All You Have To Do Is…



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“There was a memory I could vividly remember years back when I was in the middle school”

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My classroom was kind of an old Dutch building that has a high ceiling and tall wooden doors painted in ivory. I remember where I sat, the first chair right after the door. I was the first student who knew if there was a teacher came in. As a ‘kid’, I was like anyone else in the class who would be very happy when our teacher didn’t come to teach us. Every time it happened, I would do my favorite thing: staring to the front yard and enjoying an afternoon breeze while my mind wasn’t even there. Thinking how many hours left till I could pack my bag and went home.

I literally sat on the bench just me and myself on my first year. I found it hard to blend to where those cool kids were. To blend where those mischievous were. I found it hard to blend myself to 39 different characters in the class. Meaning for almost two semesters during my first year I had no best friend and no gang, of course. It was quite tough finding friends who would accept me to be in their team. I was still super introvert if that’s the word for somebody who speaks very less, doesn’t have a communication skill, feeling way more comfortable being alone than standing in front of the class.

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“I remember one of my very good friends Atre used to say: human learns. We are all learning something in this life. By learning we are all growing”

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So do I.

I used to be a very introvert when speaking to someone new was like a nightmare. When what I could do just being resentful to myself every time my Dad said, “Go outside and find friends!”. I swear, he was kind of worry with me if I had no friends. But I kinda felt fine to be honest. The only time I felt bad when you know, if there was homework as a team in Physic class for instance, I started feeling like a left-over plastic bag no one had interest to pick it up. Time flies and I finally found the new transformation on how I open myself.

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“Traveling is where I learn to be more open to people…in which has changed me into “I’m not an -too- introvert like before”

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I was heading to Ginza when I was texting Hiromi with, “Let’s catch-up, I’m here!”. If you just visited this blog, fyi I met Hiromi on my last day in Tokyo on my first visit two years ago. I was literally waiting for Andreas Knogler to wake up at the reception and I saw Hiromi with a man from Afghanistan, an architect lives in Berlin who had Hiromi as his travel guide. Started with a very short acquaintance and exchanged contacts, we’ve been communicating ever since.

Hiromi thought I was joking after I sent an iPhone picture of Ginza Station. That was a quite surprise in my opinion. Even though I wasn’t really sure to meet her again last summer, I let the universe lead the way as always. It was a pleasant thing I felt when Hiromi sent a message where and when we could meet.

The next day I left my hostel, earpieces on my ears and started my morning by walking to a train station. I googled some places before I met Hiromi in the evening at Roppongi Station and I received a message from my childhood best friend: “How’s your day there? Have you met a new friend?” 

His message pinched me like, “Yeah, this is my third day in Tokyo and I haven’t made a new friend yet”

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“Surprises always spark when we travel”

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The day I met Hiromi led me to some new friendships

Hiromi was very kind treating me at Roppongi Hills for dinner. She told me we could enjoy Tokyo from above at Observation Room after all. I did enjoy every second staring at how pretty Tokyo at night till I got a bit distracted by two guys beside me which later I knew his name is Earvin and another one is Eric. Earvin is Canadian with Philippines roots, while Eric is from California. Eric was capturing Earvin with Tokyo Tower as a background before I started a light conversation. We spent sometimes to talk about Japan, and how Earvin and Eric met in the wrong train when they were heading to somewhere days before they visited Roppongi together.

That’s one of exciting parts of traveling when you just meet random traveler and become friends, right?

I must admit I did one of the cheesiest things before we all hugged and wished we could meet again in Japan someday (maybe Olympic 2020? :), I don’t mind another place on earth!). It was oh, recording a farewell video of us. It was actually fun having a short meeting with Hiromi, Earvin and Eric that day although you know, I wished we had longer time to talk about things cause somehow farewell is still hard to do :) (I must thank to myself for the cheesiness cause at least I still have our few selfies too).

When I was in the train with Earvin back to my hostel, I realized two things: that kind of moment will always be one of my reasons to travel more, and hey, universe had answered a question my best friend asked above? I told you :)


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Oh, hello Luís!

I came back to the hostel a bit late and went straight to my room. I almost entered but stopped my steps when someone asked if I had a rough day by looking at how tired I was. We had a short conversation on how our days were after acquainted ourselves. His name is Luís Dorelli, a very friendly guy from Brazil currently lives and works in Google London. Luís was the one I mostly spent my days in Tokyo with.

Even Luís seems so busy right now till we didn’t really have a chance to communicate like before, but I had two favorite moments I’ll always remember when we were in Tokyo. One, we went outside looking for light food after the rain. We both were tired but his idea walking under drizzle in the evening with transparent umbrellas was a good one. I always love the ambiance after the rain, especially in Tokyo where those neon lights makes the scene more memorable. Although in the end we couldn’t find any place nearby but having random conversation, some photo captured at Sensō-ji, and ended by buying snacks at 24hours supermarket was fun.

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Second moment was when we finally ended our trip at Haneda. We left on the same day, so heading to the airport together was a good idea. We took the same train, had a dinner at one restaurant in the airport before passing immigration, shopping time (he got sake while I was fine with whiskey, oh I mean some Tokyo Bananas), and ended with a bear hug. It was actually an impressive farewell I’ll keep in mind. Again, I must thank to myself for another cheesiness in the end of our trip (yes, I recorded an iPhone video with Luís before he flew back to London).

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I hope you still remember how fun the time we had with some fellow travelers at the pantry till midnight, Luís. Perhaps some pictures below will remind you, of course Chang is here :)

(P.S. I had to rip my shame by posting a photo with my face for memory purpose)

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Wait, I’ll say hi cause they’re leaving

Before I went out with Luís after the rain, I saw two guys were ready to leave with their backpacks at the lobby. The guys I saw few times early morning days before. They also stayed at the same room where me and Luís were but had no chance to talk even a single word. They both were so busy, too busy with their days in Japan till I had no courage to start a conversation. I just saw one of them was taking his things from the locker which placed few inches in front of my bed. Few times I saw him, few times I also kept silent till that evening I finally said few words right before I entered the lift.

My heart said, “Come on, few words do not cost you anything”

I was stoked I did it. It might be only 10 minutes but it was one of the warmest and friendliest conversations I’ve ever had.

I could see how magical “hi” to open a conversation and ended with a beautiful one. That was what I found when I finally spoke with Santiago and Omar before they were leaving to Kyoto. This “hi” may not work to everybody (I mean, a stranger we meet) but just remember, when your heart says to do so, just do it. It could be something which will mark in your heart and mind.

I didn’t take time to ask their details so we could keep in touch after. Santiago and Omar were the kindest Colombian I’ve ever met. It was just totally different with what I thought from few days I saw Santiago in the room. Our short conversation that day continues till today, and somehow I think that is more important when we could still keep in touch and remember each other. Oh, don’t blame me if I recorded an iPhone video too with a kind wish I could see them again sooner than later either in Bogotá or somewhere else on earth (from now on, we should FaceTime-ing more often, Santiago!).


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That’s why they both look stunning

I’ll never forget how my conversation with a very kind human, Meryl started. We met few times at the bathroom and there, our random conversations begun. Before I even realized Meryl and Nikki had only three days with very short time to visit places in Tokyo, I ended feeling beyond grateful cause Meryl started with an idea to take picture together before they left. I woke up late that morning and felt very tired but having some photographs with both of them made my day.

If I visit Philippines someday I would definitely let Meryl and Nikki know cause I’m sure we will have a very good time sharing our travel stories. Meryl and Nikki travel the world cause both are flight attendants (how cool, huh?)


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Oh, that was the highlight of my trip!

I actually woke up around 7am. That was a very short from the time I slept around 2am. Even though I was still felt exhausted but I had to wake up to bag few things to my suitcase. After I packed, I went straight to the pantry on the 7th floor. The pantry was empty, I sat on the wooden chair with that ‘feeling’ when you realize you should make your last day unforgettable one. I took my time by staring at the glass doors gazing at some buildings on the gloomy morning. Of course I played a song with earpieces from my iPhone to complete the whole scene. It is just a simple way to create some memories in my brain. Then I was ready for a very simple breakfast. White bread filled with chocolate paste and strawberry jam, pineapple juice, two slices of banana and pistachio (see, I remember every details!). I ate very slowly although I ran out of time.

The day I met Renata was the highlight of my trip. It was just genuinely, beautifully, happened like that. I even remember every single scene the morning I met with one of, le pardon if this sounds so exaggerated but honestly, she is one of the amazing human beings I ever met in my life.

It was just begun with a simply sentence I said to her, “hey, your breakfast is so healthy” and the rest was like we knew each other for years. I felt connected with Renata in so many ways. I might only have two hours but universe had done something I’ll forever grateful for letting me know Renata and created a real friendship. I remember, after we recorded an iPhone video, it felt hard for me to say goodbye to her, wishing we should have met like days before and spent time together in Tokyo. But again, universe will always have ways to surprise us and the thing makes me even more grateful is we both still communicating till today. For me, that’s the point for our friendship :)

I’m probably missing Renata right now but my believe to see her again sooner than later is strong.

Sure, I’ll let universe decides where it will be :)

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