To continue my German saga…after that whirlwind few days in Berlin, off we went to the city of Essen. The main purpose of our trip, which is to participate in a gathering of Filipinos, took place in Essen. We took the train from the central station, and the trip took about five hours. We enjoyed the scenic ride as Germany offers a picturesque countryside, but I have no great pictures to show because it was too fast for my phone to capture. It was not so bad at all that the train had wifi, yay!
We mostly kept to the city center, and then at the venue of the conference, which is uphill and kind of isolated, but very gorgeous. While the city is known as an industrial center of Germany, given the limited places I’ve been to, I could only describe it as quaint and charming. And autumn gave everything a burst of colors that, for somebody who comes from a tropical country, is a sight to behold. Fall is becoming a favorite season of mine.
I got lucky again because, despite the constant stress brought about by my work, I get to see travel and see the world. This time to Germany. More than ten years ago, I was able to set foot in the United Kingdom, but this is my first time to be in mainland Europe. Yay!
The weather was quite good the whole time we were there. It was smack in the middle of fall, and it wasn’t too cold. It rained for a couple of days in Essen but it was okay overall. I loved the crisp air, and savored the feeling of not sweating, which Manila does to me all the time. It was very nice walking the streets of Berlin and Essen mainly because of this. As always, my heart jumped at the new sights and smells of a foreign country. Thank goodness for some free time in between official duties.
Did all the touristy things in the capital, such as visits to the Berlin Wall, Holocaust Memorial, the Bundestag, Tiergarten, Branderburg Gate. Met up with a friend and his family, took the subway, took the bus, had curryworst, name it.
In a parallel universe, I would have been a full time mom, and a driver to boot. It would have been my honor to cater to the every (literal) need of the kids. However, because I have to eke out a living, I treasure moments when I do have the opportunity to bring them to and from school (though the opportunity is not that ideal because I was just on leave because the grandma is sick).
…when I saw that my 8-year…my 8-year old, you know, my baby, can now fit into my clothes.
Omg. And it was by pure accident. She wanted to cover herself because she was wearing a swimsuit.
I went back to Aklan after a year to continue one of our advocacies for the local government unit. Last time, I went here and didn’t have time to go to one of the province’s famed attraction, the Bakhawan Eco-Park. A visit to the latter deserves maybe a whole afternoon depending on how much time you want to spend at its penultimate spot. Though I wasn’t much of hiking/nature kind of gal, I enjoyed myself here. Located at New Buswang, one of the coastal barangays of the capital town of Kalibo. The wide expanse of mangrove forest was a rehabilitation project in the 1990s, and has saved the townspeople from floods and other effects of strong typhoons.
It was a long trek on a man-made wooden pathway spanning a little more than a kilometre. One would pass by mud crab and fish pens, and acres of mangroves. Every few hundred meters or so are sheds with benches where one can catch their breaths or just enjoy the stillness of it all. There is a even a camp site for those who wish to pitch tents and spend the night there. I and some of my colleagues who were with me enjoyed the leisurely walk while listening to sounds of chirping birds and crickets. What made my heart jump for a few minutes was the rickety wooden bridge we had to cross to get over the other side of the river cutting through the forest. Nyay!
But the view of the sandbar and the open sea beyond more than made up my moments of anxiety! God’s creation never fails to amaze! We spent a good half hour just sitting on huts just enjoying the breeze and waves as they splashed the shoreline. As it was getting dark, we made our way back as dusk was slowly creeping its way in.
Despite the minor nuisance in my life, someone will always, always love you and your craziness. I am normally uneasy about these kinds of activities, because I get stressed if things get too awkward, but it always ends up okay, and then I become thankful again. I’m sorry Lord God for the doubts and self-pity. Thank you for the constant reminder that You are by side and above me and all the things I constantly worry about.
I’m going through something but I will not sully my blog with the unpleasant details. I am just thanking the good Lord that I am alive, my family is healthy, we have food on the table, I have a respectable job that pays the bills, I was able to enroll my two kids for next school year, and so on and so forth for my immense blessings.
More importantly, I am 38 and kicking!