Video Call City

So for the past 6 months, I’ve been living in New Zealand with my sister and her family, and though it’s been great, there are days when I miss my friends a lot. Enter technology! I have/have had, basically all the messaging apps known to man (LOL) and because most of them have the video call function and my sister’s place has WiFi, it’s really not that difficult to see my friends. Of course, I still have to schedule the call with them, we are in different timezones, after all. But it’s a small price to pay for the ability to see and talk to them relatively often.

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Clockwise:

K and M at Magnum Opus – K went home to the Philippines from Singapore (where he works) last November and so he and M met up at one our favorite coffee shops. I got so jealous of their specialty coffees, but then remembered that I was in Wellington, the coffee capital of New Zealand! I fixed myself a cup right after the call. 🙂 Oh, and! Cameo appearance by one of my nephews as they happened to call me while I was still babysitting.

Virtual Noche Buena with M – Noche Buena isn’t really a tradition here in NZ and M back in the Philippines didn’t have anyone to spend it with as other members of her family were busy with work and stuff so she called me on Messenger at dinner time on the 24th and we ate our meal at the same time. 😛 Our video chat lasted ’til after midnight so when I realized it was December 25 already, we decided to take a screenshot of our video call while I was standing by the Christmas tree in my sister’s house.

Sunday with R – I am glad that R makes time for me every other Sunday (more or less) because most of the time, he only has one day off per week and he’s kind of a workaholic. And though our video call sessions are usually spent with me babbling about irrelevant things and him occupied with something else on his laptop (read: Morning Musume news), I’d like to believe that this is still quality time spent together as a couple. ❤

Christmas Dinner + ATC Lakwatsa with my Pre-school Friends – Obviously, I couldn’t go to the annual Christmas get-together that my pre-school friends (We’ve been friends since before 1st grade!) and I have, but this is the age of 4G and Z has unlimited data, so! They called me when they had dinner at Sushi Ninja in Westgate, and also while they had their takeaway desserts at the open area of ATC, which as you can see (kind of), is currently beautifully decorated with twinkly Christmas lights. 🙂 It was super fun as they told me how their holidays were so far and showed me the food they ate as well as the gifts they got. It really felt like I was there with them. 😀

Not in picture – All the Skype sessions my sister (and her twins) and I had with our parents (and other family members, e.g. our aunts and brother and dogs). Since we usually talk to them while we’re taking care of the twins, it can get difficult to find a place to put the laptop (where the twins can’t get to it) let alone take a presentable screenshot of the conversation. So, this mention will have to do.

I really am so grateful to technology for making this possible, and of course to my family and friends for taking the time to make the almost 10,000 km distance between us feel significantly shorter. 🙂

feeling loved <3

I didn’t have an elaborate celebration for my birthday this year like I did in previous years, but because of my sister, other members of my family and my friends, I feel that my birthday this year was just as fun. 🙂

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My sister treated me to lunch at a restaurant and then baked my favorite cake–sour cream chocolate chip. And then we sang Happy Birthday together, I made a wish, blew out the candles and then I Skype-d with my parents and then my boyfriend at the end of the day.

And also, this happened:

screenshot_2016-09-18-17-20-44My friend M asked most everyone in my life to make fan signs for me, and they did!

It was so much fun going through the series of pictures as each showed my friends’ creativity and individuality, and I really felt so loved they all took the time to make the signs.

I couldn’t have asked for a better gift from my friends, this was definitely the perfect thing they could do for me while I’m not in Manila.

Anyway, I usually have get-togethers with my friends during my birthday and because that was impossible this year, I thought my 2016 birthday would be very low-key. But my sister and M made sure that it was still one to remember, and I’m really grateful they’re people I have in my life. 🙂

I don’t know what’s going to happen on my birthday next year, but now that I know that distance isn’t a hindrance to enjoying myself, I can’t wait.

#Kidding because of course I can wait and besides, it’s only September now. There’s still other birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s to look forward to. 😉

What did we eat?

The purpose of the question was to get ideas for appetizers that K could cook in the future. But in order to answer it, we had to recall each and every time we got together to eat (which is, of course, each and every time we got together.) What then followed was a trip down memory lane that no one could have predicted would launch a roller coaster of emotions and essentially serve as a summary of four years of friendship.

It’s because we started with paella. Not a dish one would ordinarily make for a Saturday afternoon with friends, I don’t think. And the activity itself, in my experience, is not a usual Saturday-afternoon-with-friends kind of activity. I mean, shouldn’t we have gone to the mall or to the pub or to a bowling alley? We could’ve gone anywhere and done anything, but instead we chose to hang around in one of our kitchens with one of us attempting to cook a dish he’d never cooked before, and the rest of us playing food critics.

I’d invited many of my friends over to my house before that day, but it was the first time any of them ever stepped foot in our kitchen, let alone actually cook there, or… hang out. I think it set a strange precedent for all our future get-togethers. It didn’t help that the paella was such a success that afterwards, nothing but the dishes K cooked for us was ever good enough.

More or less.

I mean, of course we ate at restaurants and bought food from different establishments occasionally, but for the most part, all our events revolved around the food we were going to eat. We chose resorts we went to in the summer based on the kitchens they had and how close they were to the market. We met up at grocery stores and sent text messages about the number of eggs we had in our refrigerators. We scheduled dinners really late to allot at least 2 hours for food preparation. And we hung out in the different parts of my house, practically according to a food-related schedule–we’d start in the kitchen where K would be cooking, then we’d transfer to the dining room where we’d be eating, then the living room where we’d be consuming the rest of the alcohol, and then from time to time, we’d be at the porch, where most everyone would step out to smoke.

By the time our review finally reached January 2016, we had reminisced about four years of dishes, drinks, and events that made us feel happy, satisfied, full, and occasionally wanting. We were all somewhat incredulous that it had been several years since that day when we magically convinced K to cook us paella, a difficult dish he’d never cooked before, and then somehow, even more magically, convinced him to cook us, basically the rest of our meals afterwards.

“What are we going to eat now?” I asked. Because by the way, the reason we were even talking about these things was because in a week, K would be moving back to his hometown, essentially leaving myself alone in the company we all used to work in.

“You’ll figure something out,” K answered, although none of us were completely convinced.

I am quite sure that we will figure something out. But things will never be the same. Not that it’s only K’s departure that changes things. But considering how much most of the things we did revolved around the dishes he would cook, his disappearance from our everyday lives will certainly make a huge impact on our next activities, if there even are going to be next activities. With only myself left in the place where we all met and used to work and all the boys living in cities you have to take a plane to get to from Manila, I’m sure finding a time and a place where we can all meet again will be everything but easy.

Perhaps the universe thought we’d had it too comfortable too long and this is its way of forcing us to exit our comfort zones and make something more of ourselves. Am I supposed to read recipes and spend time on my own in our kitchen now?

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(left to right; top to bottom)

Paella valenciana and butter cake with fruit toppings for M’s despedida
Creamy garlic potatoes, steak with mushrooms and asparagus, New Zealand cheese and crackers for my Welcome Home from NZ dinner
Bacon and cheese macaroni salad, liempo, stuffed chicken and creamy garlic potatoes (Take 2!) for K’s despedida
Salad with some kind of meat, poached eggs, vinaigrette dresssing and pepper for a Saturday evening
Fish and chips, roast chicken and rice for my birthday
Couscous with lamb, zucchini, carrots, apricots and pork for R’s birthday

さよなら と がんばって

R is leaving. The Philippines! Forever!

Okay. Forever is a strong word. I’m sure he’ll come back some time in the future. But, it will only be for a visit. Maybe a long visit. Like 30 days, since that’s how long he can stay here without having to file extra paperwork, being a Japanese citizen. Of course, there’s always Skype and Facebook and whatever other new thing for communication that technology comes up with. And Japan is only a 4-hour plane ride (but of course, money matters) away. But one thing’s for certain: We will no longer see him every weekday at work. And for us, I think that’s a huge change. I mean, he gets awards for having perfect attendance and zero tardies that’s how reliable he is when it comes to being present. What are we going to do without him now?

But before all that drama, of course, a さよならパーティー! At my house. Because where else? And it’s only apt since it’s usually where we hang out and before R leaves we want him to feel all the nostalgia he can manage.

It wasn’t such a fancy party this time. We didn’t have time to prepare–we only found out he was leaving last Monday (Dec 7) and the farewell party was last Friday (Dec 11) and I didn’t even get there until 2:20 a.m. on Saturday (Dec 12) because I had work until 1:45 a.m. So we just had beer, a bottle of wine (a bad one, I was told), some roast chicken and liempo and Nagaraya and chicharon and brazo de mercedes. Very normal, very low-key, which I think is how R wanted it. Though unfortunately, because of the short notice, not a lot of people were able to make it. Still, I think we had a lot of fun, which of course is the point, and we took some photos! Which, of course, is the point of this blog entry.

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In betwixt M and I, R poses with our farewell gift. (It’s a fleece blankie!)
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Somehow, we couldn’t get at least one shot with everyone looking good.

The blog title means “Good luck and Goodbye” in Japanese, by the way. Because R is Japanese. And we wish him the best of luck, even though we’re really, really, really, really, really, really, really sad that he’s leaving.