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SINGAPORE


When the DHB told me he was about to book my flight to Manila via Singapore Airlines, I asked him to arrange it in such a way that I would be able to go out of the airport during my stopover. 

It has been a few years since the last time I was in Singapore. My flight arrived at 5am and I went straight to the immigration for a transit pass. I then took a cab from the airport to the Quay food court.

The cab driver was very helpful. He suggested I walk all the way to the Fullerton Hotel to see the Merlion and the full view of SG’s skyline.   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

I had time to be by myself and reflect on so many things. I was inspired by the workers I saw awake and starting their day very early. I was motivated by the joggers that were already running around the Olympic Walk even before sunrise. 

I was there so early that the Merlion was still sleeping and not yet spewing water. I had the rare opportunity of seeing one of the wealthiest and cleanest cities in the world awaken. It’s the kind of sight that truly energised the traveller in me. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
Apart from revisiting famous sites, I also wanted to shop at Sephora. I bought a few stuff in time for summer’s sun-kissed makeup look. Before going to Sephora though, I went up Marina Bay’s Sky Park to see the entire city from the top. I spent an hour at the hotel where I had my coffee and cookie. I really cherish alone time like this. I’m lucky I have a husband who understands my need to explore the world and to sometimes just travel by myself to find my inner balance once again.

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

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BERN, SWITZERLAND


Bern is the capital of Switzerland. It’s an hour train ride from Zurich where we live. It’s my 4th time to visit Bern the other day but it’s my first time to roam around alone. 

I got my Japanese visa at the embassy. While waiting for it to open, I roamed around from the plaza to the Rosengarten. It’s cool coz my train ticket came with a bundled free 24-hour bus and tram pass. It made it easier for me to get from one tourist spot to the next. I took a few snaps. The highlight for me was seeing the overview of the city. It was such a beautiful and unforgettable view! 
d.
p.s. I am Singapore and Manila-bound this Monday after one year and three months! Woohoo!  
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

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GERMAN AUTOBAHN


This blog is about cool detours. I don’t post regularly here but whenever I hit a milestone in my life or experience a cool detour, I make sure I mark the moment by writing something here.

I haven’t been driving for a good four years now because 1) I didn’t have a car in London and 2)I don’t really need a car in Zurich.

But just recently, I took driving lessons again because apparently, when we go on road trips, I cannot expect my husband to drive all the way to our destination and back coz that would just be too tiring. And they say that once we have a child, I need to be able to drive him/her to school. 

I already know how to drive in the Philippines but over there, the only rule is “take it, take it!” Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in one place. In other words, I had to learn the proper rules of driving. I need to practice staying at the prescribed speed, look at the proper areas of the road while changing lanes and directions, filtering bikes and other cars, etc.

So the first day of my class with my Swiss-Greek instructor, there was some serious snow fall. God knows how scared I was behind the wheel. I was literally praying “Jesus, take the wheel!”:) Well, I survived that and a few classes after, thank God!

My husband thought I was ready for a long drive so yesterday, he made me drive from Zürich, Switzerland to Singen, Germany. Yep, I drove from one country to another! That’s not as far as some would imagine though. The challenge was actually driving through the German autobahn where cars just have a field day because the speed limits are much faster than normal. 

We went to Singen to eat KFC and shop for food and utilities. I also drove all the way back. Achievement unlocked!

To unlocking a few more,

d.

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WEDDING ANNIVERSARY


The hardest decision I ever had to make in my entire life was to leave my parents behind after I got married.

I was too shy to include this clip in the original wedding film. But now, after 12 months of being away from family, I guess it’s quite fitting to relive the moment.

This short film that I edited features none other than the UGLIEST CRY you’ll ever witness in weddings. Our guests were laughing while we were reciting our vows. But when it was time to thank and honour our parents, apparently, there was not a dry eye left in the house.

I’m posting this in advance because my husband will be in transit from Manila to Zürich and I would like for him to have his own sentimental moment before he comes back home. Happy Anniversary, Babe.

Love and light, everyone! Cherish the time that you are together with friends and family.

 

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MY BROTHER’S ENGAGEMENT


I only have ONE brother in the entire universe.

We have a 4-year age gap.

Last December 20, he finally proposed to his girlfriend of 13 years!

I am a proud sister.

Here’s the heartwarming engagement video.

Dear Brocs,

I wish you and Faye all the best. I hope you both have fun preparing for the wedding in 2017. I pray that you share many more beautiful memories together. I want nephews and nieces SOON!

Love,

Atwe

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MY 2015 IN REVIEW


I do this every year. I list all of the good and bad memories that summed up my year. I’ve realised that this year was the most contradicting of all. It was the hardest yet most fulfilling year of my life so far!

I think this was the year that I’ve cried the hardest about the simplest of things– from murdered toe nails to an aching tooth (goodbye wisdom tooth!!!) to excruciatingly painful dysmenorrhea spells to exhausting laundry days to failed cooking experiments to just about anything that triggered my hormonal imbalance!

Poor new husband. He had to suffer an entire year of dealing with an emotional wreck. But he stayed strong. He was relentless. Even if sometimes he’s the cause of my emotional outbursts (because you know, I needed someone to blame for all of my misery! LOL), he remained patient and stood by my side. He never threatened to divorce me even if I was already willing to divorce myself!:)

I think there are three things that I learned (but still struggling to practice) this year: 1) How to communicate feelings well, 2) How to humble myself to absorb more learning, and 3) How to be responsible for my own happiness.

The first one is a funny thing because Communications is my turf. I’ve analysed advertisements for a living. I’ve created numerous Communication Plans for big businesses. I thought I’ve always gotten this part of my life right. But then I discovered that I was so used to fixing communication messages for other people that I have forgotten how to express my OWN feelings well. I never had to explain myself to anyone because I lived on my own for the past 8 years before I got married. So imagine my shock and disgust that I now need to communicate and explain myself–every move and every decision– to another person. I needed to do a lot of digging deep in order to open up myself more. I was not communicating my feelings well. I would always end up crying in frustration. But I really give it to my husband. He really taught me how to patiently and maturely communicate what I want. Couple that with the acceptance that not everything that I want will go my way. And not everything that I think is the only thing that is true in this world.

I love what Jada Pinkett-Smith said in her interview with her daughter Willow:

“For people to be able to sit down together and have a conversation, that’s the power of love. Love is what sometimes holds us and binds us when we’re not so happy,” “My belief is that communication is the best way to create strong relationships.”

The second thing I had to learn was I think harder than the first. I needed to humble myself even more to absorb all the things I had to learn this year– German language, Driving in Europe, Cooking!!!, Cleaning the house well, Doing the laundry and folding clothes, Cutting my own nails, Communicating well with my husband, Being a good wife, and the list goes on!

For a 32 year old PROUD person like me to leave everything that she had accomplished for years and start again from SCRATCH, it could really be quite tough. A huge part of it was really because of fear. Fear of failing. Fear of getting stuck. Fear of not being able to achieve new things. And so my defense was to resist most of the new stuff that are being taught to me and fight for what I got used to. But I’ve realised that in times like these, it’s okay to lose yourself a bit, be like a child, and act like a sponge. I’ve learned that the “path of least resistance” will keep your head above water.

The last thing is about being happy. There was a time in my life when I discovered that in order to feel genuinely happy, you must love yourself first and that love will emanate from within and attract all the good vibes in the universe.

I needed to relearn that this year. I needed to remind myself that I have to be responsible for my OWN happiness regardless of the situation I am in. I cannot blame other people or uncontrollable circumstances for my unhappiness. I have to trudge strong and be responsible for my own soul’s contentment. And the key is to of course take care of myself first because when I don’t, imbalance comes in. Jada really had it all figured out: “When you don’t take care of yourself, you get out of balance, and you really forget how to take care of others.” “Be responsible for your own happiness.”

At the end of the day, I have God. I have Jesus in my life. So everything that I have been crying about and fearing this year are really nothing compared to His GRACE. 2016 will ring in and I know that it will be better than the chapter it is closing.

To finding balance in your life, Cheers!

d.

 

 

My 2015 Highlights (in no particular order):

1. Getting married by the beach in the Philippines to the love of my life.
2. Seeing the features about our wedding on several Philippine and UK sites.
3. Learning how to cook (finally!)
4. Finishing two levels (6 modules) of German language classes
5. Making new friends
6. Driving by myself around Zürich
7. Finishing my Marketing projects for the year and getting hired by a start-up financial company
8. Volunteering in the Communications team of the Church
9. Establishing my makeup career in Europe
10. Entertaining those who visited us this year: Hazel, Patricia, Tyff, Bea, Ina, Audrey, and Isabelle
11. Travelling to 4 new countries and 1 state: Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Israel, and Palestine.
12. Travelling back to the UAE (Dubai), Germany (Singen, Konstanz), Italy (Cinque Terre), and France (Paris).
13. Going to 5 honeymoon destinations (Boracay, Portugal, Italy, Feusisberg, and Israel)
14. Finishing tons and tons of laundry, dusting the house and mopping/vacuuming the floor every week for the past 12 months.
15. Understanding what it really means to be a wife.

2015 low points:

1. Saying goodbye to our uncle (Kaka)
2. Feeling depressed about the fact that I have a lot of adjusting (and learning!) to do.
3. Missing my family (not being there for Papa’s 60th birthday)
4. Missing my friends (and yearning to see their cute babies)
5. Having to pay so much for dental care
6. Losing all of the luxuries of living in the Philippines where beauty services are so affordable
7. Struggling to become a good housewife!

Best Insight of the Year: Sweating the small stuff is tantamount to wasting your life.

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BETHLEHEM, PALESTINE


Bethlehem was not in our original itinerary. The DHB thought we wouldn’t have enough time and that crossing the Palestinian border will be too dangerous. But somehow, I managed to convince him that it was worth the risk.

As soon as our trip around Jerusalem ended, we rode the bus together with a few from our tour group to the border of Israel and Palestine. We were told that we had to walk by ourselves to cross the border and go through security. At the end of the walk which made us feel like we were prisoners of war, our Palestinian driver gathered and fetched us. Apparently, our guide and driver from Jerusalem are prohibited to work in Palestine.

We stopped by a souvenir shop where we fetched our official tour guide. We were surprised to know that he has been a guide for 20 years and that he speaks fluent English, Arab, French, and even German! He was briefly yet concisely translating everything in 3 languages: English, French, and German. Later he told us that he stayed in Switzerland for a while because he was importing olive wood from Israel. Somehow that connection, because we are from Switzerland, made us feel safer.

We only had one goal in Bethlehem: To visit the Church of the Nativity. This is where Jesus was said to have been born. We passed through a very narrow opening that led us to the Greek Orthodox Church. Some members of this Church are people getting paid by the government to pray all day and all night. To the right of the church was an opening that leads to the Armenian Church. To the left was a door that leads to the Catholic Church. And underneath it all was the spot of the MANGER, the Star of the Nativity, and the Three Kings.

At the time we were there, there were also approximately 2,500 Indians that were visiting Israel. Apparently, it was the time of the year when they would normally visit the Holy Land.

Our guide directed us to the spot of the manger and it just felt so surreal. There were many people but I actually felt a surprising sense of calm. I could not believe that I was right there. Most Christians just dream of going to Israel but we actually managed to BE THERE. It was the perfect way to mark our first year wedding anniversary. Ours is not a perfect relationship but we really try our best to work things through. And we wouldn’t even reach a year if we never believed in that baby that was born in that manger! We owe our marriage to Jesus Christ. We owe our lives to the one true God who sent His only Son to save us from our sins.

This was the video I made from our entire trip:

 

And our pictures–

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