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  • Dear Corwin

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Cor’s teacher told me that he cried in class today. A bit unusual, as he’s been adjusting quite nicely to preschool. Apparently, they read a book and studied letter sounds, and “M is for mommy” triggered something and turned his mood around. He tried to fight it and rubbed his eyes, but the tears fell. At this point of the story, I couldn’t help but laugh. I could just picture it. He gets that way when he hears particularly melancholic songs, too.

“I miss mommy.” He was told I would be back soon to pick him up and was offered a hug, but he wouldn’t take it. “I want to go home.” Then he lay down on the floor and went rigid for five minutes. No screaming, no tantrum — he just basically checked out until he could regulate himself and join the class again.

I gave him many, many hugs on our way out.

When we got inside the car, he told me, “I cried in school today, mommy.”
Me: “Why’d you cry?”
Cor: “Because I missed you and I was sad.” Holding up his fingers to count, “1, 2, 3, 4… 10 feelings.”
Me: “You had many feelings?”
Cor: “Yes. I defeated them all.”

Little triumphs.

3 years and 7 months old now. He looks and acts older most of the time that I tend to forget he’s still so young. We’re still learning all about feelings, but I think we’ll be okay.

Jeff and I went to Japan last week for a couple of shoots. Our first shoot was in Tokyo, and we had a free day to go around. You better believe I spent most of it in Tokyu Hands and Loft. I LOVE paper. Pens, too. Fountain pens, Japanese gel pens, pigment ink pens. Jeff said I looked crazed inside the shops, and I’m inclined to believe him. I lose touch with reality when I’m around writing and art supplies.

I’ve heard about Pilot’s Frixion pens before, and was psyching myself up to walk right past them, but they’re erasable pens. By friction. It was pointless resisting. I got the markers and highlighters at Tokyu Hands. On the way home, at Kansai International Airport, I picked up blue and purple Slim ballpoint pens as a last hurrah. Should have gotten more. They turned out to be my favorite of the bunch. Hoarder problems.

Pilot Frixion pens

photo 1 (1)The ones on the right side of the photo above, the Point 05s are available in Manila. Got those at National Bookstore a couple of days ago. As far as I know, they’re the only Frixion pens available here as of now. (If you know where they stock the others locally, do let me know!) They have black, too, but I didn’t get it because it looks more grey than black.

Which brings me to the giveaway: the highlighters. They’re called Frixion Light and the colors are so lovely, but I just realized after trying them out on my Moleskine above that I really have no need for them. I considered selling them to buy more pens (haha), but I’ve been really happy lately and figured it’d be nice to make someone else happy, too. So, if you like pens and live anywhere in the Philippines, you can join by leaving one comment below. Say hi, tell me something you love about your day for some good vibes. I’ll draw a random number from Random.org and match it with the comment number to draw the winner. Raffle closes on Thursday, October 30, 2014, 8PM GMT+8.

Update: Thanks for joining, everyone! Glad I made it a raffle, because I couldn’t possibly choose. Drew a number at random from 1 to 26, and got 24. Congratulations, Najee! Will email you in a bit.

  • Faith

    Hi Lisa! I love how you love papers and pens amid all the gadgetry around. Don’t ever change. :) As for a bright spot in my day, it’d have to be watching my dad playing with our dogs and feeding them half a banana. Cute and heartwarming!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Faith! Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m attached to my iPhone. Haha. But some things are just much better off written by hand. ♥ReplyCancel

  • Hanah Faraon

    Hey Lisa! How are you? It has been ages! 😀 Today is a really good day because the girl I’m dating just got back from her Euro trip! Her plane just landed and I can’t wait to see her after work. :) You know, we should get together with our other blockmates like Charm. :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hanah!!! Yes, please. Would love that.ReplyCancel

      • Hanah

        Charm seems to be really busy these days, though. I’ll update you once I get her soonest available time. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Marissa

    I would to have those pens! I love doodling notes on my kid’s drawing book. These will also br great for her projects :) i saw your Japan trip on Instagram. Lovely photos, lovely place, would also love to go there someday. :)ReplyCancel

  • Pia Guillarte

    Hi Ms. Lisa, I’m a college student studying Interior Design. I love visiting your blog so much because I can connect to the things that you post especially the places and things that you love. Today is our enrollment so it happens to be very stressful from commuting and arranging my schedule, etc. The thing that made me smile today is when I opened my bag, it made me realized that I never leave my house without an orange pen(my favorite color) and a small notebook. I always carry around these two things because there are times that my thoughts are really wild that i have to write or draw them down to remember things.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Thank you, Pia! I can relate. Although not so much the drawing part. I can’t draw to save my life.ReplyCancel

  • KD

    Hi Lisa! Those are really nice pens. :) The highlight of my day was reading the Bible. “Every good gift and perfect gift comes from the Lord. – James 1:17”
    Hope I’ll be the lucky one, it’s my birthday on the 30th. :) 😛ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, KD. Belated happy birthday! Unfortunately didn’t get you on random, but I hope you had a lovely day anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Grace Gloria

    Grateful not just for today but for everday. :) Everyday we live.. we are blessed to make choices, take chances and witness all the miracles we tend to overlook during our busy routines. Witnessed how in an instant the good day can end with one of the best when I get to win pens frol
    THE Lisa! Hahaha xoxReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      THE Lisa? Hahaha. Thanks, Grace. I always love your optimism and cheer.ReplyCancel

  • I love friction pens! Too bad black and blue lang available sa pilipinas! Soon many pretty colors!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! What a great way to get people to think of happy things in everyday life. I love that today was filled with with warm hugs, nice conversations, and great company. Simple things are always the best.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Patti. It seemed like a nice way to be surrounded by good vibes. :) I agree! The simple things are the best.ReplyCancel

  • Maylene Esteban

    This is my fave pen! Remembered I hoard some during my business trip back in 2011 :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      These have been around for that long? Wow. Had no idea!ReplyCancel

  • Aimee de Chavez

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing this great find :). I looove pens as well and I can somehow imagine your crazed look in that shop :). As for the bright part of my day…well it’s also painful because I just had an impacted wisdom tooth surgery today. Still hoping that the post-op pains will be more bearable. But now I have the perfect excuse to eat all the ice cream I want :-D. Happy Tuesday!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Ouch. Hope you’re feeling better, Aimee! And yes, ice cream is always a good idea.ReplyCancel

  • kat

    wow! I have been drooling over those pens at jetpens website. we share the same love for pens and beautiful notebooks. have you seen the hobonichi’s? ganda daw ng tomoe river paper.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      I’m scared to look at Jetpens. I’ve been going through pencils.jp and I think that’s enough for now. I’m looking at them now. I think I prefer the Midori TN still, BUT I am loving the accessories!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! I love pens too! I can’t seem to walk out of National Bookstore or any bookstore without buying a pen or two. Pilot is one of my favorite brands. :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Sunshine! I have the same problem. Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! N@wie sis here :-) i love your Tokyo finds as much as I love pens and papers too. Maybe because i just loce writing lol! It’s sembreak so my daughter and I spent the afternoon in our village’s playground. It was a long time since I brought her there so this made her day fun, fun, fun! Iba talaga ang feeling seeing your child so happy so this made my day extra special too :-)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Erlaine! Sounds like lots of fun. :) Enjoy the rest of sembreak!ReplyCancel

  • Cristina Liu

    Thanks to your post, we can’t wait to start on our own sojourn in 2015. By the way, cool pens :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      That’s good to know. You’ll have a blast, I’m sure!ReplyCancel

  • Drooling! It seems a lot of us have an addiction to pens and notebooks. And i thought my friends and I were the only ones crazy enough. ❤️❤️❤️ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hey, Pittipat! Dami, no? Was surprised, too. Hoarders unite. Hahaha.ReplyCancel

  • cristina uy

    Hi Lisa! Wow how nice of you to share what you love! =) Today, i’m very grateful for all the little things, even for just picking up my little boy from school. He likes to draw all the time and always borrow my stash of coloured pens. So happy to be a crafty mom here and share what i love with my son and enjoys every bit of it. Have great day! =)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Cristina! Looking forward to that age. :) My son will start school next year. Have a good one, too!ReplyCancel

  • Marie Estimada

    Eeep! I woulf love to have those highlighters! Havent heard of Frixion before but im sure they’re great if you’re thid excited about them. It’s so hard to look for good pens that last, especially for office professionals like myself. And speaking of office, my kids were just at our office earlier for their trick or treat! So exhausting yet so fufiilling seeing their happy faces! I’m sure yoi van relate :) God bless!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Marie, Happy Halloween to the kids! ♥ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn Lindy To

    Hi lisa. A certified pen and paper hoarder here as well. Hoping i can go to Japan for that too hahaha.
    Today, I was able to declutter some stuff and im really happy that its getting more organized here at home…
    Hoping to win. Thanks for sharing your good find.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Jocelyn! Wish I could declutter sometime soon. It’s just when I start, I can’t stop.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! I’d love to go to Tokyu Hands but photos are enough for now. ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Liza! Thanks for joining. It’s an experience, but probably one a person should be having regularly. Hehe. Total wallet killer.ReplyCancel

  • those highlighters are the cutest! That orange reminds me of the bespoke golden yellow I used to highlight my medical books with – achieved by mixing a half an orange Stabilo refill into a full yellow Stabilo highlighter and lots of back and forth shaking. I also mixed the pink with the peach to get a tutti fruti neon pink. And a bit of yellow into green… I think you get the picture.

    I’d even do this sometimes during lectures, and there were many days I’d be walking around in my white med school uniform all lit up by neon ink.

    I’ll admit it, I was a little bit insane.

    If I knew there were highlighters like these then, I’d have found a way to get them as they would’ve made my laundry lady a little less annoyed with me. :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      You’re the only one I know who mixes highlighter inks. Hahaha. You can order them online, I think. Just not sure where exactly yet. I’ll ask around.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! :) Today I love that I was able to get up insanely early so I can have a proper breakfast before an early meeting, and manage to avoid crazy traffic. The rest of my afternoon was spent working, but having the park as my office. <3ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Shiela! I love the cheer over waking up insanely early. I’m usually grumpy mornings. But avoiding traffic and having the park as your office sound fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Rev

    hi! i think what i love about today is when i was able to help a beggar along lrt katipunan who isn’t even asking for anything. She also seemed to have mental illness by the way she moves. i gave her all the food and water i got in my bag and surprisingly, she thanked me. :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      That’s wonderful of you, Rev. ♥ Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • oh yes! A pen hoarder like me! I was able to get red, blue and black Frixion at National and I’ve been looking for other colors. What you have are so pretty. One thing that brightened my day yesterday was that in the first time in two weeks, I’ve not had any problems with my kids – no tummy ache, no cough, etc. It was a welcome respite in the middle of all the sicknesses we’ve been having at home. Looking forward to a same kind of day today.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Karla! There’s purple, too! Glad to hear the kids are okay now. We had a few months when the three of us were alternately sick. I felt like we were just catching mutated versions of the same germs.ReplyCancel

  • Hello, Lisa –

    What makes me happy is that people like you are willing to share their happiness to others. Thanks for brightening up my day! (And look at those pretty colors, how can they not spruce up any sad day?)

    Love your work! Hope your time in Japan was wonderful.

    Abiding in joy,

    • Lisa

      Hi, Najee! Congratulations, you won! :) I emailed you. If you haven’t received it, please check your junk folder.ReplyCancel

  • Ohai Lisa! Hope you already put the ramen boy to bed. Anyhow, trying to get the pens for someone who puts a smile on my face every day — consequently I don’t think I’m fit to answer your question at all. I couldn’t think of anything that made me smile today. All that I am is a result of yesterday and the day before. It exponentially builds up the happiness inside me. Up to the present, it’s all about an amazing person I happen to be friends with and how my love continues to build up not within her only but a very fine circle around us.

    With much esteem,

    • Lisa

      Hi, Jed! This comment is so sweet! And you write so well. You didn’t get the pens (you missed it by one number!), but it sounds like you’re pretty lucky enough as it is.ReplyCancel

  • Hi, Lisa!

    I have this on-going correspondence with a boy I met earlier this year. I got a letter from him a few days ago, where he described how fall is like in Montreal (where he lives). He knows I dream of experiencing autumn myself and thought it would be nice for him to paint a picture of it thru his letter. Today, I re-read it and got a warm, fuzzy feeling. And now I just want to write him back, and I think these pens would be the perfect tools to return the favor of painting him a scenery from this side of the world through my words.

    With a heart currently elsewhere held and lingered,

    • Lisa

      Keisha!!! You sound in loooove. It makes me happy. ♥ ♥ ♥ReplyCancel

satchmi record store 02

I remember five years ago, when Jeff and I got hooked on vinyl records, we couldn’t find new records anywhere in Metro Manila. There were old ones being sold at Makati Cinema Square and Cubao X, but that was mostly it. I had to ask relatives to ship new ones to me from overseas. One time, a whole bunch of records got bent from shipping. I may have cried a bit from the heartbreak. So when Satchmi launched and started selling records in Astrovision branches, we were thrilled. We got to have a steady supply of vinyl, at last. We limit ourselves to one new record every month now.

Been following Satchmi on Instagram so I knew they just opened their very first shop in SM Megamall a few days ago, but it was my friend Benz‘s message with photos of the place that convinced me to drop by. I went there and fell in love, as expected. There’s lots and lots of records to make any music lover happy. There are a couple of listening rooms. There are books, letterpressed notebooks, coffee, and film. It feels like they packaged all the things I love into one little analog lifestyle shop. Definitely worth a visit.

satchmi record store 01

satchmi record store 03satchmi record store 04satchmi record store 05satchmi record store 06satchmi record store 07satchmi record store 08satchmi record store 09satchmi record store 10

Satchmi | 4th level, Fashion Hall, SM Megamall | @satchmi on Twitter | @satchmiteam on Instagram

  • Satchmi already took most of my money. I dont want to visit that store… I’ll go broke for real lol

    How was the coffee though Lisa?ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Dennis! Haha. They already took lots from me even before the store opened, too. Coffee’s pretty good!ReplyCancel

  • Wow I didn’t know Satchmi is selling films as well! Thanks!ReplyCancel

childhoodDear Corwin,

I’ve always found childhood to be this magical thing, and I always used to return to the bits of mine I remember whenever things were rough, but I don’t anymore. I’m in yours.

You’re still two years old. You won’t remember much of these days. You won’t remember laughing so hard your little round face looked like it was about to explode when your father and I lip-synched Queen to you when you were three months old. You won’t remember you and I raising our index fingers and wiggling in the car to Semisonic when you were barely a year old. You won’t remember jumping around and squealing with happiness while finger painting. You won’t remember your father going down the giant slide with you, and reading you thousands of stories. But I will. I get to keep these things forever, and that is where you’ll find them if the time should ever come when your memories aren’t enough. Until then, I’ll keep them safe with me.

I think your childhood is filling in all the little cracks in my soul.


Whenever Jeff and I are shooting abroad, I always clear an hour to pop by the nearest Typo shop. I go nuts for their little knick-knacks and stamps and paper. Basically, it’s a bunch of ridiculously cute things you don’t really need but want anyway.

Typo Manila 1

There’s been a little stall in Trinoma that’s been under construction for what feels like a year now with Typo written over it. I’ve gotten used to seeing the tarpaulin cover every time I pass by, but today, they finally opened! Typo is officially now in Manila.

There are lots of charming little notebooks and chalkboards that I didn’t get around to taking pictures of. Should be worth a visit. Enjoy!

Typo Manila 2Typo Manila 3Typo Manila 4Typo Manila 5

Update: Below is a panoramic shot of the shop by Jenki Fernando.


Typo | Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall, near Cotton On

  • Liza

    Been waiting forever for it to open! Everything looks cute! ❤️ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      I thought they were never going to! Lol.ReplyCancel

  • I liken me going into Typo to an addict going into a all-you-can-have hit party. Every time I see a shop, I can’t resist coming in for a browse – and more often than not, I take something home with me. I love their moleskin rip-offs, the cheeky document stampers, and the quirky bits and pieces they have for the home office. I absolutely love this store. The other one I can’t resist is Kikki K.

    I’ve already earmarked different pieces from there that I want to buy one week at a time that we can use at the wedding. Enjoy!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      I LOVE Kikki K! I’m finding I do a better job at leaving these shops empty handed with time. But I still really enjoy going through their stuff. Ooh! That reminds me, I saw little wooden chalk boards, Claire! You might want to use them for name cards or something. Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • I’m in love with the tiny clothespins – the only reason I haven’t done a crazy shop us because I haven’t managed to decide on my color scheme. I also
    love the tiny wooden letters in candy colors. Sooo cute!ReplyCancel

  • I love the Manhattan sign!
    Can’t wait to check this out when we head to that area soon. 😀ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Cheryl! Me, too. They’re expecting more items next month, so I’m excited about that.ReplyCancel

  • I LOVE Typo! Whenever I’m in SG I always buy something from there. This is exciting news!!! Thank you so much for sharing :-)

    xx Patricia

  • random person

    I saw party straws like those sown in one of the pictures in a mall in Divisoria (along with some other items). Just saying.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Yes. They’re also available online with FB and IG sellers.ReplyCancel

  • the first time i saw typo was in KL. Glad that typo is finally in Manila. :)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Haven’t been to KL yet, but I’ve been to their shops in SG, HK, and Sydney. Always fun. Same here. :)ReplyCancel

  • guin yap

    OPen in makati pleaseReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      They’re opening a Greenbelt branch!ReplyCancel

  • Oh my, I finally found my home! Do they have other branches open yet? :3 so excited to enter the store!!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      ^^ They’re opening a Greenbelt branch. :)ReplyCancel

      • Hanna

        Hi guys do you know a store here in the Philippines that sell kikki k planner?ReplyCancel

  • nicole

    Hi! I was just wondering how much are the notebooks there?ReplyCancel

photo (7)Dear Corwin,

You are 2 years and 9 months old now. Last month was a bit rough for mommy. I broke my leg and needed an operation. It’s been a difficult adjustment because I’ve always taken pride in being independent, but your dad has been so amazing. He’s been taking such good care of me, and I love him even more now, if that’s possible. He’s our hero. I’m getting better by the day, and I’ll be walking again soon enough. For now, I’m learning how to be patient. And we’re going to be making jokes about mommy’s robot leg for a very long time.

You have been unbelievably sweet most days, taking care of me and giving me lots of hugs and kisses. You pat my good leg and ask me, “Is this leg okay?” And when I say yes, you hug it. You bring me flowers after your walks around the village, and tell me to “Get better now.” Not soon. Now. Oh, sweetheart. You are impatient, too, just like me. We’ve been working on that though, and I’m proud to say we’re both improving.

Late last month, you woke up, jumped on the bed, and said, “No more diapers!” We were surprised and asked you if you were sure, because we were heading out for lunch. You insisted, so that was when we started potty training. We were in no rush to potty train you, really. You’ve been advanced on most things so far that I figured, just like everything else, you would do it when the time is right. Your dad and I figured that we could either do it sooner and work on it longer, or wait until you’re ready and have it over and done with quicker. We opted for the latter, and true enough, you got the hang of it quickly. You are now the proud owner of many, many Batman briefs, and are learning not to show them to everyone. :p

I’m not quite decided if you’re exceptionally funny or your father and I just have a knack for finding the humor in most things, but you’re always cracking us up one way or another. I love the laughter that fills our home.

You adore our 8 year old rabbit, Marbles, and want to snuggle him often. Earlier this month, you petted him, saying, “Happy Best Friends’ Day, Marbles!” A few seconds later, in a smaller, higher pitched voice, you replied for him, “Happy Best Friends’ Day, Corwin!”

There’s a little girl in the village who looks for you often, one of your two best friends. She calls out for you from the street. One time she was shouting your name at 7am, I could hear you shout back from downstairs, “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I’m eating!” I was half asleep then, but it was still hilarious. You went to her birthday party while I was in the hospital. Your aunts took you there because I couldn’t, and I promised you you could go. I’m told the birthday girl screeched when you walked in.

You’re currently trying to type on my laptop, too, and are inserting random characters everywhere, so I’ll take that as my cue to stop and play Pirates Covered With Clay with you now.

I have so many stories of you, of us, and I carry them with me wherever I go.


costa del sul 1

We’re looking into having a new table custom-made for the office, so we dropped by Costa del Sul this afternoon. It’s this little furniture shop inside MC Home Depot at Bonifacio Global City, owned by a French couple who now live in Manila. (Incidentally, their beautiful home was featured on Daphne’s blog. You’ll definitely want to see that.)

All their pieces are made with recycled hardwood from old houses, boats, train rails, and more. It’s environmentally friendly and no two pieces are exactly alike, both great selling points if you ask me. It’s a lovely shop worth a visit. We got two bar stools for the office last year from them. I almost forgot how much I like it here. More photos below.

costa del sul 2costa del sul 3costa del sul 4costa del sul 5costa del sul 6costa del sul 7costa del sul 8

Costa del Sul | MC Home Depot, 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City | projects@costa-del-sul.com | +632.856.23.83

One of my favorite finds during our Sydney trip was Oliver Jeffers. He’s an Australian author, and that’s probably why I haven’t seen his books in Manila before. I think bookstores here tend to stick with books written in American English. I’ll think it’s cute if our son starts spelling it “colour”, but I don’t think his teachers would like that very much. Nevertheless, these books are amazing and tug at my heart. They’re incredibly well-written, the illustration is insanely adorable, and I really need to hug that little penguin.


Reading is something we value very much in our home, and finding great books is always such a treat. Corwin loves being read and told stories to more than anything, so every time Jeff and I have trips out of the country, we always make a point to hit a couple of bookstores. In Sydney, we were able to drop by five. These are the ones we’ve read to him already so I’ll share them here. You can find all these and his other titles on Amazon. Will share more children’s books these coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some pages from the books.


Lost and Found 1Lost and Found 2


Up and Down

(This chubby little penguin tied to a balloon. Could barely handle the cuteness.)


Way Back HomeWay Back Home 2


How to Catch a Star 1How to Catch a Star 2

Have fun reading! If you have book suggestions, do let me know.

I learned to ride a bicycle last month, at the age of 31. I didn’t learn as a kid. My dad tried, but he let go and I fell. He meant well, and this was the way everyone else I know learned, but I never went back on one. One of my biggest fears is falling. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I would never be able to ride a bike. Once you reach a certain age without learning, you just sort of accept it as your truth, that you’re going to grow old without knowing how.

Kyoto, Japan

But one spring afternoon in 2012, I saw people riding their bicycles by a river in Kyoto, and it was a beautiful sight. It felt peaceful. And I was saddened thinking I’d never be able to do that. After making arrangements for our October trip this year, I decided to learn. I got a foldable bicycle last April 2, a Dahon City Vybe. I had a more affordable Peerless foldie in mind, but it wasn’t in stock and I had to wait for the next shipment to arrive. The Dahon felt right when I tried it on, so we got it before I could change my mind.

I named her Kawaakari. It means “the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk; the glow of a river in the darkness”. I’ve been chronicling my learning adventures on Instagram and Facebook, and when I posted a photo of it for the first time, I wrote “We’re going to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks. And if we don’t, well, expect her to be on sale in a month or two.”

I sold her about an hour ago, not because I gave up, but because I learned and wanted to move on to a full size bike already. I don’t get to ride enough to make good use of two bicycles, and it seems wasteful to hold on to it. It went to another couple, Jets and Rhona, who are friends of ours from the wedding industry. He is going to teach her how to ride on it, too, and that makes me happy because even though my story with the foldie has ended, it’s starting a new one with another. My little bicycle, the teacher, is moving on, too.

My goal was to ride a bicycle in Japan, but since I learned before our trip to Australia, I was able to ride a bike there, too. (Thanks to the lovely Cat Juan for her amazing guide to Sydney.) That was my first time on a full size bike, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it came easily. The feeling of finally being able to ride one is indescribable, even more being able to do it in another country. Continent, even. For people who’ve been cycling since they were toddlers, they probably won’t understand the exhilaration, relief, and pride of learning it as adult, because they picked it up easily as kids. But for someone who honestly never imagined ever being able to ride her entire life, it’s priceless. It’s not earth-shatteringly important, and I won’t be winning any cycling medals anytime soon or even in this lifetime, but it is a personal victory against fear and defeatism. One other thing I have learned as an adult is to take my joys in everything I can. Life is too short to be too cool to be happy.


Our son is 2.5 years old now so we were looking into getting him a Strider bike. It’s a no-pedal balance bike, specifically made to teach little kids how to ride minus all the falling that comes with teaching it the traditional way, which is to push them along and let go. This way, the child learns to ride on his own, in his own time. And then it occurred to me that I could learn this way, too. This is why the foldie was perfect to learn on, because my feet were flat on the ground with it. I did a lot of online research before and while I was learning. There’s pretty good advice here. There are also videos available, and a funny article on The New York Times on The Terror and Humiliation of Learning to Ride a Bike at 33.

Jeff was so incredibly patient teaching me and encouraging me, and I will always be grateful. My husband is my hero. On regular (walking) days, I’m already a handful. Me on a bicycle is chaos and murder on wheels. He walked beside me while I struggled to find my balance. He would cheer me on and he let out such a huge whoop of joy when I learned how to pedal that I lost my balance. Haha. We would go to UP Diliman, on that quiet little downhill road between the College of Music and Film Center, and we would go back and forth, back and forth for an hour every night for 2-3 days until I could coast with my feet up and pedal through 5 meters. Exactly one week after I got the bike, I rode around our village and did over 3 kilometers. I think I could’ve learned it sooner, but I didn’t want to rush it. If I fell, I knew it would set me back with more trauma and fear. So we went with slow and steady.

Posting about learning on social media has been helpful. I’ve gotten comments from other adults saying they didn’t learn as kids, too, and that they’re trying to or are going to try soon. It made the whole thing feel a little less silly, and it was all so encouraging.

There were times when I just couldn’t stay on, and they were EXASPERATING. What got me through was thinking about how I’ve given birth, that I am a mother, that the female body was built for so much more amazing things, and that I’m the most stubborn and obstinate person I know. Surely, given all that, riding a bicycle can’t be that freaking hard. I think it was that hilarious indignation that got me through the first few meters, if I’m being completely honest. It’s the fear that stops us more than anything. Wear a helmet and don’t be shy about wearing elbow pads if you feel you need it. Slap on some knee pads, if that helps at all. (I skipped that, but I won’t judge you if you do. Hahaha.) Then just ride. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, not on the road beneath your wheel. Learn how to brake. Avoid people, cars, and lampposts, and if you must swerve violently and hit something, always aim for the plants. Above all, keep your sense of humor with you.