Movies and Dinners

It’s Sunday and I can’t wait to already finish my upcoming four-day work week. Yes, yes… I am taking next Friday and Saturday off. 😉

For now, though, let’s do a quick recap.

Last week went by so fast and it was so much fun!

Mike and I watched a movie in the theatre for the first time since Cars 3, and it was a Filipino movie, Finally Found Someone. One of our occasional guilty pleasures is watching “rom-com” Filipino movies. Hah! It’s really more mine than his, but he’s so kind enough to take me. Anyway, the most annoying part of the movie is the audience thinking it was appropriate to talk during the movies, make comments about every little scene, and opening & crumpling bags of chips/popcorn/candies/etc. I mean, I can honestly tolerate babies and (very) young kids babbling but adults? Come on! We managed to tune them out and enjoy the movie.

Maxie (Mike’s sister-in-law) and I finally found time to have dinner together and catch up! We had Mexican food and spent more time in the restaurant talking than actually eating. It was great and we figured that we definitely need more time together. However, with her nursing school coming down to its final stretch and my work just so busy, we know it’s going to be a more conscious effort on both parts. Cheers to success!

Yesterday, we said bye to our friend, JR, who is moving to Southern California to pursue his Master’s Degree. We are super proud! 🙂 We also can’t wait to maybe visit Disneyland with him. Hehe. After, we went to dinner with my family for my brother’s birthday. We also officially received news that my sister-in-law, Sharon, is pregnant! I’m going to be an Auntie (and Nina) again! Blessings are pouring upon our families, and we love it.

What was also cool yesterday was that Mike and I woke up to an e-mail with a link to our wedding video preview! We watched it two times during breakfast, and again after dinner last night with the family. We invited everyone to come over for coffee and dessert and a special screening of our video. Haha! We were just so excited.

Another thing we are so, so excited for? We just (semi) booked a trip to Hawaii for February 2018! Well, we really just booked our hotel for now. Plane tickets and excursions are next! Any tips for Hawaii? We will be staying in Oahu. Yay, Aulani! 😉

New Last Name

Alright everyone, the day has finally come in my life. The day that I begin the process of taking on my husband’s last name. Some might say, “It’s about time!” While others may ask, “Why on Earth would you do that?” We have been married five months. I should have changed it sooner, but I’m sort of attached to my maiden name which consisted of my first name, my mom’s maiden name, and of course, my (dad’s) surname. My last name has got some deep roots back in the Philippines, and I’ve been told, that it’s important. But now, my last name is different. It’s short, common, and everyone mistakes me for Hispanic. But hey, it’s my husband’s last name. I mean, it’s okay to take your time assuming your spouse’s last name, right? Because I see a lot of my friends changing their names immediately, yet here I am, barely going through the process five months later. I did change it on Facebook so that it’s legit. 😉

By the way, I only spent about twenty minutes and without an appointment at the Social Security Administration. I got my new SS card about three days later. I spent probably around forty minutes at the DMV, with an appointment. It also costed me $27 to get a new license, and that came in one week later. Now, I’ve started to call my bank and creditors to submit a name change. Whew, almost there.

Currently, we are at a “stay-cation” about forty miles away from our home. It’s comped, comfortable, and a quick wannabe getaway. We like when we get these kind of perks. Now, can I get free vacation to say, Paris? Please? 😛

Life Lately, Jan 2017 Edition

Hello World and Happy New Year! November and December seriously happened in a snap, or at least that’s what it felt like. So many things happened between my last post and now that I don’t know where to begin. Maybe I’ll do a quick recap now, and do more in-depth posts later on.

So remember that wedding thing I was talking about? It totally happened! 😀 I am married! Ahhh! It’s true what people say – that the days leading up to your wedding will have you feeling all sorts of emotions. People said I looked pretty calm for a bride-to-be, but I was totally freaking out on the inside. Honestly, I was truly lucky enough to have my entire family by my side, helping me in whatever way they could. I felt so loved! Oh, did my groom cry? Duh! LOL. More on this later, aka another post.

The honeymoon? I mean, can we just go back to those two weeks when we were in paradise? I would do this part of the getting-married-thing all over again! We took a Disney cruise to the Bahamas and then stayed another week in Orlando. We never wanted to go home. Nuh uh. Take us back!

How was our first Christmas as a married couple? Although it seemed like the routine was the same, some things just felt different. Different in a way that made it feel a little more cozy. 😉 Also, those gifts for our parents? They no longer have to say, “Dad/Uncle” or “Mom/Auntie” because now they say “Mom” or “Dad.” It saves my fingers from cramping. Just kidding.

Finally, this whole living together thing? It has been fun and frustrating, but mostly fun. LOL. I am also finding out things about myself that are pleasantly surprising, if I do say so myself… like cooking or doing laundry! 😛 Please don’t judge me.

That’s it for now. I’m feeling like a grandma, needing to sleep before midnight. I promise to write more about the above mentioned events soon, and then some. I hope everyone’s having a great, happy 2017 so far! *Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

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Do these rings make me look married? ❀

Europe 2016: Berlin, Germany

Berlin was the very last city we visited during our trip. When I found out we would take a day trip there, I got all sorts of feels. I have heard of Berlin through text books and movies. I am certain everyone has heard of the stories as well. To me, it was very interesting and exciting to finally see this place.

We took a train ride from Hamburg to Berlin, and upon arrival, I quickly noticed how clean and crisp the place was. We walked around the Reichstag/Bundestag Building – I don’t really know which one to call it because I kept hearing both. From my understanding, each references the current occupants, but I could also be wrong. We also walked through the Brandenburg Gate, and then to the Holocaust Memorial (or Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe). Oh. My. Gosh. Inside, there were stories and pictures of victims and their families, as well as letters, postcards, and journal entries retrieved from victims and the fortunate survivors. It was horrific, sad, and the feeling inside was magnified by the realization of its actuality. Sigh.

We also saw the remains of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. We walked around the area, and if you ever go, please be careful of the individuals who try to get your sympathy and take your money. One girl asked my sister-in-law to sign some paper that we couldn’t understand… she did not sign. But we did see the same girl and her friends go around telling tourists to sign, and then ask for money.What?! This was not only in Berlin, though, because we also saw the same thing in Paris and Rome. So, just be careful.

I must also note that I finally went to the infamous Primark! Because it was so crowded inside and I was just exhausted from the day, I decided to just park on a couch with my brother while the rest of our party shopped. My niece got some pretty neat stuff though, and I got a Mickey and Minnie “His and Hers” mug.

That basically sums up the last of my trip. We had to catch the train back to Hamburg, where we ate at Hard Rock Cafe as a last thank you dinner to our hosts.

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The “DOME”
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Brandenburg Gate!
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Within the Holocaust Memorial
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BBQ Ribs & Chicken and unlimited soda! 😛

Phew!!

As tired as I was during this trip, I would do it all over again without hesitation! It was such a blessing to have seen other parts of the world that I thought I would only see in my dreams.

Catch up: Hamburg, Vatican & Rome, Paris, Geneva, and London.

Europe 2016: London, England

I loved being in London so much, and I’m still sad that we didn’t spend more time there. There were so many things I wanted to see that we didn’t get to because there just was not enough time to do so. Yes, I am determined to go back!

Our first night there was quite a memorable one. I wish I could remember the name of the place where we ate our first meal in London because that place served some delicious chicken and the staff was friendly. After dinner, we paid 5GBP for a short bus ride to our hotel. The policeman who assisted us felt so bad that we were paying that much each, but we really didn’t have another choice. We originally had a reservation through AirBnB, but the owner of the house cancelled the day before our arrival. Finding a decent hotel for a reasonable price was a challenge, so when we got to our booked hotel, we thought, “Hey, this doesn’t look too bad!” Well, just as you tried not to judge a book by its cover, the cover blows on you. I must say that the place really did not look too bad, except the beds weren’t exactly comfortable and the sheets probably needed to be thrown away and replaced. But what got us the most, especially my sister-in-law, was the lack of ventilation and the absence of air conditioning.

Did I mention that our first night there happened to be the hottest night of the year in London up to that point? It was. There were several warnings all over the city, especially about keeping hydrated throughout the day.

After moaning and groaning about the heat, we decided to walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air, snacks, and the hope of finding another hotel. We got all of the above. We walked into a small, budget hotel that looked clean, bright, and had air conditioning! We talked to the lobby attendant, who allowed us to book two rooms for the following evening. We had to tough it out the first night since it was already paid for. Luckily for us, the guy at our then-current hotel allowed us to cancel the rest of our stay. The following day, we moved our stuff to the other hotel. The bed was very comfortable, the sheets were cleaned, and the air conditioning was nice and cool. We couldn’t help but laugh, though, because the rooms were super tiny! The bed took most of the room, so walking around the room could only be done by one person at a time. In the bathroom, I had to put down the toilet seat cover to sit on while I brushed my teeth and washed my face. It was comical, but I enjoyed it.

Now, the city! It was the only place where we decided to go with a tour bus. We opted for the hop-on, hop-off bus tour. This gave us flexibility as to where we wanted to be at what time. Just make sure you know your cutoff times. Despite the heat, I liked being on the top deck because it allowed me to see everything without barrier. We visited and stopped by several places like the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. Our bus ticket even came with a one-way ferry ride. It was fun. The entire trip was fun. We also spent some time exploring the neighborhood, and walking around nearby districts.

I wish I could have gone to King’s Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4 and to the Elephant House because I love Harry Potter! It would have also been nice to visit Notting Hill. Nonetheless, these are all on my bucket list for future visits.

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London Eye
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Ice cream makes everything better… oh look, the Tower Bridge!
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❀
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Hello, what time is it, Big Ben?

 

Just in case you want to see other legs of my tour: Hamburg, Vatican/Rome, Paris, and Geneva!

Europe 2016: Geneva, Switzerland

Sorry it took quite a while to post again, guys. Life got really busy with work and the wedding planning. But here I am!

We only spent two days in Geneva, but it was so enjoyable and probably all I really needed there. The first thing that struck me when I got there was the free public transportation! Yes, you heard me right, it was free! I don’t know if that’s just the time we were there, or if the city actually gives its visitors and residents free rides to get around. Whatever it is, I was so thankful! Free stuff is hard to come by, especially during our trip.

Another thing that struck me? The contrary of the first thing: that everything was so expensive! I probably had my most expensive basic meals over there – think 16 Swiss Francs for a Chinese lunch special that’s around $7 at your local Chinese restaurant. I also spent 29 Swiss Francs for four tall drinks at Starbucks, no add ins or modifications.

Whether or not you think Geneva is expensive, I think it’s worth a visit, or in my case, revisiting. The place is so beautiful and clean, and the air is so crisp and fresh. We took a cruise around Lake Geneva, where we saw the statue of The Little Mermaid and various grandiose homes formerly and currently belonging to princes, princesses, and other internationally relevant individuals.

I love how small the area was. We took a bus ride all the way to the very end of the city, and walked across the border (France!). We trekked to get to Telepherique Saleve, took the cable car up the mountain, and just enjoyed the view. The view was to die for. On one side, the beautiful Geneva, and on the other, the amazing Swiss Alps. Must. Go. Back.

I drafted this post over one month ago, and I’ve semi forgotten what else I had to say. Grr!

Anyway, here are some pictures!

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One view atop Mont Saleve
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Lake Geneva – so beautiful, so peaceful.
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It was such a gorgeous day to chill and do some people-watching.
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Hi, Light House.

 

Previous related posts: Hamburg, Vatican & Rome, and Paris!

Europe 2016: Paris, France

Paris is a dream come true. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to visit Paris. As a matter of fact, I even thought about applying for colleges in Paris. That’s how badly I wanted to see the city. And though we were only there for three days – not getting to see all of its beauty and glory – it was amazing. To say I’m a fangirl is an understatement.

Our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral. I apologize if I kept thinking The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The gorgeous gothic architecture and the gargoyles all lived up to the “hype.” I could not stop looking all over the place, and I would not have minded going back to attend mass (didn’t happen). Afterwards, we headed to Champs-ElysĂ©es (still learning how to pronounce it properly). We walked down the entire boulevard, lined with mostly fancy stores that we loved oh-so-much but ultimately bought nothing from, to reach another destination: Arc de Triomphe (this, I can say correctly). While walking along the boulevard, we made stops for lunch, dessert, and to publish our first live video on Facebook! My niece and her cousin also stopped me numerous times because my dress was a hotspot for Pokemons. smh.

After taking the metro, we found ourselves near the famous Eiffel Tower! Because we were there the day after Bastille Day, there were still portions of the park closed for cleanup. It was still a gorgeous day. I thought to myself, if I lived there, I would happily walk everyday. That thought, of course, could change. Speaking of Bastille Day, we arrived in Paris the day of. We chose to stay in our hotel’s neighborhood for safety and because the fireworks were visible right around the corner from where we were. Back to the tower… we went inside and were in line for what felt like forever to climbed up the tower. We only made it to the middle section because the top deck was closed off. I’m telling ya, we were in line for forever! Nonetheless, the view was beautiful. I loved that we saw it at night because it gave a much different vibe to the view. It was so colorful and lively!

The following day, we visited some more of the city. We went to gallerias and churches, one of which was the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Medaille Miraculeuse. I suggest looking it up because what’s inside is unbelievable.We also went to Montmartre and sipped at coffee at the Starbucks in front of Moulin Rouge.

On our last day, we went to Louvre Museum before heading to the airport. Oh. My. Gosh. I can easily spend a weekend there. We did not have enough time to see everything inside, but the ones we did see… jaw-dropping! Of course, we saw Mona Lisa. She’s as delicate and as mesmerizing as the photos online. We even took a selfie together. I don’t look as amazing because my hair was dry from humidity and my shirt was all messed up, but I don’t really care. I took a selfie with Mona Lisa! 😉

If given the chance, I will definitely go back to Paris. I want to experience it just a little more. Praying for another chance to visit Paris, for sure. This time, with Mike!

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Around the corner from our hotel. Can you see the Eiffel Tower?
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Eiffel Tower in blue, white, and red. Night after Bastille Day, #PrayForNice
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Ile de la Cite – en route to Notre Dame Cathedral.
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ORY is a lifesaver! A 2-flat prong outlet for my dead battery.*

 

* I only had two battery packs for my camera because well, I forgot about adopters and stuff. I borrowed an adopter to be able to charge my phone, but could not find one for my batter charger. Until this glorious day at the airport, I was saving the juice of my back-up battery. Sadly, Paris had more shots on my iPhone (all but the Eiffel Tower shot above) than on my Leica.

Read about Hamburg here and Rome here!