An overthinker’s thoughts are made of these

I’ve been looking forward to this trip ever since I can remember. As a kid you kind of question why your family spends Sundays selling Mami and Halo-Halo when your textbooks tell you that “normal” ones go to the zoo. Even the Bible speaks of God’s command to rest during Sabbath. I remember complaining to my mother about them opening the canteen and requiring us to lend a hand. Wouldn’t God be angry? She simply answered that He will understand.

My classmates’ stories about where they spent the weekend come Monday don’t help. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have believed what everyone said back then because kids in that developmental stage have wild imaginations. Don’t get me wrong. We had vacations but it was never all of us. One or two (usually my father and brother) are always left behind to take care of the business. And there were only two places we went to: Batangas and Manila, we don’t have the means to go farther. Heck, we didn’t even own a car.

This was different. We’ve been planning for an overseas trip since 2013 but procrastination and doubts about our capacity get in the way. This year, we were pretty optimistic about it pushing through. In July or August though, there was another obstacle because my mother had to undergo complete hysterectomy but God is great and there was an extra special blessing to be thankful for in the form a benign biopsy result.

In September, we decided to keep the balls rolling by buying Manang Tess’ ticket (the rest of us have free airfare thanks to my sister’s job). And for me, booking a ticket is an 80% guarantee.

Over the next few months, I was left with excitement and anxiety. I was tasked to organize the whole thing given that I’ve already visited the country. My OC-ness and pessimism didn’t help. I worried A LOT over things that are, looking back, mostly silly. I should have put in mind and heart what God said in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And this post is about that, my worries. I want to write them down in the hope that someday, when I come across what I’ll publish today, I will be reminded again of what I am reminded of in this trip (I have a feeble brain which needs a lot of reminding 🙂 ): that God never fails and His provisions will never ran out. They might not arrive in the packages we expect and when we want them to, but they’re always what we need.

WORRY #1: Flights cancelled thanks to APEC

Since we are flying free of charge, our seats are subject to availability. We had to wait for check-in counters to close before we can have our boarding passes (if there are any vacant seats left). Thanks to the APEC week, dozens of flights were cancelled and the passengers were rebooked. When my sister asked about booking status a week before our scheduled departure, almost all flights were fully booked. What if there are only two available seats per flight? It was my parents and brothers’ first time abroad. What if they don’t know where to go and they get lost? How will we contact each other once we reach HK? Or worse, what if we can’t even leave the Philippines?

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

Due to my paranoia, we camped at the airport. In the end, my sister was able to rebook Manang Tess’ ticket free of charge to an earlier flight so they can travel together. The rest of us were in one plane. Seated far from each other but in one plane! Yes there was a lot of running involved in trying to reach the boarding gate before it closes but still, success!

I also worried about the flight back home but it wasn’t that bad. Manang Tess boarded her scheduled flight after Ronz talked to a kindhearted OFW to assist her. The six of us just had to spend the night at Hong Kong International Airport. McDonald’s beside you. Fast Internet around you. Fully Air conditioned. No big deal.SONY DSCOkay the laglag bala scam got my attention but I trust in my Mom’s ability to make a scene and my Dad’s preparedness thanks to his paranoia that (almost) everyone has bad intentions so…

WORRY #2 – My dreams being crushed

Because of the shifting school calendars (thanks K-12!), I missed my qualifying exam called PAPCE. When I asked my professors beforehand, they said that taking the exam earlier is not allowed and it’ll be the deadline for submission of grades before I come back so I will be given an incomplete grade (I was raised to fear the INC haha). Bahala na raw pagbalik ko. Shocks. What if I will not be allowed to take the exams anymore and because of that I will not be able to enroll in my major subjects for second semester? Is this the end of my road to becoming a CPA? Ang OA kainis!

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

I was allowed to take the exam on the same day I reported to school without questions asked. Yeah, I failed the exam miserably (42% what the hay!), it pulled my final grade one or two ranges down, and I lost my scholarship but at least I passed the subject.

WORRY #3: Rain, rain, go away!

When we arrived in Hong Kong it was raining and forecasts said there was a low pressure area. What if a typhoon hits the country during our stay? How will we enjoy Ocean Park and Disneyland? More importantly, HOW WILL WE COMMUTE?

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

While we were riding the bus en route to our hostel, the nearer we moved towards the city, the clearer the skies became. In the end, we didn’t experience a single drop of rain. In fact, it was warm borderline hot at noon. I prefer the weather when I last visited, chilly and cold. But still, dry is better than soaking wet!SONY DSCWORRY #4: Where do we sleep?

I booked our hostel via Booking.com in the same building where I stayed before, Mirador Mansion, along the sometimes shady street of Nathan Rd. It’s my first time to transact online since I usually just look for a place to sleep in once I arrive. I’ve heard stories of rooms being promising in pictures but are horrors in real life. Also, we arrived a day earlier than my booking (again, thanks to cancelled flights) and we weren’t sure if the rooms I reserved were available. Plus I was in contact with the owner via Viber and she wasn’t replying! If worse comes to worst, we’ll just blow our pocket money on expensive hotel for a night (can’t let my family sleep on the streets).

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

I couldn’t have been happier with Pearl Guesthouse! The rooms were just like how they were presented. We were provided with fresh sheets and the rooms were cleaned every day! The best part is Anita, the owner. She was so kind and helpful I even bought discounted theme park tickets from her. Also, she speaks a little Filipino because she lived in Binondo for 5 years! If ever I go back to HK again, I won’t think twice about where to stay.SONY DSCWORRY #5: Rani’s notorious bahala na or do-it-all itineraries

This was the part that stressed me out the most, actually. If it’s only me, I can just write down a list of places I want to visit and think about how to get to them later. But my parents expect me to know everything and they were bugging me for our day-to-day activities. I edited our itinerary a hundred times and checked and double checked bus routes and train routes and schedules. I wanted a perfectly smooth trip, yung tipong nag travel agency haha!

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

Well, it wasn’t perfectly smooth. Got lost a couple of times because I’m geographically challenged and my eyesight worsened in three years so I can’t read signs from afar but overall it was fun. The only place we weren’t able to visit in my itinerary was Lantau Island (but I’m coming back for you!). Next time I just have to take into account that I’m travelling with almost-senior citizens who easily tire so I can’t put two exhausting activities in a day. And we need to be at the hostel by 7.30 to rest.

Another note to self is to include meal times in the itinerary. When I travel I don’t follow the breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule of eating. Unfortunately, all the boys in my family go ballistic when hungry while my mother has diabetes. In fact, most of our arguments are food related.

Rani: Let’s go here it’s nice blah blah blah

Them: We’re hungry!

Rani: We can eat later. It’s just another hour or two.

Them: NO!

Rani: But the food here is bad/expensive/etc.

Them: NOW!

translated from tagalog hehe

Which reminds me, I also worried about food. My family can’t survive without white rice and they’re not very adventurous when it comes to dishes. Special thanks to Yoshinoya for supplying all our carbs needs! My gosh we ate there more than 5 times during our stay. There was even a day when we dined twice!SONY DSCWORRY #6: of course, the budget!

On our first day we already burned through 30% of our funds. And we still had four more days! What if we starved? What about money for pasalubongs and emergencies? My mother is usually the treasurer but since it’s another currency, she entrusted the moolah to me.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

Travelling with a big bunch is no joke. I was so used to thinking only about the budget for one person (myself) that I got surprised when I added everything up. But my mother wasn’t because that’s what her friend said she’d need. Also, if you divide the total by the number of persons then it’s a pretty justifiable amount, way cheaper than joining tour groups because we even had a day trip to Macau.

I’m very thankful to my family for their patience with me, my nagging, and hectic schedule among other things. That’s how I know they love me. Not that they have a choice for we’re stuck with each other for life. Just like what my sister said, “Si ate batas“! I’ve never cried that much in a trip but it was super worth it. Before, I only imagine what it would be like to travel with your whole family. Now I actually know the feeling. And it’s more fun that what some friends claim. Besides, how can I complain if my parents shoulder the expenses? HAHA. It’s a privilege and an avenue for us to get to know each other better (didn’t know my mother was afraid of heights!) and I thank God for our everything especially our safe return.SONY DSCPraying for more family trips 🙂

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