Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring framework

We have many reasons to celebrate. First, it was Mayumi's 4th birthday though we haven't celebrated it yet as we were still in the Alps. I plan to do this when I come back from one week hiatus. Second, Sébastien already obtained his première étoile (first star) a month ago. Then we took the advantage of the time before the spring break end. We asked him if he wanted to pass the test to get the deuxième étoile (second star) and he was fine to take the challenge. They both took ski lessons for one week. The training started from 9 in the morning to 12 in the afternoon. The test will be held Friday morning of 24th of April. Those hot and gloomy afternoons spent in diverse activities like swimming, promenade while observing the marmots and hiking by the use of snow shoes/rackets.

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It seems so fast, time has passed and the big day has come. Friday came and we are really happy to announce that Sébastien and Mayumi passed the test. Sébastien had the second star which is advance for his age. Third, Mayumi jumped from one level to another Poussin to Ourson (instead of Poussin to Piou-Piou) likewise advance for a beginner. That day has passed eventful since they got their medals
razz .

For the meantime, enjoy the the pictures because we're off to London tonight wink!

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See you when we get back ! Have a happy Spring break to everyone !

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Trip : Part 4 Ending of Marinduque Travel

After that little misadventure we went back to the Monastery safe and released ! We thought that a good shower will do to make us feel better. Afterwards, Manang called us telling that my Auntie is waiting for us in the parlour. It was an unforgettable encounter as it was the first time I have introduced my husband and kids after 15 years or more. Certainly, it was time to catch up for the lost time. Well, I won’t go into details for the catching up moments otherwise this post will take eternity. I’ll ask you to let your imagination run free this time. But I will tell you one thing, before when I was still an adolescent I remember visiting my Auntie in Monastery of St. Claire in Sariaya with the whole family and relatives during big occasions. It was completely different as we can only hear her speak and see her hand while talking behind a curtain. This time, their vision has changed…I was surprised…was happy to see her face at long last without barriers that separate us. After spending long hour’s chit chatting it’s time for her to return to their prayer session. As for us, it was dinner-to-bedtime.

Next day, there was a Sunday mass at 6 in the morning. Of course, I was the only one who was able to attend the mass. Though we have a Filipino priest in Marseille, attending mass in the Philippines is still something different. The ambiance is still what I am longing to feel again … is more solemn, peaceful and more young people!

After the mass, I have waited for my little family to wake up for morning breakfast. I can tell you the hospitality was definitely something we can be proud of. It’s truly a familiar quality of Filipinos that made us a stand out. Knowing that we are not the only people or country that could be warm and as friendly, but our approach is known to be extraordinary to foreigners. A true hospitality that comes naturally from the heart. How we maintain the image and will stay as the Archipelago of Smile.

This is a typical breakfast prepared but not as many as these during normal breakfast at home. After that superb and mouth watering breakfast we were received in the parlour by my Auntie including the rest of the sisters (mongha) or nuns with their superior. Auntie introduced them to us and the conversation went on smoothly. They were even teasing my kids. Like they want to hear them speak the French language and try to speak some Tagalog words like “Kumusta po?” Salamat po.” While interviewing my dear honey on how does he feel to be in the Philippines? Did he like the little ballade we did around Marinduque? Or how integrated I am in France? Etcetera. A beautiful and happy conversation with the nuns. It’s just so sad that we needed to leave before 12 noon to get ready for boarding back to Sariaya.

The parlour wherein they usually welcome their families and visitors.

That day was definitely unforgettable as we had the chance to go inside the parlour and embrace my auntie and the other sisters before leaving. Well, except for my husband who stayed outside the parlour and contented himself to thank them for their hospitality…obviously you know the reason. They have given us packed snacks and drinks for the travel. Some religious souvenirs which they themselves have made. Surely, the happiness remains imprinted as we embraced them to bid not goodbyes but see you next time. Even the rest of the nuns were happy to have been visited and connect to the world.

Off to Balanacan Port we have kept wonderful memories and will surely visit her again on our next vacation. This time going back to Sariaya will be different as we took a bigger ship. Although it took us 5 hours but then it was safer to cross the island.

Arriving Tayabas, there was my family impatiently waiting for us and the stories that goes along.

More on my next posts....Boracay, Palawan and Tagaytay trip.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The trip Part 3 : Marinduque Province

It’s time to continue to post about our last year’s trip in the Philippines. I’ve talked about them arriving NAIA and spending some time in Manila. And I blame Makis for making a brilliant post about Philippine gastronomy lol. Now, I am greedy hankering after about foods and everything about Philippines. In between my “golden week” spent in my province of Quezon we headed to the Province of Marinduque to see my Tita Lucy (an Auntie from my mother side) who is a nun and whom I haven’t seen for maybe 15 years or more. We were accompanied by a driver to go to Port of Tayabas, Lucena City. Going to Marinduque could be reached by many ports from Lucena City, on to the Mainland. Balanacan Port, Cawit Port or Buyabod Port are the ports of call for Marinduque Island . We took a small ferry in crossing the island and will take us 4 hours to arrive to Balanacan.

When husband saw the ferry he was extremely worried but I never even hinted anything as it was not shown in his face. Probably, to avoid scary thoughts I just knew it when we arrive to Balanacan Port safe and sound. Basically, the ferry is really small and could probably cater 40 passengers. It was not air-conditioned only electric fans which are not actually a big deal for us. And even if the spaces between chairs and backrest are narrow which are obviously made for Filipino sizes we were okay and have never heard my kids complain. While husband is laughing because he does not fit at all. But what bothered husband were the close windows, no way to escape in cases of emergency. Although there are life saver jackets but still it could be detrimental to passengers. The only escape would be the main entrance of the ferry which is undeniably daunting ! We were supposed to take the big ship but arriving to the Port we were just in time for the small ferry ready to cross the island. Plus, we didn’t want to waste the opportunity to leave earlier than planned. With tickets in-hand, we quickly boarded to the small ferry. Although ferry serves a wide variety of choices of pack lunch like rice with chicken, rice adobo etc. we have kept ourselves busy eating sandwiches Mom prepared for the travel, skyflakes and boy bawang, my kids love eating those a lot.

At 3 o’clock we landed to Balanacan and needed to ride jeepneys, tricycles or some sort of local taxi like L-300 van going to the Monastery of St. Claire We were offered for a van because we have kids but opted for a tricycle. Don’t blame me for that, kids insisted for it. They find it completely extraordinary, which is true as this is an ingenious creation of the Filipino people. It was a 45 minutes tricycle ride along the curving roads from Balanacan Port going to the Monastery. The view was just remarkable….everything is just green! Finally, we arrived to the Monastery and welcomed by the caretaker Mang Pido asking us how much we paid for the tricycle. I told him we paid for P200. He wasn’t happy about it saying that normal tariff would be P150. I told him it’s okay I don’t mind to pay P50 more just consider is as a tip. But I do understand his reaction because he wants driver to be honest and avoid taking advantage of tourists. If there is tip given it would be the passenger who will decide and not by adding some charges on the normal tariff.

He took our bag and brought us to an air-conditioned room with 2 queen size bed. We were like in a 3 star hotel, kinda surprising. I have never seen Monastery like this. We headed down to the parlour (as they call it) to wait for my Auntie. Finally, she went out smiling. Excited, surprise....we were both going through mix emotions. We have talked around 15 minutes to welcome us for the time being. She just excused herself from the prayer session and will get back after talking to us. Proposed us to rest a little bit but we would rather explore the island.

The other caretaker Manang accompanied us during our short escapade. A very young tricycle driver who speaks a little bit of French with us. Driving their own tricycle during weekends but an Engineer student during weekdays.

Our service to go around the island.

This is the Boac, Marinduque Cathedral.

After that small tour from the Cathedral this time we were way off down the beach. Do not be surprised as we did not end up going a white beach. We just would like the kids to swim since the weather was quite hot and humid. We asked them to stay near the seashore and do not go too far because at any given moment it would soon be a high tide.

Now, this is quite terrifying part of this little promenade on the beach. An adventure almost became a misadventure. We were sitting around 50 meters away from kids. I just asked husband to take a look of the pictures taken. In that split of seconds, we saw Mayumi gasping...spluttering.....and apparently in trouble. While Sébastien tried to calm her and reached her hand as she gasped for air. Husband sounded like a tornado to me as he ran to off swiftly to their rescue. Obviously, Mayumi wanted to follow her brother who went just a little bit farther and since she's smaller she almost drowned. Whew, that was close!

The story does not end here. More on my next post wink

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ma racine de solitude

Je n’oublie pas ces jours
Il est temps de méditer
Une pause éphémère
Au milieu de brouillard
Purifiez mon âme
Changez mon regard
Seras Vous me pardonner ?
Malgré le ciel sombre
Une simple bougie et une prière.
Le monde s'éclaire.

Aujourd'hui c'est Pâques,
Quelle que soit la religion
Pratiquant ou non pratiquant,
Fêtons parmi nous,
Une occasion unique
Rendrez gloire a notre Seigneur !

Joyeuses Pâques à vous tous !

Translation :

I don't forget these days
It is time to meditate
A short break
In the midst of mist
Cleanse my soul
Change my gaze
Will you forgive me?
Despite the dark sky
A single candle and a prayer.
The world brightens up.

Today is Easter
Whatever religion
Practicing or non practicing
Celebrate with us
A unique occasion
To glorify our Lord !

Happy Easter to everyone !

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Reality Check : SIMPLIFY

Life is not complex, we are complex ! I believe that life is not really difficult but it’s rather us who make things complicated. It’s either you choose between good or bad, straight or not. We have the tendency to presume things. Long enough and too ahead of the actual life condition. Most of us tell one thing, yet does another thing and most of the time contradictory of own decision.

I was 28 when I had to make the biggest decision in my life. I had to choose between my family, keep my job, my friends and everything that concerns me and the matters of the heart. I have chosen the call of my heart even if it means that I would live very far from family, being jobless, living abroad and not being able to speak the language. In short, was an impasse and no turning back. I admit, it was not an easy choice because I am not certain what will be my life in the other side of the world. And I am sure I am not the only one in this floating ship. But at least, I made a decision. I never doubt myself or the man I love. I guess, I strived for simplicity so as to overcome life’s hurdles. At present, I have a fine life because I confronted the fear and assumed my decision. I choose what I wanted for myself without asking too many questions. Stop the what ifs, the I should have done this phrases, otherwise the worst thing that will happen to me is to live unhappily. I have focused my entire self on what I want to do, what I want to become in my life and not on welcoming the fear of not doing something….sure it takes a lot of guts.

I guess, things are not really complicated especially in choosing what you want and what you need for in life. It could be complicated if you have doubts from the choices you make then it will apparently become a problem. At some point in time, I also learned a few exceptions that there are also things or situations beyond our control and we cannot just choose. The only thing we can do is wait for that chance to come. But if you have a clear choice without getting into difficult condition ….then jump and do not falter.

It is wiser to settle your satisfaction based on your life’s experiences. Only you, who knows what will ultimately make you satisfied. So then, next time you’re faced with a big decision in life, do not search further because you know exactly what you want. Provided that you never allow a decision cost you something special. Screw material things – those are secondary and it’s not you. If a decision costs you material things, jobs, positions or whatever, you’ll get over it. Nevertheless, if it costs you someone that you love or would like to have, get ready to make a cut out of big “L” and tape it to your forehead…. L for loser ! Waking up one day telling to yourself why are you so darn stupid to let that chance but you blew it. Or regretting that should have done but you did missed out on a great opportunity. That is surely pathetic !

I probably took the standard deviations in my life in a lost forest but I chose the one less complicated and that has made all the difference