Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pieces from the Past

I do not know about your grade school but in mine we were asked to memorize several declamation pieces and recite them in class. I had my third grade in Saudi Arabia where declamation pieces were unheard of so what my mom did was to ask me to memorize a piece and recite it at home. Without an audience but my mom and my brother, I was made to recite a declamation piece over and over again. Fragments of this piece haunts me to this day....

"... and I danced and danced with my handsome Romeo"

Almost all pieces involved a dying parent or a dying self. I believe this is to force the kids to shed tears without contorting their faces to unimaginable proportions, crying and trying to remember the next line.

In the piece I memorized when I was in third grade, the mother died because she got a glass of water that the daughter refused to give her. The daughter went off to dance with her handsome Romeo. Upon getting home she then cries, "MOTHER!!!". Most declamation pieces will have this line.

Because of the gulf war, I had to go back to my previous school and declamation pieces were abound. Each student in my English class was forced to memorize a piece and recite in class. AFter a while, I had all pieces memorized by heart. While the other kids doing their chores at home sing, I recite declamation pieces, with feelings mind you. Perhaps because of so much practice, I got better and I was selected for the level eliminations. Perhaps due to so much practice, I got eliminated. I knew the pieces too well... I was speaking too fast. This is still my problem up to this very day. :)

The classic pieces way back are:

On Little Things

After visiting The Spa last Monday, my baby took me to Amici di Don Bosco, an Italian resto that sits beside Don Bosco Makati with the yummiest Italian food! Their gelato is also closest to the gelato I have tried in Italy and only for 45 Php per generous scoop! I loved the choco mint flavor! Another must try is their Italian sausage that is only 100 ++ Php and it comes with two sausages and a slice of baked potato! The sausage has to be eaten with pasta and I recommend the Pasta Bolognese! The Brazo de Mercedes was also a hit for my baby and me and for my sister who we bought a box for!

More than the good food, I also enjoyed the very nice servers and cashiers there!

Thanks baby for taking me to Amici finally!!! I have been hearing about this place from the people I work with! The visit is well-worth it! Yum!

I never got to finish my entries about Hungary mainly because I was so busy touring the place at night, that when I get home I am already poofed. I have uploaded all the pictures of my eight days in Hungary. I do not think I will find time to write stories about Hungary anymore. :) I will be going to Taipei this November 18 to 23 so that will be more backlog in my blogging. I think one day, perhaps during my Sabbatical leave I will write about my previous travels but not now. :)

Stand-up Comedy
My brother is an aspiring stand-up comedian who is just aspiring most of the time hehe... Today, he was given a slot for an open mic at the Cafe Agogo bar in Ortigas by none other than Tim Tayag. I hope everything goes well! I will be rooting for him of course! I can't wait for his performance!

Wedding Plans
Wedding plans have ceased. I do not think my fiance or myself are thinking about the wedding at all hehe... We are both very busy on so many other things. Sometimes, I worry about the lack of enthusiasm on both ends. I wonder if it is lack of enthusiasm or lack of budget that's causing it and if I should be alarmed. I don't know if this is a bad sign or if I am, as always, being paranoid. Oh well... We'll see where things take us. Though for the past few months, we are actually happy as a couple, for most parts, we do not discuss wedding details.

I think we are just happy that we have booked most of the suppliers. Maybe I am just running out of things to worry about and so the next target is our emotional welfare and the wedding. Haha...

This is why I always need my hands full with things to work on. I have tons of things to do. Must shift my focus.

I still do not have a gown! Arg! Wonder when I can visit New Yorker. Maybe after the long holiday. I like Ysabelle's design but I still want to check New Yorker too. They say their gowns are nice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cisco Fiasco

Well... almost.

Finally, it is over! Two semesters in two weeks straight. I do not even want to count how many exams there were. I still have one left. The certification.

I am not so sure if I still want to take it after all the pain that the last few semesters have caused me.

I enjoy teaching Cisco. Without a doubt I do. I just hate it that the instructors training has to be one sem per week and the passing mark has to be higher. It was absolutely stressful. I had fun but for most parts, it was just stressful.

After the training, I am taking a bit time off by relaxing.

I was able to visit The Spa last Monday thanks to the GC my baby gave me for my birthday. I really saved it for the most stressful time. Whew!

Thanks, to the long weekend, I think I can begin working on my dissertation proposal and check some backlog papers. Wonder if my mom would want to head to Tagaytay some time during the long break. My brother seems to be busy with work so that might be out of the question.

I will be going to Taipei again from November 18 to 23 to attend a conference and a kick off meeting for a project. It's pretty exciting to be heading back. I hope to find the cherry earrings that I loved and lost in the Tower of London. *sigh* Now if I can remember where the stall was.

The last time I was there, most of the places were very expensive, hopefully I can have enough time to go to the cheaper place. It's supposed to be an hour from Taipei. We will be leaving afternoon of Sunday so I do not know if I will have time to go to the bargain place.

While I was slaving away and finishing my Cisco sems, my baby was off winning photo contests! Well a photo contest. He won the Grand Prize!!! Congratulations to my baby!!!

This is all I feel like writing for now. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Budapest Day 2 and 3

It is now my third day here in Budapest. I failed to write last night because I was just too tired to blog and I would much rather write my baby a long email. Tonight I can write because I went home right away. The conference ended at 7:30pm today so there was barely time to go back to the city and to wander around. So instead of winging it, I decided to give my nerves a break and not risk getting left behind by the bus.

Yesterday, the conference ended at 5:30pm, so together with my Malaysian and Indonesian friend we went off to find Vaci Utca the shopping street. Utca means street in Hungarian. We found it after getting a bit lost, the map is extremely hard to read at night because the letters are too small... I can't complain because these are just the free maps. I don't like buying maps. This makes me a bit guilty because I do not think foreigners get free maps at all. I can just imagine what nightmare they go through to understand our crazy public transportation.

Anyway, after a while, we were able to find our way. By the time we got to Vaci Utca most of the shops were closed. Fortunately though, there was still some arts and crafts store open and my friends got to buy souvenir stuff. I just found out today that there is a flea market here but it's only open until 4pm so I do not think visiting it is a possibility. I would rather take the chairlift ride! I wonder where the bus stop is though. I know I am to ride the bus 158 from Moskva Ter, Ter means terminal. It's like their Quiapo here. Or at least I think. It's my sanctuary hehe... I know I can find my way back to the hotel if I am able to find my way to Mozkva Ter. The only bus that passes by my hotel is No. 22 and its terminal is in Moskva Ter. Also, the Metro is there so it's easy to get around from there. :)

I had to learn all these last Sunday but then again, I had all the time last Sunday. Plenty of daylight.

Tomorrow, the conference should end at 5:30 pm but we will have a Danube Cruise dinner courtesy of the organizers so I won't be able to wander off and explore the city on my own. I am delighted though because last Sunday I was thinking how nice it would be to ride the cruise. Their cruise here is not like the catamarans on the Thames in London or on Seinne in Paris, it's really romantic. Now if only my baby were with me. There will be a folk music band on board and I am hoping the food will be great.

Their food here is pretty meaty. Though there are sliced sausages everywhere. I am yet to see the Hungarian Sausage that we have in the Philippines. It seems all their sausages are sliced and nothing tastes like the Hungarian Sausage that I know of. If any thing, Bratwurst of Amsterdam tastes more like the Philippine Hungarian Sausage hehe... I have not given up hope, I am still hoping of finding it.

On Friday, I should be able to go to the chairlift because we get off at 12:30 hopefully, earlier than that because the chairlifts close at 5:00pm. I am kind of hoping too that it would not take so long so I can still go and try to find the flea market. I wonder what time Castle Hill closes too... I was meaning to go back again and check out some things.

I don't think I will bother to see the Opera House here since I have seen the Royal Opera Garnier in Paris already. Besides, it's not that fun without my siblings to explore it with... Haha the last time we were there... we scared the hell out of my sister! It would just make me sad if I went there, it will make me miss them more.

By the way, the pictures are in my multiply site.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Budapest Day 1 - B

It is now Sept 30. I am writing this on my notepad because I do not have Internet access in my hotel. This morning I said that I will be transferred to another room. The room is smaller but it has a loft that i will not use because I am alone. There is also a bathroom and satellite TV with Hungarian shows. There's Hungarian Discovery, Hungarian HBO, Hungarian ANIMAX, Hungarian National Geographic. I appreciate it still because now, there is no more deafening silence.

I have spent the day going around. Since I am in a far away place called Budakeszi (outskirts of Budapest), I took a bus 22 to Mozka Ter. Of course I was clueless. I had no idea where I wanted to go or where I wanted to get off the bus. The final stop was Mozka Ter so I got off there.

I rode the bus without a ticket because there was no place where I could buy tickets from our hotel.

It was good that there was no inspector that time. You can get on and off the bus and not have to show your ticket to the driver, instead you validate the ticket. There is a concept of two-month, 1 week, 1-day ticket as in London and in other European countries. However, an inspector in civilian clothes can inspect randomly. The inspector shows identification after he/she catches you.

They really implement this because just this afternoon at the tram, a family was caught. I do not know what happens after but they were tourists so they should have been spared.

Their tickets here are confusing compared to other countries. For the train for example, you have a maximum of three stops of the same line, otherwise, you have to buy another ticket. There is another kind where you just have one stop. For someone like me who is still unfamiliar with all the stops, and does not know exactly where she wants to go, it's difficult so I got the 1-week ticket that can be used on all transportations. It's cheaper too than if I have to buy a book of ten tickets... I need to make ten trips to the conference venue, plus all my other escapades. Today alone, I rode the publis transpo at least ten times, Metro, tram and bus.

It was not very difficult to get around because I have a map. It's the hardest to read compared to the other countries I have been to but I was able to manage because the layout of public transpo here is I think alright. They only have three lines for the Metro here, which is too bad because I am a big fan of the subway hehe... Now I am forced to take the tram and the buses... Guess they're not so bad either.

I was thinking since last night how I will hear mass here. The first place I chanced upon was a church! I was able to hear mass! It was great! It was in Hungarian but I was still able to participate because I have all the parts memorized. Maybe that is why the mass is so formulaic... because Catholic means universal. At first I was a bit in doubt because I could not find a cross outside but seeing the interior of the church, I was sure already. The most beautiful church I have seen here so far is the St. Stephen Church.

I got ripped of by the funicular which goes up to the Royal Palace, Museum of Military stuff and Museum of Fine Arts! I was already in the area when I went to visit Mattias Templon ( a church)! I was so out of breath this morning because I hiked and climbed the hill to the Templon. Finding out later on, that there is actually a bus that goes up there from Mozka Ter, Bus number 10! I should have taken the funicular going up and I should have just saved the money I paid them to
go down... That was 600 forint too!

The people here, as in Paris, tend to kiss anywhere too. Except that I find Budapest more romantic. Really. It's not squeaky clean here, but it's not exactly super dirty here as well. In fact, in so many ways, this place is cleaner than Paris. It smells better too! I also love the people here, I swear they are always smiling! Even the babies like to play with and smile at me. I would normally initiate the peek-a-boo with kids. This morning, a baby in her stroller, started playing with me! :) She was soh cute!

Even the elders are nice! I still love the Philippines but Hungary is also a beautiful place. Maybe it has something to do with their difficult past as well. It made them humble. I think it also helps them find happiness in simple things. Like a concert in a park.

I wanted to stay late and watch the concert in the park but I could not wait 'til eleven before coming home because I might miss my stop. It is so dark in where I stop so it would be difficult if I get lost and there are no more buses available.

Today, I felt the hands of God shoo me in the right directions. He led me to the church so I can hear mass. He sent someone tonight to tell me where to get off. I was not even asking. Thank you Father because you are looking after me. I feel Your love.

To those praying for my safety, thank you very much!

To my baby, I miss you soh much! I wish you were here with me! You will go crazy taking pictures! Let's go to Budapest someday!

I love you!

Budapest Day 1 - A

I am off to explore Budapest. I only have maps with me so I do hope things go well and my feet take me to interesting places with the help of the Lord.

I got a good night's sleep save for the cramps that I got in my left and right legs.

The hotel room is not that bad, at least I get my own toilet and bath for the first night. There has been a mix-up and the room I got tonight is not the room that I booked. Question is, is this the better room? I am supposed to have a TV so I am hoping this is not the best I can have here.

I have to go now, lest I might miss a lot. :)