My Weekend be like..

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4A Work during the week makes weekends a special treat, even if it means just staying home. And I usually prefer to do just that— just chill. Of course, there are always the many chores that need to be done over a period of time that weekdays cannot accommodate. There are weekends when I do make plans, but this wasn’t one of those weekends. For the most part, weekends are all about relaxing and recharging for me. Yes, even during these very challenging times.

As a divorced mom to a 17 year old, there are weekends and there are “me” weekends — those that are just about me, myself and I when the son is with his dad. This is one of those weekends.

I didn’t make any plans except where to insert the not-so-welcome task of schlepping to the corner laundromat to do my load. (The son has been tasked to do his laundry with his dad. So it’s MY clothes only.). The Co-op laundromat has been out of commission the last couple of weeks. Not worth ranting about here, so I won’t dwell on that.

Here I am trying to write about the weekend while sipping my iced green tea at the neighborhood Starbucks while waiting for the laundry cycle to complete. That I am actually sitting here inside the store, maskless as I am drinking, IS a big deal. Indoor seating was not allowed by Starbucks not so long ago, masks were ALWAYs required, and they promptly observed shortened hours and closed at 6pm. Not to say that I’ve relaxed with the masking. I’ve been wearing them everywhere— even outdoors— EXCEPT when eating or drinking.

At Starbucks this weekend

The best part of the weekend is sleeping in. Saturdays and Sundays are really the only days during the week when I have the luxury to do just that. That means waking up later than 8am — but sometimes, the body just can’t let go of the 6ish or thereabouts stirring. I think it’s age. No matter how late I turn in, I’m preprogrammed to actually wake up as the sun peaks into my heavy drapes. (I know, I don’t like blackout curtain, so I suffer through my sensitivity to sunlight.)

Postcards heading out

Saturday was mostly spent at home. I’ve had a pretty tense couple of days and a rocking weekend before that. I literally crashed when the previous weekend ended as things appeared to settle. Sometimes life totally takes me over even as the world is oblivious to what’s going on in my life.

So here’s my weekend — finally! I tried to avoid touching the postcards but I have some promised swaps that need to go out. I did a couple of masks and resisted the urge to cut more fabric. I made some mask necklaces so that I can wear the mask on my neck while at work. I browsed for the next project. It might be something to sew, if not crochet. I read, I listened and I finally finished the final season on Bosch on AmazonPrime.

And the oddest thing was, while I didn’t make up my mind about the next to do, I did decide I was going to create a rosary to post in the shop. Mind you, not a rosary bracelet— but an actual rosary. I will actually gather the materials Sunday night and tablet for my “down time” during the week. Perhaps it’s all the praying I’ve been doing of late. I had a shortlist of sick friends and family which somehow doubled over the last couple of days. I pray and seek an indulgence as I do my daily walk, after I pray with my favorite prayer app, The God Minute.

I do my grocery shopping throughout the week but wanted to get a few things in the fridge for the week ahead. My son has a pretty fixed repertoire so it’s a matter of (him) deciding what he wants for the evening. I miss ordering out which fiercely resists— saying he prefers my cooking. Forget that there are days when I can really use a break from the second job— but I delight watching him eat dinner and enjoy the food I prepare.

I told myself I’d finally make that cheesecake. I have bars of cream cheese in my fridge which were meant to be made into cakes weeks ago. (I promise I will not risk anybody’s gastric health by offering the cake to anyone else.). I had to wait to get the eggs and the cream, though. Made the cheesecake this afternoon and I defied the conventional wisdom to use my electric mixer and mixed by hand with a metal serving spoon. (The author of the recipe gave this as an option and says this was how it was done in Spain!). I whisked away the last 3-5 minutes to get rid of the clumps of cream cheese. I’m pretty good with following recipes and the byproduct looks promising. It needs chilling for a few hours. We shall see.

Postcards heading out

I did continue with the sorting of the vintage postcards. I am going to put myself on a moratorium for the next couple of weeks as I’ve acquired quite a hearty bunch that needs sorting and putting into the album. Until that is taken cared of, I am NOT buying any more to add to the collection, no matter how cheap they may be!

Just a small batch of postcards going out tomorrow to a special collector who puts so much effort into what she sends out. I figured that the least I could do was try to level up, even if I can’t quite approximate her artistry.

The day is ended and I’m winding down. I am hoping for a good week not just for me, but for everyone who means something to me. I pray for the special mentions on my prayer list— “from all the evil that surrounds (them), defend them..”

Here’s hoping everyone was able to enjoy a bit of quiet and peace this weekend to help us deal with the week ahead. I wish you well..

To those with afflictions, I wish you healing. In my heart of hearts, I pray that your burden be lifted or at least lightened.

Another shelter in place Sunday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI see the sun shining outside but I’m trying to make the most of my Sunday morning in bed. I slept at probably around 2am, yet I woke up at 6:30am. I got up and answered the call of nature and went back under the sheets. Sleepcast to try and help me get back to sleep from my meditation app didn’t help. I thought an Etsy webinar would, but even as I was proven correct it was not really free and just a pitch for another course, I managed to stay awake all throughout.

Now I have a headache.

I’m already planning my nap. I am still trying to make my mind up about breakfast. My tummy is arguing with my head because my headache is telling me to go for the banana bread I baked last week, and my tummy is reminding me I got some asparagus for my Sunday brunch omelette. Or I can even go for a ham omelette ..Hmmm..
My Sunday

Not exactly a picture perfect asparagus and cheese omelette, but my tummy was happy

Pending the decision about what sustenance I will take before drinking my headache drug of choice, I have at least made up my mind the laundry will have to wait. (Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday.). Or maybe not. I think the lack of sleep is making me jump from one idea to the next. No, the body wins. I’m taking it easy this Sunday.

I guess that’s one reason I decided to write here, just to help sort the fuzziness in my head. Writing has always been a source of clarity.

I’ve been working on several mask patterns from various sources. I’ve donated my sewingforlives masks and now I want to make masks for myself. I went out yesterday wearing one as I walked to the corner to do errands in 70 degree temps. It was a beautiful day but the mask was hot.

It took some adjusting like always, and I needed to vent the mask by giving it more space between the cloth and my face every once in a while, but I managed. For all the different patterns I’m trying, it all comes down to comfort. Breathability is important or your mask will do you more harm than good. It has to be something you can stand wearing for an extended period of time. I’n writing a separate series of posts on the masks and will share the resources I’ve found, along with tweaks to the pattens I have done.

One of those patterns actually kept me up last night, but I am happy I finished it. While one might think a mask is a mask, I’ve found that there are different nuances in each pattern that can be used together to tweak certain features of a face covering.  This particular pattern looked a little wonky to me when I saw it online, but working on the actual mask showed me a new way to sew the front and back pieces together.

Post coming soon on this mask

So I stitched and unstitched and stitched again, and came up with my first prototype of this pattern, and it might yet turn out to be one of my favorites.

I’m trying to steer clear of the sewing for portions of my day when there is some free time to do the things I want to do. “Me time” has been confined to mostly sewing the past couple of weeks. My art journal has been set aside for the whole month of April, and I will try to do an entry today before May totally slips by. My beads and tools are also waiting for me. I know I had promised to create some pieces in the last week or so, but there was work, and the masks.

So as you can see, I’ve been very focused on creating face coverings and finding one (or two or three) actual mask that I like, and producing enough for me to use when I get back to work. Whenever that may be. Still experimenting..

I realize now that I have to stop stressing about returning to work, and part of that is easing up on my focus on the face coverings. This whole business of sheltering in place and the presence of the threat of corona hanging over my head has been a heavy burden. We try to cope as best we can, and I think I have been doing well for the most part, but I am only human. There’s always that part of us that suffers through the stress no matter how good we get at coping from day to day.

This Sunday, I’m going to work on at least one jewelry piece, and maybe even come up with one item or two for the shop. I already know which section of my art journal I will work on. I don’t really want to plan beyond that, because all I can think of right now he’s wanting to go back to sleep. And after everything I have written here, I still haven’t made up my mind about breakfast.

My headache has also not abated. It seems to be intent on keeping me company today. I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I’m already planning my nap.

Sundays should not be so complicated. So let’s begin with my asparagus Omelette. Progress. At least breakfast is taken care of, and that’s one less decision to make today.

Dinner saw me baking a small batch of Pao de Quiejo using a different recipe from my first attempt a couple of weeks back. Simple enough. Headache crept away midday but I just didn’t have the energy for much.

My Sunday

I hope your Sunday went as well as mine. I hope that like me, you will take time to do something that you like doing, and find the time to just pause and breathe.

Another weekend sheltering in place– grateful to be safe at home and getting ready for the week ahead.

Saturday into Sunday

I promised myself I’d make it a no pressure but productive weekend, and so far I think I’m on track. I’m just a tad sad, though, that my last post here was practically a month ago. Four posts are in my virtual editorial calendar and I’m hoping at least two make it to publication here.

The days have been busy but not quite as stressful as the first part of the year. Or could it be that I’ve started coping better, so I am not all over the place and ready to pull my hair out when things start taking me over. I haven’t been meditating much so it can’t be that. It could be my newfound focus on losing weight and taking better care of me.

For starters, I get ahead of myself when I feel like I’m getting worked up. I step back and remind myself there are other things I can focus my energy on. Maybe that’s one reason I haven’t been too keen about keeping my meditation on a regular cadence. I am not stressed out enough to seek it out. I know that’s not the right way to get my mind into a better plane but I will try. I recognize meditation has done wonders for me during my lowest of lows, and I really should heed my own advice not to wait for an emergency before attending to things that ail us.

Weight has been lost, indeed! Six weeks ago, I decided I’d get on the keto diet bandwagon. Now this journey has been a pretty interesting one and merits a post all its own, but I am happy to report that I have lost 13 lbs, 2 lbs short of the achievable weight that I was aiming for. Not bad at all. I am back to my usual weight and can now work towards (1) firming up the flab (which I have a lot of!), and (2) losing more. I am not quite where I should ideally be, but what I have lost brings me to just “slightly overweight” instead of “really overweight”. So I can definitely say I’m making progress on the “taking care of me” part.

As the weekend spills over to Sunday, I’m feeling okay with Monday not being too far behind. No wishing for a longer weekend– I am actually excited by the thought that a new week is just right around the corner.

Touchdown Manila

I’ve actually been here a couple of days, just taking things slow and trying to enjoy the down time.  While I was just here in April to attend a wedding, this time it was a spur of the moment decision we had made for Angelo to finally get his long-requested summer stay in Manila.  We had always timed our trips to coincide with the holidays, and that meant arriving for his vacation with a homework packet.  It was understandably a dampener to what would have been a period of fun and relaxation. 

The flight home.  For the first time, I flew our national carrier, Philippine Airlines — and while I had wanted to fly my usual airlines (KoreanAir, Cathay Pacific), I had to adjust to the travel arrangements Angelo already had because he had flown 5weeks before I did.  (Long story short, I didn’t get to choose this flight.)  I had flown PAL many times before domestically, and even as recent as last April when we all hied off to Cebu for that beautiful wedding where I stood as godmother.  I liked that trip, but this last one left much to be desired.

It helped that I had set my expectations low, so I wasn’t surprised that the plane seemed to be old and worn.  I have complete faith in the crews that fly PAL, so I told myself, as long as they get me to Manila, I’m fine.  And get me here, they did.  So I am grateful to the professionalism of the two crews who flew us first to Vancouver, and then the second crew who actually brought us home.

The food was typical PAL, and better than most served on American flights.  My two favorite airlines, though, are favorites, partly because of their inflight dining menu.  Give me the KoreanAir Bibimbap anytime!  (And they do give it at every meal.. which means a two-time serving on a long haul each way.)  I arrived okay — not starving — but we don’t fly for the gastronimic experience.

Yet, all was not lost, and this is the reason I decided to devote a good portion of this post to the flight.  Kudos to the crews that flew on PR127 from New York to Manila via Vancouver on July 31, 2015.  You are the saving grace of this airline.  I got efficient and courteous service (expected), and very generous help when requested.  So forget that the control panel on my armrest kept falling out (no, I did not get electrocuted and it WAS working even if hanging by the wires, literally.), and that there was this tiny screen hanging from certain vantage points on the plane.  Blame it on being spoiled by every other airline I’ve flown in recent years who had individual screens in front of me — whether I was flying state to state or overseas.  (Even Aer Lingus had this!)

Whether I went to the galley to request for a drink, or ask permission to open the porthole by the rear door to snap a picture, I got my answer with a smile.  Even my water was poured with such grace I couldn’t help but wonder if they had practiced that motion during training.  No matter that the menu offering had to be repeated to every person on every row, the question as to your meal of choice was asked with a smile, and without the smirk that made you feel like you were being stupid for asking him something about the meal.  (Meal service, apparently, is not a favorite chore among most flight attendants..)  I wanted to tell them all that they did a good job, but I was busy lugging my luggage down the very narrow passageways and trying to wish the pain in my behind away — grateful I was finally home.

NAIA Terminal 2 – hmmmmmm… All these years, I’ve flown in and out of the same international airport in Manila — and it was an experience I almost dread, but not because of the fact that the airport was really dated.   This particular airport is not a happy place for me except when I arrive — so I have mixed feelings about plopping down into unchartered territory, landing in Terminal 2.

First, there was the immigration line which was always a coin toss between having “long lines” and “VERY long lines”.  I guess I was lucky my flight didn’t arrive with everyone else, so while there was a wait, it wasn’t unbearably long.  A couple of years ago, I got caught during the automation switch of the Bureau of Immigration, and I had to agonize through a two-hour wait with Angelo in tow before we were cleared for the gate.  He was probably 2 or 4 then, so I was actually in line with a young boy on a stroller.  We inched slowly to the front and when I was finally there in front of the Immigration officer, I painfully watched him try to navigate the system.

So you can imagine my surprise when I landed with an older immigration officer who not only processed me with speedy efficiency –but he also rendered courteous and friendly service.  That I am actually raving about it here should prove how impressed I was.  I even sent a direct message to the current Commissioner to make sure that I got the praise recorded officially.. Thank you, Immigration officer Tabao.. Job well done!  We always hear about the “bad eggs” — it’s good to hear about the good ones from time to time..

I walked through the new arrival lanes to the baggage claim area which looked new and promising, until I found myself waiting for my luggage which didn’t come out until after an hour.  Thank God, Immigration sped me through — I had happy memories to keep me preoccupied while I twiddled my thumbs as I lay in wait for the carousel to start showing us bags.  I got to meet an OFW from Vancouver who was hoping his luggage would come out before his wife’s flight from Hong Kong arrived.  (I think he beat her arrival by a few minutes.)  I met a nun who was home for the first time in 15 years, but sadly, to attend her brother’s funeral.  We spoke to each other quite a bit and had a few laughs, and then I saw one of my bags appear and I excused myself.  (Second and third bags appeared almost a half hour later.)  I would’ve met more but my brother started pinging me he was near.. where will he get me?  I suddenly missed the lettered zone in the old airport.

I found the “Bays” and let him know where I was.  (very short spans, though.)  I got into his car and his first concern was whether or not I was hungry — and thanks to the Chicken Tocino from PAL, I was good.. I didn’t realize that the trek home to San Juan would take 3 — YES, THREE – hours.. so you can imagine, I was famished by the time I got home and gave everyone else a hug.  I knew I was back in Manila — traffic and all.

No matter what the hassles and how my behind kept reminding me throughout the trip how long a journey it was, I am always happy to be home with friends and family.  And as they say now, it’s always more fun in the Philippines!

Reaching for calm

I’ve been churning out posts that never went beyond “DRAFT”, so they are still sitting here in my dashboard, and all but one are still in limbo — the one having been permanently relegated to “PRIVATE”.

I’m just trying to find a semblance of balance — of calm — so as to be able to write with less emotion and less passion and without anger.  There are times when it’s as easy as counting from 1 to 10, and there are times when I actually have to utter a prayer just to bring myself “back.”

Spring is finally here.  Everyone is rejoicing even if we’re all bundled up and still in jackets because of chilly temperatures.  I like that the trees are abloom again.  It does get a little tricky deciding on the proper outerwear to walk out of the house in — do I wear the thick lined coat or something lighter and not as bulky?  Do I put the scarf in the bag or do I wrap it around my neck?

Happy administrative professional’s day! Got these from the boss which was a total surprise! #thankyou #flowersforyou #administrativeprofessionalsday #yourock #appreciation #flowers #thelittlethingscount #proudtobeanEA

Everyday, I’ve been trying to do something I know will relax me before I lay down to sleep.  Be it browsing a magazine (I now have three to gawk at) or fiddle with my tools in my continuing experimentation.  I’ve taken a liking to crochetting gauge 28 wire and I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Now if I can only assemble it into a statement necklace as I’m picturing it in my mind.

Not quite there yet, but I try not to push myself too hard lest I end up working on it until past the witching hour.. I need my rest — not for beauty reasons but for the simple reason that I need it to function productively the following day.

So I got these flowers from the boss at the end of the day, hand delivered and sent to me, and voila — a thank you for a thank you.  Gorgeous flowers, they are.

What? No one told me I could take a real lunch hour..!

I’m an Executive Assistant to a C-something here in one of the so-called Fortune 100 companies whose headquarters is located in Midtown Manhattan.  Even when I had a second assistant helping me out, “lunch” was usually taken in front of my computer screen, catching up on news from back home online.  I couldn’t quite fathom why some of the older assistants on the floor would actually grab their purse, eat and sit alone in the cafeteria or with each other, maybe watch the common TVs spread around the eating area, and actually stay away from their desks a full hour.

Not me.  I’d take out my lunch, clear the immediate area in front of my keyboard and choose the newspaper article I would read.  There was the occasional lunch with a colleague or two, but very rare.  When I ventured out, I would usually drift into any one of my favorite beads or notions store lining the streets around Avenue of the Americas for my crafting needs.  Time for something new.

Up until two days ago, I never really exercised my right to a “Lunch hour”, opting instead to go and grab a bite when I grabbed something for the boss or occasionally doing a personal errand around Midtown where I work.  I am finally with a boss who actually eats and minds short lunches, but that means I have to be at my desk as he munches away in case someone calls.  My next door neighbor on the Executive Floor, though, has been egging me to go out and take a walk even for just a few minutes — and there was the voice of experience talking to me.  She’s been at this job the last three decades or so, and I’m just about to round up my first.  And she was persistent… so I said, not a bad idea.. let me try it.  Forget that it was cold — I have my coat and my light scarf.  I’ll live.

So two days ago, after days and days of telling myself I WILL SIT IN THE PARK AND TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE in the middle of the day, I finally found a late lunch hour to squeeze in maybe a modest thirty minutes of “me” time.  I grabbed my iPad, breezed down the two elevators taking me to my piece of midday heaven, ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and surveyed my new lunch spot.  It was chilly, but I was giddy with the thought this was just me and my book (currently reading EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert alternating with A STORM OF SWORDS by George R.R. Martin).  I kept glancing at my watch to make sure I had enough time after allotting myself a half hour for this “experiment” of sorts.

I glanced around and looked at the other people sitting at their tables.  Suits on the cell..  Backpacking tourists enjoying a “New York” lunch.. Stay-at-home moms pushing strollers… what struck me was there were a lot of individuals who were obviously dressed to go to work just enjoying the park as they had lunch or staring off to nowhere, or as they tapped away on their handhelds.  Kindred spirits trying to take a break like me.  (So this what be what most normal working people do.)

As rain was threatening in the skies, I picked a spot under one of the garden umbrellas (just in case) by the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain.   There’s something about the sound of the water spraying onto the pond surrounding the fountain that I find most soothing.  I wish that it weren’t so cold but I was bundled up.  Spring seems to be constantly teasing us here in New York, disappearing behind the chill that has fallen upon the city the last couple of days

I’m finally taking a lunch break.  I like it.  No rushing from the office to some store or the bank.  Just letting it all hang loose as I had my little piece of heaven there for half an hour.  I ate my sandwich and read.  I glanced at my watch and was surprised that I had all but taken half of my allotted time.  I read on and took a few pictures.  Bliss.

The next day, I returned — again with my iPad– ordering my grilled cheese and I inched closer to the lawn.  (Getting braver.)  I stayed close to the fountain.  I spied some pigeons.. children playing in the grass (finally open to the public), and I just took it all in.  I tried drafting a post right there and then, but I changed my mind after realizing writing was “taking me away” from enjoying the moment.  So I just sat there, read some more, and looked around… I breathed it all in.

A half hour of me.  Maybe later I’ll write some letters or a note or two.   Or maybe I’ll just sit and watch.  I might even stretch my half hour to a full hour of just me.  Hey, I work hard– and for someone who doesn’t get overtime pay, I deserve an honest-to-goodness break.  (It makes my 9 to 10-hour stretch from 8:30-6 or sometimes even 6:30 more palatable.)  Before anyone goes crazy over the “no overtime”, the company seems to think I’m paid high enough to not be entitled to the additional pay.  Of course I don’t agree, and the only way to get the better deal is to take that full hour break.

I’m all excited by the coming summer when the park will be abuzz with a lot of lunch hour activities.  Maybe on super busy days, I’ll take a table on Broadway or something.. or I might stay indoors in one of the public areas — one of which is right across my building across from the park.

Again, bliss.

Personal Treat

I like weekends because breakfast is not a hurried production.  It’s also the only time of the week when I can whip something special up for myself after preparing breakfast for everyone else.  Today I decided I wanted pancakes.  Slathered with butter and topped with my favorite Harry and David Caramel Sauce — yum!  I would’ve loved to pour on some heavy cream but I’m all out.  Still, that was quite a treat.

I sat by the breakfast counter and had a leisurely breakfast while listening to music via YouTube.  It’s the start of a long weekend here on our side of the world, what with Martin Luther King Day being observed this Monday.  A much needed break, indeed.

It’s been a busy week at work and I am still adjusting back to being back from Manila — not so much jetlag-wise — I think I’ve pretty much recovered from that.  But more like adjusting back to trying to wean myself from pining for those three weeks of rest and relaxation with family and friends.

Work has been very hectic and will get even more hectic.  I can use as much of the weekend as I can get.

So after the espresso and the pancakes, I got another giant mug of coffee.  I sat, browsed the net, uploaded these pictures I took for this blogpost and just enjoyed the morning.

We often end up taking such simple pleasures like sitting down to take it easy forgranted, when it is probably the best remedy to a quick recharge more so after a busy week.  All week long, I’m the first to wake up and I start puttering around the kitchen getting my morning off to a start while it is still dark outside.  I get everyone’s breakfast ready and then I get down to getting myself off to work.  Everything is at a hurried pace that usually leaves me breathless by the time I walk out of the house.

Weekends afford me a chance to slow down, enjoy every bit of the exercise of getting breakfast ready, and actually fixing up a personal treat for myself like today.  At least during weekends — that’s good enough.  I can sip my coffee at leisure instead of doing it at my desk when I get to work.  I can stop and decide how the day will be instead of letting it roll out in rote fashion.

What matters more

I used to have an action packed, booked solid vacation every time I went for a homecoming here in Manila.  I did that maybe for the first two or three times I vacationed here, making sure breakfast, coffee before lunch, lunch, merienda, dinner and drinks were covered.  I stuck to a schedule and saw as many people as I could.  I scheduled it so that venues were adjacent to each other.  I might be having breakfast in Greenbelt 1, then I move to Greenbelt 5 for lunch, etc.

It was fun and I saw a lot of friends, but I ended up terribly stressed and harrassed.  Fatigue would catch me at the end of the day and I still ended up missing an appointment or two because sometimes things got rescheduled or I missed something.

My last real vacation before this current one was December 2009.  My schedule was thrown out of whack because my father had to be rushed to the hospital before Christmas and that had me ending up staying an extra week making it a month-long vacation with Angelo.  (Alan left earlier than Angelo and me.)  I couldn’t schedule anything because my own was dependent on what was happening to my Dad and where I was needed.  I had tried going with Alan and Angelo to the Tagaytay Highlands on the invitation of Alan’s friend, but I ended up staying all night waiting for our hostess to wake up so I can have her driver bring me to town so I can go home to Dad who had to have emergency surgery.

One lesson I learned from that trip was that although I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, and I didn’t see as many people as I could have, a more fluid schedule allowed me the chance to actually enjoy my vacation more.  There was less stress, less pressure.  I allowed myself to reschedule.  Since the meet ups were not one after the other, it was easy to accommodate meetings that ran over.  If I was having fun or particularly enjoying the company of a friend or group of friends, I didn’t feel short changed as I didn’t have to cut the meetings short.

I might’ve overdone it this visit, though, as I found myself spending more time just relaxing than heading out and meeting up with friends.  I’ve even kept the meetings with relatives to the minimum.  I feel like it’s a regular vacation back in the US where I wake up at leisure and do things without any pressure.  (Save for the long lines and all the walking in DisneyWorld every time we go..)  I take it a day at a time, planning spontaneously.  Maybe it helped that everyone else has been so busy, so they haven’t been asking for time to spend together.  This has allowed me to enjoy my vacation more.

Just five more days and I go back to New York.  Leaving Manila is always bittersweet for me, but all I do is just think about the next vacation and that tides me through.