Summer Paradise: Coron, Palawan

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Hi, Readers! I’m MIA for quite long cause I came home to spend summer time with family and friends. I want to share to you what happened to my well-deserved vacation and budget tips on how to travel without being broke. So the adventure begins! YAY!

I went to Coron, Palawan together with my college besties. We’re planning this trip for 2 years cause our broke-college-students-dilemma put us on hold. Now that we’re employed, finally we made it to Coron! It’s always been in my bucket list to travel Coron cause of the stunning pictures that I saw on the internet and blogs saying how majestic the rock formations of this beautiful island is. Truly I was not disappointed, Palawan is a paradise.

We’re group of four all girls and stayed at Momita’s lodge for 3D2N for only Php3,500 each including tour, accommodation and daily breakfast. I surely recommend Momita’s for anyone who wants to travel on budget.

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We took this picture inside Momita’s lodge.

I didn’t managed to take a picture of the whole room cause we got too excited but as you can see, it’s really wide and spacious. It has 2 double beds, 1 single bed, fully air-conditioned, 2 ceiling fan, 1 stand fan, 4 towels, 4 soaps and private bathroom. Momita is the owner of the lodge and this is also what the guests called her. She is really nice and welcoming I can see my grandma to her. She offers variety of rooms depending on your budget and how many persons. You can search her website online at www.mommitaslodge.jimdo.com  for more details.

Day 1

1st Stop: The Hunt for Food

We have ample of time to roam around the city before our tour begins..

So we decided to look for restaurant cause we’re really hungry fresh from our 30mins flight from Manila to Busuanga..

One of the many restaurants that are flocked together at the city of Coron. We choose this place cause this is the nearest to our lodge and the food looks appetizing.

Stingray in Coconut Milk

What makes this restaurant different is they served stingray in coconut milk. This is the first time in my entire life to eat stingray. It tasted like Bicol Express but the texture of it is like shredded tuna meat. All in all, it’s delicious worth a try!

And of couse, the undying love for Pork Sisig! Nothing beats the authentic Sisig back home. 2 cups of rice please!

2nd Stop: Mt. Tapyas

Momita only told us that we’re hiking 721 steps to the peak of Mt. Tapyas. We didn’t bring anything not even money cause right after hiking this mountain we’re going to Maquinit Hot Springs and there will be no lockers to put your belongings. So being the vigilant us, we decided not to bring valuables. It was a really bad move not to bring money cause we’re really exhausted and thirsty after hiking, good thing our tricycle driver is really nice. He lend us money to buy water. Thank you, Kuya! lol

On the way to city tour and Mt. Tapyas

We take pictures in between to ease our tiredness..

and to make everything worthwhile lol

3rd Stop: Maquinit Hot Springs 

This is my first time to actually bath into a natural hot spring. The view and scenery is therapeutic and the soil is really red. That’s when you know it is all natural. The warm water is so relaxing and it has pebbles underneath like a massage for your tired feet. This is a must-see if you die for a scenery like this especially, if you’re too fed up with the city life. There are also cottages in the place and grill joint where you can eat and drink.

The hot springs are divided into 3 parts: 1 big pool and 2 smaller pools

The path on the way to the hot springs

4th Stop: Where to dine for Dinner?

After a long day, we came back to our hostel just to fix ourselves and look for dinner. We landed at Carl’s BBQ just along the city of Coron. Their food are delicious, really affordable and serve in platters. Their ambiance makes you feel like you’re really in an island and good for groups and family.

We ordered crispy pata, calamares, baby back ribs, mango shake and bucket of beer for only Php1,265. Traveling in groups really shrink the expenses cause it is always divided by how many of you. I’m so sorry didn’t managed to take a photo of the food due to hunger.

While waiting for us to be seated, we asked the waitress to take a photo of us. I love the people of Coron they are just so accommodating.

They have different types of cottages to choose from. They have tree house set-up, long tables, and this cabbana style cottage.

Our first day ended full of laughter until you’re stomach hurts. It feels so good to just laugh like that again, can’t remember the last time we experience it. Also to catch up with my friends cause didn’t saw them for too long and we have many stories to tell. True friends are indeed gold.

Day 2: Island Hopping

The day we’re waiting for! We are all excited about this tour cause we can finally see the majestic rock formation, clear water and priceless scenery. There are places you can’t go without life vest, aqua shoes and mask and snorkle. They are just being careful cause of the 2 tourist died at Coron recently.

1st Stop: Twin Lagoon

I am so excited cause I can finally see and experience the beauty of it. The place I’m always dreaming about is right here in front of me. The pictures has no justice how atonishing the place is.

They have improvised stairs in between the rocks for you to go to the next lagoon. It is quite steep and the rocks are really sharp so be extra careful when using the stairs but it’s just a few steps.

Twin Lagoon has different water temperature vary from warm to cold. Amazing isn’t it?

On the way to Twin Lagoon

Look at those rock formation. Amazing God!

2nd Stop: CYC Beach

It’s a small white sand beach with clear turquoise water where you can swim, drink and eat ice candy cause locals sells them in their boats

The view is jaw-dropping

That clear water says it all

3rd Stop: Kayangan Lake

This is the controversial lake cause this is where the 2 tourist died. I heard from the locals it was temporarly closed but luckily, it is opened again the time we visited it. You have to hike in order to get to the lake, it is quite long so be prepared. But the hike is always worth it cause of the stunning scenery. Tour guides doesn’t allow the tourist to enter the lake without life vest.

The entrance to the hike..adventure begins!

The view that will welcome you when the boat dock at the entrance of Kayangan Lake

A photo in the actual lake. Clear water and rock formations are love.

4th Stop: Sunken Japanese Wrecks

It was a Japanese war ship during the WW2, I was mesmerized by the beauty of this ruins. It is amazing how something so destroyed can be this beautiful. Truly, nature has its own way of healing itself.

 

No filter photo of the sea. Be amaze!

That is the shipwreck surrounded by many marine life. The beauty of ruins another no filter photo

5th Stop: Coron Reefs

This was our last stop for our Island Tour and definitely the most beautiful one. It feels like I enter into a ‘whole new world’. It is a long trail of mesmerizing coral garden with shades of pink and blue, alive corals that are breathing, a home of many marine life. Philippines is so beautiful, I’m craving for more. All credits to the Most High, our world is beyond beautiful.

It was so beautiful that I actually forgot to take pictures because I was so busy just enjoying the moment and appreciating all beauty in front me. I’m sorry.

Day 3: Last Day/ Souvenir Shops

Filipinos definitely won’t forget ‘pasalubong’ for loved ones. Before our morning flight, we decided to roam around the city to look for possible souvenirs to take back home.

 

The mandatory t-shirts and keychains in every souvenir shops.

Also the ref magnets, but I love this wood type.

 

So that’s how our Coron Adventure ends. If you want peace, nature and sightseeing definitely, Coron is for you. The island is really small, it’s like a size of a subdivision back in the city. You can finished the city tour within a day. In terms of safety, we traveled Coron all girls we go out until midnight walking around the city and we didn’t experience any danger at all. The locals are really nice, polite and helpful maybe because you can notice that the major livelihood of the people are their tourism. So they really take good care of their tourists and guests.

Also Coron is really budget-friendly and affordable, I’ll show you the breakdown of the total expenses I had:

  • Airfare from Manila- Busuanga vice versa via Skyjet: Php5,319
  • Tour and Accommodation (Momita’s Lodge): Php3,500
  • Pocket Money: Php3,000
  • Total: Php11,816

My entry for Hana’s Travel Bucket List: Coron, Palawan, Philippines CHECK!!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Reading between the lines

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Like any usual after work habit, I’m scrolling thru my timeline at facebook and I came across to an article from Japan Times saying that according to a study Japan might be the loneliest country to live with. As an immigrant in this country for almost 4 years now, I cannot comprehend how accurate that article was.

For Japanese culture they have to follow social norm and most of the time you have to be mindful of your actions as to not bother anyone. It can be so tiring because humans are social being and we are created to interact with one another. As the saying goes, no man is an island but here you have no choice but do everything on your own. Clear example, Japanese tend to overwork so practically, you know their free time is so precious that you’ll think twice if you will ask for help even if you guys are friends or family.

Sadness and loneliness is like your friend in here. The world here is so fast and everyone seems to care only on material things as they prioritize their work not relationships or family. I don’t know but it makes me think that when you get older, your work won’t take care of you. I am not sure how true my observations are but the fact that there are lots of senior citizens here that is living alone or dying alone makes me think all of my assumptions are true. Forming a genuine relationship with someone be it romantically or friendship is far more valuable than any of the things that the world could offer.

I love this country for sure because it’s part of my roots as well but it makes me so sad. People seems like robot. I just hope one day..just one day they will start to see the things that I see. Life is too short to not actually living on it.

xoxo

An Open Letter to Myself

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Dear Self,

Lately I know you feel so disconnected with everything that’s going on with your life. Everything is just going down the hill  and you’re getting tired of keeping up with this strong facade. Then it hits you, drowning with your thoughts again..

You have to stop expecting people to give love and happiness to you. You owe it all to yourself because the only person who can give you all of those is no one but you. Nobody is responsible to make you happy. Only you, remember that. Love yourself so much that no one will ever dare to hurt you again. Self-love is never a selfish act. It’s about time to give all the love you are giving to people who are not worthy back to yourself. This is way long overdue. It’s about time to see your own worth.

I know nobody will understand your decisions when all you are trying to do is save yourself. You already gave so much. They will look for you once you stop doing things you usually do for them but don’t get swayed by half-baked efforts. You are worthy of all the love, effort and attention. Remember that. You are brave and strong. I know you will make it, like you always do.

Sincerely,

Self

xoxo

Conquering Mt. Fuji

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Summer time in Japan means climbing season for Mt. Fuji. I was caught in the middle of my life so stressed, depressed and unmotivated to do anything, so I decided to book a tour to climb Mt. Fuji last minute, it was a spontaneous trip with my friends who also just want to get away with the routine of life.

I took overnight bus from Osaka to Tokyo where the meeting place is. I was part of a tour with other tourist from all different parts of the world. Our tour guide explain to us the guidelines while climbing the mountain and they said we are very lucky cause the weather at the mountain is perfect cause the typhoon just passed by the other day.

11:30AM. Our tour bus took us directly to station 5 where the climb will start and we have to climb until station 10, sounds easy? No. Station 6 is okay but station 7 until 8 is very rocky and stiff, I suggest rent trekking pole it will save your ass from sliding, falling and it will give your more stability while climbing or walking.

6:00PM. When we reached station 8 where we will stay overnight, have dinner and rest before we reached the summit. That’s the only time I somehow properly wash my face, used bathroom and clean myself a bit cause I still can’t take a shower. They offer post cards which is exclusive only at the mountain where you can send to your loved ones or yourself.

1:45AM. The most difficult part for me climbing at dawn with 4-5km/hr wind and 5 degrees weather. The way to the summit is very stiff and dark it took us 2 hours before we entirely reached the summit.

4:15AM. The most rewarding part waiting for the sunrise! As the sky clears and you can see all the clouds beneath looking so soft and fluffy that I actually want to dive in feels so unreal. Then, me watching the sunrise at the summit of Mt. Fuji I just can’t think of anything. It might sound so cliche but as I watch it, everyday is literally and figuratively a brand new day!

That moment in my life will definitely be one of the books and I will always look back at when I’m so tired with my life. Imagine everyday the sun rises for all of us and me as a night person personally watching it, I never knew how amazing it can be! It feels like magic and surreal. I felt completely happy, high, positive and energized after I witnessed it. There are no words and adjective to describe how great it was.

xoxo

Love and pain

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You know you love truly when the pain you’re feeling is unbearable knowing they won’t be part of your life anymore. They say better to feel pain than to live life and go on without knowing how to love. Why we humans are addicted to love when we know it can also cause us pain?

You know you truly love the person when you genuinely wish them happiness even if it means you’re not part of it anymore. No matter how cliche this might sound but it’s true. Letting you go is the greatest pain and challenge I will ever have to deal with. I’m strong and independent I can do things on my own but not having you in my life is so painful. I know I have to let you go when we cause each other more pain than happiness.

This is so hard. I hope there is an easy way to ease what I am feeling right now. But for now, I will let myself feel everything. Maybe one day…just maybe I’ll get tired of crying, overthinking where went wrong, why us. Maybe one day we will get all the answers we were searching for all these years.

As I get older, I realized love is a gift from God, a privilege. Not everyone were blessed to found love, lucky those who found it. Some are married but no love, some are single but at some point of their lives they experience great love. Call me hopeless romantic but I’m not asking for too much, I just wanted someone who I can connect with and talked to anything under the sun, above the universe and everything in-between cause life itself is tough we need someone who we can share simple things in life and won’t get tired of us.

How to Love Strong Independent Woman

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For years she build herself up, spends day and night to really know herself, took countless of downfall before she finally accepted and love herself-all the good and bad. She value her solitude more than anything that’s why it’s tough to crack her wall. You’re so lucky to love by a woman who value herself.

1.She doesn’t need you. She wants you.

Bad day at work? She knows how to make herself happy-a jar of ice cream and netflix but she still want you to be there by her side to comfort her or watch rom-com movie with her while she’s sobbing, wipe her tears, hold her hands and hug her until she feels better.

2. Don’t be intimidated with her

We all know men’s ego are so big when they see women who are doing great and being successful more than them they feel so interfere. A boy will see her as a competitor and get intimated by having her shit together. A man who truly loves her will be supportive and a great cheerleader.

3. She is living up with her expectations

Strong independent woman expectations are so high because she always set the bar so high for herself.  So please don’t get tired when you think she’s being so demanding she just wanted you to be the best version of yourself that’s why she is always pushing you to do great things.

4. She hates being weak

Everyone around her admire her for having strong personality. You can never see her cry because she hate herself more than anything when she’s being weak. She will try her best to shrug off the negative feeling she has and show up like nothing is bothering her. Talk to her. Make her feel safe. Tell her it’s okay to cry and not be okay all the time. Be her safe haven that she can lean on when she can’t handle her world.

5. She tend to be workaholic

She understand that career is not everything but she is always chasing after success. Ask her to spontaneous adventures and dates like hiking on weekdays, long drive where you can alternate driving cause she knows how to handle car, take pictures of sunset. She won’t turn you down because she is addicted to life experiences. Remind her the world is vast and don’t be confined in her little world.

xoxo

Snowboarding in Nagano

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As a person, I am sucker for experiences. I don’t care if I’m not good at something I will still do it cause I want to. I don’t want to miss anything to do things for the first time at least at the end of the day, I know to myself I tried rather than having  what if thoughts.

This is a long overdue winter experience that I owe to everyone. As you all know, I’m from Philippines which is a tropical country and experiencing snowboarding for the first time is a must! I won’t miss this chance. My cousins booked a Ski Resort in Nagano Prefecture.

We wake up so early to make it to the reserved bus which will take us to the ski resort. When we arrived, you need to fill-in small sheet of paper for the items you want to rent. I believe most of the ski resorts have rentals from outerwear to snowboard. So if you’re beginner or just like me which is after the experience it is more practical to rent than to buy the actual wear which can cost up to 50,000yen depending on the brand.

There’s a cable car that will take you to the top of the mountain. The experience can be so liberating cause it is an open air cable car. We spend 2 hours to get down. They said for beginners you need to look forward and enjoy the view so you won’t get afraid when you managed to stand up. I can compare it to real life scenario, don’t get panic or scared wherever you are learn to enjoy the view and experience.

Overall the experience was great! I learned my physical pain tolerance is so low. Snowboarding is the only thing in life that made me gave up. Be ready for next day cause your body will soar like no tomorrow.

‘Fall seven times, stand up eight times.’

xoxo

Skincare routine

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Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist these are only the products that work for my skin and since not everyone has the same skin type it might not work for others. The products I’m gonna show you are not paid nor advertisement. 

I started doing skincare routine when I was in college. I’m a late-bloomer thanks to my cousin who teaches me how to take care of myself and be lady-like. Ever since then, I became so addicted to skincare products because I’m too lazy to put on make-up everyday that I can even go to work without it. My thinking is if I have good skin, I don’t need to enhance or cover up the flaws of face.

My current skincare routine is here! Most of the time when I found products that works for my skin I stick with it cause I don’t want to explore and harm my face with changing of routines every now and then.

1. Dove facial wash

You need to wash your face 2x a day every morning and before you go to bed. What I love about this product is, it’s really light and not harsh to my face. It also gently exfoliate your face while you wash so after you use it. You can feel your face so glowing and soft. It can be found in any drug store in Japan.

2. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

I bought this one in Costco but it is also available at Amazon. I love this product because it doesn’t have any scent and light in your face. As you notice, I love products that are light-weighted and not-so oily when you put it. It also not harsh to my face this one also helps me to prevent my acne and lighten dark spots for some reason.

3. Biore Aqua Rich Sunblock

Most of us only apply sunblock when going to swim or beach but we didn’t notice in our everyday life when we step out of the sun. We are also exposed to harmful UV rays that can cause early wrinkles. You need to apply sunblock every time you go out to protect your skin from it. I love these cream type because just small amount of it can cover up your whole face. It can be found at any drug store in Japan but I bought mine at Costco.

4. Lush Honey Lip Scrub

When it’s winter, it’s so hard to prevent not to have chapped lips. Recently, I tried this Lush lip scrub. All you have to do is take a small amount of it and circularly rub it into your lips and voila! you can feel your lips so soft and looking kissable. That small tub can go a long way, it can be messy when you apply it but it smells so good like sugar and honey it’s all organic.

5. Lush Mask of Magnaminty

This mask is all over the interrnet. I already tried most of the lush masks and I can tell why netizens love this particular mask. It can prevent acne and lighten dark spots. When you apply it, you can feel relax with the minty smell of it and the coldness from it that cover your whole face. It also has some I don’t know if it’s oats or something but all organic that also helps to exfoliate your face without harming your skin. After I use it,  I can feel my face so smooth, soft, clean and glowing.

6. Cure Natural Aqua Gel

I use this product to exfoliate at least 2x a week. This is my ultimate go-to exfoliate. This is really top-seller among Japan’s skincare products. It can cost 3,000 yen but it can lasts for 3-4 months depending on your usage. You can use it in your face, elbows, knees or underarm to exfoliate and remove all the dead skin cells and dirt. I’m using this for 5 years already and it never fails me.

There you have it! For beginners, always remember the steps of wash, tone, exfoliate and moisturize. You have to be really committed to achieve flawless skin.

xoxo

P A U S E.

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pause noun: a temporary stop, a break in verse 

I admit I always try to do things big or small on my own without asking the help of anyone cause I don’t like the feeling of being a burden to someone or put them in a bad place cause of me. That’s why no matter how hard the situation is, I will try my best to solve everything in my power. AS IN EVERYTHING…only to find myself at the end of the day so exhausted and drained.

Each day I live like that without realizing how hard I was to myself, until I went back home in Gifu for 3 days off. Being the ultimate ‘probinsyana girl’ big city like Osaka is kinda overwhelming. It’s so fast-paced and feels like 24 hours is not enough to get things done. I tried my best to keep up with this lifestyle. The funny thing is, I never thought I was being toxic to myself.

During those 3 days break from my city life, I had lots of realizations and how important it is to practice pause from life and just breath for a while. That’s the only time I slow down and took my time. I rode my bike, stare at horizon, took picture of sunset, walk at park, cook food for my brothers, drink beer with my father, genuine conversations with mom. It made me think and understand how blessed I am.

Yes, career is important but don’t forget to pause. The biggest reward we can give to ourselves is time. Assess yourself, meditate where are you now in your life? Are you happy? What makes you happy? What’s stopping you to do the big things? Why are you afraid of the unknown? or you can just let go everything, smile and utter a small prayer that everything will work out just fine.

Always be grateful about the little things in life cause when you look back at it, you will realize they were the big things. It can make your heart full and soul at peace. We are only humans, not capable of everything and ultimately not perfect. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and treat yourself better.

xoxo

Adulthood. Since when?

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2017 is the plot twist of my life cause this is the first for me to be independent. I grew up with strict and conservative grandparents that’s why I always crave for freedom. When I got the chance to move out of our house and live by myself without second thoughts I grabbed it right away. So at 22, I am that ‘independent woman’. I create these image inside my head of what am I gonna do once I have my own apartment. All of it was beautiful, exciting and fun. I thought it will be look like college sleepovers but reality hits me like a truck. I don’t know why I have this habit of making major decisions without really thinking about it.

At firsts it was a struggle, the emotional aspect of it is tough. I can’t sleep cause it doesn’t feel like home, getting home with no one to talk to my family is big I’m not used to silence, eating alone all the time. Even the day-to-day living was hard cause after long of work I have to take out the trash, cleaning dishes, laundries, cleaning, cooking, understanding your taxes, paying your bills all by yourself which I took for granted before.

This whole adulthood phase is all new to me that’s why I am so overwhelmed. I still fucked up, missed work cause I’m too drunk (don’t tell my mom), hitting snooze button for 100x, eating junk for the whole week to make ends meet, panicking over petty things. In short, I still don’t have my shit together I think we all do. No one have it all together. It’s bullshit some are just better at acting like they do. No matter how old you get life will always be a bitch but that’s what makes life interesting and worth living for. Well, my point is don’t be too hard on yourself as long as you’re trying world will understand.

I am not ready with adulting and I will never be. It’s fun but in a different way. The accomplishment when all your bills are paid, all laundries are done, sink is empty . It’s the little things that counts and don’t forget to celebrate it cause nobody will understand what does it takes you to get it done. The fulfillment finding out you can actually feed yourself and completely getting in control of your life. All the decisions big or small without the influence of anyone. It’s still tough but I won’t trade it for anything else cause I won’t have it the other way around. 2017 is life changing, indeed. Be grateful always!

‘Adulting is realizing we’re just children with taxes.’

xoxo

 

 

 

Started from the bottom, now I’m here!

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Who would have thought that this ‘probinsyana’ girl will make it to Osaka?!

Today, I quit my work at the factory because I got hired in an American clothing brand. This is insane! My life’s gonna shift 360 degrees. I started my life here in Japan at the real bottom as a skilled worker in a factory. But don’t get me wrong, I will never be ashamed where I came from because being a skilled worker in a foreign land is not easy. Especially, if you don’t know their language. They will mock you, bring you down, belittle you and other nasty things only just because you can’t speak their language. They think highly of themselves because they are locals of this country. But instead of being discouraged, I turned all those experiences as an inspiration to do better and educate myself. I pushed myself to learn Japanese not only speaking but also reading and writing, So no one will ever try to belittle me again and I can defend myself if someone’s trying to bully me.

I’m a truly believer of the saying ‘Everything’s happens for a reason.’ I’m glad because today, I knew the reason why all those things happened to me. I learned a lot from my experience as a skilled worker like A LOT of patience, self-discipline and time management. It was not easy, everyday you’re not treated as humans but robots. It feels like you’re programmed to do this every single time. I even worked 10-13 hours, 6 days per week. Since then, I learned to be humble and appreciate all kinds of work. I view now people the same. I salute all the OFW’s whatever kind of work you do, I know we all just have one goal and that’s to provide and help our families back home. I know it’s not easy but always remember why are we here.

Now that I’m going to a better place, I’m still thankful to factory cause it’s part of who I am today. I went through hell to be where I am right now, I fought the hardest that I can and I’m so proud of myself for not giving up even to the days where it seems like nothing makes sense anymore. But one thing for sure, if you don’t like where you are right now, do something about it! Push yourself and stop complaining. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

I’m gonna make another blog on my independent life in Osaka! I’m too excited because this is my first time to live in a city and it’s Osaka real quick! Is this even real? I’m too happy. I’m a survivor and stubborn when it comes to my goals. LOL

xoxo