Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hawaii Holiday

After counting our blessings because Big A and I have been lucky enough to go on several overseas trips this year, along came another!

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit was scheduled to be held in Manila, and given the city's overpopulation and lack of infrastructure, the government simply declared classes suspended and government offices closed for an entire week. Not the most economically sound of decisions, but there you go.

At any rate, the stock market had been good to us and Big A thought it was high time he saw his brother again, so I quickly applied for visas and we snagged a pair of budget air tickets to sunny Honolulu.

Little A's patience and sitting-still abilities need to built up to tolerate a ten hour flight, so we co-opted the all-too-willing grandparents to share babysitting duties while we were away. The Indefatigable Au Pair is our godsend, and without her none of these trips over the past years would have been remotely possible.

This was only my second ever time to visit the United States, and the main thing that struck me about Oahu was that Manila, and the other Philippine cities, must have been modeled after it, though massive overpopulation and decades of corruption have turned it into the urban sprawl of a nightmare mega-metropolis that it is now.

Big A loves Hawaii, and would happily, budget allowing, spend half the year there just lounging on the beaches and living the very chill island lifestyle. I, on the other hand, have always been a city girl. Sure, I love sun, sand, and surf, but I also like knowing that galleries, bookstores, and theaters are within easy reach and constantly changing their offerings.

It was a lovely week, and Big A and his brother had plenty of bonding opportunities. We flew home refreshed and ready for a long month ahead - a series of short out-of-town trips and the mad rush of the Christmas season are to unfold over the next few weekends. Bring it on!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween 2015

It's the time of year again, when dentists the world over rejoice. 

Little A has been looking forward to "fall," never mind that we live in a country with only two seasons - wet and dry. He knows that there will be fancy dress, walking around collecting bits of things in his plastic pumpkin (having never eaten sweets nor desired to, he nevertheless enjoys the door-to-door bit), and then, his favourite time of year - Christmas.

This year he attended three Halloween celebrations. First was the school one, where he donned what must have seemed to him like a plain red t-shirt and black shorts but was in fact an attempt at a Star Trek costume. (There was a badge printed on the t-shirt's breast.) Then came the building's trick-or-treat, when he put on an old pair of pajamas decorated to look like a scuba diving outfit. Finally, on the day itself, he slipped on his Japanese top and shorts and went to visit my parents in the village touted as the Philippines' Halloween capital. 

Big A and I attended our own Halloween party that night at a newly opened restaurant-bar a few streets away. I wore the female version of Little A's Japanese costume while Big A put on his captain-of-the-fleet Star Trek top. It had been ages since we'd been to a proper costume party, and while it was a much quieter celebration than the parties we attended as an unmarried couple, a good time was had by all. 

The next day, Halloween was officially over, which meant only one thing. Out came the Christmas tree and all the trimmings. November the first, and ours was the first Santa Claus head on an apartment door. Holiday season is definitely here. This weekend, before November even hits the double digits, we have the first of many Christmas dinner parties for the year. Let the wild rumpus begin!