From Frau M to Prof M

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via Daily Prompt: Total

So the past three months is full of life updates. As you may have known, these updates include the change in family name, revision of life plans, addition of a new title, and lately, of getting a new job (though it is not a totally unfamiliar territory. I may say, it’s just a homecoming).

Some years before, I was eyeing the international scholarship, which also at some point, the reason I chose my master’s thesis. But yeah, life can go on a total turn. Somewhere between exploring my possible research choices and my full-length study, I was keen on doing a language analysis involving foreign men and Filipinas. A total turn of events. Two years prior to graduation, I have fallen in love. Three weeks after graduation, I married him.

Four  years ago, I couldn’t think of anything else but going up the professional ladder. It was hardwork.

Then love came in and again it is hardwork. Not because I was forced or regretful but rather because I realized that along the way, I will have to give up, in total, the years of investment to getting where I am. Say what you want to say, but I am following my heart to where the tulips grow best. ❤

So, the past three months was a period of learnings, reflection and decisions. The plans were finally laid. The target is set. But, before I drop everything and fly to follow where my heart is, I am determined to get back to my favorite workspace. This time, with total transformation – new status, new family name, new title. Oh yeah, need I mention a new language?

Ah, truly, book is life.

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For the next few months prior to departure, I will be Prof. M. ❤ 

Life can go on a total turn, but I am totally fine.

 

Have you ever made a decision that changed your life in total? How did you face it?

 

 

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Long Weekend Adventures: Explore Malalison Island, Antique

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This is the second part of the long weekend series, the first one, being in Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan, Antique.

And so after a cool dip in Malumpati, we traveled back to the heart of Antique. Specifically, in town of Culasi. We had our tricycle drivers picked us up to the main road and took the bus for three hours from Pandan. 

The next stop was Malalison (Mararison) Island in Culasi, Antique. Also nicknamed as the Batanes of the Visayas, it is a good mix of serene seascape on one side and beautiful mountains on the other. If you are a beachbum who also loves hiking, then this place is for you!

We booked two rooms at Anna Sophie Hostel which gives one the magnificent views of Mt. Madia-as, the highest peak in Panay Island. According to myth, this is the home of the Visayan deities. I had read about this story back in college, and not quite surprising, the locals believe the peak is enchanting.  Hiking here is currently restricted due to landslides brought about by the unpredictable weather in this mountainous area. I mean, the queen of the mountains in this island.

We were told that it will take at least 3 days for an expert mountaineer to reached the upper part of Mt. Madia-as, though making it to the summit was made impossible by the crevasses that’s prone to flooding even with very little rain. Friends and I were looking at each other, and it was like saying, “yeah… it will take us a month”.  

Here’s that magnificent beauty as I saw from the hostel’s window. Ladies and gents…. Mt. Madia-as.

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After the mandatory rest period… and the rain… we went out. Across the street, about two blocks away, we excitedly snapped photos of destination number 2: Malalison Island (translated as prodigal). 

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What a great beauty she is! 

We took a night’s stroll in downtown Culasi and was excited for the island trip the next morning. We were scheduled to leave the hotel at 6AM. (The boats were also arranged by them, you just have to find a guide to tour the island which is not very difficult, but  comes with a fee, of course). 

It would take 15 minutes to reach the beautiful Malalison Island. The small boat we took can carry 4 passengers and the water was so clear you can see the corals as you cross. Malalison Island is a marine sanctuary, and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. 

The island is even more beautiful up close. It was still early when we arrived.

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But here’s what she looks in midday! There must be a reason this is mein Mann’s favorite island getaway, right?

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When we arrived, we were surprised by the number or campers and tents that greeted us by the shoreline. Upon arrival, you will also have to pay an environmental fee of 10 pesos. The locals are very friendly and obviously used to seeing visitors.

Some sights by the shoreline…

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The clouds can get too close here, too..

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And of course..who wouldn’t enjoy the serene sea…

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As previously mentioned, Malalison Island is not just for beach lovers but for hikers as well. 

Of course, to take advantage of what it can offer, you can either swim first and hike later, or the other way around.

Situated in the middle of the Visayan sea, majority of the areas here have no shade, except for the small trees planted by the community on their backyards and by the shore. Be sure to have your sunblock handy.  

Along the way, you’ll get to see some things like this: 

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or maybe this..

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of course, this…

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As a reward for catching your breath along the trails, expect to see the following:

And yes, you’ll be walking by the cliff in Malalison… it may be like this..

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or this...

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The port of Malalison as seen from above…

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The town of Culasi as seen from the top of Malalison…

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It would take about 2 hours to finish the trek, but we decided to take it slow and kept snapping photos of the very beautiful view around.  

 

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Trekking in Malalison Island was great. The sad thing was, irresponsible tourists who come and think they can help the locals by just giving them livelihood throw trash at the peak, or along the way, perhaps thinking the locals can pick after them at all times. 

Where is your favorite long weekend escape?

Long Weekend Adventures: Explore Malumpati Cold Spring, Antique

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Antique is one of the provinces in Panay Island which seemed to be underrated but is now picking up on tourism really well. It used to be frequented by locals from the neighboring provinces or islands but has now slowly earning a reputation among other local and foreign tourists.

If you live nearby and wish to take advantage of the long weekends,  packed your bags to Antique, home of the highest peak in the island. 

Located in the western side of the island, it borders all the three other provinces and Sulu Sea on the West. It’s where the picturesque mountains meet the crystal clear sea, literally. It is a great place to take refuge from the summer heat in the city.  

There are a variety of place to visit but since I am not a fan of motorcycle rides, I would go for the two: Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan, and Malalison Island in Culasi (that’s for another post).

Here’s where you will head, at least to give you a mental picture:

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The lines in red was the route for the first destination, and blue for the second. As you can see, it would require travelling the whole stretch of the province, giving you a good view of the sea to your left and the mountains to your right. The view is magnificent, but the bus ride will heat up your butt to a discomfort. And yep, bring your meds if you are prone to motion sickness. 

GETTING THERE

Starting point: Iloilo City 

You can take the bus or van to Antique from San Pedro Bus Terminal in Molo. Personally, I prefer the Ceres bus as it is comfortable, safer, leaves on time, and has limited stops. We started out from Molo terminal at around 8:00 AM.

After an hour of travel, you will be in San Joaquin, the last town in the province bordering Antique. The San Joaquin- Hamtic road will make you dizzy though as it is zigzagging along the mountains and their cliffs. It would take around an hour of circling and moving from left to right so if you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared. And oh, be sure you give the handrails a tight grip; you’ll surely find yourself losing balance along the way.

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You’ll spend about 80 pesos for Molo-San Jose fare. 

Travelling the whole stretch of Antique takes about 7 hours.  Malumpati Cold Spring is located in Pandan, the last town on the northernmost part the province, even closer to Aklan and Kalibo than to its capital, San Jose de Buenavista. Yes, you are right, this is also your gateway to Boracay. There are occasional stops by the bus terminals to cater to personal needs.  You know, you can’t just spill it on the bus. 😀 

Here’s what you can see from the bus:

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It may be wise to stop by San Jose de Buenavista for brunch and food shopping at the local market. I believe they have the cleanest, well-organized wet market I’ve ever been to, so far. You can headed back to the terminal to catch another bus going to Pandan. 

It will take another 3 hours before you reach the area. But, it is not the end as you have to ride a tricycle that goes to the cold spring. One tricycle can carry the maximum of 4 people as the route going up the base of the magnificent Mt. Madia-as is challenging.  Drivers charge around 300 pesos for the 20-minute ride along the dusty and rough terrain. 

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And finally….. after 7 hours… you will be in Malumpati Cold Spring!!! 

Expect a lot of people at daytime, especially during the sunny days.

They charge minimal fee for the entrance and open cottages. If you are staying overnight, there are cottages available. For example, the concrete house of the Capillos with 3 rooms, a veranda, and a living room can be rented for about 2500 pesos for 24 hours. (Check latest rates personally)

If you wish to have more peaceful swim time, wait until most guests have left. This starts around 4PM. You can take a dip till dusk and do it all over again early the next morning. The water is so refreshing, and that’s a great cure for the day-long travel. So, you can swim for hours.

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There are very few people who stay there overnight, so it is a good place to find some peace. The area by the spring also remains mainly unlit. 

Here’s what you can see there: 

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If you are on for a cool dip, head to Malumpati Cold Spring. 🙂

 

What is your favorite place to cool the summer heat? 

 

 

 

5 things I’ve learned from my interracial relationship

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This world is diverse.

The international boundaries are shrinking and so are most people’s xenophobic tendencies. Come on, people are people and it is completely fascinating to be able to sit with anyone of a completely different background, isn’t it? 

Everyone has their own life story to tell regardless of where one came from. I have my own list of specifics for an ideal partner, and more often than not, I like the ones with the multicultural views and have seen the world I failed to see for myself (at least for the time being). I like the idea of getting a glimpse of the unknown or unfamiliar things.

Needless to say, my relationship is an eye-opener. Of course, there are difficult times like when we miss a cultural nuance or get frustrated explaining culturally-specific things. But, overall, it is really interesting to get to see the world from a different perspective.

Here are the things I’ve learned from our interracial relationship:

1. It’s just the same as being with any other human
I mean, of course, you will surely have that experience of saying things that are inappropriate as at some point but you are with someone who feels and sees things like most normal people do. In fact, even if you were raised on the different sides of the world, you probably have many more things in common than not. Just like meeting someone from the same city, you will learn about each other’s quirks yet are still attracted to each other, or know about each other’s past but work to build something together. He or she might be a foreigner, but it’s still just another human, right?

2. Everyone is more than just their race
Damn all these stereotypes. People do not fit into a single definition. We are all individuals and it’s crazy to assume one’s motivations, desires  or struggles without hearing it from them. Just like when people say oh, he is a German, he must be really strict or serious, blah, blah. And we would smile coz we know for sure I am the one that fits the frame of being strict and that he is more goofy than I am.

3. Love can’t conquer all
Growing up in different cultures meant you both have your set of beliefs, priorities, and individual dreams to fulfill. When relationships like ours would tumble, people start to ask, “Wasn’t it love that pulled them together, and isn’t it a priority after all?” I had a colleague who was in a relationship with a guy who, months after flying back to his home country, broke up with her and told her everything was just too much to bear and that he didn’t like to turn his life plans upside down. They were in love, but there were integral parts of one’s identify that must be shared in order to build a family. It can be done (and lucky are the ones who have taken the leap successfully), but for some, it’s just too much of who they are to give up.

4. There will be a whole new set of things to learn
We all  have our varying traditions which is fascinating to me. I remember discussing food with my husband (then, my boyfriend) and asked him, completely curious, “What do Germans eat with all their meals if not rice? Bread? Potatoes?” Or by the time he gave me a confused look upon seeing some people eat by hand. There was also the time when we were dating on the beach and he blamed the flipflops for his feet full of sand while bursting in laughter realizing how I can walk  (or run) on it flawlessly. Wouldn’t that be exciting that there is something new to learn always?

5. Self-awareness is as essential as your strong communication
This is true of any relationship but more so when there are differing communication styles. Since you both can’t magically understand each other’s life experiences, there is a need to understand where you both were coming from. Here is where explaining comes in. Talk about your first jobs, your struggles, everything! You should be aware of how different you both are to see the causes of your issues, and find out if you truly have a future with someone of a different culture. While being yourself, always be open, understanding, and respectful.

 

Interracial relationship, just like any other, has a lot of lessons to offer. No specific type of relationship can be rightfully labelled as “easy” but when you are with someone from a different country, the nuances of his or her culture can certainly add difficulty. For some, the obstacles will be too great to overcome.

No matter how different you are from each other, married or not, enough communication, commitment, understanding, and of course, luck can help you forge a beautiful relationship. You see, Cupid’s arrow has no bias. ❤

 

 What about you? Are you married or in a relationship with someone outside of your culture? How was it like? What are the fun and the struggles?

My 100 days for 100 followers

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Thank you, followers!!! 100 followers and counting today!Yay!

When I started this blog, I only have one purpose in mind: make it as an online outlet for writing about life and the things that revolve around the experiences we have as a German-Filipina couple. In fact, I have the status to “private” the first few weeks. I was too shy to make my personal stories available to the the “public” should I call it that way.

But hey! It wasn’t a bad idea after all. I’ve met a couple of people here who happens to share the same experiences (as interracial couples or adventure lovers) and I couldn’t be more thankful for getting some insights from them, too.

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So, to show appreciation to my 100 (and a little more at this moment) followers, I would love to look back at the things that happened in the last 100 days!

What had happened since February 7, 2017?

17039155_1454644241213987_8301719232475710307_oI was again pointed out for not wearing nail polish. This happened for the nth time, but come on, I mean.. is this really weird? I have had the opportunity to meet some good old colleagues I used to work with in the language school. One of them, who happens to be a photographer couldn’t help but snap what he called the only unpainted nails in the bunch. I like to see painted nails on others, but not on my own hands. With the 365 days, maybe it is safe to say the most number of days they are painted are only around 30. I go nuts, seriously. Should all office women or professionals in general have it? I made up my mind… I’ll paint if when I feel like doing it, doesn’t matter what others say.   Is it just me, or there are some of you who didn’t like the idea so much? 

***

Months after I started this blog, I was on frequent hiatus as there were things needed to be prioritized. While away from WordPress, I was behind the keyboard squeezing my brain to work. And it paid off. I have survived the series of panel defense, sleepless nights of reading, writing, proofreading and interpreting data for my master’s thesis. The sleep deprivation and the number of times I threw up or felt dizzy digesting the same ideas over and over again was rewarded. My thesis earned a nomination. I deserved a deep breath. Finally.

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I have always dreamed of getting my master’s degree but I chose a quite difficult path to get there. On the first semester, I enlisted myself under the “non-thesis” program which would have made me graduate after 4 to 6 semesters. Then I was in a class handled my a professor I admire the most, and with her advice and recommendation, I felt the need to change path. I got the feeling that I was selling myself short or not pushing myself enough to see how far I can go.  So I leaped.. only to realize I traded that “headache” for a “chronic migraine”.  But damn! I made it alive. Now they call me to go back and get that PhD. I cry blood for now.

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I left my job as a school head and it was not as easy as I think it would be. It was full of colorful memories and new learnings.  As the staff,  some teachers and I were parting ways, we had a farewell lunch at the kindergarten. We tried to pour in the emotions on pigging out instead. On our last Moving-Up Day, emotions kept flowing. Leaving a job is not always an easy one, right?  We ended up giving each other that one long group hug.

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And after all the chaos with my professional life, it was time to do what has to be done. I have successfully ticked off the entry called “finish the thesis” off my list. Then, not long after that, I was able to shade the choice “get yourself a black robe and call yourself a graduate” from my planner highlighted as one of the targets for the year. I checked my computer and saw a strike-through in red on the line that says “kick your ass off the office and go back to the classroom” written on my reminders.

And so there was one thing left to do. We booked the ticket, flew to Hong Kong, and with nearby skyscrapers in sight, I stole his family name.  

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So, there it goes, my dear followers! Those were the major things that happened in the last 100 days.

 

What is the most significant thing that happened in your life in the last 100 days?