Journey Of Discoveries

Friendship, Faith, Adventure, Being


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2013 at a glance

I’ve come a long way since those very first days of the 2013 new year. Although my intentions for starting this blog stays the same, my experiences that I dreamed of doing went beyond my expectations. Looking back, I’ve grown emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished. I kept true to my F.F.A.B life and produced a better, happier, whole ME. I’ve expanded my network and made F.riendships that will last a lifetime. And as I planned, I’ve rekindled many of my friendships that needed mending and maintaining. My F.aith in God has grown stronger than ever- unexplained in words, but felt deep in the heart. Truly God has blessed me in so many ways although I am less than perfect. I let go of all my worries this year, and had him lead my life. He’s blessed me with caring friends and supportive family members. During my travels, I didn’t have anything to fear or be lonely, because I knew he was always there by my side. And along my path of creating this F.F.A.B.ulous life, God led me to find true LOVE. Finding love was a bonus for me this year. I never expected it nor asked for it- just that if God gave me someone to be with for the rest of my life, I’ll gladly accept it as a gift. During this year, I’ve gone through so much A.dventures. Never in a million years did I think I’d go back and forth to Texas. But in honesty, never say never! Texas is where I rekindled my friendships with my long lost friends. It is where I enjoyed my most F.F.A.Bulous single days.  It was also where I fell in love. I finally had the chance to visit my family in Hawaii, hike up mountains, overcome my fear of heights while doing so, and experience a waterfall which all were on my bucketlist. I finally had the courage to travel out of the country on my own- visiting Switzerland, France, Austria, and Luxembourg with my cousins as my tour guides. Europe was an amazing trip. It’s ironic how I’ll be moving there in a couple of months to be with my husband =) It’s funny to  look back at all the little things that happened to me to get to the bigger picture of what God’s plan was for me all along.

I can say that this is by far my most memorable year of my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve taken care of my whole being and topped it off with the love of my life finding me. A good friend once told me, “Work on being the best person you can be, and the right guy will find you. Because, to find the right guy, you need to be the right girl.”

Here’s to a wonderful, memorable, F.F.A.B.ulous 2013. I will cherish it forever. May this new year continue to bring HOPE, PROSPERITY, MOTIVATION, and DEDICATION.

LgSquared.

 


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The Hills Are Alive

My favorite part of my f.f.a.b life this year is definitely my Adventures. My ultimate adventure and at the top of my dream list was to visit Europe. So I hopped on a plane in June and went on my way to Central Europe.  For the next three weeks, I would live, love, laugh, and eat everything European. I was more excited than nervous. This was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

First stop: Austria

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Taking a picture at the borderline of Austria and Switzerland; I was in two places at once. This was an easy day trip to which I knew exactly where I wanted to go- THE HILLS!

20130929-105653.jpgSo I took the Pfanderbahn in Brengenz to see the view from atop the Austrian mountains.

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I was in awe at how amazing and beautiful the mountains were. Although the pictures don’t give it justice, the hills were definitely ALIVE!

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Towards the end of the trip, we decided to hike down to see what we can pass up on ground.

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Bern Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland was the next pit stop after my trip overlooking the Alps in Rigi. This place is the capital of Swiss Bank Row. I was literally standing over gold! The buildings were gorgeous, the river so blue and pristine, and I could hang out at the cafes all day if I wanted to.

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The Swiss are known for their intricate clockworks. There seems to always be a town clock that rings every hour. This interesting one in the middle of town rings with dancing bears and music.

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Taking a cappuccino break at Cafe Felix.

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Visiting the federal palace of Switzerland


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There must be something in the water…or cows

I spent most of my stay in Zurich Switzerland. It has so much to offer- countryside escapes and city excursions intertwined together. So you have the best of both worlds.  Just behind my cousin’s modern home that overlooks the lake and city buildings is a path that passes through vineyards, apple trees, cherry trees and cows grazing on the hill. The water is so clean and crisp, you can drink it directly from the well. I took a water break after our walk though the vineyards.

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   Directly behind my cousin’s backyard is a farm that sells fresh produce and dairy. This was the view from one of her bedroom windows.

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Traveling through the back roads to get to the farm stands are common in Switzerland. Here, we bought fresh baked bread where the owner leaves the baked goods at the front of the house. They are labeled with a price, and buyers just drop the money in a box. Some even write IOU’s. And they actually come back and pay! The Swiss are known to be honest people.

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Back in the city, I indulged in Lindt and Sprungli chocolates!

20130929-100704.jpgFood is what brings people together. We did a lot of that during my stay in Zurich. Gatherings around the dinner table with my cousins was the best part.


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In The Country of LOVE

France was, by far, my most favorite place to visit! It was as how I imagined it to be- breathtaking and romantic! My first stop was in Strasbourg. It reminded me of Beauty and The Beast meets Hunchback of Notre Dame with the old attachment buildings painted in different colors, a huge cathedral in the middle of the town, people sitting  in outdoor cafes as they listen to live accordion music in the plaza .

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On my way toward Paris, we passed by the French countryside. There would be little villages that popped up here and there during our drive. Then we finally reached Paris!

20130706-061151.jpg     Arc de Triomphe

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Enjoying cappucinno near The Eiffel Tower.

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Finding the Love Lock Bridge. You and your loved one write your names on a lock, make a wish, and throw the keys over the bridge for good luck.

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19th Century Alexander Bridge. The most beautiful bridge in Paris.

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Visiting the Louvre Museum. Home of the Mona Lisa.

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My two-day stay in Paris was memorable and I will definitely come back with my future husband. It’s what everyone says it is- the City of Love. It’ll be even more romantic and memorable with a significant other by my side.


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A Heart Hidden in Christ

As I continue to move toward peace and contentment, I have found that I’ve been more encapsulated in my journey of spiritual Faith. It’s funny how God sets you on a course that you never, in your wildest thoughts, could ever conjure up- knowing that he has bigger and better plans for you. And nothing you could have imagined has brought you to where you are now.  When you just let go and let him lead the way, you feel that the burdens and worries you’ve been carrying in your heart has disappeared. When I finally realized to just let go, I thought to myself “I should have done this a long time ago!” But then again, God’s timing is perfect and I know it couldn’t have been any other way.
I am rebloging a post I found that speaks perfectly about having a heart hidden in Christ. Unfortunately, this blog has been discontinued. However, I’m glad most of this blogger’s insightful posts about Faith and Christ are still accessible. I hope this inspires you as much as it has for me =)

In Love With Christ

rose“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ, that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.” Maya Angelou

As most of you know, I have this quote posted on the sidebar of this blog. It has a beautiful meaning and vision to me personally – and I think to every woman who reads it, for two reasons:

1) Our hearts long to be hidden (safe, adored, secure) in something or someone.

2) And the thought of a man seeking God to know our heart is so tender and precious, and would leave any woman feeling extremely loved and cherished.

I would like to discuss each reason in a little more depth.

Yes, our hearts long to be hidden in someone who will protect, love and cherish us immensely for who we are and who we are becoming. But to many women, this quest to be hidden in…

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Where land meets sea

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Monterey, California. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever laid my eyes on. A place that I call home. Monterey is known for  its historic landmarks and California’s beginnings.

20130221-175947.jpg Monterey to many people is only known through stories created by the local author, John Steinbeck. I am fortunate to have lived and walked through his stories like Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.

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Besides its historical significance, Monterey has the most amazing scenery of where the land meets the sea. I often run on the trails that lie beside the ocean. Here is what I jog through on a regular basis. Enjoy!

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The entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Pit stop at Lover’s Point.

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View of the ocean below on a trail at Pacific Grove.

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Monterey’s signature look- Cypress trees that line up alongside the cliffs, overlooking the ocean.

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The HI life- food coma

The island of Oahu offered so much varieties of food and intersting cuisine. For me, the local places were the best. I am showcasing some of the cafes/bakeries/restaurants that I visited during my stay.

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1) Liliha Bakery. I went here to try out the coco cream puffs that everyone talks about. They had a mix of green tea and chocolate to choose from. These little pastry balls are light and airy with a choice of chocolate filling or green tea filling. They are topped with chantilly frosting, which I think makes it even more delicious.  They are made to be eaten cold and good to eat as breakfast, a snack, or dessert!

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2) Jamba Juice. This franchise is far from being a hidden gem. Many people know it as the smoothie place, juice bar, a health nut cafe. But Hawaii’s franchise is the only one that sells acai bowls. Since I can only get them in Hawaii, of course I had to try it. I had the Acai Primo Bowl, which consisted of pureed acai berries, granola, honey, almonds, banana, and blueberries. The acai berry is known to be filled with healthy antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. I was definitely inspired to make this as a regular snack when I got home.

20130225-162905.jpg 3) Boots and Kimo’s. Located in Kailua, this breakfast place is always busy. They are known for their Macademia Nut Pancakes! Whenever I come to this place, I always order a double-stack. Another great breakfast place in Kailua is Cinnimon’s. They are known for their red velvet pancakes, which are also to-die-for!

20130225-163026.jpg4) Shokudo Japanese Restaurant. Before leaving Hawaii, I was craving Shokudo’s. I come here often when I visit. They offer Japanese-fusion cuisine and are also known for their Honey Toast dessert. On this day, I ordered the spicy tuna roll, agedashi tofu, and of course their honey toast with vanilla ice cream. This dessert is so huge that you can share it with everyone at your table. My tummy was happy =)

20130225-163042.jpg5) Romy’s. We were on a shrimp shack excursion around North Shore. Heading more north and passing the regular shrimp shacks along the road, we stopped by the red shrimp shack called Romy’s. Apparently this is one of the best ones around the area. Their shrimp are farm raised right in their backyard. We ordered the garlic shrimp and li-hing moi pineapples. We enjoyed our meal outdoors overlooking the water.


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The HI life- beach bummin’

In Hawaii, I could have stayed at the beach all day, everyday if I wanted to. The great thing about island life is that no matter what time of day it is- early morning, mid-day or late-night- people take the time to hit the beach.

20130219-204928.jpgAs I traveled through the east side of Oahu, I stopped by Diamond Head beach (far away from tourists), where local surfers change from their work clothes and business suits into their wet suits to catch a few waves before heading home for the evening.

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Out of all the beaches I’ve been to on this island, Kailua Beach was the most beautiful. With warm, bright blue, shallow waters and white sandy shores, I was able to walk many yards out and still have the water hit below my waist. It was here where I swam for the first time in the OCEAN (given that I’m still learning how to swim).  Not just wade, dip my feet in, or splash around- I swam.

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I took a road trip up to North Shore and visited Turtle Bay. The beaches down this coastline reminded me of the beaches in Northern California with the high, jagged cliffs, and dark blue waters. I stopped by to hang out with the turtles and caught a double rainbow on the way back home.

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Most of my beach visits were in Waikiki Beach. Many of these were to watch incredible sunsets. I watched in awe as the sun set in between clouds and ocean, something you only see in postcards.

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Sailboats are common around this area, and gave my pictures a little more dramatic detail next to the sun.

20130219-205238.jpgSome of my family members took me out to dinner at the Halekulani’s Orchids Restaurant after hitting the beach. This restaurant stood right at the foot of the shore. We sat outdoors enjoying our dinner with the view of the sunset in front of us.

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Waikiki beach is known for having the picture perfect view of Diamond Head. You just can’t take enough pictures of this extinct volcano from the water.

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20130219-205013.jpg20130219-205022.jpg On another day, afer touring around the Waikiki strip, I waited to catch another glimpse of an amazing sunset. I was glad the clouds cleared up for just a few minutes for me to watch the sun go down on another beautiful day in Oahu.

Aside from the busy beaches of Waikiki, I found a beach less visited- Ewa Beach. I wanted to find a quieter place to jog and remembered one of my cousins telling me that her house has beach access. So I decided to find it. Ewa Beach is on the west side of Oahu, with the same amazing views as Waikiki, but less populated. I jogged on the sand, passing by the backyards of homes that are built right at the shore. Besides a couple of high school kids that seemed like they were playing hooky from school, I was the only one there- just me and the sound of ocean waves.

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The HI life- mountains, stairs, & trails

I went on an adventurous trip to the island of Oahu. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with my family as well as have them accompany me to all the local hot spots and hidden gems that this island had to offer. It was in Hawaii where I watched an exciting Superbowl game. It was here that I found the love for hiking, overcame my fear of heights- even if it was just for a moment- to see God’s beautiful artistry from the top of the world. And for the first time: swam in the ocean, jumped in a waterfall, and walked through a rainforest.Here’s a picture recap of all the priceless moments.

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DSC05656The Maunawili trail was my first hike in Hawaii. It was nestled within the rainforest, which started on the forest floor- through thousand year old fallen trees, streams, boulders, and lush, green plants and bushes with leaves two times bigger than my head!

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As we walked, the sun shine peeked through the canopy guiding us through the darkest parts of the forest. However, I was glad the shade helped us get through our hour long hike.  The rain came and gone during our trek. I thought that was the best part of all- experiencing a rainforest at its finest.

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We had a chance to stop and rest at the top of one of the mountains. Behind us is the Ko’olaus Mountains. It surrounds Kaneohe and brings in cool breezes into the area.

We finally reached the swimming hole rewarded with the waterfall. This was a beautiful hike.

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Pillbox at Lanikai was a fairly easy incline hike. One of the drawbacks for me was looking down.  I am afraid of heights, so I had to stop and center myself a few times. However, when I reached the pillbox, the view was AMAZING!

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Pillbox had breathtaking views of Lanikai beach, which had Chinaman’s hat in the background and bright blue waters down below. Also large, beautiful homes surrounded the foreground and the view of the Keneohe mountains behind me. I could have stayed up there for hours.

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Then, there was the sunset hike at Koko Head crater, located southeast of Oahu. This was, by far, the best work out I’ve ever had on the island. It was all about endurance and stamina.

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There were approximately 1, 048 incline steps. As you climb higher, you have the view of Hanauma Bay and Hawaii Kai. I took a picture of the approximate halfway mark, which was the 500th step. As you go higher, the steps become more steep and strenuous. I caught a glimpse of the sun setting over Hawaii Kai after a long, rainy day. 20130213-102052.jpg

I was glad the tradewinds kicked in by my 800th step because by then, I was too tired and exhausted to go on. However, I kept moving hoping to reach the top before the sun completely went down.

At the top, my legs felt like jelly and my heart was racing. But none of that could spoil the view of what I saw from the top. Family and friends ask me if I’d do it again. My answer: Yes.

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