Friday, December 29, 2006

Ice Princess

After spending the morning reviewing the tasks I and my thesis group have to accomplish before the awaited days of implementation of our survey, and finishing some work before the reopening of school, I thought I have to go out mallhopping (it's been ages since I roamed the malls). Besides, I have to buy a new set of clothes (my favorite pants got ruined after my newly bought red handwraps were mixed in the washing machine), and a USB game pad controller (to play with downloaded Nintendo Family Computer Games in my laptop, wouldn't want to destroy my keyboard). Since my little sister Sigrid had been begging me to bring her to Club Manila East for swimming these past few days, I thought of bringing her with me to Megamall instead. She was ecstatic! And so it became a date with Sigrid...

What was supposed to be a fast afternoon of buying the things I needed became an afternoon of spur of the moment decisions. Traffic during commute was so terrible we arrived at SM Megamall just in time for lunch. I wanted to eat at Sbarro's or Pollo Loco, but Sigrid said we eat at Chowking instead. Ok, ok... it's cheaper anyway, haha. But when we arrived there, the queue was so long, so she said we eat at the neighboring KFC instead. And so we did. She finished early so she could play at the playground area (no wonder, she ordered spaghetti only!) As soon as I finished my meal (I ordered a lot, and I couldn't finish the chicken burger), we left with the intention of resuming my shopping agenda. We had to pass that area overlooking the iceskating rink, and guess what, Sigrid asked me "Kuya, can we go iceskating?"

"Hmmmm..." I was thinking that it's been ages since I iceskated. The last time was when I was in college, and that's almost a decade ago! Could I still have the skills I had back then. I was not a good skater, but not a bad one either (like those who would go blam on the fiberglass walls or flail their arms to regain their balance, only to fall ungraciously to the ice floor). I had my own share of falls, but I knew how to skate. And it's always scary to do so when you know that behing the walls and above you, people are watching, looking only at the skating divas with awe or the funny ones for entertainment. But what the heck, it's for Sigrid. "Sure! After we finish buying the stuff I need..." She was grinning, showing her missing front teeth (Guess her favorite Christmas song?).

Buying clothes had always been a problem for me. I never had a reliable fashion sense. We went to U2, and I found these pants which were on sale for 50% off. As I was about to pay at the counter, I saw a display featuring Nike shoes and wondered if they would have the pair I was looking for, and told Sigrid that we go there after I buy the pants. She asked me with a particular look I couldn't describe, "Kuya, why do you always buy these clothes, those shoes, these computer stuff... it's just a waste of money..." Hmmm, I knew where she was getting at. "It's not a waste of money, Sigird, I wear and use these things... y' know what's a waste of money? Going iceskating!" She had her hands folded speechless, looking at me angrily. The saleslady was smiling at us.

After buying the stuff I needed (I bought a cheap game controller pad), we were off to the iceskating rink. I was nervous, but excited. As I said before, I'm not confident, and I knew Sigrid was expecting me to teach her. We went in, got our shoes, filled up our locker, and headed to the rink. I started slow at first to feel the slide on the ice. Wouln't want to slip. I told Sigrid to stay at the sides first. The geek that I am, I looked at the biomechanics of how it should be done. Bend knees slightly, with the upper body slightly forward, so that the line of gravity falls within the base of support. And then for propulsion, a foot should slightly push back and sideways. Pretty soon, I was moving, quite well rather. Of course, I had Sigrid to look out for. As soon as I was confident, I had her hand and she was already sliding with me. Gave her instructions and she followed well. For a first timer, she did well. Only comment I gave her was to push longer and slide more. She was skating like she was walking on the ice, rather than sliding across it. After correcting her, I left her on her own because that was the only way one could truly learn, while I was watching, coaching from a distance. She had lots of falls but she wasn't embarrassed at all. I would slide up to her and ask "Are you alright?"

"I'm OK, just a fall... I have to practice some more," and I'd help her stand up, and she was off to skate again. Good girl! I've always been afraid to fall.

I forgot how time flies when you're skating, and before I knew it, we were already skating for more than 3 hours! If only I knew that we would be doing this, I could have brought my digital camera, so I could have taken good clear pictures. But I only have my camera phone with me, so I ended up with crappy pictures and videos instead. Nevertheless, it's still sufficient to make this little presentation:

The day wasn't finished yet. We literally hopped from mall to mall, going to Shangri-la next, then train to Araneta-Cubao, where we went to the largest National Bookstore in the Philippines. She was excited to hear that this branch had elevators. I bought the following: Gaya's Gift, Lagpas-Ulo ang Lukso ni Kikong Unano, Are Scientists Atheists?, Ang Alamat Ni Bernardo Carpio (comics), and There's a Duwende in My Brother's Soup! Yup, all of them are children's books. I've always been fascinated with children's books and I still read them. I like the simplicity in their storytelling and yet very colorful in imagery that can only be limited by the reader's imagination. In fact, one of my childhood dreams was to be a storyteller, like my idol, Kuya Bodjie, or be a children's book illustrator. I should probably write more about this in the future. After exploring the 4 floors of National Bookstore just to appease Sigrid's curiousity, we had dinner at Chowking. Sigrid ordered large Beef Noodles, while I had the Beef Wanton. I guess she was so hungry, it wasn't enough for her:

Of course Sigrid, of course! Soon, it was time to go, though she got a little scared riding the train (LRT2) home (she watched Shake, Rattle and Roll 8 with Oggie the day before, that's why). We came home tired after a loooong cheerful day. It wasn't long until she's fast asleep and has drifted far into dreamland. I knew what she's dreaming about: being an Ice Princess!

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