Throwback to Thirty

People often dread the big 3-0. Not me. In fact, I liked being 30. I may no longer be as “ripe and juicy” as an 18-year-old, but that’s okay. I think those adjectives are better for describing tomatoes anyway.

A "Throwback to Thirty" post on scenesfromnadine.com. This amazing photo was drawn by my talented friend @paulapangan. It was her birthday gift for me, and is one of the most meaningful gifts I received this year. Thank you for your effort and thoughtfulness, Mimi! #NadineIsNowAThirtySomething #birthday #throwback #thirty #drawing #art #portrait #gift #surprise #blog #blogger #scenesfromnadine
This amazing photo was drawn by my talented friend, Paula Pangan. It was her birthday gift for me, and is one of the most meaningful gifts I received this year.

I thought I would get cold feet at the arrival of my dirty thirty, but surprisingly, I was not freaking out. To be honest, sometimes I wish that I had just skipped my reckless, confused, and erratic teen years and twenties, and just accelerated straight to my 30’s when I finally got my sh*t together. All this wisdom and maturity could have saved me from all my horrible choices in fashion (camouflage pants… what was I thinking?!), health and lifestyle (six shots of pure vodka for breakfast. Not my smartest move.), and boys (i.e., The Moffatts. Again, what was I thinking?!).

Yesterday, I have ceased to be a 30-year-old and am now a 30-something. Now, when I fill out the ‘age’ section in forms, I have to get used to ticking the box labeled “31-40” instead of “21-30” (eek!). Before I step into another potentially eventful year, I’d like to look back on the amazing year that was, because though yesterday was my 31st birthday, my 30th year was my “rebirth.” It was also, no question, my best year ever.

Travels

I clocked out of my 29th year in Hong Kong, one of my favorite places in the world, with my then-boyfriend/now-fiance and two of my very good friends, Paula and Eric. (It was also our first international travel together, which makes it even more special!). How can you feel old when you’re feeling like a kid at Disneyland, going on thrilling and death-defying rides at Ocean Park, and eating cute little cakes while surrounded by statues of Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang?

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With Paula, Eric, and Mike by the Buddhist statues at the Big Buddha in Lantau Island
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I got old… in Old Hong Kong!
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Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang celebrated with us on our birthday!

 

Every time I leave Hong Kong, I always feel a pang of sadness but at the same time, I know that it’s not goodbye. Something always brings me back to Hong Kong. True enough, less than 3 months later after my Hong Kong birthday trip, I found myself in this vibrant city again, but this time, it was for work. I was lucky enough to have represented the Philippines at the Brooks Brothers Asia Pacific Marketing Conference in May. It was my first time ever to be sent abroad for work, and the best part is that it did not even feel like work at all. I just attended and documented a Brooks Brothers event, took notes, visited some Brooks Brothers stores, slept in my lovely bed at The Excelsior Hotel, and gorged on free food. I could get used to getting paid to have fun!

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At the Brooks Brothers event with representatives from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. Philippines reprezent!
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Doing Brooks Brothers store checks in HK

 

When I was younger, I had this weird fixation on anything Japanese. I would watch the shows on NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) even if I was lost in translation and did not really know what the hell I was watching. I tried to teach myself how to speak and write in Japanese (yeah, whatever happened to that?!). And then at one point, my dream profession was to be a geisha! (I didn’t have much luck with that either.) I have always wanted to go to Japan, and when I finally went to Tokyo last November with Mike, Paula, and Eric, that was it. It was love.

I have yet to write my travel diary about Japan but for now, all I can say about it is that it’s such a magical place. Everything was incredible, and there were times when we would say to one another, “What is this place? Is this for real?!” The food was so amazing that after our trip, I became a food snob because I thought every other Japanese food I had outside of Japan suddenly seemed inadequate. The technology was out of this world (our toilet bowl glowed in the dark at night!) And don’t even get me started on the people. The Japanese are the kindest, most polite, and most helpful people I have ever encountered in my entire travel history. Tell me, how can you not fall in love?

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Autumn in Tokyo
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Now THAT is good ramen!
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At Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

 

And then, of course, the other – and more important – reason why Japan is more memorable to me now is because…

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We got engaged!!!

At the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, Mike got down on one knee and asked me the most wonderful four words I have ever heard in my life: “Will you marry me?”

I totally did not expect to be proposed to right smack in the middle of a crazy intersection while cars were passing and throngs of people were coming from all directions. Thankfully, we did not get hit by any moving vehicle and we are still alive, so the wedding is still very much on! I’ll share the full details with you next time, but to summarize everything, his speech took less than 10 seconds, I was in total shock, I was too excited that I forgot to say ‘yes’ (Instead, I said, ‘Are you serious?! Ahhhhhhhh!!!’ *Happy screaming*), pedestrians started cheering for us, a car moved toward us, and we scampered to cross the street so we wouldn’t get run over. It was quick, it was crazy, and it was exactly the kind of proposal I wanted!

Celebrations

Now before I daydream about my own wedding happening this 2015, let me first reminisce about the weddings I have hosted in 2014. I hosted more weddings in my 30th year than any other year before that. I feel extremely blessed that the couples I worked with chose me to host the most special day of their lives. For them to let me in into their lives and entrust the biggest chapter of their love story to me, it’s an honor. These brides and grooms not only gave me their trust, but they also gave me so much sense of purpose and fulfillment.

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I was also given the opportunity to host birthdays. Like hosting weddings, hosting birthday parties – especially debuts and 60th birthdays – is a huge responsibility. I am grateful to my clients who allowed me to celebrate with them. While they received lots of gifts on their big day, I myself feel like I have been given a valuable gift when they gave me the privilege of making their parties more festive and memorable.

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I also did a few corporate events hosting at 30. These events were a little more on the serious side as compared to social events, but were still fun anyway. Knowing that I played a vital role in the success of these events is truly a wonderful feeling!

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33rd Best Brand and Seal of Excellence Awards Night
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Yearnings Outsourcing Cooperative’s 10th Anniversary Party

Career Breakthroughs

For one day, I got to be a celebrity… well, sort of.

One of the major milestones of my 30th year, as well as that of my career as a wedding and events host, was being a guest on Global News Network (GNN) / GNN TV’s “Creative Business” segment. When I asked my friends and family to watch my interview to be aired on Sky Cable 213, some of them thought I was kidding. Channel 213?! Is that even a real TV channel?! As strange as it sounds, yes it is! And when you’re featured on TV, whether a show has one viewer or one million viewers, that’s pretty great, unless you’re in the local news for getting arrested in a brothel raid!

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I was also featured in the How I Got My Job section of Pacifiqa, a digital news magazine! My feature even made it to the “Most Popular Articles” list in the site – all thanks, of course, to the people who read, liked, and shared the article! The other great thing that came out of this article is that there were a few people who have read it and said that I inspired them and awakened in them a desire to pursue event hosting. One of them even asked me if I could be her mentor! Me?! Even I think I need a mentor sometimes! Anyway, this experience really proves that passion is contagious. When you love what you do, your enthusiasm and love for your craft will inspire people to chase their dreams as well.

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Enough about my hosting. Let’s talk about my day job. (Right. I almost forgot I have a day job!)

As much as I love dressing up and indulging myself in the occasional #OOTD posts, I never imagined that I would work for SSI / Stores Specialists, Inc., (known as the number one specialty retailer in the country for some of the most prestigious global luxury brands). At first, I didn’t know how I could be an efficient Marketing Officer for these brands because, uh, I’m not their market. For starters, I would never buy a $1,000 handbag! After fumbling my way through the world of high fashion and retail marketing, I learned the ropes and managed to serve the company for a good two years, which may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it is, because this is the longest I’ve ever stayed in a full-time desk job. I’m really not a 9-to-5 kind of person but my stint at SSI taught me a lot of things, most importantly, the value of patience (lots and lots of it!). SSI played a big part in shaping my 30’s. Being there taught me how to press on even when the idea of quitting is highly tempting. I learned how to be selfless, to endure and persevere because I have a goal to work toward and I am are no longer just living for myself.

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With Daryl (our Visual Merchandising Officer), Eddie and Samantha from Hugo Boss Hong Kong, and Tin (our Assistant Merchandise Manager). Hugo Boss was one of the brands I was handling at SSI. When Eddie found out that I was leaving SSI, he sent me a gift from Hong Kong with a note that said, “I still can’t accept the fact that you are leaving.” Aww…
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If there’s anything I miss about SSI, it’s the friends I made. These are my SSI teammates and our partners.
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My fellow Marketing Officers, Cay and Aspe. We all kept one another sane during those moments when we just wanted to kill people at work. Hahaha!

 

After my 2-year stint at SSI, I was offered a job as Assistant Public Relations Manager for City of Dreams Manila. I remember visiting the first City of Dreams hotel in Macau and being in awe of it. I never thought that I would be part of the small PR team (small = 5 people) when they open here in Manila! Do you know how many people aspire to work here? “A lot” is an understatement. I don’t know how or why I was chosen to be one of the 5,000+ employees of this company, but I believe that I was put here for a reason. (Everything happens for a reason!) The work can be tiring sometimes (it’s not easy walking in heels for 10 hours, you know!) and the commute can be a pain, but I am here, when someone else could be sitting on my desk, and for that, I am grateful. It’s also cool to be one of the pioneers of the company, to be one of the first people who witnessed and worked for its official launch.

Back To Blogging

When I’m not working, I am blogging, and last year was my most action-packed blogging year, considering that I wasn’t even that religious with it. Many have asked me if I actually earn from blogging, and the answer is, “So far, no, but it’s okay because I’m not after that.” I just derive joy from writing, and I never thought that it would take me places… literally! Through this simple hobby, I was able to meet lots of kind and interesting people, visit beautiful places, and eat really good food… for free! Haha! (Come on, fellow bloggers! Admit it. You still get excited about freebies!) Unfortunately, I didn’t update my blog as often as I should have (it’s hard when you work in a full time job for more than 10 hours a day!), but I will try my best to change that this time around with my new blog.

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When I got invited to an event with top celebrity bloggers from the Philippines like Patty Laurel (2nd from left) and Kim Jones (4th from left), I was like, “What am I doing here?!”
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I, along with fellow bloggers Kat and Aldous, attended a 12 Monkeys Blogger Event and met the owners, Chito Miranda (from Parokya ni Edgar) and Magic 89.9’s DJ Tony Toni.

Family

Meeting your future mother-in-law for the first time can be nerve-racking. And meeting your future brother-in-law together with your future mother-in-law can be twice as stressful. I’ve heard horror stories where the girl would get sized up and scoffed at by the bitchy mom-in-law, while being given that “You’re not good enough for my son!” look! Thankfully, my first encounter with Mike’s mom and brother was nothing like that at all. In fact, it was an exciting and happy time, and being around them really felt like home. I’m even more excited now about the wedding now because I can’t wait to officially be part of their lovely family.

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I read this line that goes: “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.” This is how I feel about my 30th year. Before reaching this age, I thought my life was all right — not perfect, but good enough. I did not think that it could get better — much better — than just “all right.” I did not foresee that all these blessings would be pouring in when I least expected them. What a pleasant surprise that the age that many people are afraid of can actually turn out to be the age when your most amazing experiences happen and your life is at its best. For me, turning thirty was a milestone and a coming of age. Sure, I have become half a senior citizen, but this beautiful time of my life is something that I will celebrate forever.

31, please be good to me!

“At 30, a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures — be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.” — Albert Camus

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