What I Learned Today: On Vacation

Eight long years after graduation and I finally got what I wanted - a real break from work. Ever since I joined the workforce, the longest vacation I've had was a 9-day break which included 5 workdays sandwiched between two weekends. Spent wandering around Singapore and Malaysia, the trip was really tiring as much as it's fun. There's also the (not so) occasional call from work and the constant beeping of my BB. 

When I decided to take up a new challenge in my career, which entails moving to a foreign country, I asked God for a favor to give me at least two weeks to rest, pack and spend time with my friends and family. But the heavens had other plans! I'm on my fifth week now, in between jobs, and quite honestly, getting a little restless. Call it withdrawal symptoms, but my body and mind longs for the demands of my job and its hefty dose of stress. I don't like being idle, but I force myself to look the other way. This is the break I've hoped for in a long time. More than deserving one, I needed one! Besides, I think this is also the heaven's way of telling me that it's okay to slow down a bit, and more importantly, to spend real, quality time with my loved ones. 

In the tradition of my What I Learned Today series, let me share a few thoughts I've had while sipping matcha tea from the neighborhood cafe, reading e-books, or while doing the grocery list. 

1. Stay-at-home parents have one of the toughest jobs on Earth! My mom is a kitchen diva, she's a natural. She cooks really well, but it's not her favorite house chore. I always frown at her when she complains how difficult it is to plan everyday meals. I mean how can that be so difficult? I never understood that until now. My mom is out of the country until December, and since I'm on vacation, I took over the kitchen duties. Two weeks into the job and I've already exhausted the list of "do's" and "da's" (adobo, menudo, afritada etc.). I wonder how my mom managed for the last 35 years! We haven't even started with the laundry, bathroom; then comes the kids, school work, social duties. Parents, moms especially, I suspect, are super humans.

2. A day is just a day. Sunrise and sunset, meals three times a day, and 24 hours essentially make up a day. It's going to be the same tomorrow unless you do something about it. You can sleep all day, watch TV 'til your eyes hurt or drown with too much social media; or you can go out and see the world. Spend time with positive people, visit your dearest lola, run that extra mile, try new things. You can never have too much to learn, and your supposedly idle days can be more fulfilling. 

Rekindling my love for bowling. I used to do this every weekend with my dad. :)

3. You'll be thankful you saved for rainy days. As much as I tried to be ready for this transition, I didn't expect my break will stretch for too long. Despite the setbacks the past months, I'm grateful to have saved enough to get me through. I still wish I saved more. The bills never stop, you know. 

4. Budgeting could mean everything. While I'm used to managing my own money, and even developed a fairly geeky tool, it's the first time I've tried my hand at budgeting for the whole household. In the last month, I've perfected my skills in scrutinizing the labels, ingredients, grams and price of every item in the shopping cart. I've discovered the best, off-peak time to do the errands to save time and gas, the perks and store discounts on certain days and how keeping a grocery list and bills tracker can save my sanity. 

5. Garbage in, garbage out. Eating and living healthy is a constant battle I've had for the past years. Staying at home, which means eating at home more often, gave me the opportunity to examine everything I put in my mouth. I have a long way to go when it comes to ditching soda and controlling sweets, but I'm happy to be eating healthier, more balanced and more natural food lately. I tossed all artificial flavor enhancers down the drain, and that includes MSG and anything "magical", "instant" and labeled "pampasarap".

I'm guessing I still have a few more weeks at home before I start my new adventure, hence, watch out for my next #LolaVibes and #DomesticDiva posts! :) 

Much Love,