January 31, 2016

08:00 I woke up 45 minutes earlier than the alarm I've set. I don't know what's with time. Whenever I see it in- between sleep, I would struggle sleeping again. It happens almost every time. If I have a clock in my bedside table or a tiny time display in some televisions, I'd cover them with something. Before going to sleep, I'd lay my phone upside down. I'd normally do these things, so, whenever I get up from bed to go to the washroom, I don't see the time. I think some people are like this, too. I forgot to cover the clock this time so upon seeing it when I woke up, I knew I couldn't extend my sleep for 45 more minutes. I was already clock- watching while trying to shut off my mind from thinking about things. 

09:35 Breakfast at the Feast with the rest of the Pinay crew

11:00 Ordered Sea Bass fillet for take- away at Cafe Mangii as my lunch box for today's flight.. I'm trying to avoid aircraft foods as much as I could. :)

12:00 I hit the treadmill for 30 minutes at the Sheraton Fitness Gym. I had to check first if there were other guests working out. Finding out that not a single person was there, I changed my clothes and started my once in a while dose of exercise. I was Skyping with him while I was walking down the treadmill. I said I wanted to go to Doha on my days off this February. When asked how much the ticket costs, he said I'd rather save that up for something else. He even said I can buy a fridge for 500 Riyals. Haha. That was a realization on my part. I already ran out of free tickets. And the new tickets will reset in a couple of months or so. Though there's unlimited discounted tickets, it still causes me to be strapped. :D

14:00 Took a nap for 2 hours

16:20 Wake- up Call

17:20 Pick- up

21:20 Departure back to base. One of my colleagues said I look like Venus Raj. Haha. I got that a lot when I was still working at Convergys. It was only today that I heard it again. :D

Bangalore, India

To end this day, here's how my day went. :) 

04:15 Happy to have slept for 9 straight hours.. I didn't take my sleeping aid because I knew I won't need it. My disrupted sleep started before my flight from New York to Jeddah. I traveled straight from Jeddah to Manila for days off without getting good sleep again during the duration of the flight. When I was in Manila, I only had two nights of good sleep and the rest were good as nap. I didn't get a good sleep during my flight back to Jeddah because I chose to see movies, instead. From my arrival in Jeddah, I slept for 7 hours until this red- eye Bangalore flight. If I'd calculate it, 9 hours is still not enough to compensate my lost sleeping time. I wish there were more than 24 hours a day! :D I'm not complaining. Nine- to- five is still more tedious and boring for me. :) Crossing different time zones and working during the day today, and a night tomorrow brings me excitement! I just wish I don't get to the point of abusing my body and health.

07:00 I started reading Reflections Of A Man by Mr. Amari Soul at the hotel's poolside. I loved my morning with a book in my hand while feeling the cool fresh air, hearing the water splash as few people swim in the infinity pool and the chirp of birds just above me. I also swam for a few minutes while enjoying the early rays of the sun. 

08:15 Coffee Ground Scrub. I learned this from my colleagues at work. It eliminates dead skin cells making it appear firmer and refreshed. Try it!

09:30 Breakfast at the Feast

11:00 An hour of nap

12:30 St. Mary's Basilica. With four other girls, I visited Bangalore's oldest church. It is different from all the other churches because of its blue and white interior paintings. It is beautiful, looking very elegant and feminine, rightly dedicated for Mama Mary. It was almost crowded of devotees doing their own prayers and offering candles and flowers, kissing and touching the different statues of saints. We were at first surprised to see people worshiping as Catholics like we do because we have seen more Muslims and Hindus everywhere in India.

We have observed people eating rock salt scattered under this statue of Mary and Jesus.
We don't know if eating salt has something to do with religion because then it's something new since it's never done in the churches in Philippines. Or it may have something to do with their culture. We never find out.
Our Lady of Good Health, Pray For Us
We offered our candles and flowers, too.
14:00 Very near to the church is Commercial Street, a shopping destination. I bought good quality curtains at a very reasonable price. I know where I'm using them. :)

15:30 Nearby our hotel is a big market where I bought a few groceries like brown rice, pomegranate, etc. Beside Big Bazaar is a home improvement and home goods store. Gosh! Looking at the items sent shivers down my spine. I can hardly wait to buy my own home furniture, appliances and decorations. And that means SAVING UP! :) I want my tiny condo space to be rented because I still want my simple dream of a house. c: In God's will and time. For now, I bought a candle lantern. That could take a lovely space in the bedroom.  I also bought myself a pillow mister. I didn't know such things exist. :D It is a lavender and fennel fragrance spray to bed linens that invites peaceful sleep and beautiful dreams. I might as well stop using melatonin pills. 

17:30 After quickly freshening up in the hotel, I went to LandMark bookshop inside Orion Mall and I was welcomed by books on sale (I almost went crazy when I saw the 70% discounts :D). I honestly still have a lot of unread books but I wouldn't let this pass. I bought four Chicken Soup for the Soul books for a total of 719INR (505PHP) and that already includes a cute silicone stand earphone purple turtle wrap (that's such a long description :D) for earphone cords storage. Lovely, right? :) 

I love India for books! c:
19:00 I love my dinner at Beijing Bites at the Food Court.

Burnt Pepper Chicken
Talking about my dinner made me starve for food again. :D Since I only finished half of it earlier, I'm going to eat the other half now before going to sleep. I don't mind being full right before sleeping. Haha. And it's time to use my new bed buddy to transport me to a world of refreshing sleep and eternal bliss. 

Good night! ZzZzzzzzzz

(Insert: My first Bangalore flight was an unforgettable one. My flying partner and I visited a few tourist attractions like the Lalbagh Park, Bangalore Palace and Vidhana Soudha. We had a lovely Indian lunch at Tandoor Resto and enjoyed an evening of mojito at The Studio Bar.)

Belle de Jour Power Planner 2016


He bought a planner like this first week of December last year, as one of his birthday presents for me. He had it mailed to my sister and she tried to collect it but for some reasons, it got lost somewhere. It had to be sent back to the sender. The timings were bad. Jeff and I were both in Manila this week while it was being sent back to Cebu. So, he bought again this Belle de Jour Power Planner 2016 at FullyBooked. I was so happy. He didn't have the slightest idea how much I wanted to hold this since the time I knew he bought this for my birthday. He plans to give the other one to his younger sister. 

Just so you know, I've been using Belle de Jour Power Planner since 2012. I used to buy the covers with girly designs and ring- bound. I shifted to hard- bound leather covers with simple cover quotes because it is more compact and it looks quite more sophisticated and womanly, and simple. 

Now that I'm on a 57- hour layover in a city of India where there's nothing much to do outside, I'm going to start organizing my plans, ideas and things to do. I will be filling this planner with stickers and I will be writing with colored pens.

I'm excited. It's not yet late to start 2016 on a planner! :), 

My January Days Off

I didn't expect I'd spent my days off with Jeff and my family in Manila. It was a very tough decision weighing my options of going or not based on first, my financial situation- something that he had actually assessed on. :)

Second, I had a problem purchasing my ticket. I needed to use my credit card. My bank is undergoing an upgrade of cards to all its customers since last quarter of last year. I didn't process the upgrade until this week. I received the new card but I needed to wait for another week to receive another mail from Aramex which will be a PIN this time. I couldn't purchase anything online without it. 

My third challenge was the ticket, itself. My free tickets are over and though there's unlimited discount tickets, I will be traveling as a wait list passenger and will only be allowed to travel if there is space available. I looked at the seat capacity on the flights I booked and they were already overbooked which means a lot of passengers are on wait list like me. My fear was not being able to travel on time. I could still try to catch the next scheduled flight to Manila the next day but that means missing the 50th wedding anniversary of our grandparents- the main reason why me and my family is going to Manila. And I may also miss my flight back to Jeddah, and be tagged as lateback or no- show to my next operating flight which is a big no- no to my goal of being a Manila base crew. 

Answered Prayers: Jeff supported me by booking my family's ticket to and from Manila. And he booked our 3 nights stay at Burgundy Mckinley Place in Paranaque. One of my friends is a lifesaver, too. Thanks to her! She allowed me to transact online using her credit card. I owe her 1500sar for the tickets to Manila and back. And checking in for the flight back from Manila was easy. The agent told me right away that my airline has already confirmed my seat.

Thank you, Lord, for You have allowed me to spend time with my loved ones by the help of others on overcoming those challenges. :) 

January 27, 2016

January 25 (Monday)

We transferred to Favila Transient Rooms in Pasay where the accommodation is cheaper and the location is more accessible. We went to Vivaldi Residences in Cubao to submit the co- makers bank requirements and inquire about the progress of the construction. At night, I got to meet Lady and her mom at the Resorts World Manila and when they left, Jeff and I met Rachel. 

January 26 (Tuesday)

We headed to Tagaytay and visited the Skyranch, a leisure park with fantastic rides and a great ambiance high above the city. We tried out the Sky Eye and the Log Coaster Flying Bus which gave us an amazing view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. The Super Viking is something I might think about doing again the next time. :D I tried it in Enchanted Kingdom before and didn't expect I could do it the second time around. Each time it goes up and swings to almost 90 degrees and swings back down again, I feel like I've left my soul somewhere in the process. Haha. It only took 5-6 minutes but it felt like forever. I resorted to shouting my lungs out or else I will be found unconscious. :D I can still ride the Drop Tower next time. I even raised my hands free as he told while being span around and bounced up and down. Thank God I didn't lose my voice from riding all those thrilling activities. 

We also went to Picnic Grove and tried out Tagaytay's Bulalo at Don Juan Bulalo in Magallanes Square. 

January 27 (Wednesday)

After lunch, he accompanied me to the airport. I hate times like these when we have to be apart again. I remember one of those times when I wanted to go out after acquiring my boarding pass, but the security wouldn't let me out. I couldn't help but cry because I still wanted another hug. :) I cried despite people around. Again, after checking in for the flight today, I wasn't allowed to go out because it was only a few minutes to departure. I heard the security calling a ground staff on our flight and she was told that everyone was on board. At that time I still had to go through Customs and Immigration. I didn't listen. Instead, I waited until he appeared on the window glass while we both spoke on the phone. I controlled myself from crying. I was sad. I hope someday we no longer have to meet halfway. 

We have had many misunderstandings in the past few days in between having fun and enjoying moments together. I was sensitive to so many simple things, making them complicated, leading to arguments and fights. But I know we're trying to tidy up the loose ends and figure this out together. :)
view from The Sky Eye
lunch at the Red Engine Diner & Downtown Pizza (Skyranch)
Picnic Grove

January 24, 2016

The last three days was a time well- spent with my Papa, Auntie Tess, Jeff, and my cousin, Jay-r. On our first night together, Jeff had to go to work. He requested to work for a night in their office in Eastwood while the rest of us were at the SM by the bay and enjoyed the live music and fireworks while having dinner. 

The following day, we prepared early for the 50th wedding anniversary of our grandmother- the only living sister of my grandfather on father's side. After work, he was able to join us at Tramway Buffet in Mandaluyong just in time to catch the wedding ceremony. I have never attended a wedding anniversary in my life before and being able to witness one makes me feel blessed to have shared a family's vibrant celebration. I also feel blessed to have witnessed a love shared for years. It felt so great to see two people who have a lot of love for each other. It is also incredibly humbling and awe- inspiring to witness them walk the aisle again, exchange vows, kiss and dance together. Nowadays, we could rarely see couples lasting long so it's a milestone for our grandparents to reach this part of their lives and it's worth thanking and celebrating for. 

After the celebration, Papa and Auntie Tess got to spend time with their cousins. They haven't seen each other for a very long time so the wedding anniversary served as an opportunity for them to be reunited as well. Jay- r and I got to meet out second cousins for the first time. They were a bunch of lovely girls and boys and since we were meeting for a short period of time, we all took each other's Facebook accounts to get to know each other. I hope there's a Reas family reunion that will take place someday so we can spend longer time talking and sharing experiences and stories. 

Before my family flew back to Leyte, we all spent our lunch at Cabalen and played bowling while waiting for the right time to leave for the airport. 

Not everyone was able to come because of the high airfare tickets. But I am happy I spent a short time with few of my family members. I am happy to see them happy.

Jeff and I watched the 5th Wave at SM Cinemas and didn't find the movie great. We later on had dinner at Juan Bistro. :)

family dinner at La Mesa Grill
with the not camera ready couple :)
Aunt Tess and Papa with our aunts and uncles

after lunch at Cabalen
After Jeff and I had bowling, he finally played too after playing hard- to- get. Haha
dinner at Juan Bistro with humba and bangus bistek

3rd Time in New York

My flying partner has been telling me she wanted to go to the city of New York to either see the Times Square or visit the Statue of Liberty. I wanted to accompany her but the very cold weather and wind just makes it impossible. And she realized it when we got there. 

I'm sharing a bit of a story of my experiences in New York. I was lucky on my first time since I was with one of my closest friends. She has a friend in the city who guided us along. Our hotel is more than an hour train ride to Manhattan. That alone plus commuting back and all the walking and sightseeing took hours from our only 33 hours layover. But we managed to go to different places while sacrificing much from our needed sleep. :D First, we just had to book a hotel in the city for an overnight stay so we won't have to lose more hours from traveling back and forth since we booked tickets to the Statue of Liberty for the following day. That first day, we saw the famous Brooklyn Bridge. We went to the lively and crowded Times Square. We went to a rooftop bar garden overlooking the city of New York and the Empire State Building. After only less than 4 hours of sleep, we headed to the tour to the Statue of Liberty. We arrived back to the hotel just in time for the wake- up call. 

That was summer. And my second time in New York was a fall season. Early in the morning, I took the train and transferred train stations to another to visit the Grand Central Station and the Central Park. 

This time in winter season, I preferred to stay in the hotel. I only went to Walmart and to the nearby mall with my flying partner to buy a few things. We went to Barnes and Noble bookstore for Reflections of a Man book but ended up buying Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult since Mr. Amari Soul's book is sold out. Little disappointed that there was no snowfall, we still went around the hotel to take few photos of the remnants of snow. :) 

Outside the hotel with the remnants of snow..
Brooklyn Bridge
Times Square
dinner at Dallas BBQ
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar Garden overlooking The Empire State Building
The Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island
The Grand Central Station
The Central Park

Chicken and Apple Salad

I love salads! They are hefty but healthy. Preparation only takes a few of my time and I will only need a few ingredients and a little bit of creativity to turn those boring veggies into scrumptious meals. I wish vegetables could stay fresh in the fridge for some more time so I could stock them up and I wouldn't have to run to the market whenever I feel like having one. :) I made a copycat today from an easy recipe in Solenn Heussaff and Georgina Wilson's book, Besties. I added one boiled egg. I love boiled eggs especially in my do-it-yourself vegetable salads. Instead of almond slivers, I used the whole almond nuts. I skipped the dill because it isn't available. 

1 thinly sliced red onion
1 sliced red apple
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped black olives
200 grams chicken breast seared of with rosemary
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup yogurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
chopped dill
boiled egg

In one big bowl, mix lettuce, red onions, red apple, feta cheese, black olives, chicken breast seared of with rosemary and almond slivers.

Salad Dressing:
Whisk yogurt with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, lemon juice and chopped dill.

Easy! :)

Until This Time In My Life

Everyone laughed when one of my colleagues said, "Next time, follow your instinct. If you felt you'll have a layover, don't think twice about bringing your clothes and toiletries. It's like trusting your instinct when you feel your man is cheating on you". ;D

Last year, we were stuck in our hotel rooms for two days waiting for our next call of duty. We weren't able to operate our supposed to be turnaround flight back to Jeddah from Istanbul because of technical problems. Without pajamas to even wear inside the room, going out to take the free meal in the hotel's restaurant was impossible. I hid myself in the bath robe whenever the room service came in. It felt different having to use the toothbrush and toothpaste provided in the room, and all the other toiletries like soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner. The worst was flying back without wearing a deodorant! Haha. 

So, few minutes before pick up time to operate my first flight on the first day of 2016, for some reasons, I had a big feeling I'm going to have a layover in Istanbul again. I was caught in a decision of whether bringing in some extra layover clothes and my own toiletries, or not. Last minute, I decided not and I removed the bag of toiletries which was already inside my trolley. Then, I headed out to check- out for the flight.

The flight went so well. It departed and landed on time. The challenge was the long taxi at the airport. It took us almost two hours from touchdown to finally deplane our passengers, ruining our legality to fly back to base. Thousands of travelers were stranded there due to continuous heavy snowfall causing delays and even cancellations of flights. One of those cancelled flights were our flight so I had to deal with that unanticipated layover again. We all wanted to go back despite our legality issues but there was nothing we could do about it.

Thank God this time, I had something to wear inside my room though it wasn't something I could wear outside to experience the snow for the first time. :) Our room service was free of charge so I ordered some soup for the cold weather and a grilled sea bass fillet with salad. The following day, I was able to see the snow better through a view from my room. I had breakfast with the crew prior to leaving the hotel. On our way to the airport, I was delighted to see snow on the side of the road and everywhere. 

Thank you Lord for simply because I have never seen snow until this time in my life. :) I have a layover in New York before my days off this month and I hope it snows so I could fully experience what it's like to be out there in the winter wonderland. I know building a snowman will take some time but I'd be happy with playing and throwing a few snowballs. :)