Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are inescapably winding down to end 2022 and the holiday season. But being in this country where it isn’t recognized, I just seem to have been celebrating it more in my imagination – and I’m not even saying it in a low-spirited way, but in a delightfully adaptive way.
I’d relish by defining it as the season of working without bosses breathing down our necks, as they seem to have all flown out for vacation. Although these last days have been a struggle of sleeping early, waking up early, and focusing at work. My mind seems to have been in a slack, and I just want to put off work until the new year!
I won’t deny the holidays has been making me wistful too, especially when I listen to the slow piano version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. And sometimes cheeky, as I mentally shake my ASS in the beat of Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me.
I’ve also been unwittingly becoming a quintessential TITO abroad. In case you haven’t realized, keeping a WordPress blog in 2022 was the first sign.
I’ve been cracking Jokoy jokes in chats (and here), sponsored a dinner without me, commented “ang gaganda at ang popogi naman!” on Facebook, getting excited over clays and ceramics, reading The NYT every morning, getting interested in “main accords” of perfumes, and trying to perfect an Indian curry recipe.
I was writing parts of this post in the night of December 25 while doing my laundry and reacting to Facebook friends’ posts about their Noche Buena.
I remember this time last year – my first holiday away from home, I had felt desperate to set out my own celebration, perhaps fear of missing out. But it wasn’t as amazing as I had thought it would be, so nvm! Human nature’s pursuit for social approval and self-esteem is FUNNY.
Now I’m just here genuinely appreciating everyone’s holiday photos, while judging who among them has gotten FAT this year.
Anyways, here are some of the things that happened in my December that you might appreciate (or judge):
First, we signed up for a Race
Running, in its first few minutes, gives a breath of fresh air, a faint excitement, and a nervous anticipation of the STRUGGLE to kick in. That’s one of the recurring episodes in the first half of my December as Arjay, Salvi, and I had been preparing for the Jeddah Half Marathon this year.
I only signed up for 10km category though, because
I was a pussy it was just my first official run, and we only had A WEEK to prepare. I didn’t even do fun runs back in PH, except that one optional 5km event in college we had chosen as subject requirement. I had thought it’s foolish to solely pay for an activity so mundane as running.
Arjay with his BALLS of steel had initially insisted that we run in 21km but after few nights of feeling like dead meat at each end of 5km, the thought of finishing 21km had been making me laugh!
I thought I’d be TRAUMATIZED if I’ll not be able to finish my first ever run just because I’ve bitten more than what I could chew. But I give him props for believing he could do it – which he did! (for 3 hours 💀)
Despite I had to start running dehydrated and badly needed to piss (didn’t wanna miss the gun start), I had that triumphant sense of accomplishment reminiscent of our nightly jogs, leading up to the actual race’s finish line.
There were officials and organizers along tracks that were loudly cheering on us. There’s this one group about 50m before the finish who was holding a white placard with a big red circle on center, like the Japanese flag, along with the words “tap for a boost.”
I got to them, sheepishly tapped the red circle, and dashed with all my remaining energy as if it had really boosted me physically. 😆 I annoyingly had gotten past around 8 runners ahead up to the finish line and dude, that felt like the CRINGIEST thing ever! 💀
I also have enjoyed the illusory sense of belonging in that foreign crowd. As if being in it makes me feel I’m really part of the world, if that makes sense.
I’m also glad to have met kabayan Melvin who had been with us throughout the event. And in true pinoy fashion, we had waited for the raffle draw at the end in hopes of winning a brand new car.
Those hopes were apparently crushed, as we booked an Uber for a late lunch at a mall. 💀
Another thing that seems to has been recurring is the 1-3 days (max.) of no water supply in our villa. Either the tank gets empty, or the pump gets busted. The night before our running event, it was out of service again and I had to take a bath in other villa a corner street away.
We got home tired and sticky the next day afternoon, still with no water. 💀
That inconvenience is one thing, but not having water for the kitchen is something else. I have flat mates and I couldn’t care less if they choose not to shower for days, but the pile of unclean dishes at sink nestled by dozens of roaches is what gives me the ick.
Mid-Post Camroll Dump 📸
This was also the month of FIFA World Cup 2022 which I usually don’t fw to be honest, but it had always been in the news and officemates had been keeping talk about it. Moreover, we each had randomly drawn 2 teams to bet for free dinner.
On finals night, we had headed out from office thinking it was an easy match for Argentina with a 2-0 lead, and by the time we had arrived at our dinner place, jaws had DROPPED finding out Kylian Mbappé had caught up the score to 2-2 within that short period of time!
According to news, it was arguably the most exciting finals in FIFA history, and as someone who’s not a fan, I could totally agree, especially knowing what it had meant for Leonel Messi.
I feel honored to have witnessed and felt that moment in football history, but dude I didn’t really know what Messi looked like until that World Cup! 💀🤣
We had our dinner at Bora Café & Restaurant where I finally had the best sinigang na baka for the longest time. I’ve tried cooking one but only with sinigang sa sampaloc mix. I can’t seem to easily find the one with gabi or even an actual taro here.
I had REALLY enjoyed that hot sour broth, and that sinful chunk of beef FAT! We also had pushed Wilson to sing up on stage (which he obviously had wanted 💀).
I watched “Jean Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles“
That’s a mouthful title. A 1975 French film directed by Chantal Akerman, and was critically acclaimed by Sight and Sound as its no. 1 Greatest Film of All Time (as of 2022). But it was notable that there were a lot of criticisms regarding that.
Thoughts: that’s a long-ass movie! And I had to finish it in segments throughout the day. It’s one of those art films that isn’t for everyone, and might need a certain mood and headspace to be appreciated.
I agree how it has been described as a very slow film, almost not moving. It’s about a 3-day insight in the life of a middle-aged woman living alone with her teenage son. She discreetly does sex work in their small apartment to earn money for their daily sustenance.
95% of that 3-hour film is just about her doing mundane house chores, and there weren’t even much talking! It’s all about nuances. I honestly have appreciated (not necessarily enjoyed) it, as it has reminded me of those zenful day-in-life YouTube vlogs, but in a dead serious way. I was fascinated how strange the film was presented, yet evoked such strong familiarity.
For some bizarre reason, it had gotten me in a passionate mood of doing ALL my chores for a good week. I have even started a habit of wiping dry my washed kitchen utensils with a towel before keeping because of it.
But I don’t think that’s the point of the film, I’m just saying! 😆
I’ve been eating a LOT
I’ve truly gained weight in this season of eating out and getting lots of free foods (lots of pizza). And I’ve also been too lazy cooking and going to the gym. 😩
A LuLu Hypermarket have finally opened near our office this month. It’s a huge convenience to us and gone are the days of being stuck with Kabsa, Laham, and Biryani for lunch.
I was fascinated seeing this packed, raw, and skinned rabbit at the cold meat racks. I know it wasn’t an unusual meat in other countries but it’s my first time seeing one, and it looked extraterrestrial to me.
I’ve also been enjoying LOTS of carbs and sugars lately.
I’ve gotten to try something called Halawet El Jibn which kuya Niño just shared to me. He also didn’t know what it was and I’ve only found out by describing it to Google: arabic dessert, pastry roll, cream on center, with nuts – and there it was!
A Syrian dessert made of semolina and cheese dough, filled with clotted cream and drizzled with rose water syrup. It was good, JUST a little too rich and heavy for me.
That would be all for now.
May we all have a great new year ahead! I still think of you! 🌪🌪🌪