Enjoy Thy Youth!

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“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

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

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! 🙂 ♥

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!!

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

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 🙂

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 🙂 !