To be in the snow seems like to be just a dream for people like us. It’s like we can see it only be in the movies, in the games. I have never imagined that soon we’d frolic in it. Yesterday it happened.
Marcus is someone who can go sleep in an air-conditioned room just wearing sando and pajama so we had a hard time getting him to wear extra layer of clothing since we arrived in the US. He would complain at every opportunity justifying he could take the cold. However snow changed his mind in an instant.
To build a snowman had been his main plan when he learned we’d be at Kirkwood. So immediately after lunch we made one for him though it didn’t look like typical–one with the carrot nose and button eyes. He named it Bally.
Marcus had fun nevertheless. He experienced his first snowfight and saw the elements he used to only see in his Call of Duty map–the condensation when he exhales, the bright red plastic fence, the massive white snow. He loves the snow so much that he would’ve wanted to stay longer.
Wifey and I had our first ski lesson and it was one I didn’t expect her to enjoy. She was so anxious about it that I had a good laugh when I discovered she was watching YouTube ski videos during the wee hours of the morning before our trip. The tutorial seems to have paid off as she did better than expected. Had she hydrated enough she could have reached the Graduation slope with me.
There was bitterness in the experience though. Along with our ski class were kids learning how to snowboard. I couldn’t help but admire how cute they were in their complete gears.
“How old are you guys?” I asked some of them when I got close to the group after I exited the conveyor.
“I’m 5…I’m 8,” came the replies. For some moment I almost teared up. Marcus could have been one of them.
We must have been so nice that this year our Santa Clauses decided that we personally pick our gifts from where it come from.
While this isn’t my first time to set foot in the US, this is the first time to be with Marcus and wifey and with our Santa Clauses. Needless to say, this is one unusual Christmas for the three of us and we couldn’t thank God enough for this opportunity and for surrounding us with people who support us: people who paid for this trip and even people back home who wished us well.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!
Mood: 2/10 Honks!!!! (Our Garmin watches are waiting to be tested.)
Rogue One is one of those movies that Marcus had been waiting but it premiered in the Philippines when we were already busy packing stuffs and going through our travel checklist over and over again. He was all smiles when he heard he’d catch up on it where we would be after four days.
Did I just say popcorn? Well, Rogue One is one of those movies I fought off sleep by eating popcorn. At some point I knew I slept and twitched and dreamed and talked in Filipino. Sorry American seatmates if I snored as well.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Achievement unlocked: found food in the pantry on my own.)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no…it’s a wheelchair. Yes, the long wait is over and Marcus and his wheelchair is flying against all odds, against weird baggage weight requirement.
Our plan to pack light, just a carry-on bag and one for check in, seems like a bad idea. We didn’t know that what works in domestic flight won’t do in international. We discovered that the weight requirement is strictly enforced per bag so we have to summon our packing talent, or the lack of it, in a whim. It was a good thing we brought one extra backpack to distribute the excess stuffs. We eventually found ourselves waiting to board the aircraft, tired, hungry, sleepy but we made it.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (That expensive jumbo siopao made my day.)
Some people by now have already started coming in and out of Starbucks stores. Some in a rush to complete their sticker booklets while some to redeem their own Starbucks planner. Well, not me but however late it may be, this time I seem to reconsider the idea. The dilemma ‘to planner or not to planner’ strikes once more.
That’s because I just realized that after a long time, this year appears to be the year when I should’ve had a planner of some sort. Stuck in my car last Friday and having finished a heavy rice meal right after I parked at work three hours earlier than usual, I found myself pondering on things that have happened this year. Everything was overwhelming since 2016 started.
Events came in faster than I would have imagined. Marcus got his US visa against all odds; we transferred house on a tight budget and in a short timeframe; I unexpectedly got a new role at work; and everything else—good or bad—in between. It was like a smorgasbord served in front of me all at the same time and the no leftover rule applies. (Ah yes, not close to any Japanese buffet but it’s like the pack of lauriat I found in the backseat that my sister was supposed to take with her when I dropped her back in Alabang. Everything in the paper bag was cold by then but good enough.)
That Chowking meal made me last until the end of the day’s training. A training that had me cancel a vacation I planned long before I got myself in this new account, in this new culture. Oh, and a plane ticket to be rebooked in the process. I now owe wifey Php 6000 more.
So maybe yes I need a planner this time. Maybe I should start using one again to take note of schedules, list of people I need to meet (and avoid), and maybe to doodle while stressed in the parking lot. Assuming I spend a venti everyday until the 30th I think could still get it. But then again that’s almost 2000 pesos for a planner so maybe not—not until I start to realize that I actually need to plan an itinerary in the weeks to come. A cheap notebook seems more appealing for now.
Mission accomplished. One of the plans I had for this trip to Bacolod is to get myself, at least, into the Manokan Country. It has been years since I last set foot at this famous Bacolod landmark. So last night it happened, it was a matter of fate, it was a matter of will.
The idea was initially scrapped as my father tried to avoid being stuck in bad holiday traffic. He suggested that we eat at a chicken inasal place just close to the Shopping area. But the waiter has some bad news for him—they do not have isol anymore. It was no isol, no go so we were out of the place in no time. I was all smiles going back to our car.
Traffic to the downtown area wasn’t bad after all. Trip to the Manokan country was uneventful except for me making some effort to keep nanay’s old minivan from stalling. Yes, I was that eager to get my hands into Bacolod’s famous chicken barbecue against all odds.
It was not long before we found ourselves seated around a yellow linoleum covered-table where a pair of sinamak and patis (toyo for you Manileños) bottle waits. Nena Beth’s place was buzzing with activity. The servers are going back and forth, entertaining customers from one table to another, carrying chicken parts on stick to the kitchen and coming back out with plates of nicely done barbecue along with orange-colored garlic rice among any other orders. The smoke leaking from the kitchen that carries the lingering aroma of chicken inasal complements the experience.
All good things do not last though. Just like our isol on our plate. And to make it worse, the waitress advised us that they too have ran out of this delicious chicken ass. The other chicken parts were also good but the isol was our favorite—even Marcus liked it. The news made me realize that maybe that was the last good isol I could ever had.
There are news that the Manokan Country will soon be gone to give way to a new commercial buildings and the signs are all over. SM’s parking lot adjacent to the street of Manokan Country does not exist yet the last time I was there. SM is now like a giant slimy blob monster waiting to devour the Manokan Country. Let’s just all hope that the place would be relocated, somewhere easier to access, so that we continue to experience and taste Bacolod’s authentic chicken inasal.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (If only I could extend this vacation more.)