Home For Christmas

25 12 2006

I am back in Rizal and it feels like I never left. Of course the one reminder that I’ve been away for a while is the irritation I experience during traffic jams with drivers swerving from left to right and/or occupying all the lanes on the road. But that’s part of Manila’s charm and going home wouldn’t be complete without it.

It is surreal, definitely, reconciling my experiences in Australia and what I am here, now. It’s as if I just dreamt all the events that happened down under.

I have the perfect gift for Christmas, and that is being with my family and my dogs, who thankfully have not forgotten me. I miss Melbourne a bit, the subdued atmosphere and the unhurried pace you lead daily life. But despite all the noise, the traffic, the general chaos, I would still choose to be here right now.

The flight home was looooong. I will remind myself to take a night flight next time, so there’ll be no burden to entertain myself while on the plane. I finally got around to doing the challenge that Rose gave me before I moved to Melbourne, to connect with someone and strike up a conversation with that person. I’m proud to say I met three people. On the flight from Melbourne to HK, I met Jay, a Taiwanese who just finished his Master’s degree from Monash University and is on his way home to start his business in Taiwan. On the flight from HK to Manila, I met 9-year old Ravielyn and her Mom, who live in New Zealand and are going to Manila for the holidays. They’ve been living in NZ for four years but Rav still speaks Tagalog flawlessly, her Mom says it’s because she never speaks to her daughter in English, only in Kapampangan and tagalog. These people, along with Haruki Murakami made the flights home bearable.

So anyway, it’s Christmas day today, whatever meaning this occassion holds for you, I hope you have a great one this year ;P

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Uwian Na

20 12 2006

Home

Dalawang tulog na lang.

Sa sabado, pag gising ko, andun na ako sa kama ko sa sarili kong kwarto sa sarili naming bahay sa aking hometown Tanay sa lalawigan ng Rizal.

Surreal.

Makikita ko na si Kimaru, si Anja, si Windang, si Troy, si Sevrine na parating nakalawit ang dila at ang dalawang babies nya na hindi nya na-breastfeed, si Roma at ang walong babies nya, si Attila kahit hindi na nya ako kilala, si Botong, si Audrey, si Murdoch, si Keana ( I take no responsibility in naming one of our dogs this infamous monicker, all credit must be given to my Mom haha) at si Allegra na nagkaron ng isang near-death experience kamakailan lamang.

Surreal…

Dalawang linggo akong hindi maglalaba at magpa-plantsa ng damit ko. Dalawang linggo akong hindi maghahanda ng sarili kong pagkain. Ah bliss.

Seriously. The phrase “coming home” holds a deeper meaning to me now. It is definitely heaven.





Amazing Grace

12 12 2006

The weekend was tiring but fantastic.


Several of our friends here organized a Pinoy version of the Amazing Race with four teams racing. I teamed up with Herbie, Roch, Lennie and Bien and we got 3rd place.


The race consisted of seven legs but none of the teams did the 6th one because we all got the fast forward. One task we had to do was find people in the Queen Victoria market who knew how to cook YABBIES ON GREEN POLENTA, list down at least six of the ingredients and take pictures of them. Seems fairly easy right, except that there is no such thing as a “green polenta” and saturday morning is a really busy time in the market which makes it hard to interrupt vendors just to ask them about a recipe.


Another task was to stand in the middle of Bourke St in front of Myer or David Jones and be street performers singing Christmas songs. Each team had to collect a minimum of $10 to advance to the next stage. This was my favorite task of all, I had a blast singing Christmas songs we didn’t know the lyrics to. For the most part we only sang until the second line, and just mumbled the rest of the song. I think we appeared too enthusiastic to the public because instead of coming near us, they would avoid the spot where we were. When it seemed just standing there and singing was not going to work, we went around and asked people if they would gladly give a dollar or two for a Christmas song. At first I was kinda hesitant because I was afraid someone from work would see me, but after a few minutes I thought, what the hell, if I’m gonna make a fool of myself anyway, I might as well do it properly and with passion hahaha.


Imagine doing all that and running under 37 degrees of sun and heat from 11 am to 1pm. Very enjoyable. Our friends who organized this gig told us we were too fast for them, they thought it would take us several hours to finish everything but all the teams did it in less than two hours. The final stops were at the Melbourne Park and the Rod Laver arena, where the deciding factor in winning was how fast a team could find the entrance to the building hehehe. And some people really thought we were in the Amazing Race because we had on these badges with our own logo on it. There was even one kid we saw on the tram who asked our team if we were really on the Amazing Race. One of us said yes and he replied, “THE amazing race.” Oh yeah kid, THE amazing race, because this one was way better
than the one you saw on TV hehehe.


After we went home and all had our afternoon siesta (Pinoy na pinoy di ba, sabi ng matatanda dapat ang mga bata matulog pag hapon para tumangkad haha), we headed to Tina’s house in Clayton to celebrate our Christmas party, complete with lumpiang shanghai, spaghetti and Kris Kringle. The Kris Kringle was the most stressful exchange gift session I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t know you could steal a gift?! I’m telling you, that night, a lot of friendships were destroyed over a box of gourmet chocolate sauces, a poker set, a chess set, a vibrator, err, a portable massager and a Michael Jackson album hahaha. We also had this couples’ game that sent the wives/gf’s and husbands/boyfriends racking their brains for their husbands’ favorite household chore, wife’s fave restaurant, husband’s brand of boxers/briefs and wife’s most sensitive body part ;P It was all great fun, one of the happiest, relaxed Christmas celebrations ever.

Carlo and Detdet (Tammy’s kids) with EM (Tina’s son)

Our AR team

Top (L-R): Mel, Jojo, Bien and Bong

Botton: Joseph

Melanie won Best Street Performer hahaha.

 





Pasko Na?

6 12 2006

Time flies fast doesn’t it?
I can’t believe it’s already December and a few weeks before Christmas. Melbourne isn’t at par with Manila when it comes to sprucing up for Christmas, for energy-saving reasons maybe, and the weather is starting to seriously warm up, so that’s probably why I still haven’t gotten around to getting into the Christmas mood.

I am looking forward to going home to the Philippines though. The two-week trip back home will definitely be a welcome respite from all that have been going on here. Contracting is shitty, that’s one thing I and a couple of my friends here have discovered. But we signed up for this kind of situation so we do the best we can. But because of it, we learned to speak up when something is not right, and I can say it pushed me not to take things lying down.

I am really looking forward to having home-cooked meals during my holiday in Pinas, especially since we have given up on cooking meals back in our flat. We still eat decent food but we’re limited to making sandwiches out of roast beef slices or ham and focaccia or ciabatta, with sundried tomatoes, pickled capsicum or salad made from cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and whatever other fruit caught our fancy during market day.

My photography course is set to end next week and I’m thinking of getting serious with it and signing up for more classes. The biggest thing the course did for me was make me the master of Bogart (my camera) and debunk all the bull I’ve heard and read about taking better photos. I can’t think of any aspect about it that I don’t like and I reckon that (uy, Aussie speak haha!) being a photographer is one of the best jobs in the world. Maybe I should consider switching careers…

In true Pinoy fashion, we are going to hold a Christmas party, complete with Kris Kringle and papremyo, on Saturday. Before that we are having a Pinoy Amazing Race all around Melbourne. Ila, Ryan, Catcat and Faye organized the route, pitstops, tasks, etc. The weather forecast is 37 C on Saturday, and I’m sure that’ll be an interesting race. It’ll also be a farewell party for Pepper, who has resigned from work and is set to go back to Manila to work on a very, very important (but pleasurable ;P) project. The group won’t be the same without her and I’m sure she’s going to miss us badly! (self-absorbed hehe)

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