One Year Ago

My how time flies.

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March 11, 2011, exactly one year ago, I arrived at International Housing Village, 900 Capitol Landing Road, Williamsburg, VA, U.S.A. I still remember our address. I was there for my practicum. Of course, I wasn’t alone. I was with my thirteen schoolmates. There were only a few of us, so we stuck together and even named our group Lucky 13. Six boys. Seven girls. We didn’t let superstitions get in our way of having fun. It was America. We were free. And luck was the last thing we considered.

Our temporary abode came in the form of International Housing Village, or IHV in short. It is a dorm-type accommodation with a field for playing sports, laundry rooms, grills, and bike rentals. Most importantly, it’s where I befriended countless people.

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Biking at Merchants’ Square.

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My friends at IHV.

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This picture was taken at Washington D.C., when we were on a tour there.

Our practicum venue was Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA. Back then, I thought it was a garden named after President Bush, with a C. Man, was I wrong. It’s actually a theme park with A European theme, divided into five parts – France, Ireland, England, Italy, and Germany. I was assigned at France, in an establishment named Trapper’s Smokehouse Grill, where we grilled the tastiest baby back ribs and spare ribs. Those ribs were to die for.

There, I formed a small group – Smokehouse Power 4, two boys, two girls. Together, the four of us ventured to unknown lands, vanquished evil, and saved the world countless times. I have so many memories of us four.

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A photo booth at France showcasing Western-style outfits. We looked cool with guns and whips. Oh and this is the Smokehouse Power 4.

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Smokehouse Power 4 at Water Country. AquaZoid was our absolute favorite ride of all. Shrills, screams, and laughter in every ride.

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My co-workers from all around the globe.

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Michelle, Lines Supervisor.

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Shanitra Brazan, Lines Supervisor.

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Big guy. Sean. The biggest and kindest at Smokehouse.

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Max, Grill Supervisor. We used to have this catchphrase: Sweet! Then we’d do this pose. Max was awesome.

Since we were practicum students at Busch Gardens, we were privileged to try all the rides for free. That was one of the benefits.

The most popular ride back then was Griffon, located at France, my favorite country. Trying not to be bias here. Griffon has this one moment when the riders are suspended from the ground at a 90 degree angle, wherein we would drop after six seconds. That was the reason why I tried my best to avoid the ride. But, my efforts were futile. I was still forced to ride it. The outcome, however, was great. I enjoyed the ride so much that I wanted to ride it again.

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I was with these guys when I rode Griffon.

After all the work came the travel. Our contracts at IHV were only valid until our last day of work. We had to find a new temporary abode to accommodate us. I stayed at my aunt’s place at Virginia Beach. Perfect since it was summertime. My aunt toured me to various places, but the highlight is New York.

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The Statue of Liberty. I was in a boat tour so a lot people was there as well.

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Times Square. In front of Hard Rock Café. That place was bustling with people all day. Not a single minute of silence. But of course, it IS New York after all.

I also met this amazing couple whom I give my thanks wholeheartedly. It’s none other than Tita Tina and Tito Will. I couldn’t find a picture of Tito Will at the moment, so I’ll be featuring Tita Tina for the meantime.

Tita Tina is the sister of my mom’s office mate. My mom told me to keep an eye for her and greet her. I actually forgot to do that at one point, but when I got to meet her, I did, and she became a part of my life. She’s sooooo kind, giving, loving, and every positive adjective in the book. We stayed at her home when we were days away from going home. And, during our work and travel, we visited her from time to time.

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I arrived at Philippines on the third week of July, along with all the memories and experiences I’ve acquired. I’m always gonna cherish these memories.

Thank you, God!

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