and just like that summer’s over

Coron, Palawan

As always, 4 months of summer go by so quickly. I’m so lucky I actually get that much time off school to do things other than studying. A couple of my friends do summer semesters, albeit taking a lighter course load, but that still means 10/12 months are spent in school.

Safe to say I’ve made the most of my summer this year. It started off with quality family time here in Vancouver, where I finally got to stay around for the sunshine and warm weather!!! Hallelujah. Vancouver really is the best city on sunny days. Then I flew back to the Philippines and went straight to one of my favorite places, Coron. What an adventure it was to spend a few nights as a nomadic islander with only the bare essentials. But hey, when you’ve got the beach, corals, a hammock, and food right in front of you, what more could you need? It was also a great time to bond with my cousins who I barely get to see. The greatest bonding formula = Travel + No wifi.

At the end of June, we flew off to Saigon, Vietnam and slowly made our way to Cambodia where we stayed in Phnom Penh, Koh Rong, and Siem Reap for a few nights. I’ve been trying to get myself to post about these places cause I loved each place just the same but for different reasons. In time…(I always say) There were so many perfect moments on this trip, from swimming with glowing plankton in Koh Rong, to exploring thousand year old temples in Siem Reap, crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels, trying new food, spending time with Laurence, Camila, and Pia, and meeting local people (always a highlight).

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Soon after, the wheels were up and I was off to Japan with my family! It was a celebratory trip for Patch’s graduation and also my parents’ 25th anniversary (even though I thought that’s what Australia was for back in January). I think we just make up excuses to travel, but I’m not complaining! After being apart for months, it was nice to finally spend time together. By “spend time together” I mean have enough people to sing a Hamilton song. Literally. When we were in Universal Studios we had to wait in line for 1.5 hours and those 1.5 hours were not enough to sing the entire Hamilton play. I was finally able to perfect the raps in “Guns and Ships” and “My Shot”, and sing Mariah’s parts in “Say No To This”. Thanks Emil.

*Insert quick trip to Anvaya Cove*
Oh Anvaya, the getaway I always need. Because a vacation from vacation is always recommended.

Osaka, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo. 4 places off the list!

The only crappy part of the trip was the fact that I was sick day 2 onwards. Too much traveling apparently breaks me down…why immune system, why?! I also blame the ridiculously hot and humid summer weather of Japan. With 30+ degree weather and what felt like 90% humidity, I felt fatigued after about an hour or two of being outside. There was a lot of fanning, drinking Pocari Sweat, and sitting during the day. It was pretty bad on day 2-5, but after resting up I started to feel better.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

Again, a “much needed” vacation after a vacation. Recovery is best at a beach resort. *Cue quick trip to Anvaya Cove*

Suddenly, July flew out the window and it was August.

After a busy summer of traveling and side trips, it was nice to spend an entire month in Manila. My friends were finally less busy with school and had time to spend me, yay. I was able to go to “Sunday Family Lunch” every week, birthday dinners, etc. Those used to be get boring after asking the same old questions — the adults keep to the adults, kids keep to kids. You get the usual questions of “how’s school”, “what else are you doing” blah blah questions. But this time around I really tried to make the effort of talking to my titos and titas.

I loved asking them about their childhood, funny stories from their adolescent years, what made them choose their profession, what they do at work, travel stories, etc.  They’ve got decades worth of stories and life experiences to tell. They were young once so they have lots of drunken nights and #ragrets to share. One question led to a story, which led to another, and another. There was lots of laughter, reflecting, and reminiscing that happened. I was intrigued by a lot of their stories — what life was like back then, how they were raised, adventures abroad, etc. Just when I thought I was ~adventurous~ their stories topped mine mostly because traveling pre-internet was more unpredictable and exciting.

August was also my try-to-be-healthy/fit month, but was also accompanied with trying new restaurants with le boyfriend. That’s what happens when you’re dating a foodie… haha not complaining though, we had a lot of great food. My favorite sushi place was Ooma (in Rockwell) for the salmon tartare roll, open-faced california taco, and hanger steak. Another favorite resto was Vask (in the Fort) where we celebrated our anniversary (aww). I loved the jamon platter (Iberico, Serrano, and one other thing that I can’t remember the name of right now), oysters, tapas, and scallops with squid rice.

There were a couple late nights in August… some ended with a bad hangover (and good memories, if any hahaha), some were spent catching up with old friends, and some were popcorn and movie marathons.

Then came the goodbyes and the 12 hour flight back to Vancouver.

I’ve gotten used to this routine as it’s been happening since 2011. (OH SHIT 5 YEARS) But that doesn’t mean the car rides to the airport and the final goodbyes have gotten any easier. It’s always gonna be hard to let go, no matter what. What makes it easier for me now than 3 years ago is knowing that I have a lot to come back to here in Vancouver too. I mean I’ve been living here for 7 years (OH SHIT 7 YEARS). It’s strange to say that I’ve grown up here but it’s nice having a solid group of friends and a routine to come back to.

I landed yesterday at noon and right away Patch and I went grocery shopping, cleaned the kitchen, rearranged the bedrooms, finally set up a study room, I washed my bedsheets, and cleaned my bathroom. All in 12 hours. No more yayas to help out (or do) chores. I’m fine with that though since 1) I’m used to it and 2) I like being responsible for the household. Sure it can get tedious at times but it’s rewarding in the end. Patch and I may or may not have swept and Swiffer-ed excessively yesterday.

Today, I got email notifications regarding class syllabus’ and materials needed. I got a new bus pass for the month of September too. Here we go, back to the grind.

First day of school tomorrow. Fourth year, here I come.

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