Life in the Fast Lane

A TRIATHLETE'S MULTISPORT ADVENTURES, TRAVELS, RANDOM MUSINGS, AND CHRONICLES OF HER OTHERWISE ORDINARY LIFE

2012 Holidays

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I always look forward to the Holidays because that's when I use up a number of my allotted yearly VL's. As much as possible, I try to go on leave a few days before Christmas so that I can cram my Christmas shopping, then I go back to work a day or two after New Year's Day.

A few days before Christmas, I went shopping by myself, which I actually enjoyed. When I'm alone, I can take my time, go back and forth from shop to shop, and even "date" myself in restaurants. Since I don't follow a set schedule on such days, I'm able to notice/observe things, unlike when I'm rushing.

This caught my eye while I was buying dessert on that particular day: a little girl who sauntered up to the dessert display and started snapping and post-processing food shots. She would probably be me if I were four or five years old (and if I already had access to a smartphone at that age).


The 22nd was a full day. It started off with an outreach party for the communities surrounding my church. I got to play photographer for the day, and most of us were blessed enough to give gift packs and grant specific "wishes" that some of the people in the community wrote in these personalized cards. It was a fun day, made more meaningful because many people got to understand the true meaning of Christmas.



Later in the afternoon, my TB friends came over for a loooooooong Christmas lunch that extended 'til dinner time, practically. It was nice to catch up and reflect on the year that was.


The 23rd was a day to remember because it was the day my brother Chuck proposed to his girlfriend, Anna. It was a family occasion as well because we (my family and I, as well as Anna's immediate family and relatives) were involved in the planning and execution stages of the proposal.

In secret, my family and I drove up to Subic while Anna and her family were at Anvaya Cove. As the sun set, in the presence of their families, Chuck popped the question to Anna by a footbridge in Anvaya. As for the specific details, I'll wait until Chuck gives me the go signal to spill the beans.


(iPad doodle that I made for them shortly after their engagement.)

We stayed in Subic and drove down to Manila the following day, the 24th, to make it home in time for the Christmas festivities.

The Zorrillas came over for Noche Buena, then we threw a party for our helpers' and driver's families — complete with games and tons of raffle prizes.



Then we opened presents shortly before midnight. Since I haven't uploaded all my holiday photos yet, these snippets from Instagram will have to do for now. Needless to say, I wanted to make sure my family would stay fit in 2013 by giving them new running/training shoes. Toby's or Planet Sports, I can be your endorser!


On Christmas Day, the 25th, we usually have two reunions: lunch with my paternal grandfather's side (the Aranetas) and dinner with my paternal grandmother's side (the Caparases).

Here are just some of the Aranetas scattered all over the Philippines. We're so many that it takes years before we can actually throw a grand Araneta reunion. Plus, these big ones are usually held in the Araneta Coliseum. No joke.



With my siblings and first cousins.


I always have fun with the Caparases because lots of laughter and games are involved. Also, our dinners are usually themed, which means we look coordinated in photos.

This time, we chose to do prints. Meet my wacky extended family!



A day after Christmas, we rested, I watched the Downton Abbey Christmas Special (still mad after what happened), and slept.

The next day, we were at Enchanted Kingdom for some kiddie and not-so-kiddie fun.


It also marked Anna's first outing as our soon-to-be family member. Yihee!


Oh, I changed my look again just in time for the new year. Talk about welcoming 2013 with a bang (pun somewhat intended).


And since it was (and still is) Metro Manila Filmfest season, my siblings and I watched El Presidente. I think I'll reserve my thoughts on that movie for another entry.


On my last morning of 2012, my sister and I took the dogs to Starbucks. While they chilled, we enjoyed what was left of the Christmas drinks.


That night, we had dinner in Chelsea with our cousin Miggy, who usually sleeps over on New Year's Eve. The food was sumptuous and we walked away with happy bellies.



We also had our annual family holiday pics taken.

(Photo collage by my sister, Cooky.)

Shortly before midnight, we feasted on candies, crackers and dip, and fruits, and toasted to the year that was and the year to come.



New Year's lunch the following day was with the Zorrillas at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang. The menu: dimsum and duck goodness.



And finally, on my last day of vacation, I ran errands and capped it off with dinner at Café 1771. Once more, my tummy was satisfied, especially with the raclette. Cheese is my heaven.


(Photo collage by my sister, Cooky.)

I'm glad, though, that I was able to fulfill one of my goals, which was to exercise during the Holiday break. As a result, despite all the food I enjoyed, I didn't gain weight. Thank You, Lord.

(Trying to hold the plank position for longer than a minute. 
Still working on my upper body strength.)

Looking forward also to the next few days because there'll be some post-Christmas get-togethers that didn't happen earlier because of conflicts in schedule.

I hope you had a restful and meaningful Holiday vacation, and that you're as excited as I am to welcome what 2013 brings!

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