normal day

it was in 2009 that a usual christmas eve and christmas day happened - a day celebrating with family. in 2010 was a christmas eve dinner with a nepali guide and a christmas day trekking the hills and mountains of annapurna. in 2011 was a christmas eve dinner with a friend before taking an overnight train to north-eastern thailand and spending the christmas day traveling to vientiane and preparing for a longer journey to up-north phongsali.

last night was time alone and today was a morning work day, an early afternoon office party, a movie afternoon and a long dinner with colleagues and friends.

i still managed to find that fuzzy christmas feeling.


home and away ball game

i never considered myself a football person but i have always enjoyed watching football over basketball. it must be because of the years being in the out-group during elementary and secondary schools for the inability to competitively dribble and shoot a basketball. either i would find myself in the substitute's bench waiting for that moment, which usually never came, to have my few short minutes in the court, or be with the others in the out-group playing our own fun and non-competitive basketball game, or play something different.

as for football, i remember taking summer camp for football which i was never really able to pursue. it was far more enjoyable. the game won't be as fast and driven as full-court and half-court runs in basketball, but it presented a thrill and excitement when you see the threat of opponents driving the football to your side's goal. these memories were more from elementary years. i have vague recollections of having football as an option for physical education during secondary years. in my free time, there was badminton and volleyball.

my interest in football came back during one of my work trips in the asean region when i discovered that a suzuki cup was being played between and among football teams in asean in 2008. i was in lao pdr then when friends were discussing about the performance of the teams from thailand, indonesia and malaysia. the renewed interest extended to the european cup roughly around that time, seeing myself rooting for an underdog russian team to win the cup.

then the premiere league caught my attention, with manchester city being the team that caught my interest - not because of the history and the support the team receives from oil-rich companies, or its players, but more because of its colors which appealed to me.

this year, i was finally able to watch my first live football game - when philippines played against myanmar in hopes of defeating myanmar to qualify for the 2012 suzuki cup semi-finals, which it did 2 to 0. i found myself with one hand grabbing the edge of my seat, and the other clutching tightly at my camera, and cheering for my home team. the insults hurled by seat-mates were low and amusing in the local vernacular, but in a stadium where the supporting audience of the opposing team was more than twice the size, meant a lot as booming cheers of support. surprisingly, with a full-game only mustering a total of 2 goals from both sides versus a full basketball game that collects a total from two side more than a hundred points, it carried a longer kind of thrill and suspense.