As another year comes to a close, I wanted to take the time to list down a couple of items I am thankful for, covering the period December 14, 2013 to December 13, 2014. This is Part 1 – Numbers 1 to 7.
1. In April 2014, I went to Thailand for the first time for work. It was only for about a week, but it crossed over a weekend. My colleague Michelle Lee had family there, so they arranged for a weekend out to a province (Hua Hin( and we stayed at a resort hotel (Centara), visited the King and Queen’s summer palace and just went around eating, shopping and sight-seeing. I lovedthe country and the people–they were very friendly and accommodating, more than many of their Asian neighbors.
2. Right after Thailand, my sisters Marie, Myrna and I set out on a road trip to Aparri, Cagayan to visit our Auntie Mel, who is in her 90s. The bus trip one-way was 13 hours and we basically stayed a shorter time in Aparri than what we travelled roundtrip. We visited Auntie Mel at her house and took almost every meal there. It was no longer the house I remember visiting as a child and as a young consultant decades ago when I went on a road trip to Aparri from Tuguegarao, since I had a client call at Tuguegarao. The original house had burned down. We visited the beach of our childhood and went to spa to get massages, body scrubs, etc. It was a very good bonding experience for us, sisters.
3. 9 months after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) laid waste to Tacloban, I went to Tacloban for the first time in my life. The trip was sponsored by J&J to unveil the playground developed for a school. I was glad I was able to be a part of the unveiling, as well as the distribution of toys to the kids, majority of which, still shake whenever the rains start falling. I wrote about the trip in this blog entry http://ysrealm.com/i-spent-a-day-in-tacloban/
4. In July 2014, while in Shanghai, China for work, I went on a solo trip to Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China over the weekend. Details of my misadventures are outlined in these blog entries– http://ysrealm.com/my-beijing-misadventures-part-1/ and http://ysrealm.com/my-beijing-misadventures-part2/.
5. In September 2014, for his birthday, Tosh and I went to Puerto Princessa, Palawan. We spent 4 days and 3 nights—visited the Underground River, beach-hopped, went spelunking and ziplining, went sight-seeing and ate a lot. We got to spend some precious alone time together, without the kids, and Tosh just loved the Underground River. It was one of the places he had wanted to go to for a long time. When we went to Coron, he thought the Underground River was there, so he was disappointed for years until I finally took him this year there.
6. Right after our Palawan trip, I went to Mumbai, India for work (no picture that I took, so I am posting a group photo taken by Victor Cruz, since I was in between cameras that period). It was my first trip to India. I was apprehensive because I was not a big fan of Indian food, but to my surprise, I enjoyed the food that was served in the places we ate. I met a lot of new people, bonded with already familiar ones, and encountered a nice bartender whose sole purpose in life was to please his customers with his drink concoctions.
7. Right after the India trip, I went to Bali, Indonesia with Michelle Lee and Cheryl Ling. They are colleagues from work that I got close to during our Singapore payroll implementation back in 2011-2012. Details of our adventures are in this blog entry–http://ysrealm.com/the-three-faces-of-bali/
More than the actual trips and the experiences I had from the above, I am doubly thankful for the fact that even if I had travelled so often this year, my family had still not decided to finally disowned me. On the contrary, their messages and their continued support and prayers sustained me during the times I missed them while alone in my hotel room.