Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Enjoying Summer with lots of Selfies

I can't believe it's already August. I have only 3 weeks left of my summer vacation and it will be back to reality in no time. I think I am having a panic attack right this minute.

Yes, that's a little exaggerated, right? Here's the thing, I don't know about other people but summer seems taking so long to arrive and when it does, it's always short and quick.

That's not fair!

Why can't it be the other way around with winter?

You know what? I should not be complaining right now but I can't help it.

Ok, enough with the drama. I had a real awesome and memorable summer this year, by the way.

I can't lie. It's not cool to lie about it.

This is my 10th summer in the U.S. and this year is so far the most exciting and unforgettable one because I spent it with 2 of the most important people in my life - my brothers Gary and Japol.
Yes, this year my brothers from-the-same-mother-and-father came over to visit me. It has been 5 years since the last time we were together and that was when I went home for the first time in 5 years of being away from My Philippines. So you can imagine my excitement and anticipation because this will be our first trip together out of My Philippines.

Our very first Selfie together at the Portland Jetport

My siblings and I are very close. We did a lot of things together when we were young (both naughty and nice). We even shared the same friends as well. We grew up like peers. We were (and still are) partners-in-crime who cover each others' asses backs. We also fight like normal siblings do. But we patch things up really quick too for the sake of selfie. No, just kidding. Selfies are unheard of in the 70s. But siblings brawls are already in existence since time immemorial. So when we engaged in a brawl we need to fix it quick because we don't have a choice. My parents made us solve our problems together or there would be consequences. We quickly patch things up when we have disagreements and misunderstanding or we lose privileges. My  parents made us sit down and we talk about it. Compromise if need to. Settle down and think about it. Forgive and move on. We were raised that way - the Orona way.
Shirt I made for us. The official #oronasquad shirt.

When I migrated to the US, Gary moved to Hong Kong where he works as a Designer. Japol is the only one who stays in the motherland where he works for an International Bank. But that did not keep us from being close. We talk to each other almost everyday. But even if we communicate regularly (thank God for social media) it's still not the same when you talk to them in person. And yes, it's way different when you can do tons of "selfies" together.
Well, both my brothers were able to visit the US before but in 2 separate times. My youngest brother Japol came here in the winter of 2014 but it was a very short visit. And Gary came in the fall of 2013 but I didn't get the chance to see him because he was here on business trip and stayed in the West Coast the whole time.
My brothers' 1st 4th of July

But this year is different because they both came at the same time. They came on the same date but different time because Japol came all the way from Manila while Gary came from Hong Kong. However, they didn't go back home at the same time. Gary stayed only for 8 days while Japol spent almost a whole month vacation.

This one-year-in-the-making "Orona Siblings 2017 US Vacation" was well planned, well-thought off and very well-executed.

Thanks to me. Just kidding. Well, I am OCD in every way. So imagine how I did the itinerary.

Knowing that Gary will be here for just 8 days knocked-the-crap out of me. I had to think how I can put as many U.S. states to visit in that span of time as possible.

Well, being a genius that I am - I just did it! We covered 11 States in 8 days. How is that possible? Here is a video of all the places we visited in 8 days to prove it.


Eleven states in 8 days? Yup. Here is the countdown.

Day 1. We started in (1) Maine of course. Checked out Kennebunk-Wells-York tourist area.
Day 2: Celebrated the 4th of July on a train in (2) New Hampshire.
Day 3: Started the 5-day US East Coast Vacation Tour in (3) Boston, Massachusetts. We went straight to see The Breakers in (4) Rhode Island. Then, Yale University in (5) Connecticut. On the same day we headed down to Times Square in (6) New York and retired in (7) New Jersey for the night. We didn't really get the chance to see much of New Jersey except the hotel but it's counted. LOL
Day 4: We spent the following day touring New York City.
Day 5: We left New Jersey first thing in the morning to see the Liberty Bell in (8) Pennsylvania then went straight to (9) Maryland to have lunch then (10) Washington DC. From there, we went to our final destination - (11) The Niagara Falls where we spent the night.
Day 6: Niagara Falls was the last attraction in our 5-Day tour. We spent the morning checking the town then we went back to Boston where we dropped off and drove back to Portland, Maine.

That's ridiculous! Ain't it?
Gary's last 2 days was spent touring Maine.

Day7: We did a Day Tour of Portland visiting the Old Port and cruising the Casco Bay to see the lighthouses. And of course, more selfies.
Day 8: And for the last day before his 5:40 PM flight back to Hong Kong, I drove him around the towns of Limington, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Porter and Cornish for the mandatory selfies.

It was exhausting but fun. It was taxing but enjoyable. And most importantly, it was great having lots of selfies together.

Planning for this vacation made me realize that I am in the wrong business. Vacation planner should be my career choice because it's fun and I love doing it.
I did everything from planning to drawing the itinerary. I did a lot of research. I made reservations. I booked the tours and hotels. And I made sure that we covered all the must-see, must-eat, must-do stuff in our vacation. I had the itinerary written, printed, copied and distributed to the participants. I even made identical shirts to wear during the tour and to commemorate the event. Oh boy, I was getting good at it. I'm definitely in the wrong business. LOL
Now, that both of them are back to home base and that we are all back to reality, I'm now planning for our next adventure. Yup, because the HASHTAG-orona-squad has just started.

So, see you in our next trip!

WARNING: I will be writing about each destination in details so brace yourself. wink*




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