Monthly Archives: December 2011


Today we’re off to Singapore for New Year’s Eve!

We will be visiting the fabulous Traci, who was Karl’s classmate during his          A-100 training at the State Department.  It’s our first time in Singapore, and that will mark the 6th new country/territory we visited this year!  Including the United States, we will complete 2011 having been to 8 (!!!) countries/territories this year!  (US, Brazil, Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore!)

My “Where I’ve Been” page has definitely been busy with updates! 

And to add to the excitement, a new box arrived through our DPO yesterday, carrying my Fitbit!  It’s teeny tiny! 



I don’t know why every time I post a picture of my hands they look like man hands?  I don’t have tiny hands, but they’re not manly either!  (They just look like old lady’s hands, but that’s ok.)  My ring finger is 5.5 size, and the ring is loose since I got gigantic knuckles, see, not man hands! 

Anyways…  I’m excited to see how much we actually walk on vacation.  We usually walk everywhere because we find that’s the best way to explore a new city, so hopefully the Fitbit agrees!  (Of course, we counteract all that walking by eating, since that’s part of exploring a new country as well…) 

I already took the elevator down to the 6th floor of our building – basically the first residential/non-garage floor – and took the stairs up!  I about died on my way up to the 19th floor, but yay, it recorded my ascent!  Sounds totally dumb, but I can see myself doing this everyday, since now it “counts” (I know, I know, it always counts, but still…)

Since I won’t be posting again until 2012 (ready with Singapore pictures!), have a very happy new year, everyone!


Filed under Travel, Traveling in Asia, Trips!


Even though pretty much all my friends in DC had an iPhone, I didn’t want to buy something I couldn’t live without.  When you don’t know what country you’ll live in next, the last thing you want is to invest in something that might be useless at the next stop.  Plus, when I left the US, the iPhone was still an AT&T thing only, and I wasn’t about to leave Verizon for them. 

But…  But…  Lately I started to get iPhone envy…  And my Nokia C3 that doesn’t do anything aside from calling, texting and taking marginal pictures, started freezing and shutting itself off – even had the nerve of deleting all of Lily’s puppy pictures from my micro SD card in one of those fits.

Then in El Nido I realized that an iPhone would be SO convenient to check email/blog when I was traveling and had wifi but didn’t want to carry my netbook around (since when you’re traveling around with your backpack, even a netbook is too heavy, so we often leave it at home).

I hadn’t been shopping lately and had a bit of money, then Karl threw some money in the iPhone fund as my Christmas gift.  Perfect!

After a LOT of research, turns out the cheapest place to buy an unlocked iPhone was from the US Apple website itself.  Of course, they won’t ship it DPO (really Apple?), and I even tried getting them to ship to Guam (it let me until the very last checkout page when suddenly my zipcode is invalid – you’re a tease Apple!).  So I had to suck it up, pay for the taxes (remember, DPO is not a state, therefore we’re sales tax-free) and had it shipped to Michelle, who is visiting family in VA.

The iPhone has already arrived!  The one caveat?  Michelle doesn’t get back until mid-January, and I’ll be prancing around Southeast Asia with my parents then – I won’t get that phone until January 24th, a whole month and a half after I ordered it!  (The joys of living far away…)

But, for all of 200 pesos (that’s about 5 bucks), I already bought a cute case to welcome the phone to Manila…


Fancy, no?

Now since I’m SO late in the game, tell me, what is your favorite app?


Filed under Foreign Service, Random

10 days!!!!

Back in May (MAY PEOPLE!) I wrote this post about visitors that were coming to Manila, at that time, my friend Liz and my parents had already booked their tickets.  Liz already stopped by, and we took the awesome El Nido trip, but in 10 days (!!!) my parents are finally arriving in town! (I haven’t seen them since April, and will likely not see them for at least another year…)

They’re staying with us almost a whole month, and for almost 2 weeks, we’ll be traveling around Asia!

This is scary and exciting.  Scary as I haven’t taken a trip with my parents since I was 18, and it will also be the longest I’ve been away from Lily, the troublemaker-with-constant-health-issues dog.  Exciting as it’s my mom’s first time in Asia, and also my first time visiting 3 new countries:  Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam!

If you’re too lazy to click on that link on top, these are our stops…

Bangkok for some of this…

Chiang Mai for some of this…

(Seriously, people, put me on top of an elephant, cover me with puppies and kittens, and I might just die of happiness right there.)

Siem Reap for this…

Ho Chi Minh was a last minute addition.  The travel agent was wondering if a 2 hour layover in Vietnam was enough for our flight back to Manila, I asked Karl about it, and he said “2 hours?  Let’s make it 2 days and visit!” and we extended our trip and added a new country to our itinerary!

Ho Chi Minh (if you never heard of it, you likely have heard of its former name, Saigon), is a city with lots of shopping and a bit of history.


My parents arrive in 10 days, and in exactly 2 weeks from now, we’ll be off to Bangkok for the first leg of our adventure!  Now lets hope I can fit everything in a carry-on…


Filed under Travel, Traveling in Asia, Trips!


Have you guys heard of the Fitbit or used it?  In an attempt to be more accountable and get myself out of this stupid rut, I decided to use the Christmas money I got from my parents and spend it on a Fitbit…


What is a Fitbit?  Well, this is what the company says:  “The Fitbit Ultra monitors your all-day activity to provide you with real-time feedback on steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed to encourage you to walk more and be more active. It wirelessly uploads your data to so you can gain deeper insight into your daily or monthly fitness and sleep levels with free online graphs and charts.”

So yeah, it’s like a pedometer, but with more features (it even counts steps!).  I don’t know anyone who has used it yet, but the Amazon reviews were pretty encouraging.  I had a friend that used the BodyBugg and swore by it, but the thought of using something around my arm all day (when I mostly wear dresses, where the band will definitely be visible), and having to pay monthly to use a website otherwise the device is useless, was not exciting (plus, it costs about $60 more than the Fitbit).

I actually almost bought one a couple of years ago, when there was a month-long waiting list that turned out to be almost a year-long.  I gave my credit card info and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  So when I finally got the email that mine was ready to be shipped I just had to confirm I still wanted it, I was broke, and therefore no longer interested.  Funnily enough, now I’m back and buying it!  (Yay for no longer being broke?)

The Fitbit is not some miracle device, but from reading the reviews people say it’s the motivation they needed, since they feel like every little thing counts so it makes them do more.  We’ll see.  If any of you have used it (or something similar like the BodyBugg), feel free to pipe in!  I’ll definitely do a review after I’ve used it for a while!  And once I calibrate it, wearing alongside the Garmin might make my runs outdoor in Makati slightly more accurate


Filed under Random