The Raptors had found a way to get past the first round of the NBA playoffs; an experience not felt since the time of Vince Carter. Views had also just dropped; this summer’s airwaves would no doubt be dominated by the 6 God. And I just got a tattoo of Toronto’s skyline on the inside of my arm shortly after. The mirror skyline is of Saigon, but I’ll get to that later.
None of the three events mentioned above are related. But, they all come at a time when I’m about embark on the next adventure* and I can calmly put a footnote on my career development. Toronto isn’t really part of this plan. In fact, my next adventure puts me years further away from Toronto. But maybe that’s why it’s important to dwell on Toronto now.
When I left home three and a half years ago, I didn’t think I would be away this long. I didn’t have a formal goodbye or a true farewell to my friends and family. I left with every intention of returning to that life. This time, the outlook is different. I know I won’t be back in Toronto for another two years. Most likely more. I’ve come to embraced this new life and it’s provided a lot for me in return. However, I can’t say I don’t still think about Toronto. After all, she and I didn’t have a proper goodbye. And maybe that’s why Toronto keeps popping up in my mind now. I’m about to finish my job and my tenure in Vietnam and head back to Toronto for the summer before moving to another country. I have a second chance to give a proper goodbye to The Big Smoke.
It’s not that Toronto is no longer a part of my life – it always will be. It’s why I now have the Toronto skyline permanent etched into my bicep.**
The Saigon skyline is another story.
*More about my next adventure in a separate post.
** My art teacher-friend Bill drew these skylines for me.
I’m coming home. Part 2.
Actually, I am home! Well… sort of. I’m on North American soil anyway. Currently, I’m in North Carolina with Sara’s family on a weeklong family vacation at Carolina Beach. Both Sara and I have been back in North America since June 14th and we have wasted no time in soaking in American lifestyle.
Speaking of America, LOVE IS LOVE! LOVE WINS! I’m referring to, of course, this groundbreaking day that finally legalizes and recognizes same-sex marriage across all 50 states. The 5-4 Supreme Court decision has deemed it constitutional. Civil rights is progressing a little bit more. Same sex marriages is sort of a normal thing for this Canadian writer since it’s been legalized in Canada since 2005, but that should not take away this momentous event for Americans, including my American partner and her family. No doubt that the old dinosaurs and extremists out there will try and fight this but that’s to their detriment. It really doesn’t make sense for right-wing (and even left-wing) party members to fight it because public opinion is in favour of this and dissent within one one’s party on this issue is just self-destructive. Anyway, I digress.
So yeah, Sara and I are home. We’re in her neck of the woods for now. But we will be heading towards Toronto, my home, in a few days.
There’s something incredibly wonderful and comforting being home for an extended period of time. I only realized this recently because the last time I was home, I had a very short, fixed timeline. In fact, I was only home for 7-8 days and then had to fly back to Saigon to get back to work the following day. It wasn’t ideal; my jet lag barely had time to go away before it came back again. This time though, I get to stay in North America for a glorious 7 weeks. SEVEN. That’s enough time to see the American South for the first time ever, meet Sara’s family and spend a lot of time with them at home and on vacation, road trip it up to Toronto, then spend time with my family and friends.
Anyway, I will post more later. I realize I haven’t really been writing as much and it’s largely my fault with time management being a poor skill I possess. Full time school and work this year did not help improve that. I did, however, have time to put this travel log of our fall break trip to northern Thailand back in October of 2014. I’m partitioning the entire trip into two parts, so here’s part one. Part two will come around shortly. Open the video in a separate link (https://vimeo.com/130242197) and make sure HD is on if you can’t see it embedded here.
Last year, one of my best mates, Jamie made a surprise trip to Cambodia to see our friend Bailey. It was one of the coolest things ever. Very few things matched that experience. Jamie basically decided one morning that he would buy a flight from Toronto to Cambodia for the evening of that same day. He sent me a message after he bought the flight and told me what his plan was. Of course, I immediately made arrangements to rendezvous with him.
The other sweet thing was that Sara was off traveling with Beata at that time. Beata had taken time off from her job in Atlanta to come over to Saigon for a visit and the both of them were roaming around parts of SE Asia to go see some wonderful things together. I knew that part of their trip would steer them right into Siem Reap to check out Angkor Wat. So… I got in contact with Beata and asked for permission to crash the party. With Beata’s permission, we planned a surprise where I would “run into them” at the night market in Siem Reap. The plan went off without a hitch. Sara’s facial expression was unforgettable and I really wish I planned a way to film it but I wanted to experience it rather than be preoccupied with the filming bit.
Anyway, if you have 6 minutes to kill, check out my latest travel log and video postcard highlighting this trip. You should see it in full 1080p HD, but if you can’t see it on this blog then go to the actual link below for full HD. Enjoy.
Another year abroad has gone by real quick and another Boracay Open is in the books. This time, I was successful in forming my own team with misfits largely from Canada and the remaining from the US and one from the Philippines. We came in to the tournament seeded 4th (which is too high), but without the Boracay Dragons actually competing for a seeded spot this year, we were able to break out and top off the tournament with a 3rd place finish on universe point.
Big ups to BOAT and the friends who made it amazing. Let’s go for another next year!
Check out the teaser video I made above. If you need to see it in HD, go to the actual link here.
This is a topic I have been finding myself battling with more and more. Especially since I get so many opportunities to travel around in SE Asia and because lugging around a Canon 6D along with a GoPro and any other camera gear can be extremely annoying. If you want to know my answer, I will say that I will always carry my DSLR with me. Nothing matches my DSLR. Period. I also do videography and the Canon 6D is my best friend for that. However, my decision does not apply to everyone else.
I want to return to this topic at another point and fully elaborate reasons why someone should always carry their DSLR or why they should stick to a smaller camera or a smartphone. In the meantime, I will reblog this blog post that I find interesting and relevant to topic. Enjoy.
DSLR vs Smarphone (click on the title to be redirected to the blog post)
A lot of time has passed since I last wrote something. A lot of things have also happened. Tons. It’s really hard to package all my thoughts together to articulate it well so for now I will just throw out a few bullet points and I’ll try and elaborate at another point.
- I left my old position as the 4th and 5th grade English teacher at the Asian International School.
- I started a new position as an English Language Arts co-teacher and English Language Development teacher at the American International School.
- I now work with coworkers who I see as friends first and colleagues second.
- I’ve met some amazing people. Some really amazing people who’ve affected some recent and upcoming decisions. This is irritatingly ambiguous but I’ll leave it at that for now.
- I’ve moved into a new home this past week.
- I started my teacher’s certification program from the University of West Florida and I just made my first pay installment yesterday.
- I’m coming home.
Number 7 is what I want to talk about. I’m finally coming home. I’ll be cutting through the skies towards Toronto by 5:30am tomorrow morning. I will only be home for 10 days to visit but I have a number of things I need to do while I’m home.
I will end the entry here but I’ll try to jump into the details and stories while I’m flying or during my layovers.
Take me back, Canada.
I forgot to update with the final product of the event video that my friend, Nam, did for the Color Me Run event in Saigon.
You can check it out here….
But I don’t think you can see the HD version in the embedded video so go to this link HERE to view it in full HD. Trust me, you’ll want to because Nam invested in a lot of sweet cameras and equipment to create this and it’s amazing.
I was very lucky to have Nam call on me to contribute a few shots. In fact, I even made a couple of cameos in this event video. In the early part of the video, you can see a reverse shot of coloured powder being thrown at my face, and then later when they do the countdown. I’ll most probably be in Saigon around the same time next year should they choose to do a second annual Color Me Run and you can definitely bet that I’ll be there again.
And Kelly Rowland was dope.
Alright, I know, I know. It’s been awhile since my last post. And I said I’d put up the postcard from my Boracay adventure. Well, HERE is the finished product. I actually finished it awhile ago but never got around to putting it up on this blog. I go through periods where a bunch of things happen in my day-to-day life that keeps me extremely preoccupied and I miss out on adding good content to this blog. I know that makes me sound a bit pretentious but that can be the nature of living abroad. I’m aware that last sentence is also seething with pretentiousness.
Anyway there has been an amazing amount of life-developments that I’m really excited to jot down onto this blog. I intend to do that in the next week or so. One of it includes a surprise rendezvous in Angkor Wat with one of my best friends from back home, Jamie Matthews.
Me (on the right) with one of my best pals, Jamie. Were sitting on some ancient rocks in Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia).
I also intend to craft some sort of video for that little trip with Jamie; although, I think I’ll take a different approach to the video editing method I normally go about and add something new. Kind of like a documentary/video diary kind of thing. We’ll see how it goes.
In the meantime, here’s the video postcard from Boracay. The video was filmed on my Canon 6D with the 24-105 f/4 L lens and the GoPro HD Hero 3 Black camera.
Part 1) Intro segment (airport and airplane scenes) – Onra – Introduction
Part 2) Boracay scenes – Blouse – Into Black
You may not be able to select the HD version in the embedded video above. You’ll probably want to watch this in HD, so check it out HERE and make sure HD is ON.
The last month or so has been a little hectic and non-stop. March was all about flatball in different places and spaces.
Last time I mentioned I had one tournament in Phnom Penh. Immediately a week after that, I had to jet over to Boracay in the Philippines for my first ever beach tournament. These tournaments were my first and they will always hold a special place in my heart for their amazing destinations, but more importantly, the great people they put me in touch with.
Boracay was particularly nice because I was able to meet even more people from further corners of the globe. The tournament, in its 12th inception, has garnered enough international attention that people around the world are willing to shell out a lot of money to make it happen. And they should, if they can afford the time and money. The experience in Boracay is unlike any I’ve ever had and I’m convinced that I will be returning or at least try my damned hardest to return every year.
In Boracay, I was able to go to town with my new GoPro Hero 3. I got some neat shots, both stills and video and I’m currently putting it together as a video postcard. It’s just taking a bit of time.
While I’m on the topic of GoPro, I also got a really lucky and awesome opportunity to use it again. So there is a Color Me Run being held in HCMC this Saturday at 3pm. It follows the same model of all the other color runs held around major cities in the world you see in that it’s normally a 5km run and you must wear white and throw coloured dust around and get everything as bright and colourful as possible. It’s quite a scene. Having been in New Delhi, India for Holi where people also threw coloured dust everywhere, I’m a big fan of this effect.
Anyway, my friend, Nam is a photographer/videographer based in Saigon and he won the contract to be the event videographer for this event. I guess he saw my stuff from Boracay and wanted to see if I could lend a hand filming with him and providing B-roll footage and POV shots specifically from the GoPro cams. I accepted the offer and now I got a paid gig! This is so much better for me because now I get paid to do what I was planning to do anyway. I was gonna get borderline blackout drunk and chuck coloured dust into people’s eyes but I guess since now I’m on a payroll for this, I gotta be sober. That’s OK though.
Oh, did I mentioned Kelly Rowland will be doing a show afterward at the after-party? I will accept Destiny’s Child’s second most memorable member as a party option.
Stay tuned for the video postcard. I will also see what footage I am allowed to use to put together a separate video postcard from the Color Me Run.