of soaring & dreaming

August 28, 2008

Ballet in Singapore

Filed under: Events,travel — carnationzky @ 12:43 am
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me, Marlyn, Kate and their friends at Changi Airport

R-L: me, Marlyn, Kate and their friends at Changi Airport

The major reason for going to Singapore last July was to watch my niece, Kate Jimenez, perform and compete in the 10th Asia-Pacific Dance Competition, held at the NAFA 3 Lee Foundation Theater. And of course to meet up with my sister (her mom). Kate’s dance school, Shirley Halili-Cruz Ballet School in Quezon City, Philippines, has been a regular competitor and major winner, giving all the other schools from the region (those who also join) a run for their money. Thus competition is so stiff to the extent that parents and teachers are even more stressed than the dancers. We went there to watch and be entertained. But we didn’t really expect to sense the competitive spirit, but it was there, and strong. The Halili School garnered most of the awards and prizes, and came out the over-all winner, as in previous years. Congratulations to all of them for all their hard work.

Some other countries who joined were China, Thailand and of course, Singapore. A couple of schools each from China and Thailand joined. Majority of the schools are from Singapore. We enjoyed watching all the dances and the various forms of creativity expressed in the actions and steps. There were classical, modern, and retro styles, and the costumes were also very nice. There were solo dances, of which Thailand had a lot of entries. Most of the Thai dancers were already in their mid-teens. They also danced well.

During rehearsals ...

During rehearsals ...

The amazing ones were the group dances, and by the younger kids, especially the below 12 age group, where my niece belongs. She is 11. I could just imagine how hectic their schedules must be, as they balance their regular schooling with the grueling dance practices. But I guess it has some benefits such as learning discipline, order and organization at an early age. But to what extent? Ballet is an expensive hobby and talent, so to speak. I remember my sister and brother-in-law commenting before that with their daughter attending ballet classes, it seemed like they have an additional child based on the expenses.

It is well-known that only the rich families can afford it. No wonder some ballet dancers can be a pain, i.e. spoiled brats, as what we have also observed in some of the kids there. Uh-uh. But there are some middle class families who are working hard just to send their kids to ballet school. It depends on the parents and teachers to instill in their students’ minds to value the ability to dance and to enjoy the glamour that goes with it, and not to forget that success comes through working hard, really. I hope that all the dancers will continue to have this dedication, not only in ballet, but also in all other aspects of life, and in the profession they will eventually choose.

On Orchard Rd for last minute shopping!

On Orchard Rd for last minute shopping!

Getting ready to fly back.

YMCA lobby - getting ready to fly back.

August 6, 2008

The Right Footwear

Filed under: Events,Life stuff,travel — carnationzky @ 9:23 am
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Good old comfy Kito sandals travelled with me to Toronto

Good old comfy Kito sandals (left) travelled with me to Toronto

Wish I brought the right ones when I was in Singapore last July. I was not able to wear then my favorite and comfy Scholl sandals which would have been perfect there. Since my friend told me that it was raining there everyday, I did not want to soil this nice pair. So I chose another pair of step-in which later on I found out was not suitable for Singapore. Especially because they were not meant for walking. And walk a lot we did! As a result, my leg and feet muscles suffered from all the strain of walking and running and climbing. I kept wishing I brought even my older rubber Kito sandals instead of this nice gold, shiny, very flat step-in, which are good only for fashion and short-term wear. My feet had to exert more effort to hold on to the shoe surface because it was so slippery there was no traction on the surface. Until we came back to Thailand, I still felt the pain. So the next day (good I was still on leave), I went to Future Park to have a foot massage. And wow! It was so relaxing and I felt much better.

This shoe experience reminds me of the question my husband used to ask me (a long time ago): “Why do you need so many pairs of shoes?” My answer to him was: I need to have shoes for every occasion. I do not have that many actually compared to some, especially you know who! But I have enough pairs which I can choose from to go with the occasion or with what I am wearing, with my mood or with the weather. When traveling, I always bring at most two more pairs of footwear in addition to what I am already wearing. Just in case. But during this Singapore trip we were using a budget airline so our luggage space was limited.

Anyway, lesson learned: never sacrifice comfort with convenience. Does this make sense?

August 2, 2008

have time? will travel …

It was in June when my sister in Manila informed me that she and my niece, Kate, will be going to Singapore towards the end of July. My niece, who is a student at the Shirley Halili-Cruz Dance School in Quezon City, is joining the school group for some ballet competition (the 10th Asia-Pacific Dance Competition). I was so excited to hear about it and immediately I started to check my calendar. It would be nice to meet up in Singapore, it being nearer and easier to go to (from Bangkok, that is) than to the Philippines.

Fortunately, I had so many days of leave credits which I need to use up before my contract ends in August. As the case here at AIT, as a fixed term contract worker, we could not carry over our leave credits to the next contract period, even if it is within the same project. And it could not be converted to cash either. So if you do not use them, you lose. After all the hard work … hmmm… It was also a surprise that I accumulated that many leave credits because there was no official announcement from our HRO that the monthly leave credit was increased from 1 to 1.5 days. I dunno even when it started. Am just so happy to learn that but I wished I knew earlier so I did not have to take leave without pay a few months earlier (in April) when I went home to Philippines for my holiday. So now I am left with about 10 days leave with barely 2 months to go in my contract. And with a 2 week training program to participate in the following month (August), I have few remaining days to work and so how can I use them up?

So there, the opportunity came up to travel. And I can choose to go as long as I want but it’s not only my own sked to consider. My DH has to come, too, and we have to check his sked whether he could take leave. Fortunately again, that period in July is graduation time at the university where he is teaching. In Thailand, graduation ceremonies take days to complete, so there is basically no work to be done during that period. Which means he is free to take leave as well and travel. So schedule wise, we are ok.

Now the time to check for flights and accommodations. We know that flights to Singapore from Bangkok have a wide range of prices and choices of airlines. Sometimes they really have cheap promos but during this period, there was none. So we had to check the budget airlines and we were able to book one with Air Asia. That’s ok. Next comes the accommodation. So expensive in hotels, that’s out of the question. In the meantime we contacted our dear friend, Lailin and she offered to find one for us among her friends. So that was solved.

So everything was set, we just had to wait. In the meantime, excitement is building up. We do not normally travel just for a holiday. Except for the visit to home in the Philippines, the travels we often do are work-related (professional) and with the ministry. And in times of economic difficulties, work related travel is a good enough chance to travel as a tourist as well. So no need to plan for expensive holidays.

I will be writing blogs on varied topics related to our Singapore trip in the following days. So stay tuned!

July 10, 2008

Slow week

Filed under: Life stuff,Work life — carnationzky @ 8:52 am
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I mentioned to my colleague today that this week has been going quite slower compared to the previous weeks. Dunno why, just a feeling maybe. But work has not slowed down. Still maybe there is not much pressure. Sabai sabai, as they say in Thai. Will see what the weekend holds. The following week we only have 3 working days as there is a long weekend due to a religious festival here. My husband and I were discussing where to go but since we are going to Singapore end of this month, we decided to just stay and rest. Take things easy. I bet not. There are lots of things to do. In and out of the office. So let’s see what happens.

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