2018 Wrap-Up Mega Post

Before 2018 ends, it is time for my year-end essay! I will compensate for my inability to update the last few months with this mega post.

Compared to the holidays of the previous years, this year is quite laid back. It was not as frantic as before.

Ayala Malls Circuit's Christmas decoration

Ayala Malls Circuit’s Christmas decoration

One of the things I am proudest of this 2018 is that I was able to make better choices for my health. This includes a change in my diet, and a better drive to exercise regularly.

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A day of learning

Last day of the month and February literally passed by with only twenty eight days. I was on half-day leave because I attended a conference/workshop regarding aging and migration in UP, with guest speakers from different countries, especially in Asia.

Bearbrick sweater, skinny khaki pants, stripes canvas belt, black 8-hole Doc Martens with strap and buckles, vintage Coach Metropolitan briefcase messenger

The venue was at the University Hotel and it was then that I realized that I have never entered that area of UP before. Finishing both my undergrad and graduate degree, I still haven’t visited a lot of places inside the campus and the University Hotel was no exception. I thought I arrived late, but good thing that the event did not start until 1:30 PM. I overlooked the schedule of activities, wherein 1:00 PM was just the registration proper.

University Hotel's entrance in UP Diliman
University Hotel's lobby in UP Diliman

The theme of the workshop centers on aging and migration in 21st century Asia. The primary organizer, Prof. Yoneno-Reyes, sent an invitation/announcement to everybody last Sunday. She was also my professor in aging and migration three years ago, and I still find the topic interesting and compelling. The moderator of the event, Prof. Sevilla, was also my professor in a West Asia course. For the whole afternoon, three speakers from Japan, China and South Korea presented their papers. Two of them were from Kyoto University, while the other one was from SungKongHoe University.

Emiko Ochiai from Kyoto University

One by one, the three guests presented their topics: from the concepts of intimate work, ‘housewifization’, to ‘a new woman’; as well as marriage migration chains in East Asia to South Korea’s changing policy on multiculturalism and migration. But if I were to be frank with my observations, it was quite frustrating having to follow and grapple with the discussion. Aside from the looming presence of the language barrier between the speakers and their audience, the faulty sound system made matters worse. I felt really embarrassed for the guests, especially when another discussion from the next-door’s conference got transmitted and broadcasted in our room in the middle of the speaker’s discussion, due to mixing up of wireless microphones’ signal. I wanted to hide under the table.

Gabriele Vogt asking a question

I looked at the list of guests and saw that Gabriele Vogt was present. I was really eager to see her because she wrote one of our required readings in class before. I even cited her in one of my essays for comprehensive exams.

If there is one thing I have learned about myself from the event, it was my tendency not to socialize with people I do not know. There were only two people in the room who I knew, and they were my previous professors who were busy with the workshop. I just sat at the end of room, next to the refreshments (coffee within an arm’s reach, yay!) beside two formidable-looking ladies. I did not start a conversation with them, until I decided against the awkwardness of the situation. I was stunned to know that I was seated next to the dean of the College of Nursing of UP Manila. O_O Good thing she was very approachable and even started asking questions about me. There will be another session tomorrow, but I’m not too sure if I would be able to attend. I really need to seriously start reviewing for another exam two Sundays from now.

P.S.
Just as the day turned 28, I found out that our grandmother (my father’s auntie) passed away due to stroke. She was in a nursing home in Alberta, Canada and I haven’t seen her since the late 90s. She died at the age of 88. May you rest in peace, Lola Soling and we love you so much.

See you again in July!

Today is Mon and I’s 4th year and 5th month together and a few minutes after the clock had struck 12, he gave me a piece of paper with a note and a drawing of the Eiffel Tower and some French macarons from Max’s. =D First of all, I did not even know that these are called as such, and I initially thought that there was a mistake with the spelling (i.e. macaroons). The irony of a French major not knowing French food.

French Macarons from Max's

We had a plan to meet up with Ikle today because he is going back to China tomorrow until the semester ends in July. As it is still winter there, I decided to just give him one of the trench coats I bought last November online. I was in such a hoarding phase that I bough two black coats, with this one in the smaller side. It fits me snugly, but coats are not supposed to be like. It should have a little room for the clothing to move nicely and coat’s purpose is just for cover. I had thought that he would love it.

Black Zara Man double breasted trench coat

Ikle wearing the Zara Man trench coat I gave him

So Ikle arrived in Makati at half past 4PM, tugging his suitcase back for China. As he already planned to stay in the house of one of his friends he met in China until his flight tomorrow, he already brought all of his things with him. Over coffee and some pastry, we talked about what lies ahead of us in the coming months, and possible plans when he finally returns in July.

Coffee with Ikle before he returns to China

Ikle, Mon and Gina

Ikle, Gina and I

Ikle and I - Purple polo shirt, H&M black v-neck sweater, brick pants, Red Wing boots

I actually felt sad to see him go again, but his return in July is definitely a shorter wait than the year and a half when he first left. LOL It was so weird to see time fly so fast, as we all felt that he arrived just a week ago rather than three weeks. See you again, Ikle, and don’t forget to eat properly but avoid greasy Chinese food as much as you can!

A few hours later, Mon and I had our late dinner at Tempura Japanese Grill right across Ayala Avenue, from our office building. I was still admittedly full but it was already late and we can’t put off dinner for another hour.

Tempura Japanese Grill

Waiting for our food to arrive

We did not order much but we still had a little difficulty finishing everything off: chiken roulade, mixed tempura, agedashi tofu and kaisen raisu.

Chicken roulade, mixed tempura. agedashi tofu and kaisen raisu - dishes from Tempura Japanese Grill

We barely finished eating the rice and tempura, and I was already gasping for air. I was really full. I honestly felt bad leaving something on the plate, as my siblings and I grew up being told not to leave even a single morsel. It eventually showed in my face and Mon had to ask me what was the matter. LOL All in all, it was a good day, even if it meant saying goodbye again to my friend for a few months. Happy 4Y5M again Mon! <3

And my friend is finally here!

My friend, Ikle, finally arrived last Monday morning and he was already complaining over how hot the weather was. LOL Coming from wintery China, it was of course too warm for him. We have already agreed that we will be meeting on Wednesday and I was so happy and excited to see him after a year and a half!  We had a lot of fun hearing stories about his experience of solitary living in China, having to live without initially speaking Mandarin and dealing with the rigors of graduate school.

What I thought as Chinese Oreo and Chinese Pepero

Given that it was just a weekday and we have already talked about a lot of things, we still have so much more to catch up with. He gave us these boxes of sweets from China, which I initially thought as Oreo (LOL It was really Oreo) and Pepero (Pocky turned out to be a Japanese brand). I will be meeting up with him on Friday when we go to visit UP, as well as on Sunday because my mother will be cooking for him as a welcome-back present. He has been very vocal about how much he liked my mother’s cooking.

His schedule, however, was jam-packed. Up until his last day, he has a lot of commitments and appointments with friends. But next week, we’ll have more time together because we will be visiting Baguio City. I wonder how cold the place will be, given the overall drop of temperature in the Philippines lately. But as he had rightly put, it can’t definirely be colder than what we have respectively experienced in South Korea and China. =D