Goombye summer

Who would’ve thought summer’s nearly over. 🙁 I’m trying to savour the last few weeks of Daylight Savings Time and am typing this on my balcony. I can feel it though, the wind has turned — it’s a bit chillier now.

The first two months of the year have been a blur. My parents stayed a few weeks into January and y’know, babysitting parents can be tiring. Haha. I have a new nephew. I also started a new job and am getting used to a fast-paced working environment again after my admittedly chill-er previous job.

I’m still getting used into my new routine though because my job’s in a different area of Sydney plus the work hours a bit different. I’m still trying to figure out the most efficient way to organise my days and my commutes and fortnightly interstate trips. (I’m getting there, I think, if I’ve got time to chill on the balcony!)

So far, this year I’ve been trying to streamline my life, cold as it may sound. I have many things I want to do. I want to cook more, exercise more, meditate more, sew more, learn more – and sleep more! I know it’s possible as long as I address the niggly and uncomfortable feelings that always lead me to procrastinate. And if I have routines in place.

I like being a creature of habit and having routines; they keep me on track. I don’t mind if a chunk of my life is seemingly boring if it means I can keep part of it open for the more fun things. Like right now… I purposely keep a few weeknights of the week all to myself so I can relax, catch up life admin and do housework, boring as it may seem to my younger self who would’ve wanted to always be go-go-go.

Fortunately Australia has mild weather and even though summer will technically be over in a few days, we still have a few weeks to enjoy warmer, sunnier days:

  • Do more bushwalks. We were sidetracked with all the fires over Christmas. Fortunately they’re gone now, although the national parks may take some time to recover. We went to Lane Cove National Park the other weekend and the walking track was pretty much nonexistent. We ended up leaving shortly after. I hope it gets rehabilitated soon.
  • Go swimming more. It was my first time to go to an indoor swimming pool the other weekend and I was so happy, haha. I used to swim quite a lot but haven’t done here. How amazing it is that we have these public pools that are so well-maintained!
  • Have more barbecues on the balcony.

Actually… I think that’s it. Pretty much everything else I want to do, I can also do during the colder months, hehe.

And I’m not going to deny that I have said a few times, “I am so over this heat!!” I guess that’s the benefit of living in a country with four seasons — as soon as I get tired of one, the other one’s around the corner.

Save me from my phone

Soooo I got the Pixel 4 last year when it launched. This was a big thing for me… the last new phone I had was a Nexus 5X, which was the Google phone before Pixels existed — so around 5 years old.

My Nexus 5X would occasionally conk out and was really slow. I was also on a mobile plan which gave me something like 1.5GB a month. (Yes, that was more than enough for me.) The battery was also pretty bad — either I charged it during the day (e.g. at work) or made sure I barely used it just so I’d still have juice at night.

Anyway, I got my Pixel on a plan (they were doing great deals). So I now have a super fast phone and 60 GB a week. It is now super easy for me to say “I’m going to look up the closest dessert place” and pull out a list on Google maps. Or quickly do a Google search and look up a factoid during a discussion. Whereas I wouldn’t have done it before — my phone would be too slow, it would take up too much time, I was scrimping on my data, I was saving my battery.

So yeah. Now I’m trying to use my phone less again — but it’s hard. Especially when I’ve got this nice shiny new phone that actually runs apps and surfs the Internet really quickly. Waaaah.

P.S. However, I need to take more photos. Apparently my phone’s got a pretty decent camera, and I haven’t been making use of it. But strangely I don’t take a lot of photos anymore.

Happy New Decade!

And just like that, it’s already 2020.

I got a bit sentimental the other night thinking about what’s happened in the past decade… it’s been one with massive changes for me. Ten years ago, I had arrived back in Manila from my stint in the US. My job offer had fallen through, the company not having secured the anticipated funding because of the US recession.

I spent a few months languishing, feeling like a failure and worrying about where I was headed. It was in the middle of that year, that I boarded a flight to start a new chapter of my life in Australia.

Since then, I’ve earned two more degrees (haha), published two papers, spoken at a conference, worked at four companies, switched careers, bought my first property, traveled to new countries, became an auntie to one nephew and met S.

I’m typing this at the dining room table, staring out the backyard with jazz music playing in the background. Hipster much? The only thing marring the scene is that the view outside is tinted yellow, like someone’s applied a sepia filter on it.

Bushfires have been raging across my adoptive country. It’s never been this bad since I moved here. We’re lucky… the inconveniences have been minor – a cancelled holiday to Batemans Bay, not being able to do the outdoorsy things we intended, smokey air when we step outside. That’s nothing compared to people who have lost their homes or their lives.

S’anyway, here’s to a great 2020. Hoping for a great year ahead after a smokey and subdued start to the year…

A taste of Kiwiland

We went to New Zealand last Easter. It was both our first times – personally, it was one of those places that was just a bit too near for me to prioritise if I had time for a longer trip, but far away for me not to easily get to if I only had a few days (does that make sense?)

I knew I was going to be in for a great time as the flight was landing. The pilot told everyone to look out the window. “This is one of the most beautiful views you can ever get from a plane,” he said, as everyone craned their necks to get a view of snow-capped mountains.

I loved how New Zealand made me feel so small. It was just so majestic and grand and (relatively) untouched. We stopped at most of the lookouts. Unfortunately, none of the photos did the views justice.

We had a little less than two weeks and we decided to spend that entire time driving around the southern part of the South Island. We went to Wanaka, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Moeraki, Dunedin, Te Anau and Queenstown which amounted to over 1,000 kms. Despite being on the same island (granted, it was a large island) it was crazy how different each place looked.

Aoraki/Mt Cook. See how tiny the other tourists are!
Milford Sound from the cruise ship
Our last stop – Queenstown, cute and quaint

It was really inspiring to see how outdoorsy the locals were. We went on walks that were at most half a day long, but in each place, we’d encounter people going on multi-day hikes. And they didn’t seem particularly hardcore either – we ran into families with kids. Not saying what they were doing wasn’t impressive, but it made the trips seem accessible to us.

We ended the trip feeling that New Zealand was one of those places we’d definitely want to go back to. Now that we had a taster, we resolved to stay at certain places longer and savour them a bit more.

It’s nearly the end of 2019. Here’s hoping to more outdoorsy adventures in 2020!