Tag Archives: mizzmelai

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Aunt

[Originally posted on The Freelance Pinoy, August 17, 2012. ]

I’m a single, 27-year old writer who spoils my nephew (a.k.a. Pumpkin Pie) and niece (a.k.a Apple Pie) rotten… or so my Mom says. I don’t get to see the Pies everyday as they’re staying with my mom (their parents work abroad) in the province while I’m living independently in the city. But despite the distance—or maybe because of it—I make it a point to call them as often as I can just to have a five-minute or less baby-talk with them.

You see, I’ve been told several times that I’m a workaholic. When I start writing or editing articles, my concentration is so spot-on that even eating on time takes a backseat. I tend to stay away from this juvenile habit when I go home to visit my parents. In fact, as much as possible, I don’t bring my work when I’m with the family.

But as a freelancer, there are times when I can’t pass a writing opportunity—an abrupt yet challenging topic, a sudden but prolific writing gig, or a recently-concluded, blog-worthy experience. And so with Frappie, my ever loyal laptop, I write, I edit. But unlike when I’m alone in my apartment, I take breaks when the Pies are just within my kissing distance. These are numerous breaks that sometimes result to an all-nighter because the morning was well-spent with the Pies—giggling, playing, singing, giggling, dancing, reading, and more giggling.

I welcome their distractions. And truth be told, I seek their distractions. Five minutes after starting an article, I’ll leave my table, go to their room and just smother them with hugs and kisses. Three-year old Pumpkin Pie’s scent is addictive; while one-year and five-month old Apple Pie’s heavenly. I always think that if we can bottle baby’s distinct and aromatic smell, we don’t really need expensive perfumes. We’ll just go around sniffing each other! Hah!

I’m so into seeking the Pies “interference” that I’d even check on them during siesta. It doesn’t matter that I have a full conversation with myself in my head, listing why I should just finish my work and leave the sleeping babies alone. I always give in—opening their bedroom’s door as silently as I can, tiptoeing to avoid unnecessary noise, and just look at them for a minute or two. If I’m feeling friskier than usual, I’ll touch their hair or kiss them soundlessly.

And the “distractions” don’t end there. Sometimes, I’ll playfully banter with their nannies so I can feed them. Pumpkin Pie and I will then make it a ceremony—choosing the right plate (Are you going to use McQueen or Spiderman?), picking the color of his plastic utensils (What color is this? Yellow. Correct.), and so and on and so forth. Other times, even a few characters away from finishing my article, I’ll stop working and play Lion King for Pumpkin Pie or Happy Feet for Apple Pie on my laptop.

As I write about my work and the Pies, I realized that my “challenges” as a freelancer and an aunt is not as tumultuous as those of freelance moms. They’re not even close.

But then again, considering them as challenges isn’t apt. My nephew and niece aren’t challenges, they’re not even distractions. They’re my sources of happiness, my additional drive. They’re the reasons why I smile when I work at home and eat on time. They’re the inspiration, the reason for writing this 600-word blog even when I’m supposed to just write a couple of paragraphs.

“Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother, can keep secrets like a sister, and share love like a friend.” (Unknown)

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UPDATE: Well, since this was posted last year, I’m a year older now, so I’m a single, 28 years old, “occasional” freelancer. And more importantly, the Pies aren’t babies anymore. They’re the most awesome (yep, I’m their aunt, so no contest here) toddlers! Meet my superhero Pies: Pumpkin Pie as Spider Man and Apple Pie as Bat Girl!

bat girl
Apple Pie, 2-and-a-half
spider man
Pumpkin Pie, 4

* Visit The Freelance Pinoy for information, tips, and resources about freelancing.

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LOVE and LIGHT to all! X

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Thowback Thursday: Boracay (2008, 2010)

Whether you’re a Filipino or a foreigner, I highly encourage you to visit and enjoy one of nature’s greatest spots – Boracay, Philippines. Many have been said and written about this picturesque island; lately a number of negative/discouraging posts and comments had been made because of “the island being too congested and commercialized.” But I, for one, beg to differ.

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay has always been a source of pride for Filipinos. The island is surrounded by stunning white sand beaches, making it a top-competition of the best beaches of the world. In fact, it’s not unheard of that a number of foreign and local celebrities and personalities frequently spend their vacation in the island.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been blessed to have the time and resources to enjoy Boracay twice (2008 and 2010). Crossing fingers, I’m Bora-bound again before the year ends. Here are some basic, quick tips that I’d like to share to fully maximize and make your island experience one for the books!

1. Going to Boracay is merely an hour’s flight away from Manila (or Cebu). If you’re thinking of an alternate mode of transportation, you may also consider traveling via road and ferry. I personally suggest to just travel by plane as it saves more time and energy. Also if you can, try to book a flight to Caticlan airport rather than Kalibo. The former is just five to ten minutes ride away from the boat port; while the latter will take more or less two hours of additional land travel.

After the plane ride, you’d be traveling by boat (for a good 10-15 minutes) to reach the island. From there, you can ride a van (if you’ve booked a hotel with pick-up/transfer freebies) or motorized tricycles which are the “taxis/cabs” of the island.

Now, although this is a short-flight, it’s always a must that you bring a bottle of water and some crackers with you. Travel delays may happen so it’s better if you have something to snack on while waiting.

2. Get around. Hop from one station to another, from one island to the next. Sure, lounging is fine, sunbathing is good, people-watching is interesting, but you’re in an island, so go, enjoy the sun and sand. Instead of riding a tricycle, just try walking around. If you’re with your loved ones and having fun, you won’t even notice how far you’ve reached.

3. Explore and do as much activity as you can. Swim, scuba dive, cliff dive, kite-board, parasail, motorbike, and skim-board. Try something new that the island offers. And don’t forget to get a massage! I don’t know what it is, but Boracay’s massage is pure heaven!

4. Enjoy the “happy hour.” But the thing is, in the island, any hour is practically a happy one. So, just make the most out of it. Nightlife in Bora is particularly interesting, especially during peak season. So, while you drink and dance your heart out, just make certain you secure your valuables, too. You wouldn’t want your Boracay experience to just be about your stolen camera or phone, right?

5. Lastly, (as if I haven’t stressed this enough) ENJOY! Savor nature’s beauty, breathe in the stunning sunshine, let the dawn give you peace and quiet. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been in Boracay or if it’s going to be your first time. It even doesn’t matter if you’re traveling alone or with your loved ones. In the island, nature is your friend and your playground.

Bonus tip: Don’t leave Boracay without trying Jonah’s Fruit Shake!

In photos.

Boracay 2008
Boracay 2008