bonjour, Paris!

After hours and hours of being in transit, we finally arrived in Paris, France.  It’s still kinda surreal that I get to say (type) that.

Paris is one of the places that I get to check off my bucket list. I can’t thank the powers that be enough for this opportunity. I can’t help but be grateful of every blessing that has been given to me, this trip was one of those wonderful blessings.

In Paris, the family and I stayed in this cozy Airbnb in the 19th arrondissement. A bit far from the center but it was within our budget. When we arrived, we took the chance to explore the vicinity and have lunch at a nearby cafe.

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Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.

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We ate at Le Pavillon des Merveilles – an Alice in Wonderland themed cafe. It was decked out in huuuge cards and had other cute decors all around the place. The food was very good too, especially the dessert! I remember we had these chocolate cookies – yum!

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Bienvenue! Welcome!
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Alice in Wonderland themed.
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These cards were huge – human size!
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Croque Monsieur, Gazpacho,  and a veggie lasagna? I forget. Super yum though!

After lunch, we decided to take the train to the center of the city and explore some of the must see touristy things. What better way to see everything than by walking? So, we got our phones out, opened Google Maps and went exploring. Here are some of the places we saw on our walk – Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, and The Louvre Museum.

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Their public toilets, high-tech!

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pretty buildings…

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Notre Dame de Paris

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that iconic glass pyramid – you know you’re at The Louvre
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somebody’s happy

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The Seine with the top of the Eiffel Tower peeping out – magical!

 

And this was only day 1 in Paris!

 

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why do you?

i’m not perfect,
neither are you.
i accepted that
about you.
why can’t you
accept me, too?

why is it
every wrong step
that i make
it seems like
i committed a crime?

you make mistakes, too,
but i don’t condemn you.
no.
so, why do you?

jcg072316

(i doubt you ever did.)

image

i don’t know if you ever noticed.
i wonder, did you ever see it?
after a comment, a gesture, a look or expression from you,
did you see my eyes turn sad, my spirit dampen or my smile fade?
(i doubt you ever did.)
did you care enough to notice?
(i doubt you ever did.)

jcg 071716

KL Adventures through Instagram

On March 2016, I spent a few days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My sister had business there and I decided to tag along. I’ve never been to Malaysia, so it was great having to explore somewhere new. But since the pictures I took during the trip are still in the camera’s memory cards, I’ve decided to share some of the images I posted on my Instagram account, @xyrielle. When the pictures will be transferred, I’ll definitely post those here. In the meantime, here are my Instagram posts during the trip.

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Malaysian skies…
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Airport pic!
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Oodles of noodles at Secret Recipe
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Meet and greet with one of my fave authors, Sarah J. Maas
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and I had my books signed!
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Their McDonald’s has Pie ala mode
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Starbucks Coffee!
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Climbed those stairs at the Batu Caves
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said “hello” to the resident monkeys at the Batu Caves
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Pigeons! Rats of the sky.
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Tried their KFC, too. They have Zinger.. and surprisingly, not as spicy the the PH’s.
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Dinner at IKEA!
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and again at Secret Recipe.
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Lunch at Miss Kwan’s at Suria KLCC
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The iconic Petronas Twin Towers – a must in KL!

 

Looking back and moving forward.

The month of August has always been a turning point in my life essentially because it is my birth month. I turn a year older every year as the month ends. But there are so many things that make 2013’s August different from the years that have passed.

Firstly, on the month’s very first day, I got hired. It is my very first job. For being a sheltered youngest daughter of the family, actually getting hired was a big deal. In the couple of weeks that I’ve been at the office, things couldn’t have been better professionally. My actual job utilizes things I’ve slaved over in university. I count myself lucky because of that. Finding that job vacancy with a job description that actually involves something I’ve studied was extremely serendipitous.

Secondly, I’ve been feeling a bit of heart-ache the past few weeks. As they say, some things just aren’t meant to be. With that, though, I’ve learned so many things. I have learned that relationships need a lot of work. Affection and feeling are never enough for everything to work out. I have come to realize that letting go can also mean growing up. After all, the only constant thing in life is change and I have come to accept that the change needed now is the one thing that has always been there for years. Yes, it’s very hard for me to think that this person will not be there anymore but that’s how life is. Change. This is the change I need. The change I need to be better and to grow.

Lastly, I’m turning a year older next week. Age-wise, I’m an adult.  I’m not a teenager anymore. All the dreaming, wishing, hoping and the “when I grow up…” statements can actually be fulfilled.

The situations in my life lately have pushed me to look at the bigger picture and forced me to see things clearly. This made me see what I want in life, especially in the near future. I’ve set goals in my head. Although some are petty, each of these goals are things for me to strive to gain so that I can improve myself and my life. I have realized that things I have dreamed about before can be achieved now, with hard work and time. I feel as though I can do anything I could ever want to do. That feeling is so liberating. It is as if nothing can stop me. And I won’t let anything do that. I won’t let anything or anyone hold me back and keep me from attaining all my goals and making my dreams come true.

For when you’re feeling down…

There are times when circumstance forces you to evaluate everything in your life. You question almost everything. Why did that happen? What does it mean? What’s going to happen now? If something happened that was significant enough to alter a little bit of you unexpectedly, you tend to question that event. You think and think. You go over every small detail just to see where things changed, if it could have been avoided. You beat yourself up over it. You blame yourself; you blame others. You become sad and down. You become pessimistic. You’ll feel that things will never look up and not get better. 😦

I’ve realized that feeling that way is very understandable. Hey, something drastic happened to you. It may have damaged you, in a big way or not, but it affected you in some way. It’s expected to feel low… but it shouldn’t end there. Things do get better. Albeit, now, it doesn’t feel like it will but it will.

Remember, the world is vast and full of possibilities.  There is always something new. Fate dealt you a bad hand, so, there’s a chance fate will deal you a good one, right?

Am I still a Bookworm?

photo from weheartit.com

Since I was a kid, I’ve been reading books. I can remember clearly that the very first book that I finished cover to cover was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was still in the 4th grade and the movie was just about to come out. One of my sisters, who is a die-hard bookworm, influenced me. Within the month, I finished the four Harry Potters that have been released. Then waited and waited and reserved and was always there to buy for the release of the 5th, 6th and the last book of the series.

Reading novel length books when I was younger actually helped me in school. Whenever we took those comprehensive exams, it would always result into me having a superior reading comprehension rate. I vaguely remember that when I was 5th or 6th grade, I was reading at the level of upperclassmen high schoolers.

During that time, I dubbed myself a bookworm. I was one of the few who went to the library and borrow some books. I read a lot of Nancy Drew books back then.

There is nothing like reading. It makes you smart! It is both fun yet your brain is actually doing something, you know? You get to be chilled out and be so relaxed, too.

With this blog post, I have to admit, I haven’t been reading anymore noteworthy books. I try to but sometimes, they seem so heavy to me now. (Is this me getting non-smart? Noo!) Maybe I’m only cut out for light reading now.

This part here is where I rant about books that I’ve read, I’ve tried to read, or will someday read.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien I am ashamed to say that I tried to finish this. I really did. But it gave me headaches. So I gave it up. I did see all the movies though. Hopefully that counts for something… but not really. So, maybe, A Song of Fire and Ice is out of the question, then? I can’t even push myself to watch Game of Thrones. Gah!

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series (by Michael Scott) – My sister has first edition hard cover copies of the books… and I only read the first one, if I recall correctly. The book did have the same feel as Harry Potter, in my opinion.

I did breeze through the Hunger Games books (by Suzanne Collins) though. I read through the night with those books. I guess its fast pace got me hooked.

I’ve read all of Rick Riordan’s books that involve mythology: The Percy Jackson books, the Heroes of Olympus books that have been released (and am I waiting for the next one), and the Kane Chronicles. I’ve always been interested in mythology as a kid. These books have fast paced adventures that were very nice for me to read.

I read the Hex Hall books (by Rachel Hawkins) last semestral break. I was bored and I wanted to do soothing with my time. It was a fun read though. I literally laughed out loud at one point.

Just goes to show I am not for those slow epics. The epic fantasy tales of traveling, fights and adventures don’t really capture my interest much.

I have to be honest and say that I have read all the Twilight books… and I have mentioned that I enjoyed them. Slightly. The story wasn’t really that good, but it was a love story nonetheless. I happen to enjoy love stories, that’s just the girl in me.

Also, I have read the majority of the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn in the past years. I’ve always liked those period novels. They give a different feel and flavor of romance that is so rare nowadays.

So, for the past months, I’ve convinced myself to read the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices series (both by Cassandra Clare) later.  Sadly, I’m still at the first couple of chapters. School’s been a distraction.

You can picture it now. If you’d give me a book to actually read, I’d be given a romance novel, filled with swoon-worthy moments and sweet words minus the smut, of course.

For the record, I have no interest in those 50 Shades books. Those are way past the level of “icky” that I can take.

Lately though, I’ve been leaning towards the Young Adult genre. That is so typical! (I’ve been looking up YA books at Goodreads.) I enjoy it and that’s what matters. And more importantly, I want to branch out. Read more of the Classics, try to read those epic tales, maybe venture into non-fiction? I’m not sure yet but we’ll see.

So, the question. Am I still a bookworm?

There’s something about Twilight.

This is not a review!

So, just yesterday, I went to see the last movie of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2.

I’ve been a semi-fan of the saga. When I found out online that some romance/vampire movie was being made, I became interested. That’s just the sap in me, maybe. So, I read the books and breezed through all of them. Not the best that I’ve read but the story was quite compelling… or maybe I just can’t resist that kind of love story.

Trust me, I am not a fan girl, even though I got the whole book set for my 18th birthday. They now lay in a box, gathering dust!

Through the years and watching all the previous movies, it became rather boring. Honestly, I became more intrigued with the actors’ lives and their other projects rather than all the Twilight hype. But seeing the last movie made me remember what got me interested in Twilight in the first place.

It was that love story and I saw that in the last movie. Although the whole Twilight saga is made up of very farfetched story lines, in its essence, I think, is a very special kind of love between the two lead characters.

In the books and also in the last movie, I saw something that people would die to have. It’s not living forever, immortality or special powers. That’s a plus but being with that certain someone; having the courage to give up everything, even your own life for that someone (without really having to); feeling lifeless when that person leaves you; going against all odds just to be with that person – deep inside, these things are what we want to feel and want to have. We all want to experience that kind of love – a true, passionate, unconditional love.

My thoughts of Twilight may be found in any other romantic novel or movie out there. They’re not the best movies ever or the best books ever, they still give a simple yet true message. Even if presented in the weirdest and most twisted way possible, love is what it’s all about… the true kind, the passionate kind and the unconditional kind. In my opinion, nothing tops that.

BTW, I did enjoy Breaking Dawn Part 2. It was the  best one out of the whole series, me thinks.

How Blogging Affected Me

So, i was looking and reading blogs all throughout the inter-webs, and I wondered how so many blogs exist and how these bloggers continue to just have heaps of ideas and stuff to write about. Look at me, for example, I haven’t “blogged” about anything in days simply because lately, no event has been deemed “blog-worthy” to me. Maybe I am just picky about my topics or maybe i’m just too plain and boring to have an interesting life, it still doesn’t change the fact that I had nothing to share to the blogosphere. So, here I am.

Google-d ‘blogging’ and this was the first image result. 🙂

Again, I was browsing through random blogs, right? As I was reading the stuff they’ve posted, it occurred to me that these bloggers know their stuff. What I mean is that, they know what to write about. I guess they just know what they want to tell the world. And with my usual over-thinking self, I realized that these people had solid identities. They knew who they were inside and out. They are very much sure as to who they are for they are able to share to their readers their thoughts, likes, dislikes, etc. They all had unique personalities.

These thoughts brought to mind the very harsh words my sister told me: “You don’t have a personality.” Ouch, right? It sucks to know that someone perceives me to be lacking of a personality. Hell, it’s my sister!

But anyway, she explained that I don’t have a personality due to my not having any “hard-core” hobbies. You see, i do whatever I feel, whenever I feel like it. A freewheeler, you might say. (See what I did there? LOL) I don’t want to box myself in with regards to what I want to do for fun.

Despite that though, there are a few activities that I tend to do more than others, like reading and writing, like going on food trips, like taking photos – stuff you might see here on my blog. Still, those things aren’t enough for my sister, I guess. And no, she is not a villain for saying that to me. She just said that to “guide” me in life, as she feels i’m not moving forward nor up. LOL

Whew. That was a lot.

I’ve come to a realization as i write this blog entry. (that blogging is cathartic!) With regards to my personality, hey, maybe I just don’t know myself that much yet. I haven’t really bloomed and became conscious of who I am and who I was becoming till i started university. The past years, I’ve really looked at myself – the good, the bad, the things in between and I’ve made visible changes. I am getting there, I think. I guess it all boils down to me knowing who I am so that I can be true to myself and share that truth to the world… hence, the blog.

Am I making any sense? (Anyway, rant over.)

On this day…

I am having this post scheduled at 12:01am Philippine time. Why so specific? It is because it is the start of the 30th day in August – my birthday.

image found via Google

I’ve decided to dedicate a blog post to the things that I am thankful for. If interested, read on. Pardon writing mistakes, if any.

  1. My life. Of course, I am very much thankful for having reached 21 years. It seems like a long period of time, but having lived through that length so far, it doesn’t feel that way. Hopefully, more and more years to come 🙂
  2. My parents, mostly my father. Although he and i have not been seeing eye-to-eye on things lately, I am very much grateful of all that he has done for me.  Giving me all the things I could need, indulging my sometimes unnecessary wants (while shopping!) and mostly, for providing me with an education. I think that going to school & being able to achieve that degree (soon) is one of the best gifts he gave me.
  3. My sisters. They are both elder. They are my guides. As elder siblings are, they are very protective. They have taught me so many things and have given great advice. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. I am very thankful for all that they’ve done. The two of them are preparing me for proper adult life after school and I am very appreciative of that. Sometimes, it’s like they’re the ones raising me and I hope I don’t disappoint.
  4. My niece. I have a 7 year old niece. She turned so 15 days ago. Despite her age, she’s taught me a lot. She taught me to be kinder, wiser and more responsible. I am thankful that she is in our family… things would have been different otherwise. She is our glue. Our center. She’s very cute, too!
  5. The boyfriend. He just makes everything better. He always makes me laugh. He makes me happy. He encourages me. He berates me. He puts me in my place. He appreciates me. And he thinks I’m amazing, which is debatable. He’s always there for me no matter what. I am so so very thankful that I met him 6 years ago. My life wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t.
  6. My friends. They’ve brought me joy. They are always there. Always ready to listen whenever there are problems. Always there to share that super random joke. Always there to reminisce about old times and then not stop laughing about it. I am thankful for them for always being there. (If you read this, I love you, guys!)
  7. Surprisingly, the people who’ve done me wrong. The people who have been mean to me and who put me down. There are a few of them, I tell you, since grade school. Imagine that? LOL I am very much thankful for them because they’ve made me strong. They’ve made me realize that whatever they might say against me or about me, they can’t hurt me. I am stronger than that. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eh?
  8. My mistakes. In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about regret. I am thankful for these mistakes. They are examples of what I mustn’t do ever ever again. They can help me move on, help me be better. Although a bad experience, it’s still a learning experience.
  9. Music. I am thankful for music. It’s the thing that I run to whenever I have problems. Music is my consign friend. It never fails to know exactly how I feel and it never fails to make me feel better.
  10. Photography. Weird, I know. How could I be thankful for that? Let me explain. See, I’ve never been the usual artsy type. The one that draws well, paints well, etc. I’ve never had the hands to  do those things. With photography, it gave me the means to be “an artist.” For me, art is a means of expressing yourself creatively. Photography (or my attempt at it) gave me that outlet and for that I am thankful.
  11. Technology. In the years that passed, technology was rapidly evolving. I remember when I was a kid, it felt cool to have a PC running Win98 at home. Win98! Then years passed, we got ourselves an internet connection and then came everything else. I am thankful for technology because it opened my eyes. It showed me what’s out there in the world. All the places to see, the billions of people, all kinds of food all over! It’s amazing. It’s funny how technology made the world seem small and accessible yet rather big and vast at the same time.
  12. My inspirations. There are many, so so many – from people to things to places. How? With not going into specifics, well, these things are my driving force. They give me motive and they inspire. Because of these, I am influenced to be the best and to do my best, to achieve certain things and to go certain places. I am thankful for them and for the push that they give.
  13. This blog. Without it, I’d never get to have an outlet for all my thoughts.
  14. YOU. My blog’s readers. Seeing my stats and knowing somebody viewed my blog always makes me smile. So, thank you, reader. You make my day whenever you click onto my blog.

So, happy birthday to me! Yey, 21!