Monday, September 29, 2008

At 30 I realise..

.. the value of comfort over fashion
.. that what matters is not the place, but who you're with
.. that high school life is way easier than life after college graduation
.. that parents always mean well, no matter how they say things
.. that one must always look after ones self, especially at work
.. that I am really responsible for what I do, and what I say
.. that we come to an age where we have to decide. alone.
.. that life is too short to be lived in a rush.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mumbles on Work

Anything travel related is something I deal with on a day to day basis. Sometimes, what seems to be a simple travel query turns out to be a big thing. A call could come through for someone wanting to book a simple Sydney Melbourne return flight, while the next call could be a round the world itinerary with at least nine stops during high season in December. I would be lucky if I got a travel insurance question, as we are not allowed to give insurance information or advise we put their calls through to another department specifically handling these types of questions.

Really, no two days are alike in terms of taking travel related queries. This makes my job a little bit more interesting, and it keeps me on my toes trying to figure out a proposal for a family of eight doing all sorts of tours, stopover, etc.

I guess in a relatively plan crazy world we live in, everyone thinks about traveling. Whether it is just local travel, maybe taking public transport to the next suburb or taking an overnight flight headed for Antarctica, everyone plans travel. It is not just our job as travel agents to think of your trip, but you yourself should think about your trip too. After all, without your thoughts and ideas we would never really know where to send you to. Next time, maybe you would like to make our jobs a bit easier: give us tentative series of dates that we can play around with. If we had our way, there wouldn’t be any waitlisting. But of course, our world was not meant to be perfect.

Nasty Stingers Migration

I could not believe it when I saw the photos of Sting rays’ migration! Hundreds and thousands of them apparently migrate from Florida area to the Gulf of Mexico area twice each year.

Having watched a lot of Planet Earth documentation, I am always amazed at how nature takes it course and reflected onto us, by our animal friends migrating. I suppose, humans do migrate too, not necessarily as often as the animals, and maybe not every human specie migrates. I, of course, belong to those who do. Read about it here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My secret culinary career .. Not!

Not everyone may know that I once studied cooking. I actually wanted to take it really seriously because I could not cook at all. That, and the fact that studying cooking would have been a very big help in applying for my permanent residency to Australia. At some point in my eagerness to learn, I was searching for culinary art schools every spare time I had until I found one. Luckily, I did find one. I enrolled, and was meant to do a year’s course doing commercial cookery (they did not have just home cookery class!). I went and did about 3 months studying how to cook, how to cook properly and how to cook well. Unfortunately, I did not go far and ended up just doing a quarter of the course. I found other ways to learn how to cook, and I found other ways to apply for my residency. Going through a lot of hardships along the way, I got my permanent residency. It all ended well. I’ve learned the basics of the kitchen, and I am now more confident in mixing up food. I am still way far from being a good cook, but I’m glad that I know more now than I did two years ago.

Exchanging Homes? Why not do Reunion Island?

One type of accommodation option that has emerged in the past decade or so among potential tourists, is the idea of Home Exchanges. We saw this recently in the movie, The Holiday, with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz exchanging their British and American homes to each other's delight. Really, as much as this modern society is more open to these sort of things, one can never be cautious enough in dealing with complete strangers. Especially on the internet. Nowadays, psychos are roaming mad, and a mere innocent look is not enough to see through what one is capable of. How paranoid our society is becoming.

One advertisement caught my eye as I was searching for my apartment. It was from a person from Reunion Island, located near the coast of mainland Africa in the Indian Ocean. I first got familiar with this French island when I went to Mauritius a couple of months back. Most Mauritians raved about this lovely neighbour of theirs. Reunion island is not a very populated destination, with only 700,000 inhabitants. Their culture is a mix of French, African, Indian and Chinese as reflected through their food, music and way of life. Really there are so much that this small island can offer from beautiful landscape, to refreshing seascape. The best time to visit this island is from April to September when the weather is not too hot.
It is not for the faint hearted tourist, as the authentic experience of this island is anything but traditional but everything that one could hope for in a travel destination. I do hope that I can visit this lovely neighbour of Mauritius one day. Costa Cruise offers sailings to this paradise island as seen here. This island is also good for surfing, adrenalin sports, mountain biking, treking, photography enthusiasts, spa lovers, nature lovers, and everyone else.

There is a growing number of resorts from budget to luxury found at majority of the island's towns. A few of them are: Les Villas du Recif, Les Villas du Lagon, Boucan Canot, Novotel Saint Gilles La Reunion, Hotel Saint Alexis, Lodge Roche Tamarin, Palm Hotel and Spa. I was surprised to find out that they had a lot of accommodation types to offer!

Starting April 1, 2009 Air Austral will connect Sydney and St Denis, Reunion Island direct, twice a week. People travelling to Paris will have the chance to see this magnificent island on their way to Europe. Surely this is something I look forward to selling to my passengers!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How many weddings to plan?

Okay, seriously I think I have planned my wedding twice, with the same guy, and it still is not pushing through this year. I am praying that the next time we do plan it, that it would really push through. So far this was the furthest that we have been at in planning. We have already decided on the wedding accessories as well as the colour motif, and of course have reserved the church and the wedding reception. It is quite disappointing but then as much as I was disappointed, life goes on. Things don't always turn out the way we planned them to be.

Perhaps next time I plan it, we'd have it in Sydney? Or maybe still in Manila? I guess I should not get ahead of myself. Things will just happen and fall into place one day. For now, I would just let go and keep dreaming.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where do you start from here?

Sometimes I hear them say they wish it
They just don't know
It's not that easy

Sometimes It can be fun to do all over again
For the sake of it
Or maybe, to start fresh

Then again,
Sometimes it makes you think you're running in circles
And then you don't know where to begin

Live to Learn

The past years I have learned a lot about so many things. Including the national no call registry website, and how to Find Out Who Called You. This was quite a good thing to know as sometimes there are random numbers that pop up on my phone screen which I don’t feel comfortable picking up (especially in the middle of the night). Recently I have also managed to understand the way tax deductible items work, and a few other tips in filing my income tax for this year. So many new things to learn each day, I still surprise myself each time. The other day my colleague went on a trivia night. I have only been on a trivia night once at a restaurant a very long time ago. I probably would know a bit more about travel, geography and countries but I must say I have a lot of learning to do in terms of numbers, arithmetic and such things. Oh well, that’s why life is exciting. We learn something new every so often.

Such is life...

Sometimes no matter how much we try to make plans, some things are just not within our control. Things change. Plans change.

The control freak in me worked full time a few weeks ago. However, it is taking a back seat now.

Want to know peek at what's happening? Click here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Loving my flats

Ballet flats. I remember having a fascination for ballet flat shoes when I was young and studying ballet. I loved the way the shoe turned magic on me as my classmates' eyes were on my feet doing my ballet walk and run. Those were the days.

In high school I had the chance to revisit using ballet-like flat shoes that were sold by Sari Sari/Cinderella. I loved how they would curl up, just emphasizing how comfy the bendable soles were.

In college, I had a bit of a break from flats. I enjoyed my chunky shoes then. Clanking on my feet, making me appear taller than usual. It must have been a phase.

When I moved here five years ago (my anniversary is actually today!!) I was so into pointy heels. Then, came the walking. Walk to the bus stop, walk to work, walk up the hill. I beared it all, until I became practical and went back to loving my flats.

The past recent years I have revisited wearing my flats and find it really comfy. I keep a few heeled pairs underneath my desk at work, for those impromptu meets and others. Once I opted to wear my flats to this work function. I was the only asian girl! And while having cocktails and chatting, I felt all the Aussies towered over small me. But I managed to pull it off well, so I loved my flats even more.

This weekend I bought two pairs of flats. Nothing expensive just a gray coloured one and a brown one. I love how I can just slip them on, with anything I am wearing.

After my purchase my boyfriend and I went to another shoe shop: Shoe Box. There was this cute cute black heels that caught my eye (this doesn't happen very often anymore-especially for heels). I was tempted to buy it, to replace my stock underneath my work desk. But I just bought two pairs a few minutes ago. I resisted, but right now I am wishing I have bought it.

I am loving my flats, but once in a while the lady in me wants to prance around in my sexy heels.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Travel agent in the family

I have been in and endless search of Free vacation rental listings for my family and friends. You see, some of them think I know everything and when they come and ask me where to look for such properties for travel in and around North America I struggle. I know there are a lot out there but only a few offer options for popular Telluride vacation rentals, which is the area my American friend is looking at taking her family to this coming Christmas vacation. She said her niece and nephews have been asking their parents (her sister and brother in law) about going to the snow for a long holiday, and she is actually also looking forward to this break from the usual beach holiday they go to at that time of the year. Recently I have come across the perfect site and I am truly amazed at how the internet can be a good source, as I’ve seen so much information on Free vacation condo listings available!

Heeeellloooo Summer!

Okay, I may be too excited.. But the past few days we were all treated to nice warm weather. It may be all too good to be true yet. Only time will tell whether we are really welcoming summer days. I am excited and ready to plan summer trips!

On friday, as I was walking through the park in my jeans and sweater I felt the sun and decided to take my jumper off! It was that hot! I was thinking to myself, finally my skin would get a bit of colour again. Not that I am that white, or that I am intending to get sunburnt soon (I vowed to myself that since I am 30 now I will not expose my skin to too much sun anymore).

Using this one everyday

How many great inventions of this modern world do we take for granted? I for one used to neglect Toshiba laptops and their greatness. You see, I love using my laptop in bed. It’s not the best of habits, as it nurtures a bad posture and gives me back aches often times, but I am sometimes lazy to type using my good old computer table. When I was researching about the best laptop to purchase I considered the weight and screen quality of the unit. Also, initially I was doing a price comparison to see which laptop would give me the best run for my money considering I am on it everyday. I was happy with my old one until I was given a new one as a present. My new laptop is a lot better than my old Toshiba as it is still fairly new, and the screen is glossy. The only thing I am not that happy about is the screen size. It is a bit too small (than my old one), but of course this means it is a lot lighter in weight as well so I should not really complain about it.

Cutting Corners not at all the same as Cutting Cost.

I am just so annoyed with companies or management who would cut corners just to cut cost down. Oftentimes at the expense of quality. How annoying! My boyfriend and I talked about this particular big grocery chain in the middle of the city, who at 2 PM on a sunday afternoon had only one staff working on the till! And he was taking his time swiping and punching those numbers. Imagine the customer queue at that time. Took us a good 10 minutes just to buy that one bottle of water. There were other people in line who obviously were getting impatient too. This same thing happened to us last week as well. Same supermarket at about the same time. I would probably understand if it was a small town shop, but this was not one of those. Maybe they are wanting to lose their business to their competition a block away! Hmmm!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

How easy to get Information Nowadays

I am amazed at how great the modern society is at information. I have come across reverse lookup database that can track the owner for any phone number in the United States and Canada. What is interesting is that the whole process is a discreet and easy procedure that no one will have a clue about investigating on that telephone stalker, or that old strange high school sweetheart trying to be in contact again. Truly the whole process is the most confidential one. I might suggest this to my friend who has been getting calls from telemarketers and stalkers alike.

Can I borrow $25 Please?

I got this in the mail. Made me think twice about time and family. My boyfriend asked to borrow $5. Apparently he had $45 already!! Haha! But, really this is a very nice read.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
SON: 'Daddy, may I ask you a question?'
DAD: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the man.
SON: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?'
DAD: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the
Man said angrily.
SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an Hour?'
DAD: 'If you must know, I make $50 an hour.'
SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: 'Daddy, may I please borrow $25?'
The father was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish.... I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.'

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions.....How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

'Are you asleep, son?' He asked. 'No daddy, I'm awake,' replied the boy.
'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the man.
'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the
$25 you asked for.'

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you daddy!' He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. 'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' the father grumbled..

Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied. !

'Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.'

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.

Do remember to share that ‘$50 worth of your time’ with someone you love.

That quick rush feeling

I must admit, fiancé and I have considered the thought of doing an out of town wedding, that was far from Manila or far from Sydney. There was something about destination weddings that sparked a bit of excitement from both me and my boyfriend. I guess it was the travel junkie in us that was thinking. We thought it would be a great idea to have all our families with us, bonding at some destination that neither of us were from. It would have been a good place to discover and start our life at. A foreign place where we could kick start our life together, or maybe just have the wedding at the same place we would look at having a honeymoon all inclusive resort that could take care of everything for us.

Playing on this idea gave me a quick rush, the same feeling I get every time I plan discount vacation packages. There are so many good deals out there just waiting to be discovered. I guess I should be satisfied with just planning an out of town honeymoon for now, as wedding preparations are already underway.

Goppis Girl

Me and my twisted tongue. Haha! That's what I called Gossip Girl today when I was getting too excited sharing the first episode of the season! I am such a sucker for anything set in New York, even make believe New York setting.
I can't wait to watch the next episode!

Recently, I find myself waiting to watch a few series. Waiting each week. In Manila, I used to wait for daily local telenovelas. I even remember being a fan of the ever cheesy Meteor Garden ( not local, but a Taiwanese telenovela)! I did not get to finish this series because I was moving to Sydney that time. My girlfriends then just gave me for my despedida, the whole season's cds. This was my companion when I got here. To combat my homesickness I would watch Meteor Garden and just sob with Shan Chai and Dau Ming Szu...

House and Floor and Plans

My sister in law and her husband are planning to sell their current small house because in a few months they are expecting to expand their family. They are looking at either buying a built in and ready to move into house, or purchase a lot wherein they could create their own by coming up with their own Country House Plans and have someone build for them. They are still in a toss up trying to decide on this, and they were saying that either way it will be a lot of work. I could not agree with her more. Whatever House Plans they decide on, will entail work. They are just happy to find prepared house ideas online such as log home floor plans, as this makes life a little bit easier.

I was wondering when my boyfriend and I decide to have children later on, and if we should already consider this at all when buying a house. I suppose we should just take one thing at a time.

The big 4-0

Turning 40 soon has had me thinking about a few things lately. One, major one is whether to have another baby. Hmm. I guess this is partly n...