Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Valentine's Surprise

This past week, D and I shared our first Valentine's Day together as a married couple. We had discussed it briefly the day before, and had decided that - as we had always done previously - we would simply ignore the made-up, fake holiday and celebrate our love whenever WE chose to, and decided to, and were inspired to. We made loose plans to go out for a nice fancy meal later in the week, and left it at that.

Mid-morning on Monday, D texts me at work, telling me he's going out grocery shopping, what wine should he get for the house? I respond by saying "Hey! Let's go shopping together later instead!" (It's this weird thing I have - I really love the ordinary-ness, the domesticity, the coupley-ness, of shopping together for the basics for our home. There's something about it that just makes me happy, in a very old-fashioned housewife kind of way.)

Anyway, my husband texts me back with: "You can't meet me because I'm shopping for the surprise dinner I'm making for you tonight." !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaaaaawwww!!! SO CUTE! So we decide that I would get the drinks, and he would do the food. I settle on a delicious Argentine Malbec wine, as D doesn't really like white wine, and although it's a little pricey, it IS a special occassion. (Someone mentioned Malbec on FaceBook last week, and it reminded me of my days in Buenos Aires, where we drank at least a bottle of that - or some other delicious red wine - daily. I'd been craving some good, robust red wine.) I also bought some French champagne - nothing too lavish, but bubbles are a veritable MUST at any celebration, and this was DEFINITELY a celebration!

I came home to a table laden with candles, my FAVOURITE cheese (Cambozola - a super-creamy gorgonzola blended cheese), fresh wholewheat baguette, and delicious buttery salmon sashimi and sushi rolls.

My husband very proudly showed me that, upon closer inspection, it was clear to see that he had rolled all the sushi himself, and made it into the shape of a heart!

Not only was the meal DELICIOUS, but it was all so lovingly and carefully prepared, and THAT'S what made it so amazing. D had run around our tiny island where things are so hard to get, and sought out seaweed wrap, fresh salmon which he himself cleaned and cut and rolled and prepared, he bought all of my favourite things that he knew would make me happy ...! We topped dinner off with some yummy steaks, which went PERFECTLY with the juicy Malbec, to round off the evening beautifully.

As to what happened after THAT... Well, I know my husband would be the first to assure you that all of his hard work most certainly paid off... ;)

I hope that every day is a day filled with love for you all. xoxox

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Weekend for the Record Books

I just had an UNBELIEVABLE weekend!!! AMAZING!!! The best one I’ve had in AGES! I woke up on Monday morning feeling INCREDIBLE!

Do you want to know what I did this weekend? AB-SO-LUTE-LY NOTHING. And it was blissful. Boracay is well known in the Philippines and – even beyond that – in much of South East Asia as THE party island. It is. There’s always something going on, always a bar pumping out music, always a drinks special to take advantage of, and as island-locals – it’s always someone’s birthday, or special event, or promotional party of some sort… In short, finding time to do NOTHING is a rare treat indeed.

This weekend I watched a ton of movies and series that I’ve been downloading over time, I slept a lot, I e-mailed a lot, I ate a lot of junk food… and that’s practically all I did.

Well – wait. We also tried to nurse a baby toko back to health. Tokay Gecko’s, known as Toko’s in the Philippines, are BEAUTIFUL. They grow to be about 30cm long, and are grey-blue in colour and have these bright orange spots on them. We have one that lives in our roof, and comes into the house in the evenings, hanging out on the wall eating the bugs swirling around the lights.
Tony the Toko, hanging out on our wall.

Anyway, we’ve grown quite fond of our Tony the Toko (as is clear by the fact that we've named him). We're slightly worried that he’s been eaten by one of the local cats as we haven’t seen him in about 2 weeks now. Anyway, Hubby rescued a tiny baby toko from the evil clutches of our neighbour’s cats on Friday, and we thought we’d look after him for a while, until he didn't seem so terribly traumatised by the event. He was so little – the size of my thumb! – and seemed to be blind, as his pupils didn’t dilate at all. We force-fed him some water, and I even caught a tiny moth which we put into his mouth for him, but he spat it out. By Sunday morning though, the little guy had died. We were so sad! RIP, little one!Tony up close. The colouring is quite remarkable!

And that was really the extent of my weekend. That was the most active thing we did. But it feels SO GOOD to have a weekend like that again. To not have to go anywhere, or do anything at all. To collapse on the couches in the lounge in a pizza-induced food coma and fall asleep to the latest James Bond film, to cook home-made pasta on a Sunday night and devour it together with my love while getting lost in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”… THESE are the things that make me truly happy.

I think I may keep up this pattern in future. I feel FANTASTIC.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Island Hoppin' to Scenic Cebu

So after a brief 3 and a half days of work following the madness of the FunBoard Cup, off I went for another adventure! This time, Hubby and I joined some friends and their visiting family members and set off for a long-weekend getaway. We flew into Cebu, and then took a 2 hour boat-trip to Bohol – a beautiful little island famous for its pristine beaches and unique wildlife (more about that later).

We arrived, checked into the hostel, and set off for a DELICIOUS, authentic Thai lunch on Alona White Beach. Next, we got geared up and got on the boat for 2 consecutive scuba dives. The first dive was a little uncomfortable for me – I didn’t have enough weight and kept floating up, then ended up over-compensating for it and going too far down… ugh. The second dive was magical. I love being underwater. There is something so beautiful and peaceful about hearing only your own breathing. I love how everything underwater has its own rhythm… everything sways in the current… to… and fro… Magic. The corals are spectacular and other-worldy, and Hubby and I stayed back from the group, holding hands as we swam. Breathtaking.

That night we went to an exceptionally good French restaurant, where I had escargots – for the first time in almost 10 years, I’d guess! Also delicious caribou cheese salad – creamy and spicy and decadent. Dori fish and crème brulee topped off what has been the best meal I’ve had in ages… bliss.

Day 2 we filled with sight-seeing. Our friends (one of the couples we’d come with) know the island very well, and hired a van with a driver to take us around and see as much as possible in our limited time there. We got to see Prony, the largest python in captivity (I don’t quite know WHERE, exactly – only in the Philippines, or in Asia, or in the world. Either way.) I also saw tarsiers, which are the CUTEST, teeniest little things ever!!! Smallest primates in the world, native to the Philippines, they look like little adorable furry gremlins – with the biggest bug-eyes you’ve ever seen! Want want want!!!THIS is a tarsier!!!THIS is how tiny they are!!!
Me and my little friend MJ, and Prony the Python.

We had lunch on a floating restaurant, on a cruise down the Loboc River, saw beautiful old churches and buildings, and went up to see the Chocolate Hills too – approximately 1800 mounds created from coral deposits, rain water, and erosion… and the passing of time.The Chocolate Hills

I loved this trip. It made me feel a little like a traveler again – traversing lands previously unknown (to me), discovering more beautiful parts of the world, experiencing the power and wonder of nature and the natural world that we as humans take for granted all-too-often…

I loved doing this with my husband too. We haven’t had much opportunity to travel together, and he’s an ideal travel-mate. Calm, relaxed, quietly appreciative of everything around him…

After a mad dash around Cebu before our afternoon flight – we caught a Sunday mass at a beautiful, grandiose 500 year old church, practically overflowing with pious Filipino Catholics; got our fast-food fix at Dunkin’ Donuts and later KFC, both of which we’re deprived of on our island; and a “big-city shopping-mall” experience – we were back on the plane and ready to head home.

And there is nothing quite like coming “home” to turquoise waters, palm trees, and sun. I love our little Boracay. I really do. I don’t know how long we’ll stay here, and when anyone asks, I always say “As long as we’re happy.” And we are. We really, truly are.