sunday stroll

The sun finally came out and I am beyond ecstatic. Yes. It feels like I can breath again. Maybe I really do have seasonal affective disorder.

I went for a stroll around the neighborhood and met a dog walker and his little friends. They look like they were all happy to see the sun too.

I am so excited for the cherry blossoms. So excited.

Wherever you are, I hope your Sunday was as special as mine.

you are beautiful

I just learned about this project and think that its such a great idea. Imagine having a totally crappy day and then reading this message, I'm sure it can turn your day around. Or put a smile on your face, at least. You can participate in this project by printing out stickers and leaving them in places, like these ones in Hong Kong and Finland:

Or if you're not to keen about stickers in public places, you can always stick one on your bathroom mirror. I know I will :)

oh, sunny days...

I just decided that January is really not my month and as much I want to make the most of it, I am ready for it over. In fact, I can't wait for this rainy season to end and see the sun again, its too drab and cold here. This video is exactly what I'm dreaming of right now: sunny skies, vintage bikes, sidewalk cafes, writing outdoors, vespas - everything that I long for captured in 30 seconds.

via d a c e Spring 2010 videolook

this quiet corner

It's been raining non-stop here since I got back from the Philippines and at the rate its going, I have a feeling that I won't be seeing the sun until February. Unfortunately for me, its been really hard to go back to the swing of things and not wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, and all these gray skies and rain is not helping either.

How do you go from two completely different worlds anyway? If I close my eyes, I can still see the sun, feel the sand between my toes, smell the sea, and then I look around and see people bundled in winter clothes and I tell myself that here is where I am now, this is my other reality.

Times like these, I tend to surround myself with the little things that make me happy. A cup of coffee. Books. Poetry. My camera. Paper, lots and lots of paper. Music and film, in a language that I don't understand. (I hardly watch anything without subtitles these days).

I watch my cousin's dog find the coziest corner in the room to snuggle into while I fight the urge to stay under the covers and dream of sunny days. Its awfully easy to do that, to stay in this in-between state, and go through the motions without being actually present. But that's not the way I am. Nor do I want it to be that way.

And so it goes.

The city is helping though. Everyday I see something that reminds me of why I choose to live here. I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in more than a month, watch the fog slowly erase distant ships, and held my breath. Even the middle of our darkest winter, this city still holds its spell over me.
Sausalito, taken on 1.23.10

my 30th birthday

Turning 30 was a little anticlimactic, in a good way. I don't even know why I was anxious about it in the first place and it turned out to be just like any other birthday though it was so much more special because I got to spend it with my family. And we did things that I love: hang out all day together, watch a foreign film DVD, play with my niece and nephew, take a lot of pictures, sing at a karaoke place, etc. It was really low key and intimate. And best part was, we all got to dress up!

Here I am obviously too excited in my birthday dress. Its puffy and girly and it has swans in it, making me want to dance on my tiptoes. We had dinner was at a nice little Italian restaurant on top of the hill, overlooking the city. I think we may have loved the food too much because we ate them all, as evidenced in the "after" photo below.

Afterwards, we went to a karaoke place and rented a room for 2 hours so we can sing our hearts out. The first photo above with the disco ball was taken from our room, gotta love those disco lights! And I must say, most of my family have really good singing voices. In fact my parents were lead characters in our town musical when we were little.

Lastly, here is a pic of my siblings and I, taken during an earlier photo session before we went to dinner. I don't think I'm supposed to post our family photos here, but I can't resist sharing this one. We're definitely a party of five.

"Happiness is only real when shared", my brother quoted this one time from his favorite movie Into the Wild. And on this day, yes, it was more memorable because I got to experience it with the people I love the most.

i'm back

My dear friends, I'm back from my vacation in the Philippines, though my internal clock is still whacked and my stomach is not doing too good either - 16 hour time difference and a completely different diet can do that to you. Nevertheless, I'm here and I'm so excited to catch up with all of you!

So, the islands. Someone once said that you won't really know you're country until you leave it. This is very true for me. I'm finding more things about myself and my culture every time I go back to the Philippines. And although my schedule was hectic and didn't leave much time for introspection, there were some things that immediately stood out.

Like how I much I enjoy spending time with my family or going to places in groups. I'm very independent and often prefer to do things alone (i.e. I can watch a movie, eat at a restaurant, or travel by myself) so I was really surprised at how much I craved my siblings' company everywhere I went. No kidding, there was hardly ever a time that I wasn't with my brothers or sisters, my friends, or my parents.

One night, while we were driving through the city, I realized that everywhere I look people are in groups - friends, co-workers, neighbors, families, walking hand in hand, laughing, singing, or talking rather loudly. There was poverty all around and sometimes I can't help but tear up every time I see children begging on the streets, but for the most part, people seemed happy. Maybe the right word is content. Or maybe I'm just being sentimental, after all its been two years since I last went home.

Here are some action shots that I took while driving to the airport. I really love how they turned out. And yes, I miss it already.