Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bedtime Stories With My Daughter

My love for stories, story-telling and reading story books started at a very early age. As a kid in the 80's who grew up in the province of the Philippines, I was luckily surrounded by a whole village filled with adults who just didn't have anything better to do on lazy afternoons than tell stories (a la Kuya Bodgie) to a bunch of kids as one of their pastimes (that, or exchange gossips with other adults... but that's another story).

Speaking of Kuya Bodgie, like me, you also probably enjoyed watching "Batibot". I was always looking forward to the show's segment where he tells a story. He tells the stories in very interesting and animated way. It was never boring. Some of my favorites were "Nguyamyam", the one where all the nguyamyam  (or are they ants?) creatures ate the whole planet, and the one with the barracuda... I forgot the title. But I remember the barracuda would go, "Ngasab, ngasab, ngasab... nguya, nguya, nguya!" :D

I had a lot of children's books while I was growing up. But I've lost all of them in all the major floods that we had in our province, and also during the time my family moved a lot after I graduated from the university. I remember telling myself as a kid that I would keep all my childhood books to pass on to my future child/children. But now, they're all gone and it makes me feel a bit sad... maybe I'll try to find them on Amazon.

As an adult, I never lost the habit of reading children's books. I remember, I was a volunteer at the Museo Pambata (Children's Museum) in Manila, where there is a children's library. I would borrow and/or read books while helping to organize them. At one point in my life, I even considered becoming a children's book illustrator and/or author. But for now, I am quite content to have some of my husband's french childhood books to read to my daughter at night before bed. Here's a video I took last night. Please forgive my horrible Southern french accent. :D



It's a perfect bonding moment for me and my daughter, and it's also a helpful way to improve my french at the same time. I don't know if it's just me, but I find hearing somebody reading in french a lot more soothing than somebody reading in English... and one day, I also hope to read Tagalog books to her.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Artsy Fartsy

Video taken from The MOMA in New York last July 2017

The first time I ever saw live abstract art was during our high school field trip to the Ayala Museum in Makati, I think. It was this series of chaotic, mindless doodles on large styropore boards hanging on the wall. Upon seeing them amongst the usual form of art works I was conveniently accustomed to, I began to feel uncomfortable, irritated, and extremely annoyed. I remember having violent reactions. Like, I wanted to tear them off of the wall and throw them in the trash bin, where I thought they belonged. The nerve... of these people to consider these worthless doodles art!

Part of the annoyance comes from the fact that inside my head, I was thinking, “It's something a kindergarten student could've easily done. Or a chimpanzee. Or me.  Goodness! I can even doodle better than that! But why this guy? And who are these pretentious people who allowed this guy to show off this nonsense and pass it off as art? Inside the museum? Is this a joke? What the fuck?” The more I thought about it, the more it made me furious. So much hate and judgement.

I remember being at Tate Modern in London once and thinking most of the stuff were hilarious and absurd. Those awful art installations -- in one room there were these crumpled pieces of newspaper bunched up in mounds on the floor; in another room, strings of used soap tablets suspended from the ceiling; and in another room, a projected video of a guy putting sticky mud all over his face. Ugh. I remember laughing. It was all so absurd! Funny, I usually have very high tolerance for the absurd and the silly. But for some reason, I become totally anal when it comes to works of art. Especially in museums.

Throughout the years, I have calmed down, and started reacting less violently to abstract art and silly art installations... depending on my mood, of course. I do like the feel of certain contemporary art museums though, like the Guggenheim in Bilbao and in New York. Those museums made me feel like I myself was part of the actual exhibits. There were some that I liked and there were some that I didn't care for so much. But there was no more hate. Just like a lot of things that I have learned to live with, I have learned to be at peace and be more tolerant of certain art forms. I like to call it maturity. :D

Maybe it's what abstract and contemporary art is all about -- an invitation to participate, to engage yourself and accept that things are not always what you expect them to be, and to live a little. This "forcing you to engage yourself" is really tough for introverts, like myself, come to think of it. It's probably why I will never get used to these kinds of art works. It's much too taxing for me. I'd rather be cool and calm and in control. Especially in museums... coz that's what I came there for in the first place.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Montréal

I've always imagined Canada to be very cold and very far away. When I visited it a few weeks ago, I was right about the "very far away" part, but not the cold. I did not know it's possible to get very hot there in the summer.

The Basilica de Notre Dame de Montréal... you have to go inside to really appreciate its history and beauty

Here are some of my favorite images from this summer's trip to Montréal...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Miss Saigon on Broadway


I really want to blog about this while everything is still fresh in my memory. So, here I am at midnight, on the last few days of my summer holiday here in France, jet-lagged and all, but I find enough energy to write about this experience. I have just been to see the musical for the first time ever last Monday, 10th July. I have always been a big fan of Miss Saigon for obvious reasons -- because Lea Salonga was in it, and also being in my pre-teen years the first time it came out, I had a predisposition to crave sappy, romantic love songs.

I almost saw this musical back when they were doing it in Manila. It was in the early 2000's. My best friend from the university invited me to see it with him for free! Unfortunately, it was at the same time I had to go to a very important job interview. Had I known I would not have passed for that job, I would've just seen Miss Saigon. It would've been sooo nice to see it with Lea Salonga (I think it was her) playing Kim.

Anyway, fortunately enough, Miss Saigon is again on broadway at the same time as hubby and I were in New York. I booked well-ahead in advance a very nice seat, third row from the front on the left side facing the stage and right next to the aisle so nobody would bother me. It was such a fantastic seat! There were only six seats in our row. From there, I could see everything -- the pores, the sweat, the tiny microphones, and even the tiny spittle of saliva from the actors' mouths.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Toulouse Visit 2017

It's been a week since I've arrived in France for the Summer Holiday. I spent the first week eating, drinking, visiting the fresh market, enjoying the first few days of the Summer Sale, getting a hair cut from one of my friends, and hanging out with them!

Place du Capitole de Toulouse at sunset

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Romantic Lunch Date at Rhubarb Le Restaurant


Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream at Rhubarb, Le Restaurant

There is nothing more pleasantly distracting than a surprise romantic lunch at a Michelin-starred French restaurant on a busy Monday. Hubby chose a cozy restaurant called, Rhubarb, Le Restaurant. We figured the owner must've been really obsessed with this plant, which a decade ago would've been something very unfamiliar to me. I now know for one that Rhubarb Pie is one of my husband's favorites. And I quite like it too, for its tangy and citrusy flavor. We tried the restaurant's Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream at the end of a three-course lunch menu, and found it deliciously refreshing, especially with the popping sugar bits.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mothers' Month 2017

Last Mother's Day -- hubby treated me to a lovely lunch at a nice restaurant.
While I am thankful that a lot of the hassles of taking care of a small baby have gone away with the passing of time, I could never really be whole-heartedly grateful to dear old time, as I realize that the more my daughter grows the less she will be needing me. I know this is too early to start worrying about when she will become a teenager and will be wanting to leave her parents' care... but this is the stuff that mothers do. And I can't help it. I'm deep into it now. Especially since I have been a mother for already half a decade now!

But worrying aside, I am very happy to see how she has grown... what mother wouldn't?! She is very beautiful. She loves to dance a lot, and she sings all the time. She is always cheerful but she is also quick-tempered like her mother... and very makulit like her father.

Here are some of my favorite snaps taken during the past year that make me appreciate being a mom every time I look at them...