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We're Gera and Niklas, and our little girl Tara Freya and baby Björn Anton. :) For a quick info: Gera (more below and in succeeding sections) is a Filipina development worker/communicator and Niklas is a Danish airplane driver (hehehe). We're still transitioning to a new life with a new baby. I think we’ll never really perfect it but at least we’ve settled in, as much as we can anyway. See you soon! CURRENT MISSION Change the world, one life at a time. ABOUT ME I am a Filipina involved in development work. Much as I am in love with traveling, meeting new people and having new experiences, I find more passion in using my skills and talents in helping shape a better future for other people, especially for the extremely poor and vulnerable. It's a bonus that I get to travel while I do just that. And oh, I'm a real sucker for good food, especially the ones that look great in photographs. And yes, I really do want to change the world. :D You can check out my blogs at: http://thediaristwanders.com — travel blog http://indiasaakingmgamata.blogspot.com - India Photo and Video diary http://project365volunteersforchange.blogspot.in/2011/12/becoming-vso-bahaginan-volunteer-what.html --> Volunteering Journey with other VSO Volunteers (Your journey begins by clicking!) PHILOSOPHY "What we really need are opportunities. To create change and not just be a part of it. I believe that if we can do that, then the world will be a better place. It doesn't matter how long it will take to do so. All that matters is we can make it happen." "It is only by working for and with the people, communities and concerned stakeholders that we will be able to achieve real, inclusive and sustainable development." "A lifetime is not enough to experience what the world has to offer. On our own, we're only scratching the surface, seeing the tip of the iceberg. But, when we meet new people, open ourselves to each other, and share our experiences, we learn more about our lives and go deeper and deeper as we see the world through their eyes." "Work hard, play harder. Plan if you must but be spontaneous whenever opportunity presents itself. Seize the day. And the night. Take a leap of faith. Explore, wander and discover. Life is not just lived, it is experienced!"
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
Back in Manila, I organize CS Weekend Escape, a 2-day out of town trip (sometimes leaving Fri night and back on Mon morning), every now and then when the need to escape the urban jungle is just too much to ignore already! Together with some CSers met during these weekends and through meet-ups, we hold a weekly dinner cook night with different themes and cuisines! It's a great way to share culture and get to know other CSers on a more meaningful and filling way!
We’ve been hosted several times and now we are hosting in Hong Kong.
We try to answer as much questions as possible about my country, the Philippines and our current adoptive country, Hong Kong. Still promoting my country (It's more fun in the Philippines!) every time I meet a new CSer of course! :)
We share travel stories and life experiences with people I meet through CS. It's been great! Oh, since I'm a shutterbug, I take photos and share here too so people will know the different things we do while participating in CS!
Meet-ups and travel together with CSers
Surfing, Hosting and Hanging Out
Surfed with Zaza in Brunei
Surfed with Prasanna in Mumbai
Hosted Rajie in Navi Mumbai
Surfed with Warren and Ashwin in Goa
Surfed with Bhavesh and partied with other Hyderabad CSers
Hung out with Filipina CSer Ann during my assignment in Nagpur
Surfed (kind of) with Sokirt in Amritsar
Surfed with the family of Kamal and Madhu in Jaipur
Surfed with roommates Aaron and Joshua in Aurangabad
Hung out with Mamtha and her husband Tyag and Mom Shanthu in Bangalore with Anna, another CSer from the Hampi-Bangalore train
Guided and helped by Mukesh in Kochi (too bad I wasn't feeling too well, not even to meet him!)
Hosted Larry from Montreal (Day surfer!)
Hosted Gianna from Mexico
Surfed with Bonnie and Alex in Hong Kong
Surfed with Darrell in Macau
Surfed with Analie in Berlin
Hung out with Lenka in Prague
(There used to be links to their profiles. Now it's gone. :( I wanted to let you know who they are and how great they have been to me and others!)
Surfed with Jana and Markus in Hamburg
Surfed with Rick (and Marloes) in Amstelveen
Hosted CSers in Manila and Hong Kong!
For more of the experience, do check-out all the photos here tagged with CS. :)
People. Food. Travel. Culture. Conversations. Development Work. Psychology. Philosophy. Sociology. Photography. Architecture. Blogging. Movies. Music. TV Series.
Music, Movies, and Books
MOVIES: Romantic Comedies; epic, war and period movies; coming-of-age films; movies that make you think; sci-fi and fantasy genre. Got hooked with Bollywood films while in India. I don't/I avoid to watch thriller and horror films that are too-gory-and-too-bloody-that-can-actually-become-a-nightmare.
Niklas likes documentary, spy, action movies and shows.
Some TV Series I really like:
The Good Wife, Nikita, Revenge, Tudors, Grey's Anatomy, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries/The Originals (until it got too scary), Gossip Girl, Bones, Dexter, Homeland, NCIS, Borgia, Suits, The Blacklist, The Last Kingdom, Black Sails, the Shannara Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments (is it a weird mix or what?!)
I’m currently hooked on the Korean period drama Mr. Sunshine, Chinese period drama The Rise of Phoenixes, and just finished Homeland (s6) and Versailles. I binge-watch on Netflix! Niklas has completed s3 of the Expanse I think and I’ll catch up as soon as I make the network thing work.
MUSIC: Pop. Dance. Electronic. Jazz. Alternative Rock. Song covers. EDM. Spotify playlists! :)
BOOKS: Coming-of-age. Romantic drama. True-to-life stories. Sci-fi. Fantasy. Read the Hunger Games Trilogy and "A Song of Ice and Fire" aka Game of Thrones series. Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Read some Indian authors. I like dystopian themes as well.
Niklas loves comics, but not the marvel or superheroes kind. He has lots of aviation books and loves a good thriller/mystery too.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
I don't know if I've had THE amazing moment yet but I think seeing a rainbow below you while on the plane is pretty amazing. Don't you think? :)
October 2012: watched the sun rise at the snow-capped Kanchenjunga mountain, 3rd highest peak in the world
January 2013: the volunteerism and generosity of people at the langer (free kitchen) in Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar
January 2015: the winter wonderland white plains of Germany and Czech Republic and the snow-capped hills by the River Elbe. For a tropical islander like me, seeing fields of snow and white Christmas trees is awesome!
Giving birth to two lovely kids!
Teach, Learn, Share
Learning Danish and trying not to lose the little Hindi I survived with while in India (for Gera).
I want to learn Spanish/French/German/Nipongo. Please teach me!!!
Teaching and learning blogging and web design. (If time permits, I can volunteer to set-up Blogspot and Wordpress weblogs for your travels or develop web design and content for small projects for your NGOs or grassroots organisations. I'm serious. Let me know how I can help!)
Re-learning photography and videography.
Learning world cuisine. I am mostly a world cuisine food taster. :D
These days, I am in search for people who are well-versed in world history, arts and culture - I want to learn more on this.
What I Can Share with Hosts
I whip up mean omelettes in the morning (or all-day breakfast) and make pancakes/crepes too!
I used to make awesome Indian curries (according to friends who devour them). Not sure if I can still cook it at the same level but we can try!
I cook "pwede na mag-asawa" level Filipino dishes (if you haven't been to the Philippines, let me bring my country to you).
I have a dessert specialty that you may have never ever tried before. Given the availability of ingredients, I'd gladly make it for you! :D
Niklas loves making pasta, pizzas, burgers and steaks!
Countries I’ve Visited
Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States, Viet Nam
Countries I’ve Lived In
Denmark, India, Indonesia, Philippines, United States