24th

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My 23rd year has been so good to me. 2016 has got to be one of the best years of my life. A lot of things happened – good and bad. I couldn’t imagine all the new adventures I was able to experience. As awkward as I am, I was able to meet a lot of new friends that I know for sure would be part of my life for a long time.

A month after I turned 23, I had to face a new life that I thought was dreadful at first. Change is good but it’s hard to break routine. I was so scared to leave my comfort zone because I was already starting to get used to how I was living then. It all came so fast that it felt like a blur. It was like being thrown into some place unfamiliar, unarmed, and you’re there panicking not knowing what to do. But I slowly adjusted. I had to do things on my own because who else would do it for me? I learned to start saving, something I never cared to do before the big move. I mean, what would I spend it on, right? I didn’t have friends. I only had my mom who was working 24/7.  It was sleep, eat, work for a while.

I consider myself very lucky. I didn’t go through a lot to get here. A month after moving, I found a job. Other people would spend 3 months just looking for a job while I spent 2 days looking through ads. I found one, applied, got scheduled for an interview, and then bam I got hired. Lucky, right?

I started new hobbies – rowing and hiking. I met more people of different races and I came to understand and accept the different kinds of cultures. I also started to live a healthy life. I went back to the gym and tried (TRIED) to eat clean. Alas, food is life. I can never stop being a foodie. This year, I made a promise that come 2017,  I will work harder at being as healthy as I can be.

Fast-forward to 11 months and guess what? No regrets. All the decisions I’ve made, stupid or not, led me to where I am now. I know it’s not really that much but it’s something I didn’t think I would be able to do. All the firsts I experienced this year will always be remembered. To the people who helped me pop my bubble, thank you. Thank you for pulling me out of my shell and making me see how big the world is and showing me the many opportunities there are for me still to take.

On my 24th year, I promise to live an even fuller and more vibrant life. I was back to square one, but everybody’s got to start somewhere, right?

All my love,
Michelle 122616

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The Happy List: October

I know I have been away for so long. But here I am with updates! I won’t be able to edit so much as my laptop is missing and I’m only using my phone for now. I’m still alive!!!

1. This was during the last days of Summer… Our last hike – 5 km back and fortg this beauty. Golden Ears Provincial Park, everybody.

2. Finally got to try Earnest ice cream!!! It is really as good as they say it is. 

3. With a little stroke of luck, I found myself winning on a school (that I don’t even go to) raffle!!! Thank you, BCIT! I got a new baby- my instax mini 90!

4. Sweets overload! 

5. My very first Cranberry Festival race. Even though it was raining all day and the weather was as cold as ice, I was glad I joined. Rowing with those kind-hearted women made everything worth it! We were unprepared but it was a good experience. 

6. Two things I love: reading a good book and matcha

7. First time participating in a halloween party (not really party, but still I dressed up)

8. Experiencing fall for the first time…

9. Catching up with a dear best friend- hello from the other side of the world! With love from Canada and New Zealand ❤

Steveston Dragonboat Festival

My team has been rowing every week for the past two months and in the last month, we were just preparing for the Steveston Dragon Festival that was held last August 20, 2016. I for one would say we really weren’t ready. We never had a practice when everybody was there and inside my head, I was actually just hoping for the best and if anything, at least we’d know how it’d feel like to be in an actual race. 

But, we actually got to take home medals! Okay, this was how our races went:

We were actually one of the first racers of the day. We were in lane 6 and it was a little shallow so I guess a disadvantage? The first race was for 200 meters and I know we really gave it our best, we were still last. We didn’t lose hope though. Maybe we were really good, other teams might just have been better. Our drummer said we were good at timing so that cheered us up! I was second seat which was good because I didn’t think I was good enough to be the first. I a little relieved it was Laura and Amber because I knew they have had more practices outside our weekly ones. 

Our second race was around 11:30 am and this time it was a 500-meter race. By then it was already very warm and scorching and I actually got so tan it felt weird seeing myself so dark. Ha. Anyway, we had a little panic attack because we never had a lot of members to begin with so Cheryl, our coach, had to go around to see if she could get spares to row with us. Luckily she found some last minute. And away we went still on lane 6. And still, we were last. By then, I felt like 6 was our unlucky number and even for other teams who get to row on that lane. I was watching other races and lane 6 was most of the time the last to arrive and lane 3 always got the lead. When we tried asking how they arranged the racing teams, we were told by senior paddlers that lane 3 was where they usually place the fastest team on that specific bracket and the slowest was either 1 or 6. And that actually made sense. 

On our third race, we were finally moved to lane 1. It was our last race for the day and would determine our placement. We were in Division D and I was just hoping for the best that time. I was a little bit motivated because I heard for the different divisions, for the first three to get to the finish line, they get medals. Who wouldn’t get pumped up by that, right? For the last race, not once did I dare look at our competitors because I didn’t want to get demotivated when I’d see they were ahead or I wouldn’t want to be cocky if I see that we were ahead. I was just focusing on the end of the line. I just kept paddling and paddling and paddling. It was one of the most exhausting one I raced in. At one point, I felt like I wanted to give up and just stop rowing but when I heard our drummer say “dunk it” or when our coach from behind yelled “finish it now,” that just kept me going. Imagine how happy we felt when we saw that we placed second and were told we got silver medals!!! It was one of the best days of my life, when you know all your hard work was paid off at the end of the day! 

At first, rowing was just something I never wanted to do because I thought it was a difficult sport. But look at me now, rowing/dragonboat/paddling is now something I love. 🙂

Paddle on! Until the next race! We are Warriors on Water!

Garibaldi Lake Hike

So I’ve been really into hiking now! I find that it’s such a nice way to kill your legs. I’m obviously kidding but seriously, I thought I couldn’t handle the hike because it was too difficult. I mean I knew it was going to be but I never expected to that extent. But fortunately, all those nights runs my sister and I did for the past weeks paid off.

We started the drive at 5:30 early in the morning because we live in Surrey and the trip would take an hour plus to get to Squamish. Of course I didn’t (still can’t) drive so Ate Charla picked us up and Ragveer also came at that time. I actually had an hour of sleep that day so I was mostly asleep going there. Around 7:30, we had breakfast at White Spot. 


Ragveer is vegetarian but I’m not. You already know which plate’s mine. 

When we got to that starting point, there were so many people already! It was most likele because it’s Summer, the weather was exceptionally nice that week (last week), and that Garibaldi Lake is just an amazing place. We started hiking at 9 am.  



All in all, the hike was said to be 18 km, 9 going and 9 back to the parking lot. I told myself that I can’t complain about being tired because I was just carrying a backpack while other people who planned to camp were carrying much heavier stuff. 

But the hardest part for me was the lack of portable washrooms! It was so hard to hold the pee in for the whole hike! I’ve always done that before when I was still a student nurse but still. 



At this point, we were just so tired but seeing that we only got 2 km left got us going! Hussle!



A little bit of the pain got washed away when we got a glimpse of this beautiful lake.


Twilight feels?

…and then finally!








It was so worth it! I was just in awe at how blue and clean the lake was and even though so many people have been coming and going, it’s still a peaceful place to be at. It was magnificent! I am so glad that I said yes when Ate Charla asked if I wanted to go. I’m always up for any adventure and this one is ticked off the bucketlist. Life is really amazing. 

We only stayed for an hour. We ate, took pictures, chilled for a bit. It was getting really cold so that was a sign to start hiking back down. It wasn’t as hard going up. My sister and I started jogging back to the parking lot because it was easier. My only motivation to reach the parking lot was the washroom. By that time, it’s been 5 hours away from a washroom and judging by the amount of water I drank, my bladder was at it’s limit. Inside my head, I was just shouting washroom. So when I started hearing the river, my happiness was over the moon! And fortunately, there was no line!

We did the whole thing for 6 hours. Not bad? 🙂

I’m not going back there any time soon but when I do, I know it’s going to be as worth it as the first time. Keep being beautiful, British Columbia. 

Until the next trip!

Deep Cove

It’s been so long since I last hiked (hello, college days) and now, with the invite of one of my closest friends here in Canada, I was finally able to do it again. The trail was okay but according to a lot of people it was considered one of the easiest when you’re a beginner at hiking. Anyway, the weather during that time was a little cloudy and I thought it would rain. It drizzled when we got to the top but stopped a few minutes after. 

We started at around 7 in the morning just because we woke up a little late. Darn it, alarm! 

It was a good thing we started early rather than waiting for the sun to come out (that never did) because 20 minutes after, people kept on coming. We got lucky that by the time we reached the peak, there were only 3 people, meaning if you take pictures, not a lot of people would photobomb you. Personally, I am somebody who takes time to take pictures. I would stop if I see something worth capturing. The view was breath-taking and I could stay there all day and just stare at the beauty of Deep Cove. 

I had a hard time getting up the following day, okay. And I had rowing practice, too! But I did get up and guess who was very sore the Monday following all those activities? Looking forward to the next hikes!









Stay active! 

Michelle 7|26|2016

:-)


And then I realized, it’s what I needed to hear. (Credit goes to my sis for taking this picture of me.)

Written by Thought Catalog writer Lauren Jarvis-Gibson:

Here is Why You Should Take a Break from Dating Right Now

Dating is fun, I’m not going to deny that. Meeting people you can hopefully connect with, and chatting with new love prospects is exhilarating to say the very least. But, dating isn’t the only exhilarating thing that there is to do in this world. And dating should never be anyone’s top priority.

Having a significant other can be incredible, and falling in love is never something to downplay. But, sometimes you just need to take a break from looking. Sometimes, you need to take a break for your own sanity. 

To be blunt, dating can be exhausting, and downright cruel in some circumstances.

You can go week after week on new dates and feel zero connections. You can spend hours getting ready to meet someone new, who ends up not showing up at all. You change what you’re wearing twenty times and end up on a date with a catfish instead. It can be downright painful. And downright annoying.

So, after all of the effort you have been putting towards others, maybe now is the time to put effort to yourself instead. Maybe, instead of stalking people on Tinder tonight and always swiping left, plan a happy hour with your best friends. And instead of stalking your ex on Facebook tomorrow, create some art to get all of that pain out of your heart. Maybe it’s time to work on yourself.

No matter what age you are, there is no better time than the now to focus on yourself instead of finding a significant other.

After all, you won’t be truly happy with another person until you are truly happy with yourself. And you won’t be able to love another person if you can’t love yourself first.

So, go on that hiking trail you have been saving for a future date. Take yourself out to ice cream instead of waiting for someone who will never show up. Spend some quality time with your family who you haven’t seen in ages. Buy yourself some nice take out Chinese food and watch a Netflix movie instead of getting pressured by someone to actually “Netflix and chill”. Dress up for just yourself and smile back at your reflection. Get that lob haircut you always wanted but were too scared to make such a bold statement. Take yourself out instead of having someone do it for you.

You will never be too old to take care of yourself. And you will never be too young either.

It is always a good time to put yourself first and to actually pay attention to what you want for once.

It’s always ok to take a break from dating. There is no harm in just enjoying life by yourself. And having peaceful solitude in yourself will gravitate people towards you, so you also never know who will come your way.

In a world full of online apps, dating meet ups and blind dates, dating can be annoying as f**k. It also can show hideous sides of people who only care about how your face looks instead of your mind. So, feel free to always take a breather. You can always get back in the game when that one guy you always admired starts talking to you in your hometown’s new bar. But just know, there’s no shame in waiting. There’s no shame in not dating. 

Summer


It’s officially Summer! Well technically Summer started June 21st but it rained so… 

Anyway! What I wanted to post about was to share about my now growing interest in Rowing. I didn’t think I could do it because it looked difficult to me- synchronizing with everyone. It all started when Ate Charla invited us if we wanted to join and that it was for a good cause and most importantly, that it was free! Why not, right? I was a little hesitant at first because I might slow down the group knowing I never had any experience with rowing but she said a lot of people who joined were first-timers as well. I got a little excited after that since it was something I never did before and looked forward to doing it. 

The first time we did it, I found that I was enjoying every minute of it. I loved how the cool wind just hit my face and the adrenaline that surged through with every paddle I did. Road to six-pack abs? Bring it!

Today was the second time we had our rowing session and it was as fun as the first time but it was a little more intense this time! I found that today’s stroke technique was better for me because I got to use my core muscles compared to before. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be although there were a LOT of times I splashed the people sitting in front and behind me because I had difficulty with controlling how I held the paddle. I’m learning though and it was nice that our team leader was patient with all of us. 

Deciding to join was also a good way to make new friends! Although I haven’t made that many because as you all know, I’m shy. But in time!

Happy rowing!

One day I’ll be amazing, okay. One day. 🙂




The Happy List: March + April

It’s been a while, eh?


1. Painting again!

2. Conquering my fear pf heights one step at a time

3. I finally found a No Face plushie! 

4. Decorate-your-own-egg– celebrating Easter in the office

5. First night out with new friends! 

6. I’ve never been that happy being surrounded by flowers! It was breath-taking!

7. FOR HEALTHIER CHOICES

8. My first 6 am shift ❤️

9. And to end the post– the best sunset I’ve seen

#604

This was obviously coming. I was getting tired of people constantly asking me when I would leave for Canada and at last, I was finally able to give them a date, even though it was a little too soon. But you know what’s more interesting? It’s that every decade of my life consisted of moving from one place to another so don’t be surprised when a few years from now when I’m in my 30s I’ll be living in another place.

*cough* Japan *cough*

Anyway, people have been telling me how wonderful Canada is. Without a doubt, it is. I’ve been here for almost a month now and Canada has been nothing but great! The weather is a little too much for me but the cold weather and constant rainjng aside, I have been having a grand time. I badly miss the Philippines, though. :”(

Let the photo slew begin!

 

  






 

 

 
 


Right now, it’s been hell trying to find a job. Cross your fingers I get one soon!

Love, a permanent resident of Canada, Mich 🙂

Bookish #7

Another wave of books coming your way! Here’s the list of books I’ve read for the past months. Also, I’ve changed the way I review but soon realized the new one’s much harder to do. I’ll probably go back to how I usually do reviews after this one. So, ha, happy reading! Or not. Warning though, I think I may have included a few spoilers in some.

This Song will Save Your Life, Leila Sales

The Good: I love that she’s able to portray teen angst so well. I also love that charming guy, Char. Pun intended. Read it and you’ll understand the pun.

The Bad: I was pretty much annoyed with some of the characters from start until it ended. I almost put it down but there were so many people saying it was a good book. Well, it had an okay ending.

Should I recommend? Mmyeah. Though I won’t be so enthusiastic.

I Wrote this for You, pleasefindthis
I Wrote this for You and Only You, pleasefindthis

The Good: I only have good words for these two books. They’re not novels, though. They are just compilations of short stories and poems that will hit it you in the gut.

The Bad: NOTHING.

Should I recommend? A BIG YES. Although, I only read the e-book version of this so you really need to find it (just like the pseudonym of the author :)). I’d buy the book when I see it.

The Distance Between Us, Kasie West

The Good: The story per se. It was great! I love the characters, especially Xander, and I love the parts where they try to introduce the other to a possible future profession, since they’re both still about to enter college.

The Bad: THE ENDING. It was too abrupt for me.

Should I recommend? Yes. I recommend all of her books, actually.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, Sarah Ockler

The Good: Mermaids. But not the real ones. This isn’t some fantasy novel. It’s real life. I just love that there’s a lot of talk about the sea and beaches in this book. I also happen to love the main character, Elise. And there’s a reason for it. You know how in some other books where there’s a hot guy that doesn’t stick to one girl just because he’s hot and can charm his way to any girl? And then he finds this girl who doesn’t find him attractive at first and then claims her to be ‘different from all the other girls he’s met’ and then you find him saying she’s the one? Okay, the book wasn’t exactly like this but close. But then Elise isn’t pretentious. At all. You’ll find her innocently charming and just a really beautiful person inside and out.

The Bad: Can’t think of anything.

Should I recommend? Of course!

My Life Next Door, Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Good: Jase Garett.

The Bad: It was a bit lengthy. It’s not really a bad thing but I just wished for a different ending. It was all good but it just didn’t feel right for the book to end the way it did. Because for one, there were still so many conflicts unresolved.

Should I recommend? I would. I should. I really love this book and thank God I finally read it. There was just something about the title and the book cover that kept me from reading it but when I finally did, it made sense to never judge the book by it’s cover. Ha.

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, Jennifer E. Smith

The Good: I love the story, really. I love that they both stuck firmly to their decision (you’ll know what if you’ll read the book), even if it was against Aidan’s. They were just being practical, right? I could relate with all the long distance thing while studying in college. It didn’t work for me though.

The Bad: I prefer the narrator to be the main character. I’d like a first person point of view, that way I can focus on who’s speaking. Because more often than not while I was reading this, I got too lost on conversations.

Should I recommend? Yes, if you like a quick read. It wasn’t really that long. And yes, if you like a book where both characters are already together from the start.

Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
Glass Sword (Red Queen #2), Victoria Aveyard
Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1), Victoria Aveyard
Steel Cars (Red Queen #0.2), Victoria Aveyard

The Good: EVERYTHING ABOUT RED QUEEN WAS AMAZING. One thing I loved about it was thinking you’ve got it all figured out but then another thing will get revealed and you’re left mind-fucked. Its like Victoria Aveyard got you wrapped around her finger. Its trully a good book and I’d love to see this on film! Oh, btw, it will be soon by the amazing Elizabeth Banks!

On book 2, I was thirsty for more Cal-Mare or Mare-Maven scenes. There were bits but they weren’t enough. Glass Sword focused more on the battle scenes and how they planned on attacking the opposing side. Also, ready your tissues because there’s going to be a gruesome death.

The Better: There are a lot of male characters.

The Best: They are all handsome and skilled and smart and cunning.

Oh, and about Queen Song, it’s just about the late Queen, Cal’s mother’s story before her demise. It was a little bit sad about how her life ended. While Steel Cars was all about Farley.

The Bad: On book 1 (and maybe also book 2), I hate to say this but I sort of compared it to many of the other dystopian novels and can’t help but think of the Hunger Games and most especially Divergent. There are similarities like from THG the love triangle thing, where she’s supposed to be seen with this guy but she’s really into the other one, and on Divergent, the whole she’s different from the others and she’s their symbol of the revolution as well as the division of houses but in this story, the division in abilities. But really, there’s a uniqueness to this book that just leaves you captivated.

Book 2 was actually a slow start for me. My attention drifted more frequently than I wanted it to which took me longer to finish this. Mare was a little annoying already and let me just tell you how great she was at reading between the lines (this was the annoying part). I got hooked probably halfway through.

Should I recommend? Definitely yes!

The Night We Said Yes, Lauren Gibaldi

The Good: I don’t know… It’s hard to think of the good parts when you really don’t like the book. Well, for one the cover was really nice and it was probably the reason I picked it up in the first place.

The Bad: It was a little boring for me.

Should I recommend? I wasn’t really into this book.

Confess, Colleen Hoover

The Good: The art paintings, oh my gosh! They were brilliant! Plot-wise, the whole ‘Confess’ thing was really good. I love how the painting’s inspirations were from people’s confessions and speaking of, what were Owen and Auburn’s first confessions? I can’t remember if those were ever revealed or I maybe just missed them?

The Bad: There were some parts that made me roll my eyes or want to shave my hair off. I don’t want to mention them because I still want to live. I’m looking at you, CoHorts. :—-)

Should I recommend? Yes. It was okay-ish. Although, this is Colleen Hoover. She has a lot of fans. Seeing as this is the first book from her that I’ve read, I wasn’t completely sold.

After You, Jojo Moyes

The Good: At first I told myself I’d never read this book because Me Before You broke me in so many ways. I thought I won’t really be interested in a world where Will Traynor doesn’t exist. But I read it, obviously. And damn would it have been a grave mistake if I didn’t.

The Bad: Nothing. Flawless book.

Should I recommend? YES. YES. YES. Me Before You left me sobbing like a bitch, of course this is highly recommended. Don’t read it unless you’ve moved on from Will Traynor’s death, though. You’ll find out why when you read After You. But if you’re a drama-lover, be my guest.

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Memories, Lang Leav

The Good: I love that the best of her works from Love and Misadventures and Lullabies were included in this lovely book. She crafts poems splendidly and I love every one of them.

The Bad: Because as I said, a part of it is a compilation of her previous books, there weren’t that many new poems.

Should I recommend? It’s an easy read. Like if you just want to read short stories that will pierce through your heart or just leave you smiling to yourself, then go right ahead.

The Time Keeper, Mitch Albom

The Good: Everything. I love how Mitch Albom perfectly connects the lives of people in his books. Every time I finish reading, I always have insights and he always somehow changes my view of life. He gives hope. 🙂

The Bad: Mitch Albom’s works are perfect.

Should I Recommend? Anything from Mitch Albom is highly recommended.

Waiting for You, Susanne Colosanti

Let me be direct. If I’m going to score this, I’d give it a 1 out of 5. Here’s a book full of cliches.

Should I Recommend? I really don’t want to.

Anatomy of a Misfit, Andrea Portes

The Good: The cover. And that’s probably the only thing. As I’ve read, this one was based on the Andrea’s teenage life, so may his soul rest in peace. It was pretty disturbing how he died (oops).

The Bad: Maybe I hate Anika Dragomir’s personality that’s why my take on this book is a little biased. I guess I just didn’t like how it was presented.

Should I Recommend? No.

The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer
#0.5 Glitches
#1 Cinder
#1.5 Queen’s Army

#2 Scarlet
#3 Cress
#3.5 Fairest

#4 Winter

Straight to the point: Should I Recommend? YES. DEFINITELY YES TO ALL BOOKS. I was honestly a little skeptical at first because the book covers made the book look like they were published decades ago, which isn’t a bad thing really, but I’m into YA published beyond 2000. It wasn’t eye-catching (I’m sorry I judge books based on covers). But really, these were the kind of books dystopian-loving people would rave about. They’re unique and pretty damn good. If you’re a love junkie, you’ll love Marissa Meyer because she’s so good at playing Cupid. The Lunar Chronicles is one heck of a story you’ll never forget. Movie for these, please!

xx

And I’m out! Never stop reading, k.