All The Difference

When I first became a mom, I found myself often mourning the loss of my old self, of my old freedoms. I guess it’s quite common — unless you have an extra pair of hands to watch over your kid, you’ll find yourself saying goodbye to impromptu trips to the mall, sports events, the gym, anywhere where it may be overwhelming to try to do your own thing but at the same time, give your full attention to a small child.

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It’s in the Bag

Back in my previous life as an oft-solo backpacker, I almost had packing down to a precise ritual. A typical packing list for a weekend getaway would look like this:

  • At least 1 pair of denim shorts
  • 2 tank tops
  • A dress, if space permits
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Kindle (or a compact book)
  • My handy-dandy wrist wallet
  • Passport
  • A shoelace (just in case I need to tie anything)
  • A pair of flip-flops
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • Underwear
  • 2 pairs of swimsuits (the bikini tops are to be used as bras)
  • Deodorant and travel-size bottle of shampoo (to be also used as body wash)
  • Very light shawl (to double up as the flight blanket)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Small accessories (earrings, necklaces, or bracelets)

And that was it. Everything would fit in my impossibly narrow but somehow spacious carry-on backpack. My mantra was to pack as little as possible, and improvise for whatever I left behind.

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Ribe: A lesson on Vikings and Hygge

Since we were gluttons for punishment, we set off for another long road trip, barely a week after we had our first international excursion with our 7-month old son. This time, we were off to the north to Ribe, the oldest existing town in Denmark, founded in the early 8th century.

To be honest, I wouldn’t know the difference between 8th century history from 18th century history, but I do know a charming old town when I see one. The drive through the fields was utterly soothing, although my husband didn’t really appreciate the very low speed limit (As for me — yay, somewhere I could drive!).

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Baby Meets the Flip Side in Toronto

I haven’t seen anyone from my side of the family in over a year, and it was starting to show. Me throwing jealous looks as my husband jokes around with his siblings around the dinner table, me counting all the holidays I haven’t spent Filipino-style, me insisting to follow the lone Filipino food truck I’ve found around food festivals. Of the 10 years I’ve spent living abroad, I have never been homesick — that is, until now. Maybe it’s all those postpartum mommy hormones that are to blame, but I was now reaching new levels of brooding, and it wasn’t pretty.

Maybe that’s why I was desperately counting down to May 10, like I was gasping for air after holding my breath for so long. It was the day we were to fly to Toronto, for my then 6-month old baby, Tobias, to finally meet the Filipino side of the family for the first time. Continue reading “Baby Meets the Flip Side in Toronto”

Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight

It’s every flyer’s dreaded sight: that parade of babies through the priority boarding queue, threatening to crush any dream of peaceful sleep during the flight. I confess, I used to cringe whenever I would see a family with a baby settling within a 10-row radius from my seat.

Now, I find myself on the other side, the bringer of the ominous boarding infant. I braced myself long and hard, and obsessed with every detail to prepare ourselves for Tobias’ first long-haul flight. I even dressed him up in an adorable tiger onesie, to make it at least a bit impossible to stay angry even if he makes a scene. Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight”