40

I turned 40 yesterday. It was also my 3rd wedding anniversary. So how was it? EXHAUSTING!

But God is His goodness, still able to give me a sweet surprise. 🙂

My original plan was to have a big birthday bash here in Tamworth, inviting everyone but then that’s very impractical. In the end, I just gave gifts to some people who helped me in 2021.

My husband and I decided to book a flight to Melbourne so we can celebrate my birthday there. However, because of the surge in the omicron variant, we didn’t know how to celebrate my birthday together with my relatives.

A few days before our flight, Qantas kept changing our flight hours and the night before our flight, we received a message that our flight was cancelled. We had to look into our booking and it showed that the flight was just changed. But we weren’t really sure so we just cancelled our flight.

We thought about alternatives, in the end, we rebooked for Newcastle-Melbourne, but we got confused with the travel restrictions. We had to cancel the flight again, and when we were about to rebook it for the 3rd time, I couldn’t anymore. Probably because there are no more seats available.

We ended up driving to Sydney in the afternoon the day before my birthday. It only took us 5 hours because we ended up going through a tunnel that has a toll fee.

Once checked in, we quickly went down to buy toiletries and food since it was already 9ish at night. We thought everything would be closed already. But the restaurants were still open as well as the chemist. We bought some food. We brought them all back to our hotel room, we didn’t want to eat outside, cautious of covid. And with just one bite of the Sparrow Mills’ Korean fried chicken, all these hassles faded away.

The next day, we were early, ready for shopping. I had to make sure to stop by a bookstore. Dymocks was the most convenient to go to at the time so I went there. I wanted to buy more books but I opted to just buy 2. They were also discounted.

I also had to try the nasi lemak since I saw a Pappa Rich restaurant under World Square. It was definitely better than what I had in the Philippines. Some of the beef rendang was hard, if all are tender then I would have really enjoyed it. I also convinced myself into buying a perfume I’ve been wanting for a while now and because of that, and since it was also my birthday, the store gave me a gift, which was nice. It was the only gift I received for my birthday.

After shopping in the city, we checked out earlier than planned because we wanted an extra day of rest. Then we went to the nearest outlet store and met my friend and her daughter there. It was amazing to see the progress of my friend’s daughter. She was so talkative now and she can walk on her own. She is also a curious kid and she speaks her mind. She’s one smart girl.

It was sweet of God to remind me of His goodness, to let me know that not everyone is against me. I never plan to meet anyone in Sydney, but my friend went out of her way to see me since I was in Sydney. She didn’t even know that it was my birthday so she wasn’t “obliged” to. She’s definitely my person.

2022

Happy new year!!!

A call from Mom after a hard month made me miss home so much. I am feeling homesick. It’s been 2 years since I have had this feeling. I always feel homesick right after coming back from my vacation in my hometown. At this moment while typing these words, my eyes are tearing up. That’s how bad it is.

But this is a great reminder of the importance of family, and how important to rely on God’s help. Everybody is going through something. I should not take it upon them. God is still on the throne. God still loves me. I should not force it. The people for me will come along naturally. My dreams and goals will come true and be achieved through God’s power and will.

I am starting 2022 with the love that no one can take away from me, not even by myself. I am thankful that God is in my life. I am looking forward to witnessing how awesome God is in my life.

My Mocha Recipe

I only get to prepare and drink coffee during my rest days because it takes a lot of time to do. But I love the process of making coffee–french press, drip, or just simply adding milk in it. It’s fancy and a privilege–reminding me that life is beautiful. Coffee is always about mornings and new beginnings, which means hope. Or night-time and deadlines which means working for something that makes life better, which, again, means hope. Coffee ads are very effective in driving this message across. Coffee vlogs romanticize it even further–with the aesthetic mugs, kettle and how pretty the milk mixes with coffee. I am totally sold.

I don’t drink coffee every day of my rest days, just when I’m in the mood for it. Yesterday, I was in the mood so I boiled water in my “traditional” kettle (electric kettle doesn’t last on me), got a teaspoonful of the Starbucks instant coffee (medium roast but tastes like dark), with two sugars. I also used Uncle Tobys oat milk which I bought months ago. The result was surprisingly good. Oat milk is definitely worth the hype. I’ve tried lactose-free milk, soy milk, almond milk for my coffee, but so far, oat milk tastes the best among them. It makes the coffee tastes sweeter.

This morning, after going to get my booster COVID vaccine dose, I decided to do an iced coffee, using the same ingredients. However, as I was preparing the coffee powder and 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar while waiting for the water to boil, my eyes went to the box of Mork dark chocolate. I bought this a few months back, enjoyed it so much but for some reason (sheer laziness), I could never bring myself to prepare a hot chocolate. Here it was, staring at me, asking when I would use it again. Remembering the coffee vlog I watched yesterday about making mocha, I told myself, why not use it today. So I reached for it, add 3 teaspoonfuls of the dark chocolate powder into the mix, added hot water. Mix them all until dissolved then pour the mixture over my SB Christmas tumbler full of ice. And then I added oat milk to fill. The result was amazing! I love it. It is now going to be my mocha recipe.

More about the Mork chocolate powder, I bought this from Mork’s online shop. They are based in Melbourne. I first saw them on IG when my cousins posted how they drink the Mork chocolate. Mork created a buzz in Melbourne. Everyone loves a good show. I got curious. I wanted to try it for myself but whenever I go to Melbourne, no one is available to take me. I tried to go there on my own but I couldn’t find the actual store or their store was closed already (whenever I’d attempt to go) or it was closed on the day that I could go. Anyway, I did find another shop that used Mork for their hot choco. I ordered the 80% hot choco and it was too strong for me. I should have ordered a weaker one. It smelled so good though so I had to give it another shot. A few months ago, I googled if Mork has an online shop, it has so I had to order several boxes of the junior dark (50%) to give to friends and for personal consumption. FYI, I love hot chocolates more than I love coffee. It’s iced tea>dark hot chocolate>coffee for me. I did well with this purchase. It is how I expected it to be. The taste is on point. I’ve tried several hot choco and Mork is definitely one of the best ones.

The first time I tried oat milk, it was a disaster so I tried to stay away from it. However, during one of my grocery runs, I saw the Uncle Tobys oat milk on display. They look so appealing. Maybe it’s the brown-coloured oat milk font in flesh-coloured background that drew me to it, so I ended up buying it. It went straight on top of my fridge and stayed there for a few months until yesterday, when I finally decided to give oat milk another try. I’m glad I did. It was so good with coffee. Good thing as well, I felt fine after drinking it with my coffee so I guess oat milk is gonna be my staple milk for my coffee from now on.

So yeah, the point is, I’m really happy with my new discovery. 🙂

Push

You only need enough push to build momentum. I thank the Lord for the gentle nudge along the way. I pray that He makes everything alright and that He gives us strength, courage and wisdom all throughout.

I had a conversation with someone a few weeks ago and I said to him, “…so it’s going to be normal again by next week then…”, then I added, “but maybe not for you!” And I laughed. Little did I know that it’s not gonna be normal again (on what we think is normal for us). Change is happening, and it is not by choice.

I wish I could say it is liberating. Until I am there, I wish I would be saying that. But for now, I am hoping for the best. I am going to do my best and I hope God will sustain me along the way.

It makes me think about my husband and if he regrets partnering with me. But a comfortable life will not really make you happy. A life full of compromise or settling down. I’d say it’s always better to follow your dreams, do everything you can to reach them and choose to be happy along the way. Know your worth and don’t settle for less. I am glad my husband is beginning to be on board with me.

Two Things

I bought Starbuck’s instant coffee—the medium roast because the medium roast is actually my favourite coffee that I can buy here. It is just a small tin but man, this is very expensive. I hope it is worth it. I haven’t tried this yet because it’s too pretty and too expensive that I couldn’t bring myself yet to open this and tbh, I kinda forgot that I actually bought it. I only remembered today while I was watching vlogs making coffee.

Also, I have been using my Iqunix M80 mechanical keyboard. I bought this because of the colour and also I want to have another clicky mech keeb that looks like a typewiter. This is the closest thing that isn’t that expensive compared to Qwerky S Writer. The keycaps of M80 are cat-head-shaped but for me it looks like typewriter keycaps. I also like that it comes with a dust cover. 🙂

I have been using this keyboard ever since. I like it a lot. It’s not RGB, it only has white light but there are several light patterns to choose from. Also, it can connect through bluetooth and cable. I thought it would also have the the 2.4ghz dongle. But it doesn’t.

This keyboard is also heavy, indicative of good quality. I don’t regret buying this keyboard. Moreover, Iqunix has given me some discount because I’ve left this on my cart for a few weeks and they kept reminding me about this cart and then one day they sent me an email with a discount code so I finally gave in and bought this one. But if I have waited til Black Friday, it would have been the same discount anyway. But at least I got mine early. 🙂

Perfect Life

Is there a time in your life in which your life has been perfect?

Mine was during my senior year in high school. Back then my Dad was still alive. We are still complete. My family and I would go to church together then, right after, we would go with Dad to drive Mom to our store. My favourite was when we would drop by the petrol station to get some snacks while Dad get the petrol.

It was also the happiest year of my high school. I have great friends. Our group was formed after each of us had some dramas with our own group of friends. We were all hanging out in the classroom one lunch break and we just clicked. From then on, I felt that I belong. I also enjoyed all of my classes then, especially World History. Our teacher was really cool and he made us analyze the story which made us feel good whenever we would get the right answer.

Back then, influential TV shows for me were “My So-Called Life”, a bit of “Felicity” and the start of “Ally McBeal”. These TV shows made me feel hopeful about my future.

My grades are also great. I am always included in the Top 10 of our batch.; however, in the end, because of my “lack” of extracurricular activities, I didn’t make it in the Top 10. A lesson on popularity and how to make it to your advantage.

Senior year meant preparing for college so we did a lot of college admission tests. I applied to 5 schools. I passed all of them which is great.

Lots of projects but they’re all okay. It was hard but sweet. Lots of sleepless nights. But all those experiences helped me with college.

It was also that time when I wrote a heartfelt article about a friend in grade school, this article got a high score although it wasn’t featured. It made me love writing more. Moreover, it was also the time when my poem got chosen by my favourite teacher. He praised it in class which made me love poetry and writing it as well. I had so many poems written when I was in uni but sadly, I lost my notebook where I write them.

This was also the time where I wrote letters to my classmates. I formed new friendships because of that.

It was also the year when I took a lot of photos, back when cameras use film still. I don’t think there is any digital camera at that time. I was glad my Mom was supportive of my hobby.

It was really a perfect year. Full of hope, love and I felt so safe. Even though it was only for a year, I’m glad it happened in my life. Now, it’s time to look forward again to better years and brighter tomorrow. It happened in my earlier life, I know it will happen again in my middle and later life.

INFJ

With Taylor Swift’s version of All Too Well, it makes me remember all the reasons why things don’t work out. Looking deeper, I realize that when it comes to moving on, I am really an INFJ.

Books recently

A well-spent rest day, for me, is going to town to have brunch, usually a scone with jam and cream, and coffee, then going to different stores to window shop. But because of the pandemic, I have learned to love staying home. I am very much of a home buddy now but I still try to go out to unwind because it helps with my energy.

Today, being a rest day, I went to town (a 5-minute drive from our house) to buy an iced coffee and look for books.

I’ve been itching to buy books because the ones I’ve purchased online are taking so long to arrive. When it comes to books, I prefer buying them from our local bookstore. Or if it’s not available there, I’d buy just the ebooks. But these 2 books I bought online are not yet available in iBooks and our local bookstore does not have them. Anyway, I should have them this week–hopefully.

At our local bookstore, my favourite shop in town, I bought Isabel Allende’s latest book. The last time I read one of her books was way back in college/uni and I liked it. When I first saw her book, I was not convinced to buy it because I was not feeling magical realism at the time but I think I’m more open to it again. I also bought a letter set because I want to try writing letters again. Upon browsing, I saw the new Minalima Harry Potter book (Chamber of Secrets) but it was so expensive there. I wonder why. But since I already have the first book, it is just logical to buy the second book, being a Harry Potter fan. I know Target would have them so I went there and as expected, I wouldn’t be buying just one book.

I also bought A Disney Twisted Tale (Part of Your world) and Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where are You. I’ve bought The Song of Achilles from our local bookstore last week, I just included it in the photo because it is one of my current reads. I’m liking it so far.

Back to Minalima’s version of Harry Potter, the second book is very beautiful just like the first book. Like everything that you would expect to be highlighted in the second book are there. It is definitely something that children and adults will love. This book is something that I would want to pass on to my loved ones (grandchildren) in the future.

The spray edges enticed me to get this book, plus, I love the Little Mermaid. The story of this twisted tale is also promising. I plan to read the whole book right away. I’m loving its design as well. I think I might collect these books from Disney not just for their enlightening stories but also for their beauty.

My bookworm heart is happy. 🙂

Stickers on My Mind

I have discovered the YT channel of maidenmanila. It makes me want to journal/write letters. I used to write letters to my friends every summer in high school. I looked forward to those letters from friends and also, I was always excited to use my stationery sets. My Mom and I would also often go to Divisoria in Manila to buy stuff for our store and we used to go to this store which sold pretty but affordable stationery sets, which were unique and creative. Much like the stationery trend now.

Maidenmanila is just so artistic. Her design is not over-the-top which keeps me interested. Watching her do her designs makes me wish to have the same talent she has. I wondered if it was still possible to have an artistic talent or was it something that you are born with. Like, how does she get her ideas? Having ideas is one thing but having the skill to do calligraphy/lettering is another. I tried but I am not good. Maybe I need to practice more and use the right tools to do it beautifully. I want to make beautiful things, too.

Tools. She has lots of stamps, washi tapes, markers, sticker books and just thinking of buying them made me want to set aside this kind of hobby. I’m pretty sure, whatever she has, she didn’t buy in one go. It took time to accumulate those. But then again, I don’t know where to buy from here. How I wish I can go to Japan so I can get them. Tokyo is heaven for stationery lovers. 🙂

If you’re curious, her channel link is at https://www.youtube.com/c/maidenManila and her Instagram is at https://www.instagram.com/maidenmanila/

Almost Like Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series has been my favourite book of all time. It took me years to go back to reading again just because I have been busy with everything. A lot of things has happened. Pandemic has brought me back to my love for reading. Although this time, I am choosy with what I read. One thing I have learned in life is that I don’t need to read everything or to know about everything. It’s not good to be exposed to all the evils of this world. I know we should be aware that it could exist but knowing the full detail, staring it in the eye is not good. Maybe that’s why God has specifically told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of good and evil. Anyway, after a few book vlogs, someone recommended the book by VE Schwab which is A Darker Shade of Magic. This is basically a story about 4 Londons. Gray London without magic, Red London with balanced magic, white London with dangerous magic, and black London consumed by magic that is believed to no longer exist.

I have finished the first book and I am currently reading the second one. So far, I am liking the second book as well.

After this series, I’m thinking of reading StarWars-like stories. Dune, maybe.