Weekend Whirlwind

It's funny how I always tell others to slow down and take a break when life's too much. I don't practice what I preach. No matter how exhausted I am, I want to get things done asap so as not to waste time. The start of April has been a whirlwind.

I flew home to spend time with my brother who is vacationing from the Middle East. My brother and I arrived on the same day but different flights. Mom picked us up from the airport and I've never seen her happier. Nothing really can replace home and the warmth of togetherness with family members. I tried not to pack my schedule with meet ups so I can have more quality time with the family. My mom prepared breakfast spread for us each morning- a variety of longganisa from Batac, Vigan and Cagayan (haha I know! take your pick!), eggs, hotdogs, and garlic rice. I was able to just lay down in bed and watch Food Network without thinking about anything. I used to watch Food Network a lot back in college days, to unwind and imagine what my future kitchen would look like.

I promised my brother that we'll watch Les Mis together and so I bought us tickets in early January. The show was fantastic and left my heart aching. We were lucky to watch Rachelle Ann Go as Fantine because my brother said she's been sick for sometime. She did really great and had a well-deserved standing ovation.

Before the show, I was able to squeeze in a short meet-up with my Go cousins who I haven't seen in ages and my Taiwan friends Bea and Diet who's also visiting home. Diet's now based in Singapore, and Bea went back to Manila after her 6 months of Mandarin studies in Taiwan. These two were my source of strength and happiness when we started our Taiwan journey in September 2009. I remember I would always cry to Bea and she'd do the same. Then we'd eat our hearts out and feel better again. Gosh the glory days. We've remained great friends since.

Above photo with Go cousins, below with favorite people Diet and Bea

I missed home so much despite the traffic that drives me and everybody else insane, despite the noise of Metro Manila and the smell of Tondo, for it won't be home without all these. They make up the heart and soul of the place I grew up in and each time I come home for a visit, I always ask myself where I really want to be. Drama to be continued...

After arriving from Manila, I left for Hanoi, Vietnam the next day for our preparatory meeting with our host organization for the annual bankers conference in November. I've only been to Ho Chi Minh so I was excited to see Hanoi. I was glad that the meeting went smoothly after only few weeks of coordinating with the host org. They took us to the proposed conference venue in Ha Long Bay, which was around 3.5 hours away from Hanoi. Ha Long Bay was just so dreamy, no wonder it's named as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. I wish I knew what God was thinking when He created Ha Long Bay. It's really so serene and beautiful.

I'm leaving you with some photos from Ha Long Bay. Wishing you all a nice weekend!

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