What was even more special about this trip is that it involved New Year's Eve which is one of my favorite holidays when I'm in Philippines. Seriously, it's the best. It was even better this time around because I had Russell with me to experience it. I tried taking photos but some moments are impossible to capture. Just image seeing fireworks coming from every direction you look, loud noises everywhere, all the neighbors awake, and the smell of barbecue and food.
Here's one photo of Russ and I holding sparklers in Pampanga, Philippines on New Year's Eve.
I saw and visited many places in Philippines but that all seems kind of meaningless and redundant when it's family that made all the trips wonderful. I love being with my cousins, Titos (uncles), Titas (Aunts), Lolos (Grandpas), and Lolas (Grandmas). It's the best feeling to sit around a dining table with them and laugh and talk. Russell picked up so many Tagalog phrases that he would use at the right circumstances, delightfully surprising my family. This made my heart soar even more. To have a husband also embrace his wife's culture and family is one of the best feelings.
Anyways, I'm all caught up. Readjusted to America and all it's glory. I remind myself that the majority of the world does not look like Southern California. And that I am spoiled for living here. But then I am also thankful.
One day I'll visit again. When I have kids (and when they're old enough to not cry and whine on an airplane), I'll be sure to take them there. I want them to see the beauty and joy of family, to eat until their stomachs hurt, and experience a culture that's warm and inviting.