The UK weather had been extremely unkind at the first quarter of 2013. I burst into tears one morning at work as my tropical-climate-raised self struggled with the cold. Yes, it's called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter blues.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my facebook status that the beach was calling me. No, it was more like shouting at me with forceful demand. I spent the first 12 years of my life living in a coastal town. The beach was a 15-minute drive from the centre of town and a 10-minute walk from my maternal grandparents' old house situated close to the ricefields.
Photo Credit: wowbatangas.com
A beach in my hometown of Lobo, Batangas, Philippines
I'm not sure which beach the above is as I read that my hometown has now at least 5 beach resorts. As a young girl, I used to go to one called Gerthel, which I believe is the one on the below photo.
Is this Gerthel beach?
I haven't been home for years, my mother mentioned that Gerthel is not bustling as it used to. Flooding has eroded the banks. Unfortunately, the area's topography is subject to natural shifts. My apologies to the person who took this photo as I don't recall where I got it from, so I'm not able to credit you. I'd certainly would take this down should you request, or you can just pay my mum a visit and she'll give you a week's supply of her to-die-for empanada in exchange for this photo.
The peril of living in a cold climate is you have no choice but to make do with a wintry beach. Coming from a tropical country, it was difficult for me to swallow at first. But over the years I have come to appreciate the beauty of a cold rocky seaside. Both wintry and tropical beaches have a soul-cleansing effect on me but on two different paths.
Top photo: Sligo, Ireland
Bottom photo: Subic, Zambales, Philippines
I've been to this beach in Sligo both in winter and summer and I can honestly say that I felt I belonged to its shores on that one winter day in March when the season was about to end. A wintry beach evokes a calming, reflective and nostalgic sense of how the universe and myself have evolved to that time and place. Peacefulnes descends on you. A wintry beach beckons you to look back.
A tropical beach on the other hand, stirs a cauldron of emotions ranging from being high-spirited to bouncy and festive that prompts you to look at life anew. It gives you an excuse to celebrate. The tropical sun cajoles you to positively look forward.
The same beach in Sligo, Ireland in winter (top) and summer (bottom).
The closest that I can get to sand (and pebbles) and sea is to go on a day trip to Brighton in West Sussex.
Brighton sea shore
The sun was out in all its glory on the drive there so I was wishing it will be bright this Easter Sunday. Without hesitation, the sun hid the moment I got to the shores. It was as if it was telling me that I've had a very good fill all my life, sunshine will be rationed from now on.
The structural remains of the West Pier which burnt down in 2003.
Photo Credit: westpier.co.uk
The West Pier in its heyday. I would have loved to see this.
Brighton Pier (or East Pier) from a distance.
Entrance to the Brighton Pier. The only photo I instagram-ed. For now.
The shore as seen from the southern tip of the pier.
The Brighton Eye. It will have to be a sunny day for me to pay 8 quid for a three-turn ride.
I have only been to Brighton three times since I moved here, but every trip is a discovery day. I was saddened to see some favourite shops close down, but ecstatic to stumble into new ones. I walked a longer stretch westwards and became even more intimate with its landscape. Yes the sea was and will always be cold and I won't probably take a dip ever, but Brighton is a seaside resort that I visit to breathe out the excesses of London that wear me down.
This is my beach now. Physically deviates from what I grew up with but does the same job spiritually.
I have more photos to upload next time with stories to boot.
In the meantime, the sun shone again on the way back to London. Looking forward to summer.
Happy Easter everyone! x