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Illustration- Minor in Theater Arts
Syracuse NY

What I Did Over My Winter Vacation Is...

(January 05 2010) Written by: Clarissa Baston in Academic Calendar, Study Abroad

Happy New Year everyone!  I know I haven't blogged in while, but it's for a good reason...I promise.  During winter break I have been without internet because I have been in the Philippines!  My boyfriend and I were given a great opportunity to visit my big and loud family. 

First I will start with the flight.  It is a 22 hour flight and I have an extreme fear of flying.  (Why haven't they found a faster way to travel??? It's 2010 for pete's sake!!!)  But thankfully I had my boyfriend and my Honey (my grandma's sister) with me to calm my nerves and hold my hands during take-off :P.  Our first leg of the trip was a 14 hour flight to Korea.  Even though it was long, the flight was fairly pleasant.  The food was good...for airline food and each passenger got their own little TV.  You would watch whatever movie you wanted, TV shows, listen to music and even play video games!  I watched a bunch of chick flicks because no one ever wants to watch 'em with me.  The entertainment definitely helped me get my mind off the fact that I was 30,000 feet above land/water.

Once we got to Korea, we went through another round of security and they happend to stop my grandaunt!  We thought that they stopped her because she had food in her bag, but instead they went through her purse and found a tiny brass thingy in the bottom of her coin purse.  It ended up being a bullet...yeah as in a gun has bullets.  I had the biggest panic attack of my life.  I thought that they were going to arrest her or worse!  We waited for police to arrive, take pictures of the bullet and question my grandaunt.  She said that the bullet was given to her by one of her nieces as protection....against witches.  I know, I know it sounds a little farfetched, but that's some Filipino superstition for ya!  So then all we had to do was surrender the bullet to the police and they let us go on our merry way!  Crisis averted!

When we finally got to the mother country, we have our whole stay there planned out for us!  We stayed in my grandmother's house, but unfortunately she wasn't there because she had to help my uncle out in San Diego.  My other uncle, who I havent seen in eight years, was there to greet us though!  He is a civil engineer and he currently works for the Dubai government.  (RIT Fun Fact: We have a campus in Dubai!)  I did get a chance to see other relatives that I haven't seen since I was really little so there was a lot of cheek pinching and things of that nature. 

pi_pics_122.jpgAs for the rest of the trip, we went to a lot of places...and I mean a LOT.  First we visted some family on there farm, where they made an awesome meal for us.  I tried goat for the first time and it was really good.  We also had a roasted mystery bird dish...we couldn't identify the bird...it tasted a little gamey lol.  It almost looks like a pterodactyl :P






Then we took a boat to the island of Corregidor, which is where American and Filipino soldiers had their last stand against the Japanese during WWII.  Even though the whole trip was a little touristy for my taste, it was still pretty awesome.  We saw some big guns and learned a lot of interesting facts about the war in the Pacific. 
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pi_pics_381.jpgThe next day, we visted my aunt's side of the family in Batangas, which is a little south of Manila.  There we visted Taal lake.  A lake that used to be a crater and is surrounded by volcanoes.  The way there was a little rainy, but we saw some awesome stuff.  We even got to take a tiny boat across the lake.  The water got really choppy and there was a dark cloud above us.  The boat was rocking back and forth like crazy!  I though we were going to drown.  But we just ended up soaking wet.  It was an adventure.






For Christmas, we for on a bus and drove for 12 hours north to my grandaunt's house.  The drive wasn't the most comfortable, but we got there.  Before we started the xmas festivites, my grandaunt was awesome and threw a surprise bday party for my boyfriend and instead of a cake he got a whole roasted pig!  It was also a chance for me to catch up with a bunch of my cousins and other family members.
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Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the whole trip.  We got to go to the beach!!!  I had to pinch myself because I couldn't believe that it was December and I was sweating my face off!  It was amazing.  There was a clear blue sky, I was in good company, and wasn't knee deep in snow.  I think it was the best Christmas ever!

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It was an amazing break and I made many memories.  Now I am back in Rochester, but not exactly back in the groove yet.  I haven't even been in the cold weather for very long and I'm already sick!  All I can do it just look back on my vacation and channel the essence of the warm weather into my room. lol :P

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