Blog : Everyday

I saw her on the cover of a magazine

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Extra, extra! Read all about it!

A couple of months ago, The Filipino Expat Magazine contacted me and asked me to be the cover girl of their Spring Issue. They approached me through Instagram, and was curious about my European dream story, thinking it would be an inspiring story for expats around the world. How can I say no?! And so, we met up for a photo shoot at the beautiful Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam, riding bikes despite the rain and hail, all smiles and purple lipstick. I am so honoured to be representing the Filipino expat community, and sharing my story to dreamers everywhere.

At the interview, I talked about my dream of living in Europe, Swedish indie music as an inspiration (the spark that started it all), perseverance (with the help of a loving support system and fika) and not giving up. I also gave some travel tips on my favourite places to visit in the cities I have lived in: Stockholm, Bilbao and Amsterdam.

Read all about it here:

Go fellow expats! Never give up your dream and don’t let anyone stop you! :p



Notes from the weekend

1. Watching The Fault in Our Stars (with my boyfriend) in Holland is magic. A cosmic bonus: one of my favourite songs (Strange Things Will Happen) from my favourite band in the whole world (The Radio Dept.) played in one of the scenes, without me knowing that they are part of the soundtrack! The best surprise ever. I just love moments like that.

Me and M recorded this specific song during the time we just met. I took out my phone, he learned the chords quickly, and then we recorded it on that one snowy night. Later on, I made it into a movie which was an entry for Stockholm Shorts 2011. It was all DIY – I recorded a spontaneous Skype conversation (he was in Holland, I was in Singapore) and put the music over it. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings. Aww. You can see it here:

Strange Things Will Happen from Angel Trinidad on Vimeo.


“Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.” – E.F. Schumacher

3. I spent a lot of time in the sun this weekend. I saw Marloes again, after a long time! We walked around town, ate ice cream with loads of sprinkles, walked into shops to smell shampoo, and hung out at Roof Garden. We played N64 there and I beat her thrice at Super Smash Bros. Hehe!

Ice cream

4. I saw Case Mayfield play live at Roof Garden today – it was super dreamy. Then I ran into Marloes again at the Albert Heijn. We had drinks and sat in the sun with Pim at TAPE.

Case Mayfield

Marloes and me

5. A big birthday box arrived last Friday from home! It was filled with presents from my parents, one of my favourites is an old Mary lamp from my childhood. It’s absolutely beautiful- it reminds me of my mother, prayer and solemn, quiet memories.

6. Things I am loving lately: sweet popcorn, vanilla and tonka bean oil diffusers, my succulent plant in a pink pot, dogs, a crazy little goat called Jerry, cheering for my team when it wins, chocolate chip poptarts, being on Softly Sometimes and wearing my Swedish clogs. I also loved talking with my best friends on the other side of the world again, helping a friend who’s getting married with social media stuff, and Facetiming with parents. 🙂

Notes from Stockholm

Greetings from Stockholm, my current home until the end of the month. It’s been great so far, as expected. I inhale and savour past memories and make new, colourful ones. The smell of Pressbyrån coffee and kanelbullar, the tingling sound of “Nästa Slussen” in the tunnelbana, the feeling of fresh summer rain.. some things never change.

And some things do, and that’s okay! I loved seeing my friends again – all of us now doing different things and “growing up” as working adults, reminiscing about our student days. But then again, we still do the same things: hanging out at Andy’s place eating candy and watching series, having fika outside, drinking loads of coffee, and just walking in the city, goofing around. I love being around their company. I love the awareness that there is always someone that I can just call to have dinner or coffee with. An awesome time is just a tunnelbana ride away.

I love that even if Stockholm seems like a bubble up in the North, with it’s hard habits and seemingly uniform culture, there are things that change in it too. New discoveries of a cafe by the lake (coffee with a new friend!), a food-court extravaganza smack in the middle of town (burrito fun times with Frida!), and the ultra hip new mall at Hornstull tunnelbana station (dumplings in the sun with Nat!)

I also met the nicest new people: colleagues of mine from the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, Dutchies who live in Sweden now. I love how my two worlds collide in their cozy, little spot in Götgatan. Plus, I got to watch the Holland-Spain world cup game at the Dutch Embassy. A glorious win for Holland!

But above all, I love that my feelings for Stockholm are also changing and growing up with me. I love that I have not two, but three places I consider “home” now, and that my heart expands to accommodate them all. A few years ago, I limited myself without knowing. Now I understand that there is always room: that a life is not contained, but extending.

A perpetual note to self: The good times are always now and yet to come.

Song: Bouquet’s Cave Life – a new favourite. My friend Natalie introduced me to her old band The Finches, where the lead singer is now making music as Bouquet. It sounds like falling in love.

14 December

Highlights of today:

1. This fantastic camel at Steenstraat.

2. Hanging out with this awesome girl at Winter Roof Garden during Rozet’s opening.

3. Totally feeling Phoenix’s “Bourgeois” and singing along with all my heart.

4. Singing karaoke at Winter Roof Garden and totally beating everyone’s a**. Pitch-perfect way to make new friends: be that Asian karaoke girl. 🙂

A letter to Bilbo

Dear Bilbao,

Thank you for meeting me again, it has been a pleasure, like the last time. Nothing has changed, the puppy Guggenheim still stands, the mountains are still mighty, and the Basques ever so warm. In Bilbao, the air is always golden, and the rain falls gently upon your face like a warm embrace. In Bilbao, summer is forever.

Last time I was here, four years ago, I learned that light always comes after darkness (after watching a Lord of the Rings marathon in my student room). Maybe that is why “Bilbao” is Bilbo in Basque. This time around you taught me to be easy on myself. Cross that bridge when you get (t)here. Maybe that is what Bilbao’s many beautiful bridges are for.

Thank you for my (proxy) family, since my own is half a world away. I loved being a daughter again. Thank you for best friends (both near and far). Thank you for Arrate, the wonder that she is. Thank you for: meluza Bilbaina, glorious red peppers, never-ending pintxos, and my favourite pastry of them all – the Napolitana.

Thank you for keeping all my golden memories safe, and making me smile in my heart knowing that I lived here, it happened, I was happy, it was real. And that I am free. A gentle step on those green fields, a wink at Zubizuri, a small nod at the ice cream shop. A faded dream, a salute to the once-was-there. Dreams burn but in ashes are gold.

I never thought I’ll see you again, but here I am, wishing I could stay longer, wishing I could bask in your warm, drizzling embrace for one more day. But here’s a promise: I’ll carry your sun wherever I go.

Hasta pronto, Bilbao. Eskerrik asko. Until we meet again, and again.



A birthday weekend by the sea, making friends with gigantic seagulls and boulevard dogs. We sat by the beach with our chips, bruschetta and cola, talking about everything.

Rain and thunder calls for an afternoon at Escher in het Paleis – a dream of eternity and infinite tessellations, a man with a beard who lived and travelled in Southern Europe, reflections, chandeliers and flying fishes. The man by the door said to Mark, “Veel plezier, maar dat moet wel lukken met zo’n mooie vrouw,” (“Have a wonderful time, but that should work out well with such a lovely woman.”) I felt so special and beautiful at that moment.

At the back of the museum was the most idyllic courtyard cafe, where I enjoyed a cola and a muffin and looking at funny, angular shrubs. We took a walk afterwards, finding ourselves at the Hofvijver when sun slowly came out. A drink in a square, outside a fake art-nouveau building, we talked about distancing from ourselves and making the haziness go away. We talked about Pico Iyer and the meaning of home and standing still. There was a tender moment when you suddenly looked at me and kissed my face.

Then off to dinner at my favourite restaurant chain in Europe (Vapiano forever), it’s always such a joy eating scampi pasta. We discovered my new favourite herb (name unknown). And then we went to the cinema and saw Man of Steel (better than The Purge)! Sometimes that’s all you need: scampi pasta and a cozy movie.

The final day was spent looking at the sea, and lying on the windy beach. Feeling the sun on my face, walking towards the sea, and making a wish.

Happy 28th, Angel!

Truth Thursdays: I am here


I am here!

Last month, me and M went to Portugal, and I saw the ocean again after two years. It felt really good. The Atlantic ocean is cold, not like the blissful waters we have back in the Philippines, but I jumped right in and felt free the moment I hit the water. “You’re in your element!” M shouted from the coast. “You Europeans are sissies! Haha!” I shouted back. Being in the water, with the sun shining on my face is one of the best feelings in the world.

I was at the edge of Europe, and it felt like I was also on the edge of everything. In any given moment, my mind is in three countries and four issues (at least) like a computer trying to run simultaneous applications. Worrying 7.0 is taking up lots of memory, combined with I Am Sick Again Oh No!, The Future and Home. It took more than a week for me to slow down, but by then we had to go back to our life in Holland. I wish I can stay longer in the ocean, sipping strawberry sangrias, basking in the sun, able to let go of everything.

I am here, trying to learn this lesson of letting go of worries. And I am still with you, and I am just here! Don’t forget me.

Part of Truth Thursdays

On keeping a notebook

I read a very inspiring article on brainpickings about Joan Didion, and her thoughts on writing and keeping notebooks. It made me remember why I write in the first place and helped me re-align my focus back to what matters most.

I miss writing! You may have noticed that there has been no entries here as of late. Well, there has always been an urge, but it takes such a long (thinking) process to write something, and before I know it, the thoughts, feelings and ideas have gone stale. There are many reasons for the pause, but writer’s block is definitely not one of them. It’s mostly due to the fact that it’s very hard for me to organize my thoughts and to present them here. I don’t really know what my website is for (If it’s a “professional” blog, then I shouldn’t be writing about feelings too much, but then again that would be boring, right? Etc. etc.) But then it’s such a shame because all of the thinking didn’t amount to anything in the end.

Anyway, I can relate so much to how Joan Didion feels about writing and keeping notebooks, here are some quotes from the article:

“Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”

“How it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth about a notebook…
See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write — on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there…”

“Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.”

It became clear to me again: I want to always remember what it was like to be me. Ever since I started writing, I have always written for Angel in the future. So that I will remember what it was like being who I was in certain points in time. I believe that words can keep the most potent memories alive for years. I remember spending hours trying to find the right words for intense experiences – and reading back on these memories, and old letters really brings back EVERYTHING. The smell of strong coffee in that Stockholm cafe one winter night, the way the sky looked like on that melancholy fall evening in Vienna, the gorgeous sunshine that golden afternoon in Arnhem, how intensely I felt what I was feeling.

Writing makes everything more real. Remembering is everything. Real is only what you can remember from your life, real is in the details. And we aren’t all blessed to have photographic memory, are we?

Maybe I’m just a little too hard on myself.. Just like Joan Didion, I am not one of those happy-go-lucky people who can simply live life as it is. I clutch at life with a death grip. Simply being is not good enough for me: I need living memories, boxes upon boxes of photographs, perfectly-stringed words that mirror my exact feelings, and the most perfect songs to complement them all. I always need to remember.

I feel that there is something missing in my life when I don’t write, and that void can only be filled with words and introspection.

I also have to remember that writing shouldn’t be forced, in fact it should be fun! On top of making an experience more “real”, writing should be something that I enjoy doing and not something to spend too much time thinking about..

And so I come back to writing, this website has my name on it anyway right? So it will definitely be about how it is, was and will be like to be Angel Trinidad.