Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Our year in Review

Before the year ends, I wanted to do a post on the highlights and things I am really thankful for that happened in 2013. It's the first full year that we're back in the Philippines and I think both Sofia and I have transitioned well enough. We managed to satisfy our jet-setting alter-egos with a quick trip here and there every few months or so. I love writing these posts because it's nice to look back and get reminded of what has happened since we live such busy lives. I just read my 2012 post and I was quite surprised at everything I did last year, since it feels so long ago. For this year, I am just going to do my list in chronological order.

1. Celebrating Chinese New Year in Taiwan
We don't normally celebrate Chinese New Year, but tickets happened to be cheap, and I mistakenly thought that February 25 is still a non-working holiday (it's not, but it's a no-school holiday) so we ended up in Taipei because we've never been there. It was surprisingly so much fun.
Taiwan is street food heaven, and home of Din Tai Fung's xlb and pork chop
 rice. I also love the XXL Crispy Chicken Chop (bigger than my face), and
 the roti with egg and bacon, sausages on the street, and chewy Mr Donuts.
You can read about my posts on Taiwan here.

2. Going to Europe for Easter Break - on miles (Sadly, I think this is the last of my accumulated perks!)
Dramatic much, but every time I go back to Paris, I fall in love with it a little bit more. Hahaha. Here are some not so typical Paris shots.
Glass Ceiling of Galeries La Fayette, Paris from Butte de Montmarte,
Houseboat on the Seine I want to vacation in next, and the Louvre.
I've never been to Pisa, so it great that we were able to do
a quick stop en route to Firenze.
View of the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio (Bridge with Jewelry sellers)
We saw the new Pope on the screen for Black Saturday Mass at
St Peter's Square in the Vatican.
You can read my posts on Paris here, on Pisa here, on Florence here including how to get to The Mall, which is the best designer outlet I've ever been to, and on Rome here.

3. Sofia was a McDonald's Kiddie Crew
I wanted to teach Sofia the value of work, so we got her and Viele in the
Kiddie Crew Program. You actually need to pay McDonald's but the kids
had so much fun.

4. Going to the US and going on a Cruise to Alaska
Our first stop was to visit Auntie Celit in CT (& NY),
but the closest we got to the Statue of Liberty was at
Toys R Us Times Square.
The we passed by San Jose for a Sebastian Reunion.
(San Agustin Lola's side of the family)
Then we got to do a day trip to San Francisco with Payaws and his family.
We did the important highlights, the Golden Gate bridge and Ghirardelli's.
Then we went to Seattle to catch our cruise.
It was another surprise for us that we really enjoyed Seattle.
On board the Oosterdam
Sail away, scenic cruising, and swimming on the deck in 10degrees weather.
Visiting Alaska and Canada was another first for us.
The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska's Capital
Spotted a bald eagle in Sitka
(Yes, it's sort of boring if the animal's are the highlight)
At Creek Street in Ketchikan,
the Red Light District on stilts converted to souvenir shops.
Last stop on the cruise is Victoria, in Canada.
We stopped at night so it would been great if we could have explored more.
You can read all my posts on our US trip here.

5. Sofia starts studying in the big school and likes it
The only challenge is how much earlier we now need to
wake up.

6. CMD goes to HK
It's so much fun when the whole team goes on vacation.
No leave required. Happy Manila Day!
You can read about our Hong Kong trip here, but this is where the backlog starts! So many unfinished posts - added to my 2014 To Do List.

7. Sofia has her first Gymnastics Meet 
And she gets fifth place after several 1-on-1 training sessions.

8. We did 2 trips to Singapore 2 weeks apart in November
It's just like going home to eat your favorite food.
Foie Gras, Saboten's Special Katsudon and Kopi with Kaya Toast and Egg.
You can read about my posts on Singapore here.

The first trip was to maximize our Legoland Annual Pass in Johor Bahru
And we did this, not 1, but 3 more times, so that makes it a total of 4 visits,
with a visit to the new Legoland Water Park included as well.
Blog post to follow.

9. The second trip merits its own mention because I got my first invitation as a blogger to collaborate with http://traveldelight.biz/
They invited us to visit and write about Hello Kitty Town and
The Little Big Club in Johor Bahru.
You can read my posts on that here.

10. and last but not the least, Ady and I did a quick weekend visit to Tokyo (which I haven't been to since I was 5)
We saw Mt Fuji from the plane, then I dragged Ady to Sanrio Puroland,
to look for Sofia's Bad Madtz Bag bilin, but our food highlight was me
ordering 2 marbled steaks whenever I could to comply with my diet.
Blog posts on Tokyo have also been added to my 2014 To Do List.

I just noticed that my yearly highlights always center around 2 things I love the most. Sofia and Travel. Actually, Travelling with the Sofia is the best. Hahaha. I am so looking forward to going back to Taiwan with the family after the new year. 

2013 has been great for us, Here's to an even greater 2014!  
Happy New Year!!! just saying.

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