new neighbor, more Ziploc

A new neighbor is building a house nearby hence us neighbors got in our mailboxes some sort of construction schedule from the (we suppose) builders of the house – Asahi Kasei.

The owner’s name and exact address of the house was indicated on the flyer. Construction milestones for the next few months were also shown in that I can just imagine the excitement the owner-family has with even just looking at this milestone forecast. And really, Japanese houses get finished in no time at all; only six months based on this plan. Six months of building built-for-earthquake, built-for-winter house. Amazing, especially if you compare it to how fast, or rather how slow, houses are built in Pinas. Mind you though, these houses doesn’t come cheap. Around our area, you need around 60million yen for your house. And that’s just the house. It’s sans interior stuff pa.

Anyways, true to the considerate nature of the Japanese, included in this pamphlet is a notice that should we have questions or complaints as they build in the area, we shouldn’t hesitate to contact Asahi Kasei.

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It came with a packet of ziploc which I am happy to get for free.

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This is actually our second time to receive this; the first being a couple of days just before we flew to Europe. The packet arrived just in time. They proved really helpful as keepers for toiletries that might later get wet and messy.

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Hopefully though, someday, our surname would be in that flyer.

welcome to Vienna!

It is said that you’d be welcomed by the smell of the country you’re visiting the moment you got off the plane. I certainly loved Vienna’s welcoming smell when we got off the plane – it’s that of a good smelling soap. This smell lingered the whole time we stayed in Vienna making Vienna my favorite city among the cities we’ve been to in this trip.

Welcome, travelers!

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The site of a fellow’s advertisement was a welcome for us indeed.

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The luggage carts need euro coins though for them to be usable.

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Vienna’s airport was better than Rome’s albeit it was just simple enough.

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As is the case with most airports, Vienna’s airport is a bit far from the city center. There are a number of ways to get to the city center but we opted to take the City Air Terminal train as it’s the fastest and reasonably priced way; you’re in the city center already in just 16 minutes or so.

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The sight we’ve passed by reminded us of work.

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And like how it was in Italy, there were also quite a lot of graffiti welcoming us.

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Once we got into the city center, we had to transfer to another train (the s-bahn) to get to the station that’s only walking distance from our hotel. as we were transferring to s-bahn, we saw this movie poster of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

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Atsushi purchasing train tickets. One thing amazing with Vienna’s public transportation. It runs on honesty system. There were no station gates checking if you’ve purchased a ticket with the right amount nor were there police waiting in the stations to catch dishonest passengers. No checks whatsoever at all in trains, trams and buses.

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After the complexity of Tokyo’s train system, Vienna’s train system was no sweat at all.

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This hotel’s backyard confronted us when we got off (the wrong side) of our station.

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It looks pretty normal. But the backyard is actually full of nude people sunbathing.

Anyway, we didn’t go to Vienna for the nudists. We went to Vienna for this!

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And you bet we’re excited!

flying Emirates

It’s our first time to fly Emirates and indeed it was a good experience.

Their good entertainment selection (with a hundred movies or so, alone) tested my EQ – I had to get as much sleep as I can so I can be ready for our hectic-scheduled sightseeing.

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Thankfully though, they had their aircraft done in such a way that it’s very conducive for sleeping. Can’t identify a constellation at all though.

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The long-haul flight I had before was with Cathay Pacific economy and our “amenities” were given in a cheap-looking pouch with toothbrush that has threads which can be stuck in between your teeth. No eye mask at all. Albeit Hubs’ long-haul flights with Cathay Pacific had him bringing home Agnes B. cosmetic pouch (sosyal! Business class kasi). For Emirates’ economy though, I’m fully satisfied with the quality of what they gave us.

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The pouch came in very handy. We used it as our coin purse during our trip – one for euro and the other for czech crowns.

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Our travel agent informed the airline they have honeymooners on board hence we were given a cake and a memorabilia with our onboard photo in it. Nice!

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Sadly though, we weren’t able to eat our cake. We are truly thankful with this thoughtfulness especially the photo. But a word of advice to Emirates: maybe it’s best to give the honeymooners some travel sets or even the plush toys you give around to the kids on board (I sooo wanted one!) rather than cakes. Our cake was given to us around a couple of hours before touchdown, with a 14-hour flight, and after a full meal at that so naturally, we weren’t able to eat it on board. We carted it around with us but we were still due to fly to Vienna and right after arrival, we headed out for the Opera hence the cake was left untouched until we had to throw it away. Mottainai, sayang.

Speaking of meals though, meals on board The Emirates were among the most tasteful we’ve had among the flight meals we’ve had.

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Atsushi, fully refreshed after a 14-hour flight and sleep.

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The honeymooners, about to disembark.

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Because we’re flying Emirates, of course we had to have a stopover in the airlines’ home country. Dubai’s Terminal 3 is one big looong hallway with futuristic design and palm trees that’s reminiscent of the desert. It was quite impressive albeit since the design is like that of a hallway and not circular as it is in Hongkong International Airport (which both Hubs and I consider as our favorite airport so far), it can be quite crowded in some areas, with some jostling besides.

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We had coffee at Paul’s where almost all crew members were Filipinos.

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We had to wait for 5 hours for our next flight to Vienna hence it was good chance for us to try as well the local delicacy. Had whole wheat squagel. It tasted really healthy and good albeit it would have had tasted better had it had a bit more salt.

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Time to board the plane for Vienna! πŸ™‚

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Experiencing mass in Vienna’s St. Augustine Church

Everything in Vienna is just beautiful and good. Beautiful place. Beautiful people (inside and out – will tell stories about it later). Good food. Really good smell. Beautiful music – even the clanging of the bells of neighboring churches (St Stephen’s Cathedral, St. Augustine Church, St. Michael Church) is like music, they were all in symphony. And every Sunday mass can be like a concert; which it really is in St. Augustine Church’s 11am Sunday mass.

We wanted to experience mass with the Vienna Boys’ Choir singing the hymns. But we need two months advance booking for it and the ticket is at ~€30 which i find weird, paying a fee to attend mass. We already had our reservation at Vienna State Opera House hence we were having second thoughts on buying another ticket for the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Thankfully though, good ol’ Rick Steves mentioned in his book that the St. Augustine Church holds concert masses, for free! Since we’ve limited time, we can only attend one mass. And albeit I wanted to hear how good the Vienna Boys’ Choir really is, we opted for the free concert mass in St. Augustine instead teehee. And indeed we weren’t disappointed. It was good time again for Atsushi to catch up with his jetlag though haha.

Located on Josefsplatz, next to the Hofburg Palace, the church is a simpler gothic version compared to Stephansdom. It’s still majestic though what with chandeliers hanging from it’s Gothic ceiling.

Will add pictures in this post later. For now, here are snippets of the concert mass. Pardon for the bad angles though. It’s not really forbidden to record the whole mass but then this is still a Holy Mass with all the proper rituals hence it was a bit embarrassing to record overtly. I had to do it covertly, hence the bad angles :p.

Hang in Vienna

Hang, a UFO-looking musical instrument created by PANart in Switzerland, adding to Vienna’s good music. The music is so good it is bordering on hypnotic.

Rick Steves

Rick Steves has been such a big help 2 years back when Kat and I went to Italy. Now, he’s our travel companion again.

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Eye-fi

Ever thought of wanting your camera to instantly share your pictures on the web? And I don’t mean through your phone camera/iPhone/iPad. I mean with your digital cameras or probably your SLRs. Like this point and shoot Canon G12.

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Segue. Oh yes, finally we have a decent camera. Yey! I originally wanted the pretty white Olympus PEN E-P3 but Hubs and I are really not photography enthusiasts and it’d take us more time to take full advantage of this camera’s feature. And both Hubs and I really don’t want to bring a heavy camera with us as we travel. Hence, I followed the advice of my photography enthusiast friend, Russell, and bought a compact point and shoot with excellent quality – Canon G-12.

I love it’s case! Although it would have been perfect had it been white (I just have this penchant on having white for any techie related stuff).

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Ok I digressed enough. Back to eye-fi.
Yep, with the Eye-fi SD card, you can have the convenience to upload your photo from your camera to your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, android) and post it immediately in Facebook, Picasa, Kodakgallery, Evernote, und so weiter. Sans the cables. Sans removing your SD from your camera.

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Perfect when you’re on the go. Swell isn’t it? πŸ™‚

Of course, we had to try a photo to post here. Photo got synched with our computer a second after the shot was taken. Hubs also synched it with the Dropbox cloud hence all photos will be automatically saved and organized even when you’re still busy clicking away.

There’s also an iPhone/iPad app wherein you can automatically synched your photo even sans wifi router or wife hotspot. But so far I’m not successful with it yet. Tomorrow I’ll figure it out.

Oh yeah, here you go. Uploaded! A second after.

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My translation in TED is out!

So happy and giddy! My first TED translation is finally out!!!

Flashback about a year ago.
I was somewhere in Quezon City doing errands for the wedding. I was wondering why in that day alone, I came along a lot of proof on how the English language is so dominant in our country and how the Filipino language comes in second.

I was inside the train and the announcement I hear was in pure English, no announcement in Filipino at all even after the English one. Segue: it’s really nice to know that when I took the train again early this year, again for the preps, they had the announcements already in Filipino. I’m at peace.

When I got out the train (flashback again), the announcement on the platform is again in English. I looked around me and all I can see are Filipinos. Nary a foreigner around. But why in English?

And then I signed contracts with suppliers, again, it was in English.

For a few days I think I complained about it with my friends so much so that my friends teased me on how nationalistic i am.

Then I came across an article about top websites for the year and TED was among it and among the highlighted talks in the feature about TED was one of my favorite TED talks – Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity. Of course seeing the talk mentioned made me look up the talk again. I saw the talk when it didn’t have any subtitles yet. But when I visited then, the talk had already 42 translations!! But no Filipino translations on it. Now, did I mention how passionate I was about promoting Pilipino days prior to this discovery? Hehe.

So yes, the inevitable happened. I applied as translator.

Two things.

I was VERY busy at that time what with wedding preps just getting started and that I was due to fly to Japan in a week or so for our civil wedding and the paperworks is almost like a nightmare.
But I had LOTS of extra energy as well. I was feverish about almost everything. So much adrenaline was rushing inside me I had to have some outlet. And the adrenaline includes the worries I have for our wedding and migration paperworks. Ergo, I have to have an outlet.

Second. Being a translator is not as easy as just picking out the video you want to translate and voila, it’d be out in public already. No siree. Upon application and upon signing on in dot subs, TED will send you a questionnaire which poses as an interview of sorts to gauge if you are really determined with the task at hand and if you are capable to do so. It took a week before I got the affirmative reply. Yes, needless to say, I was in tenterhooks while waiting for the result. But I passed, yey!

But. I need to finish the translation in a month. Gulp. I haven’t written a full article in Filipino since university, some 10 years ago. And I was really busy. Buy I really want to prove my mettle with my national language and I want Filipino to be in the roster of subtitles for this amazing talk. Hence, I pursued.

I finished it a day before the deadline. O LE! But in order for the translation to be published, somebody else has to review it. It’s like the deliverables we have in the office – somebody prepares it, another reviews it (although in TED the reviewer need not be older in experience than you, as compared to how it is in the office) and finally TED approves it. It took a year for someone to have the time to review it. Thankful still.

And so here now is the talk. Please don’t forget to select the Pilipino subtitle! πŸ™‚

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Supplier review: Flowers of May

We already had Vatel Manila for my bridal bouquet and entourage flowers. But we still need a florist to prettify Caleruega some more.

I inquired on some other florists but, creative as they are, we just can’t afford them anymore as we’ve already splurged in a lot of stuff and we were already running out of budget.

Then I came across Flowers of May.

Liza was really nice to talk to. The packages they offer doesn’t include the red carpet but she agreed with my request to include it in our package in exchange for the flower arch at the entrance. She also was very nice in accepting my very risky requirement: to use only certain kinds of flowers that I’ve chosen for their symbology and that if she’s gonna use one that isn’t on my list, to check if it has a good meaning. This requirement is VERY RISKY as I run the danger of limiting the creativity of the florist as well as not having certain beautiful flowers on our wedding because of their not so nice symbology. But good vibes is what I really want hence with every difficult request to our florists, I also pray that they receive it positively and without much complaint. And Liza certainly didn’t complain.

What also made the deal just perfect was that the quotation Liza gave me was just right within the total cost we had budgeted for our flowers, for both entourage and Church. With Liza being very accommodating, I followed my instincts. We had Flowers of May for our wedding.

And certainly, I wasn’t disappointed.

I was nice to see these gerberas as I walked down the aisle.

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Happy colors!

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The altar was so abundant with flowers, our sponsor candles seemed like they were set in a garden.

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Thank you so much Liza!! πŸ™‚

Supplier: Flowers of May
Rating: 5/5
Contact info: +639189369438, +639189366750, liza_n_legaspi@yahoo.com

All photos by Dino Lara; purely unedited save for the text to show our wedsite.

autumn fashion – kids edition

I’m a married woman. But I still have the penchant to shop around in the kids section – for my clothing needs. T_T
If truth be told, the boots I’m using now is actually for kids.

But who can blame me? Kids clothing are just so cute! And recently, young girls’ dresses somehow seem to have that mature edge already.

Take for one this mannequin of a girl in Zara in front of the office.

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Mid-thigh high boots. Knee-length socks. Dress just right above the knee. Coat just long enough to show the dress. Coat opened to show the muffler that’s wrapped around the neck in a fashionable way.

Can pass for an adult fashion, right? Right? Right. Hehe. Now off to look for knee-high socks. πŸ™‚

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