It’s an ironic Christmas Day. I want to talk about the best day ever but the power just went out. It’s been hot and humid all day long. My nieces are in the house and they are like cats and dogs. I’m really exhausted. It’s all my fault for staying up late everyday for my Korean dramas. I’m about to question my life choices.
The thing is, I may have reached my threshold with provincial life. Four weeks is my mark. I haven’t stayed this long in my parents’ house since high school. I miss my little apartment in Manila. I miss my solitude.
Why do I like being alone so much? I don’t get it. This lockdown wasn’t so bad for me. I can remember so many great days, I would say so many of those can be classified as “the best day ever”. I think that there can’t only be one “best day ever” in a lifetime. That would be a pity. Rather, it’s a collection. It’s like a personal recipe. Not all best-days-ever are totally similar, but some ingredients are constant. Let me share my recipe.
First, I should be alone. I like my own company, thank God for that. I like when it’s quiet and I am not dependent on others’ schedule. I like a laid back pace. It gives me an opportunity to appreciate my surroundings. The whole world is always in a hurry. What for? We’re all rotating in one axis, revolving around one sun.
There has to be coffee. I won’t last a day without it. I prefer black. Once in a blue moon, I go for the flavored lattes – vanilla, hazelnut or almond. It must always be piping hot. Cold coffee and I haven’t exactly seen eye to eye and that is fine.
I prefer the sun to be out. I’m also a big fan of rain, but only if I am indoors. Otherwise, the sun it is. I like sunrise, but realistically I’d rather witness a sunset. I sleep too late to be able to wake up in time for sunrise. If I do that, I’ll be cranky the rest of the day.
If made to choose among city, beach or mountain, city would be the top choice. This should explain why I like London so much. I once traveled to Portsmouth Harbor while I was on a trip to the UK. It was interesting, but I still preferred the bustling and busy London streets and trains. The best trips I’ve had were all in a city. For example, I’ve been to Seoul four times now and I still find it so thrilling to visit places over and over. In the US, my favorite place is San Francisco. I love its old Victorian houses and uphill or downhill streets. I love the view of the bay as the cable car descends from one of those downhill streets. Singapore is as city as it gets. I always look forward to the efficiency of everything in this man-made city. Even in Iceland, where you get to really experience nature’s abundance of beauty, I remember Reykjavik the most. I remember thinking I will go back and stay in the city center next time. I’d go back to Istanbul anytime and would stay in the city again. It’s fun to be able to look out and see the Blue Mosque against the moon at night. When Covid is up, I surely look forward to fulfilling my travel bucket list again. Where to go next? I think I’m going back to Seoul first.
Food is a given. I’m not a fan of sweets and deserts. I’d rather have a full, hot meal. I guess this explains why I am a city girl. I am almost always sure I will get fed properly in the city. In Seoul, I get to have my favorite galbi or chicken and beer. In Singapore, there’s all the Malay and Indian dishes you can think of. My mouth waters just thinking about salted egg crab and shrimps, stir-fried kailaan, little squid “sotong”, and laksa. In Japan, of course you have ramen and sushi. With London, you have to scour for good food because if it’s just English food a.k.a. fish and chips, you won’t last long.
Book or Netflix? Netflix always wins lately. I’d love to sit outside a cafe, have my coffee while watching an episode of my latest K-drama. Or, I could read a book. Or I can just have a cup of coffee while people-watching.
Let’s see. If you put these ingredients together, I’ve had countless “best day ever” days already.
On my first visit to Korea, I first went to Gangnam. I went into Bob Marley cafe and idly watched the traffic outside. I also saw a huge billboard with Song Hye Kyo’s ad. Then, I just walked around seeing Seoul for the first time. I finally ended up in a small local eatery and ordered something spicy and a bottle of soju. Soju is strong. I ended up drinking just one shot and left the rest. The waiter was laughing when I left.
In Singapore, I once walked around the city and ended up by the marina, Merlion side. I spent the evening seated outside, sipping coffee and watched the light show.
In San Francisco, I took the bus to the edge of the city so I can visit the Light House Cafe, walked out to an unknown area to look for a bus, went to the botanical gardens and around the city, sometimes getting lost in the process.
I don’t have to go very far to get my best day ever. In Manila, my favorite day is Sunday. Everything seems better on Sundays. I can wake up late, the sunrise long gone. I can have my cup of coffee then, have my breakfast too. After that, I can read a book, or watch Netflix. I can either go out for food or cook what I want. In the afternoon, the sky turns hues of pink, red and orange just as the sun sets. And finally, the city lights start to dominate the night sky.
Take me to any city with great coffee and food. Make it a sunny day so I can sit outside a cafe. I can opt to linger, watch Netflix or read a book, or maybe just people-watch. A bonus would be a great view of a lake or ocean. Any day like this is the best day ever!