Saturday, August 29, 2015

Five Days In

I have settled on a routine. Well, sort of.

Upon waking up (at around 5-6, to give myself enough time to prepare for work), I put water in the electric kettle (Made in China, but it's holding up really well)

Open the windows. Shiver

Depending on my mood (or level of laziness), I make coffee: instant 3-in-1 (Nescafe classic), mix-mix (I got matching jars for coffee, cream, and sugar), or brewed (I have to go to the market to get more grounds; what I have with me now is an already-opened pack of Monk's Brew I took from the kitchen when I went "shopping" (as my mom calls it, haha) at home

When it's not coffee, it's tea, and I am ever thrilled to use a glass teapot my bff Susa bought for me. I brought my whole stash: hojicha green tea from Japan, rhododendron tea from Nepal, fruit tea from China (but bought from LoyalTea), Ceylon tea from er, the UK (but was a gift to my mom), Charbrew's blueberry tea, CBTL's cherry blossom tea, and yes, even some herbal dietary tea for those erm, bloated days

I think of what to have for breakfast: cereals (what to do with leftover milk? I have no fridge--oh yeah, powdered milk), oatmeal, bread and cheese, omelette (thank goodness for oven toasters with a 'grill' at the top, and for another bff Dash who gave me the means to get it as a housewarming gift

I check my mobile everything, turn on my laptop, panic at the thought of making a mistake (sometimes yeah), and repeat to myself, "you're learning, you're learning"

Look out the window and determine weather. Have breakfast. Wash the dishes, brush teef

Work, get nervous about talking to Australian colleagues (I'm a better writer than a speaker), resume work, stare out window at birds

Wash the itty bitty things you cannot, or would rather not, have another person wash. Pray they dry within 2 days

Take a bath, pray the towel dries the next day

By midmorning, or noon, or a little after that, head out to a nearby carinderia (tourist price!) to buy my lunch and dinner. Choose from among the ten or so viands, ask for a half order and a cup of rice that costs an absurd Php15 for a total of Php50

Buy other stuff from the minimart a few meters away. Stuff like cheese and mayonnaise sachets, because I have no fridge

Upon getting back to my home|office, put half of the rice and viand in separate containers, and put the rest on a plate. Eat my lunch. Wash the dishes

Stretch and relax a bit, check my social networks

If work permits, run errands (buy something I need from the big store, pay bills) or walk around, because I'm here

Go back to work

Have a snack. And tea

Make a list of the stuff I need to do the following day

Reheat the food I bought earlier, maybe do something different with it (like add mayonnaise, or team it up with instant mushroom soup). Eat my dinner. Wash the dishes (I really like washing the dishes)

Read, study for work, do stuff for Urban Sketchers Philippines

Have hojicha or fruit tea. Brush teef, wash face, apply moisturizer

Close the windows

Prepare for bed: socks, sweater, fluffy blanket, bonnet (because cold hair). If necessary, set alarm (my body clock wakes me up at 6am no matter what time I went to bed; the alarm is only necessary when I need to wake up earlier)

Say a prayer of thanks

And look forward to a nice dream.

I've fixed things up a bit since I fully moved in, but here you go--my little space.
(I love everything about it, especially the natural light!)
sunny mornings
...and misty afternoons. This is the view when I look out my window to the right.
Things I have yet to do, things I am looking forward to doing this weekend:
  • Explore my neighborhood, establish possible running/jogging/walking routes
  • Sketch
  • Do some cardio
  • Go to market for fruit and coffee
  • Sunday siesta after church
  • Write for myself
Change is good, yes?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trip Sketches: Sta. Ana, Cagayan

A very late post about spending ten days in beautiful Sta. Ana in Cagayan at the northernmost tip of the Philippines.

I had been feeling restless and troubled close to the end of summer this year. I felt I needed a change of scenery, and so I was glad a friend invited me over to spend a couple of weeks at his family's vacation resort in faraway Sta. Ana, Cagayan. I needed a break, and figured since my job lets me work anywhere, I grabbed the opportunity. I spent ten days staring out to sea, playing with my friend's dogs, working on learning modules, walking and jogging by the beach (and picking up trash along the way), eating lots of fresh fish and veggies, swimming in an infinity pool, taking photos of ridiculously magnificent sunsets, and of course, sketching.

I sat across this boy's family in the bus during the trip up north. We got stuck in traffic near the border of Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, and, with my laptop, phone, tablet, and powerbank batteries all close to drained, I sketched instead. After getting off the bus in Tuguegarao, I took a van for the three-hour trip to Sta. Ana. Because of that traffic, I was on the road for 21 hours!

On my first morning there, I sat on the sea wall and observed the fishermen coming home. I found out that they fished mostly for 'espada' or beltfish.

The view of the sea. In between writing tasks I simply zone out look at the bright blue water.

The resort has two pools: an infinity pool and a kiddie pool. Guests were coming in the day I drew this, so the staff were busy preparing umbrellas and chairs for lounging in.

I tried to draw the usual mode of transport while waiting for mass. It's actually a motorcycle fitted with a body with two wheels behind it. It can fit around 6-8 passengers (I think).

The church where I attended mass. I had a blast trying to figure out perspective with this one.

The pool pump house and one of the boys cleaning the pool. I'm really trying hard to practice drawing people ;)

One of the beach cottages in the resort. It's fun just staying there and taking the breeze in. On the right, the resort's water tank and a few random sketches and brush marks.

We would sometimes see large vessels traveling across the water. My friend has a telescope, so one day he took it out and we observed the coming and going of boats and barges.

One day I borrowed his telescope and took a look at the fishing community again. I've never sketched using a telescope before, and I had fun!

For these sketches, I used pencils, colored pencils, a brush pen, and watercolors. I drew on a Derwent sketchbook that's not really meant to be used for wet media, but I don't mind. ;) There are days when I feel my sketching's awful, and there are days when I feel good about them. Oh well--practice makes better! 

That trip up north jump-started big changes, of which I'll tell you about in another post. ;) I'm really glad for the support of family, friends, and colleagues who understand my need to "go" and refresh, so thank you--you know who you are.