On why I write

Why do I write?

I write to organize my thoughts.

To calm the chaos, to quiet the waves, to tire myself out, to stop me from thinking too much and too loud.

To break it all down into tidbits I can chew on, to put to little boxes I can carry around.

I write to understand.

To empathize with someone, to discover where they’re coming from, to put myself in another’s shoes.

To try to rationalize, to try to think what they’ve been thinking and feel what they’ve been feeling.

To see what could’ve been done.

I write to reveal myself.

To unravel deep secrets, to discover hidden strengths.

To find out the core reason for what I’m feeling, to drill down on the root cause and the explanations.

Most of all,

I write to remember.

To serve as a reminder to how I got here, to teach myself “this is how it is done”.

To immortalize the feeling of the moment, to capture all the details, to save what is worth looking back to.

To imprint a memory never to be forgotten. To keep it close to my heart.


I miss writing. My mind is in a million places at once.

Writing is rest, and I am tired.

Taiwan, 2018/2019

I guess this doubles as a yearend review post, which is something I usually do in my previous blogs that I intend to still continue in this blog.

Since I have deleted the blogs containing the yearend review for 2016 and 2017, all comparisons I will make henceforth will be from memory. I remember that 2016 was a good year for me and one that will be very hard to top, since my life was in a great place then in all aspects. And there’s a stark difference between that year and 2017, which was a dark year mostly due to the “breakup”. This is not to say that 2017 has been all bad, since I got to travel a lot that year, but all I could remember that year was the dark place I was in.

And then we got to 2018. I prayed for a better me this 2018, which didn’t quite feel like it. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed this year, battled with this illness for a few more months and struggled to be okay with my relationships, with my work, and with my life. I had hoped that 2018 will be brighter than 2017 but as we got nearer to the end of the year, I couldn’t help but think how in 2018 I probably had it worse.

After the trip to Korea in October I realized that I’m still not feeling as better as I hoped I would, and I found myself bothered that 1) I don’t feel like spending the holidays in my hometown, and the usual holiday we spend there is welcoming the new year; and 2) I don’t have plans on my ex’s birthday on January 2, and I guess I’m still scared that if I’m not occupied on that date I would lose it. So I decided that I wanted to welcome the new year somewhere else, somewhere more distant to what I’m used to. I thought I should spend it outside the country, and also I wanted to spend it somewhere cold πŸ˜…

Japan and Korea were the first places I could think of, but it’s much too expensive and much of a hassle to go to since I have to apply for a visa. I almost gave up planning the trip until I remembered Taiwan, which is more accessible. So in an act of sheer impulse and rebellion, I booked my plane ticket and accommodation and decided that my parents would allow me since the flight and hotel are both in place.

What would have been my first solo trip became another kind of first: first trip with the boyfriend. Around the time when I booked my tickets, I have started going out with one of my friends from grad school. After casually mentioning the trip to Taiwan, he told me that he wanted to come with me and so it’s not a solo trip anymore.

And as clichΓ© as it sounds, the decision to date this friend of mine was probably the biggest plot twist of 2018.

We both agreed to keep it light and chill since we feel like we’re both not ready yet to get in a relationship. But life had other plans, and soon after we have decided that we’re making things official.

It’s been going great since; it’s not perfect as we still have our issues and disagreements, but I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. While I still feel anxious at times because of work, I’m glad to say I’m feeling better overall. And to kick things off this 2019, I also got to talk to my ex again. Talking to him resolved a lot of my baggage, which I guess also helped, so I’m starting the year lighter because I’ve finally let go of some things.

We celebrated our first month in Taiwan πŸ˜„

So the Taiwan trip was probably the celebration of one chapter of my life ending, and a mark to signal new beginnings. All of the foreign travels I have shared here all hold a special place in my heart: Hong Kong was where I decided to leave my emotional baggage, Korea was where I discovered what’s in store for me if I don’t give up and give in to my dark thoughts, and Taiwan is where I can finally say I’m already happy again 😊 and a little bit more ready for another year.

To more meaningful (albeit highly emotional) trips this 2019! Hopefully things do get better from here. Cheers! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

On Teaching

Let me share with you something personal (as if I haven’t been sharing personal tidbits of my life in my #traveling posts!). Outside of this blog, when I’m not traveling or writing about makeup and my skincare purchases, one of my real life responsibilities is I actually teach at university.

Okay, I’m making it way bigger than what it really is. I teach part time in our department in the university. Part time, because I am still in the process of getting my masters degree, so while I’m doing my thesis, I am also handling at most two classes every semester.

During my first week of teaching, instructors were supposed to inform the students if they are planning to accept any more students in their class, so I posted an announcement in the college group. Only a few people commented something relevant to the actual post, and majority of the comments were from my friends, org mates, previous professors, etc, and they were all shocked that I posted as an instructor.

I was quite offended by how shocked they were, so I asked another friend, “Do I not look like someone who’d be an instructor?” to which my friend answered, if he didn’t know that I had plans to teach, he would be shocked himself. So I shouldn’t take it too personally.

Looking back, I don’t really remember why I wanted to teach. I just realized before graduating that I wanted to get a masters degree so I can go and pursue a career in the academe. It’s like I have just decided that that’s what I’m gonna do. I couldn’t really tell you why I wanted to teach, even now. But it’s one of the few saving graces that I’ve had in my life. I might not want to get out of bed on some days, but I remember never missing a teaching day.

It wasn’t the ultimate solution to what I went through, and I’ve had a phase where I didn’t want to go to class to teach. But it was and still is enough to keep me going. It had been a real lifesaver to not think about my problems for a while and focus on this responsibility. Until now, whenever I feel like I want to quit studying for my postgraduate degree or even take a break, I always remember my why, and my why is that I want to teach. Now that I’ve found what I want to do, the only thing left is to do everything to achieve this goal. Fighting!!! 😊 #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

Korea haul!

I BOUGHT SO MUCH STUFF IN THE LAND OF SKINCARE AND MAKEUP AND I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE EVERYTHING hahaha well I’m only gonna share the beauty products I bought since I also bought a few bags, clothes, and fangirling things hehe


THINGS I BOUGHT:

  • Innisfree orchid eye cream – I never really liked any of the eye creams I have been using for the past year, so I decided to research and splurge on an eye cream this time. I watched Joan Kim’s video comparing different eye creams and this one came out on top, and I honestly love it ❀ it smells good and you only need a little amount for both eyes.
  • Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Skinny Eyebrow Pencil – Because #kilayislife (meaning eyebrows are life) haha another product of research, and I watched a video saying that this is a dupe for the Anastasia Brow Pencil. I haven’t tried it yet, and I always use a brow pencil for my brows so I decided to give this one a try. I bought three different colors as I am now confused on what my brow color should be (since I colored my hair a number of times already) and I like how pigmented this pencil is, even the blonde-ish color isn’t bad.
  • Innisfree Volcanic Pore Clay Mask – I like clay masks, and I’m getting lazy in preparing the aztec indian healing clay mask so I bought one of these. I got the 2x version, and I honestly expected more pull from this. Still, I like using this πŸ™‚
  • Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – I always make it a point to have an extra tub of this everytime since I love using it so much (tbh I don’t really see much of a difference for my oily skin but on nights where I feel particularly lazy, I just slather this on after cleansing and I’m good). I also always get the lavender one since I like its scent better than the original.
  • Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream – I wanted to try using a BB cream instead of a cushion foundation for everyday use, since I think a BB cream would have more benefits for the skin and also feel more lightweight? So I searched for a nice BB cream for oily skin and found this! I’m not sure yet how I feel about this since I don’t know if the color is right after application but I think it looks okay throughout the day….? Still I like using this as it’s very easy to use and lightweight on the skin; I don’t even feel like I applied anything.
  • Innisfree Daily UV Protection Sunscreen – I haven’t started using this yet because I still have some of my sunscreen left but I wanted to try a new one and I heard sunscreens from Innisfree are pretty good.
  • Holika Holika Brow Top Coat – since usually I can live with just using a brow mascara to correct the color of my brows and as I have said in one of my previous posts, I’m not happy with my current brow mascara because it easily comes off. So I bought a top coat!
  • Club Clio Brow Gel – got this on sale so I bought it even if I had already bought a top coat =))
  • Peripera Brow Tattoo – also got this on sale AND I FEEL SO BAD FOR NOT HOARDING SINCE I DIDN’T KNOW I WOULD LIKE THIS SO MUCH huhuhuhu instantly sets and lightens my brows I WANT TO GO BACK AND HOARD THESE
  • Peripera hand cream – also got this on sale and I also feel bad for not hoarding 😦 I got the Vanilla hug which is like my favorite scent ever AND IT SMELLS SO GOOD
  • Tony Moly Makeup remover – I was really planning to buy a makeup remover since the blackhead balm that I use stings my eyes. I didn’t expect to really like this so much since I got this on sale again πŸ™‚
  • Peripera Airy Ink Velvet – I didn’t actually plan on getting this but I really liked the shade I got (#15, or Bright Plum) and it’s also cheaper to buy it there than if I buy it here in the Philippines.

So that’s it for my haul! I wanted to go back again and buy some more since I wanted to hoard some things and there are some things I didn’t buy but are on my shopping list (like the Dear Klairs charcoal soap and the CosRX Two in One Poreless Power Liquid) so I’m excited to go back on Feb! Cheers! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

South Korea, 2018

Expectation: This post will narrate how the trip has been the break that I needed; that after this I felt recharged and ready to take on my life again; and I will be more ready for my tasks as I have taken a few days to relax and unwind.

Reality: I keep trying to look for literally anything connected to the expectation above to write about this trip. I want to say that it felt like the break I needed, and that I’m more willing to go to work again.

That is not entirely the case.

Prior to going to Korea, I have talked to my doctor about my anxieties and worries and asked for advice on what I should do. I have also talked to my adviser regarding my work, how I don’t think I can deliver what I have promised. Both of them have been understanding and encouraged me not to stress about the things in my life and to enjoy my week-long vacation in Korea, and just think about everything else once I get home.

So that’s what I did. From the moment I arrived at the airport to wait for my flight to Incheon, I tried not to think about the work. I basked in the excitement I never got to feel weeks before the trip because there were just too many things to worry about. I let myself feel happy that I got back in my favorite place on Earth. I resolved that for a week, I’m not a researcher, I’m not a lecturer, I’m not a student, I’m not working, I’m not a patient, I’m not depressed. I’m a tourist.

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And I genuinely enjoyed myself there. I even got to read a web novel, and it was a love story. I met new people. I didn’t feel the need to post pictures while I’m there to show that I was really enjoying myself. We went through the itinerary, took pictures, tried their food (even the spicy ones), went crazy shopping, tried to blend in with the people, tried to speak the little Korean that I know.

I just realized, while I was there, I felt normal. Still hit by sadness every now and then, but my heart felt full.

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But it was a vacation, it was just a break from life. As the days went by, as we got nearer to our date of return, I realized that the trip had been an escape. I didn’t want to go back; I never want to leave.

Still, I took the flight back home, and I felt really sad. Going back to the Philippines meant going back to my true self, and going back to live in the reality that I have. I have work to do, bills to pay, students to grade, a thesis to finish, a life to fix. After unpacking the things I bought for the people here, everything begun to sink in. I’m back. Korea is again miles away.

I pondered about two questions: was the trip good for me, and did I get better after the trip?

Short answers: the trip had been good for me, and yes, I felt better after the trip.

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You might be wondering how it had been good for me and if I’m really feeling better after the trip, after I just wrote how sad I have been to return. The trip was exactly what I needed; I just didn’t know it.

After getting back, of course I had to accept the reality that yea, I’m still the depressed person who left a week ago. Initially it felt really bad because I was hoping that the trip would make me a brighter person inside, but nothing much has changed. I thought I needed the trip because it would take away some of the negativities that I have, and I’d return happier, just like the Hong Kong trip.

But I needed to feel normal again, to feel like myself, so I can breathe. So there would be something to look forward to in my life again. It was what this trip has shown me: to live in the moment, to not worry, and to have something to look forward to.

It didn’t give me freedom from my worries, but it gave me a glimpse of what’s in store for me if I kept fighting for just a little longer. I’m returning again next February, during the winter. A few months ago, to give myself something to look forward to, I have decided to plan out my life, and one of the plans is to work overseas, but I’m not sure about which country yet. After the trip, I have decided that the country I want to work in would be Korea.

It’s all vague in my mind still, but hey, anything that makes me want to get up in the morning, right? I’m not gonna lie, I’m still not 100% okay, and I still get eaten up by the shitty thoughts in my head. I go to sleep wanting to get away from everything, but I wake up feeling a teeny bit more normal. Not totally better, but it’s already more than I am asking for.

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See you again, South Korea πŸ™‚


Also, I have to give the people I traveled with a shoutout since without them, the trip wouldn’t be as fun hahaha

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That’s it for this trip! I miss Korea so bad already 😦 #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

Makeup bag(s)

I have come a long way from deciding to buy a basic set of makeup to now: what started from a powder, a BB cream, concealer, blush, brow gel, mascara, and a single lipstick, my makeup bag has housed so many other things that I shall enumerate in this post, to the point that I already have more than one makeup bag and more than enough makeup for someone always going for the “just-put-together-and-not-really-glam” makeup look. I’ve also given and thrown away a lot of my makeup at this point. Also, there’s gonna be a separate post for my lipsticks since there’s a lot.

(Really, it’s easier to just film a vlog about this but I really can’t take a video of myself and I can’t edit videos to save my life. Besides, I’m more of a type and write kind of girl, that’s why I bought a blog. The products I can find are linked throughout the post πŸ™‚ )

1. Primer – I have four, if you count my sunscreens. I use the Biore Face Milk as my everyday sunscreen for the face, and the Biore Watery Gel as my everyday sunscreen for the neck (I am weird like that, and also I don’t like the feeling of the Watery Gel on my face). The actual face primer that I have been using is the Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Blur + Smooth , which was given to me by a friend because it didn’t work for her but works well enough for me. I also recently bought a primer from Mumuso which I love as it actually works as a base as well and covers my gigantic pores, so it’s now what I use everyday.

2. Base – before I use a BB cream for my face, until I discovered the wonders of using the cushion foundation. It’s so easy to use and it’s not messy, as I don’t like getting things on my hands, plus it’s easy to take anywhere. I have the long lasting cushion foundation from The Face Shop, since I always get it for the buy one get one promo HAHA but I really love this cushion foundation. I’m including the concealer here since I only have one, the Maybelline Fit Me concealer, though to be honest, I only use this on special events as I only use powder everyday. #confidence

3. Powder – I used to always use the peach cotton powder from Skinfood since my face with my old cushion foundation was always shiny (since I bought it in Korea and they’re a fan of the dewy look). I use this for my neck instead and when I’m setting my lipstick. Then I used the pocket sized Clear Smooth Powder Foundation from Maybelline, then for a long time the No Sebum Mineral Pact from Innisfree. Nowadays I use the oil control loose setting powder (or this is probably the powder foundation; I suck at knowing the difference) from Mumuso along with the primer, since I like the finish of it together on my face.

4. Brow pencil – I have the one from The Face Shop but I use the one gifted to me which is from Etude House. I don’t really have an attachment with either of these since both look too dark on my thick and bushy eyebrows and since I always have my brows threaded, I find that I can survive with using a brow mascara instead.

5. Brow mascara – I have two: one from Sephora gifted to me again, which I don’t use a lot anymore since I had my hair colored and now it doesn’t match (which is a shame since I really love this) and one from BYS (I have the one in Caramel), which is a match for my current hair color but it sucks since it doesn’t stick around for too long.

6. Eyeshadow – I have the BYS Nude 3 Eyeshadow Palette (an impulse buy for the office party last 2016) which I rarely use because I don’t really do eye makeup, and two single Nyx eyeshadows given to me which is Laurel Canyon (a dark, matte violet shadow that I also don’t use) and Beverly Hills (a pastel and glittery yellow, for highlighting, which I use when I’m in the mood to put a little bit of sparkle). I also have another eyeshadow palette from Careline, the pocket palette in Daydream (which is another impulse buy at a drugstore because I needed one for an event) which I use sometimes, and another small purple palette that I don’t ever remember how I got, so it’s probably not mine HAHA I almost forgot, I also have one from 16 brand.

7. Eyeliner – So I have a liquid eyeliner from Miniso (a cheap one for practice) and one from Careline, which is just a funny impulse buy that I actually really love using. I’m eyeing to buy the one from Club Clio when I get my salary and when I’m already a pro. I also have a brown pencil eyeliner from Ever Bilena for my waterline. (NB: I don’t like the eye products from Ever Bilena)

8. Mascara – I don’t hoard mascaras HAHA and I have been using Maybelline Hyper Curl for the longest time until I discovered their Lash Sensational and I have been converted. So I only have one. Also planning to buy a clear mascara hahaha since the one from ELF that I have been previously using already went bad

9. Blush – I only have one powder blush, which is the Nichido blush in peach glow. I have a lot of tints and I prefer using these over the powder blush. My tints: Watery Tint from The Face Shop in Rose Pink and Orange Scene, Lip and Cheek Stain from Skin Genie in Creamy Peach (the cheapest and probably my most favorite one in the bunch), Lip and Cheek Mousse from Happy Skin in Fall In Love (the exact shade isn’t in their site anymore), and the Dear Darling Water Tint from Etude House which was gifted to me as well. Yes,the other ones I bought (OMG)

Here’s a short time lapse of me doing my basic everyday makeup. Products used are the primer and powder from Mumuso, the BYS brow mascara, the Lash Sensational mascara, the cheek mousse from Happy Skin, and a Sunniesface lipstick in Milkshake. (I suck at time lapse HAHAHA the products mentioned don’t even last a second so you probably won’t be able to read πŸ˜…)

Usually this suffices for my everyday look and I can do this in around 5 minutes or so, but sometimes I put on the cushion foundation, shape my brows, maybe apply a little bit of eyeshadow and use the liquid eyeliner when I’m feeling a little extra. πŸ™‚ here’s to all the makeup junkies like me! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

Transitioning to Zero Waste

Admit it, you’ve probably heard of and seen metal straws being sold in countless instagram accounts and shopee stores. Most probably these shops also sell other ‘zero waste’ things, such as environmentally friendly bags, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, among other things.

The metal straw was the starting point of this journey of mine to minimize my plastic waste and to start living ‘zero waste’. But here’s a disclaimer: I AM NOT EVEN CLOSE TO LIVING LIKE THIS YET. But since it’s a lifestyle change, it would take a long time to adapt to this and to actually commit. I still have lapses, since sometimes plastic straws are automatically placed in my drink, I forget my tumbler at home, I use plastic bags, and the skincare products I consume come in single use plastic containers and I can’t just stop getting them since I’ve come a long way to curate my current skincare routine. But there are small steps that hopefully we can all start doing to reduce our plastic wastes. 😊 Here are some of the baby steps I’ve taken to reduce the waste I leave behind, and some things you can follow if you’re considering to make this lifestyle change or if you simply want to help lessen our plastic waste.

1. Use a tumbler! Invest on something that you can bring literally anywhere, is spill proof, and can hold your hot drinks if you are a slave to hot coffee. You also won’t have to buy plastic water bottles all the time. Tip: also look for something that is easy to clean up if you’re planning to hold different kinds of beverages in your tumbler.

2. Bring your own cutlery sets. I know some people who refuse to use the metal utensils in restaurants because it’s not washed properly or may get you contaminated with diseases so they opt to use disposable utensils. I understand their sentiment, but you can just go and get a pair of utensils at home and bring it everywhere. You may also buy metal straws if you really can’t stand drinking from the cup. Ready to level up? Bring your own lunch box, or when dining in, ask the servers if you can have your food in washable containers.

3. Consider using toiletry bars. You know, soap bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and feminine bars. So you wouldn’t be throwing away their plastic containers all the time. I have relied on the convenience of using liquid bath things as it is very easy to pack, but I realized how much plastic trash I’m using with the containers and everything. Most bars you can get with paper packaging so it’s good. Also, I’ve looked for lotion bars and there are a few shops that sell those too! Right now I’m using bar soaps, a shampoo bar, and a feminine bar and so far it’s not a lot different from their fluid counterparts. (The shampoo bar, however, you probably need to try a few or research a lot as some are not lather-y enough or drying to the hair. It needs some getting used to.) Or use products sold in glass bottles or containers, so you wouldn’t be using much plastic 😊 there are shops agreeing to sell refills of their products so you wouldn’t have to throw away the old packaging. Looking for the right products for you just takes a little bit of research!

4. Start building your own eco-brick! For your small plastic wastes, you may put it in used water bottles to create an eco-brick, and donate it at a donation place. I’ve heard that Robinsons malls exchange your eco-bricks for something (a metal straw if I’m not mistaken) and this is a good place to send your small, not usable plastics anymore. Tips to start your eco-brick can be found here.

5. Refuse! Refuse straws, disposable utensils, and cups when you can. Drink straight from the cup, bring your own straw and/or utensils, opt for a mug when you’re not taking your drink to go, refuse the plastic packaging when it can fit in your bag, or always bring a reusable bag with you.

That’s what I’ve been doing so far. Just a reminder, I’m not forcing anyone to make this change! These are just some tips to hopefully get you motivated if you’re planning to make the switch. I’m still in the baby steps, and while some might argue that this does not really solve the problem of plastic production, I’d like to believe that there should always be a start and if enough people do it, it might make a difference. Cheers! #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

This is my cat!

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to my baby:

What is your pet’s name?

Kkukku! I named him as such because currently I am obsessed with the Song Triplets still and the nickname of one of the triplets given to him by his brothers is Kkukku, and I found that to be too adorable, so Kkukku it is.

What kind of pet is it and what breed?

Obviously he’s a cat. As for the breed, the seller indicated that he and his siblings are Persian Siamese, but I recently found out that he’s probably Bombay.

How long have you had your pet friend?

We’re just hitting one month together!!!

How did you get your pet?

TIME FOR A STORY WITH A REALLY LONG BACK STORY. My brothers and I were talking about bringing one of our dogs at my dorm to keep as a pet, and my brother asked if I wanted a cat since his co-worker’s Persian cat just gave birth. I told him yes, since I’ve been looking for a cat to adopt. He asked if he can get me a kitten, and I checked how much a Persian kitten typically costs just in case my brother’s co-worker agrees to sell it. I found Kkukku online and not knowing what a Persian Siamese cat is supposed to look like, I thought Kkukku was cute.

The deal with the co-worker didn’t push through, and I was already hyped at the idea of having a cat, so I just bought the cat I found online. Basically that’s the story HAHAHA

How old is your pet?

Three months! He was born on June 3rd.

What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality?

Honestly I don’t think I have found one yet since we’ve only been together for a short time but he usually greets me everytime he finds out I’m already awake. Like he would be quiet for the rest of the time when he knows I’m asleep but then he’d be really talkative once I wake up. Such a considerate cat (even though most times he doesn’t really let me go to sleep)

What does your relationship with your pet mean to you?

It’s a love-hate relationship with this bb but a few days ago I realized it’s mostly love (even if I get really annoyed that he wouldn’t let me go to sleep) when he caught his foot in his cage and accidentally bit and scratched me while I was trying to remove him from where he’s stuck. I was more concerned with getting him to the vet for his foot than with me getting to an animal bite center to get my vaccine. And I worried the whole night if he would be able to walk or sustain worse injuries if I didn’t take him to the vet soon. Is this how being a cat mom feels like

What are some of your favorite past times with your pet?

He likes to hang around whenever I’m doing my skincare and makeup and quietly watch or take a nap, and sometimes I throw things that he could chase and play with then throw it again whenever he gets bored. Also sometimes when I’m lying down he likes to go up to me and smell my face and it’s kind of annoying for me so I annoy him right back by blowing on his face or squeezing his head or hugging him tight and then he leaves me alone for a few minutes then the process repeats itself.

What are nicknames that you call your pet?

Variations of his name Kkukku, such as Kkukkubee, Kkukkubear, and Kkukkubells. Sometimes I call him bb (as in bibi) or bubu

Probably my favorite picture of him hehehe what a clingy cutie 😻 never thought I’d be a cat mom since I have been more of a dog person my whole life. *sighs* so there you have it! I’ve actually just watched a furry friends tag video on youtube and since I have been oversharing cat content like crazy on my instagram account, might as well include this baby on the blog. #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

Hong Kong, 2018

To be completely honest, Hong Kong was not in the list of my dream destinations. You see, I still try to be a reasonable traveler. This year the international country travel goal was Thailand, as the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival dates fell near my birthday. Money permitting, Japan was also included, to experience the cherry blossom season in the land of sakuras. (NB: I am quite aware that Japan is not really the cherry blossom capital of the world and I know that I can experience cherry blossoms in other countries as well, but the girl in me who loved Memoirs of a Geisha remembers the sakura viewing parties Sayuri attended, and why not just go to Japan and experience it myself?) One person argued that I can go to Hong Kong Disneyland, to which I countered that if I want to see Disneyland, I can just go to Japan instead. But the travel bug bit me in June, I wanted to go somewhere and when I jokingly asked my friend if I could come with her in Hong Kong with her family and she said yes, I booked my ticket and planned my OOTD’s and caught the plane to Hong Kong.

In retrospect, I realized that I won’t be going back to Hong Kong. We went during summer, where I discovered that their summers are probably as unforgiving as the ones here in Manila; I didn’t enjoy the shopping as stuff there was waaay too expensive for me to consider it a bargain; everything went by too fast since we tried to squeeze in a lot of activities while we were there; and for some unknown reason, the air just smelled weird. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it because I had a fun time in Hong Kong. There’s just not enough reason to justify coming back there. However, this trip will always hold a special place in my heart (hence why it’s going in the blog) and would always be a remarkable one.

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Prior to the trip, my ex decided to text me after more than a year of not talking. Being my usual fragile self, this has shaken up my world carefully perched in its pseudo state of balance. It wasn’t that eventful, closure-filled conversation, either. It was just catching up in that weird limbo of ‘are we or are we not okay with each other’. Bottomline is, I got nothing from that, except for maybe another set of unanswerable questions.

So the Hong Kong trip was like a palate cleanser of some sorts. It was the break I needed after an exhausting time of my life, and a perfect distraction from the new batch of senseless thoughts floating around in my head when my world was thrown off of its balance.

Moreover, this is my first ever solo-ish trip in another country. I was never allowed to go travel on my own. Since I’m going with my friend and her family but can’t stay where they were staying (booking issues), I was forced to look for a place to stay on my own and to navigate my way to places alone. Of course I have done a day trip around San Francisco last year, but staying by myself is a different story. I have no internet connection outside of the hotel, so I had to rely on pre-searched directions while I’m out, and be always on the lookout for my companions whenever we decide to meet up. As a first time female solo traveler in a foreign land, this was a nerve-wracking experience. My shrink pointed out that surviving it gave her a glimpse of how adventurous and how fearless I am, and I realized that it was who I used to be before I became someone who is always being afraid to make decisions or even to say something. I felt good and felt like myself again after a long time.

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Also, making it to Disneyland and finally seeing the Disney princesses in the flesh and moving right before my eyes are life experiences I could only dream of as a kid. There was this one moment, when I was walking around and trying to find the perfect fridge magnet to get, when I realized that I have been doing things that I initially wanted to do with a special someone. I guess some people are just wired that way, that a goal in life is to find that perfect other half, and for a long time I have considered myself one of those people. Initially I felt sad, because I’m already doing things I want to do with a special someone on my own. But then I realized that I can already do these things on my own and still enjoy myself, and it felt like an accomplishment.

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Upon returning from Disneyland, I spent the night in the hostel crying my heart out because I realized some painful truths about everything in my life. I’ve been depressed for a long time. It’s over for a long time now. And no, he’s never going to explain. But then after drying my eyes it was the first time I have felt so free in a long time. I’m still here. I’m on my own and I’m surviving, I’m getting better, and there’s still reason to celebrate.

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So yea, probably the biggest reason why I’m never coming back there again (except maybe when I have to for work) is because I have left a lot of my negativities in Hong Kong. But it will always be where I found a new sense of freedom, and that always counts for something. #

Love, Lady πŸ’›

(May chika at skwater version din nitong Hong Kong trip ko, na sobrang mas maraming commentary and mas ‘ako’ sa dedicated travel blog ko. Enjoy!)