Dec 12, 2015

Second US Business Trip Getaways Part 2

For my part 2 of my weekend getaways in the US, I explored more of Connecticut and got introduced to some American customs that I experienced for the first time. One of them was during Halloween. Yes, I was in costume too and people didn't bother me joining the kids for trick or treat! :D

Me in CC Yukata version for Halloween 2015 Trick or Treat

Also, I experienced the fall season for the first time! Fall is by far my most favorite season. My friends and I drove around Connecticut to see some beautiful fall foliage.

Look how colorful the trees are during Fall! <3
And since I have some new coworkers that arrived, we went back to New York City for a Saturday trip.

Top of the Rock in New York City, New York.

Moreover, I visited Washington, D.C. again with my friends and spent a weekend there. The second visit (first visit was last year) made me realize of how I love the city.

Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

I also watched Disney on Ice for the first time. It opened up the child in me! It reminded me of how I love Disney classics!!

Disney on Ice in Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey.

My coworkers and I also decided to visit the Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut before going to factory outlets for shopping.

Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut

Me and my coworkers visited Louis Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut as they said it was where the burger originated. One of my coworkers really wanted to be here anyway so we drove there after a work day.

Louis Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut.

Thanksgiving weekend was a bit long. No work already starting Wednesday afternoon until weekend so my coworker friends and I decided to visit some spots in New Jersey.

Liberty Sate Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.

Grounds of Sculpture in Hamilton Township, New Jersey.

So this was how I spent most of my free time in the US. Hoping for a next US adventure soon!! :)

Nov 9, 2015

Mysteries in Life

I just want to share what mysteries in life I have experienced that I'm quite curious. As I age each year, I feel like more questions pop up on my mind. They tend to make me anxious sometimes however, I try to always focus on the present and reality.

So here are some of mysteries in life that mostly cross my mind:

Dreams - Probably the most mysterious thing for me because we experience it everyday but we don't know if there are meanings on them. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a movie trying to act my character in the dream because when I wake up, I am back to reality. I also experienced dreaming within a dream. How weird. Also, some events in the past have a different situation in my dreams. Example, I dreamed that I was in college and I missed some of my subjects but when I woke up, I realized, I'm done with college, why was I in college again? But I do see dreams as something like when we sleep, our brain does some creative work to put together our memories and subconscious.

Being Lost For A Minute or Two - Do you sometimes feel like at one point you question why you are where you are at the moment? Like your vision becomes hazy while talking to someone and then having these weird confusion of what are you doing talking to this person? When you try to think deep and then suddenly you realized you are at work and you need to finish something? It's very strange but it sometimes happens to me. I'm not sure if there is a term for this but it feels like I'm somewhat detaching myself from reality for a bit and then immediately returning.

Love - a very huge word, if you ask me, because it means a lot. What makes it mysterious to me is that why do people fall in love? Why do people feel it? Why do people sacrifice for love? Why does sometimes it's gone and then it happens again? Why do we say we love our family and friends but it feels different with our significant other? Is there supposed to be some types of love? I'm not sure.

I guess having mysteries in life is part of being a human. If there were no mysteries, people will not search for answers and life would be boring. :)

Oct 30, 2015

Too Close, Too Far

Do you ever feel sometimes that you are very different from others? Like yes, you have friends, but have any of your friends surprised you for your birthday? Or at least gave you gifts? Because believe it or not, I rarely receive gifts from family and friends during my birthday. Well, having a birthday on a holiday might be an acceptable reason but still, isn't it sad to think about not receiving anything for your birthday? I sometimes wonder if there is a certain level or depth a friendship should have in order for you to experience special treatment. I personally like to receive a greeting card with notes and messages from my friends, even from those I am not very close. I like the idea of being surprised on my birthday. I would be very happy if someone would make a video for me or would give me flowers occasionally. Something unique and out of the box for my birthday or during holidays/special events. I've been seeing some of these things happen on Facebook (yes I saw something in Facebook that provoked me to write this post). I would then wonder if there is a chance that I would experience those unique celebrations too. But given the fact that I am not really very close to anyone and that until now, nothing special has ever happened on my birthday, I doubt if any of those flattering celebrations would ever happen to me. Would you believe that even during my debut birthday party, I had to force my high school classmates to come because my birthday lies on the day before New Year's Day? I do understand the situation but it's just that I felt they were skeptical with the idea of visiting my place on my birthday. I was just glad that they came though, still, thank you. If I would try to recall my high school days, I would say I was never close to anyone and that my mind was just too focused with my studies. I do have close friends when I got in college and I am still in contact with them but we rarely see each other. I can see them having close coworker friends which I believe I have some too (hopefully!). Being in the US sometimes makes me think though if there is a gap between my coworker friends because of the lesser time I spent with them in person. I just feel that at this point of my life, there has been no one who really knows me best except my sister who is in Japan right now which is kind of sad too because she's also far away from me. Anyway, this is just one of the things that randomly crosses my mind sometimes. :)

Sep 29, 2015

Second US Business Trip Getaways Part 1

September is almost over and I haven't posted anything about how I spent my weekends here in the US. It's been three months already! (What were you doing Chrisma?!) I know, I was being lazy but I will try to wrap up the places I have visited for the past three months.

For my first month (July), I was just visiting some nearby lakes, parks, and farms in Connecticut. It's summer and it would be a total waste not to go outside! Here are some of my photos.

Sylvan Lake in Watertown, CT
Buttonwood Farm Sunflowers in Griswold, CT
Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT

During the second month (August), I went to more places in Connecticut.

Blueberry and Peach Picking at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT

Took a trip to Yale again and tried the 1.50USD bus ride:

Yale University in New Haven, CT

And finally saw hot air balloons in action for the first time:

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Plainville, CT

One of my coworkers has already arrived, who was very willing to do some long drives so we went to New Jersey to visit my aunt and visited Princeton University the next day:

Princeton University in Princeton, NJ (my third Ivy-League school visit!)

On the third month (September), we went even farther this time and finally visited Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls in Buffalo, NY

And went to NYC to visit Lady Liberty again:

Statue of Liberty in New York City, NY

Then visited Harvard again:

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

So these are the places I have visited for the first three months of my second visit here in the US. I have two more months so I need to make most out of the time left before I go home. I will be posting the part 2 really soon! :)

Aug 12, 2015

When I Got Hit On

Yesterday, I went to the mall with my friend. We were inside the H&M store when I decided to go down to check more clothes while my friend was on her way to the fitting room. While I was checking on some blouses, a white man, with beard, with kind of curly long hair that was ponytailed, and not too tall (maybe around 5'7) suddenly approached me and started to say something. At first, I thought he was one of the H&M staff asking if I find everything okay (you know, that usual lines sales associates ask you when you're in a store) but then I was surprised when he started to tell me some *different lines*. OMG, this guy is hitting on me! What I can remember is that he started to tell me about what's missing on me. I'm like, huh? and then he said I wasn't smiling, that I should smile because I was blessed with beauty. He kept on saying I was beautiful. Back in my mind I was thinking, should I be smiling while picking some clothes? Will I not look stupid? xD He introduced himself and where he lives but I can't even remember his name and address (sorry!). He asked for my name so I gave it but then he then asked for my number. I'm like, "can I choose not to give my number?" and he was like "C'mon". I was hesitant but I thought it wouldn't be bad to give him my number so I gave it. However, I told him I was only visiting but didn't give much details because my friend arrived and maybe he got scared or shy so he left. My friend then told me maybe the guy thought I was alone haha.

Anyway, that was my first time being hit on here in the US. The guy is not my type but I like the way how he started the conversation. One of the factors that I really look into when meeting someone is how good our conversation will be. I like the way how he started to say that I don't smile but still complimenting me of my beauty.

PS. He didn't send me a text message so probably he lost my number or he realized I was not beautiful haha. :p

Jul 19, 2015

My Short Transit Tour in Hong Kong

I promised myself that if I ever go back to the US and have the same 9-hour layover in Hong Kong I had last year, I will definitely go out of the airport and explore Hong Kong, even for just a bit. I was just in the airport for the entire 9 hours last year because I was too afraid to go out and because it was my first time there. Luckily, I just had the opportunity to go to the US again this year with the same 9-hour layover in Hong Kong (yey!).

I didn't have much time to prepare for the layover trip because the initial booking was that I didn't have the long layover but then they suddenly changed it like three days before my trip. xD Thankfully, my coworker who has tried the layover trip taught me how to do it and he also gave me a map. I also searched some blogs for any Hong Kong layover trips and guides. Finally, I made my personal itinerary (in my mind, not written!) and prepared my self for my short solo adventure in Hong Kong. I will give details as much as I can so some of you might want to do it too!

The day of my flight came and I arrived in Hong Kong around 3pm. My next connecting flight is still in 12 midnight so a lot of time for me! So I went to the arrival area instead of the connecting flight area and prepared my passport. I followed the signs for visitor immigration and then lined myself. Nothing to be worried about with the immigration as they don't ask anything and just give these small papers to keep and give back when you return to the airport.

After the immigration, you will see an area with maps and a couple of people that will guide and give tips to the tourists on how to make their way around Hong Kong. Although I already had something planned on my mind, I still approached them and asked about the best routes to take to and from Avenue of Stars. I was really glad I asked because they gave me the best route to take when going back to the airport which I will explain later. ;)

Okay so after the conversation with the guide, I had all of my remaining Philippine Peso and a 20 US Dollar bill exchanged for Hong Kong Dollars.

I bought the same day return  Airport Express ticket which is 100HKD.

Then I went to the baggage counter at Level 1 of Terminal 2 to deposit one of my hand carry bag. The rate was 12HKD per hour.

Then I ran to the entrance of Airport Express train while it was still openly waiting and sat on one of the cozy seats.

Inside the Airport Express

I alighted at Hong Kong Station and tap my ticket which will show that one ride was already taken from it. The travel took around 25 minutes. I found a map on where I was and then I went outside.

Okay so when I was outside the Hong Kong Station, I felt like I was lost! But then I tried to remember the map I just saw and went to the direction of Pier 7 from the map. Finally, after some walking, I found the signs to Pier 7.

You will see this view on your way to Pier 7.

When I arrived in Pier 7, I followed how people purchase their coin ticket for the ferry ride.
This is where you buy the token to ride the Ferry.

The token for the Ferry ride.

Then I followed the direction of the people where they insert the coin and open the entrance to the waiting area. When I inserted my coin, it didn't insert successfully so I was stuck for a moment but thankfully they have these people monitoring the passengers getting in so one of them bang the insert machine and then the entrance opened (whew!). Then I waited for the Ferry in the designated waiting area.

Waiting area for the Ferry ride.

The Ferry arrived and people started to get inside. The waves are really strong so be careful when getting inside the Ferry.

Look at those photobombers at the back during the Ferry ride but I really don't mind. :D

The Ferry ride was just short but it will show you the spectacular view of Hong Kong buildings near the sea (just like NYC).

View from the Ferry

As soon as I arrived in Tsim Tsa Tsui after the Ferry ride, I saw some stores and bought a magnet (I collect magnets of the places I have visited).

I walked around the area and saw the Clock Tower and some monuments that I didn't recognize. xD

The Clock Tower
A Dragon Boat

Anyway, recalling the map, the direction of Avenue of Stars should be to the left, facing the sea. As I walked, I didn't see any signs so I ask a guy I saw looking into the sea. He pointed me to the direction (I just needed to walk further to see it lol) and then off I go. So finally I arrived in Avenue of Stars. Here are some of my photos:

Bruce Lee!

So much of the walking, I bought an orange juice and rested a bit in one of the benches. After some time, I took some photos with Bruce Lee and then decided to go back already.

Selfie with Bruce Lee! :)

I decided to take the guide's advice to take a free bus ride from Sheraton Hotel to Kowloon Station. Luckily, there is free WiFi in the area (thank God for the generous Hong Kong people) so I used my Google maps and followed the GPS direction to Sheraton Hotel which was around 10-minute walk. I arrived in the hotel however, I didn't spot right away the bus stop so I had to ask around. The third person I asked eventually guided me to the bus stop (very helpful young man! thank you!) and just right on time, the bus arrived. It was a free Airport Express bus with bus no. K4 and it goes around the nearby hotels for passengers that would like to go and from Kowloon Station, how convenient is that! Also, I got to see a little of the night lights around the area by just riding the bus!

Inside the free bus ride to Kowloon Station, all alone.

So I arrived in Kowloon Station, took the Airport Express and head back to the airport. I was all sweaty from the short trip so I changed my clothes (luckily, I brought an extra dress). I followed the signs for departure, presented my passport and the little paper they gave before I went out, had my hand baggage scanned and the laptop should be taken out ( I really hate this, like my laptop is really heavy T^T), and headed to the train that will take you to the gates area.

I still have around 11 HKD so I searched for a drink around that price and yes, I found one in McDonalds; a small size softdrink worth 10 HKD+ (I forgot the exact amount but it was less than 11 HKD). I have estimated my money exchange very well because I was left with maybe 2-3 cents. :)

It felt really fulfilling to finally be able to go out of Hong Kong Airport for the first time and do solo travel.

Summary of Expenses:

Expense Amount (HKD)            
Airport Express 100
Left Baggage Fee ~48
Ferry Ride 2.5
Hong Kong Magnet 25
Orange Juice ~10
McDonald Softdrink ~11
TOTAL 196.5

~ estimated amount, forgot the exact amount. xD

Lastly, I made a short video of my Hong Kong transit tour. Please check the video below:

Jun 25, 2015

Being a Student Driver

Okay so I reach to a point that I am forcing myself to learn how to drive a car. An opportunity came again for me (thank God!) but I think I need to know how to drive already this time.

The car that I might be driving is an automatic one but I wanted to at least have an idea on how to drive a manual car. Anyway, so I took some driving lessons, 4 hours manual and 6 hours automatic. I finished my manual but unfortunately, was only able to drive 2 hours automatic because another student driver crashed the car. :( At least, I think I can already drive though. Automatic is really easy to handle and with a background of manual, it helped me gain confidence with the automatic car. My instructors were really helpful during my lessons and I learned a lot. One tip from one of my instructors that I have always kept in mind is to practice zero brake instead of zero gas. This means if you want to slow down and step out of the gas, might as well transfer your foot to the brakes even though you are not pushing the brakes. This tip is very helpful in case you panicked at least you're stepping the brakes and not the gas.

I'm getting my driver's license really soon. I pray to God for my safety when I start to drive already. For those who are afraid to try driving, I am the same as you at first but then once you start, you will eventually like it. I'm still starting myself though so can't really tell a lot of experience yet. I will post more when I have my fair share of experience already. ;)

May 16, 2015

When Things Don't Go Your Way

When Zayn Malik left One Direction
When Charice changed her image to a tomboy
When A to Z TV series was cancelled

These are just a few things that I think didn't go my way. I wished Zayn didn't left 1D. I wish Charice could just continue with her girl image even though she's a tomboy. I wished A to Z had a season 2 or at least finished the alphabet.

But then, if you think about everything you have; the blessings, your loving family and friends, the job you have right now, the opportunities given to you, your skills and abilities, they don't match on the things that makes you upset. In fact, it makes those sad things irrelevant now.

Lesson learned: In life, you will never get everything. However, there will be things that you already have which you should be thankful for. There will be more things that will surprise you and they will definitely be better. :)

Apr 27, 2015

Pronunciation 101: How to Pronounce My Name

Hi. My Name is Chrisma Joyce. My name Chrisma was derived from Christmas because I was born on the month of December (not December 25 but still on December). So if you pronounce my name, it's Christmas with no T and S, Chrisma (/ˈkrismə/).

There are times when my name is pronounced incorrectly. I would politely tell that person how to pronounce my name correctly and he/she would get it right away. However, I am not sure why but there are really unruly ones that would never listen and continue misprouncing my name and I hate it. Some would call me "Charisma" probably because it's very similar to my name and Charisma is pretty much a common name. Some would call me "Chrishma" for thinking that the H is in the middle which is definitely wrong. I really wonder where they got the H in the middle but I'm suspecting that since me and my coworkers work with Indians and some of their names have H in the middle so they probably think my name would sound that way too with the H which is obviously very incorrect.

Throughout my life, I have been called by different names from my family, to classmates, close friends, and co-workers. I would likely know if they call me this name that he/she is a family member, or if he/she calls me this that he/she is a classmate, something like that. I guess the "name hate" started in college when someone tried to call me a different name that I didn't like and I confronted him, telling him to please not call me that and use my real name instead. After all, I love my name and it's suppose to be used to call me that way and not a different one. I may have shown a bit of a "strict" side of me at that time but I had to do that to stop me being called some bad names and it looks like it happen again recently. I had to tell one of my new coworkers to pronounce my name correctly many times. I really do hope she will get used to it right now.

Anyway, I know I'm being a little cruel but when it comes to my name, I would really make sure that you pronounce it correctly. After all, it is the name your parents gave you and I love my name very much so ruining it would really piss me off.

Mar 28, 2015

So Much To Be Thankful For

Something happened to me this month that made me realize how blessed I am to have a very loving and supportive family and friends. I felt bad and disappointed for failing at this one part of my life. I grew up in a family with financial difficulties which brought me to develop a mindset to focus on my studies and the others should be less of my priorities especially this one aspect that I have always placed last on my list. I usually fail on this last priority of mine and maybe because I don't have the enough experience for it. I worry about the future. I like planning things ahead. As much as possible, I don't want my time to be wasted. I am not afraid to take risks when necessary as I don't want to regret that I didn't do it. Despite struggling at this one aspect of my life, I am still thankful that there are more positive things that happened to me this month: a promotion at work and the opportunity to take a Masters degree. Of course, my family and closest friends were there to comfort me and remind me how special I am. I have a high respect to my parents and they are my inspiration in everything I do. My sisters would always remind me that there's more to life. I only have a few close friends but they are the friends that I couldn't ask for more. One of my closest friends told me that "God's timing is perfect" which I will now keep in mind. I believe that the greatest is yet to happen and I lay it all to God, praying that He would bless and guide me to the right path. On the bright side, failures result to learning and experience. I pray that God would strengthen me always and encourage me to do my best to achieve my goals in life.

In conclusion, there are a lot of things I am very thankful for and I thank God for always reminding me this.

Feb 28, 2015

Mikasa in UP Otaku Fest: The Alternate Universe

Last December, my sister came back home from Japan and brought with her an Attack on Titan survey corps costume and I did a photoshoot of her as Krista Lenz. Seeing the costume, I wanted to wear it too so I decided to borrow it for Otaku Fest this year and cosplay as Mikasa Ackerman. She is one of my favorite anime heroines after all.

So without further ado, here are some of my photos as Mikasa during the event held last February 21, 2015:

Putting together the belts is the hardest part of this costume. D:

Photo by my friend Wena.

Photo by my friend Wena.

UP Otaku Fest this year was a huge success. It has the biggest stage and the largest audience so far compared to the previous OFs. As a co-founder of Otaku Fest, I am very proud and honored to see how the event has grown up. Kudos to all who helped and supported the event through the years! Thank you very much! 'Til next OF! ^_^

Feb 4, 2015

OOTD: The Office Chic

Okay so here is my first OOTD (Outfit of the Day) post! This is an outfit I wore at work. I love combining skinny pants with loose long blouse that I can insert with the pants and show the belt as a part of the fashion.

Blouse: Terranova
Pants: Terranova

I like the flowery prints in the blouse. They look very distinct and bright with the black background. It's not very noticeable but the blouse is a bit see-through so I had to wear an inner black sleeveless. Also, this blouse has long sleeves but it has a button up feature so you can fold and button a quarter of the sleeves. The pants are dark green in color and it has only buttons as locks (no zipper).

Belt: Forever21
Sandals: Payless
Watch: Timex Weekender

I added a belt to emphasize the separation between my blouse and pants. I also love wearing my gladiator sandals with my skinny pants. They just fit perfectly! Also, my Timex weekender with hot pink strap matched the colors of my blouse.

Bag: Nine West

This is my usual office bag. It's a little heavy but has a big space on it. I bring a lot of things, as most girls do. ;) For my hairdo, most of the time, I have my hair pulled up that way when I am at work because it shows my beautiful curls.

So that's it for my first ever #OOTD post. I hope I gave much details. I will try to post more clear photos when I get my DSLR tripod. If you have questions, please feel free to post them below on the comments section! Thank you! :)

Jan 25, 2015

Fashion Blog

A friend suggested I should run a fashion blog because he noticed my outfits are usually out of the ordinary and stylish. I haven't posted anything related to fashion (I did post about my cosplays if that counts as part of fashion). I've been recently cautious about the clothes I wear especially the time when I went to the US where I had to post photos of me every week because I usually travel around the nearby cities and states every weekend. I had to wear clothes that won't look like I was repeating them so I had to buy some clothes there. I got interested on how less expensive the clothes are in the US especially H&M and Forever21, which are thought as "expensive" brands already here in the Philippines. If you ask me what are my favorite clothing brands are, it would definitely be Terranova and Forever21 because I love their styles and they have my sizes! Too bad I didn't see any Terranova stores in the US so I had to shop with H&M and Forever21 instead.

In the next few posts, I will try to show my outfit of the day and give details to each. Yes, I will try to start my own fashion blog. You will still see my other random posts related to my personal experiences, anime, cosplay, photography, and traveling. I just want to add "fashion" on my categories. :)

So watch out for some of my #OOTDs! ^^