ANNAlysis

#languagebarriers

T: I am knackered now!

Me: I had to look up what "knackered" means which I just learned is "a buyer of worn-out domestic animals or their carcasses for use, especially as animal food or fertilizer."

T: It's slang for exhausted.

Oh.

Livin’ La Vida London

Whenever people asked me what my dream destination was, I used to say, “London.” People from the UK would always be surprised, saying I would be disappointed because of the gray weather and crabby people.

“But I was in English major and musical theatre performer in college,” I’d explain. “I’d probably cry if I went to the West End and the British Library.” 

Two weeks ago, I finally left for my dream destination, which had a few other dreams woven with it: taking my Masters, living in another country on my own, and getting the Chevening scholarship.

You’d think that it felt like high-fiving a million angels, but it didn’t. While I was thrilled at the possibilities, I felt guilty for leaving the communities I work with and sad to be missing out on milestones of and with people I love, like weddings and holidays.

Our departure was set on the same day typhoon Mario left the PAR. I was relieved to see friends at the NAIA terminal 1 (which smelled like pee and feet, ano beyyy): fellow Chevening scholars, Mahar and Ely; Mai, Chevening scholar ’12-‘13; and Renzo (soon-to-be Chevening scholar?). The Manila-Abu Dhabi-London trip was spent sleeping and chatting about current events and each others’ lives and advocacies.

I took a cab from the Heathrow Airport to Nicky’s place in East London, where I would stay for a week while I looked for my own place and do touristy things. I got into a shiny, spacious black cab with my four bags, feeling like Sherlock, ready to take on London.

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Except I wasn’t, because my cab ride cost 106GBP (PhP7,900+)!!!! NA KA KA LOKA. Bawat patak ng metro nahilo ako. When it reached 50 GBP nawalan na ako ng feelings.

“Welcome to London,” I thought[1]. 

When I arrived in Nicky’s place, she and her friends made me feel at home right away, making me excited about my move. I forced myself to stay up until 10PM to get over the jet lag, which recharged me for my first London evant[2]: the Climate March.

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Thank you Nicky and Kirsty!

I generally stay away from rallies, but I was curious to see what kind of protests London had to offer. Needless to say, I was blown away. I describe it as the “Sinulog with a purpose.” There were reportedly 5,000 people present. Families, couples, individuals, groups of friends, and the elderly going out on the street to make a stand for the Earth. Incredible. Their placards had witty slogans and used beautiful fonts (!!!) – not jeje at all. I wish we had environmental rallies of such caliber. Pauso nga tayo.

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That evening, I met up with Jim, one of my good friends from theatre. He’s come a long way since our High School Musical days—all the way to THE National Theatre for Here Lies Love. Jim may be a few years younger, but he has always looked out for me. He gave me a walking tour of central London and taught me the difference among the coins this guide:

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Monday-Friday were spent at the West End. Theatre is and will always be my first love, and one of the things I looked forward to the most about London was the West End, so I went overboard. Medyo lang.

Couldn’t have picked a better way to kickoff my week around Leicester Square: dinner with my childhood hero, Lea Salonga, and a last-minute ticket to the 25th anniversary gala show of Miss Saigon (thanks Jim, Ela, and Elias!).

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I am a HUGE Miss Saigon fan. And I don’t mean I-memorized-“Sun-and-Moon” kind of fan but, “I watched Miss Saigon five times when it ran in Manila and I can sing the entire libretto to you with feelings” level.

By the time the opening bars of “The Heat is On in Saigon” started, I was crying. “I forgive you, London, for the GBP106 cab,” I declared. It was surreal to be there in the West End, watching Miss Saigon, and seeing a performance by the original cast. When the original cast came out after the show, WALA NA. Pang the Fault in Our Stars na iyak ko. 

Watch the goosebumps-inducing performance here

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During the following nights, I watched Miss Saigon again (only because I bought tickets in advance, not knowing I would watch the 25th anniversary performance!), Once, The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time (loved the book and the staging was brilliant), and Shakespeare in Love (hilarious!). 

That week was just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Since I won’t get to dive or join a triathlon soon, I’ll flex my arts and culture muscles. My list of things to do keeps getting longer: the Globe Theatre (I’ll cry for sure), Stratford Upon Avon (and cry here some more), Bath (because I wrote a paper and song about the Chaucer’s Wife of Bath for my Medieval Literature class!), and museums.

I must say—it’s not hard to fall in love with this city. I wonder if London needs a Chief Mermaid for the River Thames…

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[1] Buti nalang naka scholarship at may arrival allowance na kasama, kasi kung hindi naglakad nalang ako. 

[2] Defined as a major event. Say it: evahhhhnt. 

savephilippineseas:

Apply now to become part of the Pawikan Watchers pilot program in San Juan, La Union!

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We are looking for passionate individuals who share our vision to develop a research and community development program that will support sea turtle conservation initiatives in the Philippines.

Reblogged from Save Philippine Seas
The school of fish I’ve been training with since January! They make me look forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Thank you Coach @swimjunkieph for all the encouragement, lung-busting workouts, and teaching this mermaid how to swim properly. ❤

The school of fish I’ve been training with since January! They make me look forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Thank you Coach @swimjunkieph for all the encouragement, lung-busting workouts, and teaching this mermaid how to swim properly. ❤

Saturday #fitspiration: my 90-year-old mer-lolo doing pool pull ups this morning… with a smile. 👍

Saturday #fitspiration: my 90-year-old mer-lolo doing pool pull ups this morning… with a smile. 👍