Let’s Get It On, Boston!

For someone who is from a tropical country and who might be currently experiencing the summer heat, the weather in Boston is quite the opposite. It was about 55°F outside when Lorenz and I decided to take a walk towards the Boston Aquarium where we would meet up with people from Schneider Electric, Andrea Franco and Dan DeLuca. We decided to walk along Washington St. and see what we would find there.

We saw that the theater district is quite near the hotel. Just at the intersection near the hotel, the Boston Opera House is located. I was personally fascinated by the architecture of the buildings in the vicinity. I am amazed at how old the structures must be but still there is beauty in it. There are even some restoration works ongoing.

We strolled further towards School St. where the Boston Irish Famine Memorial is located. Just across the street the Old South Meeting House, which is both a Museum and a Historic site, can be found. We were just passing by when we saw that admission today was for free. Since we still had time, we decided to enter the museum and learn some historical events that occurred there and in Boston in general. In memory of the bombing the occurred last year, the admission to the museum was for free, in the hope that people who would visit the site would use it as a reflective environment to think about the past events that took place in Boston.

After the stop at the museum, we passed by a shop called Cakeology. I was mainly attracted by the cute design of the store and the giant panda stuffed toy displayed inside. But we were also starving and decided to grab something to eat. Lorenz got a Pink Lemonade Cupcake while I got a Magic Bar, which is a bar of chocolates, caramel, desiccated coconut and peanuts.

We scurried towards State St. since it was already raining. The stroll in the park kind of walk just wouldn’t do. It was like in a snap of a finger, the weather changed. The winds were really strong and the rain kept pouring. Thank God I brought an umbrella with me! It was also a good thing that the guy from reception area of the hotel was kind enough to lend Lorenz an umbrella. But both our umbrella’s got beaten by the strong winds. If Lorenz and I were lighter in mass, we would have been carried by the wind with our umbrellas and fly like Mary Poppins.

We hurriedly walked towards the Boston Aquarium and decided to eat at a restaurant located near the Aquarium. The place is called The Legal Seafood. Lorenz ordered for some gumbo while I got crab meat cake. After lunch, we were finally able to meet Andrea and Dan.

Andrea planned to take us on a Duck Tour around Boston. But due to the inclement weather, the tours were cancelled for the day. We decided to head to the Museum of Science and spent the afternoon there. The museum had a couple of exhibits like the Hall of Human Life, the displays about computer science and robotics, the theater of electricity, the optics display and many more.

After going around the museum we headed to the North End for dinner at an Italian restaurant. But prior to heading to the restaurant, we walked along Hanover to see the churches and gardens. We also walked around the block and passed by the Paul Revere house. One thing that can be noted also was how the road near the Paul revere house was still made of cobblestone. After going around the area, Andrea took us to a place called Pagliuca’s where we enjoyed some scrumptious food. Lorenz had his fill of clams and other seafood served in a broth with pasta. Dan had roasted veal with potatoes. Andrea had some pasta (ziti) with chicken. I ordered Lobster Fra Diavolo. It was taxing to eat the lobster since it was covered in red sauce and to add to that, it was so big and was served with pasta.

We shared stories and got to know each other a bit over dinner. We discussed with Andrea and Dan our project and also talked about specific contributions in the process of completing the project. We also shared our experiences in Paris.

Although the weather was not in favor to what was originally planned, it turned out to be a great day. We really appreciated the time Andrea and Dan took to accompany us in going about the city. Today was about being immersed in a beautiful city with rich history, having great company in getting around and sharing a great meal at the end of the day.

Smitten by the beauty of Boston,
Alyssa

P.S. More photos can be found on my Facebook page. (Click here)

Across the Pacific Ocean

For the next couple of blogs, I will be reposting blogs I wrote while on the Go Green in the City Winner’s Trip sponsored by Schneider Electric. There were days when my teammate Lorenz wrote the entries for the official blog site so I will write about those days from my perspective. Here’s the first one from the bunch. Hope you enjoy and please do let me know what you think. 

Lorenz and I were set to fly to Boston but our point of entry was San Francisco. It is interesting how flying all the way to the other side of the pacific shows the interplay of time and space. After being aboard the plane for approximately 11 hours, we finally arrived in San Francisco.  What is interesting though is that after travelling more than 6,000 miles it seemed that we have gone back in time. We left Manila on Tuesday night, April 14 and arrived in San Francisco at around 7 PM, Tuesday, April 14.

We would have loved to check out San Francisco but Boston was already beckoning us from East Coast of the United States. We took another plane ride to Boston (approximately 6 hours). What was cool about the plane ride to Boston was having a female pilot. It was my first time to see and experience riding an aircraft that had a woman as a captain. Coincidentally, it goes along pretty well with the vision of Go Green in the City regarding the participation and role of women in society nowadays.

Once we landed at the Logan International airport and got our luggage, we were picked up by a chauffeur. Schneider Electric prepared all the bookings for us including the car service from the airport to the hotel. It was a short ride from the airport to the hotel. But we managed to get a glimpse of Boston. We can’t wait to explore the city while we are here! Please join us in our adventures as we travel around USA and Denmark through this blog.

All the best,

Alyssa

P.S.

On our way to the hotel, we passed by buildings with flags half-masted. It was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that happened last year. Our prayers go out to all who were victims of the bombing.

 

Empty Cabinets, Uncovered Bed and the Remnants of My Corner

Empty Cabinets, Uncovered Bed and the Remnants of My Corner

There comes a point in our lives when we have to leave places that have become our comfort zones. Graduating from college entails the inevitable process of moving out of the place that has been my home for the past five years. It took me a bit longer to move out than expected. There were too many things (clutter) to transfer and I just finished procuring the first set of furniture for the place I’m moving into. But perhaps a part of me just wanted to hang on for a bit longer.

Earlier today, I peeped out the window from S207 and gazed at how beautiful the sunrise was; how the rays extended and brightened the room. That would probably be the last time I’d get to do that. I did not take a photo just to keep the image in my mind. 🙂

After my review classes, I rushed back to the dorm to finish packing the things I still had in the dorm. As I was packing I realized that some of the post-its on my cork board have been there for more than a year. There were even posts from my former roommates (Noreen, Gem and Joey). I segregated things for the last time and pushed myself to let go of unnecessary clutter.

I wanted to bequeath some of my things to some people who have made my dorm life memorable. 😉 But due to the rush packing I did these past few days, I only managed to give out three items earlier today. I have some stuff in the condo that I intended to give to other DMC members and foster siblings. It was hard to let go of the things that I gave because they had some sentimental value. But giving away that box from Paris, that Panda nanoblock toy and the “No One Messes with the Family” ARSA lanyard was a part of the process of moving on. To whoever got these items, please take care of them. :>

As I leave the room, I took a last look and took a snapshot of my little corner in UDS 207. I would miss being woken up by the sunlight. I would miss hearing recurring alarms from roommates’ alarm clocks and phones. I would miss seeing familiar places along the hallways. I would miss the random tambay session at the lobby. I would miss the late night walks and milk tea time in Katipunan. I would miss the place I have called my home.

But my corner now is empty — just like how it was when I moved in during my sophomore year. What’s left are empty cabinets, uncovered beds and I take with me all the memories, experiences, “life lessons,” and friendships that were built within the premises for these residence halls.

DSCN4411

Filling the Bare Space

Filling the Bare Space

Today marks the finality of the need for me to move on with life after college. I had to finish packing all my clothes and books. When I arrived in Manila in 2009, all my things could fit in the Samsonite luggage I brought along. But earlier today, I saw that it took 2 luggages, 3 boxes and 2 bags to contain the most of the things I have in the dorm. I can’t believe the number of books I have accumulated during my stay in the Ateneo (both text books and fiction). As I was putting my clothes in the luggage, each piece told a story. I remember occasions when I wore them. I saw the org shirts I was able to collect over the years, especially ARSA shirts (OrSem, ARSAFest, IAC, etc.). I still have a few things here in the dorm with me but I was already able to bring most of my stuff to Ninang Bevs’ condo with the help of Manong Pete. (Thanks, France and Kurt for helping me load my stuff to the car!)

I also explored the area in Paco, Manila (near Paco Market) to procure some necessary furniture (i.e. bed, table, chair, etc.). For the first time, I get to decide on what furniture to get and create my personal space. I am not good in interior design but I did try to picture out in my mind how I wanted my new “home” to feel and look. After consulting my mom regarding which furniture to procure first (and a tiring walk to canvass), I was able to decide to get a sofa bed, a study table, a swivel chair and a couch. The couch is set to be delivered tomorrow.

P.S. Since the walls are painted white, I am considered a black and red ensemble for the furniture. But since the store only had a chocolate colored study table, that would have to do. Budget constrains, too. Practicality over aesthetics.

Happiness in Silence

I take this opportunity to filter out the noise and listen. I listen to silence, the sound of solitude. But in solitude I seek for meaning. In solitude, I seek comfort. In solitude, I seek God. 

In a few hours, I will be attending the silent retreat together with a bunch of graduating seniors and super seniors. I will not have access to any form of communication, including direct communication with another person in the retreat. If you do get to read this post, may I for a favor? Please pray for me and my fellow retreat participants that we may have a meaningful retreat. Please also pray that the God will also bless the people who are organizing the silent retreat.

7. Starting Over Again

How can I unlove you?

My love is greater than your failures.

If you insist, how can I resist?

Feb. 19, 2014, Wednesday —- (spoiler alert) Filipino movies are known to be cheesy and corny. But from time to time I allow myself to indulge and give in to my jologs side (and I sort of drag friends along, too). France, Dale and I watched Starting Over Again in SM Marikina. As expected, the movie had cheesy quotable quotes such as the ones above. But thinking about it, these lines seemed to stand out because the viewers are able to relate. On another note, there is something predictable about Filipino movies. You can rely that the ending is predominantly, unless it is an Indie movie. But for Starting Over Again, I like how the ending was realistic and not the happy ending that people expect.

P.S. Let us not kill the Philippine cinema. Let’s catch a Filipino movie once in a while 🙂

P.P.S. Hi, Dale! If you are reading this, I hope you got over the ending already! 😉

6. Longest Day (since that paper for Fr. David’s Class)

6. Longest Day (since that paper for Fr. David's Class)

Feb. 18, 2014, Tuesday — I had to check my 2013 planner to verify whether or not I have broken my record for staying up to finish a paper for a class. I stayed up for 27 hours to finish the 15-page paper for Fr. David’s class last year. Apparently I did break the record by an hour last Tuesday. I was awake for 28 hours because I wanted to finish my project before I go to sleep. (I learned my lesson last time when we almost failed project on time because my roommate and I failed to wake up to our alarms.) The thing is I was already done with all the computations the day before. I even started writing the paper Tuesday afternoon. But it must have been that OC part of me that caused me to stay up so late to produce the project report about the Microwave Link Design. So you might be wondering why I was happy despite having stayed up so late.

Here’s the thing. My room for the past four years has windows facing the east. But I rarely wake up early to witness the sunrise. But on the longest day on the last week of regular classes, I was able to see the sunrise 🙂 The photo was taken on Wednesday, but for me it was still Tuesday since I haven’t slept.

P.S. I slept in the afternoon. When I woke up to submit my project, I felt terrible. Thanks to my roommate, Angela, for volunteering to submit my project.

P.P.S. Please do not do this. I am not encouraging people to neglect sleep. I felt nauseous after.

5. With Graduating ECE Scholars

5. With Graduating ECE Scholars

Holding our empty AASA piggy banks after the Graduating Scholars Meeting with the Office of Admission and Aid. Soon we will be returning these piggy banks with an amount that could help other students to have the opportunity to study in the Ateneo. ❤ I am forever grateful for the gift of education our benefactors gave us 🙂

4. Stand by me still

4. Stand by me still

I attended mass at the Church of Gesu and decided to not sing with the choir and listen as part of the congregation instead. I sat at the far end just enough for me to see their expressions and hear them as they sing. I’m glad I sat out and heard DMC sing the a cappella version of Take and Receive for offertory, Pag-ibig Ko and Love is the Answer for communion. But I just couldn’t help but sing with the choir when they sang Stand By Me Still for the recessional. Kudos to DMC for sounding so good today, I hope the music you made brought the congregation closer to God as they prayed. 🙂 

On another note, it is such a blessing to get to sing songs of praise and worship with people who practically become your family. #TFTG

“God’s way is my way.God’s love surrounds me. God’s hosts defend me saving from ill.

Angels of heaven drive from me always all that would harm me. Stand by me still.” 

2. Fear of Rejection, Fear of Injection

I wanted to do something special today. I didn’t want it to be another Single Awareness Day. I spent the afternoon of Valentine’s Day 2014 with friends in SocSci conference room lining up to donate blood. The thing is, I fear the sight of blood and I fear injections. The process of blood donation includes a pre-test that they do to check if you are an eligible donor — the fear of rejection (#feels #hugot).

1624638_10202337068340848_231873551_n

I could not explain how scared I was when it was my turn to be tested. I hate even the slightest prick on my fingertip. But I thank God for my supportive friends who were there — Dale (the one who encouraged me to donate), Patricia, Clarisse and Krystal. It was the first time I donated blood and I don’t think it would be my last.

1898985_10202337068300847_1168854515_n

A happy day spent with friends and conquering my fears 🙂

How about you? How was your Valentine’s Day?

P.S. Thanks to the nurse who kept reassuring me that everything would be fine.

1. Postcard from Across the Pacific Ocean

1. Postcard from Across the Pacific Ocean

I have joined the bandwagon and accepted the 100 Happy Days Challenge.

Yesterday, there was a bomb threat scare in our university. It really touched me that friends made an effort to message me to confirm if I was alright. Some of the them are not even from Metro Manila or the Philippines for that matter. One of the people who posted on my Facebook timeline is a friend whom I met almost a year ago during the Go Green in the City competition. Today, upon coming back home to my room, I spotted the postcard he sent me from the US. It is mounted on the door of our refrigerator. It made me smile knowing that people, even though separated by distance, still care. Reading his message on the postcard also reminds me that each person has the to create an adventure of his/her own.

If ever you do come across this post, please do share a moment that made you happy today. 🙂 Knowing others are happy inspires me to be happy 🙂

P.S. Another thing that made me happy was to see that Bea, the girl who lives next door, had the courage to shave off her hair as part of Ateneo Kythe’s Cancer Awareness Campaign. 🙂

Ramblings, Scramblings and the thought of Happiness

It is always at the start of the year when the feeling of uncertainty is heightened. At the same time, a sense of hope overwhelms us thinking about the possibilities that could occur. We are all pumped up to make the world a better place. We start listing things that we want to do with our lives and with these lists we create a mold that would perfectly shape a version (insert age here) of ourselves.

I am heeding a friend’s advice for this year. Through that number game on Twitter, a friend told me to “find happiness in being ordinary.” The thought has been lingering in my mind ever since. A lot of us want fame and fortune that we forget how nice it is to be ordinary. We could wallow in a space where we could go unnoticed, out of sight from the scrutiny of other people. But I guess that was not my friend meant. I wanted to ask my friend what he meant exactly. It is possible that I could be over analyzing things. But then again, there is no harm in provoking the mind to think some more. I guess being ordinary is getting rid of that spotlight. It is a matter of freeing one’s self from the selfishness that’s been nesting on the inside. It is acknowledging that the world does not revolve me and being okay with it.

But for me it must not stop in finding happiness in being ordinary. I must also learn to find happiness in things that are ordinary. There are things that go unnoticed if we don’t take a break from all the hustle and bustle. One of the things I learned to appreciate is the bliss of silence. Don’t get me wrong. I like to talk, I like to listen to music. But the silence allows me to think (about life and all its conundrums or about solutions for a bug in the code I am working on.) Another thing I have been doing more often is gazing at the moon and stars. We were on our way to church and I was in the back seat of the car. I stuck my head out the window and saw that the night sky was clear and stars glittered. To my amazement, I just blurted: “Wow!” (If my memory serves my right, my mom and sister were a little bit confused. Hahaha!) To a person whose sky is polluted by light, a clear sky with stars shining is a sight to behold. One thing I miss though is seeing the sunrise. I want to be a morning person but I’m failing miserably in trying to become one.

The talk about ordinary things reminds me  a Bosconian teaching — that we must also do ordinary things extraordinarily well.  In the process of finding happiness this year, I hope that we all go through what life has to offer. No rewinds, no fast forwards. No pause nor stop. We might find happiness in being ordinary in the ordinary. Let’s find happiness in being ordinary and in the ordinary but let’s do ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Cheers to chasing happiness and dreams this year!

The view from my dorm room’s window as I the sun rises. ❤

P.S.

I came across this 30-Day Challenge called Zero to Hero. The first post should be an introduction about me but in line of being hopeful I ended up writing an introduction to a facet of the person who I want to be. Also, if you are interested in keeping a blog the Zero to Hero is a good way to get you started 🙂

Aichi’s Adventures (and Misadventures) 2013

Inspired by the short video that Krystal made for our Binondo Trip, I wanted to come up with a simple montage of the moments and the people that made 2013 a great year. 😀 Pardon me for the my lack of skill in video and audio editing. I tried to make this in just an hour or two (as part of taking my mind of the MATLAB code I am working on). I also told myself not to post this unless I have a substantial progress for the MATLAB program I was working on.

How about you? How was your 2013?

Disclaimer: If there are events that do not appear in the montage, I may not have the pics on my laptop or the “2013” folder I screened.

The video features the following (in order):

  • New year pics with family
  • Pig out session with Mico and Verlyn
  • Reunion with cousins, Janelle and Ms. Dumaguete (Kaye)
  • World of Fun and lunch with HS friends (Jboy, Lord Louis, Greg, Geo and Benjamin)
  • TEDxADMU with Janiz
  • First Binondo trip with Coleen, Jun, Steve, Romell and Jan
  • Life of Pi movie night in Eastwood with Angela
  • A random shot of me while Sir TJ was discussing about Optics (c/o Carlo)
  • ARSAFEST 2013 with Janiz, Angela and Khalid
  • Golden Times at Shangri-La with Angela
  • DMC Valentines event
  • Theology 151 group project with Angela, Pat, Anika and Lucy
  • Random KFC moment with Benjz and Enzo (I think Angela was the one who took the photo.)
  • Batangas outing with ARSA Batchmates (a.k.a the weekend I decided to somehow give up on TCOM 122 and have a YOLO moment instead)
  • Blue Rose 2013 (Oh hello, China boy!)
  • First day of work in PLDT with Jess and Maeka
  • MVP Olympics Opening
  • Go Green in the City (GGitC) Philippines
  • Birthday treat for Ma’am Reese
  • PLDT Summer Camp Team Building at Camp Explore
  • Close up Summer Solstice with Angela and Jordz
  • Dinner date with Coleen, Dea and Larz
  • Adventures in NLEX with PLDT Student Campers
  • France’s birthday “surprise” (He surprised us with doughnuts.)
  • GGitC – East Asia and Room 804 moments in Jakarta
  • Food trip with Angela, Nicko and Enzo at Ramen Oh
  • Birthday surprise for Angela
  • PLDT Summer Camp Graduation
  • Summer in Dumaguete which includes trips to the beach with family, random moments with the sisters, food trip with family and friends, pig out session with Mico and Verlyn and KTV with Adrian and Mommy A
  • ARSA OrSem 2013: Unleashed
  • Paris adventures during the Schneider Electrics’s GGitC Global Challenge
  • Birthday dinner with Angela in Eastwood
  • Baguio Weekend with Boat 2
  • ADHOC with France, Jojee and Luigi
  • Two-week internship in Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan
  •  Long overdue meet up with childhood friend Kasoy a.k.a Humba
  • Book sale adventure at BGC
  • Dinner in Serendra and trip to Resorts World with mom
  • Random meet up with Aids in SM Aura
  • Late night with ARSA Chorale playing Love Bird :))
  • My Thai, Rue Bourbon Catching fire @ Eastwood with Nath, Anna, Likha and Mykee
  • The Soprano 2 girls with Diana and Patricia
  • Blue Harmonies 2013 with ARSA Chorale ❤
  • Frozen and Christmas vibes in Gateway with Kurt, Kuya Francis, Jojee, Sarah H., Krystal and Aliza
  • Star gazing while Geminids were visible
  • ECE ’14 Christmas Dinner
  • High school mini reunion
  • Christmas 2013 with family in Dumaguete ❤

It was a great ride, 2013!

Years are made up of moments that become memories that would last a life time. Though moments are fleeting and time may slip from our hands, we try to remember and cling to those moments. They need not necessarily be as extravagant as travelling around the world or going on YOLO adventures . They might be mundane moments spent in silence that go unnoticed by others. It is however good to look back at these certain points of what has elapsed – to try fit in a timeline what has been. I believe that it is in looking back that we may learn (even if our memories are imperfect.) Please bear with me as I dissect my 2013 experiences.

THE PLACES

Some may say that we dream to travel to rid ourselves of the permanence or mundane living. But I have always sought out to travel because I see it as an opportunity to meet people, learn about different cultures, marvel at

the beauty that the world has to offer and take home those lessons.  In 2013, God has taken me to places but has always led me back home.

  • Paris, France for the Go Green in the City 2013 Global Challenge (with stopovers in Guangzhou and Amsterdam)
  • Jakarta, Indonesia for the Go Green in the City 2013 – East Asia (with stopover in Singapore)
  • Nara, Kyoto and Osaka, Japan for the 2-week internship at Nara Institute of Science and Technology
  • Cabiao, Neuva Ecija, Philippines for the Ignatian Build organized by  Gawad Kalinga – Ateneo
  • Batangas, Philippines for the ARSA Batch 2013 outing
  • Pampanga, Philippines for the PLDT Student Camp Tour
  • Baguio City, Philippines for a weekend with friends (Boat 2) which became a food trip
  • Dumaguete, Philippines for a time well spent with friends and family 🙂

THE EVENTS (The firsts, the reunions and YOLO adventures)

  • My first time to see a shooting star! It happened while I was walking with DMC friends to Manila Observatory. It was magical! And yes, I made a wish. 🙂
  • Adventures with my roomie, Angela — Spring Film Festival @ Shangri-La, Close-up Summer Solstice (Thanks to Jordz David for the tickets!), Birthday Celebrations, movie nights (Life of Pi, Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo, Tuhog, etc.)
  • Hotel Mulia Room 804 with the GGitC – East Asia participants :> (What happens in Jakarta, stays in Jakarta!)
  • Got lost in Paris! (with Enzo, Mita, Adam, Ujjwala, Aybuke, Abhishek, Sindhu, Surhendar)
  • HS mini reunion in C&L Hotel (“after party” in Hayahay)
  • Catching up with the A Team over KTV, Lunch and cups of coffee
  • Observing the passing of time just sitting outside Starbucks in SM Aura
  • ARSA Chorale practices and that Blue Harmonies related performances.
  • Random Binondo trip with DMC friends
  • Hours of waiting in the airport..Twice in Mactan Airport and NAIA Terminal 2 (Oh hi, France Tan!)
  • Painful and sad arguments 😦 (I’m sorry)

THE PEOPLE

I think that it is the people who we are with who make the event or trip memorable. In 2013, I was blessed to have the company of friends. I also got to meet a lot of people during the trips. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who made 2013 complete.

THE LESSONS

While catching up with an old friend over a cup of tea, we came to talk about how we have moved on in some ways but remained friends. That conversation made me realize that relationships indeed can be fragile IF you let it be and the passing of time would continually test these relationships. Bottom line: Fight for people who are worth keeping in your lives.

2013 has strengthened my notions about dreams. First, We should dream BIG so that if we fall short of that BIG dream, it will still be a little bigger than just a dream. Second, The only way to turn dreams into a reality is to do something about it.

We also need to learn to have a disposition that is grateful for each moment is a gift, that is hopeful, and a disposition that is open for all the possibilities that God can do with our lives. Prayers are heard and dreams do come true.

It was a great ride, 2013!

Last Day @ Ito-Lab, NAIST

Leaving is never easy. It comes with the burden of saying farewell and not knowing when you will be able to meet again. I spent two weeks here in Japan as an intern in the Foundations of Software Laboratory under the Graduate School of Information Science (IS). Professor Minoru Ito and Assoc. Prof. Naoki Shibata were my mentors.

I was working on a traffic simulation project. I started out clueless about Simulation of Urban Mobility (SUMO). One of the students, Jiaxing Xu helped me out with my project. I was able to present my progress during last Thursday. All IS interns also presented about what they did in the laboratory. Prior to my presentation I was able to take photos with the other students in the laboratory. From left to right:  Ojetunde Babatunde, Alyssa Vintola (Me!), Prof. Ito, Tomoyuki Ueda & Takuya Tominaga.

Image

These were the people I interacted with during my internship at the laboratory. It was nice to meet these senpai. I will never forget our late dinners in shokudo (university cafeteria), the time I surprised Ueda-senpai and asked him to explain his research in English, the time they taught me how to order small serving of rice at the cafeteria, how to say “See you tomorrow!” and other simple Japanese phrases. Although my stay was very brief, I really enjoyed it. 🙂

Yesterday was my last official laboratory day in Ito-Lab at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a photo together with Xu-senpai and Prof. Shibata. They were not around. But I was able to take another photo with Prof. Ito. (The pics are not with me yet. I will update this post as soon as I get them.) Also, I got to take pictures with the two “TOMs” I got confused with —- TOMoyuki and TOMinaga : >

Image

Image

Before leaving the laboratory, the two of them gave me souvenirs and gifts as a farewell treat :”>

IMG_0895 IMG_0885

I was indeed an honor to be part of the Foundations of Software Laboratory even for a while. :> Hope to see you all soon in the future! But for now, I say farewell to my spot in the laboratory…

IMG_0886

 

Along the River Seine

After all the hard work we put into our presentations, Schneider Electric took us to Paris for dinner. Michel Orlhac, SE’s VP for Marketing, acted as our tour guide as we drove along the Champs-Élysées. We were along the Champs-Élysées when I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  We also passed by the Arc de Triomphe. But what took my breath away was the sight of the Eiffel Tower as we drove by. Someday, I will be back to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But for now, it shall have to wait.

IMG_0553 IMG_0557 IMG_9284 IMG_9285 IMG_0588 IMG_0594

Once we got to the docks the riverboat was not there yet. We took the time to get to know more about the other participants and the people from Schneider Electric. We could not mask the excitement that we have while we marvel at the scenic  view.

IMG_0676IMG_0688 IMG_0677IMG_0673 IMG_0715 IMG_0716 IMG_0700IMG_0710

The riverboat finally arrived and we found ourselves aboard Le bateau-mouche Capitaine Fracasse. We wined and dined while we cruised along River Seine. The sun sets really late in Paris but when sun did set and the moonlight shone, Paris was simply a breathtaking sight to behold.

IMG_0725 IMG_0728 IMG_0729 IMG_0894 IMG_9329 IMG_9316 IMG_9350 IMG_9348

We passed by Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre, Notre Dame and many more interesting architectural structures. But perhaps one interesting thing that I noticed were the young Parisians who were sitting by the river, holding a bottle of beer, enjoying chatting with friends and just having a good time. It must be good to be young and feel young in Paris. One thing I wish I could do is just blend in and get lost at the heart of Paris. But nevertheless, I feel blessed to have been given the chance to cruise along the Seine.

IMG_0777 IMG_0822

 IMG_0857 IMG_0867

IMG_0749 IMG_0750 IMG_0751

Smash(ing) Glee

Funny how there was a scene on Glee that made a reference to Smash. After all, Rachel’s character is still in the constant search for stardom in the Broadway scene. But that Smash reference was just a low blow considering that the show was cancelled. I really wanted Smash to return for a third season. If Glee is getting a run at it, why can’t Smash? The first two episodes of Glee have been terribly disappointing. Not that I don’t like them doing covers of The Beatles songs. It is just that the plain old high school drama is not cutting it anymore.

If given a chance to pick between the two shows, I would have picked Smash over Glee.  (I am sorry to all Gleeks.) I really used to love Glee when it was just starting out. But it kills me to see what’s happening to the show. As someone who is part of a choir, I still appreciate the music that the show has to offer. And as someone who loves to watch musical shows, production or what not. Smash’s plot had got me interested. Even if it was only focused on producing a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, I liked how the intricacies in creating the whole production was highlighted in the episodes of Smash’s first season. The second season of Smash was also able to show the interplay of competition in running a show on Broadway. But what I loved most about the second season was the fact that it also focused on making dreams come true on Broadway – from the perspective of a producer, writer, actress, director. Another reason why I would give it to Smash would be the soundtrack. While Glee does covers of songs already popularized, most of the songs feature on Smash were original and were written for that specific scene/episode.

Here are some of the songs on Smash that I love:

1. Love I Meant To Say

2. I Can’t Let Go

3. Broadway, Here I Come!
4. Don’t Forget Me

5. Heart Shaped Wreckage

Whoooops and Whips!

I hereby declare that today, September 30, 2013, is a day dedicated to finish all tasks related to my History 166: Philippine History class. Apart from a comprehensive final exam scheduled next week, we are required to be part of a historical debate and come up with a photo project. These requirements are to be done by group. I am in a group with Ghe Munar, Jigs Sevilla, Jon Mariano, Justine Esguerra and Issa Naguid. Our home departments, Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering (ECCE) and Department of Information Systems and Computer Science (DISCS) are located in Faura Hall. Hence, we call ourselves Faura Friends.

Ghe, Issa and I were initially set to debate in the first week of September, before Ghe left for France. Unfortunately, there was an error in coming up with the groupings and schedule. There is an odd number of groups and there was not available group to go against us. We were supposed to debate as Government with the motion: “The American annexation of the Philippines was justified over the colonial rule.” Since we had no opponent, our professor decided to let Ghe read her speech. Then Issa and I will be debating on the same topic against a team composed of volunteers from different classes handled by the same professor.

BUT that didn’t happen. Our professor decided that it would be easier if we signed up twice for the second round of debates and just debate on the new motion. (Tsk! Preparation for the first debate went down the drain). But our professor believed that we could pull it off. He was even kind enough to put our whole team in the opposition side. Earlier today, we had to debate as part of the second rounds of debates. Jigs, Justine and Jon battled it out against Team Historectomy. Issa and I went against Team Verbal Conquistadors. We were opposition for both debates on the motion: “This house believes that the Marcos regime was an economic success.”

For both debates, Government skewed the debate to their side by defining economics as macroeconomics. We challenged the definition so as to tackle aspects concerning microeconomics during the regime. We almost bagged the two debates. As our professor put it, we had the right facts, the right arguments but lack the push. But at least we managed to win one out of the two debates.

Having witnessed the first debate where Jigs, Justine and Jon debated, we had an edge in terms of anticipating the arguments of government. But we actually had a good grasp on the matter even during the first debate. But I have to say that I officially suck as the Leader of the Opposition. Although I tried to redeem myself as the Opposition Whip (someone had to speak twice from our team). Jigs and I (as the whip) won as best debaters. Woohoo! Btw, thanks for the photo, Jigs! 🙂

DSC04328

But we have one more group project to finish which is due on Thursday. I was supposed to finish the write-up tonight. But the American Historical Collection closes early so I wasn’t able to finish jotting down the facts I needed for the Philippine Census in 1945.  As a preview of our photo project, here are the photos we have so far. Disclaimer: These are not the photos to be submitted as part of the photo project. These are the ones who did not make the cut. 

IMG_0152 DSC04316

Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Crunch time! With less than three weeks till the semester ends, my blockmates and I are faced with the last set of requirements for the different subjects we are taking. Two things that are not helpful: cold weather that is making me lazy and Candy Crush that just promotes procrastination. Hope we get through this! 😀 *fingers crossed*

Tip: To those who want to organize their to-do-lists, bucket lists or any lists for that matter, you can check out http://todo.ly/ . It is a nifty app to use for organizing lists 🙂

P.S.
The tasks related to our final year project are in a separate file in my todo.ly list. So as other things like preparing for my internship on October and preparing the files to have my internship in PLDT credited for that 1-unit subject in my curriculum.