When I'm on the road or visiting a different country, I don't take pristine photos of everything around me. I prefer to immerse myself in the experience of the travel, and just take snapshots of the place when something catches my eye or if there's some downtime in between moving. Maryland is no exception, but thanks to good friends and family, I managed to capture memories of the place that became sweeter because of their company. Here are my three significant Maryland experiences: . . .
As much as I hoped to reenact the famous opening scene of Hairspray on a beautiful Sunday morning, I ended up arriving at Dulles International Airport at 5:00PM in the evening. Philippine Airlines decided to wait a tad bit longer before taking off, causing me to miss my 21:28 San Francisco flight to Baltimore. Immigration check took long, baggage claim took longer, and so my flight bid me goodbye before I could get to it. I was frantic, scared, and alone. I didn't know what to do, who to go to, or where to go to get off the airport. I probably spent P2,000+ worth of data just calling my sister and Jayson for help. It was devastating for a first-time overseas flyer like me. . . .
Whenever I think of how I managed to get to where I am today, I always come to a close debate with myself. Am I here because Fate and Destiny promised this journey for me, or because I took control and action over my life? . . .
As soon as I got up from bed, I looked out the window to see if it had rained. The clouds were pretty grey, but the weather overall looked like it was going to be in our favor. I got some work done while Glaizee was still catching some shut-eye. I thought of where we could eat breakfast and managed to locate a cafe in Intramuros, our second stop and the highlight of our Manila trip, called Marso Cafe & Restaurant. . . .
October 2015—My good friend Glaizee and I decided to visit and tour Manila. More for her than me, since she hasn't seen much of Manila when she last visited. What luck that my trip to the US would land on the same weekend we'd be traveling. I had to make a couple of adjustments to my itinerary to make both fit, and thank the heavens it worked out in the end. . . .
Kissing my kids goodbye, I stepped into my shoes and got on the car with a nervous and heavy heart. I tell myself to be thankful though. I tell myself, 'Stef, this journey is meant for you. This is your gift. Step out into new land and make memories for yourself.' I'm heading off to Baltimore, Maryland and Albany, New York in the next two weeks, this being the first time I am ever flying out of the country alone. . . .