Monthly Archives: December 2012

On Being Grateful

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So I am thinking that it was a total mistake to pressure myself to do something awesome with my life on this day. Since the start of the new millennium, I have always been wary of what happens when I wake up to a repeating date; I am a firm believer that there is something cosmic about numbers–ill-fated or otherwise. Then I realized being able to complete the 12-year-cycle of repeating dates, at least in this lifetime, is reason enough to celebrate.

Look, it’s Christmas.

In a perfect world, it is that time of the year where kids could not get enough of presents–and adults are just hanging out at celebrations, sipping wine, and talking about work and how things were like during the old times. In the real world, however, it is just another day with more spending happening than necessary. But there is something about the ‘air’, the smiles and the carols that create a merry vibe that will leave you all-giddy and cringing at the same time.

Another reason this season to be jolly is the End-of-the-World prediction; if, in fact, the world is ending on the 21st of December, then I just want to say how thankful and grateful I am of all the things that have happened in my life–good or bad, happy or sad. I can say I lived my dreams. Granted they were not exactly what I had in mind, but in retrospect, yeah, I pretty sure succeeded in what I wanted to achieve. Although my previous posts since the start of the year say the opposite (I swear they did not feel as shallow and depressing during those moments of weakness), but I know deep in my heart how blessed I am. So blessed that I have come to the point where I honestly do not want anything–material-wise, specifically.

I believe I already worked my way into saving for the things that I have been obsessed with all these years, or that I have always been (I hate to use this word but) privileged, hence I do not have the right to be resentful and/or decadent. But I guess all this stripping off brands and gadgets off my list is what comes with ageing, or shall we use the word maturity. I am now sublimely, absolutely and ridiculously satisfied.

There are still stuff out there that would be awesome to own, but for some reason, I am no longer as invested in sinking my teeth into any commodity the consumer-driven society I have grown to love to hate offers. Right now, I just pray my family stays fit, healthy and successful. I pray for the strength and motivation to complete my special problem in school and graduate in May 2013, if the Earth still exists. I pray for a kickass 2013, (again) if we are still here. And you know what, the thought makes me happier more than anything.

The shower of happies does not stop there–The Cole Walkabouts just turned THREE. Three years of pouring my heart out for the interwebz and (hopefully) beyond. Three years of trying to make something out of the clutter and voices in my head (that sounded so wrong). Three years of finding myself. And coming to this day, which I am really seriously hoping marks the end of this bitchin’ quarter-life crisis, I could not ask for anything more.

Although, now that I think about–never mind.

So have a fulfilled December, and live everyday as if it were your last–based on lucky numbers, Mayan or no Mayan [prediction].

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Bloody Metablogging

Alright, Lurkers, my apologies for going off the grid for quite a while. Moving from one country to another is one hell of a crazy phase–which for some reason I still keep on doing despite the consequences–plus the fact that my nth wind in writing has not completely breezed its way [back] to me yet. But here I am, all psyched to get my special problem (school) over and done with, and by all means, get back to blogging–travel or no travel.

Some two months ago (seriously, it has been two months already??), I joined a colleague, and UNICEF consultant-cum-fellow travel blogger, Andy Brown, in his quest to try laab ped or minced duck salad–a Lao specialty. I have been devouring laab from Day one in Vientiane back in 2009 and loving it since. It is prepared, basically, with minced meat (pork, chicken, beef, duck, fish, etc) tossed with some toasted black rice, heaps of red chili (optional) and mint leaves to top it off. Laab is perfect with tammakhoung (papaya salad), sticky rice and Beer Lao (you’re welcome!).

Laab Ped is pretty awesome

Laab Ped is pretty awesome

Andy wanted to try laab, rather desperately (Okay, not really!). But while I understood the enthusiasm, I could not help but wonder, “What’s with the excitement? It’s just salad. Also, they have it in Thailand!”

When they said try laab ped AND blood, I immediately thought the coagulated street-food type that I avoid at all costs (betamax in Pinoy). So you can just imagine my cringe-worthy moment when I saw this:

THIS.

That’s laab ped for you–drenched in duck’s blood.

Okay, now I shouldn’t be a hypocrite because Pinoys also serve a dish called dinuguan. But at least that one is cooked. Not fresh, and bloody red (so redundant but it can only be described as such), and…salty!

See that? It's like crime scene!

See that? It’s like a crime scene!

But I was there for a reason, and that reason is Cole Walks. And to blog about Andy blogging. So I dug in.

You see, it actually tastes pretty much the same as the regular laab. If you were to be blindfolded before trying this dish, I do not think the taste is that strong. Unless you are on Master Chef or something. Anyway, there was also Beer Lao involved, which is a life-saver in every food trip I have to say, I guess it was all good.

We also got to interview Andy about everything “British”; he even explained the correct usage of the expression ‘bloody’, which by the way, is NOT the context of this post’s title.

(L) All smiles UNTIL (M) Oh noooo! (R) He's taking notes. NOTES.

(L) All smiles UNTIL (M) Oh noooo! (R) He’s taking notes. NOTES.

When in Laos, excluding vegetarians and animal rights activists, try laab ped with blood. It’s an experience. Although, personally, it is way too extreme for me. But who am I to judge, Andy hates balut!

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Filed under Food and Dining, When In Laos

Zero In.

World AIDS Day 2012

It takes awareness. It takes understanding. It takes acceptance. 

It takes responsibility. It takes all of us to Get to Zero.

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Filed under Health