Chasing Summer

School just started and summer is officially over for us here in Manila.  Oh, how I wish it could’ve lasted a little bit longer!  So this post is a round-up of our summer (if only to hold on to it a little bit more).

Right after school ended, we flew to Bangkok for S‘s gymnastics competition.  This was her first international tournament so she was excited and nervous at the same time.  As for me, it was my first time to be away from baby for such a long time so I experienced a major separation anxiety attack!  It was a good thing that my mom (Laly to my kids) agreed to stay at our house for the duration of our trip.  This eased my mind and calmed my heart a little over leaving the baby in the care of just the nanny and our helper.  Don’t get me wrong.  Our nanny is trust-worthy and reliable; and she takes good care of but having Laly around to oversee things helped me a lot.

The tournament turned out to be a great experience for .  She won 1 Gold (vault) and 3 Silvers (beam, bars and floor) on her first try.  We were beaming with pride as we cheered our little princess!

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We were also able to explore a little bit of Thailand during our 4-day stay.  We have a good friend who is now living in Bangkok with his family and they were kind enough to take us around that weekend.

We first went to Bang Pa-in where we roamed around the royal family’s summer palace.  All that walking prepared us for our next stop at the Gong Kong Market where we sampled authentic Thai cuisine.

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Freshly cooked Pad Thai at the market

After that, we explored the Ayutthaya Ruins and checked out the Elephant Palace.  We were hoping to see elephants play football but it wasn’t in that part of the city so F & S just fed the big guys with turnips and carrots and experienced an elephant ride.

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A view of Ayutthaya ruins

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Food was something we truly enjoyed during this trip! F found new favorites as we devoured those Thai delicacies.  Of course, we ordered the classics like tom yum goong, pad thai and mango sticky rice.  But we also loved new discoveries like prawns in coconut, beef curry, deep fried soft-shelled crabs and Thai chicken rice.  We would love to go back to Bangkok if only to go on another food trip! 😋

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After this trip, the kids’ summer was mostly spent in the gym or the pitch.  S had gymnastics training thrice a week while F had football seasions almost daily.  His club joined two big summer leagues – Rizal Football Association (RIFA) and United Football League (UFL) Youth – so they had their fair share of games every week.  The team shows quite a potential as they finished second and third runner-up in the tournaments respectively, considering that they were relatively new than other youth clubs who joined.

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U13 JP Voltes-Malaya Team

It was already at the tail-end of summer when we realized that we haven’t even gone swimming yet! The kids were a little disappointed that we had no planned trip to the beach.  With just a few weeks before classes, the nearby beaches that are nice are usually fully-booked on weekends.  I guess luck was on our side as N was able to book a quick getaway for us in Hamilo Coast, Pico de Loro on short notice.  We were only too happy to pack our swimsuits and head out for some sun and sand for the weekend!

This out-of-town trip was a first for J.  It was also his first swimming experience so we were all excited to see how he would react to the water.  Well, it looks like we have a natural swimmer in our midst!  He loved the pool…he loved the beach as well!  He played happily with his brother and sister and if only for that, it was a weekend well-spent.

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Beach time, fun time!

So, that was the summer that was.  True, it was not as eventful as some other summer vacations we had in the past but we had our moments and that is enough to bring us smiles in the meantime.

For now, we bid summer good-bye as we gear up for a new adventure back in school! 😊

I would love to hear your summer stories, too! Hit the comment button and share, would you?

Cheers! 🎉

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A Salute to My Little Gymnast

Last October 25, S attended her first gymnastics ranking meet.  She was among the 33 girls chosen from over a hundred students of the academy to be assessed and ranked.  The top 15 girls will participate in the ucoming competition in December.

S became interested in gymnastics when she learned that her friends were taking lessons for their summer activity.  We did not enroll her right away because we were going away for vacation and I wasn’t also quite convinced that she really liked gymnastics.  I was thinking that she just wanted to join to be with her friends.  How wrong I was!

We went in for a trial class one fine Saturday morning last June and has since then, been spending our Saturday mornings there.

Trying her hand at the forward roll

Trying her hand at the forward roll

Going into training, S knew that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. The exercises, tumbles and rolls were anything but easy. Gymnastics required physical strength, flexibility and balance and I saw that as a beginner, she was struggling with some of these.

While trying to do a cartwheel or a handstand, she would sometimes fall (and I would squirm in my seat). But always, she would get get up, ever so determined to try again…and again. S takes her training sessions very seriously. In fact, she used to incessantly ask me if she can have an additional training day. I said I will think about it…

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During the ranking meet, I saw her perform by herself in front of a crowd for the first time. She was poised, confident and self-assured. Her routines weren’t perfect but there were glimpses of perfection — like when she did a flawless cartwheel that she had been practicing for weeks or when she executed a good jump during her balance beam routine. She was ecstatic that she waa able to perform these stunts. Me? I was just beaming with pride. My baby girl has come a long way since our trial class.

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At the end of the meet, S ranked 22nd. With only four months of training, she kind of expected this result. She knows that there are still more skills to learn and a whole lot of room for improvement. S just takes this all in and embraces the challenge with open arms. With this kind of resolve, the least we could do as parents is to fully support and cheer for her…and yes, agree to that additional training day she was asking for. 🙂

With her gym friends

With her gym friends

So see you at the next gymnastics meet!