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Monday, December 14, 2009

What's Up So Far ...

It’s been a while since I last posted and honestly there has been good reason for my absence. I’ve be quite busy with so many things. The rest of November was spent entertaining my family. My last post showed us visiting the Red Rocks in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Aside from that, we also spent a few days exploring Phoenix, Arizona, spent a long weekend in Las Vegas, and spent a week in the Bay Area. Of course in between that we also did a lot of shopping and driving around good old Los Angeles. It was pretty exhausting being a couple of jet-setting junkies! The last week of November was downtime (if you could call it that). After my mom and Jim flew back to Manila, Joy stayed for a few more days, we had Marc over, and I did a lot of last minute shopping and packing for our own trip back home. Not to mention lots of cooking (as I needed to make sure my husband had meals to eat when I left!). We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Ordinarios (this year it was at Auntie Aida and Tito Vic’s home in Huntington Beach). It was truly a Pinoy thanksgiving for us since we had not only a huge roasted turkey but an entire lechon (roasted pig). Then last two days of our stay in the States, Joy came down with a horrible case of intestinal flu and I was her designated caregiver. Luckily she got better in time. Then finally it was time for us to go home to Manila. This was a much awaited and eagerly anticipated trip.

Honestly, my first few days in Manila are difficult to describe. It’s always good to be home and great to see my family and friends. But in many ways, it’s also not all that I had hoped it would be. We have a full house this year – lots of guests and people staying over. And as with all big groups, it’s very hard for everyone to always get along. So there is a lot of adjusting and a lot of compromising. Which I guess is true in most situations. Anyway, instead of focusing on the “not so good” parts, let me focus on what’s been going great so far.

It’s been really awesome to see my friends. Everyone, especially my best friend, Les, has been all out with making sure I am properly welcomed home. Coincidentally I had the chance to meet up with some high school friends that I have not seen in a while, it was very nice to catch up and just see what everyone has been up to in the last 10 years or so that I’ve been away. Also, there are so many interesting places to eat and shop in while in Manila. I am truly impressed by how many of our malls and eating establishments can rival those that I have seen and tried abroad. And of course, nothing can beat the great deals you can get while shopping in Manila. In the 10 days that I have been here, I have already filled half of my allotted baggage with stuff that I bought in the many Xmas bazaars I have attended! For the next 2 weeks, I have to pace myself if I hope to make my budget last and if I want to make sure everything fits in my one remaining suitcase (although Jojo did promise me space in his!).

My mom has also been all out with making sure that our stay is as pleasant as can be. She’s been making sure we get lots of home-cooked food that we have missed while living abroad. My sister, Joy, has also been my constant shopping partner. She’s taken me to a lot of great places to find great deals. While it would be great to spend more time with my brothers, it is not always possible since they are both working. It is nice enough though that we get to talk and catch up when they get home from the office. One of the best things (family-wise) though is getting to see and spend time with my guama (grandmother). She recently went through heart surgery and is much quieter and subdued now but she still has great stories to tell and is as warm and as caring as ever.

So far, almost half my vacation is over, it’s a good and a bad thing (of course), but hopefully the second half will turn out to be even better than the first. Things are certainly looking up since for starters Jojo is arriving this week (YAY!). We will be spending some time with my in-laws too. Also, the holidays are finally here (it is still my favorite time of the year!). There are a lot of get-togethers with friends in the works. And I know my mom, Joy and my brothers are planning lots more activities for everyone to enjoy!