I finally had a very good Christmas compared to last year. =) Exactly a year ago today, I was in a mortal peril and the vivid memory of what transpired that time seemed to have happened only yesterday. But what is past is past, and I was more than happy to pig out on things I never got to eat last year. We were also back to our normal tradition of letting the kids open all of the gifts under our tree. We line them up from smallest to biggest, and allow them to tear the wrappers one by one. I was most particularly excited for Brie to open her gift because Elsa finally got a sibling. But to my astonishment, she seemed more delighted with the books Mon and I gave to her, which is always a good sign. Hopefully, she gets to like books the same way I do until now. The whole Christmas morning until afternoon, I was busy playing with JB’s toys and I even took a couple of ensemble photos of Brie’s Frozen dolls a day after.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*extremely picture-heavy post
It has been three weeks since I last wrote a post regarding our trip to Seoul, and it did not help that this post concerned two things that made me unenthusiastic: Lotte World and leaving South Korea. From Simone Handbag Museum, we took the traingfrom Sinsa Station going to Jamsil station, which is connected directly to Lotte World.
I met with Raisa and Claude in Gateway Mall because we were to review and discuss topics for their upcoming examinations. Raisa also gave Mon and I two tickets for the collaboration performance between Ballet Manila and South Korea’s Yewon Dance Company because she won’t be able to watch it. It was slated at 5PM and I had adequate time to catch up with these girls and even if we should be reviewing, I had a great time laughing with our crazy stories. I also met up with a seller of secondhand college entrance exam booklets from Sulit.com.ph, and I bought the lot of five books for Php 600. I had no idea how much they cost brand new in National Bookstore, but as they were as good as brand new and already with plastic cover, I think the price was justified.
At around 3:30 PM, I had to leave and take the train until MRT Taft because Mon’s Korean class usually ends at around 3PM. I expectedly arrived past 4PM and we still had to eat some snack. It was also not easy hailing a cab and we were still waiting for one even if it was already 5PM. The show has already started. We did not know how the seating arrangement was, but when I mentioned “Korean Embassy” to the marshal, we were led to this row:
Ballet Manila was already performing “The Prince of the Birds” and we were catching our breath from running. It took me a few minutes to take everything and realized how amazing Ballet Manila was. The last time I’ve been inside Aliw Theater was when Kim Chiu was crowned the Big Winner in the first ever PBB Teen Edition. LOL We were sneaked in by a teammate because he was part of the production team. We just finished watching another ballet performance of dancers from France (it was organized by the French Embassy and my visiting professor that time gave me some tickets, maybe because I gave him one before for our annual dance concert). So, more than half a decade after, I found myself sitting in Aliw Theater for free again.
After a 10-minute intermission, the Yewon Dance Company began performing and it was really nice to see the audience being appreciative of our foreign guests’ performance. It was a series, mixing both classical ballet and Korean traditional dance. I especially adored their wonderful tutus. =D Too bad that I did not have my camera with me because I left it in the office! Luckily, an officemate was working on a Saturday and I asked her to keep my camera until Monday. How on Earth did I manage to forget it? Anyway, even if I had my camera with me, it was actually forbidden to take pictures/videos of the performers and there were a lot of marshals with their flashlights, reprimanding people for not complying with the house rules. It was really distracting.
The show ended before 7PM and we headed straight back to the MRT because we had a 9PM movie to catch in Gateway Mall — Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. I love how poker-faced Gemma Arterton was, but I clearly had enough of Jeremy Renner. It was unexpectedly funny and gory and I no longer cared if it was extremely panned by critics in Rotten Tomatoes. Imagine, naming the troll Edward. LOL The movie was clearly not taking itself seriously and I loved it for that!