2019 was perfect

We’ve been so behind in posting but what better way to start off the year with a 2019 in review update. It’s a bit long so skim through it, read every word or scroll down to the ending, up to you! Enjoy!

I started putting a “best nine” insta post but we had so many that 9 would just be the icing on our ginormous cake. Where do I begin? How about the first of the year!

We kicked of NYE with dinner at Pier Market in SF, ice-skating and an interview with the local news station about our NYE plans which were going back to our hotel room, getting in our pjs and finishing off with our private karaoke party. We spent the first few days of the new year in SF, exploring, eating, visiting with friends and of course anticipating what the rest of the year had in store!

We also kicked off the year with all of us as dual citizens of the US and Philippines, which is the reason why we were in SF. Decided it would be good to have Terence and Teren get their dual citizenship since Tara and I had ours, thanks to soccer of course.

We had plans on moving into our new van but discovered a leak in the roof which obviously makes it unlivable. The beauty of van living was our options were pretty open since we weren’t tied down to one specific place. We spent a week or so with the Wu’s couch surfing, many thanks! Luckily, our friends, The Cari’s, just listed their basement apartment for rent and next thing you know, we were moving in, no regrets. We gained a family. A family who welcomed us to Sunday dinner potlucks, a family who welcomed us with glasses of wine (and juice) on any given weekday(end), and a family to share laughs, tears and memories with.

It was a big adjustment moving into a studio apartment. It felt like a mansion compared to what we were used to! It was temporary and we made it work.

Around Valentine’s day, Tara received an invite of a lifetime! She received a call-up letter from the Philippines Women’s Soccer Team to train/play for the Olympic qualifiers in Qatar. After a lengthy chat with Mr. Boss and my work…I put in my notice and was booking our tickets to the Philippines for the end of the month. Of course, Tara made the final roster and on her way to Qatar. Terence and Teren ended up coming to the Philippines and joined me in Qatar to cheer the team on!

The trip was instrumental in Tara changing her decision to de-commit at PLU where she received the Presidential Scholarship and spot on the PLU Soccer team and instead go to school in the Philippines, to play soccer for De LaSalle University!

After a month, we were headed back to Seattle to finish off the rest of the school year and prepare for our MOVE TO THE PHILIPPINES. The opportunity was there so why not? Cost of living is way more affordable (the US dollar goes a long way in the PI,) it’s always sunny and warm, a chance for both kids to live abroad and more importantly, learn about their heritage and experience it firsthand. Moving made sense and matched up with our retirement goals.

Every month was jammed pack leading up to our final day in Seattle. I spent some time in San Diego with my family, going away lunches/hh/dinners, getting all our doctor and dentist visits in, packing up our little studio apartment, riding bikes, road trips, training for my 2nd half ironman only to be canceled for a sprained ankle, tara’s high school graduation, one final weekend trip to Victoria, BC, and our super awesome and fun going away party at Kona Kitchen.

On June 14, 2019, we got a rental van and packed it up with 7 boxes, 5 carry-ons and 3 luggages and headed up to Vancouver, BC for our one-way flight to Manila! 13 hours later, we arrive to what would be the greatest move in our life to date. We spent the first few days unpacking and settling in the condo in BGC (owned by Terence’s Aunt.) Tara and I left the boys and my mother-in-law for Greece. It was an amazing 2 weeks and great way to kick off not just our move but Tara’s 18th birthday.

The travel and adventure continued on…Tara went off to train with the National Team for the AFF Championship tournament in Thailand, Teren and I went on a long weekend trip to Coron with Terence’s family, and weeklong stay in Kawit with my first cousins on the Peregrino side.

We ended up opting to not live in the condo in BGC (that in itself is a long story that has been long forgotten) and moved into my grandmas house in Kawit! We were happy with that decision and was for the better. Spent the entire month of August getting Teren into a new school, buying a car, getting internet set-up, hot water heater installed and making her house a home.

In order for us to live abroad comfortably and to continue to maintain our incoming US dollars, Terence would have to travel back to Seattle every other month and working remotely in the PI. So far, so good. Thankfully, technology has allowed us to keep in contact through hours of video calls! I run my consulting business virtually and can do it for any part of the world! I have to travel back to the states from time to time to give lectures which is great because I get to see friends and family and get my fill on Mexican food and pizza!

What we love about living in a province versus the hustle and bustle of a busy, modern city…its as if we traveled back in time, living in place where kids are playing outside, literally leaving in the morning and coming home before it gets dark. Of course, I was a bit nervous to start but that’s how we’ve been conditioned to feel and act growing up in the states. Going back to a time where kids go door to door to pick up their friends to go “play.” Going back to a time where being outside was way more interesting than spending the day on electronics (though a lot of kids and adults do that here too!). Going back to a time where it was okay to walk to playground without an adult to play soccer/basketball/baseball. It’s a weird feeling especially when I find myself telling Teren “make sure you are back before it gets dark and in time for dinner.”

Life is good.

The Ber-months are extra festive in the Philippines. Christmas music and decor starts in September, a tad more in October. Then you have November where the holiday of things start to ramp up and of course December. Each barangay decorates its streets with their choice of holiday lights, carolers come to visit in the evening, bands march down our streets beating to familiar holiday music and kids come by and say “ma-masko po” which is kinda like trick or treat! Then the big day arrives, Christmas day! Almost every household is filled with family and friends, tables full of food and desserts and all is merry and bright. We enjoyed our first Christmas here and even had the opportunity to book a last minute holiday get away to Boracay. SO beautiful!

NYE is just the same but with fireworks. With the help of a quick cat nap, I made it to midnight and got to wish my loved ones a happy new year.

Today we reflect on an amazing 2019 and can’t wait to experience 2020.