyone is good at it.

After college a lot of people are pressuring themselves to have security, success, and stability in life immediately as if these are the only things that matter. We all want to go there, but we all have different paths to take and we’re bound to take some reroutes sometimes. Some people can have it early, some simply have to work for it for a longer time. But we can’t say one is better than the other. We can consider some people successful, yet those people may or may not be contented with their lives. “Hope that the voyage is a long one” Cavafy once said for it is not how fast you get to your destination , but it’s all about the journey.

Life’s not easy and most of the time you just can’t figure it out. But what’s the point of living a figured life, anyway? So here I am writing to remind myself that’s it’s okay to not know what you want and where you’re going. Cheers to the unknown future ahead of me!

Revisiting 2017

A little over two weeks after the first of January and am now feeling the newest year we all have. It’s finally 2018 in my calendar!!! My new year came a little later and I don’t know why I was a little stuck in 2017.  Last year has been tremendously a life changing year for me. 2017 is definitely one of the most challenging, yet still of of the best years I ever had.

Shall we have a quick review of the year?

Thesis Days

I entered the year 2017 as graduating student, which means I was so busy accomplishing requirements for graduation. I can call the first few months of 2017 as my “Thesis Days” because I can’t think of anything more important than my thesis during those days. How can I forget those sleepless nights and sleepy days? Those days were undoubtedly difficult, but it was all worth it.

Graduation

Right after those difficult times (Thesis Days), it was graduation time! I think college graduation is definitely a milestone in anyone’s life. College may or may not lead us to whatever career we will have in the future, but it’s a big part of our lives. No matter how cliche this may sound, it’s the end and the beginning.

Family Vacation

Right after graduation, we visited America for almost a month-long vacation. I went there twice in two consecutive months (which is really crazy).  I feel like we had some crazy decisions for our travels that time. The first crazy decision was when went to the USA on the night of my graduation, and my graduation is in the evening (It’s crazy because we all know the traffic in Manila is crazier). Second is when I went back to the USA a week after we got back to attend a birthday party. Although it sounds tiring, I enjoyed it because who doesn’t like to travel? I also had the chance to meet my relatives there whom I only know from pictures and stories. It was really fun and I wouldn’t mind going back to visit them again.

Spain happened

Of course, 2017 also contains one of the major life decisions I’ve ever had – to work in Spain. Towards the end of the year, I flew to Spain to work as a language assistant.So much have changed since I got here in Spain. I know that I grew and became more independent. I will always remember the girl who can’t even push her own luggage on the cobblestone sidewalks of Logroño, who was so afraid to go out because she doesn’t have mobile data and she might get lost, and who wouldn’t even try to buy food because she’s so afraid to talk in Spanish and she so afraid of running out of pocket money.  That girl grew up well during her three months here in Spain.

Travels

And of course, since I’m living in Spain now, I’m an official resident and an official tourist too! I always try to visit places in and outside of Spain. So far here’s the list of places I’ve visited in and outside of Spain for the last three months – Arnedo, Madrid, Navarete, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Seville, Lisboa, Fatima, Sintra, Nalda, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Valencia, and Barcelona. It’s a long list, but the list of the places I still want to visit is definitely longer. Every place is interesting because there’s always more to what the eyes can see. I never traveled this much before within a year and that’s why I’m loving 2017 even more! I’ve been a lazy writer, but I’ll try to write about those places soon.

Looking back, the year seems so short but so much have change and so still so many things are about to change.

USA Trip: Florida

Down to our last stop – Orlando, Florida(+Daytona Beach)!

What brought us to Orlando? Our first Uber driver in Orlando answered that question for us – Mickey Mouse did! Our child-like hearts will definitely not forgive us if we wouldn’t visit the happiest place on Earth! Our Disney World experience is definitely a memorable one! Who would have thought that we’ll get stuck in one of the rides? But we did benefit from this technical difficulty because we were given a free easy pass!

A little tip: After the fireworks stay a little bit longer inside the park because you’ll have the place by yourselves and you’ll get the best pictures.

Also, our Filipino taste buds are itching for Filipino food already, thanks to Nipa Hut Restaurant for existing! Having been deprived of Filipino food for almost two weeks,  I never appreciated Filipino food that much. It was also in Nipa Hut that I get to meet, unexpectedly, one of my high school buddies! Truly, the world is so small.

We also visited Daytona Beach, the world’s most famous beach! It’s my first time to visit a beach where they get to park right beside the shore! I love the beach, probably because I have a mermaid heart, but the place is truly beautiful. Also, I get to feel the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean!

USA Trip: Georgia

The main reason why my family have decided to have a vacation in the USA is because of the Rotary International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. My whole family registered in that conference since my entire family are active members of Rotary and Rotaract. We grabbed the opportunity in touring around some parts of the USA while attending the conference.

A quick info about Rotary. It is an international organization that provides humanitarian services all over the world. Rotary has this so called Six Areas of Focus (Peace and conflict prevention/resolution, Disease prevention and treatment, Water and sanitation, Maternal and child health, Basic education and literacy, and Economic and community development) where all their projects are centered. Rotaract, a Rotary partner, on the other hand is almost similar to Rotary but they are mostly composed of young people and is usually sponsored by a Rotary club.

From all the places we visited in the USA, my stay in Georgia is the most relaxing one. We only toured around Smyrna and Atlanta, but the place definitely gives the “American vibes.” My father told me that Atlanta feels like the “real” America, I’m not sure what he meant by saying that, but it probably caused that “American vibe.”

Atlanta is a small city. If you’re a type of person who enjoys long walks, this city is perfect for you. Most of the Uber drivers we encountered there said that the traffic in Atlanta is one of the worsts in America, but I never really experience the “bad” traffic they’re saying. The traffic there, for me, is acceptable or maybe I’m just more experienced about heavy traffics than them.

Places to go in Atlanta? Go get a City Pass and experience Atlanta like a tourist! You definitely cannot miss Coca-Cola World, Georgia Aquarium, and CNN Studio because they’re literally beside each other. You’ll surely enjoy walking around Atlanta. We did visit Downtown a lot of times because the Rotary Conference is around there, but walking around Midtown and Uptown is equally enjoyable. You can go watch movies, go shopping, visit parks, talk to the locals and all.

Smyrna is beautiful too. We stayed in Country Inn Suites and the people there are really sweet. Our hotel is surrounded by a lot of restaurants and you’ll never go hungry. I never felt so foreign in a land because we failed to read the traffic rules! I will never forget the first time we crossed the road and we misinterpreted the blinking red hand to a stop that led us to go back to the sidewalk even if we were almost halfway through the road. I bet the drivers whom we disturbed that moment were judging us. None the less, I enjoyed my stay in Smyrna and Atlanta.

 

USA Trip: New York and New Jersey

The night after my graduation, we didn’t have much time to celebrate my graduation dinner because we have a flight to catch that night. But well, we have three weeks to celebrate, so I don’t really mind.

New York and New Jersey

Since New York and New Jersey are neighboring states, we toured around these two states simultaneously.  Amidst the close proximity of the two states, New York is definitely a busy place whereas New Jersey is a little more relaxed. We made a good decision in staying in a hotel in New Jersey because the area is more quite. We had a day tour in New York City right the day after our arrival, so imagine the jet lag and our sleepy heads. But nonetheless, I did appreciate the interesting history of immigrants in Ellis Island, the captivating beauty of the Statue of Liberty, the photogenic buildings of the Big Apple, and the amazing voices of the Miss Saigon’s cast.

 

 

New York City is such a busy city. I don’t even know how many times I bumped into somebody while crossing the street. I can’t quite figure out why a lot of people wants to live in NYC when there’s too much traffic in there and I can feel the stress of the people who are probably sleepless (because they’re in the city that never sleeps). But who am I to talk when a lot of people also wants to stay in Manila than the other parts of the Philippines.

 

We didn’t have much pictures in New Jersey, but it reminds me of old American movies because of the houses there. When you go to New Jersey don’t forget to drop by The Mills at Jersey Gardens. There’s so much factory outlets there and you’ll definitely enjoy shopping there because they don’t put tax on their clothes, shoes, and bags.

Baking Diary

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Yema Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake
1 1/4 cup Cake Flour
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 cup Sweetened Orange Juice

For the Meringue
4 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/4 Cup Sugar

For the Yema
4 Egg Yolks
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup Condensed Milk
1 Pack of Nestle Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tbsp Butter

Directions:

For the Cake
Mix cake flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
Mix egg yolks, oil, and sweetened orange juice
Combine the two mixtures

For the Meringue
Beat the egg whites, add the cream of tartar, and gradually add the sugar
Beat until soft peak

  • Fold the meringue into the batter mixture
  • Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes

For the Yema
Mix all ingredients and cook in  a low fire with continuous stirring until thick