Friday, May 30, 2014

Vaddertag = Father's Day in Germany

Enough with the discussion about Father's Day. My girls know Mother's Day is being celebrated, so there should also be Father's Day, right?

Despite that, IC's still disappointed that they didn't do anything special in school for Father's Day.

Whatever, in our home, we celebrate Father's Day, too.

And traditionally, we started it with a breakfast feast. A short note: Father's Day in Germany is celebrated during the Ascension Day so it's really a holiday, meaning, no school!

Here's what we did -

Father's Day breakfast 
The girls told their Papa to stay in bed as we're supposed to be responsible for breakfast. Well, my husband savored his long bed time :-D

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You're Hired: Job Scams and Other First-Job Experiences

I remember the first time I heard those beautiful words ‘You’re Hired’ when I was in my last months in the university.
I cannot remember anymore how I ended up applying for the job as a freelance entertainment writer for a really new tabloid newspaper, but I did and I got the job, too. My first assignment was to interview Francis Magalona. Or it could be that I got the job because I already have access to showbiz people as I was already doing on-the-job training at Channel 13 that time?
The memories may have faded but I still can relive how it felt when  ‘You’re hired’ was said to me. It was a combination of utter excitement and yet it seemed unbelievable, too. I think I floated in the air for hours, with a big smile on my face.
The next big thing came when my first article was published and I saw my name in the newspaper, with the tag ‘Entertainment Writer.’ Never mind that another college friend and I shared the byline. My byline is in print! I am sure I pumped my fists in the air and made the victory dance.
Of course, another highlight came afterwards: receiving the first salary from my first job. The call came first, informing us that there’s money waiting for us in the accounting department. Nervous with excitement, my co-writer and I rode the jeep from our university to the tabloid’s office. We were directed to the right room and each of us were handed a long, brown envelope with our names on it. We were on cloud 9!
We didn’t forget to pass by our entertainment editor’s office to thank him for giving us the opportunity to work for him, even as we asked for new assignments, too. Sadly, the newspaper didn’t last long. It did not even wait until our graduation a few months after to fold up. But to this day, I have kept that piece of article that made me confident I chose the right college degree as I enjoyed writing and researching for articles.
Read more here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tracking the Growth of our Plants in the Backyard

My husband is a bit skeptic this time.

He thought we might have been too late when we started our backyard garden's planting season this year. I told him we simply need to think positive. Am I right?

We started pulling weeds and clearing up some corners on the second week of May. That same weekend, we planted our cucumber, tomatoes, beans, melon, peas, red beets, etc.

The tomato corner after the hailstorm that same Sunday

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Visiting Baveno, Italy (in photos)

Because I really wanted to go to another open air market in Italy before we leave camp, I told my husband we definitely should get the famous Italian salami from the local markets as presents to some lovely people back home.

I could have chosen a better day, but despite (and maybe because of the rain), my husband and the girls were also eager to get out of the campsite. Cabin fever maybe?

We chose the city of Baveno because of the open air market and we're lucky enough to find a parking area right away. Okay, it was raining hard when we arrived but hey, it's shopping time!

My husband got a pair of jeans and a jogging outfit, the girls found bracelets, and I got to taste the assortment of cheese and salami before I finally settled to the regular-flavored Italian salami. I would have loved to browse longer but many of the stall owners have started folding up earlier than scheduled. I can't blame them, the weather is not really inviting for shoppers.
Gloomy weather during our visit in Baveno City

Baveno open air market

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Review: Ristorante Raggio di Luna in Verbania, Itay

We took a chance, visiting this restaurant, during our camping trip in Italy this Easter.

After visiting the city of Mergozzo, we used the opposite direction in finding our way back to our campsite and that's when we saw that this restaurant, Ristorante Raggio di Luna, was very near Camping Continental.

 My husband and I decided to explore while walking the dog. I was not so convinced because we had to walk along the narrow highway where there's almost no space for pedestrians! We did the duck walk, then, just to check out the place. You see, we wanted to go fine dining on Easter Sunday.

It was early in the afternoon, so it's not strange that the restaurant is still closed. But the owner was enough of a dog lover to want to cuddle with our dog, that he opened the restaurant's door.

Struggling with both English and my little knowledge of Italian (derived from my Spanish lessons in college), I learned that the restaurant is open for dinner but that they are fully booked for Easter Sunday. We ended up with a reservation for Easter Monday.

The very old bridge we passed on our way to the restaurant
Happy to finally get a table, my husband and I decided to explore the walkway along the restaurant's parking area and discovered, to our delight, that it leads right to the path that would bring us to the campsite's entrance! No need to use the dangerous highway, whew!

Okay, when it was time for our restaurant visit, the girls specifically informed us to please dress-up. After all, it's time for our special Easter Monday dinner. (We already indulged in a bit of shopping, and dressing-up is not a problem anymore.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Mother's Day!

Last night, my special request was to let me stay in bed a little longer. My husband promised he would feed and walk with the dog. Yey!

I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and decided to read in bed but I cannot concentrate. There's so much activity in the house. I could hear the dog running around, I could hear my husband in the kitchen, and I could hear the girls arguing about something.

Around 10:00 a.m., I have to get up. IC heard me and blocked the way, saying 'You are not allowed to go down, yet!' The same procedure every year :-D

When I was finally allowed to go down, IC escorted me and proudly presented the breakfast table.

Mother's Day 2014 breakfast table

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Nanay = Mother = Mutter

Dear Nanay,

Happy Mother's Day!

When was the last time we saw each other? That was a long time ago, in 2010, in a far away country.

But the distance won't keep you from letting us know how much you love us. Your letters are short and sometimes, a bit hurried, but there's love overflowing in the words. I could even feel them flowing as I hold the letter close to me while I read them alone, or repeatedly even, for your granddaughters.

A much younger Nanay

Then there's the random packages that we would receive, supposedly for Christmas or for somebody's birthday that would might arrive a month late or even, a year later. We know how much it took time for you to choose and collect those items to suit our tastes. We received the love that got wrapped along with those gifts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Visiting the city of Mergozzo, Italy (in photos)

Our camping pitch in Camping Continental is the lake side area where we could see Lake Mergozzo and the city of Mergozzo.

It's a wonder, the view from our pitch. But, would we get the chance to visit? Yes!
This is the city of Mergozzo seen from our lake side pitch in Camping Continental
One sunny day, we decided to visit. My number one purpose is to check out the open air market but we didn't realize that they would close around noontime! There were still a few stalls open but there's no more time to browse around. The Mergozzo market is a small one, after all.

Another thing, we discovered that there's a hiking path through the mountain from our campsite into the city. We would have loved to hike to the city but my husband's back is bugging him, so we had to skip that adventure this time.

There's a big parking area, once you leave the narrow streets upon entering the city center. It's located across the sea front and it's free.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Review: Camping Continental in Verbania, Italy

How did we land up in Camping Continental in Verbania, Italy? Because we were looking for a warm place for our first Easter camping and because we wanted to be near any body of water.

I googled for a campsite that would fit our needs: located in a warm place, near a body of water, accept dogs, with swimming pool, good sanitary facilities. My first search focused on areas along Lake Maggiore in Italy and when I gave the rest of my requirements, Camping Continental would always appear on top of the list.

Since Camping Continental is already open during Easter time and they match our needs, we booked our pitch. In my e-mail, I specifically asked if the lake side area would have electricity and water access, the answer was there's no water access. Therefore, I asked for another area near the lake where electricity and water would be ready. The e-mail stated that there's no need to book a pitch because the site is not fully booked for Easter.

During our arrival, it was my husband who talked to the reception people as I had to walk the dog. (We arrived after more than a two-hour stop-and-go trip near the Gotthard Tunnel (The Gotthard Pass was closed to traffic.) so Rikki absolutely needed her walk!)

He ended up taking a pitch in the lake side area because the reception informed him (in German), that there's indeed water and electricity access there. I didn't argue as they should know better, right? Nope. When we arrived at our chosen pitch, we looked and looked for the water access, there's none.

Reception area.
Note that all guests are asked to show their passports and management reserves
 the right to hold one document which would be returned upon departure and payment.
A helpful Italian family beside our pitch pointed to the tap water connection on the other side of our pitch. That was supposed to be the water access the reception people were talking about. Hmmm... That means we had to fill our caravan's water tank using a borrowed water hose, again, from the helpful Italian family camping beside us. Oh well... The girls already loved the pitch and I am not moving anymore, after minutes of pulling and pushing our caravan until we found the right spot.

That means, we stayed put, but my husband went to the reception to vent his frustration (as if water access would appear near our pitch once we complained, I am being mean, thing is, it's our vacation, let's stay cool :-D)

I loved our lake side pitch, despite having no direct water access, because right in front of us is Lake Mergozzo.

Lake Side Pitch in Camping Continental
Beside the lake is a pathway where we could walk the dog. There's even a 'dog toilet' box! What a luxury for dog owners like us! The walkway is actually the side of a golf course.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Finding a Letter to Grandma

It was early Tuesday morning, while walking the dog, that I noticed something white lying on the street. Someone lost something? Curious, I went closer to examine it and realized what it was.

I don't know why I decided not to leave it lying on the street. Indeed, it was about loss. And I am fortunate to be the lucky one blessed to be touched by this precious item.

The bursted balloon with a special message