Upper East Side

The exercise for today after work was to test out my new lens (I got 24mm f/2.8 STM – my very first wide angle lens!). I was so excited to take it out for a spin, and I just couldn’t wait to go home after I picked up my lens from B&H.

Here are some of my pictures – hope you like it as much as I do! Looks like my 50mm has competition…IMG_7364

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

For this week’s photo challenge, I chose to write about the Philippine Independence Day Parade in NYC this June 2nd.

“It’s more fun in the Philippines”, so our official Tourism slogan says.

It’s amazing to see the large number of Filipinos who congregated in the Madison Square Park to celebrate this special day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

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Because memories are all I have.

Memories as a form of escape from the present.

Memories, I’ve found out, are two-edged swords. Memories are fragile, yet powerful – powerful enough to either make or break you (the choice always presents itself). Call me sentimental, but I greatly hold on to the memories I have especially the ones I know I could tell to my future kids/grandkids.

Above all, I treasure the memories I’ve made during my travels. Here are some of the fridge magnets and other trinkets I’ve collected since 2012 – some from my adventures and some generously given to me by my close friends. Noteworthy ones include:

  1. Guatemalan worry dolls (bottom left) – You’re supposed your share your worries to these dolls, place them beneath your pillow before you sleep, and they will take your worries away.
  2. Mercedes-Benz 190SL (center, top) – From the fascinating Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
  3. Innsbruck (below Edinburgh Castle) – What I believe is the most magical old town there is.
  4. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (top right) – The geek in me was happy. Amelia Earhart’s bright red Lockheed 5B Vega is on display (it’s the same plane she used to fly nonstop across Atlantic Ocean).
  5. Boston – I instantly fell in love with Boston! Also, it’s the first road trip I had with friends this year. Funny how we spent St. Patty’s Day in this beautiful city…without drinking beer. I remember having lunch in Chinatown instead (we all agreed that Chinese food in Boston tastes much better than Chinese food in NYC).

P.S. I should buy an NYC fridge magnet soon.

Here’s to growing up

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One of the 12,000 tulips on display at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

Three things I learned today:

(1) Bates and Anthony won the Amazing Race (I was rooting for the roller derby moms!). Didn’t know that MLK had his “I have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. I should seriously study the map more and show more interest in geography (and maybe brush up on American history?);

(2) “Face time” means “time spent at one’s place of employment especially beyond normal working hours” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Note to self: there’s life outside the workplace; refrain from staying in the office til 8PM, dude!; and,

(3) I FOUND MY FIRST WHITE HAIR.

When I was younger, I had the impression that not having a single white hair yet was something to be proud of. Seeing my first white hair terrified me and it dawned on me that I’m getting old. Questions such as the following flooded my thoughts while I stroke the strand of hair:

(1) Just a few more months before I leave the 18-24 age range. What have I accomplished so far? The clock is ticking, Annie.

(2) Have you been living under your means? Must. Start. Saving.

(3) What are you really passionate about? (Yes, I haven’t figured that out yet.)

Reading Susan Cain’s Quiet helped me zone in and focus on the more important things. I’ve come up with a few “core personal projects” such as speaking my mind out and contributing more insights at work (my office mates had to give me an intervention about being too passive), leveraging my strengths (i.e., I’m more of a thinker than a talker – how do I take advantage of that?), and doing something that I’m afraid of.

Like what they say, growing old is inevitable but growing up is a choice; that growth comes when you are comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is my hope that in the next few days, I’ll be much more comfortable with the art of making conversations (keep in mind Tina Fey’s advice on improv: agree then add something), write that essay I’ve been meaning to work on, submit that volunteer application for MoMath, start investing thru Citisec, and join Toastmasters (aka “Annie’s ultimate challenge”).

Here’s to being open to challenges that’ll make me question my beliefs and take me out of my passive, comfort zone. Who knows, maybe my first white hair would give me good luck?

Schloss Neuschwanstein

What’s particularly striking about this castle is that it is selfish – it looks plain and simple outside, yet really grand and ostentatious inside. The walls and ceilings were painted with absolute care and perfection; the surrounding environment was fit for a king.

These are some pictures I took during my trip to Germany last year. I booked a day trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein with some fellow travelers from Munich and our tour guide was British. This castle, by the way, was the first castle I ever visited – thanks to a suggestion by a good friend.