As the story has it, I woke up and found myself on the very opposite side of the globe – the flipside. I arrived February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d simply do a year, then leave. Years later and I’m still here. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company, Flipside Fitness, and CEO of my own boxing club, Korea's largest -- Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing.

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I picked up one day and left. I returned to Toronto, Canada but only to pack up my bags and venture out again. Now I'm living in Makati, Philippines. Life for me is better in Asia and I'm so happy here. This isn't a new chapter in the book of my life though, it's a whole new book I've started!!! I'm a whole new woman. I left Korea with Flipside Fitness on my brain, Hulk's in my heart, boxing in my bag, and my four-legged friend Balboa Button by my side.

Life is an adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Turn of a Century... Sunday, March 12

I was invited, picked up and then taken to the 101 birthday of my adopted grandma today.

[Side note, do you say 101th, 101st...?!]

I knew enough to expect meeting a lot of family at the party but when I stepped out of the truck and the gate to the house was opened, I was shocked.  The place was packed.

I'm guessing that there was over 40 in attendance.  I should have counted.

I got introduced to everyone, one-by-one, but no sooner had they told me their name it was in one ear, out the other.  I couldn't remember their names but I more or less remembered their relation to each other -- who were siblings and who were the children of who.

Everyone had gathered for Lola's birthday.... "Lola", that means "grandmother" in Tagalog.  There, I'm slowly but surely learning Filipino... Hahaha.

Lola was a thin lady, sitting in a wheelchair, accompanied by two personal assistants looking after her.  I was told that Lola wasn't fully mentally there but she is older than a century, I kind of expected that.  Having said that though, she did seem to be interested in me when I first approached her.  I think she was there enough to know I was different and so I smiled at her and wished her a happy birthday.  She's 101 now, wow, that's quite the full life and boy did she look great.  Lola looked fabulous actually.  With her short grey hair and dangly diamond earrings, you'd never guess she had lived a century and was now going into the next one.

I've met some of the family before actually, like Mama No and Papa No.  I met them in Canada, at their home, but they're here vacationing now so that's pretty cool.  I met friends of the family who live in Mississauga and thought that was pretty funny to be on the other side of the world meeting them for the first time.  The "Four Brothers" we're there -- four of my adopted cousins who are siblings.  I consider myself closest with them in comparison to the rest of the family.   Last weekend I spent time with two of them and their families at their house and then this past week another one of them treated me out for dinner, sushi.  One of the Four Brothers and his daughter took me to Greenhills, a crazy packed shopping mall that sells pretty much everything under the sun and that feasts on bargaining.

I bought a bikini.

I killed my bikini bottom in Florida, my much-loved Adidas bikini, so I was due for a new one.  I've been swimming in the top and a pair of Forever21 shorts but I'm picking up mad sun on my backside so I'm getting silly shorts tan lines, no thanks.

Shopping was accompanied with dinner out and then dinner out was followed by ice cream for us, his treat (and by "his" I mean the Four Brothers).

I hadn't eaten much at the party, despite it being my Cheat Meal Day, so dinner after shopping was met with much relief.  I was starving!  Having traveled in South Asia, I've learned it's best to stay away from eating meat while traveling.  Having traveled to Mexico though, I've added staying away from lettuce, any vegetable that isn't cooked and avoid any fruit that doesn't have a peel on it.  So no meat and only cooked veggies and peel-able fruit.  Great, today at the party it was ALL meat.  Meat, rice, a creamy fruit dessert, cake and ice cream.  I didn't want to appear rude and not eat the food but I really didn't want to eat the meat after what happened to me last time I ate meat in the Philippines, so I ate two bowls of the creamy fruit dessert, two ice cream cones, had maybe a forkful of meat, and ate a small plate of pasta.

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