Dear Leon,

The following is a blog post that was written some time ago, during a wet, rainy day here in Amsterdam.

I have no idea when you will find yourself reading this or if you’d ever come across this open letter to you at all.

Today was a Wednesday, meaning a short day at school today. I did the usual routine of strapping the car seat on to the bakfiets, carefully placing Kate into the seat and cycling to school with Alex and Harvey. I didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary today.

When Lewis left for football and Billie went home to her house next door, I asked you if you wanted to come on Maxi’s walk with Kate and I. Normally, you don’t say yes because you’d rather spend the time on your half an hour screen time but today, you decided to come along. It was 4:45pm, the rain had stopped for a bit so it was the perfect time to go out and do a nice long walk around the lake.

Like our usual heart-to-hearts, we got into the topic of how long I’ve been in Amsterdam for. “Since tomorrow is February 1… It’ll be about 3 1/2 months now”, I say to you while pushing Kate’s buggy. You proceed in telling me that Lewis mentioned that Alex hasn’t reached a year with their family yet. I chuckle and correct you, telling you that Alex has actually been around for more than a year and will be marking her 2 year anniversary with their family in the summertime.

You look at me and ask, “When will Alex leave then?”

“Alex’s situation is quite unique. She’s planning to move in with her boyfriend so she’ll definitely stay in the Netherlands. But they can’t do that just yet, she still needs to save some money.”

“And he is still in school.”, you added.

I smiled. “Yes, that’s right. And to move in together, they’re both going to need money. But it’s nice for Lewis and the rest isn’t it? Alex gets to stay with them for a lot longer.”

“I wish you could stay longer.”

My heart swelled up a few sizes bigger when you said this. This always happens when the topic of me leaving comes up. What you don’t know about this time was that I was already seriously considering finding ways to stay in the Netherlands; not only because I’ve already started building a life here but also because of you and your sister. Every time you ask me when am I leaving, I bite my tongue before I could get the words “I don’t plan on leaving because I want to stay near you. I want to still be around when you become 10, 11, 12… I want to be around when Kate goes to school or when you get your first girlfriend.” because honestly, who knows? Things may change in the next few months and I didn’t want to get your hopes up.

I have not known love the way I have come to love you. Taking care of you, learning with and from you, has been the best part of my 2017 and is what I look forward to everyday. All these emotions I feel for you and Kate, I never would have expected to feel in my lifetime.

And it’s prompted by the little things that both of you do. Like when Kate makes a new sound and giggles whenever I imitate it or when you talk to me about your Harry Potter progress. I have a new appreciation for all the maids and yayas that have spent part of their lives taking care of me and my sisters.

But instead of saying all these to you, I let the emotions settle in. I look at you and touch your back and reply simply with “Me too, buddy. Me too.”

 

On birthdays and self love

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Day 42/366 thoughts

Happy birthday Jamie!

I know you hate selfies but as I was preparing this post, I thought that posting these old selfies you took 2 years ago would make it extra special. I know you hate them but remember when you thought that the lighting was perfect and the wind effect just made everything extra glorious that day? These photos sat quietly in your computer for 24 months; it’s time to share them with the world wide web.

Continue reading “On birthdays and self love”

How I’m planning to spend today

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  1. Finally finish The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  2. Skip work
  3. Do quiet things in quiet places
  4. Paint
  5. Eat
  6. Sleep
  7. Tell everybody that I have no age/I don’t grow old anymore/my age is X.

 

*Photo taken in Don Salvador Benedicto, Bacolod City with my Ricoh XR 500.

 

Stuff I Swear By: Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Mask

So I decided to start a new series called “Stuff I Swear By” and it’s pretty much just me talking about things/people/services that I recommend. I’m sure that if you’ve scanned through my previous posts, you’ll see that I’m not the kind of person that does this sort of thing however as of late, I’ve noticed that when I try to google search certain things or services that I can avail of in Manila, there’s not enough information that’s of use to me. This series will most likely consist of products, services, people or places that may be of use to you if you live in Manila or in the maybe anywhere in the Philippines.

I’m starting of the series with this: the Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Mask. I first came across this product through Chriselle Lim’s video “My 7 Skin Care Secrets” (which you can watch here). Late last year I became really conscious about the condition of my skin. I used to have a strict skin care routine a couple of years back but after awhile I started feeling lazy which eventually led to my skin becoming really dry and acne-prone. I knew that I had to do some major damage control since I hadn’t done any TLC over the past couple of years so I went on youtube and watched a bunch of beauty videos until finally, I found myself watching Chriselle’s video.

In her video, she recommended using this sleeping pack to bed and she absolutely swore by it! In order to keep your skin looking young, you have to make sure it gets/drinks as much water as possible. This sleeping pack will keep your skin hydrated while you catch some Z’s and you’ll wake up with your skin as soft as baby’s buttocks.

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I found a Too Cool for School branch in Mall of Asia and the moment I stepped into the store, the sales ladies there greeted me enthusiastically and immediately brought me to the shelf with their best sellers. The Pumpkin Sleeping Pack was conveniently there so I was able to check out the product, pay then scurry home so that I can try it out for myself.

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The product comes in only one size at P689.00 which I was really surprised about because the bottle was pretty big! It’s 100 mL and comes in this really cute box (probably because it’s a Korean brand and they always have awesome packaging).

Man, after my first night using this, I was instantly hooked. I woke up feeling refreshed and my skin was really soft. Even on the nights when I would sleep late because of schoolwork, I would still wake up with soft skin. For the longest time, I had no breakouts and I always looked awake. My make up looked alot better too since my skin was in tip top condition.

When I apply this on my skin, I only use about a size of a 0.25 centavo. A little goes a really long way with this product. Just keep massaging it using your middle and ring finger in a circular motion. The product will spread and you’ll later find that the amount will be able to cover your whole face. Did I mention that it smells super good too? I was a bit skeptical at first because I don’t actually know what a pumpkin smells like but WOW! After a while, there were days that I just wanted to end already so that I can start getting ready for bed and use the sleeping pack again because it smelled so damn good!

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I just bought my second bottle today and it’s been around 3 months since the first time I tried this sleeping pack. Over the holidays, I had eaten alot of junk food (not a usually part of my diet at the time) and the stress levels have surged sky high since then. I started noticing that I was developing some bumps on my forehead thus I knew it was time to bring in the heavy artillery.

You can find this product in any Too Cool for School branch (SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM BF Paranaque and SM Mega Fashion Hall) in the metro. When I bought mine today, the cashier gave me a free sample of the McGirly Rice Scrub (YAY FREE STUFF!) which I’ll be trying tonight. 🙂

Hope this was helpful to you! Let me know if you feel the same way 🙂