La dolce vita

I got to hand it to March, it had the makings of an ideal month. Although work has had me on my toes from Mondays to Fridays, my weekends were the ultimate pick-me-upper: fully booked with unforgettable dates with family and friends, where love and light were unfailingly served at the table. Our hearts and stomachs were stuffed with so much joy, I could not help but wish for life to forever be this deliciously sweet.

By default, the end of my workweek typically means taking two jeepney and two train rides to get to my twin sister. We would either 1) give in to the comforts of staying in at her apartment, watching the latest Suits/Scandal episode or a recently downloaded romantic comedy or 2) be adventurous enough to make a trip to the mall or meet up with friends over good food and even better conversations. But one thing we couldn't pass up would be our "happy weekend meals"—usually Sunday brunches—where we would indulge in our latest cravings or try that restaurant everybody's raving about. The way to our hearts would definitely be through our stomachs.

Meeting the kolehiyala sisters up north is also a solid weekend habit, and is easily one of my favorites. Sunday brunches in and around the foodie haven that is Katipunan is the closest thing to home, wherever we may end up dining. We try our best not to repeat restaurants and so far we're doing a great job at it. Plus, with the influx of students in this side of the metro with varied tastes and moods, a new quirky diner is bound to open up every other month or so. One Sunday we gave Katsu Cafe and B. Wings a try for lunch and dinner, respectively, and both of which got our sign of approval. We also got to support Kara in her first ever Judo competition since she joined the team out of curiosity just that semester. It sure hurt to see her being taken down on the mat and to only bring home the bronze but we're proud of her and the rest of her team nonetheless.

One time I was feeling a tinge of homesickness and quickly decided to made the trip to the university and the dorm I called home for four years. As soon as I entered it was like all my longing for something uncertain disappeared into thin air. I got to catch up with the residence halls staff and my dorm dad while I was at it. What a relief. Still, nothing else spells "home" than being with my dorm girls. We hadn't seen each other for what felt like ages so it was so sweet of Iko's boyfriend Mico to offer to cook us dinner one workday night, for us to get-together. We were of little to no use in the kitchen but what we lacked in domestic skills we made up for with shocking and embarrassing stories that gave everyone a good laugh and a hell of a time, especially during the spontaneous little sleepover that followed.

Still in high spirits after spending the lovely afternoon at the adorable 14 Four Cafe in Antipolo with Jam and Jose, I made my way to yet another artsy cafe along Taft in Manila to meet one of my closest, dearest friends from college, Desiree. Unfortunately, Cafe de Seoul's signature drinks weren't available at the time and so we had to escort ourselves out and find an equally good alternative. A few footsteps away is Holly's Coffee and it was a serious no-brainer that we chose to stay there, what with its cozy ambiance matched with its yummy green tea latte and raspberry mocha kiss frappe. It was then when Dess surprised me with her news of vacationing in her long-time dream destination, London, with her friends on the following week. I couldn't be any happier and more excited for her as she chases after her dreams.

My reunion with Adelle and Ludy was one that was so long overdue. The last time I saw Adelle was probably in January 2013 when I handed her the little pasalubong I brought back home from my big American adventure for her, Ludy, and Ana. Ludy, on the other hand, I hadn't seen since I left for the States. As per usual and after deliberately scouring the Internet for new places to hang out in, I was back in Katipunan. We had some pasta and sausages for brunch with some interesting and funny tales on the side in Derf’s before having our frappes and more meaningful conversations at Third Cup Cafe. It was also good to have one of my closest guy friends, EJ, show up after possibly more than a year of not seeing each other. From his corporate career to his teaching stint to his recent vacation to London and its neighboring cities, we sure had a lot to catch up on.

And if that day of reunions was not enough, I, along with my sisters, were invited to our cousin Miggy's moving up ceremonies celebration at their residence on the last minute. An invitation which, of course, we gladly and graciously accepted because we were happy campers and who could seriously say no to food? The dinner table was nothing short of a feast; we had anything and everything the mind and the mouth could dream of. As we enjoyed the food and the company, we didn't realize we lost track of time. And as all spontaneous things go, so I have learned in my very random life, my sisters and I decided to stay the night. But instead of getting our shuteyes while in borrowed pyjamas and lying on sofas and mattresses in the family room, we ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning to our new friend Margaux, who skips small talk to ask level-up pageant questions and who had a flight to catch early the next day. It was so much fun—the schoolgirly, sleepover fun I can't believe a twenty-two-year-old would still want at this point in her life.

Prilla had been inviting us to visit her in Resorts World for the longest time and since that's in what seems like farthest part of the city, it took us eons to do so. But when we finally did, we dedicated an entire evening with her some hours before we were scheduled to be at the airport close by for our flight home. As I have always said, walking through Resorts World feels like being in a different country. Not sure if it's its grandness, the abundance of foreigners, or something else. We had a simple dinner by the posh casino and then some chocolate gelato as we caught up with the latest on each other's lives. Next to Karina deciding to humor herself on camera since we had the airport shuttle all to ourselves, the highlight of the night-turned-morning would still be having the brilliant idea of waiting for our four a.m. flight at the airport since midnight only to end up standing by at the wrong terminal with only fifteen minutes until our check-in counter closes! Let's just say we owe it all to our cab driver who rushed us to the right place and made it to our flight in time.

By the end of the month, we were home for an extended weekend—a break I had long needed... Short but sweet as we squeezed in the essentials: It was our grandmother's birthday and it was (and still is) always a great idea to spend time with family. We also got to play with our beautiful then-baby now-toddler cousin who had been living under our roof for the time being. We met up with our longest friends, our soul sisters from elementary school late on a Sunday night and got our little crazy on, as always. It's so different not having everyone though. (We miss you Joriel, hope you're having a splendid time there in Dubai!) And on the last day of March, we had merienda buffet by the Iloilo River with mom and the "even bigger" family before we dashed off to a bible study dinner with grandma.

Told you March had an impressive track record. It even seems unbeatable. But then again, I'm always up for a good challenge. Let's see how the next few months would fair. To more adventures, no matter how big or small, the lengthy, silly lessons I take away from them, and the good I nibble in between!

P.S. I'm coming home again this weekend, and for a longer duration than the last. Not too long though, if that's what you're thinking. But not that it matters or any of my other real-time updates... This blog's calendar is so messed up, jetlagged for months even though it hasn't taken off the ground for quite a while. wait, jetlag for months, is that even possible? I just hope I get to finish all the backlogged posts by the time I return from my mini-break. I wish... If we were in a perfect world... But yeah, remember my love for challenges?

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