July travels: DC, Korea, and China

It has been two months since my last update.. the more I wait to write… the less I want to do because there  is so much to catch up.  End of June was very busy time at work, I barely managed to stay sane.

The girls were on vacation since second week of June so they’ve been entertained between places, playgrounds and playdates. On one weekend, I decided to join them and we went to island museum, a fun 3-D museum basically to take pictures

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Then I had to go to DC for work for 4 days… what a hectic trip, full day of work and night meetings, which paired with jet lag, left me exhausted. But I got to enjoy this view during morning runs

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and catch up with my friends

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one day after I returned from DC, I started our 10 days Korea trip. We arrived Seoul first. We visited temples

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ate tons of gigantic dumplings

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visited local zoo

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amusement park

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tried local desserts

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all made with glutinous rice

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spent a fun day at the largest indoor amusement park in Asia Lotta World

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had breakfast at local market

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then we took the express train to Busan, which we like much more than Seoul because it is a coastal city, less crowded, less chaotic.

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Gamcheon Culture Village was amazing.. a flavour of Santorini

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visited the beach during a sunset

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my love of life: you are so beautiful

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also visited a temple by the sea

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Busan BIFF square

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seafood market

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these two are so cute together

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then we took a short flight to go to Jeju, our last stop, the most relaxing place in Korea

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the next day we took a short boat ride with our rental car to visit Udo island… what a beautiful small island

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just driving around the island is so relaxing

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Sofia and Tony caught some crabs

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Hello-Kitty island to satisfy pink-mania

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Sofia and I got to the Shiroyama Hiji peak

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this view worths the 30 min of steep climb

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Jusangjeolli Cliff

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various waterfalls

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It was an intense 10 days while also relaxing because we didn’t have a plan other than the days spent in each city, so everyday I’d wake up and see where to visit, and we could adjust our schedules to our energy level. It was the hottest summer in Korea over the last 100 years. So it was really intense to go out during the day, but we managed and despite the heat we had fun. To give us all some rest, we would go home for a nap/rest before going out again, and that worked well.

The girls slept in one room, they’ve became best roommates and I loved saying good night to them at night, gave each one hugs, kisses, and high-fives.

After Korea, we spent 9 days in Shanghai, doing nothing but relax, visit family and friend before turning to Manila to start full speed. 🙂

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Life lately

Can’t believe I haven’t posted since I returned from the US trip. Well…. needless to say I was busy… busy at work like nobody’s business, and busy traveling… oh yes. I had two short trips. But let’s first recap highlights of what has happened

Sofia got interested in golf a while ago and I got her a kids golf set from my US trip. Now she has proper equipment

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and started to take class with Tony’s coach a month ago.

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she’s truly a natural! She learned to kick the ball far… when her mom struggled to hit the ball… how embarrassing but so proud of her

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Lizzy officially graduated from her crib. Se started to sleep in the sofa/bed and enjoys more space

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Sofia loves to go to eat at the school cafeteria.. and I’ve been taking her there whenever I can

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Lizzy started to like us to reach her

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and loving to swim as well… with her flotties.. she can swim

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I finally got to do a group run and it was a lot fun, although super challenging with the weather

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on weekends, I try to spend a lot of time with the girls

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they have so much fun together these days.. and I love seeing the sister love to grow every day

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Lizzy continues to be the funny person in the family… making us laugh at every occasion

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Last weekend i spent 2 hrs with her alone and we played all sorts of things

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we also read

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she changes her game every 10-15 min.. which is totally normal at her age

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but the jumping as olympics never gets old… she can go over and over again

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it’s the cutest thing to see

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so exciting

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I took a weekend trip to Shanghai for a conference. Met with my girl friends

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chat over a vegetarian buffet

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had lunch with my relatives

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and headed back home Sunday evening. Lizzy started to sleep at Sofia’s room because otherwise she’d come out from her room and asks Tony to sleep with her. Although Tony has been super nice to do so, it was just not good for either of them as they both get disrupted and can’t have a good nice sleep.

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since she moved in with Sofia, she has been sleeping so much better. She still wakes up sometimes, but after Sofia or I comforted her a bit, she can go back to sleep

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seeing the sisterhood to grow is incredible. I can’t describe the feeling… it’s magic, it’s more than I could ever expected.

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then this week I had a quick work trip, very last minute decision. I went to Jakarta from Tuesday to Friday. It was my first time to the city

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and I liked it a lot, especially got to stay at Ritz Residence for few nights

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the gym was super fancy

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I got to use it every morning after working at my room 2-3 hrs

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so I can have a late breakfast, which was not really vegan friendly. I had hard time to come up with food I like

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then Friday came quickly and I couldn’t wait to see these ladies again, especially that they were sick while I was gone, Tony too. They were all down and I felt so bad not being able to take care of them. But Tony did great, he took care of the girls and no complain. 🙂

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loving to play with them again. 🙂

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then I made tofu… yeah… first time trying out

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happy to report it was a success!!!

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Busy week and missing my family badly

It has been a really busy week. I checked in Crystal Gateway Marriot Sunday evening for our yearly conference, then came back to DC to my original amazing suite hotel “AKA White House” Wednesday afternoon. My days were filled with meetings… and… more meetings and work. They leave me mentally exhausted by the end of the day. They were all useful meetings with colleagues, to learn about their work, life, issues, projects. I find very interesting because it opens my mind of what’s possible, what others people are struggle with, which put me into perspective of my own issues and challenges. But the most important part, despite being tiring, that I like is the face to face, one to one chatting. It is so different than email communications when you have to second guess what they mean, how close the person is to you, how much they trust/distrust you, and same wise you transmit all these information to the other person. The fact that a coffee chat doesn’t come with a topic to discuss per se, it opens up more discussion. I enjoy that a lot.

What I’ve been eating

Breakfasts: hotel breakfast has limited vegan options. One day I had oatmeal with granola and fruits
French toasts with fruits
Whole wheat English muffin with avocado and banana

Lunches:

last weekend I met with friends and had brunch at True Kitchen. I started with kale aid

Entrée: seasonal warm salad with added grilled tofu
and we shared roasted cauliflower
Asian stir fry with jasmine rice at conference lunch buffet
More salads were consumed
Dinners

Whole food salad bar

one evening I met with friends for dinner at Queen Amannisa that served authentic uyghur food, my first time. We shared a couple of dishes

asian stir fryblack fungus salad
spicy tofu which I finished all by myselfmy friends shared a typical dish: lamb with homamade nan

finally we shared assorted uyghur desserts that are very similar to middle east desserts, a concoction made with honey and nuts
Trader joe’s cauliflower stir fry with soy sauce… yum yum
with added grilled asparagus
kabocha every night 🙂
When I had to work, I go to business center of my hotel so I don’t get distracted. The big apple screen was a plus!
Almost every evening, after I’m done with meetings or work, I go out for a walk to unwind. DC is beautiful. As I walk around, I had a strange feeling. DC used to be my home but it doesn’t feel like it anymore. Where is family? Buenos Aires? Shanghai? DC? Manila? Somehow they don’t feel home unless my family is there. Home is very family is.
I miss these girls sooo much, to the degree that I feel that they’re growing without me so fast. I know grandma takes good care of them but I know they need their mom as much as I need them.

A friend of mine almost decided to go to do a master thousands miles away from her family. I strongly told her that’s a bad idea because I know her and I know she won’t survive that. I wouldn’t. I need to hug them and kiss them every day!

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