the first and probably the last time that i will ever do this in my life: hop on a plane to attend a birthday party in europe. i can never forget the night my sister called me to say that uncle david had generously offered to have us at his big 70th birthday bash in brussels. i was jumping up and down and shrieking like a madwoman. i can’t even begin to describe all the visa drama, all the knuckle-biting will-we-make-it-or-won’t we. but we did make it.
and it was wonderful being with family again. i’ll say that again: family. even though i’m sure half the guests was wondering who the heck these two asian chicks were. it means as much to me that marlon met the hargitts as he did my family in india, mostly because i had never thought it could really happen.
a birthday toast to the man himself
i met kathy, davey and patrick’s kids for the first time! meeting marie, nathanael, ayla and dimitris was like meeting characters in a book. i had grown up hearing all about them as they grew up (with the exception of dimitris, who was born just last year). i almost couldn’t believe i had never met them. it was like meeting anne of green gables or meg murry!
with gorgeous marie
patrick with dimitris and ayla
more dimitris! *squee*
i had my first taste of belgian beer. now i know what i was missing during all those childhood visits to brussels!
for the first time ever, i attacked the mind-boggling fresh seafood platter at brasserie georges with gusto. it had always completely repulsed me when i was a child and mcdonald’s was the pinnacle of my culinary desires. again, now i know what i was missing!
i ran all the way through brussels airport. don’t ask. it was right out of the amazing race. i’m just glad we made it to the flight on time, because otherwise these next few firsts wouldn’t have happened at all…
i visited the beautiful spanish town of malaga, on the costa del sol…
view from the castillo de gibralfaro, one of malaga’s moorish legacies
outside the museo picasso (he was born in malaga)
one of the chiringuitos a.k.a. grilled seafood shacks along the beach
… and ronda, in my beloved andalucia, for the first time.
ronda’s famous puente nuevo. i once saw this in a nick bantock book, but i had no idea it was going to be this massive or this breathtaking!
truly one of the most beautiful towns in one of the most beautiful regions in the world
in malaga, i saw my first flamenco concerts — as in all singing, no dancing. photography was forbidden in the theater where marina heredia performed, but in the little neighborhood pena (club) where i saw luis perdiguero, i was free to take all the pictures i wanted.
in ronda, i stepped into my first bullring.
and it was my first time to be in a location once featured in a madonna video! lol!
i got stuck in a foreign country for the first time, getting my first ever airline-sponsored overnight stay in amsterdam, where i just about had enough time for lunch at maoz (brilliant but cheap falafel chain i discovered in barcelona a few years ago) and a visit to the van gogh museum… which is still more than i ever saw during my week-long visit with the glee club many years ago.
queuing for almost an hour outside the van gogh museum
i love maoz! pwede kayang i-franchise sa manila?
hmmm. is that it? it seems my life ground to a halt after i came back from europe in april. how sad…
oh! i started yoga.
and OMG!!! how could i forget?!?!?! i bought my first designer bag! my beautiful, beloved miu miu gray coffer!!! and i now know why some women call their bags their ‘babies’. miu miu is love
now suddenly more than half the year is over. and there are new dreams afoot, new adventures on the horizon. time flies, indeed…