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In Retrospect: First year in Deustchland

In Retrospect: First year in Deustchland

Is it a year already? No way. Wow. Really? It doesn’t feel like it, but I better believe it. I don’t know if I can look back without feeling a little bit emotional over the past year. Leaving my family in the Philippines to start a family of my own, finding my bearings again, and entering a new phase in my life, which I had been looking forward to for quite a long time until it finally happened. Although I never doubted if I was in the right place, at times it gets overwhelming trying to take all the heightened emotions at once and processing my reality now. Continue reading →

Posted by Sarah in Life Abroad, Musings, 4 comments
The Secrets to Enjoying Your Own Destination Wedding

The Secrets to Enjoying Your Own Destination Wedding

…and not once, ever, have that I-wish-I-did-that-at-my-wedding moment.

Just before my alarm went off at six in the morning, on this exact same day last year, I woke up to the sound of roaring thunder, strong winds and torrential rain relentlessly beating against the glass sliding door. My eyes began to well up with tears to the realization that it’s actually going to be my first day of war…with fate. Hence, the term “D day”, right? I couldn’t believe that my wedding day was starting out to be a total nightmare. I locked myself in the bathroom and wept.

Let go of perfectionism and everything else beyond your control

That’s what I told myself. I’ve decided that the sooner I accept that some things will go wrong and some things will not be as I imagine, the happier and more relaxed I’d be. So I stepped out, determined not to be defeated when the warmth of the sun greeted me with the sweetest “Good morning, sunshine!” Oh, how I love these jokes life throw at me. I could almost hear the chuckles angels make. But it taught me the first and most important thing – ACCEPTANCE.

But don’t worry; I was in control at least I until my phone battery ran out. From that moment on, my family, friends and wedding coordinators take charge and simply hoped everyone knew more or less what they were supposed to do according to my instructions and follow timings. Nope, it got all messed up for God knows what reason. Again, I apologize to everyone, especially to my brother and Mom who played my damage control team and got the burden off of me.

Let everyone know what to expect

Provide your guests with all the necessary information or details about the event – program timeline and event flow. In this way, if they do not show up at the time they’re scheduled to be picked up, for example, they will have to arrange their own transport or simply wait for the next trip at the risk of getting to the venue later. It’s just a simple guide for your guests so that they can anticipate what’s coming and not wonder what’s going to happen next. Having been a guest in so many weddings, I always, always, wonder when I can finally head to the buffet, grab a drink or show off my nonexistent dancing moves.

E-A-T, eat, EAT!

I can’t stress this enough. A full tummy kept me from turning into a Bridezilla, I’m positive! I ran out to the resort restaurant to have a “quick” buffet lunch with my then-fiance in the middle of my hair and makeup session with my half-done face paint and hair up in Velcro rollers. I felt eyes on me, but I couldn’t care less. Before leaving for the church, I gobbled up something from the mini bar and downed a glass of wine, uhm, just ‘cause. However, if you had to go on a diet for months for your wedding day to achieve your current figure, do NOT charge the buffet just yet and drink soda before you slip into your gown. Eat the right food – just make sure your tummy don’t grumble loudly and don’t go famished to the point of collapsing! Remember, after the ceremony, you STILL won’t get to have a bite right away. So what I’m saying is, fuel up with something at least.

Break some rules and make your own

Two things that make weddings complicated: 1) Being a Filipino 2) Having a huuuuge family. Although we typically do not do age-old traditional wedding rituals anymore and weddings don’t last for two days or so, Filipinos often expect you to have a grand affair with hundreds of guests. And we just couldn’t have that. It was hard to choose and say no, but we really wanted it to be as intimate as possible; carefully picking representatives for our groups of friends and relatives to have enough time to interact with all of them. Would you believe that even at under a hundred, we still failed to catch up with everyone?

Then to the style and color of the gown. Yeah, what about it? Does it really have to be white? I thought my parents would scold me when I picked an off-white “gown” (it’s a long dress, to be honest) with sand colored lining. I dreaded the thought of fitting into a heavily sequined, all-white wedding gown, clamoring for help each time I’d have to go peepee. Wear whatever you want and what you’re most comfortable in!

We didn’t impose any strict rules on the attire either since it was a destination beach wedding and everyone should just be wearing flipflops. No formalities followed our wedding ceremony; everyone could just let loose and be themselves. At the weddings I’ve attended in the past, I never actually paid attention to the program and activities, so I thought maybe we could just all go straight to dancing to live music and hangout by the beach after the speeches. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. You’re only planning your own wedding once. Well,hopefully!

Set the vibe

It always seem that when the bride and groom are chill, the rest just follows suit. Setting a calm, relaxing scene allows people to just lay back and enjoy. You’re doing fine. Forget about the mishaps of the day, nobody noticed anything. You’re celebrating with your family and friends, people that you know almost all your life. Imagine yourself being with them in a normal setting, at a bar or even at a party you host at home. Put up a good show by being the craziest! Point is, let yourselves and loved ones around you relax and just have fun. They came to see you and party with you, so don’t be the most boring person in the room no matter how tired you are. Don’t leave for the “honeymoon” right after the reception – pleaaase, stay a while longer. You still have to put your drunken friends in a van, keep them from driving a buggy up a hill or not. Try not to miss out too much.

And although the number one secret is a no-brainer, it still has to be mentioned because it’s the ONLY thing you really need to know:

MARRY THE PERSON YOU WILL SAY YES TO A MILLION TIMES OVER.

Enough said.

Posted by Sarah in Destination Wedding, This Married Life, 0 comments
Combat Your Post-Holiday Blues Right Now

Combat Your Post-Holiday Blues Right Now

If only it was as easy to do as it’s easy to say, huh? You’re right; it’s tough. Just last week, a blast of 40-degree temperature drop as I stepped out of the plane was a complete shock to my brain that’s still dreaming of palm trees and salty sea breeze. Unfortunately, up until today, I still can’t bounce back to my (supposedly newly improved) daily routine yet! I blame my uncooperative body which decided to catch a cold. I would have snapped out of this post-holiday blues a lot sooner! Now I should really make more effort to zap it and not spend another day letting it suck all my energy out. So if you’re experiencing it, too and don’t know what to do about it – let’s go get rid of it together!

How to Combat Your Travel Blues - Feeling nostalgic and down after getting back home from a trip? All itchy feet experience that at some point! So if you're wondering how you can get back to your routine again and get back into your bright, sunny disposition - check out these tried and tested tips!

Post-travel depression (PTD) stirs up very real feelings of nostalgia after an amazing trip and makes it a real struggle to embrace the reality or the banality of everyday life. This kind of “mood” affects a lot more than just people like myself who openly admit to going through it every once in a while – if not every time they come back from a trip. But don’t worry, for most people, this feeling just simply wanes off in a few days or weeks. Now before it goes on for a month, listen up: you can pull yourself through! Check out my tried and tested tactics:

Get some Z’s

sleeping in airports

On your way back home, try to get as much sleep as you can! Sleep deprived travelers do not only catch colds easily, but they have a harder time beating jet lag when they reach their destination. If you can’t sleep on the plane for any reason, DO NOT resort to downing all alcoholic inflight drinks unless you want to deal with a hangover on top of it all. Instead, opt for a calming tea – such as chamomile or lavender tea – turn off the TV screen, request for an eyemask and earplug, and breathe deeply until you’re out.  Also, politely ask the flight attendant to let you doze off and just leave the food on your tray table once the food service starts.

Whatever that can help you fall asleep, have and bring it with you – yes, even if it’s your security blanket! I assure you, no one will mind. Similarly once you’re back in your own abode, you need to sleep around the same time you’d normally tuck yourself in bed to reset your circadian clock and beat jet lag.

Get busy

trip planning

As you try to cope with your jet lag, get busy with things to look forward to – like visiting your family and friends to tell them about your vacation, trying out a new activity to trick your mind you’re not going back to the same lifestyle, and my personal favorite, start planning for another trip! This has always worked for me without fail. I get myself psyched up for future dream vacays lined up – even if it’s all just up in the air and you can’t book anything yet because your bank account is currently depleted. If you have a pile of work waiting for you at the office enough to keep you busy, it won’t feel like a punishment once you’ve acknowledged that you need that job to fund your travels. Always look at the bright side!

Get moving

rope training exercise

Get off the couch and break a sweat cleaning the house, busting a dance move, going for a brisk walk/run, or doing any quick bursts of exercise throughout the day to get endorphins running through your body to improve your overall mood and make you feel energized. I’m quite bad at this especially during winter time when there are days when all I want is to curl up in bed bundled up with snug flannel blankets, but that’s about to change! Right, so.. I’m going to end this here, get up and move! And so should you!

Do you have any more advice on how do you shun away post-holiday blues in a snap? I’d love to know a few more tricks!

Posted by Sarah in Musings, 21 comments
My 2016 Highlights

My 2016 Highlights

In just a few more hours, fireworks will go off, confetti will swirl around and cheers will resound across the globe as 2016 takes a back seat and give way to 2017. Unlike some people I know who can’t wait for the start of the New Year, all I want is to slow down today and look back on all the wonderful things that happened to me this year. Most of the time, we complain that life is not fair – but sometimes it is and sometimes, it is what we make out of it. Here are some of my year’s highlights:

 

I got hitched

a-s-full-252

It was the second time, to the same man. We never really planned to hold two weddings because you know how planning just one can make you lose your mind, but we eventually did. We’re crazy like that. One was under a tacky grape vine arch in a marriage bureau and another, which was more important, under a mind-blowing Catholic church in a little island paradise. After seven long years, we’ve finally made the promise in front of God and all our loved ones. I wish you could have seen how happy we were on that beautiful day – yes, despite all the stress!

The “Yes” that was totally worth giving 🙂 #imarriedmrright

A photo posted by Sarj | #WanderAllYouCan (@pixated) on

Enjoyed the longest summer vacation

While waiting for our marriage documents to come out and for my visa to be processed, I spent my time attending weddings, traveling to the better-than-none Philippine beaches I know I will sorely miss, and hanging out with family and friends. So even if this period (April to August) felt like the longest time – because of course, being newlywed and apart from your significant other is just awful – it didn’t feel too bad at all. I was surrounded with my favorite people all the time, enjoying a summer that seemed to last forever.

Embarked on the big move

plane to frankfurt

I finally got my visa for Germany! I was off to a new start! But at the airport, I had the most bittersweet moment when I kissed my folks goodbye and loaded my luggage on the trolley. It’s not like it’s my first time to move overseas, but this is the farthest (so far) that I’ll ever be from them. I can’t just impulsively book a flight and visit them for a weekend like I used to do. They know I won’t be coming home that often anymore since I need some time to settle and adjust to my new life as part of the married society. You know in our culture, families tend to be really close like ours that is why I always leave with a heavy, aching heart. It wasn’t easy to hug them tight and slowly let go. I’ll do my best to come and visit though at least once a year!

family and friends

Revived my knack for blogging

I didn’t really have a blog launch; I just started writing again after a considerably extensive period of dormancy. At the moment, I’m not aiming to have a blogging career, I just want to practice writing again with topics I love talking about anyway and help people get the right information they need for their travels or in their life. With everything else I do on the side, I only wish I could blog fulltime and eventually earn from it! Haha! But I really hope I can keep this up and going!

Arrived at my new home

I was welcomed with lots of love and kisses! Totally overjoyed! Now, we can start our life together – at long last! You can just imagine the feeling after that excruciating wait for this day to come! I still have a long list of to-do list that’s constantly being updated to “fully integrate” myself into my adopted country. Day by day, I’m just learning more and more about this place and loving it as my own. So far, I guess I’ve been doing just fine trying to blend in but next year I will STOP waiting on others to be able to move forward with something and just start do my/our own thing.

And since I got here, I’ve checked another country on my list and conquered a few new unbelievably gorgeous cities around! I went to my first ever Christmas market and didn’t stop after just one. You know how I roll, don’t you? Get me off that glühwein.

Now I’m ending the year thinking of all the good that happened and listing down projects to launch and things I can do better for others and for myself in 2017! I simply recycle my resolutions after crossing out what I have already accomplished or if there was a change in priority, carry it over the next year add more stuff to it. In fact, I don’t write my resolutions at the start of the year, I constantly update it throughout the year. That way, I stay proactive and create an opportunity to change and improve any time I want.

Every year, I tell myself not to wait if I can do it now.

What are the things you were most proud of this year? Is there one thing you wish could have gone differently for you? Have you made any new year’s resolution yet?

Posted by Sarah in Musings, 3 comments