“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
Happy faces , warm hugs and oooh so unending stories of both the reminiscing of the past and updating of our present lives . It was a week of old friends reconnecting and meeting new ones amidst of these pandemic .
18th of October
Finally the day has arrived that I am picking Klara at the airport . This was her first trip back in Belgium after almost 2 years and I hate to admit I did miss her craziness .
Klara , is like my big / little sister she used to come and visit us 3x a year on my birthday week , mama’s and her pre -birthday celebration . This routine was broken due to the travel lockdowns during the pandemic. I love our randoms topics over a cup of coffee . We would roam around almost anywhere , I will be her personal guide , photographer / driver .
Aachen , Germany
Nothing has changed even if the pandemic have halted our yearly tradition for days I gladly played as her guide , photographer /driver and oooh laughing mate . We visited Aachen Germany ,had our afternoon coffee at Middleburg , Netherlands and got lost Sluis , The Netherlands and Knokke .
Aachen is a charming German town that is located in west of North Rhine Westphalia , part of the Border Triangle of Germany , The Netherlands and Belgium . A one hour and thirty minutes drive from Brussels National Airport .
This was Klara’s first time here and so we have explored the place together with my mother and her friend . We had a quick lunch at Hanswurst . Here they call everyone Hans + your name and I find it funny to hear.
They serve the typical German bradwurst with sauerkraut and fries . We counted the fountains of Aachen and admire the cathedral .
We ended our visit in Aachen with a coffee at starbucks
Middleburg , Zeeland ( more than just KFC craving ) 19th of October
Aside from our craving for a KFC ( Middleburg is the nearest from.where I live) Middleburg is a worthwhile place to visit .
The.capital of the province of Zeeland . Middleburg have also played a role in the scientific revolution the early moderm period . It is a small town and has its own charm .
We have considered one of the highlight of this roadtrip was the 6.6 km or 4.1 mi tunnel estuary between Ellewoutdijk and Terneuzen .
The Western Scheldt Tunnel is considered to be the longest tunnel for the highway traffic in the Netherlands.
Driving thru the West Scheldt Tunnel gives me some kind of thrill while both mama and Klara deal with their anxiety in a funny way mama keeps on holding her chest while Klara telling us stories about the movies where all the vehicles exploded in the tunnel 🤣( her subtle way of telling me to drive carefully)
Walking around Middleburg gives you a very relaxing vibes . We have also explode the pastry and bread of the area .
We end our visit here with a huge coffee and a trip back go KFC 😍
Windy Sluis and Knokke ( 20/10)
Our roadtrip continues .. due to the pandemic we have avoided the cities which are known for its low vaccination rates and high level of infected cases . Instead we have visited the charming small towns nearby us . We have conciously decided to visit some towns on a week day where it is normally calm than in the weekends .
Sluis ,Zeeland and Knokke were part of this concious decision . Both towns would be quite hectic during weekends .
Sluis is small ” Burgundian” town . A dutch term for fun-loving and almost eclectic . This has always been part of Klara’s visit to us . We just love the idea to be in another country in about 30 mins drive ( Sluis is part of the Netherlands and it is just 30 mins drive from where I live) .
We have our light lunch at the Molen van Sluis . We love the huge open space of the area , the food is simple but delicious and the service is very good . I have to say they need our vaccination certificate before entering the restaurant which gives us more secure feeling .
After our lunch we strolled a bit and then went for a late coffee break at De Eetbotiek . This was used to be the famous restuarant of chef Sergio Hermans Restuarant De Oude Sluis . Now it is turned into a fancy tearoom . They have both vegan friendly foods , coffee and if you just love to eat some out of the box food pairing then you should come here . The interior decoration is sooo welcoming .
Tito ‘s streetfood night
Go! Supporting Filipino cuisine 🙂 . Tito’s streetfood is a small filipino restaurant in Bruges . This is actually the first one here . Personally I love this place because it is quite fun seeing these second generation ( children of immigrant pinoys) to embrace our food integrate in the oooh so high competitive world of restaurants in Bruges .
They have pimp up the image of our greasy , sometimes salty /sweet filipino food but still manages to hold on to that authentic taste . The price is very reasonable. And the most important of all is that you can feel the filipino Hospitality dressed in a tall blond blue eyed youngman at the bar .
Like Pot Mami in Ostende , the name of Tito’s restaurant is dedicated to an uncle who have open their eyes and made them fall in love with pinoy food through his lutong bahay cooking .
Curious about this place check the website – titosstreetfood.be
Klara pre birthday party was worth it
32 years and her friend are coming.. 21st of October
This was the day that my highschool classmate and friend would arrived in Bruges . But due to the unpredictable storm in Germany their ( together with her housemate /friend) was trip to Belgium was postponed for today .
Ju have invited them for lunch but since they can’t come we ( klara mama and myself ) have made the best out of everything.
Klara did some tiktok while ju and myself sang our lungs out . Nothing beats a delicious food and wonderful company .
Finally she came 22nd of October
After 32 years we have finally got to chance to meet again . I got a little bit of emotional whenI picked them up at the station.
After i picked them up the station we had then started our walking exploration in Bruges .
Yes, Bruges the Venice of the North home of the Brugse zot beer , Domique Persoone the chocolate line and yes the madonna and child of Micheal Angelo . Bruges is medival city and one of the UNESCO heritage.
It was a short walking trip but I did hope I was able to show them the beauty of the city that I love .
Rotterdam , The Hague , Uitrech and ms Rotterdam 23/10
It was a short Bruges visit and a short night too .. the party goes on but this time we have to go to Rotterdam to celebrate the birthday of our friend Viv aka ms Rotterdam .
First things first , we have dropped and wave goodbye to Klara who can”t join the Rotterdam party for she must fly back to Ireland for her son’s birthday .
It was a day of fun , shopping, food or also known as ladies day out.
We had our lunch in The Hague home of the king and Queen of Holland .
Somewhere in the huge streets of chinatown in The Hague you can find Cafe Nordrick . A small all filipino eatery that offers a buffet for 22 euros ( eat and drink all you can ) . The food were decent enough .
It gives me the carenderia feeling back home . The decor brings you back to the Philippines.
I like the bopis and pork menudo. Killer pork or spicy pork was also ok.. I was just a bit disappointed by the tempura since you can chew the shrimps head plus it was cold .. I do hope that they would have a warm platter/ heating platter to keep the food warm especially the fried ones .
The desserts were okey buko pandan , maja blanca and a butter cake . They are not Barrio Fiesta but given time and chance they might catch up .
After the cafe Nordrick lunch we roamed around The Hague and we end up at TK maxx … shopping time !!
Let ‘s Explore Food this is how ms Rotterdam celebrates
Happy birthday Viv ! This was her evenning . You can feel the love that surrounds her especially her son who have spoiled her that day ..
We were treated for a surprise . Her birthday celebration took place in Food Explore Uitrech a huge food hall with all kinds of cuisines that you can think of asian , mexican , european and all in betweens. It has approximately 20 different kinds of kitchen inside the hall. Your eyes are filled with the prettiness of the food ohhh and they are delicious too .
It is considered to be one of the largest buffet in the Netherlands . So how does this work ?
Since it is a eat and drink all you can . The prices varies from the hours that you are planning to stay inside . Here below is the price menu for friday, saturday and sunday for dinner .
It was worth a 3hours food experience . You can see that with our happy faces
The birthday celebration of Viv continues at here home with a glass of whisky and a walk through the highschool memory lane . While I slept my eyes out since I was not feeling well .. Ju, Che , Viv stayed up till 3 am I could hear their laughters integrated through my dreams 🤣🤣
The Day after 24/10
This was supposedly my day of Rotterdam marathon but unfortunately I came down witha bad colds( not covid i assure you🤣🤣) that I have to give up the marathon .. it is just a stop in between. Next year I will be running myself to the finish line and fulfill my bucketlist .
Ju and myself drove home back to our realities . It was a week of love , friendships and food …
Note for the Ladies
I never imagine how much I miss our bonding each year. You are the sister that I never have. We just keep on sharing coffees , travels and all ..
Ahhh you are my home even in silence . Distance does not define our friendship .. To 32 years and beyond
This week was a very fun whirlwind for us . Let us not wait for 32 years to meet again . I am so grateful for this moments that we have shared
Con our sleeping beaty
I so love your eyes , and our stories . I thank God to have a new shade sa rainbow of friendship ko .. hopefully to our next adventures
You know I love you and your aura keep that free spirit of yours and that warm smile ..you are for me the best ms.rotterdam / mayora ..to santorini
Friendship doesn’t recognizes distance this drawn by boundries of Love,Respect and Understanding .
“Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself.” – Luna Lovegood ( Harry Potter Deathly Hallows )
Last Sunday the 21st of March was Down Syndrome Day to honor this day and as part of the awareness campaign schools and all over social media encourages everyone to wear two different kinds of socks . This day is called “gekke sokken dag” or as translated in englisg crazy socks day . This is to symbolize that IT IS OKEY TO BE DIFFERENT .
Yesterday ( 23rd of March)
It was one of those working days but yesterday gave me some take away to ponder.
Alice my 5 years playmate ( I refer her as my playmate ) along with her sister Aude came to me running as I arrived at thier house . The girls wore two unpaired socks of course I know why…
Alice : Jeeee I am wearing two different socks because it is crazy socks day at my school and Aude too.
Me: ooooh that looks fun .. and do you know why you are wearing those socks ?
Alice : yes , because SOMETIMES IT IS OKEY TO BE DIFFERENT my teacher told us that .
Me : indeed .. that is nice Alice ..
She was about to wear her shoes .. then she stop mid-way look at me and said ” well if is is okey to be different why hide it with a pair of shoes?”
She stopped turn to me and said ” I should wear unpair of shoes too with that everyone will know that IT IS OKEY TO BE DIFFERENT ”
She then go on picked two different kinds of shoes
To a child its is just the way it should be …But to the society that we are existing we should always be reminded that everyone of us is unique .
We must learn to respect and honor our differences whether it is the physical attributes or emotional development.
We must never forget to EMBRACE THE UNIQUENESS IN US .
TO All of US .. BE BRAVE WE ARE BEAUTIFUL IN OUR OWN WAY
Grams as I fondly call you . You are a powerhouse of strength and endurance.
We saw your professionalism, dedication way under difficult circumstances ,you have helped our group on the necessary things to be done despite the fact your heart is bleeding and your mind has this unrest thoughts of worries over Shiloh ..
Grams , you have been seasoned through the challenges of time .Your faith and hope gives you the notch of courage that makes you a woman of integrity.
We love our moments together and insights that we shared .. I and the rest of the core are grateful that despite of your busy schedule you would still try to squeeze us in (yes as in squeeze in ) every queries would be answered.
You have shared your expertise in leading us with our community services both in directives or with your presence . Thank you for being a key player .
Yes , I have intentionally greeted you days earlier than your d-day because I wanted you to know we are thankful for this reconnection and friendship that we have built . To more friendship years to come ..
I am starting to write moments that I love to remember . In each events ,situations there is that specific emotions that is connected .
Today my Journal of Happiness goes to the simple joy that The Moonwalkers89 shared.
As I have mentioned in my previous blog ” Moonwalkers” is group of individuals who were highschool classmates and have been reconnected after 30 years .
Each one of them has this unique beauty , strength , talent and wits . Despite of the years that they have been apart the sense of connectivity still burns within them .
They have made to the point that their reconnection would have meaningful purpose . Thus , they have choosen to served the vulnerable communities in their own ways.
These community activities paved the way in strengthen thier relationships from being good friends to becoming families .
Community Services as an act of Reconnection
“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
A quote from goodreads.com
It all started with an informal conversations in between the karaoke and sea breeze of Cabadbaran city . The passion to serve was there but of course there was a question of resources.
As the discussion go deeper the desire grew. They made a pact to meet again on 2022 but for the meantime they must Keep the fire burning through community services .
Each one of them shared its own idea . Allowed their own expertise to contribute whatever project they are in . Everything is being discussed and though the budget is tight they still pursue with enthusiasm . They believe they are ONE
Whether it is feeding for the Lumads ( indigenious group) ,Elderly or the forgotten ones of society they serve with their hearts .
They often said that “the community services did not only filled the hearts of the needy but it has also strengthen thier friendship .It makes them feel like “they Belong” a quote that Fatima always uses .
At the end it is not about how much but it is more of how they made a small step towards doing meaningful act .
If we choose to be serve with purpose and developed a friendship founded with respect , love, an open clear communication and admiration the friendship will thrive .
Respect towards each other helps us bridge the growing pains that we encounter along the way . Love makes us more understanding towards the shortcoming of the others . An open and clear communication results to endless hours of worthwhile stories which are interwine with laughters and the feeling of belongingness .
Notes of Gratitude
To the 41 Moonwalkers89 it has been with great pleasure to reconnect the bond with each one of you in a different levels .
Maricar who have encouraged me in forming the group
Bob who is always ready to do whatever ,wherever … you are an epitome of support
Felda , the rockstar with a large wallet how would we exist without your dedication ?
Jennifer for being the best twin and side kick of Felda
Tots who is always ready to give me an enlightenment advises whenever I am confuse.
Jenny (Grams ) my admiration for a powerhouse woman who would unselfishly share her time regardless of the situation ..Grams thank you for always answering my Queries
Jehmymah (Yen) thank you for assisting and sharing the burden with Grams
Lore our balancer
Marelle who edits my thoughts from time to time
Joe, Janet , Ga and Renee for being the life of our gc . I always love your wits
Mela, Rowena ,Joy and Serachel whose doors are always open whenever I would come knocking it .
Maam Jone thank you for always gracing whenever it is possible for you
Sweet, Lani, Fatima ,Grace, Cathy , Cy , Jona , Ana and Kathy for coming home to us ..
Cherrypie for openning my mind about Por cristo
Mary Grace even in your silence I know I can count on you .
Wilfred , Alberto and Arthur the boys who are never hesitated to help whenever we have an activity
Ferdinand (Dnand) thank you for always entertaining my lengthy notes for blending to be one of us.
Randy for being just annoying you 🙂
I am proud to be one of you .. thank you Moonwalkers89 for the lessons and joy that you have shared