So I pretty much have a week to go and I’m off to Italy thanks to you & the Big Blog X!  So far, my life has changed in fun & funny ways.  First, I’ve been meeting up with high school friends, old and newfound kindred souls on Instagram.   I’m actually amused that I will be back in less than a month’s time but this trip has given everyone a sense of urgency that we must, must, must meet before everyone’s schedules get drowned by endless reunions & parties by December.  It’s just amazing to get to talk to people who share the same things you enjoy!  For example, just last week, Anina & I were at a cafe doing nothing but just saying “Whoaaa!” and “Weee!” as we painted as we discovered new things that we can do with watercolor & brushes.

Second, since I’ve been trying to finish pending stuff for my day job, wedding invite clients, the Type Kita exhibit, the previous Inky Doodles workshops and most of all, working on my visa & travel documents, I’ve been nothing but panicky.  In the end, it all turned out well.  Looking back, I should’ve just stayed calm the whole time because I wasted so much energy making my heart beast fast and forcing my digestive system to go on peristalsis hyperdrive! *Keep calm? Yeah right, easier said than done.*  During those days, I’d sleep uber late and wake up super early just because I was restless.  It was like a big slap in the face–the type that I needed.  It’s as if the world is sending me a message, in a deep authoritative tone (well, also kind of like the voice you hear in movie trailers), CHILL!  Well, the control freak in me is still learning. *Ho ho ho.*

Last week, I asked you guys on Instagram what places I should visit in Italy and thanks to all your tips, I was able to build my Italian bucket list! 🙂  Marcela Fae of Fotostrasse & I have been exchanging messages about our trips.  I told her that there are just so many awesome places in Italy, now I don’t know which ones to prioritize!!!  Hahaha. I’m glad she feels the same way about our country. ❤

Colorful Map of Italy

Well, just off the bat (and I think it will be cool if I could read this again after my trip), here are some questions the lovely people over at BBE asked:

1/ What do you expect from the country you will be visiting? What do you already know about it?
So I thought I had an idea about Italy through its food until I scanned my itinerary and the map upclose.  I had numerous oh-my-gosh-it’s-not-just-a-name-of-a-food-or-a-resto-but-it’s-an-actual-place moments! Hahahaha.  All my life, I’ve tasted versions of the pasta and pizza from fast food to gourmet.  Har har.  But, but, but….I can’t wait to try the real thing in Naples! (Yes, I’m guilty of reading Eat, Pray, Love wayyy before the movie was released).  Also, I’ve tried to sleep on it and every time I wake up, my brain is nagging me to make last minute changes on my IT so I can visit nothing but colorful coastal cities. I’m also excited to see the Tuscan region and it’s orange to yellow palette.  I want to find out first hand why it’s the subject of almost all the paintings I’ve seen!

2/ What do you think the people are going to be like?
Now that you’ve asked me, I really have no idea.  This just made me realize that the last time I was there for three days (Venezia-Pisa-Roma ala Amazing Race), it was really a rushed tour where I was with family & friends and didn’t have time to have a glimpse of the local life.  I just know that every time Italians speak, it’s like music to my ears.  I’m amused with how words with two to three syllables have a consistent intonation and how all the words and places seem to end with a vowel just like most of the words in the Filipino language.  I’m hoping to be able to say a few sentences (with confidence) after the trip. (No, BBE team, please don’t make me say it on video. Hahahaha.)

3/ What do you expect from the BBE experience?
I’m really looking forward to how travelling alone will change me.  I only get to travel alone in places I’m already familiar with and where I have officemates or relatives living in the area so I’m not really out of my comfort zone.  I have this habit of letting my mind wander when I walk–sometimes too much (Think Walter Mitty)–and I always have the convenience of letting someone that I’m with do all the decision-making & optimizing the logistics part.  Since I will be travelling pretty much on my own for the first 5 days in Italy (because Ponggo will be joining me midway), I guess this is the first time that I will have the opportunity to decide how I want to spend my day exploring a new place.  I’m hoping this will help me learn not to be more independent as an individual in that aspect. *Ha! It totally feels like the first day of school…just a far more awesome and exciting version of it. Hehehe.*  I hope this trip will also help me be open in accepting of situations that come my way instead of getting OC with the details.  Just like what my life has been telling me the past few days: CHILL! 

4/ I dare Marcela to try….
If you just tuned in, Marcala Fae will be coming to the Philippines while I will be visiting Italy.  While she’s here, she will be blogging here on GooglyGooeys.com so please give her a warm Filipino welcome! 🙂 On the other hand, you will find me sharing my experiences over at Fotostrasse.1982.us.  The exchange will start on October 31 and will end on November 9.  I can’t wait to see what she will be sharing about our country. 🙂

Dear Marcela,
I was just being kind when I told the BBE team via e-mail that you should try the following: Bangus (Oriental Milk Fish), red rice, Vigan Longganisa (local sausage with garlic), Bagnet, Crispy Pata, Cebu lechon and the like.  I only included Balut (boiled duck embryo) in the list but, as I commented in one of the BBE blog posts, I’m really hoping that you and my fellow BBE finalists could bond over:

1. Isaw (Chicken Intestines)
2. Chicharon Bulaklak (Fried Large Pork Instetines that are shaped like a flower hence “Bulaklak”)
3. Danggit in Cebu (Dried Fish)
4. Sisig – This is usually made of pig’s ears, liver & other “spare parts”.  The description is not as appetizing as it sounds but if you ignore what it’s made of, it’s actually good!

Like I told you, a lot of the food we have here have less attractive descriptive English names.  Otherwise, they taste just fine–that’s why they are our favorites! 🙂 Good luck and I would love to see you reaction on video. Hehehehe.

Well, that’s pretty much it!
See you soon Italy! 🙂

P.S. Registration for the Watercolor & Lettering workshop is still ongoing.  Click here to sign up.