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Enjoy Thy Youth!

youth

“Even youth shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted” -Isaiah 40:30

Lately, I so feel this…

Felt like I have just crossed that ‘line’, that ‘angle’, that ‘time frame’, and yes that age (if that’s what you’re waiting for to hear hahaha). Some folks may say that age is just but a number.. And that we may continue to be young at heart though our birth certificate says another. But I’ll say that ‘though my spirit is willing, yet my flesh is weak’! 🙂

I’ve recently traveled to the Philippines to work on some papers. This visit necessitated a lot of walking and commuting. There were occasions that I needed to walk my fastest in order to reach my destination on time or if I wanted to avoid the rush hour. Amusingly but true, can’t seem to define the difference between rush hour and non-rush hour anymore! It looks like a trend to be in a rush nowadays! I hope it is only due to the holidays’ season or good heavens can someone please invent the flying jeepneys! By the way, recently making the news was the available service of UberChopper in Manila. You can now travel in-style without being stuck in the road traffic. Minimum charges is around 50 to 70US$ I’ve heard. So if the demand for this service continues to rise, it maybe a good idea to include a helipad when building your home.

And so back to what I’m saying…

I’ve been missing the time when I used to have speed like an athlete (although I’m obviously exaggerating here but it was once true that I walk fast – I can find you some witnesses who can testify if you need me to)! Those were the days when long distance walking was never my issue.  You’re right, those were the days.  Just reminiscing…

We all had those days. When we fought against time because we didn’t wish to slow down. Where our mind and bodies were so prolific that we sometimes forget that our youth is temporary and has its limitations..I want to vouch on what King Solomon once wrote – “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”.

I am sure he had a real good thought about this subject; after all he was one of not only the wealthiest man that had ever lived in this planet, but also the wisest! King Solomon must have lived his life to the fullest and yet, still regarded all his accomplishments seemingly a ‘vanity under the sun’.. he sure had some pretty good reasons too on why he thought so.

He further wrote “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever”. This simply means that, hey you, take notice of your youth! Make sure that it won’t passes you by….

As for me, I may have some regrets and could have done some things differently. But the tons of amazing memories of my youth will last me a lifetime and those I’ll surely hold on to. And so I say to my youth …Au Revoir and I’ll miss you… I’ll never forget our precious times together, and I hope we really did spend it well… Thank you for the company.

And to you who still living your youth; ENJOY IT. It is God’s gift to you. Do not waste it nor ignore it. Spend more time with family and friends. Walk outside. Run. Play. Make memories.Value what really matters.

”Again I saw vanity under the sun; one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘for whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’… This also is vanity and an unhappy business”. – Ecclesiastes 4:7-8

Images from google

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“Building Blocks of Homeschooling” – A Homeschooling Public Seminar

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Good day, Homeschoolers!

How are we doing today?

If you happen to be in the Philippines this Friday, the 9th of December 2016, I am inviting you to attend a homeschooling public seminar on foundation and practical guide to homeschooling featuring “Funding your Homeschooling”.

The event will be co-facilitated by homeschooling experts, Dr. Donna Simpao and Ms. Felichi Buizon, with the special participation of Ms. Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan (celebrity presenter – Mommy Minute), in coordination with The Master’s Lighthouse Foundation.

The seminar will further tackle on topics of 1.Homeschooling Works: The Homeschooling Option, 2.The Basics of Setting a Solid Foundation, and 3.How to Get Started.

As a bonus, two (2) lucky participants will get the chance to attend this Seminar for FREE! All you have to do is share this post on your Facebook account and your name will be automatically included in the draw. Alternatively, you may also tag your friends who you think might also be interested to attend and if they share the post, their names will be entered as well. You may also leave a reply on the Comment box of this post and write ‘interested’. The lucky winners will be announced on Thursday, 8th December at 14hrs, Manila Time.

*Note that this promo is only for those who will be in the Philippines on the date of the event.

All the best!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”! – 2Timothy 4:7

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The Greener the Better?!

One of my faith goals in 2016 is to drink lots of water or at least meet the daily recommended intake, faithfully.  I deserved a ‘pat on my back’ as I’ve stood on this commitment till this day, compared on how I used to in the previous years of having a good start and gave up halfway. We’re almost on the 10th month of this year and I’m still diligent, so YEY! to me. I’ve told myself that if I can pull this through, then good to go with my next goal, and that is to add more veggies on my daily diet. This, I failed big time! Well, I’ve barely passed sounds more comforting hahaha!

Most of my friends are into this ‘green diet’ nowadays and has been mixing (or experimenting) different kinds of vegetables either into their drinks or meals. I envy their conviction and wish I could do the same. But when it comes to veggies, it’s a drag for me. Nevertheless, a transformation is a ‘must do’ if I want my family, especially my daughter to follow my lead to healthiness 🙂

A lot of our young people these days may care less on eating lots of green, leafy veggies in addition to eating fruits, though it’s one important Doctors’ order. Or perhaps because they still have that privilege of burning those excess carbohydrates naturally. However, yours truly had already crossed that ‘young people’ category so not only should I take this seriously but also willingly. “You are what you eat”, they say so hopefully, it’s not too late to portray  a better identity ♥.

And so, just recently, I’ve started drinking along with my Mister, these veggie combination which is apparently good in bringing down cholesterol and supposedly effective in melting unwanted fats. Result is slowly recognizable after the more-than-a-week trial especially on the latter working around the belly area :), but we’re hopeful that it will prove its claim in no-time. Otherwise, we should know if the need to shift to another veggie combination is due; there are tons of them by the way. I’m sure there’s a perfect combination tailored out there that suits ones metabolism.

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Combination of chopped cucumber, fresh pineapple, celery, and parsley (blended in half a cup of room temperature water)
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Finished product! (Need to consume within 10-15mins on an empty stomach)

Note to self: “For maximum result, green juices to be taken with regular exercise and moderate carbohydrates consumption”!♥

Cheers to healthy living!

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Perk for Non-Indian Wives

 

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If you happened to be a wife of an Indian national, this good news is for you! You may now be entitled for multiple entries, with a lifelong visa to India by simply applying for an Overseas Citizenship of India or the OCI card. Isn’t this a blessing or what?! And not only that, this benefit is extended to your children, too!  In case you had already been issued with a Person of Indian Origin or the PIO card, then the process will even be much more minimal for you. I was issued with a PIO card more than a year ago and once the news came out on the wives’ eligibility for an OCI, we immediately applied. My PIO card was replaced with an OCI, with the waiting period of less than 45 days, however it might take a little longer for new application. Please visit the Indian Consulate near you for further details or you may check out their website at www.cgidubai.com in case you are residing in the UAE.

As a wife of an Indian national, I was initially issued a PIO card to travel to India and this card is valid for 15 years from the date of issue which has been working out well for us. So much more, t’was worth the amount we’ve paid for to process. Until recently, our ingress to India has been upgraded to OCI. I am really thankful to the Indian Government for considering the family status of their people, for which I can only hope for my Philippine Government to reciprocate with a similar gesture. It has been my sentiment for a while now as my husband can only be granted a maximum of one-year multiple visa entry to the Philippines even after being married for more than 20 years and regularly travelling to the Philippines. We were told that this could be extended but the information we gathered so far on how to was somewhat vague.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration may have a procedure currently in place on the issuance of this type of visa, but I believe so that the process can still be improved. I may be naive but we sure didn’t experience so much trouble when applying for my OCI, aside from spending only around 300 US$ for a lifetime validity (this was including the processing of my PIO, then to OCI) compared to my husband’s only one-year of visa to the Philippines which normally costing us approx 152 US$ to obtain, each time we apply. There must be a better and cheaper alternative for the foreign spouse of a Philippine national to be given the same privilege. There should be….

In fairness, I somehow understood my country’s predicament on this matter. I have heard of the so many cases of frauds and abuse in using ‘marriage’ as a means to secure entry to the Philippines for personal gain and business reasons. This is indeed an act of disgrace and only pave the way in even corrupting the already weak system to identify the legit and the truly-deserving from the bogus. All I am saying is to seriously review the current process and maybe come up with a stricter, wiser, and a much organized policy to overcome such anomalies and consider a more solid yet similar possibility. I am hopeful that a country as multi-cultural and highly developed as the Philippines can come up with a way to ease up or enhance the existing process, in order to encourage the Filipinos with foreign spouses to consider spending their retirement in the Philippines. I pray that my plea will one day fall into attentive ears and will not remain just a ‘wishful thinking’ 🙂

I can only hope especially with the present administration in the Philippines where I have been reading proposals and apparently working on a more structured programs for the returning OFWs. That they may consider this matter as one important aspect to pay attention to – family status. If there’s something I will be asked for as an OFW to push forward in terms of a long-term plan, is the possibility of issuing a permanent residence visa to our foreign spouse (or at least something equally defined). After all, our ultimate goal as an OFW is to one day settle in a place (especially in our own country) where family is welcomed to stay together,  without the burden of having to renew a ‘temporary residence visa’.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Reference link:

http://www.living-in-the-philippines.com/permanent-resident-visa-philippines.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_Philippines

image from google

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A Tree without its Leaves

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If you are a homeschooling mum, this post may read familiar to you. It was one of those unexpected conversations with your homeschooler that will make you appreciate even more why you homeschool your child, apart from the many other reasons. Here is a flashback of our short and sweet encounter few days ago.

Characters

Mommy (that’s me)

Jade (my 10-yr old homeschooler)

Daddy (specially mentioned)

Scenario

Since we’ve started our Level 5 homeschooling materials near mid of this year, I have (strongly) encouraged my daughter to work on her papers independently, mostly without me sitting next to her. In short, with a very minimal supervision. Weeks came to pass and we’re still unable to put this into practice. More than a month ago, we had another discussion on this matter and finally convinced her on the advantages this will accomplish to both of us, and so we amicably agreed on this new setting. I’ve sensed her discomfort but went with it anyway. She started off well and had taken the challenge brilliantly,  however the lessons which we used to finish in two days took her almost four days to complete; understandable as she covers the lesson practically on her own. I’m not being cruel or something but only sharpening her independence and comprehensiveness. Just like testing how far she can decipher her lessons with less of me being by her side. It’s not that she couldn’t managed but she had at least identified her areas of difficulties. Eventually, her ‘enforced independence’ has worn out, and silently shout a desperate SOS. Then one day, she spoke….

Dialogue

Jade: Mom, I need to tell you something. This is very important.

Me: OK, tell me what is it (Jade  is normally a jovial kid but a deep thinker at times and this was one of those days)

Jade: (with a sad face) I know that we’ve agreed on this and that you wanted me to work on my lessons without asking you too many questions but I think I really need you to sit with me especially on Math, on Science (and few more subjects were added on the list :)) 

Me: Really? But you were doing a good job working things on your own.

Jade: But I’m too slow on my own, it would be faster if we work on my lessons together just like before.

(Our exchanging of reasons, encouragement and emphasizing on independence went on for a while.. then she said something that made me stopped on what I was trying to point out to her. For a moment, she looked like my once was two-year old daughter seeking for help and attention; she rarely looks this way after her third grade, so this was serious). She said it almost exactly like this:

Jade: You see mum, I am like a tree with many branches. I am strong with roots. I have green leaves and fruits. But when you left me to work on my lessons, on my own, it felt like all my leaves and fruit fell down and I became just a tree with branches without leaves. By the way, Dad is my roots, so he’s still there. But I’m just brown in color, no more green because my leaves all fell down. You were my leaves…

Me: Stunned, I couldn’t respond anything for a while.. I’m still processing her statement in my head.. I remembered even giggling a bit and sort of figuring out if we have read it from a book somewhere 🙂 .. I’m an adult (and a mom who supposedly has a ready answer to say), but I was speechless with such a description. She was so sincere and honest. So serious which was unusually her. And all I could do was gave her a tight hug and with teary-eyed all I could uttered was, “is that so”? I was in awe how this 10 yr old came up with a mental picture of how she looks like when I left her to study on her own. Wow. I felt so ‘green’ imagining me as her leaves! Call me self-centered but I felt a sense of importance in exchange of her grief, realizing how much she depends on her dad and me. I was elated and crushed at the same time.

That was classic, wasn’t it? So many metaphors of what she told me came across my mind. Every day has its own stories and revelations. All part of our homeschooling saga; the drama, the dialogues, endless reasoning, and discussions. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned so much more about my daughter the moment she homeschooled. Her strengths and weaknesses, her highs and her lows.

One day, she’ll have to go back to school. By then her ‘tree’ will be fully grown and much stronger.But for now, we don’t want her ‘tree to be leafless’, so we’ll stick around as long as she needs us to. We’ll all get there!

 

google for the image

 

 

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Credit Cards and Bank Loans – Free Legal Aid and Seminar

Are you looking for some legal advice on how to restructure your existing loan or wishing to know on how to settle your credit card dues amicably with some abusive debt collectors but do not know how or who to speak to? You may want to attend this.

The Gulf Law and the Filipino Lawyers in Dubai are once again conducting a FREE Legal Aid and Seminar to tackle on topics that involve the following:

  •  Know your legal rights and obligations
  • Dealing with a Police Case
  • Bounced Cheques
  • Bank Settlements
  • Court Case
  • Abusive Debt Collectors
  • Central Bank Blacklist
  • How to restructure your loans from different banks

Venue will be at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, on Saturday, 11th June 2016 at 2:30pm and to be attended as well by a special speaker from the UAE Police, Mr. John Ray Cerna.

To register, you may confirm your attendance by email along with your name and mobile number to Gulf Law Client Care at gulflaw@gulflaw.info or to gretchen@gulflaw.info

You may not probably be in any actual involvement on these cases as yet but would like to know the legalities should in case, you too are welcome to attend.

Stay safe. Be aware.

 

 

Image by Google Image

 

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Chicken (Noodle) Soup – An apparent food for the soul

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I’ve just started a new category on this blog called D.I.Y. which stands for Do It Your-Style. In this page, I will be sharing with you anything that has been modified by us from its original version or perhaps some sort of reinventing stuff to suit our tastes, liking, and needs (what I meant by ‘us’ is a joint-effort together with my hubby, my daughter, and myself).  Living in a country far away from home, we sometimes refer on methods on how we traditionally prepare things, especially on food. It’s undeniably a fact that we are a family who loves to eat and enjoy a home-prepared meal together.  And not only that, this also applies to our homeschooling daughter who has recently been exploring on arts, crafts, and cooking where some of the materials/ingredients needed can be way out of our budget. So all the more we see the need to look for affordable alternatives and home-produced as much as possible and still be happy with the results.  This is a real challenge for me as I am not a very creative person but “it’s never too late to explore”, assures my daughter :).

So to begin with our first entry, just recently, all three of us were craving for a hot bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup. My husband often shares stories on how they used to prepare variety of noodle soups in his birthplace in Cambodia. How they garnished it with these spices and that herbs which sounds alien to me as most of them I have no idea about. But his enthusiasm while narrating makes me drool for the finished product most of the time haha!  We assumed that most of those ingredients might not even be available in the local store so we’ve decided to improvise and enjoy a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup, our style!

It’s not really a rocket-science formula in making any noodle soup but only varies on preference. For me, any type of noodles will do, any green, leafy vegetables can be added, and your own choice of chicken stock will justify the taste. Obviously this wasn’t the first time we’ve prepared this type of soup at home. The difference from the usual was that we’ve decided to use fresh noodles which we’ve just grabbed from a local supermarket and it made a big tasty difference! We picked up few type of veggies as well compared to how we stocked up our noodle soup with veg in the past. We also added up on flavor by boiling the stock with cinnamon stick and star anise. Result? Very satisfying!

I used to believe that the more ingredients you put in a soup, the tastier it will become. Being regarded as the ‘Food for the Soul’, it is said to be filling and comforting hence, a bowl should gratify. Until my hubby introduced me to the ‘science of cooking’! On how simple and affordable a dish can become without really populating it with so much elements. It also helps by familiarizing oneself with the ingredients and its effect on the taste especially when using different herbs and spices. Soup is all about the taste of the soup, so that’s where we systematically experimented. I must say, there’s indeed a science in cooking!

Till my next D.I.Y.

Meantime, keep discovering! 🙂 ♥

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Weather vs Provision

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Just my wishful thinking (not really singing a Christmas song) hahaha!

Has been experiencing the heat from the time we’ve arrived in the Philippines and yes, it’s the peak of the summer! The mild breeze hasn’t been making any attempt to ease even a bit of the 40(+ or -) degrees temperature except during the night, where a tiny dose of air brings a slight comfort. When you’re actually stuck in this kind of weather, it might help to meditate on thoughts that will temporarily snatched you, even mentally, from this agonizing heat by being creative in your imagination. Like for example, visualize that you’re soak in a big bucket of ice; swimming in a pool of cold water; or you’re in the movie Frozen, accompanying Anna in the snow-covered mountain searching for her sister, Elsa; or you’re just simply made of snow just like Olaf! Vivid but it does help, at least for me :).

In the middle of this ‘fat melting’ climate is the perk of bathing in cold water which is an all-year-round provision in the Philippines.  The first drop of cold water from the shower already guarantees a refreshing feel and the sure elimination of discomfort. It’s a total yes factor! If only I could stay under the shower the whole day! Of course depending on the water provision and availability, you may either go for quick baths of up to three times a day for an instant relief or a long, rejuvenating bath before retiring for bed! Just an important public reminder – do conserve water. I will leave the ingenuity to you to do so :)!

I’m a firm believer of motivating oneself to find something to be grateful for even in the middle of the most challenging of situations because whether we acknowledge them or not, they do exist. So, we might as well recognize them for good vibes instead of being disheartened while tackling the inevitable. Cold water bath is not a consistent option in the UAE where I am mostly based with my family, and where the water temperature normally coincides with the local weather so for me, having a cold water bath any time of the day especially during the summer is already a treat!

And so, as much as we want to enjoy the beach and hit the pool to alleviate the heat, we may need to postpone it for some other visits.  One of the main reasons why we’re here in the Philippines is to monitor the refurbishment of our house in Bulacan. But you know what, take it from me, never plan a house repair during this time of the year because boy oh boy, it’s torture unless you enjoy being in a sauna! You may ask, “Is there something I should be grateful for in the middle of this sweat-dripping task”? Oh yeah there is; the cement dries faster! 🙂 🙂

In the meantime, I will continue with my ‘mental diversion’ to somewhere more rewarding. Like ATM (at the moment) – visualizing a huge bowl of pomegranate-flavored ice cream!!

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Homeschooling Mommies Rock!

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From the time I’ve started homeschooling my daughter, Jade, it has always been my prayer and desire to be part of a homeschooling community where parents personally meet and share similar journeys of home educating our kids. Even during my initial year of homeschooling, I’ve already identified the need of having to talk to someone who speaks the same ‘language’ as I am when it comes to home education. Like a solace in knowing that there are other families like us who opted for the same kind of settings. It is like a support group that aids each other in enhancing skills as home educators and the fun of involving our kids’ socialization in the process.

Being an expat here in the U.A.E, reaching out to such community is a bit of a challenge as sometimes, I need to cross one Emirate to another to join a group. Until recently, a homeschooling community has just been formed in my locality. After a long time, it felt like the earth became smaller, the task looking lighter, and suddenly, I’m not alone anymore! yey!

We just had our first successful ‘Mommy Meet-Up’ over a cup of coffee and doughnut. We’ve missed the company of two more mommies who weren’t able to join us due prior engagement. Anyhow, it was such a blessing to listen to every mother’s unique story of passion, commitment, and how the universe orchestrated our paths to cross, so that we can be an encouragement to one another. We’re all grateful. God do answer prayers! 🙂  And as we continue to persevere combating the challenge of home education, family life, secular jobs, and everything else in between, we all know that we shall reap our rewards in due season!

It was indeed a very productive meet-up and we hope to have the Daddies join us the next time. We sure look forward for more as we got pumped-up with our planned activities lined-up for our kiddos. We are excited to be sharing to you more updates as the ‘Homeschooling Community in Sharjah’ grow, glow, and go!

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“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent”. – Mahatma Ghandi

 

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Happy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

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Yay, congratulations, happy one year blogiversary! Seems like yesterday when you were just being conceived. I didn’t even know what to name you, or what to tell people about you. Not even a single clue on what your journey would be like. But one thing I’m sure of, is that you’re brave and I’m proud of you! ♥

Your first few months were tough. Just like a child on her first day at school; you were alone, confused, curious, fidgety, and unsure of what lies ahead. You gave it a shot anyway and you were in for a surprise. Through this blog you got to meet interesting people, new friends, expats just like you from different parts of the globe, and the most rewarding is getting acquainted with other homeschooling mums, who have certainly helped you a great deal in ‘filling in your homeschooling blanks’! Whew!

When you left the corporate world, you were suddenly a ‘full-timer’ of almost everything. Not that you are complaining of being such, but you long for a fresh challenge – like a new purpose for your being, something that will detach you from your daily norm, a space that you can call your corner, your ‘me-time’. And so, it’s blog time! Some people blog for the money (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – who doesn’t want an extra buck, I do!), but writing became therapeutic for you, an extension of your sanity. And you’re not even a writer! Hahaha! Regardless, I’m so glad you did!

My birthday wish for you? Just keep on writing, make more friends and acquaintances, enjoy your space, and most of all, have fun!

Did you know that your site had been so far visited by 37 different countries, as per your Flag Counter? And as a gesture of appreciation to all those wonderful people, who one way or the other viewed ExpatPinay for the past year, we extend our gratitude by saying THANK YOU in your own language. Some countries share a common or same languages/dialects, hence our thank you had just been combined. A special hug to a good friend, Ms S, who was a big help during the initiation of this blog – thanks for the love and.. , to my forbearing hubby who never complained even during those nights where light has to be on while he sleeps hahahha!

And so, ExpatPinay says thank you.

  • In Arabic              SHUKRAAN
  • In English             THANK YOU
  • In Filipino             SALAMAT
  • In Hindi                 DHANYAVAAD
  • In Urdu                  SHUKRIYA
  • In French             JE VOUS REMERCIE
  • In German          DANKE
  • In Russia              SPA-SEE-BA
  • In Afrikaans        DANKIE
  • In Chinese           XIE-XIE (Mandarin)
  • In Spanish           GRACIAS
  • In Dutch               DANK JE
  • In Taiwanese     TO-SIA / KAM-SIA
  • In Algerian          SAHA / TANEMIRT
  • In Icelandic         PAKKA PER
  • In Cantonese     DOJEH / MGHOI
  • In Irish                  GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT
  • In Italian               GRAZIE
  • In Khmer             ARKOUN
  • In Malay/Indo   TERIMA KASIH
  • In Mauritius        MERCI (BEAUCOUP)
  • In Swedish          TACK
  • In Burmese         KYAAYYUUTAINPARTAAL
  • In Congo              DE RIEN (Ethnic – Lingala)
  • In New Zealand WHAKAWHETAI KOE (Maori)
  • In Austria             MERCI VILMAL (Swiss-German)
  • In Turkish            TESEKKUR EDERIM

 

Let me leave you with a statement from one of my favorite authors, Rick Warren. I hope it will encourage you to pursue your goal, the same way it encouraged me. 🙂

God always operates in your life by faith. That’s why you need goals in your life, because a goal is a statement of faith. A goal says, “I believe God wants me to accomplish something by a certain date”. If you don’t have a date, it’s not a goal. It’s a wish. It’s a dream. It’s a desire. But wishes are a dime a dozen; they’re worthless. The only thing that will change your life is setting a goal. You’ve got to wake up from the dream and go to work!

Acknowledgement to: Google Dictionary for the translations and the image
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Expat-Pinay is on No. 33!

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Thank you all good people for your love and support! ExpatPinay had made it to the Top 100 International Exchange & Expats Blogs 2016 and ranked No. 33! (not bad for our first attempt 🙂 ). Out of 300+ participants, the one hundred blogs were officially selected. Though I didn’t make it to the Top 10 to win a prize, I’m still thankful to be a part of this competition. It is refreshing to discover new great blogs and read some amazing stories of different expats all over the world!

Congratulations to all the winners and all the best to bab.la !

You may want to explore the list of the Top 100 blogs here and find out more on the result story!

Happy Day 🙂

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The Book Shelter

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One of my fellow homeschooling mom, Mommy M, had told us about The Book Shelter that is apparently worth a visit. Although it was more than a year ago from the last time she visited, a lot could have changed since then. We still went since it’s only few kilometers away from our home and to keep a promise made to our homeschooler. She even reminded me that this was some sort of a school ‘field trip’, though she went solo 🙂 . The place is located in Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, Sharjah, and is a three-storey building comprises of an Art Gallery, the Barjeel Art Foundation, and The Book Shelter. The Art Centre was officially launched in March 2010.

Since our intention was to visit The Book Shelter for the benefit of our homeschooler, we have explored more on this facility. This kind-of-library setting is at the first level of the building and is open and free for public from 10am to 10pm, (except on Fridays – 4pm to 10pm only). I was earlier told by Mommy M that they used to allow kids to hang around the sitting area and read books, but this policy has now been changed. Only 18-yrs old and above are now permitted to use the facility like books and wi-fi, with a minimal fee of AED5/. Not bad huh? Probably for a university student who wishes to study on a quiet, homey-ambience, this place ain’t bad at all. Although my homeschooler was slightly disappointed upon knowing the changed in the policy, she went home still happy, as the nice lady working there gave her a consolation gift of a free book of her choice! Free book? Read on to know why :).

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It was such an interesting treat, don’t you think?! The Book Shelter is a reading advocate and striving to create the largest free library in the world by sourcing books from donations from different community groups. This scheme sustains their project to recycle, promotes reading, and to strengthen the reading culture in the U.A.E.

 

Visitors can actually ‘adopt’ a book for up to four books a month. That means if we borrow a book, we are not required to return it should we wish to keep it. In return, we may want to donate some books as well to keep their project going. For me this is a brilliant idea. It is like exchanging the books you have already read to a book you may like to read without spending money for it. This is a smart deal for expats like us; aside from contributing to a good cause, this can also avoid hoarding and an ease from cargo fees 🙂 .

The Book Shelter has a donation box where the drop-off can be made. On your visit, you may want to first check where the books ‘for adoption’ are placed, as they have separate shelves allotted for library use only. Although we didn’t see wide varieties of books to adopt at the time of our visit, but the lady assured that it’ll be more promising on our next as they’re still reorganizing the place. By the way, they also have themed art courses for children. Fee starts from AED30/session. You may visit their website at Maraya.ae for details.

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Still thankful to Mommy M for telling us about this place. So there you go. Time to sort out your book shelves and commit to this project of ‘adopt and donate’!

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The Screaming, the Sand, and the Camel

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Have you ever screamed so loud (and so long) that you couldn’t hear yourself screaming anymore? That your throat hurts so much but still wouldn’t stop screaming because that’s the only way you can substantiate the thrill and the excitement you were feeling at that time? Oh yes! Been there, done that during our recent experience in Dubai Desert Safari! As a ‘first-timer’, I didn’t exactly know what to expect and it was my ride of a lifetime. I am not a very brave adventurous type of person so you could imagine what dune bashing could do to me! The adrenaline rush was unbearable and gratifying at the same time. I don’t think I can describe the feeling without using enough adjectives! I went with my other ten super courageous girlfriends and though they weren’t so much helpful to alleviate my tension (as they were screaming equally loud as I was hahaha!), they were the best company to experienced this with! So, two thumbs-up to all of them especially to our sponsor, Madam Coordinator! :).

To those of you who had already been to the Dessert Safari, I am sure you know exactly what I’m rambling about, so please excuse the little bit of exaggeration 🙂 . This blog is dedicated to the 11 wonderful women who just want to have some fun (and more)!

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After the ‘roller-coaster-felt-alike’ ride, our driver had dropped us to the Camp where the rest of the program would take place. Some of us had decided to first go on a camel ride and once again, another first time for me. My hubby once told me that my existence as an expat in the Middle East is somewhat validated once I experience a Camel ride. Some may not agree, but well, why not legitimize his point. It wasn’t one of my pleasant experiences either but surely one of my most unforgettable. Though the camel made a grunting sound as we rode on her back, but she carried us safely to our destinations. We were later told that she is a female which explained her forbearing dedication, however there was a need to expressed her tiredness through grunting (peace)!  And so finally, the hard-working camel sealed my fate as a valid expatriate of the UAE. Yey!

By the time we finished our short and sweet encounter with the desert mammal, the sun was beginning to set so we rushed to an elevated area where we hoped to at least catch a glimpse of it. We hiked vigorously onto the orange sand and raced like children till where our breath could take us. Though still panting, we took pictures after pictures not minding that most of our shots were dark and already shadowy. Well, it was worth all that. You see, most of us are mothers who rarely find time and the courage to leave our children behind so we might as well capture the moment and take some pictures of a place we might not consider to come back! Hahahah! That maybe was an over-statement. It will not be surprising if some of us consider to plan for another visit. None of us could deny the fun and the jaw-tearing laughter we all had. Maybe the next time, the screaming will decrease and the camel will be happier. The only time we were less noisy quiet was during dinner while enjoying the live performances. Or maybe the screaming and the sand climbing already consumed most of our energy.

And so after our meal, we’ve all set to go home. That ends our day with stories and memories that we’ll continue to be talking for a while. Though exhausted, we’re all grateful to God for keeping us safe. It was indeed a day to remember!

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Note to self: being adventurous can be fun, for as long as it is age appropriate 🙂 !

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Expat-Pinay was Nominated!

What!? Got an email from bab.la that this blog has been nominated for Top 100 International Exchange and Expats Blogs 2016 (IX16)! I’m so grateful that my humble blog has been noticed and even more, Expat-Pinay got nominated along with other great travel/community blogs! Wow. I didn’t even know how that happened :). Thanks @bab.la for the nomination.

I do not expect to win and just simply being nominated (for the first time) is already an accomplishment for me! However, one of my favorite rule of the thumbs is, “there’s no harm in trying”! So, I’m asking you all, wonderful people who (still) visit and read my blogs, this is your chance to show little more of your love and vote for Expat-Pinay! ♥

Here’s how:

Voting is easy: just point your cursor to EXPAT-PINAY blog (find it among the lists of nominees as they were arranged on a random order) and a voting button will appear. When you have voted a message will appear that your vote has been counted. VOTE HERE

Voting is possible until February 21st 2016 (23.59 CET). Every user will only be able to vote once: double votes will be removed in the final ranking.

In order to improve my chances of winning, you can of course ask your FB & Twitter friends to vote for EXPAT-PINAY by sharing this post (only if you want to – no pressure 🙂 ).

Thank you in advance everyone! Whether Expat-Pinay made it to this nomination or not, WE’RE ALL COOL, LOVED, AND BLESSED!

 

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H2O Compliant

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Yup, 2016 had finally sinked-in! The first month of the year is almost over and here comes February. How are we going along with our resolutions or faith goals? I am sure a lot of us have committed to a healthier lifestyle this year; the regular exercise, eating healthy meals, maintain proper diet, and probably to stay away from stress. As we begin our healthier habit this year (hopefully, and beyond), I’ve set myself to start with something basic, attainable, something necessary or mandatory: and that is to drink eight (or more) glasses of water every day! The truth is, I just simply forget to drink water! Consciously or sub-consciously? Well, I’ve told myself that if I can pull this through, then I’m good to go with my other planned healthy routines.

One of the reasons (or excuse) why I probably neglect to comply with this necessity is, because I immediately pee afterwards! Yes my good people, you’ve read it right! Sorry for being blatant, but that’s the truth! Especially when I know that we’re about to go out somewhere, I’ll start to restrain myself from taking any liquids at least half an hour prior. Then I resume taking liquids again if I know that there’ll be an immediate access to a loo! Otherwise I’ll be an absolute nuisance as a travel companion until I visit the toilet. Imagine if we’re going on a long drive (wink)! Hence, water is not always my best friend.

Anyhow, along with this shameless revelation is the fact that there is no excuse for not drinking the right amount of water daily. I may faithfully do sometimes but not really on a consistent basis. I’ve read lots of articles on how most of our common sicknesses are due to lack of water in our body, and that could somehow be true. Getting dehydrated is a serious offense to holistic approach of healthy living, so say some health experts.

So in order for me to ensure I meet my daily quota, I need to outsmart my system. I may not use the eight glasses as my standard of measurement, but what if I can somehow consume the equivalent using other means (or tricks)? And so, I tried to outwit the equilibrium by switching the size of my drinking glass to a taller glass! At least drinking few glasses here and there before any sudden going-out plans assures me that I had almost enough until I am once again stationed to drink water. Unorthodox perhaps, but so far I think it’s working on me. And if I continue to persevere, my quota of eight glasses of H2O a day, or its equivalent, is almost near my reach :). All the best to me!

What about you? Faced any difficulty to continue what you’ve started this year? Don’t give up, pull yourselves together and remind yourself that, If there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂

images from Google

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Friendship of ‘Three’

 

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We have attended the 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary celebration of two of our good friends, Fred and Odette, which was held in Fairmont Hotel in Ajman, UAE last Satuday. The ceremony was beautifully arranged in the garden facing the beach, complimented by a pleasant cold breeze while the celebration took place in the hotel’s grand ballroom. We are blessed to witness their renewal of ‘I dos’ and corroborate it to each other once again after 25 years with the same response of, “Yes, I still do”!

The couple, along with their children, have been residing in the UAE for almost 15 years. Their decision of celebrating their silver wedding anniversary away from home was not a very easy choice as most of their loved ones are back home in the Philippines. But being in this country for that long, they had already built a close-knitted ’empire’ of good friends that already became a part of their family. So to make this special occasion truly unforgettable, the couple have brought some of their closest family members to UAE and be part of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Their presence have brought so much joy and emotions to the bride and groom, who were a picture of contentment and pure happiness.

I always say that weddings make me cry; including on mine :). I still remember one of the pictures taken during my wedding wherein some black tears were rolling down my cheeks. I thought it was a bad print, then later on I realized it was actually the color of my mascara (hahaha – classic!). Anyhow, the sentiment is not due to sadness or anything related but it’s the idea of two strangers beholding each other with a promise of ‘till death do us part’. It is that unexplained joy and unforeseen adventure of two imperfect individuals attempting to create a life together as one…isn’t that an exciting journey?! Fred and Odette have exemplified that in reality in their 25 years of marriage. Their secret revealed during their wedding vows, acknowledging the one thing that stood as a pillar in their marriage and the source of their strength during tests and trials; it’s their relationship with God. Yes, they faced challenges of many kinds but it is their friendship with the Lord that serves as their constant aid and companion. It was the highlight of the event. Fred confidently read his vows with so much love and respect to the mother of his three children. While Odette’s pledge (though her voice was shaking in deep emotions, which by the way brought most of the guests in tears, including men I guess 🙂 ) was full of gratitude and admiration to the man who remains true to protect and provide.

Love, love, love was truly in the air that day! Couples who have attended were inspired, renewed, and rekindled while in reminiscing and definitely looking forward to their own silver wedding celebration one day! Fred and Odette’s testimony is both an encouragement and a reminder to us, who have committed to the promise of ‘till death do us part’, that keeping our marriage healthy and triumphant is not a work of two married people alone; it’s the Friendship of Three: husband, wife, and a faithful God.

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For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.

 

 

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The Day She Beats Me in the Game of Scrabble

My daughter just turned 10 couple of months ago. Her enthusiasm in playing with her Barbie dolls had lessen and she’s sort-of getting ‘connected’ these days into drawings, monologues (with a pretend audience), making videos (as if she’s being interviewed by someone and she politely replies with some sort of an accent), and her sudden interest in cooking (with the acting and the talking similar to that of a cooking show – so cute!). As a matter of fact, she almost perfect her own version of Chocolate Pancake using the Cadbury choco-malt which we purchased from India during our last visit. It was meant for drinking but its purpose just got deviated! She’s actually braver than I am in collaborating ingredients, etc. Good for her :).

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To add to her current interests is also playing the game of scrabble. Her dad introduced her to this game (to seemingly enhanced her vocab). She’s very excited and so willing to learn the rules and the mechanics especially when she came to know how to score big using the ‘triple word’ spots on the board. No player can predict what word would be formed next, so to attain a score through that red-triple-word spot is not an easy reach. She’s been trying so hard to form big words from the time we started playing. Even words that were unfamiliar to her she will boldly use so as to win, but to no avail since she’s been stuck playing with two grownups (whew!). Until only few days ago, when it was just the two of us playing, her perseverance and effort paid off! She finally beat me for the first time, placing two separate words landing on those triple word spots resulting to high scores! She’s jumping for joy, as if she just won a large prize! I guess for a 10yr old, beating an adult (all the more her mum), was an achievement! I, too, was ecstatic while sharing her victory! I could still remember the thrill on her face, she’s completely overwhelmed! For now, she refuses to play scrabble with me so she can hold on to that ‘winner’ status for a while, (till she’s apparently ready) hahaha! That was one of our classic moments 🙂 .

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‘Snap’ & ‘Safari’

As a mum, seeing your daughter grow up and divert interests from baby stuff into pre-teens stuff and all, was a mixture of emotions. Whether I accept it or not, it is a clear glimpse of the inevitable – she’s growing up and will soon be a teenager and then to adulthood, and .. – well, I think I’ll rather put the future thought into halt, for now. I guess it is more realistic if I’ll handle the changes in my daughter’s life one stage at a time, like ‘crossing the bridge when I get there’? As it is, I can almost feel an ‘ache’ in my heart with a mere thought that one day, it’ll all come to pass. Yes, I’m so proud of what she’s becoming but a part of me resists and refuses to completely let go of her ‘baby stuff’…. the pain fear of the unknown…

For now, I’m breathing hard, more of a sigh… I’m praying that God would allow me to live long enough to watch her grow and settle; to witness more of her ‘scrabble achievements’ and everything else that she wishes to achieve. To be with her as she reaches for more of those difficult ‘triple-word’ spots in her life. To watch her change interests one from another. And to create more classic moments together….

Sigh.

A mother’s prayer….

 

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And the Winners are…

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The LBC Padama sa Padala Promo has concluded and CONGRATULATIONS to the lucky winners! Thank you to the management of LBC UAE for the LOVE by giving away four AED100 gift vouchers (instead of only two as originally posted)! That’s what I called, ‘extending the blessing’! More power to you, LBC 🙂

The names of the winners are:

  1. GUADZ CUETO
  2. CABASIS DE ALWIS JELY
  3. RITZ MHAE SUMAMBOT
  4. FRANCES MACASPAC

As earlier posted, you may claim your prize in any LBC Branches in Sharjah, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi. Please do not forget to bring a valid ID as you collect your vouchers! Thank you for providing me with your required details.

Thank you very much to all of those who participated and took part on this promo.

More love in 2016!

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Countdown to Transition

Just like everyone else, I too, is hoping for a better year in 2016. Better opportunities, better relationships, better decisions to be made, and for my country the Philippines, better election process for 2016, and may the Filipinos vote for better leaders. The promise of a new year; fresh start, clean slate, new beginnings. Just like the excitement of a child when about to unwrap a gift, so as my excitement of what this New Year brings! I am sure a lot of us have already penned down new sets of New Year’s resolutions, faith goals, and some might have updated their bucket lists as well; anything that will pump up our enthusiasm to cheer for 2016! :).

I am so grateful for all the prayers that were answered this year and for those that are still unanswered, including those humbling experiences learned along the way. Unfortunately, this space won’t be enough to encapsulate all the highlights (and the fact that I may bore you 🙂 ). However, as I looked back from the beginning of 2015 till now, personally, I already made a choice on the things that I should hold on against the things that I should not; to keep the ‘healthy’ ones and let go of those that are ‘unhealthy’. The ‘healthy ones’ never fail to remind me that I can hope, I can dream, I can expect, I can desire, but I can’t control. I’m too limited so I should be aware of my place. Most of the challenges I encountered this year occurred when I do things beyond my capacity; when I criticized on things more than I encourage; when I complained more than I acknowledge; when I want to receive more than I want to give. Those were my ‘unhealthy ones’; I need to leave those behind.

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And so, as we all prepare to welcome another year with a fresh mindset and outlook, I encourage you to pause, weigh, and decide wisely on what to ‘carry along’ with you as we transition from the old year to the new.  Time to segregate the healthy ones from the unhealthy. As we strive for a better 2016, let us also strive for a better ‘us’. Let us once again make an attempt!

Let me leave you with this wonderful reflection from the book of Ecclesiastes.

A wise man once said, “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

From my family to yours, happy New Year!

 

 

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Padama sa Padala Promo!

Good day expats! It’s been more than a month from my last blog as I’ve been busy with so many paper works/errands that demand immediate attention. I just came back from the Philippines and it has really been pretty tight. One of those days when someone may wish to have more than two pairs of hands and a larger brain capacity to effectively multi-task! Inexcusable perhaps, but thank you for understanding 🙂 . Hopefully, my organizational skills will improve in 2016! Yay! The beauty of a new year; fresh start, clean slate.

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Anyhow, as we are in the season of  giving, it’s time for some giveaways! (thank you, LBC). LBC UAE is giving away two Gift Cards worth AED100 each for two lucky winners on their ‘Padama sa Padala’ promo. Just follow these simple steps on how to win:

1. Watch this less-than-a-minute video of Padama Sa Padala Promo – click here (you may also share the video).

2. Like this post below or reblog (so we can have your email address)

3. Share on your FB page.

The two lucky winners will be chosen by LBC UAE on the 1st week of Jan 2016 and will be contacted by yours truly via your Facebook or email account. The Gift Card can be used in any City Centre Malls & the Mall of the Emirates. Winners may claim their prize from LBC Branches either in Dubai (Karama), Sharjah & Abu Dhabi upon presenting a valid ID. Please note that only those residing in UAE can participate.  All the best and let the ‘sharing’ begins!

I would like to take this opportunity as well to wish you all, a very Merry Christmas & a blessed New Year! Till next time!

For my non-Filipino readers, ‘Padama sa Padala’ or the closest English translation I could think of (in this context is) – Reassuring or conveying the love and care through remittances, gifts, or parcels. 

 

Image: courtesy of LBC

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Dear Next President,

If you will be given the chance to write a letter to the next President of the Republic of the Philippines, what would the content of your letter be? This maybe the chance you have been waiting for to be heard by the 16th elected President of the Philippines.

In view of the 2016 Philippine Presidential Election, Kabayan Weekly launches the ‘Dear Next President’ letter-writing competition that is open to all Filipinos of any age from anywhere in the world. The letter can either be written in English, Tagalog, or Taglish.

To participate, read below for the mechanics of the competition.  For more details, you may check out this link to view the article posted by the paper on this: http://kabayanweekly.com/kw-launches-dear-next-president-letter-writing-competition/.

May the best letter ‘be read’! 🙂

*images from Kabayan Weekly

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The ‘Little Indian’ in Me!

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With my mum-in-law, brother-in-law and his family and us. Groupie time 🙂

It’s been more than a month since we came back from our short vacay in India. I couldn’t believe it myself that it was more than one month ago! I didn’t even know what had occupied me since our return. Of course we’re seriously catching up with our back-to-homeschooling itinerary and the lessons that we needed to complete before November end; we also made a visit to an ex-colleague whom we haven’t seen for sometime. I couldn’t believe it too that it was almost two years from the last time I saw her. Time just don’t fly,  it soars! Anyhow, enough of my expat ramblings. So let me tell you, it was a fruitful and refreshing trip; a mini-reunion with our Indian part of the family and the privileged of meeting again one of our dear friends.

In case I haven’t mentioned to you yet, my hubby is an Indian/Cambodian descent, though most of my friends and family members wouldn’t agree the first time I made the introduction. Most of them teased him of being a Filipino disguising as another nationality. That is because he got more of his mum’s Khmer features. He fluently speaks both the languages and still very much connected to both his roots. After marriage, the adjustments we made with each other were so minimal probably being from the same continent and sharing almost similar ancestries (it’s easier to just put it that way 🙂 ). When you marry someone either a foreigner or your townsman, adapting to each other’s culture is very vital for harmonious relationship. So, after years of ‘fine-tuning’ and accustoming, I have grown to love that ‘little Indian in me’ :). Collective effort, I must say.

From that time on, my ‘little world’ has never been the same. I have been a part of more than ‘one nation’ and grateful for the new things I’ve learned and still learning. My husband’s family have accepted me together with whatever baggage I carry along with me. I appreciate them for re-arranging their lives for me, too. The feeling that we are a part of each other has been mutual.

Few members of the family are still in India. We’ve lost my dad-in-law in 2005 and my mum-in-law is aging gracefully although often sick. She’s a very strong-willed woman and refused to sometimes be treated as weak. I guess most of the parents if not all, possessed that common notion that they can still function the way they used to 5 or so years ago. They are inured to take care of their ‘flock’ rather than being the one taken cared of.  Don’t we just love our parents 🙂 My youngest brother-in-law and his family are her constant companion. I commend them for their love and commitment to mum :).

Well, we don’t know when to meet them again, but we look forward to our next visit! Phir milenge! (we will meet again).

Here are some of our ‘happy-moments-snaps’ and the etc’s!

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Cousinshood!
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The joy of meeting one of our good friends. They are currently based in India but who knows, where we will be meeting next. 🙂
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And, my favourite! Crispy Paper Dosa with masala potato as filling. It’s made of Rice and Lentils served with Coconut Chutney and bowl of Sambar- ! Yummy!
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And the cold sodas that I can only enjoy when in India!

 

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Be happy, be KKHUSHI!

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Hello Expats! Calling out the fashionistas out there who may be looking for a ‘new shift’ in style that are fresh and trendy! If you’re free this Friday, the 16th of October, KKHUSHI Clothing will be showcasing their latest contemporary and Kaftan-inspired collections during the Riwaaz Exhibition at the Grand Excelsior Hotel in Dubai, UAE from 11am till 9pm.  KKHUSHI is an indo-western ethnic line catering to women of any age or size at affordable prices.

Kkhushi display

Khushi in Hindi language means ‘happy’ which resonates the KKHUSHI clothing lines that speaks of vibrancy, sophistication, colors, and fun in the language of fashion. This fashion label was created by mother and daughter collaboration, Abhiti and Ridhi Dudeja in June 2012. Their love for style and elegance has lead them to create their own fashion line which expresses their ingenuity for light, artistic and a touch of ethnic, baroque-finished clothing and many more.  KKHUSHI also displays its own collection of jewelry and accessories. Since its birth, KKHUSHI has been actively participating in various fashion shows in the UAE.

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The ‘women’ behind KKHUSHI. Ridhi with daughters, Abithi & Anisha.

Just so you know, Abhiti Dudeja is the successful Dubai-based blogger behind www.rockandrunway.com and a fashion stylist herself along with her mom, Ridhi. To get regular updates on KKHUSHI, you may follow and like their Facebook page or on Instagram @kkushiofficial

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Free Legal Aid and Seminar on Family & Immigration Law in UAE

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Hello Expats! It’s been last month from the last time I’ve posted a blog. I know, I’ve sluggish a bit and that is due to our recent trip to India which was a blessing being with family once again! Will try to tell you more about that on my next blog. Speaking of family, here’s some good news to those of you who wish to sponsor your family and what does the Immigration Law says about it.

Once again, Gulf Law and the Filipino Lawyers in Dubai will be conducting a free legal aid and seminar focusing on Family & Immigration Law, and also on the following subjects.

  • Black List and Administrative List
  • Deportation
  • Visa Sponsorship
  • Immigration Fines and Waiver
  • Immigration Appeals
  • Marrying a Foreigner (you may want to check out my blog related to this: 8 Things to Consider before Marrying a Foreigner)
  • Sponsoring your Family
  • Child Support, Alimony
  • Illegal Affairs, Domestic Violence
  • Registration of Marriage, Birth, Death
  • Wills & Inheritance

In Dubai:

Friday, 18th September 2015 – Philippine Consulate at 2:30pm

In Abu Dhabi:

Friday, 2nd October 2015 – Philippine Embassy at 2:30pm

For registration and to confirm your attendance, please send your details (name, contact number, and email address) to gulflaw@gulflaw.info

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In case you haven’t got your copy yet of the Essential OFW Guide to UAE, you may collect one during the seminar.

‘Till here for now! 🙆

*Images from Google

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Back-to-Homeschool!

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As back-to-school is soon happening in this part of the globe, I couldn’t believe but be thankful that it has been almost two years since we started homeschooling our daughter, Jade; with God’s grace we are almost concluding our Level 4 home school materials plus the additional modules due to K-to-12. I could almost frame her happiness and sigh of relief each time she finishes a PACE and soon enough, she will be commencing with her Level 5 PACES. But before we dive into that, we’ll be taking a couple of weeks off to India and visit her dad’s family! It’s been a while from the last time we saw them, so we’re all excited especially Jade. Anything that will take her some time off from her studies! 🙂

Whew! I’m so glad I have started my blogging. Not only that I found my ‘me time’ through this but it also serves as an avenue for me to meet other homeschooling moms! Reading their blogs as they talk about the similar journey I am exploring encourages me and sort of reassures me in a way, knowing that the occasional hiccups that I go through is normal and just part of the whole ‘homeschooling package’. I am grateful that I found ‘new friends’ in them even cybernetically; they have helped me a great deal in ‘filling-in my blanks’.

To those of you who may be considering homeschooling your child/children, I encourage you to be open-minded and embrace the whole values involving this process. I could have shared you the ‘how-to-go-about-it’ procedure based on my own experiences, but as I am learning and understanding more of the homeschooling culture, there’s really no ‘fixed-formula’ on this. Even the method of presenting the lessons differ from one child to another. That is because each child is unique and has their own coping and learning abilities. Probably the one thing that we have in common is our intentions why we chose homeschooling. So if you are really serious about this, it may surprise you to know that the means, teaching materials, and the support are incalculable. You just need to identify which among the resources available will work for you and your child.

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Working on a crossword puzzle; one of her faves 🙂

Allow me to share you few links of some amazing homeschooling mums who have brought more light to what I am babbling about (wink)! Consider going through their blogs, write ups, and homeschooling tips! I am pretty sure you will find their stories and journeys quite inspiring. I am motivated more than I was a year ago! Their confessions and convictions why they’ve decided to home school their children echoed exactly my own. Of course, they have put them in better words! 🙂

I believe that every parents want the best education for their children. Please understand that methods vary from personal preferences and choices. Pray for wisdom and guidance so you would know what best suits for you and your kids. After all, they are the future generations; we are only God’s co-laborers.

Maybe I can share you some validation guidelines on my next blog on homeschooling. Especially to those who may want to know the certifications involved in validating their lessons with our local Ministry of Education back in the Philippines.

Meantime, happy homeschooling!

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The Expat Syndrome – 5 Ways to Cope Up

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If you are an expat, you must have likely experienced the expat syndrome called, loneliness a.k.a. homesickness.  And yes, it doesn’t matter how long you have been an expat, one way or the other, you will go through this phase. Good news is you should not be hard on yourself when it happens because there is nothing strange nor insane about feeling nostalgic once in a while particularly to those based abroad, just like us. Do not feel guilty about it. Nearly all people miss something about home when they are away, making homesickness a universal experience. For someone like me who’s been an expat for more than 10 years, I have already identified some ‘healthy ways’ on dealing with it. Here are some of my ‘coping-up’ strategies.

  1. Do not be in denial – You cannot forecast the day you will be homesick. It is an emotion inevitable to those of us living thousands of miles away from our country, therefore we are entitled to sometimes long for the ‘warmth hug of home’. Cry if you need to, to give way to your humanity but don’t pity yourself. It’s not your fault to be the one nominated to work abroad, unless you personally volunteered. Remember, homesickness is a temporary phase and should eventually disappear. You can be slightly dramatic about it (if you were me), but try your very best not to prolong the process. It may lead to depression and we do not want that to happen, ever! 🙂 If your budget permits, treat yourself for a movie or go out on a dinner with a good friend. I’m sure that would atleast help uplift your spirit.
  2. It should not be self-inflicted – As what I have said, we cannot forecast the day we feel homesick, but if it doesn’t come, do not inflict it. You are normal if you do not experience homesickness at all! Maybe, you are just a happy, positive person. The world will benefit more from people like you. Self-inflicting it like, if your day didn’t start out well at work, or you didn’t like the extra job your boss has given you,  you will then start the ‘homesickness saga’ of being depressed and lonely, then blame it on being an overseas worker and how you wished you were back home, in the comfort of your family and your country. Don’t do it to yourself, it will only be a waste of your energy – trust me. Let’s save it for something more important and rewarding, shall we? 😊
  3. Surround yourself with good people – I was fortunate enough to meet real good people during my first time to work abroad in Bahrain, where the heaviest attack of homesickness was expected during those initial period. I was so thankful that I’ve met real sincere friends who were transparent, easy to talk to, and really understood my predicament. Be wise in associating yourself with friends especially during your most vulnerable state, wherein you could be desperate for a company to cheer you up. Sometimes, intense homesickness can be painful and debilitating that even a thousand milligrams of analgesic won’t help. And so in your search for a friend to lean on, you might end up being trapped with a wrong company who’ll just take advantage of you. Help yourself when you reach this point. Be with real good, genuine friends. 🙂
  4. Motivate yourself – The last time I felt the syndrome, I was caught off-guard. It invaded my peace. The one thing that I misses the most from home were those days well-spent with my mum. Her cooking, her laughter, and those many special reasons to missed her presence. She went home with the Lord in January 2012. Though I was so thankful that God allowed me to personally be there when she was hospitalized till the time we said our goodbyes, but I suddenly felt like I was cheated by time. I resigned from work and went back home six months before she passed away, without knowing we only had those six months. I was away for so long and six months for me was not enough to pay back our lost time. It just saddened me. Got me back on my feet by the thought that God at least gave me those last six-wonderful-months with her especially the time when she needed me the most; those thoughts comforted me. I terribly missed her but she was not ours to keep. Motivate yourself. There will always be something to thank God for.
  5.  Pray – I’ll bet my life on this! Prayers work wonders! More than ever, this is the best time to be positive and remind yourself that the God of the universe loves you. Be of good courage. That regardless of the depth of the homesickness we experience, life must go on. The actuality of the matter still remains, that we made a decision to be where we chose to be, and we should be at peace with that choice. In case you are unhappy and sometimes feeling guilty for leaving your loved ones back home, be courageous and look at the bright side. That’s the reason why you are called the modern day hero because of your sacrifices. But yes, I admit that it occasionally crossed my mind that it doesn’t seem fair and just at times. So, pray for God’s direction and plans for you and your family. He knows better.

Ending with a quote from a book by Joyce Meyer entitled, Battlefield of the Mind. She wrote – “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.. right thinking is vital to victorious living”.

 

image from google

Featured

Overseas Voter Registration and Certification

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Registration for the 2016 Philippines Presidential election for overseas workers is ongoing in all Philippine Embassies and Consulates until October 31, 2015. This is to ensure that all Filipinos abroad can exercise their right to suffrage.

Please be advised that if one is already a registered voter in the Philippines but will not be in the country during the 2016 election period, you will only need to apply for Overseas Voter Certification.

Visit www.dfa-oavs.gov.ph and take the time to watch the OV INFORMERCIAL for more details on the overseas voting procedures.

An OVF-1 or the Overseas Voter’s Form 1 can be downloaded at www.comelec.com.gov.ph.

Go to:  About COMELEC > Overseas Voting > iRehistro for Overseas Voting

God bless the country of the Philippines!

~Information shared via Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines