Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aloha


Aloha: a Hawaiian word used in greetings or farewells. (And apparently, in expressing love too)

I greeted 2018 the best way I could. Back home in the Motherland. New Years, a Birthday and a Wedding were awaiting and I was excited to be part of it all! Mamasing, the family's rock and our delicate flower, is strong and blooming at 90. The entire generation were hands-on from the planning, the execution, to the dancing in celebration of this gift of Life. I came flying for the summer, thus, becoming a Reunion with family, friends and the ocean. Lucky am I to call one of our country's most beautiful islands - Home!


I, together with my Pinoy Mafia, witnessed a pure, real, God-kind of love in the marriage of Nana and Dada! A love that truly surpassed distance and seasoned in time. It was a white wedding, simple yet elegant, detailed and precised for everyone to enjoy the most important day of their lives. A celebration of the gift of Love. Despite of our friendship being heavily linked through social media now,  I know them as close as a kapatid who will last me a lifetime. And for that, Volim te!


I missed using this word - Layover - in Dubai for 48 hours did me nothing but good. It felt ages the last time I'd been at home in the sandpit. This City is just a proof of what's ahead of us - higher, bigger, faster progress. But it wasn't just my eyes satiated, but my heart as well, being reunited with one of the very first people who mentored me, believed in me and doesn't judge me. That is my Lobster. A celebration of the gift of Friendship. It felt so comfortable and so natural opening up to her my wounds. And instead of giving me assurance, she taught me perspective.


My journey also felt coming full circle, as I made a quick but unexpectedly longer layover in Doha. It's been over a year now that I stopped flying. I hadn't seen it coming. I had no clue that my greatest success will also be my biggest failure (to date). I've lost my job. But that doesn't hurt as much as losing my dream (or dreams thereof). I was too ashamed and too lost to admit to anyone but myself. I was destroyed. Since then, I've been trying to put things into perspective. And Germany helped me in different ways. Not as an escape or a sanctuary. But to adapt into a foreign lifestyle and language. To get out there not knowing anyone. To get back, alone, on my own two feet. The way a mother giraffe would kick her newborn calf until it learns to stand on it's feet for the first time. To learn.



And what have I gotten so far? It's just that - I'm only human. I'm allowed to fail as much in this lifetime. I've learned to draw from strength I never knew I was capable of sustaining myself of. To fail, and fail frequently. That, also, makes me human. (continuously typing then this drops in the background)



With Easter just behind us and the sun starting to warm away the winter, it's time to celebrate the gift of Renewal. Resurrection or rebirth would have been appropriately correct, all fit in this season of making things anew. And just like the other meaning of the first word I utilized, we also bid farewell to the old, to the past... to give way to the new. Aloha!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kani


It started as a dream. Being a Waterbaby and growing up in a little Archipelago, the Maldivian Islands has many times crossed my 'Bucketlist' list. I mean - the crystal blue waters; the luxurious resort islands, which marked their freehold on a lone island; and the chic water villas standing on stilts being showcased on every ad got me sold! I just had to see that for myself.

And all that I saw. I was blessed to fly to Male for work and accompany Couples for their Honeymoon. Before landing onto Male, you take in a view of the atolls beneath you. These countless ring-shaped reefs contrasting it's turquoise-coloured inner circle against the dark blue ocean. It was a Maldivian dream come true!

Despite all the beauty Maldives can boast of (I once saw a baby shark and sting rays at our hotel beach) I wasn't exactly caught off guard or swept off of my feet. Because I know what our very own Philippine Islands has to offer. Perhaps just a little bit more tourism boost and environmental protection measures. Perhaps, just like the ads, it was overrated.  

However, there are still some truths. The significance and what this bunch of Islands mean to me has long changed since it became my last layover. Honestly, I haven't seen much of Maldives in the couple of times I've been there. Until in December 2016, days before Christmas, I flew with an amazing crew and tagged along with two of my lovely colleagues-turned-friends on a hot and sunny beach day.

Although exhausted after work, our awesome threesome (Egypt, Romania and the Philippines!) dragged us for a one day excursion. This was the first and only time I went to a Resort Island, that is the Club Med Kani, in the Maldives. We took a boat ride from the main Hulhulé Island to Kani. And Paradise it was! We had a huge buffet waiting for us, water activities to be played, photos to be taken and memories to be made. Also, Disney's Moana was a hit at that time! It was clearly a day to be thankful for. 

As I was watching the sunset from the edge of a jetty, I remember asking myself what if all of this were gone? And in my thought, I'll be happy. No regrets. Only gratefulness in my heart. Grateful because I got to spend a day in paradise with Salma and Raluca. Grateful to witness dolphins jumping next to our boat ride home. Grateful because I got to live this moment. I say, the world is my playground and I was (literally) on the swing of happiness. And as life is measured by moments upon moments, I have a lifetime of this moment that took my breath away to last. I took it as a gift. Life is a layover. Enjoy it.


Shukran! Mulţumesc! Salamat!

Club Med Kani:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rita


I first met Rita on a Sunday, at Church. Saw her from afar, her hair neatly tucked away from her face, sporting a sleek, casual outfit and running shoes, as she greeted everyone around her with a smile and peace. She was simply glowing amongst the crowd. That left me wondering who she was, where she's from or what she does, only to find out moments later that she was indeed a good friend of my Tante Marilou.

I had very minimal knowledge of Deutsch at that time as we got into conversation. But it felt so light and so natural chatting with her (auf Deutsch!). I had nothing to be intimidated about. She said, she was once just like me, an Ausländer who moved to Germany, learning the language, seeking greener pastures. 

I thereby learned, Rita is a lovely lady from Lithuania whom I'd closely liken to Lady Diana. Strong but sensitive. Classy but cool. Refined but not restricted. And with a passion for beautiful spaces and delectable pastries! The kind of all-around (Ladyboss) woman I aspire to be.

She truly inspires me every time we talk and reminds me to look into the future with a new light. This was my very first Frauenabend (Ladies' Night), where she invited us along with her closest girlfriends, who are also every bit their own Ladybosses. Everything from the table setting, to the decorations, the presentation and the cake (oh the cake!) had a touch of 'Rita' on it. So, it would be unfair not to share that lovely evening. As well as celebrating this wonderful woman today.