OUR PERSONAL GROUND ZERO 9/11 EXPERIENCE

As a non-American visiting New York, I initially felt that seeing Ground Zero was just another tourist experience.  However, after passing through the queues and security checkpoints I realized and understood the magnitude of the events that occurred in that particular place that day.

Twelve years ago, I was watching 9/11 unfold via news broadcasts while on a photo shoot in a studio.  But it was difficult to really understand the scope of the destruction without seeing the giant space that the World Trade Center once occupied.   Not until you stand between the memorials and look up at the newly built One World Trade Center (or Freedom Tower) that you truly appreciate the scale of the tragedy.  Just imagining not one but two massive buildings came crashing down and the horror of the lives lost was truly heartbreaking.

Allow me to share with you this experience that made me change my perception of 9/11 and of life in general.

GETTING THERE

Our hotel was just literally a few steps away from Ground Zero so we just walked going there.  We couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like if we were in the same hotel that very moment the attacks happened.

marriott

We walked past the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) where they installed the Fire Dept. Memorial Wall honoring the firemen who died in service during 9/11.

FDNYWALLmay we never forget

THE QUEUE

The line was long but moving quite fast so waiting time was bearable.  Here are some images while on queue.

q.quiet

The "blue guards" and these signs were everywhere.

The “blue guards” and these signs were everywhere.

It was Christmas season when we visited, hence this sign

It was Christmas season when we visited, hence this sign

If you look closely at this flag of honor, this is made up of names of all those who perished during that time.

If you look closely at this flag of honor, this is made up of names of all those who perished during that time.

Directional signs going to the compound

Directional signs going to the Ground Zero complex

GROUND ZERO

There were two square pools where the towers used to stand (North and South Towers). The pools were breathtaking! The perimeter of each pool had fountains that dropped water to the bottom of the pools.

pool.1pool.2

The names of all those who died on the site (WTC employees, firemen, etc.)  were inscribed at the edge  of each pool.

The names of all those who died on the site (WTC employees, firemen, first responders, ordinary New Yorkers, etc.) were inscribed at the edge of each pool.

Everybody was encouraged to touch the inscribed names and offer prayers.

Everybody was encouraged to touch the inscribed names and offer prayers.

Giving a bit of history lessons to the Little Boy

Giving a bit of history lessons to the Little Boy

Little Boy was greatly affected by the 9/11 story that until this day, he includes everybody in this tragedy in his nightly prayers.

Little Boy was greatly affected by the 9/11 story that until this day, he includes everybody in this tragedy in his night prayers.

Amused to see his Lolo's name

Amused to see his Lolo’s name

There's an electronic information guide/directory inside the memorial that gives information on where to find the name of a loved one.

There’s an electronic information guide/directory inside the memorial that gives information on where to find the name of a loved one.

It wasn’t overly crowded considering it was the holidays.  There were plenty of room to move around the memorial.

park.1park.J&apark.family 1

Here comes the sun!

Here comes the sun!

The security was always on alert mode.  We saw them in action when an abandoned bag was found on the ground.

The security was always on alert mode. We saw them in action when an abandoned bag was found on the ground.

The memorial guards were very strict... but friendly too.

The memorial guards were very strict… but friendly too. Little Boy, who was into anything military, asked if he can have a photo with them and they obliged.

Behind us was a structure inside the memorial ground that was said to become a museum which will open in 2014.

Behind us was a structure inside the memorial ground that was said to become a museum which they say will open in 2014.

An actual debris that was part of the original WTC structure.

An actual debris that was part of the original WTC structure.

Seeing the whole area being a flurry of construction is bittersweet for me.  WTC will never be the same again but I have to give it to the New Yorkers for their fortitude in developing the site again.

construction

The One World Trade Center or 1 WTC a.k.a. Freedom Tower is the primary building in the New World Trade Center complex.  its construction began in 2006 and was almost finished when we visited in December 2012.

The One World Trade Center or 1 WTC a.k.a. Freedom Tower is the primary building in the New World Trade Center complex. Its construction began in 2006 and was almost finished when we visited in December 2012.

It was a surreal experience.  There was a point when we were just standing still, staring at the water, touching the etched names, not talking for a few minutes offering a silent prayer.  I have no connection to the site nor did I  personally know anyone who was affected but the way I see it, 9/11 wasn’t just a New York thing.  It touched the entire world.

“At this moment 12 years ago, millions of Americans went to bed quietly with no thought that the next morning their world would change forever…. So tonight if you have people in your life that you love, tell them”

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THREE YEARS OF JAKARTA JOURNEY… and Counting

Three years ago today, I came to Jakarta, Indonesia with only a suitcase and a heart full of dreams and anxieties.  I left my family, friends and career back in Manila to start a new life with Dear Hubby and Little Boy.

It felt like only yesterday when this great big adventure began (click here for the story).   Three years hence, I am now promoted as the CEO of this house making sure that all household operations run smoothly… never mind if I burned some toasts.  And speaking of promotion, I have leveled up from  the Little Boy’s “cockroach playmate” to a hostaged princess!  My greatest achievement so far if you ask me.  Yes, Little Boy and I have already established a real mother-son bonding ever since I decided to take on this new “career path”.  No more earthworm and insect roles for me on our playtime!

The prospect of moving to a new country where you don’t know anybody could be quite scary but Indonesia has been good to us, we felt right at home.  While other foreigners would complain about the pollution, traffic, corruption, etc. we would shrug them off and move on to the next challenge.  Thank you Manila for preparing us for the tough times :)! It’s been a fun roller coaster ride and I have come to appreciate our host country’s culture, people, language and food.  I’m still discovering a lot about this city, this country, about me and about ourselves.

Thank you to all our new friends who took us in as their own family.  Thank you to the Pinoys who have been here before us and welcomed us like old friends.  Man, the Pinoy hospitality is insanely alive anywhere in the world.  Mabuhay! 🙂

Those clothes on that suitcase from three years ago can hardly fit anymore and my dreams certainly got bigger and grander.  I still get those anxiety pangs once in a while but (to borrow a line from a movie) “I’m a lot braver, bolder and fiercer now” ever ready to head to where ever this adventure would take us and make wonderful memories out of it.

Cheers to all of us and may we always be eager to face a new day, a new month, a new life ahead!!!

This photo was taken on our first morning in Jakarta.

This photo was taken on our first morning in Jakarta.

DOMESTIC DIVA DAYDREAMS: Home Office

I know, I know… One might wonder,  I have long been away from the corporate world and have become a housewife so what would I need a home office for?  Guess what. I’m not “just” a housewife or a “stay”-at-home mom, I’m a WORK-at-home mom.  Yes, we work and you know as they say, “Every mother needs a cockpit”.

This is where we run the show, our very own mission control center where we make our grocery lists, prepare the weekly menu, update budgets, pay the bills, write our blogs, and a gazillion other things that a mother like me are preoccupied with.  When I work at home and I hop from one work area to another (our dining table, the living room, my bed, the guest room), I can’t help but daydream of having a space like this…

image courtesy of Houzz.com

image courtesy of Houzz.com

Isn’t this the sweetest home office you’ve ever seen? I can’t help but lust over this, look at those walls!  And the color scheme, feminine but not juvenile.  I’ve always been drawn to fun and bright spaces, white furniture and chic chairs.  Such a perfect place where you can clear your mind, gather your thoughts and just be creative.  It’s a sanctuary.  But I must admit, I might not do actual work in this space but just look at it the whole day admiring this beauty… and do a lot of cleaning and organizing in this understated glamor.

I really really REALLY want to have a space like this.  If men can have their man-cave and the kids can have their study area, I need my glammed-up cockpit as well… and I will have it.  I’m saving up for it.  Someday, this home office will no longer be a daydream. Someday :).

HANGING UP MY APRON… FOR NOW

Mommy duties have pretty much kept me from joining members of the  human race for some chit chat and updating The Domestic Diva Diaries.  I have been preoccupied with housework these past few months and the Little Boy has just started attending the big school (primary level).

Primary school starts at an earlier time than in Kindergarten and is located much farther from our place.  This means waking up much earlier to prepare breakfast, school snacks and lunch then head out to bring Little Boy to school and brave the infamous Jakarta traffic – the very same awful traffic that I encounter during school pick up in the afternoon.  With the exception of the twice-a-week visit from the cleaning lady, I’m rockin’ the whole cleaning, washing and scrubbing gig.

We finally got a full-time all-around helper last week, my angel!  Although we’re aware that this would just be temporary as maids in Jakarta have a standard “shelf life” of three months based on our experience (this would be another story), we are bent on enjoying its benefits.  I’ve finally had a loooong uninterrupted shower, went to the salon and booked a home massage.  Dear Hubby and I have attended dinner gatherings and a movie date (yes!) in the past week.  It was refreshing for me to be in the company of adults having adult conversations once again!

With last week’s arrival of the new help and Little Boy’s term break this week, they signal the start of squeezing in some “me” time re-connecting with friends,   updating blog entries and going back to the gym.  I’m not exactly taking my hands off from keeping my house and I would still personally attend to Little Boy and Dear Hubby’s needs but I gotta hang up this apron for now and get my nails done.

My “tools of the trade” which I have relinquished to my new angel

JOINING THE BLOGGING BANDWAGON

image by french-news-online.com

Welcome to the Domestic Diva Diaries!

How can a non-techie be a blogger?  I’m not much of a writer but I love storytelling, I’ll just figure out which buttons to click here later on.  I’m  also beginning to learn how to deal with a DSLR, the only photography effect I know is “zoom in” and “zoom out”.  Bear with me as I learn the ropes of blogging.

Who knows what I’m going to write here? I’ve never kept a diary. But with an influx of  new experiences and  a surplus of random thoughts, I guess this diva can keep you entertained while you’re on this site.  After all, when someone who talks even in her sleep suddenly gets uprooted and eventually restrained, the blog sphere becomes her new social life.

So welcome to my world and have a peek at this diva’s discoveries (and disasters!).   I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.  Feel free to drop me a line and let me know that I’m not the only one who loves reading someone else’s diary 🙂

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