Sky’s the limit

To jump out of an airplane and eat at McDonald’s were two of the things I mentioned when I was asked by my brother in-law what I plan to do once we are in the US. I never thought the former was possible as I just want wifey and Marcus to experience their first US trip–everything else would be a plus. Then budget was an issue and the more we got closer to the trip the more I learned that weather could be a factor. But as fate would have it, the skydive happened. On a fine Elk Grove day, my brother in-law jumped strapped to our own instructors.

Tandem freefall from 13,000 feet.

 

The freefall was thrilling, the view was spectacular.

This is the second time I have jumped out of the plane and maybe this wouldn’t be the last. Fingers crossed.

***

In pictures

My sis and I after my first jump so may years ago.

 

Back to the arms of with my ever supportive wife. (Take note of the shadow.)

 

Grounded and happy to drive back home.

 

Anxious beneficiaries at the jump center in Lodi taken while I and my in-law fill up our respective waivers.

 

Late afternoon stroll at the park after the jump.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Inside an RV somewhere in San Francisco early in the morning.)

 

 

Achievement unlocked: Snow

To be in the snow seems like to be just a dream for people like us. It’s like we can see it only be in the movies, in the games. I have never imagined that soon we’d frolic in it. Yesterday it happened.

Red wheelchair in the snow.

Marcus is someone who can go sleep in an air-conditioned room just wearing sando and pajama so we had a hard time getting him to wear extra layer of clothing since we arrived in the US. He would complain at every opportunity justifying he could take the cold. However snow changed his mind in an instant.

Bally the Snowman.

To build a snowman had been his main plan when he learned we’d be at Kirkwood. So immediately after lunch we made one for him though it didn’t look like typical–one with the carrot nose and button eyes. He named it Bally.

Using apple and grapes. This is the best snowman size and look we can do.

Marcus had fun nevertheless. He experienced his first snowfight and saw the elements he used to only see in his Call of Duty map–the condensation when he exhales, the bright red plastic fence, the massive white snow. He loves the snow so much that he would’ve wanted to stay longer.

He can’t move his legs so I got a good excuse to make a snow angel for him.

***

Marcus with his uncle.

Wifey and I had our first ski lesson and it was one I didn’t expect her to enjoy.  She was so anxious about it that I had a good laugh when I discovered she was watching YouTube ski videos during the wee hours of the morning before our trip. The tutorial seems to have paid off as she did better than expected. Had she hydrated enough she could have reached the Graduation slope with me.

There was bitterness in the experience though. Along with our ski class were kids learning how to snowboard. I couldn’t help but admire how cute they were in their complete gears.

“How old are you guys?” I asked some of them when I got close to the group after I exited the conveyor.

“I’m 5…I’m 8,” came the replies. For some moment I almost teared up. Marcus could have been one of them.

***

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (Old dog, new trick.)

 

Our Santas’ House

We must have been so nice that this year our Santa Clauses decided that we personally pick our gifts from where it come from.

No reindeers here but fat cats and nosey dogs.

The table has been cleared and beers and gifts take over.

While this isn’t my first time to set foot in the US, this is the first time to be with Marcus and wifey and with our Santa Clauses. Needless to say, this is one unusual Christmas for the three of us and we couldn’t thank God enough for this opportunity and for surrounding us with people who support us: people who paid for this trip and even people back home who wished us well.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!!!! (Our Garmin watches are waiting to be tested.)

 

Rogue One Versus Popcorn

Rogue One is one of those movies that Marcus had been waiting but it premiered in the Philippines when we were already busy packing stuffs and going through our travel checklist over and over again. He was all smiles when he heard he’d catch up on it where we would be after four days.

Cold but eager Rogue One fan. Outside Arden Fair while we wait to get our tickets.

 

I’m beginning to get the hang of taking selfies from different angles.

 

We are lucky to be one of those watching in this recently opened cinema in the area.

 

 

Big bucket of popcorn and comfy seat complete Marcus’ experience.

 

Team popcorn.

Did I just say popcorn? Well, Rogue One is one of those movies I fought off sleep by eating popcorn. At some point I knew I slept and twitched and dreamed and talked in Filipino. Sorry American seatmates if I snored as well.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Achievement unlocked: found food in the pantry on my own.)

 

 

Cold And Sweet

So this is the land of milk and honey and it’s cold.

 

Blown away. He was overwhelmed with everything and this was just the beginning.

Two hours after the long Customs Border Protection queue we finally step into the land of milk and honey.

And the adventure begins. Face to face with a drone though not those he sees in Call of Duty.

He discovered not everything is sweet in a candy store. He just tasted Toxic Waste.

This is just day day one and this the first official post that says we have landed.

***

I had cancelled trips in the past and I don’t want this one to be among them so I never told any of my friends about details of this trip as I don’t want to jinx it.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Happy and fat.)

 

The Red Wheelchair Flies

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no…it’s a wheelchair. Yes, the long wait is over and Marcus and his wheelchair is flying against all odds, against weird baggage weight requirement.

I’ll be there…

Our plan to pack light, just a carry-on bag and one for check in, seems like a bad idea. We didn’t know that what works in domestic flight won’t do in international. We discovered that the weight requirement is strictly enforced per bag so we have to summon our packing talent, or the lack of it, in a whim. It was a good thing we brought one extra backpack to distribute the excess stuffs. We eventually found ourselves waiting to board the aircraft, tired, hungry, sleepy but we made it.

 

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (That expensive jumbo siopao made my day.)

 

The Starbucks Planner Dilemma

Some people by now have already started coming in and out of Starbucks stores. Some in a rush to complete their sticker booklets while some to redeem their own Starbucks planner. Well, not me but however late it may be, this time I seem to reconsider the idea. The dilemma ‘to planner or not to planner’ strikes once more.

That’s because I just realized that after a long time, this year appears to be the year when I should’ve had a planner of some sort.  Stuck in my car last Friday and having finished a heavy rice meal right after I parked at work three hours earlier than usual, I found myself pondering on things that have happened this year. Everything was overwhelming since 2016 started.

Events came in faster than I would have imagined. Marcus got his US visa against all odds; we transferred house on a tight budget and in a short timeframe; I unexpectedly got a new role at work; and everything else—good or bad—in between. It was like a smorgasbord served in front of me all at the same time and the no leftover rule applies. (Ah yes, not close to any Japanese buffet but it’s like the pack of lauriat I found in the backseat that my sister was supposed to take with her when I dropped her back in Alabang. Everything in the paper bag was cold by then but good enough.)

That Chowking meal made me last until the end of the day’s training. A training that had me cancel a vacation I planned long before I got myself in this new account, in this new culture. Oh, and a plane ticket to be rebooked in the process. I now owe wifey Php 6000 more.

So maybe yes I need a planner this time. Maybe I should start using one again to take note of schedules, list of people I need to meet (and avoid), and maybe to doodle while stressed in the parking lot. Assuming I spend a venti everyday until the 30th I think could still get it. But then again that’s almost 2000 pesos for a planner so maybe not—not until I start to realize that I actually need to plan an itinerary in the weeks to come. A cheap notebook seems more appealing for now.

From the PAL office to Acacia. We dropped by to say hi and take a dip in hotel’s pool.

***

Mood: 6/10 Honks! (Rebooking sucks.)