Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Holidays are here!

Today i've received my first Christmas gift! Cool beans! This means that the Christmas present season has begun and that i'm having an early Christmas this year.



And who gave me my first Christmas present? It's no other than the Philippines' one and only Mother!



Yup, it's from Mother Ricky!

I've worked with him a couple of times and I must say that it's really a joy to work with him. He has such passion in everything he does, and I have very high regard for people who live life with passion. The way he talks, the way he thinks, and the way he interacts with people is simply impressive. And yes, i'm beginning to sound like a Ricky fan at this very moment.

He's also supremely funny and the studio is often filled with laughter with his bading-jokes and innuendoes. But the best part about him is he's really thoughtful. Aside from this gift he gave me today, he's also given me a copy of his autobiography. Judging from the book, he's really lived a full and blessed life, that's why giving back is so natural for him. Yes, i've been a beneficiary of that giving spirirt of his this holiday season, and with this first gift I received, I can say with all confidence that:

Ang ganda ng regalo ko, noh!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Up to 24 hours

It's official. I've been up for 24 hours because of this shoot that we thought was simple but turned out to be a bit tricky. And what was I up to during that long time of doing virtually nothing at the set?

I've been up to writing scripts.
I've been up to exchanging childhood games with the production crew.
I've been up to walking around the area.
I've been up to sending out work emails at 2 in the morning.

And of course, i've been up to no good. (As one of the producers so emphatically said.)

I've been up 24 hours, and I feel like i'll be up for a few hours more.

I wonder what I should be up to this time?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home hunting for Hopia

After a short but a tad bit irritating flight thanks to this crazy girl at the airport gate and a manner-less old lady who was seated beside me, I'm back in Manila. As usual, it's always wonderful, great, awesome and all-other-superlatives to be home.

Now, on to one of the highlights of this trip - hunting for Marby's Hopia Baboy. I have a semi-addiction to this neighborhood bakery favorite. Ever since my taste buds were acquainted to it, there has been an on-off craving for it. This simply means that if I want it, I NEED to get it. But if I don't want it, I CAN live without it.

I've "not wanted it" for the past month or so, and to make up for it, I've been "needing it" the past week.

Two months back, Marby's Hopia Baboy was available at the Asian store below my flat. Seeing that was like hitting the jackpot. Alas, they only had 1 pack to sell, which I bought and finished in one sitting. For the past 8 weeks, I'd peek into the store to see if they've re-stocked. Alas, they haven't.

But now, i'm in Manila, and i'm sure I'll be able to find it this weekend. There are only 2 places where I MIGHT find it, and 1 place where i'm SURE to get it. Shopwise Cubao often has it in their bakery section, but during my last trip to Manila 3 weeks ago, they didn't have it. This might be the 9th or 10th time I've been disappointed by Shopwise.

Robinson's Supermarket, however, always has it on stock. Yup, ALWAYS. I've always been able to buy it there, and i'm confident that it'll be there anytime I visit.

Shopwise Cubao is just 10 minutes away from the house, so I'm going there right after this post. Hopefully, today will be a good day and they'll have it. If not, I can easily hop on a bus and take a 15 minute ride to Robinson's Galleria. And Marby Hopia Baboy Mecca would be reached.

But before that...

Today was very productive. Got to visit St. Scholastica's and saw the spankingly-new and uber-impressive Mass Communication wing! That's another motivation to go back and teach as soon as I can. The other motivations include the people in school who - surprisingly - still remember me and actually miss me only after 3 semesters of absence. Teaching is one of the things I miss most about Manila, and seeing all those classrooms where I'd hold animated lectures about selling detergent powder simply made me miss teaching a bit more.

Had lunch with Prichy and two other former students who are now co-teachers. It's always fun to hear what they thought of me as a professor.

Then, it was off to Salcedo Market with Arnie for some dirty ice cream. She said that market was a prime place to people watch every morning. There wasn't too much to see in the afternoon, though. Then again, I saw Lulu Tan Gan, who, in my book, is one of the prettiest and most stylish designers in the country. Finally, I got to see Arnie's flat, see her stash of newly-bought shoes, and yes, my pasalubong for her fits! Amazing! I just guessed her shoe size, and it was a perfect fit!

Checked out Greenbelt, Landmark, Glorietta and SM Makati. Took and MRT going to Gateway, checked out the shops, then went home to write this entry. I'd say I accomplished a lot considering i've only been in Manila for 18 hours!

But the highlight of the day has yet to commence.

Excuse me while I hunt for some hopia.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bubble-blowing boy busted!

The little fracas that happened to me this afternoon was so funny, it deserved to be captured on paper as well as on this blog. So, I quickly whipped out my pen and am telling this story the best way I know how.


It all started when I was in the washoorm washing my hands after eating some greasy dimsum. Palmolive Hand Wash (Oi! A free plug!) has a very sudsy formula, so even a small drop created such a thick and rich lather on my hands. Even as a child, I loved making soap bubbles, and since the lather just begged to be blown, I let my inner child loose.


I started blowing bubbles. And I must say, the bubbles created by that Palmolive Hand Wash (Oi! Another free plug) were so big and sturdy. They floated around beautifully and didn't pop until it hit a hard surface. Plus, I was able to create so many of them. With one drop, I created about 5 bubbles.


I was uber engrossed in my bubble blowing bravura that I was totally oblivious about my surroundings. So oblivious, I didn't notice that one of my colleagues actually went inside the washroom. Now, this wasn't any ordinary colleague, he was actually one of the heads of the agency. (Ergo, the tie in the illustration.)


"That looks like fun," he said. And that was the only time I realized that someone was in the washroom with me. When I looked behind me, there he was, with a sheepish grin on his face. And there I was, with my lips pursed and my right hand filled with suds.


If this were a comedy show, this would be the moment when the canned music would come in. The one that goes like: hwek-hwek-hweweweweweeek! Unfortunately, this wasn't a comedy show. It was a slice of real life in an advertising agency in HK. Instead of canned music, there was awkward silence - about 10 seconds worth. But of course, it was the longest 10 seconds on record.

Caught in the act, I just smiled and said: "Yup, it is. Palmolive Hand Soap is so sudsy, you know it's effective. (Oi! Another free advertisement.) You should try it!" After that, I quickly rinsed my hands, dried it with the paper towel, said goodbye and left the washroom.

Lucky for me, this colleague of mine works with the HK side of the agency. This means I don't really work with him or have to see him again anytime soon. Although I'm wondering what would happen if we run into each other at the corridor. Will he simply say "hi", or will he purse his lips and pretend he's blowing soap bubbles? Harharhar.

Which leads me to the lesson I learned from this story: "Bubble-blowing boy, be aware of what's behind so you'll be bereft of blunders."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A little Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in neighboring words.

Mark has recently been fascinated with alliterations, and has been writing sentences using this literary tool recently. His sudden interest in it reminded me of my early writing days when I loved, just LOVED to write alliterations as well.

When I was writing for Newsbreak at SMC, most of my headlines would carry alliterations. One particular headline I remember was when we interviewed Camille Greene for Kaunlaran and Newsbreak. My Newsbreak Summary that week carried the line: Conversations with Camille. A lot of peole liked that headline, but we had to can it because it would pre-empt Kaularan's cover story. Despite that, I kept a copy of that summary with me, and i'm sure it's tucked away in some box back home.

The great thing about writing alliterations is that it helps me flex my creative muscle in a simple, non-headache-inducing way. All I need to do is find interesting words with the same first letter and form a sentence using them. I think it's almost like writing poetry, albeit a bit easier.

Looking back, I remember my post yesterday also had an alliteration. Today's post also has one. Maybe I should make this alliteration week and give every piece a title that has one. That should be fun and easy to do. And here's another good thing about it:

Mark might marvel at me making many of them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Milk tea Monday


My colleagues are big foodies. That's why they get a Las Vegas high-kick whenever I bring back food from Manila. Each time I go home for work or a weekend off, they're always asking: "What did you bring this time?" So it comes as no surprise that people here usually buy food for no reason at all. They just like the sight of greasy dimsum and ice-cold drinks laid out for everyone to partake in. Today, somebody bought Milk Tea for the whole team.

Locals commonly call this: Tong Nai Tsa or Iced Milk Tea. I've long seen people holding these glasses of light brown liquid with sago at the bottom. They serve it in most coffee shops and restaurants, so it's an ubiquitous part of Hong Kong culture. (Arnitos! I used "ubiquitous." All I need to do now is use a sentence with the word "diaphonous.")

Upon first glance, it looks like Zagu, albeit a bit more liquid-y. It looks sweet and refreshing, although I haven't tried it yet. Despite it being available for every Tom, Dick and Harry, there was never any motivation for me to spend a few bucks to try it. I'm happy with my Tong Leng Tsa, so it was really unecessary. But since it was given to me for free today - and it's impolite to refuse - I took it as an opportunity to finally acquaint my palate with this unmistakably Hong Kong drink.

And how does it taste like? Strange! First, it wasn't sweet at all! It tastes like someone took a bag of Lipton Tea, shoved it in cold water and mixed it with Bear Brand powdered milk. It tasted herb-y with a hint of creaminess. It's an odd combination made even more strange by the fact that it's bereft of sweetness. Heck, if it were sweet, maybe it would taste better.

The redeeming value of this Milk Tea drink is the big sago at the bottom.

It tastes just like the sago back in Manila. Feeling and tasting these sweet pearls brought me back to those days in Megamall when we'd line up for 30 minutes just for a taste of Zagu. I'd usually do that with my San Miguel friends, and any memory involving my SMC friends are good memories.

So, what's my verdict on this Milk Tea? I wouldn't want to try it again. In fact, I only finished 1/3 of the glass then sneakily threw it away. Maybe I shouldn't have given up so easily and added sugar so it'll suit my taste. But I didn't feel like it today, so I just discarded the glass.

Even if the taste wasn't stellar, the memories that the sago brought back was well worth the experiment. And given that, I'd say that this Milk Tea was half as good.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Take that, bum knee!

Yes! The best way to fight a bad knee is spend the next few hours walking around Mongkok to scour the markets for something interesting to buy. And let's just say i've had a very interesting afternoon today.

First, I wandered into this place called Apex and they sold a lot of boxer shorts and other sleepwear. When I was in San Miguel, I was addicted to boxer shorts and was a regular fixture at All Boxed Up. That's why during one of my birthdays, they put up a clothesline and festooned it with shorts. Needless to say, that was one of the coolest gifts I got. Strangely though, I haven't been collecting boxer shorts during the past few years. And today's stash seems to make up for that.



Then, it was off to the Esprit Outlet to see if they have any interesting new jackets. Unfortunately, they didn't. What they had, though, were beautiful Indian bags on sale! Whenever I see things like these, my logic goes on automatic shutdown and I just grab whatever I can in the limited time I have. These were all the bags they had, and they're all mine. ALL MINE! Mwahahaha!



Was also able to get a couple of nice shirts at Bossini. They were nice in a "daddy" kind of way, which simply means they're going straight to Atlanta for Dad. Then a couple of shawls for Mom. It's their birthday in a few weeks, and hopefully I can mail these on time.

Ah yes. This is what I call shopping therapy. Nope, the bum knee is still here, and something tells me it'll be a bit more sore tomorrow because of what I subjected it to tonight.

But with a stash like this, who cares.

Plus, I have to rush back home now. America's Top Model is on in 15 minutes!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bummer

For the second time this year, I have a bum knee.

Last night, I was quietly going about my business in Causeway Bay after buying a book from Page One when suddenly: BLAM!

A hawker-in-a-hurry-because-he-was-probably-being-chased-by-the-police hit my knee with his cart. What amazes me is that his cart was just the right height to hit my knee exactly where the knee cap is. It was like this cart was specifically designed with my knee in mind. (Conspiracy theory or paranoia? You decide...)

Since he was obviously on the run, he offered no apologies nor remorse. He just swerved a bit and left me there. Harrumph.

Actually, it didn't hurt as much after impact, so I just dismissed the whole scenario. That was until this morning when I woke up at 2:30AM(!) with a sharp pain on my right knee. Yup, it was a delayed, and quite painful reaction. Everytime I attempted to move my knee (which is normal when I sleep), the pain would jolt me out of my sleep.

Ergo, I tried my best to be immobile for the duration of my sleep time. Thank goodness today is a Saturday and I could stay in bed until noon and try to make up for lost sleep.

Well, the pain isn't as bad now, though I have to limp a bit whenever I climb stairs or flex my knee too far. I'm trying to decide whether to just stay at home and rest my knee, or push through with my planned trip to Sham Shui Po to look for Christmas ribbons.

...think
...think
...think

Shopping has proven itself to be therapeutic. Maybe if I walk around the shops this afternoon, the pain will disappear completely.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What am I doing?

I'm sitting up in my room, back here thinking about you...

For the past 6 hours or so, I've been listening to one song and just one song alone. It's no other than one of Brandy's biggest hits, "Sitting up in my room." It just so happened that I was browsing my colleagues iTunes, and I came across the song. I clicked, it played, and I've been hooked on it ever since. This ditty is part of the soundtrack of "Waiting to Exhale" so it's got such a soulful and R&B vibe to it. It's the kind of song you just bob your head up and down with when the urge to "chill" mounts. And honestly, i've been bobbing my head up and down for the past few hours already, I feel like one of those ubiquituous doggie-toys-with-bobbing-heads that you find at the back of cars.

Sittin' Up in My Room

Seems like ever since, the first day we met
There is no one else I think of more than you
Can't seem to forget, can't get you out my head
Cause the verdicts in I'm crazy over you
How can one be down, tell me where to start
Cause everytime you smile, I feel tremors in my heart
I have but one concern, how can I get with you
Til my day comes, here's what I'm gonna do.

[Chorus]

Be sittin up in my room
Back here thinkin bout you
I must confess, I'm a mess for you
Be sittin up in my room
Back here thinkin bout you
I must confess, I'm a mess for you

Pray that you'll invest, in my happiness
All it takes is just one simple call from you
Turn my heart around, if I'm making ground
Pretty baby please, tell me if I'm getting through
Tell me what is up
You see I need to know
Tell me if I'm far, or if I'm getting close
I have but one concern, and that one concern is you
Til I'm with you, here's what I'm gonna do

[Repeat Chrous]

How can one be down, tell me where to start
Cause everytime you smile, I feel tremors in my heart
I have but one concern, how can i get with you
Til my day comes, here's what I'm gonna do

[Repeat Chorus]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Destination

Bored (nearly) out of my wits and tired of going to Admiralty and Central every other day, I decided to be a bit more adventurous today and go to uncharted territories. For lunch, instead of taking the MTR going to Sheung Wan, I went the other direction towards Chai Wan. It's something that Keat and I always planned, but never got around to doing.

And where did the train take me? Tai koo! And where did Tai koo take me? Cityplaza!

I've been reading about this mall for a couple of years now, but strangely, there was never any reason to actually go there. Until boredom kicked in, of course.

All I can say is: Cityplaza is so cool!

First, they've got a nice selection of food outlets. There's this food court called "Food Republic" where they serve everything from Shanghainese to Italian. There are the usual HK haunts Cafe de Coral and The Spaghetti House. They have Pizza Hut, and more importantly, McDonald's!

Second, they've got good clothing stores within the two buildings. They've got Esprit, Marks and Spencers, izzue.com, Bauhaus, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo. Although Zara and FCUK were noticeably absent, I think the M&S store is big enough to keep me distracted and not think of my other favorite brands.

Third, they have Toys 'R Us and Mannings, Wing On Department store, and UA Cinemas.

And if that isn't enough, they're opening Muji and Uniqlo in a few months. These brands, plus the Jusco store a couple of blocks away, will definitely give me my fill of all things Japanese just in case I miss Tokyo and Urasa too much.

It's amazing how it took me more than 18 months to discover this new destination. But as they say, better late than sorry. Hahaha.

Well, now I know where I'm having lunch tomorrow. I'm off the Munch at Food Republic for some Lasagna and Caesar Salad!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Toppo the world!

My first encounter with Toppo was a memorable one. It was the day I was going to Urasa and surprise Mark on his birthday.



I arrived at the Shinkansen platform past noon, and I haven't had lunch and only had a meager breakfast. Needless to say, my stomach was already protesting that time. But since the train was about to arrive, I simply looked around the nearest kiosk for something edible. And what did I grab? A bottle of water, a can of Coke light and a box of Toppo.

Strangely though, once the train was on its way to Urasa, my hunger disappeared. It was probably because of the excitement building up that my brain suddenly ignored my stomach's plea for food. But after we passed the 2nd station, my stomach said: "enough!" Then it grumbled. Of course, I reached for the Toppo and started noshing on it.

It was love at first bite!

Basically, Toppo is a pretzel that's filled with cream. This sounds like an unlikely combination, but it definitely tastes better than it sounds. The crunchy and plain taste of the pretzel complements the sweet cream that's inside. It feels like eating a much lighter and less sweeter version of Presto Creams. And considering that I loved Presto Creams as a child, and even up to now, this love for Toppo wouldn't be unfounded.

It's been more than a month since I got back from Japan, and I haven't seen Toppo in Okashi Land in Hong Kong. According to Lilia, though, they would have it in some Japanese specialty shops. I've been missing Toppo, but thankfully, there's Pocky and Hello Panda to fill in the void.

But two weeks ago, my stomach once again grumbled upon seeing the contents of the birthday package that Mark sent. There were three packs of Toppo! The first pack was gone a day after I got it, and i'm saving the other two packs for a Toppo emergency.

My first encounter with Toppo was a memorable one. It was a day full of surprise and memories that don't deserve to be simply called "happy memories" - "ecstatic memories" would be more appropriate. That's why eating the first pack of Toppo felt like a walk back to the Shinkansen station that day. It really brought back so many good memories of my trip to Japan.

That's why it's just fitting that the same person I relate Toppo with was the same person who sent it to me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Word Play

Por fin! I've been able to set aside some time to review and start downloading the pictures from my recent trips from China and Manila. As Tanya and I were discussing last Saturday, digital cameras are actually a bane since people take photos for granted now since "I can always view it in the camera anyway." That's why people rarely print out photos nowadays, which explains the sudden disappearance of photo albums in most houses I've been to.

Oh well.

But I'm glad I was able to start reviewing my China pictures, if only for some of these photos. Like Japan and Korea, China is notorious for mangling English and proudly displaying them as signages for everyone to see. When Xtine and I were still at Adformatix, we'd get our daily dose of guffaws by buying Chinese candies and trying to decipher the messages printed on the packs.

I've found two gems in China during my trip. First was in Wuhan. This bottled water was served during my meeting, and I must say that it's the funniest brand name i've seen in years:



Of course, my Chinese colleagues couldn't get the joke - another "Lost in Translation" moment there. But I loved this water brand so much, I sneaked a bottle in my bag and brought it all the way back to Hong Kong. (From the corner of my eye, I could see my colleagues scratching their heads thinking: "Why the hell is he filching that bottled water?")



The other one was in the Wuhan airport. I've seen something like this in Indonesia a couple of years back. In Bahasa, an entrance is usually called "Bukaka." And I assume the tube in this airport must've been done by an Indo company.



Again, it was only me who could get the joke and it was just me silently giggling and taking the photo. If I were with Filipinos here, i'm sure they'd think up of a slew of funny sentences like:

"Basta makita mo yung naka-bukaka, pasok ka na agad."

Ah yes, traveling to China is so much worthwhile if only for words like these.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Santa's Workshop

The past few weeks, the extra room in my flat is beginning to look less like a room and more like Santa's workshop. Since mid-October, i've set aside a few hours every weekend to look for Christmas presents around Fa Yuen Street and Sham shui Po, and more often than not, I arrive home with a bag of good buys.

Now, there are a couple of bags that i've dumped on one side of the room, and they're fast gaining space and robbing my shoes of their much needed breathing area.

Before I flew out to China two Sundays ago, I wandered into a Watson's outlet store and was able to buy 5 rolls of Christmas wrappers. A few days ago, i brought a couple of gift boxes from Manila and have also stacked them in the same room. (Boxes are uber hard to come by in Hong Kong, plus, they usually cost more than the gift itself. Que Horror!) Yesterday, I bought scotch tapes and double sided tapes to complete my wrapping implements.

With everything in place, i've started to wrap my Christmas gifts this afternoon. And i've suddenly realized how much I miss wrapping presents. Last year, I didn't wrap too many gifts because of the limited time I had in Manila. Ergo, I ended up giving away money and gift certificates that just needed an envelope.

This year, I promised myself that i'd go back to tradition and give people gifts that they can really touch and appreciate. And to cap it off, I'll treat them to really nice wrappings that will make them think twice before ripping it open. There have been instances like this before - when I wrapped gifts so nicely, the receivers couldn't bear open them. Having missed that last year, i'll make sure that this year's wrapping will be one to be ogled at and remembered.

Excuse me, but i've got some wrapping to do...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Difficult

Ask any of my friends and they'll tell you that i'm extremely talkative. Most of them describe me as an Energizer Bunny on speed, and because of this, Reno even once told me in a very irritated tone: "Lester... don't you ever get tired?!"

Thus, filling in a survey that only asks for one word answers is extremely difficult for me. But I was never one to retreat from a worthy challenge, so I'm going to take this head on. Actually, I got this survey from the supremely fashionable and stratospherically tasteful bag-lady and uber good friend - Arnitos!

Hey Arnitos! When are you flying back to Hong Kong? Let's go shopping in winter so you can wear all the fur and boots that you want.

Oh wait, I was supposed to answer this survey.

One word survey:

1. Yourself:
Fulfilled

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse)
HOTSHOT!

3. Your hair:
Comfortable

4. Your mother:
Amazing

5. Your Father:
Passionate

6. Your Favorite Item:
Pen

7. Your dream last night:
Short

8. Your Favorite drink:
Water

9. Your Dream Car:
Maybach

10. The room you are in:
Office

11. Your Ex:
Over

12. Your fear:
Loss

13. What you want to be in 10 years?
Philanthropist

14. Who you hung out with last night?
Aaron

15. What You're Not?
Predictable

16. Muffins:
Cherry

17. One of Your Wish List Items:
Digicam

18. Time:
Gold

19. The Last Thing You Did:
Wrote

20. What You Are Wearing:
Zara

21. Your Favorite Weather:
Sunny

22. Your Favorite Book:
Encyclopaedia

23. The Last Thing You Ate:
Bread

24. Your Life:
Blessed

25. Your Mood:
Sleepy

26. Your best friend:
Texas

27. What are you thinking about right now?
Weekend!

28. Your car:
Old

29. What are you doing at the moment?
Writing

30. Your summer:
Hot

31. Your relationship status:
Happy

32. What is on your TV?
TVB

33. What is the weather like?
Fine

34. When is the last time you laughed?
Now!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sibling Revelry


As my birthday officially comes to a close a few hours, it would be safe to say that it's a well-celebrated birthday. There were a couple of parties, a few surprises, and lots of friends who were there to greet me personally, as well as through different means of communication. (Thank goodness we're now spoilt with choices.)

In fact, I even celebrated it in two countries! This morning, I was in Manila with my siblings and other friends greeting me a "Happy Birthday." I had breakfast there, and was able to make a quick stop at the bakeshop to get a cake from my sister. Then, a few hours after, I'm here in Hong Kong where my colleagues were singing "Happy Birthday." We gathered at the common area and I brought out the cake and ice cream I handcarried, and they brought out their best champagne. Everybody loved the sweets from Manila. Too much, in fact, that they're asking me to go home and get some more!

But one thing common in all celebrations was that I was able to spend time with my siblings. Something I do a lot, but strangely, I feel I should be doing it some more.

Last Saturday, we were together the entire day (morning: My sister's house blessing, afternoon & evening: My birthday celebration, part un). Sunday was also spent with them, and this time it was just the 4 of us - no other guests. This was fun because it has been a while since we really got together without the wives and kids. It was for dinner - my celebration, part deux. Days like these bring us back to our childhood days when we'd spend afternoons just talking and playing in our old house in Tomas Morato.

We grew up in a very tight knit family - we'd spend weekdays and weekends hanging out. My best family memories include going to Greenhills every Sunday and roaming around with my brothers and sisters. We'd usually be given money that we could spend to our liking, and we'd troop to either Funhouse or Unimart to blow the money away. Then, we'd meet at the food court of Unimart then buy Coney Island ice cream for dessert.

While some siblings grow apart when they grow up, we actually grew closer as we grew older. I think it helps that we've seen each other through different phases in life: childhood, puberty, marriage, childbirth, in-laws, spats - and everything else in between. Sharing is a very powerful glue, and I think we've shared so many things that we're now "Mighty-bonded" to each other. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Of course, I wish Biboy could've been celebrating with us, too. But he's probably driving somewhere along North Carolina or New Orleans - but hey, he didn't forget to send me a gift! So even if he wasn't able to join us, part of him did. (And since it's a present, it's actually a good part! Hahaha!)

So, while there might have been too many parties, too many eating binges, too many drinks and too much money spent on my birthday celebration this year, there's one thing that I couldn't have too much of.

And that's time with my siblings.

As my birthday officially comes to a close, my siblings and I now have to find another excuse to get together and celebrate. (HAH! As if we need one...)

P.S. I know this is dorky, but I love you guys!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Let the celebrations begin!

For the longest time, my stand on birthday celebrations is that they're great, as long as i'm not the celebrant. (or celebrator according to some purists.)

I'm not fond of getting attention, and someone greeting you "happy birthday" every 5 minutes for 24 hours is as about attention getting as it gets. But if it's another person's birthday, I won't have second thoughts organizing a grand party complete with invites and giveaways. It's the hallmark of being a youngest child - my preference to be in the background, skittering around quietly.

Thank goodness, I share my birthday with Grace, another friend from college. Ergo, whenever we celebrate, I try to pass the spotlight to her more. And whilst I shy away from the attention, there's one part of birthdays I don't shy away from.

Presents, of course.

Yesterday, a few days before my birthday, I received my first present. It was a nice, white box sent by Mark from Japan. Inside were some Japanese goodies i've been incessantly noshing on when I was in Tokyo last September, and he thought of sending some to me in Hong Kong. Plus, there were letters from him and some of the new friends I made in Japan.


The sweets were great, but the letters were the best part of the present. I love receiving and reading letters. Maybe it's because i'm a writer that's why my love for the art of letter writing has never diminished. Receiving written letters in my mailbox always gives me an adrenalin rush. And the letters contained in the gift box gave me enough adrenalin to last the year.

This was an excellent way to kick start my birthday this year. Later, there are a few parties to attend - with Grace there, of course (got to pass the spotlight on someone, you know.) If they're half as good as this box of surprises from Japan, then i'd probably be adrenalin charged until the first 3 quarters of 2007.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One hand in my pocket

After 4 days of traveling, i'm finally back at the office. It seems like all that flying and moving around is catching up because one of my colleagues told me: "You look so tired."

Well, who wouldn't be. Aside from all the flying around, my average sleeping time is 4 hours. Then there are all the meetings to attend, all the ideas to think about, so it's tiredness in both physical and mental degrees. Now the funny thing is, even if they say I look tired, i don't feel tired. In fact, I feel just as recharged like I slept 12 hours and have been resting for the past 2 days. Maybe it's because all that travel and all the meetings has left me satisfied and recharged emotionally.

But then again, my physical state says otherwise. So I think I should rest some more this weekend so that my physical state can keep up with my emotional state. Until then, i'll just replay a line from one of my favorite Alanis Morisette ditties:

"I'm tired but I'm working ... yeah!"

And speaking of happy, I'm happy with this photo that my colleague took of me while we were in Wuhan. I don't know what I was thinking then, but it looks like it was pretty deep.



I was probably thinking: "What should I have for lunch?"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Illegal Blogger?

I'm beginning to wonder whether Blogs are illegal in China.

I went to 3 key cities in the past 4 days, and in each one, i've tried to access my blog.

And I can't.

I've tried to access and read other friends' blogs the past few days as well.

To no avail.

And when I tried posting, errors kept popping up and preventing me to do do.

Well, thank goodness i'm back in HK. Now I can update my blog as well as update myself on my friends' lives.