No, I am not Will Byers, and no, I do not fancy a sojourn in the Upside Down, but I definitely came back.
Hello, my beloved bookish community! How I’ve missed you so. It is that time of the year again where I take a break from sailing the seven seas and traipsing around the globe—I’m making my job sound grander than it actually is but, shush, let me assume it is. Unlike the previous one, I’m on a much longer break and staying in the country for the rest of 2017.
I was fortunate to be offered another contract with Norwegian Cruise Line and to be on the same ship that I was on last year, which is the Jade. It meant going through basically the same itinerary—with the addition of a handful of new ports—but also reuniting with some of my friends. So, I revisited Venice and Santorini and Cozumel and Mykonos and, in more ways than one, it felt to me like I was going back to my hometown but at the same time, in a lot of senses, it almost seemed like I was seeing these places anew. Especially with Venice. Suddenly, I was finding myself in the back alleys on my way to Pasticceria Tonolo—easily my favourite pastry shop in all of the cities I’ve been to during the eight months I was abroad—or sitting by the Canal Grande with my friends, sampling different kinds of cheese and sipping wine, which by the way would’ve cost us thrice in our country and would’ve been considered a luxury but is just an everyday commodity, a lifestyle in Italy. Or that time we spent two hours in Palazzo Ducale and left feeling alive but also like there’s still so much to see. Or when I celebrated my birthday by having a solitary trip to Ca’ Rezzonico, this 18th-century museum of Baroque goodness that boasts exuberant apartments and gilded ballrooms and sumptuous salons. Or, just, the afternoon walks in this quaint, magical floating city, immersing myself in a rich blend of culture and history and arts.
I went back to Barcelona and Athens, to boot, where I took a tour of the Acropolis—THE Acropolis, empirical even in ruins. But my new adventures brought me to Florida, Málaga, Rome, and Costa Maya, among others. I found myself inside the Museo Picasso, in the city where one of the most revered artists of the 20th century was born. I made a wish in the Trevi Fountain and stared in awe of the Colosseum, which was mainly why my friend Ian and I missed our train going back to Civitavecchia, which, again, is funny now but in retrospect was hella scary. I discovered the warm, laidback Costa Maya, instantly becoming my favourite part of the week. I fell in love with Key West, where I visited Ernest Hemingway’s house. I got introduced to new friends and some more new friends. These lovely and fun and amazing people who helped me either a find the right booze for me (beer will ALWAYS suck) or b feel more comfortable in my skin. I basked in the sun. I danced. I read the first half of the Harry Potter books. I said yes more freely. I went to my first bonfire. I got drunk. I marveled. I cried. I laughed.
And now we are here, back to my country. Back to Angeles City. Back to blogging. I’m still trying to get back to writing and creating a routine. In fact, this post took me a week—a painful, hair-pulling week of stumbling and reassessing and introspection. But, as one of my life heroes once said, “seek out what magnifies your spirit.” And I know this community does just that.
So, what did I miss, lovely bookish people? Let’s catch up!