barbie at jenny and brett’s

the australian language is a tricky little thing. fascinating, but tricky — how the a’s and the h’s and the z’s are pronounced so differently from the american way of saying things that i once asked jeff to sing the alphabet just so i can listen to how it sounds on this side of the world. (he did. bless him, he’s such a sucker sometimes. *evil laugh*)

somehow, i noticed how aussies love to shorten their words. from the easily decipherable g’day to the what-the-hell-does-arvo-mean?! apparently, arvo means “in the afternoon.”

and barbie holds no reference to the doll whatsoever. it’s simply an abbreviated word derived from “barbecue.”

but this post is not about the australian language at all. i’m pretty much stuck with a diluted american accent, with my r’s intact and my bisaya as strong as ever. or evuh.


today i’ll be talking about barbecues. or barbie, as they say over here. something i’ve always loved way back in the philippines when grilling was the method of choice during summer outings at the beach. except that there, we usually grill fresh fish, squid, etc. apart from the pork we specially marinated the night before the trip.

here, it’s all about the meat — lamb, beef, chicken, sausages, sometimes pork. at the risk of sounding sosyal, the lamb is my favorite. and pork too because i’ll always be filo like that.

but more than the food itself, it’s the whole process of cooking and bonding around a warm heat-generating contraption that makes it both primitive and enjoyable at the same time.

like that sunday a week ago when jenny and brett, a very lovely couple who happen to be el2’s friends, invited us for some barbecue at their place. needless to say, that was where my love for lamb (and aussie barbie) began.

barbie at jenny'sbarbie at jenny'sbarbie at jenny'sbarbie at jenny'sbarbie at jenny's

breakfast at melissa cakes cafe bar. now you know what to get. you’re welcome.

i’m not much of a breakfast eater. as a matter of fact, i don’t really eat breakfast at all. i know, i know. it’s the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah. i don’t know how some people do it. eat breakfast, i mean.

so if i start raving about bruschettas with avocado pesto, tomatoes, feta cheese and poached eggs on top and actually get excited for it, then it must be a reaaally good breakfast meal.

it is. you just gotta take my word for it.

melissa cakes cafe bar, dandenong

you only get it at melissa cakes cafe bar, as far as i know. well, you can make one from scratch if you’re determined enough. i reckon it’s pretty easy as long as you have the recipe (still looking for it) although the poached eggs might be a challenge to make. (i tried. and failed miserably.)

melissa cakes cafe bar, dandenong

but, yeah, that’s my go-to meal for breakfast when jeff and i find ourselves at melissa’s (so much so that i had to take a photo of it just in case i feel like blogging about food like i am now).

that, and a pineapple sunrise.

melissa cakes cafe bar, dandenong

…while jeff usually goes for the scrambled eggs. something so simple that everyone cannot not make it. it’s very difficult to screw up and i make him scrambled eggs a lot of times but he says the one at melissa’s is better that it secretly hurts my culinary feelings. it’s okay, though, the scrambled eggs. so-s0. #bitter

melissa cakes cafe bar, dandenong

they also sell cakes there too. (thus, the name?) — cakes, burgers, steaks, parmas, etc. i once tried their parma and it was great, except that it was HUGE!!! the moment they served it, my reaction ranged from shock to denial then back to shock in a matter of seconds. there was no way it was good for just one person. i asked jeff to double check and he said yes: it was good for one person. which sent me into shock yet again.

i’ve never felt more pressured to finish my food in my entire life! (okay, apart from my childhood days when my mom would insist that i eat everything she put on my plate. or else.) i swear, i was almost in tears. looking at other people on other tables scraping their plates clean while i struggled to shove down the chicken down my protesting throat. in the end, jeff must have took pity on me that he told me it was okay to not finish it.

i barely finished half.

so i told myself that the next time, i’m definitely ordering a kiddie meal. when i did several weeks ago, they asked me if i was ordering for a 7-year old or younger.

needless to say, i couldn’t possibly pass for a child.


popit. just because.

the sun’s out and it’s a beautiful day.

“jan, your wedding is going to be wonderful,” girlie messaged me on viber.

it felt really nice to hear that. like it was all i’ve been needing to hear. genuine, heartfelt words coming from a friend who could solve me like a favorite jigsaw puzzle no matter how scattered and broken the pieces. somebody who “knows my pace,” or so she says. although i’m kinda confused as to what she meant by that because it immediately elicited an image of a turtle in my mind and as much as i love turtles for their wisdom, they’re also, you know, not fast?

i might have to get back to her on that lest i start brooding about it, like i have the tendency to. because once i do, i think and overthink and overthink some more about it in my head. marinating all these thoughts and emotions and then philosophizing them as a way of salvaging my sanity. i think that’s my problem. this whole time, i’ve been like a fcking sponge. absorbing energies left and right, regardless of the charge.

but these girls, man! i don’t know what i would be without them. (well, for one thing, i would have been NORMAL. their craziness has infected me over 14 years — slowly but shirley — like viruses that stubbornly sit on my cells. no wonder they call themselves the schizos.)

so, to the most amazing women i know and love more than warm showers, THANK YOU.

schizos christmasschizos christmasschizos christmas

no, wait, i take that back. warm showers is where i draw the line.

she’s here! =)

she’s already been here for two weeks or so. which means that’s how long i’ve been slacking off from writing. i wish i could tell you i was knee-deep in the hoopla of wedding preparations but to be brutally honest, i’ve been pretty much just chill about it. too chill, in fact. i don’t know. as much as i wanna get married to the greatest man i know (next to my dad), weddings have never really been my thing. i recently came to the conclusion that elopement is more like my style.

and jeff and i do wedding photography. go figure.

but the good news is, my sister’s here! now she can start doing all those pinterest-y stuff that i’m not really good at. i mean, she’s a preschool teacher, for crying out loud! it’s illegal for preschool teachers to not know how to make paper flowers, at least.

but that’s not the only thing i’m making her do to take full advantage of her credentials. i also make her clean the backyard. and when i say “clean,” i mean more than just pulling out weeds. my mom would be so proud, considering how she has to hire other people’s services for what my sister’s doing which i get for free! *evil laugh*

fyi: the backyard used to look like a jungle. we’re basically doing what a back hoe does. minus the back hoe. although i can’t take much credit for all the heavy stuff because that would be jeff. but for what it’s worth, i’m getting very good at shoveling. and stacking bricks chest-high without screaming like a sissy every time i accidentally slam my fingers in between bricks. (of course i whimper. IT F*CKING HURTS!) as of press time, the backyard’s just about as ready as our wedding. hahaha. good luck!

so, anyway, back to my sister…

jan and el

the very first thing she said once she got out of the airport?

“omigod, ditche, gwapo kaayo ang mga police!”

yep, that’s right. barely enough sleep (as she decided to stop by singapore to visit some friends) and the moment she lands in melbourne, the first thing she noticed was how cute the airport cops looked.

then later, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, how the guys in the car beside ours were like hot surfer-looking dudes.

i wouldn’t be surprised if she gets engaged within two months. (beating my personal record by 12 weeks and stealing my title as the wild card in the family. lol.)

parliament building, melbournemelbournemelbourne

on that incredibly warm night, jeff and i took her for a stroll along bourke street, ending at little bourke street where chinatown is. because what better way to welcome a first-time visitor to australia than showing them china?

and then she saw this really cool busker and that pretty much made her night. i mean, how melbourne can it get?

my girls

they’re not my kids but the way i gush about them, i swear i turn into the most ridiculously doting aunt on the planet. but i know there are a lot of other ridiculously doting aunts and uncles out there so i’m not alone.

anyway, here are a few photos that made me smile this week. thank god for adorable nieces and viber.


adi started gymboree. she can’t really talk yet but she now has a very toothy smile. a big improvement from her sukilala phase. hehe.

aeva and adi

looking at aeva wearing her soccer uniform was a bittersweet one for me. she looks so grown up! where did my little pony princess go? it scares me that she seems to be growing up at a rate that i cannot keep up. or even pause for just a bit.

aeva and adi

i like to think that i come from a very artistic family. and i think i do. except that whatever creative gene it blessed my mom and younger sister doesn’t really run in my veins. and so i am left with no recourse but to be a “patron of the arts.” a mere appreciator of el2’s artistic endeavor at painting these kiddos.

the competitive aunt in me now wonders, “how am i gonna top that?!”

edit: while we’re on the subject, might as well throw in other random pictures, as well. a little cuteness overload never hurt anyone, ayt? =)

aeva and adiadi

that green dress

it’s actually white with some bits of green, if you have to be technical about it. but i’m calling it the green dress, regardless. the dress i chose to handcarry on the plane in favor of my wedding gown (which i left back home to be shipped in. tee hee.) for the simple fact that it was given to me by roma. that, and my luggage exceeded the 30kg limit. it touched me how she gave me all these summer dresses for me to wear out here, where summer is as elusive as a child’s dream to become an astronaut when they grow up.

i also handcarried another gorgeous, gorgeous(!) dress made by my friend’s brother, reymund claridad, who’s a budding fashion designer you would wanna watch out for. it’s sooo pretty! it deserves a photo shoot all on its own but i’m still trying to find the perfect occasion to wear it so that baby is hanging in my closet wrapped up in a dress bag.

as for my wedding gown, my sister will be taking it with her when she flies here a couple of weeks from now (yehey!!!) to help me prepare for the wedding. (like, for real. lol. one month of wedding prep should be enough, i reckon. i wrote my thesis in three* weeks so that should be alright. if not, then goodluck! hahaha.)

* a very rough estimate, as i procrastinated a lot!

so, yeah, about that green dress, i wore it on our road trip to drouin. it’s not like me to wear something as girly on just a random drive but on that day, for some reason i can’t explain because i don’t want to, i felt like i was one with the earth. to a point that i was mother earth! lol.

some days, i’m. just. plain. weird.

of course, the photographer in jeff took advantage of that hazy window of opportunity.

dandenong, victoriadandenong, victoria

i know i mentioned drouin but please don’t ask me what’s in there. because to be honest, all i saw was bale, bale, bale, and more bale.

(i liked them, though. the bale. i liked that they’re rolled up instead of in squares. assuming that jeff’s explanation was correct and he wasn’t messing with me, it’s to facilitate easier transport. like, you just roll them off the truck or something. in fairness to him, he had a point so i didn’t bother to argue with that.)

drouin, victoriadrouin, victoriadrouin, victoria

just as peacocks and kangaroos were all i saw at gumbuya park (which is not in drouin but it was along the way so jeff and i were like, why not?) even though their brochure had a picture of a koala.

i mean, where the koalas at?!

gumbuya park, victoriagumbuya park, victoriagumbuya park, victoria

water therapy

so i may never really admit straight to jeff’s face that melbourne’s got some superb beaches but i don’t mean that as an insult to the city. it’s just that i’m a die-hard fan of philippines’ azure beaches lined with coconut trees reaching out to touch either the water or the sky. dancing to the rhythm of the wind blowing warm kisses on your face that leaves you with a suntanned glow.

such tropical thoughts induce poetry in me.

the beaches here, frankly, not so much. mainly because most of the time, it’s rather cold. it’s difficult to be poetic about the cold, unless you’re going for the kind that breaks your heart or rhymes with hypothermia.

to be fair, the dude is right. compared to most of the beaches back home, australia has public beaches whose shores stretch on and on and on. emphasis on the word public. which means everyone gets fair and equal use of it without having to pay anything (because the exorbitant parking fee already takes care of that, i suppose.)

but on this random day, i realized it doesn’t really matter which side of the world you are. the salty breeze and the sound of the waves would always find a way to charm you. bonus points when there’s sunlight peeking through.

edithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoria