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Dinner after midnight

sunset-heart-by-the-beach

I sat on a chair across the band; gulped cold beer from a bottle while waiting for our food. My companion left for the loo. The band began to play. I can see her from the corner of my eye, walking slowly with a basket in her hand. “Would you like to buy some peanuts?” she asked me. I gave a lazy smile and said, “no, thanks”. She sat on the chair opposite us, carefully placed her basket half full of peanuts on the table as she watched the band. She looked like she was 60 or 70 years old but I can never conclude as I only based my assessment from her and my mother’s appearance. She looked much older than my mom who is now in her late 50s.

Our food arrived; we ordered two courses but they were too much for just two people moreso that I eat less. I asked the waitress to give us one extra plate, spoon and fork. I placed food on her plate and gave it to her with a glass of water before we began eating as I didn’t want her to think that we are giving her our leftover. She accepted and thanked me shyly.

I was enjoying my food when I unconsciously threw glance at her and noticed that she seemed hungry. It was 8PM, a bit late for dinner. She must have eaten early before leaving home to sell her peanuts, I thought. “Let’s buy some of her peanuts later”, my companion said after noticing that I was looking at her.

After she ate, she approached us with a smile full of gratitude. She handed us two packs of peanuts. “Allow me to thank you for your graciousness with these peanuts. You know, I normally eat after midnight usually around 1AM when all my peanuts are sold. I would run to the food stalls near the park and ask for a soup which they give for free after midnight. I would then go home to eat my supper of soup and rice.”

We didn’t know what to say. We were hit with a pang but couldn’t show it. Instead, we told her we will buy 10 packs and pay for all of them. She insisted on giving us two packs for free but we refused. We knew that two packs could already buy her a decent meal so we urged her to accept the money. She did, thanked us wholeheartedly and proceeded selling to other customers.

After dinner we dropped by at the apartment, took six pancakes leftover from breakfast and brought it to four students with the peanuts. People say peanuts are food for the brain so the old woman’s peanuts were perfect for the students who were preparing for their exams until after midnight.


New life down under

It was only when I was already on the plane to Sydney that it started to sink in that I am moving here. Having gone through many ups and downs, I did not expect much of what my life will be like here.

Dawn above the sky

Sydney Australia

I left home on Friday at 6:30 and arrived in my new home in Sydney Saturday at 13:15. It was a tiresome trip from 30 degrees to 15 degrees. My body felt frozen but I still managed to grab groceries. I was ecstatic to find out that my area has a lot of Thai restaurants – I’ve passed by at least 6 of them – as well as Thai massage. The area is actually very Asian as most restaurants are either Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Vietnamese. But because I just came from Bangkok and my roommate Lavina from Taipei, we opted for Japanese food. I fell asleep at 20:30 still holding my phone.

I woke up Sunday feeling energised. Since Lavina has only a week in Sydney before moving to Macquarie University, we decided to be tourists for a day. We were lucky the weather was pleasant, sunny and not too cold. And on top of that, my place is close to the Sydney Harbour, just 10 minutes through a free bus! How cool is that?!

Sydney Harbour

Our first stop was at The Rocks along Sydney Harbour. It is known as the land of the Gadigal people and the first place of European settlement in Australia. During weekends there are stalls all over the streets selling various products so it is fun to walk around. There were also musicians playing soothing songs and instrumental. From there you can get a good view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Opera House

Mugs at The Rocks Sydney

Wall decor at The Rocks Sydney

The Rocks Sydney

Watch necklace at The Rocks Sydney

We had lunch at Phillip’s Foote, a hidden gem within busy The Rocks established in 1975. The restaurant is a bit hidden behind a pub, we would not have found it had Lavina not seen the ad on steak at $40 for two to commemorate their 40 years anniversary. We loved discovering this restaurant. With trees and plants around, you can’t ask for a better ambiance after a long day of walking. And their steak was just delicious. You have to grill it yourself which was an added fun.

Photo from Phillips Foote Facebook Page

Photo from Phillips Foote Facebook Page

My massive lunch!

My massive lunch!

After lunch we went to the Opera House and walked to the Royal Botanic Garden. This park is huge; a perfect place to chill out when readings and essays will begin to drown me. Across the park is the State Library of NSW. When I saw the library, my heart skipped a beat. I can’t believe I live close to everything that nurtures my soul!

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

State Library of the New South Wales

From SLNSW we walked to St. Mary’s Cathedral the prettiest church I’ve been to next to Westminster Abbey in London. It was amusing though because just outside the cathedral there was an ice skating rink which I bet was only for the weekend.

Inside St Mary's Cathedral Sydney

Across St. Mary’s Cathedral is Hyde Park, another good place to relax. From there we walked back, dropped by the dirty market to grab fruits and headed home.

I had a dynamic life in Bangkok but moving to Sydney was a huge change, I still can’t help but feel uneasy. All I did in the plane when fear started to creep in was meditate. I told myself to live in the moment and deal with whatever challenges that will come with calmness and kindness. I let my expectations low so that I will be less disappointed. And as it turned out, the universe seemed to be conspiring to grant more than what I could hope for a home away from home including housemates that I am now so fond of. I can only wish Lavina will stay longer coz other than she is the sweetest, she also brings the vibe of positive change, new beginnings and adventures. But short was our time together I am grateful we found each other; two kick-ass women plunging into an ocean of risks and possibilities.

Sydney harbour with the Opera House


In the day when our life comes to the point of change

This week has been extremely draining. The worse is it’s not because I am busy with work but because I am in the middle of a huge change. I have exactly 2 weeks left in the office and in Bangkok. After which I will spend 2 weeks on vacation back home in the Philippines before flying to Australia to start graduate school.

Today I could not work. I am sick, actually. My brain cannot – do not want to — function. I am in a mixed emotion between separation anxiety and metathesiophobia which is ironic because people know me as a risk-taker and one who dreads routine.

A friend posted a video of my favorite Thai song on Facebook (the only Thai song I know, actually). I have been listening to this song for more than 2 years. I listen to it before I sleep. I listen to it in the taxi on my way to the airport, on the plane, and in my hotel room. I listen to it in my daily train ride if I am not reading a book. I listen to it at ungodly hours and unearthly places. It’s one of the only 12 songs I downloaded in my iPhone.

I first heard of it at the farewell dinner of one of the most important and instrumental persons in my life. How time flies. Now that person is back in Thailand and I am the one leaving. We will have dinner on Friday, probably our last. Whether our paths will cross again in the future, only God knows.

Did I say I have been listening to this song for more than 2 years? Then I must add that in those times I did not bother searching for its English translation. I have no idea why. But today, I did. Listen to the song below with both Thai and English subtitle.

And indeed, songs become more powerful when they speak to us and hit us to the core. This song did just that.