Saturday, March 21, 2020

Winter 2019 - Calm Before the Storm

Winter usually means a boring routine of work, eat, sleep for me. However, after 5 years of the exact same routine during this time of the year, I was glad to finally have a change of pace and routine this past busy season, especially after the crappy busy season last year

After working from home for 3 months, I figured it'd be good for me to get some socialization (and people time) so I volunteered to travel to back and forth to Florida in January and February for a total of 8 weeks. Of course, the warmer weather was a big appeal. Other benefits like no state tax and travel rewards were icing on the cake. 

It has only been 3 weeks since I completed this stint and it's crazy how much our world has changed over the last 3 weeks! So glad I was done with all the travels before the company announced travel suspensions and I'm now back to my WFH routine, great timing for social distancing. Since this winter was slightly more 'eventful', I had a whole lot more photos to clear out from my phone...long post ahead! Here are a few things I did...

1. Flew a few flights

Beautiful sunrise/sunset at the airports and in the skies

Flew Delta in January before losing my silver status. For my flight home with Delta on Jan 31, the flight was oversold and they offered $500 and a free hotel voucher for 3 volunteers to get bumped to the flight next morning. I managed to jump on it and happily took the offer. However, instead of spending a night in Atlanta without my luggage and toiletries, I made a last minute decision to forfeit the hotel and flight, picked up a rental car and drove 4-hours home instead. I used my National free rental car coupon and paid only $7 to drive a BMW (one-way) back home. =)

Switched to American Airlines in February because of the complimentary Gold status I received with my company. Got upgraded to first class for a few flights to Charlotte but almost every flight I flew on AA was delayed, to the extent that I missed one of my connecting flights and had to spend the night in Charlotte airport. I can confidently say that Delta is the best domestic airlines among the big 3 in the US.

Used my Priority Pass at The Club Atlanta and Minutes Suites in Charlotte during transits.

2. Hotel-hopped

Stayed in 5 different Marriott hotels in Tampa.

My daily routine include grabbing breakfast to-go from the hotel lounge, work a whole day in the office, return to hotel in the evening for light snacks at the lounge or order room service, and continued working in the hotel room. I even used the hotel TV as my second monitor...haha!

Sunset views from Marriott Tampa Westshore

Views from Westin Tampa Bay

Views from The Current Hotel, Autograph Collection

60 nights so of 45 nights actual stay plus 15 nights via credit card.

3. Went to the beach 

Jan 18 (Sat): Went to Clearwater beach with my co-worker.

4. Worked in Tampa's office 

This office just opened few weeks before the new year so everything was brand new.

My favorite part of this office is the beautiful sunset view from our desks

5. Ate in and ate out

Ordered room service a lot as I had to hop on night calls with my team in Manila.

Fixed my cravings for Asian food.

Enjoyed lots of salmon, mostly at Matoi Sushi, my favorite sushi restaurant in Tampa.

Also had Western.

Non meal-prepped meals with hubby and the family

6. Drove many rental cars

Mostly Nissan Altima in various colors

Some fancier cars. Thanks to National's Executive Elite status which allows me to choose any car on the Emerald Aisle. =)

My crazy daily routines to add some 'fun' to my travels. Earned 16 free rental days (8 through One Two Free rewards, and 8 through normal credits) in 9 weeks.

7. Worked from home

Now that I'm done with travels, it's back to work-from-home all day everyday life.

8. Family time

Dec 29 (Sun): Celebrated Christmas with the family

Jan 25 (Sat): Annual CNY gathering with the family through Whatsapp.

Mar 1 & 8 (Sun): SIL's 30th surprise birthday and pawpaw's (hubby's grandpa) memorial.

9. Meal-prep routine

Nov 17 & 24 (Sun): Mussels tomyum noodle soup, pan-fried potatoes, baked chicken, pan-fried pork with rice and veggies, egg sandwich.

Dec 8 & 15 (Sun): Potatoes and meatballs, potatoes with sausage, mixed veggies, mussels tomyum noodles soup.

Dec 22 & 30 (Sun): Fried rice with sausage, fried eggs, tuna pasta, bakuteh, hokkien mee, mixed veggies.

Jan 5 & 12 (Sun): Baked chicken, bok choy, mixed veggies, pasta and meatballs.

Jan 26 & Feb 2 (Sun): Baked chicken, tuna pasta, potatoes and meatball, fried rice and sausage, mixed veggies.

Feb 16 & Mar 1 (Sun): Potatoes and sausage, pasta and meatballs, stir-fry pork with pasta, chow mien, mixed veggies, mussels tomyum soup.

Mar 8 & 15 (Sun): Mixed veggies, fry egg, egg sandwich, potatoes and sausage, stir-fry pork, chow mien, mixed veggies.

10. Entertained the twins

10 - 11 months

Jan 30 (Thurs): The twins turned ONE!

12 - 14 months. So happy to see gu gu? :P

2 naughty munchkins

Twincredibles' comic by yours truly. =D