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Allo~ I'm Lara. 20 years old from the Philippines (where it's more fun)! I love Korean dramas, Lee Min Ho, Jung Il Woo, Jang Keun Suk, Lee Seung Gi, Kim Bum, Gossip Girl (!!!), Chace Crawford, Blake Lively, Miranda Kerr, Vampire Diaries, Paris and green mangoes so much.



11 June 12
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Journey to the other side of the world.

June 4, 2012 - CST  to June 5, 2012 GMT + 8 

Lara picked me up at 6am and we carried both my heavy luggage from third floor to her car. -_-  It was raining so hard and I can see lightning on our way to the airport. It was beautiful. And scary too.

On the way outside of the apartment. I saw a penny and picked it up because they said if it was heads up it can bring you luck. :)

I never knew Memphis Int’l Airport is big. When I arrived, of course I only saw a part of it so I’m a bit overwhelmed that it is huge. And very different from NAIA. Gahd, that airport..I just can’t —

A delta employee helped me carry my bags to the check-in counter and he even stayed while I checked in. Because there was no weighing scale at my apartment, of course my baggage were uneven. The box weighs only 32lbs while my suitcase was 62, and only 50 lbs is allowed for each. *sigh* So I had to open my suitcase there because I don’t want to pay $115 for extra baggage. I tried to plead them but they were only kind enough to say I can get some stuff out of the suitcase and hand-carry it because two hand-carry bags are allowed. Thank God I prepared an extra bag in case this happened. I just didn’t like having to dig through my things at the airport. :|

Getting through the airport gates area was another problem. They held me up for a while because I only got school ID and they’re asking me for a companion. Um hello? I’m a fully-capable-to-travel-legal adult! The guy checking called for his supervisor and so I was asked to move to the side and wait. The supervisor asked me if I’m travelling alone and if I have other IDs. I said no. I rummage my wallet and showed her my credit card because she asked for it. After a while, she wrote something on my boarding pass and let me through.

But then at the scanner, I was held up again!! -_- This time it scared me. I know US is strict with things carried in the passengers’ bags and it was weird that they asked me to follow them and put gloves on and then rummage through both my bags. One of the lady asked me if I have anything that can cut myself. I was taken aback but eventually muster the word NO. They took everything out and asked for every object and I was quick to explain everything like, “that’s food”, “that’s can open it if you want” etc. It was scary.

They scanned my bags again and eventually let me go. They got my EOS shaving cream that I accidentally took with me because I only got random stuff from my over-the-limit suitcase and forgot that liquids that exceed 7oz are prohibited. But I was just glad I got out of there.

The first segment of my flight was from Memphis to Detriot. It only took an hour to get there. I met Ate Merly, a Filipino living in Memphis and someone I was on the plane with. She approached me thinking I was Filipino and we chatted. I also met more Filipinos while waiting for our next flight. They’re all so kind and kept on giving me advice about living in the US like I’m gonna come back soon and live there. But I am thankful for their advises. Filipinos are like a big family when outside the country. ;)

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is one of the best airport I have ever been to so far! They said it is one of the airports where planes make stops to get passengers. They have this tram to transport passengers to their boarding gates. And there’s even a fountain inside. It is soooo nice. :) The layover was 5 hours so I had time to go around.

I had McDonald’s at the airport! FINALLY! :D This is the first time I had it in the US.  Haha. :-) I

It’s more fun in the Philippines commercial flashed at the screen at the airport! :)

The flight from Detroit to Nagoya was a little delayed. Now this is my longest plane trip ever - 13 hours!! Because I was too tired I couldn’t even wait until the plane took off before I dozed off. But it was weird because I thought I’ll sleep like a baby the entire trip but I still had was very hard to sleep. -_- I hated it that the plane doesn’t have screens for each passenger unlike the one I rode going to Japan and LA. There’s only a big screen and separate headsets for everyone. But at least there’s radio..which was weird cause it gets signals from all over. There’s like a Chinese station and a European one. HAHA.

Crazy Stupid Love..again! :)

We were served three meals plus two snacks so I am very very full. It was just a little weird that we were served dinner, breakfast and lunch but outside it was always so bright. HAHA. Oh, and if before I can’t finish my food, now look!! -_-

Because I had trouble sleeping, I just resorted to reading and so I finished Divergent by Veronica Roth! :)

All the windows were closed and everyone was trying to get sleep until a guy saw this magnificent view and everyone was suddenly awake and trying to get a glimpse of Alaska! :) I swear the flight attendants were trying to get the passengers to sleep but failed miserably because of the chaos the view brought. Haha.

It was also snowing then. It was magical!

I was being a good student and trying to finish my practicum paper while at the plane because the deadline was June 5th. I did everything I could but my paper didn’t make it because I arrived like an hour before June 6th. :|

Next layover was in Nagoya, Japan. Our stay there was super fast because our flight was delayed. We took a lot of time in getting through security that we only had enough time to pee haha. :))

From there, Matteo Guidicelli was in the plane as me. He was sitting at the row after me. :)

We ate again at the flight! I had to eat it still because I paid for it (I mean MIM did)! It took us 4 hours to get to Manila.  And oh man is our airport crap! I never really saw how bad our airport is because I only see it from outside until this trip and I feel really sorry for us because it is really really really ugly. Imagine being in an airport like Detroit or Nagoya a few hours ago and then seeing NAIA.. I am ashamed that this is what the tourists see when they arrive.

The line in the immigration was super long and no one even bothers to arrange or help the tourists. I wished I knew Matteo Guidicelli because he was helped by a Delta person and got through immigration fast, oh VIPs. We don’t even know which line are we getting into. Some foreigners only realized they’re in the wrong line when they’re in front already. And mind you, it will take you forever to get in front. In Japan, everything is well-organizedl. Airport personnel usher people to where they should be.

Also, it is too hot in our airport. Or maybe that’s because there were a lot of people at that time. But still..

Anyway, it was already 2am when we arrived home. :)

PS: There were a couple of turbulence on my whole trip and I loved it!! :) It wasn’t scary at all because it was like riding a roller coaster. I love the feeling it gives my stomach~

Posted: 3:39 PM
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Trip to Nashville!

June 3, 2012

Nashville - the land of the country singers! Haha. *cue Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus (wait she’s not a country singer lol)!! :-) I am happy I got the chance to go there even just for a day, thanks to Ate Ana and company (her two brothers, Kevin and Mark and her cousin Kim) for taking me. :)

They fetch me at 7-ish and we grabbed dunkin donuts on drive-thru on the way and stopped at a gas station to get drinks. Wow right? Even donuts have drive-thrus. o_0 Anyway, Nashville is a 3-4 hour drive from Memphis. I tried to sleep but it was hard even though I am tired and sleepy. And I sort of wanted to just take in the scene. :)

Our drive was faster than expected because we drove above the limit because according to Ate Ana, it’s Sunday so there’s not much cops around. I think we made it there in 2 1/2 hours so we arrived at quarter to 11am.

Nashville feels different from Memphis. We stopped at the Opry Mills mall first, a huge mall with expensive shops. I window-shopped at expensive stores like Coach. Forever 21 store was so big it was hard to look at things because I don’t know where to start. I really don’t want to shop anymore because I felt I already bought enough for myself but I still bought a few that are on sale. Although until now I still think of the shoes on sale that I didn’t buy -_-

I wanted to try Burger King and McDonald’s while I’m in America just for comparison and I finally did. I got some chicken sandwich at Burger King for lunch and I’m I should say the one we got here in Philippines is so much better. :-)

After we went around the big mall, we went to the hotel nearby called the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It’s really big and it’s sooo beautiful! It’s like the Venetian Hotel because there’s the boat tour around the Delta part of the resort. The resort’s temperature is regulated and there are a few tropical plants like papaya, guavas etc. Cool eh?

We walked around the place for a while and took pictures. It is a perfect wedding destination/reception and there’s a wedding going on when we were there, awesome! :)

There’s even an Asian girl (prolly Chinese) having her pictorial around. =))

Our next destination was the Mall at Green Hills. Not the shopping center in Manila though, because this is also a high-end mall. *cue Louis Vuitton. It’s a pretty mall with pretty expensive stores. *sigh* How I wish I’ll be able to afford to shop there..maybe someday? Oh dream on, Lara. Lol.

We grabbed some Starbucks before going out to Vanderbilt University to meet Ate Ana’s cousin who’s getting his masters and PhD there. I wanted to go although it was late and it will be a long drive home and I still have to pack because Vanderbilt is like famous and I remember it from Gossip Girl because of Nate/Chace Crawford. And you know how I love him. <3

Anyway, it wasn’t really that far from where we were. It wasn’t what I expected but it was nice. I mean it’s really big and all that but I just thought it will be like confined in a closed space but it’s really big that there are parts of it on the other side of the road. But the buildings were what I imagined. And the guys too! =)

We checked out the Medical building because their cousin wanted to show us his research involving crocodiles or alligators or whatever. I don’t really know how to differentiate the two. Anyway, there are small ones and slightly bigger ones which makes a hissing sound. It was quite scary although I touched the small one for a while. :)

We just stayed there for a while but I wished I could go around a bit before leaving to go to Target nearby so I can exchange the External HD I brought because it was too big. On the drive back, I finally stole some shuteye until we stopped by a gas station for potty break. We stopped again at Walmart for last-minute shopping.  We grabbed some Popeye’s for dinner. (Another first for me!) 

It rained so hard on our way home it was scary. There were lightning and I swear we can’t see through the rain. When we got home, we ate first - chicken, biscuit and mashed potato. No rice, that’s how they do it there. Haha. Ate Ana and company helped me packed and seal my balikbayan box. We taped the VS stuff and they even folded my newly-bought clothes. It was late when we finished but I was relieved the only thing I need to do is fit all others in my suitcase and clean the apartment.

I finished everything at 2:30am. I thought I’ll be able to do it fast but I thought wrong. It is indeed hard to pack and clean. I slept for 2 hours only. -_-

9 June 12
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Memphis Zoo with Lara

June 2, 2012

Second to the last day before going home. *le sigh

Maybe she felt bad after the President questioned me about the places I’ve been to so she said she’ll accompany to the zoo. We said we’ll meet at 10am at my apartment so I went back to my apartment from the Peabody Hotel.

She said I should go out of my apartment at 10am and that’s what I did, only she didn’t play her part. I waited outside for 20 minutes! -_- What happened to American time? I was getting so frustrated that I nearly wished she won’t appear anymore.

The weather was cold that day too so I guess that’s the reason there were a lot of kids going out to the zoo. Am I too childish for wanting to go to the zoo? Haha. This is probably Adam’s fault! He made me believe that I should go because it is one of the best zoos in America.

Anyway, I paid for our parking and she paid for the entrance. I paid for our lunch inside the zoo though. And because I was with Lara, I’ve got no pictures. Well except for this one that I asked her to take after we went around. My one and only precious picture at Memphis Zoo. I don’t know why but it’s kinda weird to ask her to take my picture. She and Randy are a little intimidating when it comes to things like that. And.. I guess only us Filipinos like to take pictures so much. 

The zoo was huge and it was super nice. I mean our zoos here in the Philippines are nothing compared to it. It reminds me of a theme park, like Disneyland or something because of the appearance and themes of the different parts of the zoo - there’s a China part, African etc. It was really cool.

Buti pa the other Lara, may picture lol

A werewolf!

Some of the cool creatures I saw: bears!!! They were so big!

It was unusual for me to see lots of giraffe together. Back in Manila, I think we only had one old giraffe. 

Pandas~ so cute!

One of my faves: penguins!!

Some of the areas doesn’t allow cameras so I only took few photos. It was a really big and cool zoo though. There were a few more interesting animals like seals, deers, lots of bats, bugs, etc.. You can see most of the animals you like there. And it is divided into reptiles, birds etc.. 

Lara and I ate at the China part of the zoo. They had waffle fries which I really love!! :)

I love reading about animals when I was younger so maybe that’s why I wanted to check out the zoo. I also love watching shark shows although I probably would freak out if they come near me. Haha.

Posted: 1:03 AM

Free night stay at The Peabody Hotel

June 1-2, 2012

I had a free night stay at The Peabody Hotel thanks to the VP and General Manager, Mr. Browne. :) I was lucky to have met him and to have been offered a free night stay at the hotel. Ha! (The power of small talks!)

A night stay there costs like $260 and up so maybe doing a post about it can be like thanking him. :D

I checked in at the hotel after work at around 6pm. I was a little scared because I’m not really sure if I have to pay anything. They asked for a credit card but they said my room and taxes were taken care of already but the card was for incidental charges only.

They gave me a room at the 8th floor. The hotel is know for its ducks that marches every 11am (going down from the rooftop) and 5pm (going up the rooftop) and so even their soap is carved into ducks, the pillows have duck design etc. It was cute. :))

I checked out their free amenities first - pool, jacuzzi and gym. Then I went up their rooftop and watch the sunset. The hotel is in Downtown Memphis so you can see the Memphis bridge, the river and practically downtown. It was a cool sight to see. A guy working at the hotel accompanied me everywhere because I asked him where the pool was and he just accompanied me everywhere. He even ushered me to the rooftop reception hall which was empty. It was cool. He’s from Lebanon and he said my name is really common there. :)

Because I made plans with Ate Kat, Shane and Peter, I wouldn’t have time to use the amenities and rooftop because they’re only open until 10pm. :|

Ate Kat, Peter and Shane picked me up at the hotel and we went to the Autozone Office Building which was very near my home. Shane works there so he can grant us access and give us a tour.

US is so high-tech and so Ate Kat and Peter only had to scan their driver’s license and the information popped in the screen and thus their temporary IDs printed fast. And because I don’t have a US ID, I suck. HAHA. I tried to scan my school ID to no avail and the guy there asked me if I have my passport with me so Ate Kat went with me to my apartment and we got my passport. :P So now I’m a faceless creature haha.

Shane toured us at the office. It was really nice and the building was tall. He just almost started working there, well he was there for a year already, I guess, but his position is good already. He only just graduated when he came to work there. They said it is a big car parts company in the US and I can tell because the Sunset Symphony was named after the company - Autozone Sunset Symphony.

Anyway, after the office tour, we went at the rooftop of the building to watch the sunset. The view is great here if you want to see the river, the pyramid and bridge. It was nippy when we were there, it was lovely. :)

Ate Kat then said they need to take me to Urban Outfitters because that’s my store. She said the clothes there are totally my style. We only had a few minutes to check the clothes out because they’re closing at nine and the sales girl there was saying, “we’re closing at 9” every single second. Ugh.

After that, we drove around the University of Memphis, their school. It really feels and looks like Ateneo to me. Though I’ve been there only once or twice, it sure does looks like it. 

We had Mexican food after and I got the authentic tacos. It was yummy. I didn’t even know we put beans and cream in tacos. -_-

Ate Kat and I just talked about random stuff. How Filipinos are with the idea of a teenage girl getting a boyfriend and how it was when Shane and she got together. She was 19 and he was her first boyfriend and Shane needed to adjust to Filipino customs. It was fun. I sincerely had fun. :)

It was late when they dropped me off at the hotel and they went home. Because there was nothing to do at the hotel anymore, I just watched TV and then slept and just woke up early to use the facilities. It was weird walking around in robe! HAHA. =))))

I was the only person swimming although there were a few people using the gym. I also used the Jacuzzi which was so relaxing.

I checked out the rooftop one last time before I checked out and grabbed coffee. The coffee was free before 9am and I was late by 10 minutes! -_- I think I enjoyed the Jacuzzi so much. Anyway, I had to pay for my coffee and it sucks because anything at a hotel is expensive. -_-

I had a good time though. When I checked out, I asked if Mr. Browne was there and they called his office but he still wasn’t there. It was the same when I checked in. I wish I could say thank you personally but I emailed him instead when I came back to the Philippines and he is really nice. He sounds so nice in his emails unlike someone I know. lol

An old lady offered to take my picture by the fountain where the ducks lurks. :)

When you go to Memphis, go check in at The Peabody Hotel okay?? :)

PS: It’s where Justin Timberlake stay everytime he goes to Memphis. He’s from Memphis btw.

PPS: It’s also where the Presidents stay when they’re there. :)

Posted: 12:17 AM
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First day of June, Last Day at Work + Graceland Tour

June 1, 2012

It was so close to me going home and honestly, I’ve never been around much. I haven’t even seen the most famous landmark there - Graceland. Lara told me she’ll go with me but one thing lead to another and I ended up going with Ate Ana with two of her cute little cousins which is totally fine with me. Thank God Memphis in May gave me tickets because the ticket is quite costly.

They picked me up at my apartment around 9am and off we went to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley.

The parking was on a different side of the street so everyone must ride the bus to the mansion. It was a really cool tour with the headset and all. There are narrations and explanations about the rooms and the details of the different piece in the house. There are even parts where you can hear Elvis himself talk about different stuff about his house.

His mansion is big, his backyard is wicked! There are a lot of different rooms in his house that are themed - there’s a jungle room, glass room, game room etc. 

The only part of the house that was restricted was the second floor. The narration says he kept it private from everyone when he was still alive so they wanted to keep it private still.

After the house tour, we went at his huge backyard! There are horses there and gold carts and according to the narration, he used to race with his friends at the backyard.

We also checked out the his Trophy Building where his um, trohphies are lol. The Racquetball Building is also cool  especially the tall wall with more awards.

He also has a swimming pool right outside the trophy building and right across it was the tomb of Elvis, his mother, his father and sister (If I’m not mistaken).

Included in our Platinum tour was the Automobile Museum. He has a lot of cool cars and I dunno why but a lot of them are pink! lol

Also included in our tour was the Airplane tour - Lisa Marie plane tour aka his private jet named after his daughter. How awesome it is to have be a superstar with your own jet?!

The only refuge of people because the weather was cold that day! HAHA.

Ate Ana dropped me off at quarter to 12pm at the office. Lara wasn’t there so I just chilled until it was time to take my lunch. I went home to eat because I still have lots of food and I only had a few days left.

When I get back, the office ordered a humongous pizza! It was the size of my face, actually, it was probably bigger! HAHA.

I just did my Tour 109 paper and finished and cleaned the computer I was using until Lara get back. Then while doing my paper, Nobie barged into the office and told me to come out. I was surprised to see my office mates gathered at the conference room. They prepared a ‘farewell party’ for me. They bought ice cream cake and they gave me presents - MIM shirts and MIM plaque that I didn’t get to take home because Randy took it. :| Alicia made the ribbon for the presents and she was like, “I did that for so long and you open it like that?” HAHA.

While eating and while we’re seated at the conference room, they asked me questions like what I liked most about Memphis, what part of the festival I liked most, what surprised me etc. It was definitely hard to think of the answers to these questions because I’ve never given it a thought. Then the President asked me what attractions have I been to and I’ve never been anywhere. He kept giving me names of museums but the only places I’ve been to was for work and Graceland and malls.

He also asked me what I hated most and Lara interrupts and said “Don’t say me!” HAHA. He also asked me what I learned from Alicia and I answered sponsorship and GPS. Adam was constantly giving me stuff as presents, like tissue paper and different craps like that so the President asked what I learne from him and I thought for a minute and answered ‘how not be surprised’ and Memphis Zoo! :))

A little before 5, I told them I wanted to see the Peabody ducks and the President said I should go already because it was only 15 minutes before 5 and he said I might miss it. So I walked to the hotel that is only a block away from the office.

The Peabody ducks is one of the must-see things in Memphis. Before the ducks march at 5pm, a brief narration on how it started was told by the ‘duck master’ there and then the ducks march from the fountain to the rooftop. They are really so cute, they’re like hollywood stars walking down the red carpet with paparazzis. It was fun to watch. :D

When I get back to the office, Lara told me Randy wants to talk to me so I went to his office and closed the door because he asked me to. We had a heart-to-heart talk about my experience in Memphis in May. He asked about what I thought of the festival, if it was what I expected, what I thought was the best and worst part and asked me to recommend things to improve it.

I was honest and told him there were times when I am clueless as hell on what was happening on different events. Like there were no briefings or explanations on what will happen, I will just have to be there and figure it out on my own. But I also praised them because honestly I like how they work. They are so ahead in what they’re doing so there are no glitch, or if there is ever, they can solve it easily. I also applaud them for their dedication to work so late and do the things they do. I guess they love their job. And that was the last time I saw him. 

I went home to drop off stuff first and get some things that I forgot to pack with me to got to the Peabody Hotel because I’m staying the night there! :-D

Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh. Modified by LARA <3